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Archive for the ‘Meat’ Category

When it is getting dark & cold, I have a habit of doing beef stews and things that needs to cook for a long time. There are so many versions of a beef stew. Of course there is the traditional French way of making it but why do we always judge food after the French way of cooking??? I grew up on it and I am sure people all over the world have their own versions. It doesn’t even have to be beef, could be lamb, pork or something else.

So, here is mine. I do slight variations of it but the basic theme is the same. And I don’t use any strict recipes. It is all about feelings and what you have at home.

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My Classic Beef stew.

1 1/2 – 2 lb’s of Beef. Cut up into 1″ cubes. (This is perfect for a cheaper cut of meat.)

I onion. Sliced.

1 carrot, cut in “coin size” pieces or 1/2 c. of baby carrots.

1/2 bottle of good red wine.

Beef broth.

1 Bouquet garni (rosemary, bay leaf, thyme, parsley. Note- you can add other herbs such as basil, anything goes. All herbs should be tied up in a piece of cheese cloth.) If you rather use any herb or spice of your choice that is also fine. I like to see the boiled down spices in my food so it is not needed to have the herbs tied up and taken out from the stew at the end. 

1/2 hot pepper (optional).

Salt & pepper to taste.

Directions;

I like to cook my beef stew in a dutch oven ( large cast iron pot). 

Take the meat and brown it on a semi high heat in a frying pan. Don’t put all in at one time since that would force the juices to come out from the meat and start boiling instead of browning. So, fry a little at a time. When the last part is done pour over the carrots and onions and add in all the fried meat. Let the vegetables fry down for a few minutes. Add the herbs and the pepper. Add the red wine and beef stock. Make sure it just about covers the meat and vegetables. 

Let all come to a boil and then take it down do a very low simmer (slow cooking). Let it boil for 2-3 hours. Perhaps even longer, depending on what cut of meat you have used and how big you cut the meat. I would say, that I usually plan on cooking it for about 3-4 hours. 

Check ever so often to make sure you don’t cook it so long, that the meat falls apart. 

If the liquid is too thin you can thicken it with either some arrow-root, potato flour whisked together with cold water or use any other thickener. Another way is to boil a finely sliced potato together with the stew. The starch in the potato will thicken the stew.

Serve the beef stew with some home-made mashed potatoes and some salad or lettuce. 

Enjoy!!

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I am an “Honorary S:t Lucian.”

My husband and his family are from S:t Lucia, (The Lesser Antilles-West Indies). They have given me the title “honorary S:t Lucian.” Even though my mother in law says I am more West Indian than my husband. He prefers Swedish meatballs while I rather have Jerked chicken and Curried goat.

Labor day is the day for the West Indian parade. A carnival parades down Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn. It usually attracts millions of people. It is really a vibrant & exciting event. All West Indians in New York come together. People have been making floats and costumes for months. There are “bands/floats” representing countries, companies and events. People follow the floats and dance around them. It is like a “mini Rio” . Well, a very small version but the colors are explosive and people are in a festive mode. Food vendors are lining the parade route. The smell of peppers and spices, BBQ’s and jerks fills the air.

There is a mini version of the parade taking place early (6am) in the morning. It is called “Jouvet”. The parade is the same, except, everybody is throwing colored talc and powders at each other. It is a really crazy tradition. Don’t go if you are protective of your clothes.

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Jerked Pulled Pork.

1 pork shoulder or pork but.

Jerked seasoning. Store bought or home-made.

(Jerked seasoning;

2-3 tbsp. minced/finely chopped onion.

2-3 tbsp. dry thyme.

2-3 tsp. ground all spice. (Typical Jamaican spice)

1-2 tsp. cayenne pepper.

1 tsp. ground cinnamon.

1 tbsp. minced fresh garlic.

1/2-1 tsp. salt.

1/2-1 finely chopped hot pepper (optional).

2-3 tbsp. corn oil or vegetable oil.)

1 orange, sliced.

1-2 tbsp. beef stock.

Rub the pork with the jerk seasoning. Use more if you like it spicy.

It is not typically West Indian, but I like to add slices of orange on top of the pork. Put into a dish tightly covered with foil. Put into a 200-250 degree F (100-125 C) oven. Let slowly cook for about 5-8 hours depending on how big the pork shoulder/but is. (You can tell when it is ready by the meat starting to fall off the bones. The bones starting to be exposed.)

Start to shred the pork. I add some of the “juice” to mix into the shredded meat. I also add a little beef stock and if needed more jerk seasoning.

Save the orange slices for decoration.

