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Posts Tagged ‘smoked salmon’

 

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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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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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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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Midsummer, the second most celebrated holiday in Sweden (With Christmas being number one.)

I have always loved midsummer. For me, it is “the Swedish of all Swedish.”

Growing up, I used to spend my summers at this little cabin in the woods that my family rented. A primitive little house without running water or electricity. It was great.

On the morning of midsummer’s eve, I would run out into the forest to pick a huge bouquet of wild flowers.

My dad would take my sister and I, down to where the maypole was kept. It was prepared with birch branches so it was just for us kids to add all our flowers.

This was such a fun tradition for me. Together with fiddlers and people dressed it traditional Swedish clothing, we marched down to the “dansbana”= outdoor stage & party place. I remember being so proud holding on to the maypole with one hand, walking next to my big sister.

My mom used to make clothes for us. For some reason she always made exactly the same outfits for both of us.  I loooved it but my sister hated it. Midsummer was a bonus day for me, this was one of the very few days my sister would tolerate us being dressed alike.  I remember our red skirts with white knee highs and white blouses. Smashing!!! I would wear that outfit any time I could. I even received my sisters hand-me-downs. Lucky, lucky…

When the maypole procession finally reached the “dansbana” = outdoors dance floor, the men positioned the maypole in the center.  All night, people would dance around it and have fun. There was even a band playing. We call it “dance band music”. Really horrible if you ask me.

The grounds would have lot’s of food stands. For us kids, there were little fish ponds and things.

I really remember this being the most fantastic times ever. Lot’s of junky little toys from the fish pond, mosquito bites and full belly. Those were the days…

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Midsummer plate.

For midsummer, we would eat a lot of salmon and herring. It is very typical to put together a buffet or sampler plates.

I usually serve pickled herring, smoked salmon, boiled newly harvested potatoes (first of the year), some kind of cheese pie, a salad….. Of course we have our eggs and caviar on the table too.

This year, my midsummer would be sampler plates with;

Smoked salmon rolls;

Smoked salmon with a mixture of cream cheese, cut fresh dill, pepper, caviar and chives. All rolled up and cut into “sushi size”.

Pickled herring with boiled potatoes;

Since we don’t have the small fresh potatoes here, I just took regular potatoes and shaped them into little potato balls that I boiled with a pinch of salt and some fresh dill.

I made it easy for myself and bought the pickled herring from the grocery store. It used the one that comes in a vinegar sauce. It tastes just like the regular one I usually make. It is all about making it easy for one self.

Sour cream and caviar.

Caviar (fish eggs) can be bought in most grocery stores. Any color works.

Hard bread with a very sharp cheese.

Gruyère would be good.

“Gubbrora”;

A kind of deviled egg.

Hardboiled eggs with filling made of cut up hard-boiled eggs, sour cream, finely chopped red onion, a little anchovy (if you don’t have that, use anchovy paste), chopped chives, salt and pepper to taste.

 

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My table size maypole. (Thanks to my sister I actually have two of them.)

 This is from one of our Midsummer picknick’s. Lot’s of herring, caviar and miniature snaps bottles! Oops!!! What can I say, We do love our “snaps”.

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“Midsummer;

The celebration of Midsummer dates back thousands of years, and the holiday’s pagan origins predate Christianity. As is the case with many modern holidays, the Catholic church co-opted Midsummer celebrations by associating the date of the solstice, called Midsummer’s Eve, with the birthday feast of John the Baptist. In 1953, the actual date of Midsummer Day was changed to be on the Saturday that falls between June 20 and 26. In Sweden and Finland, celebrants dance around a maypole, and celebratory bonfires are lit in Denmark, Norway and Finland. In all countries where Midsummer is celebrated, traditional food and drink are consumed.”

Happy Midsummer!!!!!

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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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Fried rice is one of the easiest things to cook. For me, it is a way of taking care of left overs. You can make it vegetarian or use any kind of protein. There are no limitations to what you can add. My version says “anything goes”.

Coming from a salmon loving country, I always have smoked salmon at hand. When I make rice, I make sure to cook enough for lunch boxes and for a possible fried rice dish. This is one way of making fried rice.

Smoked Salmon fried rice.

