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Posts Tagged ‘dill’

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I wanted to fix up a cute & healthy little breakfast for us this morning.

The weekends we take our time to start our days.

My mother-in-law makes the best fish cakes. I saved some from the holidays for this weekend to surprise my husband. He loves them.

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Mini Quiche. 4 servings. 2 per person.

5-7 eggs (depending on the size of the eggs and how big you want to make your little mini quiches).

1 (+ -1/4) cup milk (use more if you are making them a little bigger).

4 slices of sandwich meat. Cut into small pieces (I used smoked turkey breast. Depending on how large the slices are, add or take off as you desire).

5-7 mini/cherry tomatoes or 1-2 regular tomatoes. Cut into small pieces. I cut up the tomatoes and let them rest on a folded paper-towel. (This way they are not as wet for the quiche).

1-3 tbsp. fresh herbs, finely cut.

4-5 slices of a sharp (or regular) cheese. I love sharp cheddar.

Pinch of salt & pepper (if desired, add any other seasoning of your choice).

Muffin-pan or small oven safe cups.

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Whisk the eggs, milk, herbs, salt & pepper together until well blended. Add additional seasoning as desired. I tend to always add hot-sauce, ground coriander and/or ground chipotle pepper. Smoked paprika would also be delicious.

Grease (spray) the muffin-pan. Turn on the oven to 175-200C/350-400F (depending on how your oven works. Mine is a little low and slow so I cook on the higher temperature).

Fill each of the holes with the egg mixture. Make sure they are only filled 1/2 – 2/3 to the edge. Add the meat, tomatoes and finally top with pieces of the cheese slices.

Bake in the oven until the cheese is nicely melted and has turned into a golden brown color.

Serve 2 per person. Make a little bed of salad decorated with either herbs, fruits or vegetables.

I served mine with the reheated leftover fish cakes my mother-in-law made for the holidays.

If you want to make them vegetarian (a vegetarian who eats eggs), skip the meat inside.

Usually I serve them with some oven baked bacon or prosciutto.

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Enjoy!!!

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Happy continued holidays or “God fortsättning” as we would say.

Breakfast after the celebrations all through the holidays, consists of the best sandwiches.

Breakfast after the celebrations all through the holidays, consists of the best sandwiches.

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Christmas is celebrated for many days in Sweden. People take as many days of vacation as they can. We usually call all the days in between the holidays “squeeze days”. These are mostly given off to the staff as bonus days but at some workplaces they have to use vacation-days. Some years one can really get lucky and have 2- 2 1/2 weeks off. Other times it can be only a week. This year, many of my friends and family has been able to take a whole lot of extra days. How lucky. Here in the US we are only off on Christmas day. The rest has to come out of that oh so important vacation day pot. So since I just had a late year vacation, I am not having any days off in between.

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I always change the Christmas table up from year to year. The decorations are important but can really be anything & everything.

I always change the Christmas table up from year to year. The decorations are important but can really be anything & everything.

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Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday of the year. The food, the lights, the family & friends. It all comes together in a blend of “wonderfulness”.
We decorate the house with all the old Swedish little “tomtar” (gnomes), fruits, candles, straw ornaments, flowers and much more.

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The highlight of course, is the food. The Christmas buffet is a very typical and non-changing event. In my family, we keep having the Christmas ham, salmon mousse, warm smoked salmon or any other smoked fish, cold smoked salmon, Jansson temptation (potato & anchovy gratin), meatballs, cocktail sausages and much more on the table. No Christmas is complete without these dishes.

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Warmsmoked salmon or in this case, Whiting and cold smoked salmon.

Warm-smoked salmon or in this case, Whiting and cold smoked salmon.

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We celebrate Christmas eve. The following days of Christmas we make all sorts of leftover dishes. For breakfast, you could almost guarantee that people would eat meatball and beet salad, ham & cheese- & other versions of Christmas sandwiches. They are the best sandwiches ever.

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Sides & Red beat salad, olives, pickled cucumbers, sour cream, sweet-mustard sauce, lingonberries, mustard and much more.

Sides. Beet salad, olives, pickled cucumbers, sour cream, sweet-mustard sauce, lingonberries, mustard and much more.

God Jul!! Or Merry Christmas!!

God Jul!! Or Merry Christmas!!

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I keep telling my husband when he says that Christmas is only one day, that Christmas lasts until the beginning of January. So, keep on celebrating and keep eating versions of that fantastic Christmas buffet!