Traditionally one makes Jerked Chicken. I just think it is a little boring to always make the jerk of chicken. Since we eat lot’s of pork, I make either jerked pulled pork or jerked pork tenderloin. If I use the tenderloin, I let it marinate over night in the fridge (in a zip-lock plastic bag.)

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West Indian Beans, my way.

Dry beans. This time I used pinto beans. 1 small bag.

1 c. coconut milk.

6-8 sprigs of thyme.

1 tbsp. chopped oregano.

1/2 chopped onion.

4-5 sliced spring onions, finely sliced.

1/2-1 thinly sliced fresh hot pepper.

2-5 finely minced garlic cloves. (I love garlic so I actually use about 5-8 cloves.)

Water.

Directions;

Soak the beans in cold water over night.

Next day, start to fry the onions in a deep pot. Add all the ingredients but the beans & coconut milk. Let fry for a few minutes. Add the coconut milk. Let simmer for a minute. Add the beans. Pour over water so that it just covers the beans. Let simmer/slow cook for an hour or two until the beans are nice and soft. Be sure not to over-cook them. When the beans are done, they look very light in color, not dark as regular baked beans.

Serve with rice.

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Fried plantains.

Make sure to use a very black old-looking plantain. (I used to throw out all the “rotten bananas” my husband, then boy friend, used to keep under the sink. Couldn’t understand why he always had these black rotten bananas in the house. Now I know better.)

Slice on an angle approximately 3/8″ thick. Fry in a skillet in corn or vegetable oil. Make sure the heat is low so that they don’t burn. Fry on both sides. Let rest on a paper towel before serving.

Enjoy.

A tip for plantains. As a snack, fry them as above. Sprinkle with a little ground cinnamon. I can eat a couple ” too many” of this… Yum.

I am really fortunate to be able to learn to cook more Caribbean food from my mother in law. She makes a “mean” Oxtail. People would do anything to get their hands on some of it.

Sorry, It is her secret recipe that she want’s to keep a secret… I can only say it is really fantastic and the key (besides her secret ingredients ) is to boil the Oxtail many times and throw out the old water. “Keep it clean” she says.

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In my opinion, to cook meat in the oven for a long time on a low heat, gives the absolute best flavor.

To eat meat that is so tender it falls off the fork is just the best.

I either do a dry rub or marinate the meat in liquids over night in the fridge. Either way is great.

I remember the pot roasts my mother used to make for sunday dinner. The meat had cooked for many hours. My mom would use a little cheaper cut of meat but cook it to perfection so that it ended up tasting like a million bucks. After all, we were a family of six. One had to make the best with what one had or could afford.

And if there really was a festive dinner she would make Hasselback potatoes. I remember us kids trying to get more potatoes than what was offered to us. I can still smell them coming out of the oven…. The crust that built up on the bottom of the potatoes….mmmmm…

These potatoes are named after the old restaurant Hasselbacken, at Djurgården, Stockholm (Sweden), where they were first made in 1955.

This old restaurant is a landmark in Stockholm. It opened around 1760 as a little small place where they served beer and waffles. Later on it became this fancy restaurant and eventually a hotel was added on to it.

It is still a great place to go to for dinner.

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Hasselbacken at Djurgården, Stockholm. The picture is from 1945.

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Hasselbacken as it looks today.
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Brisket with a dry rub.

2 tbsp. dried herbs. (Any kind. I use dried herbs from my garden. Usually a mix of basil, oregano, thyme.)

2 tbsp. finely ground coffee.

1 tbsp. finely ground black pepper.

1 tbsp. crushed coriander seeds.

1 tbsp. Garam Masala.

1 tbsp. onion powder.

1 tbsp. garlic powder.

1-2 tbsp. ground cinnamon.

1 tbsp. paprika powder.

1 tsp. ground cumin (optional).

1-2 tsp. dried chili flakes or dried hot peppers. 

1-2 tbsp. good salt. (I use very little salt. Not the full amount but just enough so that the rub starts to work.)

1 tbsp. ground cardamom (optional).

If you have, add some finely ground dried lemon or lime zest into the rub.

If there is a favorite dry herb or spice that yo would like to add, do so. This is after all just a guide for you. It is very flexible in the combination of spices.

2-3 potatoes per person (Note that people will scream for more, so you might want to make some extra).

Salt & Pepper.

Butter.

Bread crumbs.

Directions;

The Brisket.

