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How can I best say “I love you”??

Well in my husbands case, It works very well with just giving him his favorite food.

He is such an easy guy to please. Everybody who knows him knows that lobster does it all the time. But if I want to “umph it up” just a little bit more, I just add some more shellfish or seafood.

And in true style, I made a large (…or rather grand) seafood platter for two.

One doesn’t always have to cook. “Gathering” works just as well. It is just a matter of presentation. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Just decorate it a little more than usual. After all, it is all about the thought.

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To make the purple sweet-potato hearts, I used a cookie cutter. I steamed them lightly.

 

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For breakfast we had “the same old same old”. Sandwiches, fresh blueberries and some tea.

I just added some rose-petal hearts and a truffle (raspberry chocolate truffle) to make it a little bit more “festive”.

 

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For the first day of our 2-day celebration, I served little “roses” made of smoked salmon topped with salmon roe (caviar) & potato stacks.

The potato stacks are super easy to make.

Just finely slice some potatoes (I love Idaho). Put them in a bowl. Melt some butter and pour over. Add salt, pepper (or any other spice you like) to taste. Stack them into the “holes” of a muffin pan. Bake in the oven until they are tender (use a toothpick to make sure they are cooked all the way through).

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I hope you are having a very nice Valentines day, and for my dear husband,

Happy Valentines & Happy Wedding anniversary!

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Happy Valentines day!!!

 

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The first day of the new year always makes you want to do good and eat well (as in healthy). I can only guess how many new years resolutions has been set with a healthy living and eating in mind.

We tried to start it somewhat good already on new years eve. We had planned on doing a traditional seafood fondue but we changed our minds at the very last minute. The food itself was the same, it was just the preparation that was altered. We decided to do a BBQ!

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It is freezing cold in New York right now. We are breaking temperature records. It has not been this cold in over 100 years. We are down to -12-13C/8F. A perfect weather for a BBQ!

 

Our new years meal always consists of some kind of shellfish. Most likely lobster. After all, I am married to a man who has black belt in eating lobsters. I didn’t feel like messing down the kitchen too much with steaming lobsters and cooking shrimp, so we took the somewhat radical decision to face the cold and throw the food on the BBQ instead. After being equipped with a flashlight, BBQ tools and the food, we headed out. It took a while to even get the grill started. It was almost calling out to us saying “I am hibernating, stop bothering me!”  But after being a little persistent, we got the whole thing going. Fantastic! I can say with a 100% certainty that we were the only ones BBQ’ing this new years eve.

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Our dessert  was a simple mixture of a Swiss Meringue and a Banana Split. The year is after all meant to go out with a bang!

To make it extra delicious I baked some brownies and topped them with walnuts.

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Swiss Meringue / Banana Split bowl.

Please note that you just need a few or a handful of each ingredient per person. After all, it is supposed to fit in the glass or bowl you choose.

Small meringues

Your favorite ice cream

Whipped heavy cream

Berries

Chocolate/Fudge sauce

I also used brownie bits

A few mint leaves.

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Just layer it all in a wide glass or bowl. Top with the chocolate/fudge sauce. Final touch is a little bit of fresh mint leaves.

Enjoy!

 

Happy New Year!!!!

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This years Easter celebration was a smaller version of anything I usually would do.

We were taking it very easy and slow. It is actually not bad at all to just roll up to the table without any fuss.

The good thing with being “my mothers child” is that I had everything in my fridge, freezer and cabinets and didn’t really have to go to the store.

 

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The table is set ready to go. We are doing a cold-smoked salmon, salmon baked in the oven with just some pesto on top, colored eggs with white caviar, pickled herring, scalloped potatoes, salad and veggies.

 

 

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Delicious!

 

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And to finish it off, I improvised an orange cake. A simple cake served with heavy whipped cream and fresh berries.  There is not much that can top that.

Simple Orange cake

1 cup sugar

2 cups of flour

1 tsp baking powder

2 small eggs ( or one large egg)

1 organic orange (or 1 well scrubbed regular orange)

1 tbs good oil

3 tbs heavy cream

 

Cut the orange into wedges. Take off any seeds and add the orange pieces into a food processor. Grind/pulse the orange pieces into a smooth paste.

Add all the ingredients and mix until it becomes a smooth (relatively thick) batter.