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There is a great fish tradition in Scandinavia. We eat fish for breakfast, lunch and dinner. One very famous dish is the “Gravlax”. You can find it in every corner of the world. Here in the States they call it “Lox”.

We make it for almost every big holiday all through the year. Originally for the Swedish Christmas table they served more fish, sausages, something we call “Pot dipping” (This is bread dipped in the left over liquid after boiling ham, sausages and other meat products. The broth is very tasty). It still can be found at a Christmas buffet but it’s not too popular with the younger generations that grew up with meatballs, ribs and oven baked hams.

To make “Gravad Lax” you would usually or by tradition use salt, sugar and dill. It was in the old days a way of preserving the food. That is how all our pickled herrings also came about. We eat a lot of pickled herring. There are so many variations of it. For the marinating of the salmon, my favorite is to also add a little good cognac. It gives the salmon a little deeper taste. It is not needed at all, but I love it.

There is a “new” kind of salmon that we enjoy. It is called “Najad smoked salmon”. I first found it at the fisherman at my country house in Grisslehamn/ Väddö,north of Stockholm, Sweden. “Najad smoked salmon” is a salmon that has both been marinated and cold smoked. It is has the deeper taste from the smoking and the more tangy flavor from the marinating. Absolutely to be recommended.

I would go to the fisherman as often as I could. I would order things ahead if I really “needed” (read “was craving..”) something in particular.

This is my regular “Gravlax” recipe. Just skip the alcohol if you rather do it the ordinary way.

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Caution; You have to freeze the salmon for at least 3 days but preferably 1 week before marinating it. This just so that you kill off any potential bacteria in the fish. (note that if you marinate or pickle with vinegar, the vinegar kills any bacteria and you don’t need to freeze the fish. If you only use salt and sugar it must be frozen.)

Gravad Lax/ Lox/ Marinated Salmon;

About 2 lb fresh salmon, preferably the middle piece (If possible, use 2 pieces of fish since it is easier to marinate it “flesh sides together”.

1/2 c. granulated sugar or brown sugar.

1/4 c. salt.

1/4-1/2 c. coarsely chopped salmon.

1 tbsp. crushed pepper.

2-4 tbsp. good cognac or any other of your favorite alcohol (optional).

Directions;

Take the fish and remove any bones that you can find, with a small knife.

Package it and put it in the freezer for about 3 days to kill off any potential bacteria.

After at least 3 days in the freezer, let defrost in the fridge over night. Mix salt, sugar and pepper together. Rub the fish well with the mixture. Cut up the dill in a little larger pieces (you need to be able to remove the dill later and it is easier if the pieces are slightly bigger). Add the dill on top of the salmon pieces. Pour over a little cognac on both sides (do this with a plate or bowl underneath to catch the cognac so that you can pour all of it into the plastic bag or over it in a bowl). Put the salmon pieces flesh sides together with the dill in the center. Let sit in the fridge for about 3 days. Turn one or two times per day. When done, scrape off all the dill and pepper. Save a little of the marinade.

Put "flesh sides" together with the dill and sugar/salt rub on the inside.

Put “flesh sides” together with the dill and sugar/salt rub on the inside.

Cut up nice and thin slices on an angle. The first few slices might not be too cute, but they can always go to the chef…

Brush the pieces very slightly with the marinade when cut. You can also brush them with any other liquid of your choice. For example a splash of new fresh cognac or a great liquor. Throw away the rest of the marinade.

Enjoy!!!!

 

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I just love my garden!!!

I am at the end of all my “farming” for this year. I have a small garden but it is well planned and we get lot’s of fruits, vegetables and herbs from it all through the summer.

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A great harvest.

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I have a lot of herbs. Basil is of course one of the staples.

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Herbs cut for drying. I make my own “Herb the Brooklyn” mixture.

It includes dried basil (Genovese, lemon/lime, Greek,cinnamon basil), Thyme, Lavender, Oregano, Mint, Rosemary, Sage (purple, golden & regular Sage), Chives, Mexican coriander (recao is another name for it) & Marjoram. This mixture is my every day spice. I use it for everything. You can call it one of my secret weapons.

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Lavender.

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I also make a more “Swedish” mixture of dried Dill, Parsley & Chives. This herbal mixture is great for any seafood but you can also use it for many other things.