Make sure all ingredients are well ground. Mix them all together. Make sure the brisket is dry. Rub it with the spice mix. Make sure it is well coated all around. Let it “marinate” for a good couple of hours if possible. Or, even over night in the fridge. If you don’t have time for that, it is ok to add the dry rub when you are about to put it into the oven.

Place the meat in an oven safe dish. I usually put it with the fat part up so that it can “drip down”/melt over the meat. Cover “tightly” with foil. Cook in the oven on a very slow heat, 150-200 degrees fahrenheit for about 4-5 hours (It all depends on the size of meat but the longer the better). If you have access to a smoker, you could smoke it for part of this time. That would be fantastic.

When done, let it rest for a few minutes so that it is easier to cut slices and so that the juices “go back” into the meat. 

I usually save the drippings and boil it down on top of the stove with either a little cream, creme fresh or sour creme. It is delicious.

For the Hasslebacks potatoes. 

Rinse the potatoes. Put a potato onto a wooden spoon. Cut thin slices but not all the way down. The potato needs to stay together. Put it onto a cooking sheet. Add salt and pepper. Dab a little butter on top of each potato. if you would like that extra crunch, sprinkle a little bread crumbs over them. I don’t do that, but it is part of the original recipe.

Bake in the oven until soft inside.

Serve it with a fresh salad or crispy vegetables. You need something light to balance the heavier meat and potatoes.

Enjoy your Brisket and Hasselbacks potatoes. It is really a fantastic dinner choice for those of us who loves slowly cooked meat.

Enjoy!!!

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I don’t know why, but Udon noodles are my favorite noodles.

It is to the point where I need to come up with something new to eat for lunch at work. It can get a little boring to eat the same thing (almost) all the time. Does it count as a different thing if I get it from a new place??? Ok, I know. Same thing. I was just joking…

At times, I make Udon noodles at home. It tastes much better and I can add anything I want. Here is a Beef Udon noodle I make quite often. It is light and yummy. And knowing my husband & I, it always ends up a little spicy in our version, but it is up to you, what level of heat you like and can stand.

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Beef with Udon noodles.

Serves 2.

2 packages of Udon noodles, fresh not dried. (If you use dried, follow instructions on the package.)

About 1/2 lb Beef, any kind but preferably a good cut meat. (If you would like more beef just add more…)

Miso paste. Any kind. About 3-5 tbsp.

2 tbsp. Soy sauce.

2 tbsp. Mirin.

Juice of 1/2 lime.

2 – 3  cups of water. (Depending on how “soup like” you would like it to be.)

1/2 hot pepper, any kind. For decoration.

2 tsp. lightly toasted sesame seeds.

About a handful per person of any kind of vegetables you like or have in the fridge, cut small. For example chives, spring onions, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, sprouts…

2 tbsp, finely Julienne (leaves rolled up and cut thinly, creating long strips) fresh basil.

1/2 stock cube. (I use chicken stock.)

1 tbsp finely cut fresh coriander.

A pinch of lime zest.

A splash of hot sauce (optional).

You can add any other kind of herb or spice you like.

Directions;

Cut the beef into strips. Marinate in the Mirin, Soy sauce and lime juice for at least 30 minutes to a couple of hours. If you don’t have Mirin you can use rice wine or cooking sake. When done, pad the meat dry on some paper towels. Fry in a skillet on high heat until done. It will just take a minute or two.

In a pan, boil the water with the miso paste & the stock cube. Add as much Miso as you like. I usually get the lighter Miso paste and use about 3-4 tbsp. (optional. Add the splash of hot sauce.)  Add the udon noodles. Let them just get warm.

Add all the finely cut veggies into the bowls. Add the udon noodles on top. Pour in the Miso liquid. Arrange the beef on top of the noodles. Sprinkle the coriander, basil, lime zest and sesame seeds on top. Finish off with the finely cut peppers.

This of course is just a guideline of what you can do. It works just as well with chicken, shrimp, pork or why not just the noodles with vegetables. You can also add small cubes of tofu to the noodles.

I hope you will enjoy it.

 

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I love eating the kind of kebab they make in Morocco. The way they mix their meats with herbs is really good. I have adapted that into my cooking.

The great thing is, you don’t really have to have a recipe. Just make it out of what you have on hand for the moment.

My family comes from Öland, an island in the south-eastern parts of Sweden. It is an island with very old traditions and treasures. Art is a big focus there.  Öland is my favorite place to spend my time. I am very proud to say that I am part “Ölanning” (“Ölander”).  Growing up, I always heard that one should  “save the Öland’s sheep by eating lamb ever so often. I still try to add lamb to my repertoire whenever I can.