Grease and flour a spring pan. Pour the batter into the pan.

Bake in a 325F (175C) degree oven until golden brown and until a cake tester (or toothpick) comes out clean without any sticky batter on it.

I love serving a simple cake like this with some whipped heavy cream and fresh berries.

 

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I love having fresh flowers in the house. And what screams Easter more than tulips?

Can’t wait for my tulips in the garden to bloom by the way.

 

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Thanks to my sister my house has a little bit more of an Easter feeling.

Enjoy your Easter and what little is left of the weekend.

 

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When I was a teenager in the 70′, one of the favorite dishes at the time was to make a sandwich cake.

It would be served at any party & for any occasion.  It really fits the Swedish “smörgåsbord” format. It sits well on a buffet table and can be done ahead of time.

My mother worked as a “kallskänka” (“cold-cut” chef) for one of the most fancy grocery-stores for a few years. I remember her making all the sandwich cakes and all other buffet and cold-cut dishes. It is a very Scandinavian way of eating. It took my husband a while to really get onboard with all the cold food that Swedes eat. All the cold-cut dishes creates the famous “smörgåsbord”.

The sandwich cakes can be varied in infinity. It really is all about what you can lay your hands on or what you have in the fridge.

The basic rules for the cake is good bread cut in big slices (you can if need be, also stack regular slices of bread. The important thing is to cut of all hard edges so that you never know that all bread has been pieced together).

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You can mix layers of different breads. I usually go to a good grocery store that has their own bread or bakery department. You can ask them to slice the bread for you. They will be very puzzled when you ask them to slice it lengthwise. Just remember to cut of all hard edges. I usually make croutons of the edges.

*The cake usually has two or three layers of filling. You can make it easy for yourself if you don’t have time, to buy already made salads as an egg-salad, ham-salad or anything else that your deli sells. I prefer to make my own fillings. It is all about what you feel like making. It is good to have a theme as in smoked salmon or fish, veggies or perhaps meats.

You make all fillings with either mayo, sour cream, whipped cream or creme fraiche. Or a mixture of any two of them.

For example. I used smoked salmon in one layer. I used equal parts mayo & whipped heavy cream. I finely cut the cold-smoked salmon and dill. You can add pepper or other spices after requirement. I happened to have white caviar in the fridge, so I dropped that in, but this was just because I happened to have it at home.

Another layer was a chicken salad with grapes and walnuts. You just take baked (or boiled chicken), mayo, ranch dressing seasoning, grapes cut in half, crushed up walnuts and some hot sauce (optional).

It all depends on how big you make your sandwich cake, but you should calculate that it takes about 1 cup of filling to one loaf layer of bread. But as I said, it all depends on what kind of bread you get. You need to plan it accordingly.

To my sandwich cake above, I used almost 3 loaves of bread.

2 layers of filling. One cold-smoked salmon & one chicken salad layer. It takes about 1 cup of filling per layer (give & take, depending on how loose the filling is).

You need about 1 cup of mayo & 1 cup of whipped heavy cream for the covering of the cake. It should be well mixed.

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Make a y kind of creamy salad or filling.

Mix all well. I t is smart to always have a little extra mayo/whipped cream on hand just in case you need to delude your filling or if you are running out of filling. A well spiced basic “white” sauce could also work.

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Make sure the filling reaches well out into edges all around 4 sides.

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Last layer is just as on a regular cake, the bread part.

Spread the mayo/whipped heavy cream as you would a regular icing or whipped cream layer on a cake.

Decorate with anything you want. I try to save something from what I use in the fillings.. Fruits and berries always works. Chopped herbs, cucumbers and even salad leaves could work on the edges as well as on top. Many times, we decorate with slices eggs and lemons.

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This was the sandwich cake we made for his latest birthday. It had shrimp and other seafood on and in it.

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A slice of sandwich cake looks pretty much like a regular slice of cake.

I really hope you try to make some sandwich cakes. Start small and work your way up to a large one if you feel a little scared of this. But I have to warn you, it really is delicious and can be addictive!

Yum!!!! Enjoy!!

 

 

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We are coming to the end of the Midsummer weekend. What a wonderful weekend we have had. Lot’s of food, rest, friends and family. That is just the way I like it.

Midsummer is the second most important holiday for us Swedes (christmas being the most important one). We just love to celebrate the longest days of the year.

