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Archive for February, 2015

Valentine’s day…

When I think back on our wedding, it feels as if it was just a few years ago. But it has been so many years that we get amazed every time we count. I don’t care what people say, it does make a difference to be married. I love it.

We have had so many big celebrations lately that we are a little low-key this Valentine’s. A little partied out, you could say. It could also be because we are expecting the worst and coldest weather in history, here in New York. Well, at least that is what they say.

So we cancelled our plans and are staying local. But, since we actually eloped and got married in Vegas, our revised plan is to go to the casino in New York/Queens, and have dinner there. Same same but different.

We already had our first Valentine’s dinner since we celebrate this for a few days since it actually is both our anniversary and Valentine’s.

This dinner was what we love to eat the most. Salmon. And lot’s of berries with some quinoa. Sweet dinner for my sweet & I.

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Sweet Salmon cubes with Berry & Fruit Quinoa.

Serves 2.

A mid-piece salmon, enough for two people. Cut into aprx. 1 1/2″ cubes.

1/2 cup. mixed fresh fruit & berries.

2 pineapple rings. Preferable fresh (canned is ok as well).

A couple of strawberries, cut in small pieces.

1 lime. Use the zest and the juice.

1 cup boiled quinoa.

2-4 tbsp. Thai chili (Hot & sweet)

1-2 spring onions, the semi green part cut in thin strips on a diagonal.

Salt pepper to taste.

Directions;

Let the pineapple rings dry of slightly. Cut into little cubes. Fry in a “dry” frying pan for a few minutes letting the pineapple get a little color. Add the boiled quinoa into a bowl. Squeeze over the lemon juice &  1-2 of the Thai chili sauce. Mix & let sit and “marry”.

Fry the salmon cubes in a medium hot pan in a little good oil. Just a few minutes on each side. Don’t over cook them.

If you are using larger fruits or berries, cut them into smaller pieces.

Just before serving, mix most but not all, of the berries, the lime zest & spring onions with the quinoa. Plate with the salmon cubes. sprinkle over more of the berries and the spring onions. Place little drops of the Thai chili sauce over the salmon and on the plate.

I used blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, dragon fruit and a little of a kiwi. I took a piece of the dragon fruit and cut out a heart and placed it on the plate.

You could of course use a cookie cutter if you want a perfectly cut heart.

You can squeeze over a little bit more lime juice if you want. Before you plate, taste and make sure it is balanced and to your liking. If you want it more hot and spicy add a dab of hot sauce (optional).

I also added a passion fruit on top of it all. I just love that fruit. A little expensive but so delicious.

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valentines salad

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What can be better than waking up to flowers and cards from your hubby?

Followed by a typical and favorite Swedish breakfast. Pancakes with whipped heavy cream and fresh berries, smoothie and some Swedish tea. I am really fortunate…

Happy Valentine’s!!!

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stew

 

This winter has been “on/off” since early december. It goes from an “arctic blaze” to just a few degrees above freezing and then back down into the big frozen pit again. We have had a few snow storms and in American terms “blizzards”. But for a Swede, you can only call it a blizzard and a really bad storm when the snow comes at you from down and up and shakes you around as if you were stuck in tumbler. Yes, it has snowed but nothing to write home about. We survived.

Since we unfortunately miscalculated our supply of “snow melt” last year (we ran out of it and couldn’t find any to buy anywhere). We didn’t want to take any risks of that happening again this year. We have a large bucket of snow melt sitting at the bottom of the stairs in our basement right now. A pain to jump over any time you have to go down into the basement but it surely is worth the trouble. We will have leftover snowmelt for next year.

I think we are out removing snow every week. It really feels like an extremely snow filled winter this year. When I first moved to America there was never any snow in the winter. What has happened? Did “Global warming” cousin, “arctic cold winters” move in?

Another way to make the snow melt, well perhaps not make the snow melt but at least feel warm, is to eat winter hardy food. Stews are easy and really fulfilling. A little less rustic stew is to start with ground meat instead of chunks of meat. It can be stewing down in different liquids such as beer, wines or broths.

To mix it up a little, this stew has ingredients from the “antipasto” (or antipasti as some call it) counter at the grocery store. I find it fast and it mixes it up a little from my regular kinds of stews.

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*I love the marinated garlic cloves, marinated whole shallots, marinated olives all kinds, marinated artichoke hearts. It is so hearty to chop this up and add to any kind of dish. Anything from stews to omelets.

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Thanks to my dear friends at home, I get dried chanterelle mushrooms from home. They are absolutely fantastic to add to stews. You just put them in some cold water (don’t use hot water) and let them re-hydrate for a few minutes. Squeeze out the water and add them to the stew.

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Winter Stew:

Serves 6.

1 lb. of ground meat (I used ground beef).