This kebab is a perfect time to sneak in some lamb. You can make it with all ground beef, but I make it part lamb part beef.

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Kebab with cardamom rice.

1 part ground beef.

1 part ground lamb. (You can make it all beef or all lamb or even use any other kind of meat.)

1/2 cup finely chopped herbs. (I usually take parsley, mint, thyme and basil. Equal amounts of each. If you use lamb, you could add a little rosemary.)

1/2 fresh pepper (Or any kind of dried pepper.)

10-12 cardamom pods.

1 stock cube.

salt/ pepper.

Salad for presentation.

Mango chutney or salsa to serve on the side.

Hot sauce on the side.

Directions:

Mix the meat with all the chopped herbs. Add salt & pepper to taste. You could also add  couple of tablespoons mango chutney. It makes the kebabs a little bit more juicy.

Shape the meat mixture into kebabs.  Either fry them as they are on the stove or stick a skewer into the center and fry them like that. Note that you must soak the skewers first so that they do not burn. Make sure to brown on all sides.

While working on the kebab, boil the rice. Use 1 part rice 2 parts water. Add the stock cube and the cardamom pods to the water. Get to a boil. Add the well rinsed rice.

Place the rice in the center of a plate. Add a little salad on top and then finish off with the kebabs.

Serve with the mango chutney and some hot sauce.

Enjoy.

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Here are some pictures of Öland.

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The barn at my father’s farm. It used to belong to my grandfather.

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Gettlinge gravfält- Gettlinge Burial mounds.

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Seby Runestone.

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Ottenby.

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Störlinge windmills. The one in the foreground is my dad’s.

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The main street in Vickleby, my moms village.

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After a food filled holiday I always feel a need to make simple and easy food.

When my sister turned 40 she had an open house with an Italian buffet’ with lot’s of antipasti (cold cuts, olives and things). My mom was cooking, cutting and plating up a storm. This is not my favorite food at all. In the Italian kitchen, I prefer the pastas not the antipasti. The funny thing from that birthday buffet’, is that my mom made this one marinated pork tenderloin that stayed in my memory for a very long time . It was served cold and disappeared like butter in sunshine…  It took a long time until I finally tried to copy it from my taste memory. After trying it a couple of times it finally tasted as if my mom had made it. I hope you will like this way of marinating meat and that you will try to do this with chicken or something else as well.

I now have my own version of this dish. Pork tenderloin is my “go to” food. I always keep a few in my freezer. But in all honesty it really is so that I always can make my sister’s birthday marinated Pork Tenderloin. I make 2 loins at a time and just let it keep marinating in the fridge, it just gets better and better. Yes, it has happened that I have taken an extra trip to the fridge to grab a slice or two just because…

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Citrus & Soy marinated Pork Tenderloin.

1-2 pork tenderloin.

1/2 lemon.

1/2 lime.

1/2 orange (optional).

1/4 cup soy sauce, low sodium preferably.

1-3 tbsp. Mirin. (Sweet. Tastes as rice wine).

1 tsp. hot sauce (optional).

1-3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar. (optional).

The zest from the 1/2 lime & lemon.

1/4 cup cilantro (chopped into large pieces).

Directions:

Sear the meat in a frying pan. Make sure you brown it all around. Put the frying pan into a 400 degree oven so that the meat can get evenly cooked.  I prefer it to me medium well. It will have a light firm feeling if you poke it with a finger. (It will take about 35-40 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 160°).

Take out the meat. Let cool.

Zest the lemon, orange & lime. Put all ingredients into a zip-lock bag. When the pork tenderloin has cooled down, add it to the zip-lock. Note, put the meat in whole, not cut.

Put into the fridge. It must marinate at least over night.

Cut the meat in very thin slices. Make sure that you have brushed off any cilantro pieces.You can serve this pork with anything.

I like to use a mix of red & white quinoa, rice or couscous. Adding it to a salad works well too. Since I prefer to eat it cold, I usually just cut up cucumbers and add some zest and a little of the marinade.

I hope you will enjoy this as much as I do.

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I have always felt that Easter is the “kick-off” for summer.

This is the time when we, if we are lucky, could sit outside on the deck, having breakfast in the nice and warm spring sun. Not this year though. Even though we had a very mild winter it isn’t warm enough. I was hoping for some garden furniture to come out from the shed but I guess I will have to wait a little longer. It’s actually good, since I am about to re-arrange my whole back yard. I am building new and better flower beds, a little higher than before.  It is a huge project but I can’t wait.