It is very common for families or groups of friends to go out to someones house in the country. If you have a garden at home, that would be a given place for a midsummers party as well. We don’t care if it’s cold out. We just bundle up and drink another “snaps”.

It is very important to have a traditional dinner (or lunch). Most of the time, a long table is set up in the middle of the garden with white table cloths, wild flowers picked earlier that day and lot’s of food.

We would not cook many intricate dishes as much as we would assemble food on plates. This is really a true “smörgåsbord” opportunity. It is a day of fish (typically salmon), shrimp, all kinds of pickled herring and many more things.

I must have warm smoked and cold smoked salmon, caviar & herring on my midsummer buffet. It really isn’t midsummer without it.

Of course we would traditionally have our “snaps” as well, but this year we took it a little easy. The summer is still young though… There are more chances for some “snaps”.

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“Gubbröra” (Matjes herring mixture).

Makes about 1 1/2 cup.

3 hardboiled eggs.

3-4 oz. Matjes herring. (or anjovis if you can’t find mates herring).

1/3 of a nice tasting apple, finely cubed/chopped.

2 tbsp. chopped chives.

1 tbsp. chopped dill.

Pepper to taste.

Cut all into very fine pieces. Mix well.

Spoon onto bread or into egg halves. You could also fill a wrap with the mixture. Roll it up (very tight) and cut into 1 1/2″ pieces.

Enjoy, and Happy Midsummer.

 

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Warm smoked salmon or warm smoked Whiting would be a regular on the midsummer table. Little "crusader" (pastry cups) with herring mixtures or cold smoked salmon mixture.

Warm smoked salmon or warm smoked Whiting would be a regular on the midsummer table.
Little “crusader” (pastry cups) with herring mixtures or cold smoked salmon mixture.

Pickled Herring, Canadian sweet shrimp.

Pickled Herring, Canadian sweet shrimp.

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My husband sets the tone in the garden. The swedish flag goes up.

 

Happy midsummer!!!!

 

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I can’t believe that another year has passed. When I was younger, “they” all said that when you get to a certain age, life is just spinning faster and faster. “You better pay attention and live to the fullest!”

I guess it is because all of a sudden you see the “goal line”. I never reflected on this until a few years ago, when I realized that I had lived over half of my life. I actually started to feel a little stressed. Am I on the right path? I better shape up and just “go for it”. I am not worried about my age. That is something I can’t change. I am turning 52 next year.  I am embracing it, grateful for another year. It really is just a number. I know lot’s of young people, at least half my age as well as people who are a generation or so older that I am, who really don’t define their age groups. I think that when you just let go of the fear of getting older, you will feel younger.

Ringing in the new year is always a time of expectations. I am not making any New Years resolutions. I rather look at it as expectations and deadlines. I don’t want to set myself up for failure. It is much easier to just set up a bunch of partial deadlines that you would work with through the year.

As you might know, my husband loves his lobsters. The challenge this year is what to make for new years eve? I was thinking of making lobster rolls… Or perhaps some lobster ravioli?

I finally settled on The same old same old… That means a steamed lobster with all the trimmings.

But for an appetizer, I made a cold lobster roll salsa with a little mashed potato & parmesan “nest”.

To that I served a spiced snaps (vodka with a few slices of fresh ginger).

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Lobster Roll inspired salsa.

Serves 4.

1 cup of coarsely chopped boiled lobster meat (about 1 large lobster or 2 small).

1 chopped medium ripe fresh mango.

1 stalk of celery, preferable one of the more inner stalks, finely chopped.

1/2 orange, squeezed.

1/2 lemon, squeezed.

1 tbsp. chopped cilantro or mexican cilantro (recao).

1/2 -1 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger.

1/2 cup. steamed shelled edamame (optional).

1 tbsp. mayo.

1 tbsp. Mirin.

Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste.

1 cup of good white wine mixed with gelatin, for decoration.

Directions;

Prepare the white wine and gelatin. Let it stiffen up in the fridge.

Chop up the lobster meat in larger chunks. Mix all ingredients together. Set aside for about 10-15 minutes to “marinate”.

Divide the mixture into 4 small cups. Pack it all very well. Make sure not to spoon up the liquid, you can discard that.

Take the gelatin white wine and scrape it with a fork. This creates “crushed ice”.

