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Archive for May, 2012

I am so fortunate… It is my birthday and I have many family members here from Sweden. Together with my extended family in the US we are a great crowd.

They woke me up with Champagne in bed. YUM. One can get used to that!!!

So, today will not be a cooking day. I am on vacation!

Chocolate mousse cake….

Imagine that… I must be very popular…

Life is good………

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Every day can be a fish-eating day in my house.

I try to come up with new versions or combinations of fish dishes. I have always liked to add berries and fruit into a savory meal. One really fantastic fish is Halibut. In this recipe I have played on the blue/purple colors. It is so important to not only make the food taste good you could add a little artistic flair and think of colors.

Maybe I am crazy, but I have notice through the years that I crave or gravitate to food that is bright in colors and is beautiful on the plate. Good looking food makes me happy!  This Halibut is an example of that. I just think that the bright white fish gives room for any other color to accompany it. I love purple potatoes and try to use them for esthetic reasons more than for the taste.

My father and I used to farm at our country house. I went there every weekend. It was such an amazing place. As long as I remember, my father has had a vegetable garden. As expected, he really over did it every year. The neighbours used to laugh at us plowing the potato fields my hand, old style. We had an old wooden plow that one person would pull and the other one would make sure the plow would reach low enough to turn over the dirt. It must have looked like a bad movie when we would get out there. I am note exactly sure, but I think we used to have about 7-9 kinds of potatoes. Really?? One needs that many kinds??? Anyway. It was great and I must admit that if I had a bigger backyard here in Brooklyn, I would most likely grow potatoes!!! There is nothing better than the first sweet “fresh” potatoes!!

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Halibut with Blue potatoes and Blueberry compote.

Serves 4.

4 Halibut steaks. (or 8 smaller ones)(If you can’t find Halibut use any other white fish.)

3-4 small Purple potatoes per person.

Any kind of greens (salad) of your choice. I love a mix of Arugula, Spinach and Romaine.

1 cup of blueberries. Frozen or fresh. It doesn’t matter. I usually use defrosted frozen blueberries. If you like, use more blueberries.

A couple of tbsp of brown sugar or honey. If you can, use less sugar. The berries don’t need much if they are sweet in themselves.

Zest from 1/2 a lime.

1/2 lime, squeezed.

A splash of hot sauce or black pepper. As per your preference.

A couple of sprigs of mint, chopped.

A couple of table spoons of chopped fresh basil. (optional)

Salt & pepper to taste for the fish.

Oil (and butter, optional) for frying.

Directions;

Cut the fish into smaller pieces. It is better to serve two smaller pieces, stacked on top of each other,  than a huge piece that isn’t perfectly cooked.

Clean and dry the fish well. If the fish is dry, you get a better frying surface. I don’t like to bread or dip in flour. I rather just fry it as it is with a little seasoning.

Put all blueberries into a pot. Add lime zest, sugar/honey, mint, pepper (& basil, optional.)

“Melt” or “boil down” the berries. Let them simmer until they become “syrupy”. Make sure to taste it while putting the sweetener in little by little so that you don’t over sweeten them. (You can also add a little sherry or white port into the blueberry compote.)

Salt and pepper the fish. Fry the fish it a medium hot pan. A few minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Plate everything. Squeeze a little lime on top of it all.

I hope you will enjoy this easy and fresh way of cooking Halibut.

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This is my fathers vegetable garden as it is now, at his summer-house. Note that it is for a household of 2!!! AND it is downsized!!!

So there is no big surprise to me or anyone that knows me that I grow stuff any chance I get. It is in my blood you can say. My father and I also have something else in common, we drag up a chair to the little plants and sit and watch them grow.

Now this is happiness and “life on a stick”.

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Many things can be pickled.

Sometimes I have an urge of something sour/sweet/pickled.

The most common pickling at home would be the quick pickle. Super fast, super easy and super yummy.

You can make it just a little before the dinner is served or days before. I always have a jar with quick pickled cucumbers in the fridge.

When you run out of cucumbers in the jar, keep the pickling liquid and just add more cucumbers.

Quick pickled cucumbers.

1 cucumber.

Dill

1/2 hot pepper. Optional.

3 parts (for ex. 1 1/2 cup)  water.

2 parts ( for ex. 1 cup) sugar. I prefer brown sugar.

1 part (for ex. 1/2 cup) white vinegar.