Serves 4.

2 cups of cooked rice ( 1/2 cup per person. I use basmati rice boiled with a little turmeric and a stock cube.)

Smoked salmon, about 8 slices (I love smoked salmon, so I add more)

1 onion, finely chopped.

3 tbsp of dried cranberries.

1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes, cut in half.

5-8 asparagus, cut in small pieces.

1-2 spring onions, cut into small pieces.

1 – 1 1/2 tbsp of capers, cut in half. (can be eliminated if you don’t like capers).

1/2 a bunch of fresh dill, finely chopped. You can also add cilantro or any other herb that you have in the fridge.

Pepper to taste. (no salt since the smoked salmon is salty enough).

Hot sauce (optional).

Mirin to taste (optional).

Soy sauce to taste (optional)

1 tbsp. olive oil for frying.

Directions:

Cut all vegetables into small pieces. Heat up a skillet. Add the vegetables. Cut the salmon into 1″ pieces or slightly smaller. Add half of it into the skillet. Make sure to stir well. If the vegetables are leftovers, just warm them up, if they are fresh, fry until soft. Add the cooked rice, cranberries, capers and spices. Mix it  well. Since the rice is already cooked it just needs to get hot. At the end, add the chopped dill and the rest of the smoked salmon. Stir a last time just to make sure all is well incorporated. You can add additional spices and herbs according to your taste buds. I like a little splash of mirin and soy sauce to this.

Plate and enjoy.

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Ok, I confess…..

If you ask me to recommend a good book, I probably would give you a cookbook. If I go on vacation, I would rather go to the food markets than seeing the sites. If you tell me about your day, I might ask you what you ate…

I know, I’m a FOODIE!!

I love food. I never really thought about it much as me being a foodie, but if you always talk about food and relate to life in general by adding on experiences with  food, I guess you just have to face it. You are a foodie. Nothing wrong with that.

But in my defense, this is how I grew up.

My mother worked with food her whole life. I was around pots and pans from an early age. My mother always cooked everything from scratch. She baked, she cooked, she pickled, she made preserves….. She did it all. How can you not be affected by that?

I actually didn’t realize that not everybody knew how to cook.

Not everybody buys a whole fish, cleans it , fillet it and then makes a little “something..something” with it.

Salmon mousse & Gravlax.

Salmon mousse. 

Ingredient:

1/2 lb. of smoked salmon for mousse

(1/2 lb. of smoked salmon for lining the bowls for the mousse. Can be eliminated.)

1/2 lb. fresh salmon

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 Lemon

3-6 black pepper corn

1 bay leaf

Dill for decoration

A couple of bowls or containers to use for pouring the mousse into.

Directions:

Add the fresh salmon to a pot of water. Add pepper corns, bay leaf and squeeze half the lemon into the water. Throw in the peal. Let the water just cover the salmon. Let it come to a boil. Let the salmon boil for about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat. Let the salmon cool in the water. While the salmon is cooling down, put the smoked salmon in a food processor. Grind it down. Make sure it becomes more of a thick paste. (Add a little heavy cream if it is too thick to grind.) When the boiled salmon has cooled down a little, add it to the smoked salmon in the food processor. Break off the meat. Make sure not to add any bones or spices. Just the boiled salmon flesh. Mix together. Pour in a couple of tea spoons of the heavy cream so that the salmon paste can mix. (At this point, the mixture is a little thick.) When the two salmon kinds are well mixed, pour mixture into a bowl. Squeeze a little of the lemon juice into salmon mixture. Add in non whipped heavy cream. Use a spatular, and “fold” in the cream. Keep adding until the salmon paste is feeling less thick and lumpy. It should feel more as a smoothie in the consistency.

Take slices of smoked salmon and line the inside of a bowl or container. (This can be eliminated. If you prefer to pour mousse directly into bowls, use plastic wrap as liner. This will make it easier to remove mousse from bowl.)

I usually make a couple of smaller bowls then just one big one. (You can easily freeze any extra little container of mousse.) When inside walls are well covered, pour in mixture to center of bowl. Fill almost all the way up to edges of the smoked salmon “lining.” Cover with plastic wrap and let cool down and settle, in the fridge. It is great if the salmon mousse can sit over night in. When mousse has stiffened up, turn mold upside down onto a plate. Decorate with a sprig of dill. 