Pour up the lobster mixture on a small plate. Decorate with some of the “crushed ice” gelatin around it.

You could serve it either just like that or add some greens or as I did, a little nest of baked potato mash, mixed with some grated parmesan & freshly grated ginger.

Enjoy!

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Christmas is my favorite time of the year.

I love the smells of the (real) Christmas tree, the “Glögg” (mulled wine), the candles burning, all the food and all other smells that lingers in the house all through early December until the first week of January.

Some people say to me that Christmas is just here for one day. What a crime to only celebrate it for just one simple day. I start with first of advent and go strong until end of the Swedish Christmas season which is at the beginning of January when we throw out the tree.

I start making my snaps early. The same with “Glögg”. We tend to drink a whole bunch of it during the month of December. It is so nice to just crawl up on the couch with a cup of steaming hot “Glögg” after getting home from work.

We always have little Christmas dinner parties all through the season. It is my way of stretching it out as much as possible. I make sure that totally through it all, I have made all the traditional food that the Swedes would serve at the Christmas table. I try to not totally kill it with a giant spread on Christmas Eve which is the day we have a mayor dinner. After all, how much can one person eat in one sitting. It is so much better to spread it out. This way one can really enjoy all the different dishes.

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I always change my Christmas tables around.

It is so much fun to decorate. I make sure that my guests gets feel right at home and that they love all the Christmas spirit at our house as well as the food that we serve.

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The most prominent dish on our Christmas table would of course be the ham. I always bake it in the oven. You could boil it as well, but I think  it becomes a little “pale” in the taste.

The Swedish Christmas ham is a ham that has been resting in a brine (salt solution) for some time. You can ask your butcher if you can get a ham in a brine.

When you prepare it, you first have to rinse the ham off in regular water.

Pad it dry with a paper towel. Place in an oven proof dish and cover with foil. Use a food thermometer and push the very tip into the middle and thickest part of the ham (through the foil).

Bake in a 350 F (175 C) degree oven. About 40 minutes per pound. Make sure to place the ham with the pork rind facing up. The ham is done when the inner temperature reaches 140F (70 C). Take it out just before it reaches 140F degrees since it will keep cooking. Let it rest and cool down.

Take off the pork rind. Cut off as much of the fat as you want. Mix one egg yolk, 2-3 tbsp. of your favorite mustard. You can add a little brown sugar or honey if you want to (about 1 tsp.) Brush it on to the very top of the ham. Sprinkle over about 1-2 tbsp of bread crumbs. You could also cut a diagonal pattern through the mustard mixture and place a clove in the meeting corners. It is not needed but it is pretty.

Bake in a 450 F (225C) degree oven for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Make sure it doesn’t burn though.

The first slice right out of the oven is the best you could ever imagine.

A lot of people actually buy a ham on sale after Christmas. They will cook it and have it as sandwich meat. I still do this. It is the best.

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The Swedish meatballs also has a place on the Christmas table. It is served with lingon berries. We eat cocktail sausages and ribs as well.

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There are lot’s of cabbage and kale dishes on the Scandinavian Christmas tables. One thing that I used to hate when I was a kid is Brussel sprouts but now I love them.

I start with steaming them half way through.

I finely cut up about 5 slices of bacon to 3 cups of Brussel sprouts.

Ultimately I use dry dried cranberries but I take what I have. This time I used some dried mango slices that I cut up finely.

You just fry off the bacon halfway. Add the berries/fruit and the Brussel sprouts. Fry until slightly browned.

Salt and pepper to taste. I add some hot sauce of course, but it is optional.

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Christmas would be the ultimate time to bring out all the traditional Swedish old things & crafty stuff.

I always have “branch candles” in the house. I used to make them with my mother when I was a child. I love to make candles.

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The lights in the house makes me happy…

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I try to not over decorate but I can’t help myself sometimes.

My mother-in-law said when she saw the bows in the kitchen ceiling lamp that they where exactly like the bows her mom used to put in her hair before going to school. Well, a bow is a bow I guess.

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This years tree…

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For the different dinners that we would host through the holidays, I try to keep it somewhat simple. The theme and decorations would be the same but I try to change it up a little.

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With all this said about Christmas dinners, It really doesn’t matter what you serve. The best and most important thing is being together with friends and family.

All my best to all of you.

Merry Christmas!!

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