Directions:

Add water, sugar and white vinegar into a bowl. Let the sugar dissolve. Add chopped dill and pepper. Wash the cucumber. Slice it very thin. If you have a mandolin, cheese slicer or shredder, use that, otherwise, just slice by hand. Add the slices to a big glass jar. Pour over the liquid so that it covers the cucumbers.

Ready to eat a little after it is made. I prefer for it to sit a couple of hours. A trick I learned during my catering days was that when doing regular pickles one can add some ice cubes into the liquid and jar. This makes the cucumbers crunchy.

You can pickle cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, you name it. Try out new ideas. Think Korean. They pickle anything and everything. Actually, in many arabic countries, they serve pickled veggies before or to the meal.

Enjoy.

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When I first moved to New York from Sweden, there were a lot of things I missed from home.

It is so funny to me now, thinking back of how I ran around looking for Caviar at “Dean & Deluca” and “Hard bread” at the little specialty shop in the Village. Lingonberries at the German deli “Schaller & Weber” on the upper east side and Shrimp from Coney Island’s Russian districts. Of course there were many more items and places to go to… I think I went to all of them. Come all holidays I was able to have a spread that any Swede would be jealous of. Not many things were missing.

I must say though, there still are things I am longing for. I am so fortunate that my family & friends usually brings those things for me when they come here. So life is good. I have my pantries full of “goodies from home”.

For example, It was a little crazy how I dragged herring filets from home to pickle myself when the pickled herring in vinegar in any grocery store is just as good. I now buy that and just make new sauces for the herring. Thank god I finally came to my senses and now know how to substitute one item for another and make it taste exactly as I “remember” in my taste buds. Like the “so very Swedish Rice porridge” we eat for christmas. I now use the short grain Korean rice I buy in Korea town. It tastes just the same as the short grained “porridge rice” I used to drag from home or buy online. A funny note on that is the first time I made it for my husband and mother in law. I told them it was sooo fantastic and different. A”swedish treat!!!”. When it finally was done, my mother in law said “Oh, you made Rice pudding. It tastes just like the one at home!” Hm…

One of those favorite dishes that I had bad cravings for was the Skagen Baked Potato. A very simple dish. It is just a baked potato with a shrimp sauce. I think that people make lot’s of different versions of this sauce. I don’t use Mayo, some do. I use hot sauce in mine, most don’t. So if there is something you think would be perfect in the sauce, add it.

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Shrimp Skagen Baked Potato.

Note that this is a cold sauce to the hot baked potato.

Baking potatoes. As many as you need for the amount of people you are serving. I prefer Idaho potatoes.

Per one potato;

Shrimp. About a small handful peeled shrimp. Use Greenland or Canadian sweet shrimp or just salad shrimp. Note that it must be pre cooked. You could also use any fresh shrimp that you boil in a little water, salt and dill. (And a small splash of beer if you have some at home.) Let cool before adding to the sauce.

1 tsp. chopped fresh Dill.

3 tbsp. Sour cream.

1 tbsp. mayo, optional. (I don’t use this in my Skagen sauce.)

A little finely chopped tomatoes. Optional.

1 tsp. chopped chives or 1 tsp. finely chopped onion.

A small squeeze of lemon or lime.

Hot sauce or pepper to taste.

Caviar. To taste. I use 1-2 tsp.I love white caviar but it is one of those items my family always brings for me from home… You can still use any other kind. Black or red. The only thing is since this kind of  caviar has been dyed, just put it on top at the end since it will have the color “bleed” if you mix it in.

Directions;

Bake the potato. The old fashion slow way is to bake it in the oven. I want to cut corners so I do a half and half. First I put the potatoes into the microwave for about 6-10 minutes depending on how many I am making. I would say about 8 minutes for 2 regular sized baking potatoes. Just note that it will take longer the more potatoes you cook at the same time. Transfer them all to the preheated oven to finish baking.

450 degrees for about 10 more minutes or until the flesh is all soft. Don’t under cook them. There is nothing worse (ok, a few things perhaps…) than an undercooked hard, baked potato!

Meanwhile, mix the sauce.

Peel the shrimp if they have the peel still on.

Mix all the ingredients together. Make sure to stir well so all the dill is well-distributed. Add the shrimp.

This is very forgiving so you can add or use less, as much as you want.

Decorate with a sprig of dill and a few lemon slices.

Enjoy!!

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