This is also the time when I pick the first flowers to decorate the house with. So far, I have tulips, pearl hyacinths, daffodils, violets and some  apple blossom branches placed in champagne glasses.

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I always try to take good Friday off, it gives me that extra day to work outside and prepare for summer. It is very soothing to just do physical work and “lift things up and put them down..” as they say in a popular commercial here.

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A tradition for me, is to eat poached salmon on good Friday. It is good, healthy and fresh. As one of the side dishes, my mom used to make these little “poison mushrooms” made of eggs, tomatoes and spinach. As a sauce to the fish, we would always have a sour cream. mayo, dill & frozen vegetables mixture. It is just soo delicious (a great summer dish too.) On saturday, we would eat anything but on Easter sunday, we would have lamb.

I don’t like my meat to be pink so I cook my lamb long and slow to make it super tender and infused with flavours. I marinate the lamb in the fridge for a few hours or over night. For anyone who thinks they don’t like lamb this is really a great way of cooking it. I use a steak/ roast, but you could always use any other part of the lamb. Serve with a mint sauce or a delicious rosemary garlic sauce.

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Poached Salmon.

Fresh Salmon. Preferable wild caught. Either one whole salmon or a piece of salmon. As much as you would need for the amount of people you are serving. (Just remember that you can do so many things of the left overs, so don’t be scared of poaching too much.)

Water to almost just cover the fish in the pot.

Black pepper corns, about 10-12.

2 lemons.

1/2 onion.

1 carrot. Cut into medium size pieces.

1/2 orange.

2 bay leaves.

Directions;

It would be great if you have a fish pot but if you don’t, use a large pot. You can also use a cast iron pot /dutch oven.  If you are using portion pieces of salmon, you could just use a frying pan to poach them in. Add the pepper corns, carrot pieces, cut up onion & the bay leaves. Let cook for about 10 minutes to create a broth. Add the fish & the dill. Make sure the water covers about half the fish. Squeeze one lemon and the 1/2 orange into the pot. Let the peel boil with the fish. Some people likes to add some vinegar. I don’t, it makes the meat a little lighter, I use the lemon for that. 

Let come to a boil, then let simmer for about 30 minutes depending on the size of the fish. If you are using portion pieces of fish it will ready much faster. Keep checking it. You know that it is done, when it is starting to loosen from the bones.

Let the fish cool down in the broth. Lift up and plate. You can easily take off the skin if it is cool. If you are experiencing any problems, use a little piece of paper towel as a help.

Cut the last lemon into very fine slices. Add them onto the top of the fish. It is supposed to look like fish scales. Some people use finely cut cucumber slices to decorate the salmon with.

You can serve it hot or cold. Boiled potatoes are great to this poached salmon. As a sauce, I prefer a cold sauce made of sour cream, mayo, dill & some frozen vegetables. Pepper to taste. I of course use hot sauce in mine.

Poison mushrooms.

Hardboiled eggs.

Spinach.

Tomatoes, too big.

Boil down the spinach. I just put them in a pan and let them “melt” with a dash of nutmeg, salt and pepper. You could also use frozen defrosted spinach.

Hard boil the eggs and let cool. Cut the tomatoes. Use 1/3 of the upper part. Cut the very ends of the egg on top and bottom. Stand the egg up with the more narrow part facing up. Add the “hat” meaning the tomato. Cut up the egg white you just cut off the egg. Decorate the “hat” with a few pieces. Stand them around the salmon with the spinach being the “ground”.

Enjoy.

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Lamb roast.

I roast of Lamb.

10 cloves of garlic.

1 sprig of rosemary.

3 tbsp. of olive oil.

1-2 tbsp. of hot sauce (optional.)

Mint, fresh or dried. About 3 tbsp.

Herbs, Dried or fresh. About 1/4 cup.

A pinch of salt & pepper.

Directions.

Add all herbs and the garlic to a food processor. Mix well. Add the olive oil. It will become a pale version of pesto.

Add the mixture to the roast. Massage it into the meat. Make sure it covers any place you can reach. If possible, let marinate in the fridge over night, if not just for a few hours. Turn on the oven on 250 degrees. Put the roast into an oven safe dish. Cover with foil. Let cook for about 3 hours depending on how big it is. You need to look at it after a few hours. It will shrink a bit. When done, just take of the foil and raise the temperature to 450 and make a little colored crust on the roast.

Let it rest for about 5-10 minutes before starting to cut into it.

I prefer to cut very thin slices of the lamb. Serve with any kind of potato side or perhaps just vegetables.

Enjoy!

Happy easter!

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