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Archive for July, 2013

It has been so hot in New York.

We have had another heat wave. It was about 98F/36C degrees but  it felt like about 110F/38-40C.

How is it even possible to turn on the stove a day like that???

When it is too hot outside we turn to as much cold food as possible. Salads, sandwiches, cold soups…

A typical Swedish dish would be the Skagen sauce in a baked potato. The Skagen sauce can be changed up in so many ways. Traditionally, one is supposed to use cooked Greenland sweet shrimp, but I love switching out the shrimp for some smoked salmon.

You can add half a lobster tail on top, if you would like to make it a little more fancy. You could of course decorate with the salmon as well. Just as fancy and good.

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Smoked Salmon sauce on toast.

Serves 4.

6-8 slices of smoked salmon.

1 c. sour cream or creme fraiche.

2 lobster tails (optional). Cut in half,  length wise.

1/2 small red onion or white onion, finely chopped. You could also use 3 tbsp. chopped chives.

1 small jar of white or red caviar (optional).

Small salad leaves. Or salad mix.

2-3 tbsp. chopped fresh dill + 4 sprigs of fresh dill.

Small splash of hot sauce (optional).

Pepper to taste.

4 slices of a good hearty bread. Very lightly toasted.

1 lemon cut into quarters.

Directions;

Mix all of the ingredients together. Taste the mixture. If you need or want to add some other spice to do.

Toast the bread.

Place the salad on the toasted bread. Add the salmon mixture on top of the salad. Top with the lobster tail and a sprig of dill. Add a slice of lemon to the plate.

This is great together with a cold beer.

This is an ultimate summer dinner. I hope you will enjoy it.

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The flowers in the garden are blooming like crazy. The heat is beating them up but they are still hanging in there. This is such a nice time of the year.

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Didn’t you ever wish you could preserve that fragrant smell of your favorite roses?

I have this one rose that gives me the most fragrant flowers. Huge and radiantly hot pink roses. The first year I just got a few of them, the second a few more, and now the flowers are huge and bloom a lot. It also gives me flowers in the fall when it get’s a little cooler.

I have a hard time cutting my flowers off and taking them inside when I know they will last 6-8 times as long left alone in the garden. But I have gotten a new idea of starting making Rose Water when the flowers has bloomed for a while and are still super fragrant. I pick them early in the morning before they have been “beaten up” by the sun and the morning dew is still on them. There are a few ways you can do it. The long way is veeery long. Depending on how many roses you are using it can take many hours for it all to drip down.

Rose Water is such a versatile thing. People spray it on their skin as a re-fresher. It is also added to moisturizers.

I use it for cooking. You can add a more concentrated Rose Water into light cookies, meringues, for drinks, in light sauces.

I think the food or baked goods has to be light in both color and fullness. It doesn’t sit right with some Rose Water in very “heavy” food. But a little Rose Martini wouldn’t be bad.

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Rosewater.

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Rosewater.

Rose Petals.

Water. Some say to use distilled water but I use spring water or double filtered tap water since I use it for cooking.

Directions;

Pick the roses early in the morning so that they are healthy and strong. Make sure they still are nice and fragrant and not too bloomed out.

Separate the petals from the rose hip. Rinse the petals very lightly and let them dry off on a clean kitchen towel.

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Use a large and deep pot with a slightly shaped lid for making the Rosewater.

Put one gown upside down at the bottom center of the pot. Add a bowl on top of that.

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Pack down all the clean petals all around the bowl. Push them down so that they don’t reach over the bowl. Add a few cups of water. Make sure not to use too much but still have it be enough for the Rosewater making.

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Add the lid, upside down. Make sure it fits nice and snug. Let the water come to a boil.

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When it starts to boil, add a couple of cups of ice cubes to the lid to make sure the steam starts to build up nice and well. The Rosewater will now start to “drip” into the bowl in the center of the pot. This can take some time. Turn down the heat slightly but still high enough to be boiling. Add more ice if needed. Ever so often, pour over the rosewater into another bowl. Put the bowl back into the pot and let the ice start-up the condensation again.