1 finely chopped medium-sized onion.

1 cup chopped mushrooms. Either fresh or dried re-hydrated.

1 cup mixed antipasto items. You decide what. I used marinated garlic cloves, olives, onions and artichoke hearts.

1 cup chopped tomatoes. If you don’t have fresh tomatoes, 1 can of crushed tomatoes works well.

2 tbsp. tomato paste (optional).

1 bottle of good a little darker beer or 1 cup wine. Red or white either works or  2 cups of stock. I always use low sodium chicken stock.

Splash of hot sauce (optional).

2 tbsp. concentrated stock (optional. I used my favorite Swedish “secret weapon”).

Salt pepper to taste.

1-3 tbsp. of finely chopped parsley for decoration.

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Directions;

Heat up a cast iron pot or a heavy-duty pot on a medium hot heat. In a splash of oil, fry the onion and the ground meat. When the onion is translucent and the meat has been browned slightly, add all the tomatoes and the tomato paste. Let cook down for about 5-10 minutes. Add the liquids and the antipasto. Let simmer on a low heat for about 35-40 minutes or until all is well stewed down and nice and soft. Taste and make sure the balance of spices is correct and to you liking.

Serve with some home-made mashed potatoes.

sprinkle over some finely chopped parsley for decoration.

Enjoy and stay warm!

 

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We would not have known where playing the Super Bowl finals unless my brother-in-law was here visiting us a few weeks ago. Because he wanted to watch some American football, we actually watched the game with the “potentially” deflated balls (one of the teams in the semi-finals has been accused of deflating the footballs for a better grip). What can one say? Wouldn’t both teams playing benefit from that in that case?? Anyway, so this year I can actually say that we saw a game (even though I honestly only can say I was somewhat paying attention) before the actual final Super Bowl. But our discussions at home has not been around who will win, it has, as always been, “what are we going to eat”? My husband wanted to eat crawfish. We still have some in the freezer, but we forgot to defrost them, so plan B would had to be something with shrimp instead. Neither one of us likes chicken wings, but we like the idea of some kind of finger food. But less messy though. I always make sure to have some shrimp in the freezer. I would prefer to have had some fresh domestic shrimp, but sometimes one doesn’t have a choice. So this time I used frozen shrimp, deveined and peeled. * super bowl *III Some fantastic boiled shrimp & fried potato wrapped shrimp. They were served with a Asian/Caribbean dipping sauce and some hot salsa. * frying the shrimp * Potato wrapped Shrimp; serves 4. a couple of baking potatoes. About 20 Shrimp, larger version (about 5 per person). Directions; Peel some baking potatoes. Make shoestrings out of the potatoes either with a zester (that is what I used) or if you have a the little gadget that makes shoestrings out of vegetables you are the lucky one. It is a little tedious to make the shoestrings but it is worth it. Wrap the shoestring potatoes around the dried off and peeled shrimp. Heat some oil in a skillet. Fry the shrimp on a medium hot heat. Make sure not to burn them. Turn after a few minutes. Let them sit on a little paper towels to get rid of access oil. Salt to taste. * potato nest shrimp *   broth * For the boiled shrimp, first make a good tasting broth for boiling the shrimp. Boil some water together with stalks & leaves of different kind of herbs. Garlic cloves, fresh ginger, lemon or lime or just about any kind of herbs and good tasting vegetables that you have at home. I let this boil for about 20 minutes or so just to make sure it gets to me a full body and taste on the broth. You can make this ahead of time. Even a day before. When you are ready to boil the shrimp, drop them into the boiling broth. Boil for a couple of minutes until they are just about to turn pink. Turn off the water and let them cool down slightly in the broth. * boiled shrimp * For the dipping sauces, you can use any of your favorite sauces. Perhaps a salsa, hot or mild, a tartar sauce, cocktail sauce or an asian dipping sauce. Asian/Caribbean inspired dipping sauce;  4 tbsp. Soy sauce 4 tbsp. Mirin. 3  tbsp. freshly pressed lime juice. 2 tbsp. mango salsa or mango sauce (or even mango vinegar). If you don’t have any, you could use a little freshly ground fruit such as pineapple (use 1 ring of pineapple and puree it down, or use some apple sauce even). A pinch of Chile flakes. Mix all together. Add a little chopped cilantro at the end. This is just one of those improvised sauces that really is made according to what you have at home. The base, soy & mirin is the regular teriyaki sauce so if you rather use that, it is also ok. Just add some heat, some freshness with citrus and some sweetness from mango for example. The chili flakes makes the whole thing come together with a little bit of a kick. This is a really delightful dipping sauce. Just experiment with the tastes and make it your own favorite sauce. Enjoy, and let’s hope the best team wins!!!! Happy Super Bowl!!!   4vt0A_SH_400x400

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