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A great tip for herbs is to cut them fine and pack them into glass jars. All through the winter, you will now have “fresh” herbs. Just take the jar out and scrape with a fork directly into the food you are cooking. Or perhaps you are making a cold sauce that needs some herbs. Just add some from the frozen jars. I always have Dill, Parsley, Cilantro & basil in jars all over my freezers (yes I have 2 freezers. One in the kitchen for an everyday” use and one in the basement for all my bulk purchases and harvesting.

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All sorts of cherry tomatoes. I keep them on my deck so that there is an “easy access”. I don’t have to go into the garden itself to snack on some sun ripe cherry tomatoes.

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We love to always have a variety of tomatoes. They are just so delicious to use as they are or to cook with.

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I am always looking forward to my home-made tomato sauce. It is a mixture of all my different kinds of tomatoes and a whole bunch of herbs like Basil, Oregano & Thyme.

I cut it all into small pieces and then boil it down to a good consistency. I also add a few very finely cut fresh hot peppers. To keep the sauce for the winter I pour it into extremely clean glass jars. I always boil the lids separately to make sure there is no bacteria hanging out. Then, I put the jars in a water bath in a large pot (the water should only reach up to the lid). Let them come to a boil and then simmer for about 25-35 minutes. It depends on how long I boiled the sauce itself. When done, take the jars up and but on a dry towel to cool down. When you hear a little “pop” from the pressure of the lid, the canning of the tomato sauce is done. Keep in a cool and dark place. You might want to check the jars ever so often to make sure the sauce is still good.

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Physalis. Just be careful with it.  It is one of those plants that ones you plant it you will always have them in your garden. They replenish themselves greatly.

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Asters. My mothers favorite flower. I always plant them for her, even though she is in Sweden.  I always have Asters & Bleeding hearts my mothers favorites, Lobelia my fathers favorite & Ranunculus my sisters favorite.

Happy fall to all of you.

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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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It’s finally warm enough to eat breakfast in the garden on the weekends!! (At least some days..)

This is what I have been waiting for all winter long.  Our backyard is quite small, but we still built a deck over half of it. Well, we didn’t build it ourselves, our friend Mark did. It is absolutely fantastic. In the summertime, it is our second living room. It is just great to have a huge deck with plenty of room for a really big table and still have space left.

During the week we eat oatmeal with lot’s of different kind of berries in the mornings but on saturday and sunday we eat like kings and queens… The sandwiches are always “open face” as the Scandinavian tradition dictates.

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Open sandwiches.  A typical weekend breakfast in the garden.

Use any bread of your choice. I try to make the bread healthy and hearty. 

Use mayo or mustard as the “glue” to keep things from sliding off the bread.

Just know that these are only guidelines. Your imagination should create the sandwiches. Nothing is wrong. I would say that the rule is to not pile thick layers of one thing but to balance everything well. Every bite should have a little piece of everything.

Egg sandwich;

Hardboiled eggs thinly sliced. Mayo as a “glue” as my mom says. Lettuce, some caviar or pepper & paprika. A sprig of dill.

Liver pate’ sandwich;

Liver pate’. Any kind. Spreadable or sliced. Top with finely slices dill pickles or fresh cucumber. 

Cheese and strawberry sandwich;

A sharper cheese like a good cheddar or so. A few lettuce leaves. Nice and sweet strawberries, finely sliced. (If you don’t want to use strawberries, cut up some peppers or cucumbers instead.)

Ham & Cheese sandwich;

A great kind of ham preferably not a pressed ham. I buy mine at the farmers market in New York from a company called “Happy Pig’s farm”. The ham is one of the best ever. The smoke is real not liquid (as in “liquid smoke”).  I sometimes use smoked pork tenderloin too. Add your favorite cheese. A sharp little nutty kind like Gruyère or Jarlsberg would be good. Top with thin slices of red pepper and a little sprig of parsley.

Smoked salmon sandwich;

Smoked salmon (cold smoked), lettuce or arugula, sweet mustard sauce or just plain mustard. Some people likes to use some kind of horse radish sauce or dressing on the salmon. Sliced fresh cucumbers topped with a sprig of dill.

So, these are some of my favorite breakfast choices of open face sandwiches. There are endless options…. Oh, another favorite of mine is cold sliced meatballs sitting on a bed of beet salad. Yum…

I hope you will start doing these “mackor” as we call them.

Enjoy!

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