Like I said, this takes time and could take up to a couple of hours depending on how much water and rose petals you are using.

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There is a faster way of making Rosewater but this way doesn’t stay nice and clear.

You add the petals to the water and let come to a boil. When it has come to a boil, turn it of the heat and let sit and “steep” for a while until it has a nice and rich rose sent (and taste).

If you let it boil to long, the Rosewater will become a little bitter. I usually use that as a cup of Rose tea at the end.

Above are Rosewater made in three stages creating three different colors.

Pour all your Rosewater onto nice bottles.

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I hope you will have success with making some Rosewater.

If you don’t use it for anything culinary, add it to a spray bottle and use it as a refreshing mist.

Enjoy!!!!

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Happy 4th of July!!!

Time do bring out all the red/white/blue, stars and stripes you can find in the house. No need to be modest. Go big for this holiday!

This is of course an American celebration, but I know that Americans abroad celebrate it just as much as a Swede living here in the States ( I wonder who I am thinking of…) would celebrate Swedish events and holidays.

We are making it simple for this holiday. Too much to do, too little time. Don’t I say that all the time?? Perhaps I am a very stressed individual since I always want to cook simple food. Who knows.

My priority this weekend is to relax, spend time with family and friends. Just enjoy myself. We will go to the beach, go to my mother-in-law’s for Curry Goat, BBQ in the garden, so many different things are going on for these 4 days… If I am really lucky, there will also be some time left over for me to have a date with a good book. I haven’t read a book in a very long time. What a shame.

So, we are doing easy stuff for the 4th. Basic BBQ food like , marinated chicken & pork tenderloin, burgers & hotdogs. Corn & salsa.

I will make my Mini Pies filled with strawberries, blueberries and apples. Basic desserts. A little bit of “comfort” food desserts. Well known and familiar but perhaps with a little twist at times.

It is very nice to make a whole bunch of small mini pies instead of making just one big one. This way you can pick and choose what you want.

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Mini Fruit & Berry Pies.

The rule is to use any fruit or berries of your choice. Besides that, there are no rules.

There are no real recipes for this. Since I like to be able to taste the actual produce, I keep it as fresh as possible.

So just make a pie crust or even buy ready made pie crust. For these ones, I use a basic pie crust.

I choose little nice looking ramekins. Since it is 4th of July, I used my star shaped ones.

Add the rolled out pie crust to the ramekins. Well pressed down into the bottom edges.

Add the fruit or berries. Keep them separate or mix them together.

Different combinations;

Blueberries– Use a splash of your favorite liquor.

Strawberries– Add finely chopped candied ginger.

Apples– Add your favorite liquor and some ground cinnamon. (And perhaps a little granulated sugar if you need for it to be a little sweeter).

Peaches– Toasted nuts and a pinch of brown sugar.

These are just some suggestions, you can really combine anything you like.

If you use hard fruits like apples, cut them finer and fry them in a skillet for about 15 minutes or so until soft. Add a little water so that they get some help from the water to soften up. Keep a lid on so that they really cook down faster.

Directions;

When you have added the pie crust to the ramekins pack down the filling well. Cut little stripes of the crust and add about 3 stripes per pie.

Brush some egg wash onto the crust and sprinkle some granulate sugar on top of it.

Bake in a 350 F degree (175 C) for about 15-20 minutes or until the crust has turned golden brown.

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Cut out stars with a mini cookie cutter. Brush lightly with egg wash and sprinkle some cinnamon and sugar on the stars. They taste like little cookies.

Cut out stars with a mini cookie cutter. Brush lightly with egg wash and sprinkle some cinnamon and sugar on the stars. They taste like little cookies.

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You can serve some fresh berries on the side and also whip up some heavy cream spiked with some of your favorite liquor.

Add about 2-3 tbsp. per cup of heavy cream. Fold in some candied ginger.

Enjoy!!!

And again, have a great and happy 4th of July!!!

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