I usually decorate with dill around the salmon mousse. Another more “festive” or spectacular decoration is to dissolve some gelatin into white whine. See directions on gelatin package. Let it stiffen up in the fridge. When the whine has become a gelatin, use a fork and “scrape” it out of the bowl. This will look like crushed ice. If you spread the “ice” around the salmon mousse, it will look absolutely fantastic.

The salmon mousse absolutely melts in your mouth. It is very nice to drink some “bubbly” to it.

It is always nice to add a small frozen strawberry or raspberry into the glass.

My mother used to love this one food magazine “All about food”. She had stacks and stacks of them. You know, how people collect things….My mother collected these magazines. I all of a sudden noticed in my 30’s or so, that I started having little piles of the same magazine. Hm…. What about that apple again??

When I was little, I remember my grandmother calling on the phone talking about  what she had eaten that day. Things like a “fantaaastic sandwich. With an absolutely looovely piece of ham and gorgeous vegetables.”

So, if this is how you grow up, no wonder you become the same.

And it isn’t just me. My 2 brothers both cook. My sister does too. We all have our food pantries stacked. Just like mom. “In case you can’t get to the store.” Or, “In case there is an emergency.” But do you need enough food to last for  months???  When my husband and I moved into our house, I told him we absolutely had to build a food pantry in the basement. We also needed to have an extra freezer down there. “Just in case.”

Keeping in mind, I have been damaged by my environment” , it now means that I don’t bake a cake using a box mix. I don’t buy a frozen dinner. Even if it promises on the box to taste “Exactly like home-made!”

I love having dinner parties and BBQ’s for friends and family.  It is a great time to try new things and revisit old favorites. I started working on a cookbook. While testing recipes on people, I found that I actually liked giving tips on cooking, teaching and recommending. I have been pushing this one person to write a food blog, not even thinking that I actually should write one myself. I just happened to look in to it, and liked the idea.

So, I would love to welcome you to my food blog.

I will share recipes and food experiences with all of you.

Since I am a Swede, and there is a favorite Swedish dessert, let me share that with you.

                                              Swedish pancakes.

Or “Svenska pannkakor” as we say at home.

Makes about 12-14 pancakes

Ingredient:

2 cups of milk

1 cup of flower

1 large egg

1 pinch of salt

butter for frying (or oil if you do not like butter).

1 1/2 cup of fruits or berries. Use any kind or your favorites.

1-3 tbsp. of brown sugar.

1 sprig of mint for decoration

Directions:

Mix the flower, milk and salt well in a bowl. Make sure there are no lumps. Add the egg. Mix well. Put the batter aside and let it rest.

Take 1/2 of the rinsed fruits and berries. Add to a pan. Add sugar. One table spoon at a time.

Be sure to taste so that it doesn’t get too sweet. Simmer on low/ medium heat. Let the fruit and berries melt down creating a syrup. This will take about 10 minutes or so.. Depending on what kind of fruit or berries you are using. If you need to cook longer, do so. You can also prepare this ahead of time.

When you have a nice syrupy juice, take off the heat. Use a sift to press out the last precious drops of your syrup. Use the back of a spoon to gently press down the fruit /berry mixture. 

Heat up a frying pan/ skillet on medium high heat. Add a teaspoon of butter to pan. Use butter/oil to every other pancake. Add one ladle full of batter to the frying pan. Pour it into the center of pan. Make sure the batter distributes well into edges. You do this by lifting the pan up and swirling it slowly. Some flours thickens up more then others. If you feel the batter is a little too thick, just “thin out” with a slightly bit of milk. 

You know the pancake is ready when it is starting to “dry up” on the surface and when the edges are starting to turn golden brown. Use a “turner” to lift up the pancake and flip it onto the other side. It takes less time on the second side of the pancake to brown. When ready, fold in half and the fold the half into a quarter. Lift onto platter. Decorate with berries or fruit. Poor on the syrup. Decorate with a sprig of mint.

Some people loves to eat some whipped cream to the pancakes. You could also sprinkle over some powdered sugar. It looks very pretty.

Enjoy.

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