Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Picture from Petrified in Pink
Easter in Sweden has a number of things in common with Christmas, even if it doesn’t involve the same amount of hype. Easter cards are sent, Easter decorations are hung up, and many houses and homes are decorated with little chicks, hens and roosters. The home glows with yellow, which is so typical for Easter. There is no tree to decorate for Easter but people do put up Easter branches decorated with feathers in many colors. The type of branches varies, but the most common is birch. See an example from Monika on what she did at her home for Easter. Monika writes an excellent blog called Splendidwillow.
Easter week is a movable holiday; whether it falls in March or April is dependent on the moon. Easter day is always celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon after March 20. In Sweden we have many usual names for they days of Easter Week also known as Holy Week. In Swedish these were: Black Monday, White Tuesday, Damper Wednesday, Cleansing Thursday, and Long Friday
As a kid there are two things I remember on Easter 1) Dressing up as a witch and 2) Chocolate Candy. I know they are two very different things let me explain.
In Sweden children are given eggs made of paper that can be opened and filled with candy. On the outside the eggs are either decorated with chickens and other Easter motifs or covered with metallic foils of different colors and tied with a bow. This is where it gets a little different for every family. In my house you left your shoes outside of your room the night before Easter Sunday and when you woke up in the morning you have this large paper egg filled with candy in your shoes.
Not only are candy eggs a part of Easter, but we also eat a lot of real eggs, after painting the shells, of course. We use to first boil the eggs and then paint them with watercolor, or make a little hole in them drain them, pain them and then hang them in your birch tree with your feathers.
Now to the second part dressing up as a witch. In Sweden on Thursday before Easter we dress up as witches, with brooms, coffee pots, cats, and scarves on our heads. We make some cards and then head out knocking on doors. You usually end up going to your neighbor’s house and tell them “Happy Easter” and give them one of the cards you made. In replacement they will give you candy, fruit or cake. The history surrounding Easter witches is pretty dark. During the 1600s, women and men, were accused of being witches and burned at the stake. According to folklore, Cleansing Thursday was a dangerous night, when the witches traveled to Blue Hill for a banquet with the Devil himself as host. There, everything was done backwards. Everyone sat with their backs to the gigantic, long table without end, and ate with their left hands over their left shoulders.
Food plays a central role in most Swedish festivities and Easter is no exception. Some of the common foods eaten on east are Lamb, Gravlax, herring, eggs and of course schnapps. I will provide future posting on Gravlax and herring but here is a great recipe of the Leg of Lamb, Gravy and a previous posting of Potato Gratin.
Leg of Lamb
5 lb leg of lamb
1/4 cup olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic
1 tsp. salt
Pieces of rosemary stems
Oven temperature: 350° F
Combine the olive oil, salt, black pepper and pressed garlic in a small bowl, Finely snip the rosemary into the bowl. Butter an ovenproof roasting pan. Trim off any excess fat from the lamb and place in buttered roasting pan. Rub the olive oil mixture on the lamb on all sides. Wrap the lamb with aluminum foil and insert a meat thermometer in the center of the leg. Make sure it doesn’t touch the bone. Roast in the oven until the meat thermometer reaches 145° F for rare, 16o° F for medium or 170° F for well done.
Use the juices from the roast
1 tbsp. flour
a little whole milk
salt or soy sauce
Drain off the pan juices from the roast into a saucepan. Whisk in the flour to create a gravy; and heat up the gravy that is formed. Add milk and salt or soy sauce according to taste.
Potato Gratin previously posted on March 12, 2010
Glad Påsk!! Happy Easter!!
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Picture from Sur La Table
I don’t know about you but I use garlic for almost everything. And the thing I hate about garlic presses is that it is a pain to clean, and you never quite get it clean or it ends up with left over garlic pieces in the garlic press, or your garlic press stars to rust etc. Well one day I was in Sur la Table another one of my favorite kitchen store in Seattle and came across this garlic press. I asked the sales person about it and she said it was the best garlic press in the world. I thought it has to be better than what I have now so I got it. Now I need to tell everyone else about it. First it looks pretty cool, it is easy to use and IT IS EASY TO CLEAN. You can’t really tell from the picture but the sieve opens up so you just wipe out the left over garlic pieces. It is a great kitchen gadget.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Image from the Barking Frog Website
The Barking Frog restaurant is truly a destination ofits own as it states on their website. It is located in Woodinville which is about a 20 minute drive from Seattle. But during the weekend there is no traffic and a perfect time to go. There are several vineyards there too for example Columbia Winery and Chateau Ste Michelle. Here is a listing at Woodinville Wine County so you could just do a vineyard tour first and then go to the Barking Frog. Or you could do a tour of the Red hook Brewery or go to the spa of the Willow Lodge. Or just go to Woodinville and have a fabulous meal. I have been to the Barking Frog twice and both time had an excellent time. The atmosphere is very cozy with a great large fireplace in the middle. And the wait staff is fantastic and very friendly.
This time around we ordered Popcorn Lobster as an appetizer for the table. It was recommended by one our friends and it was the best seafood popcorn appetizers I have ever had. Very fresh and light on the deep-fried crust with a sweet sauce for dipping.
Then for appetizer I had the beef tatar with Capers, Anchovy, Shallot, Candied Olives, Pickled Onion, Quail Egg. It was great, i would add a little more spice to it but it was almost perfect. My husband had the Roasted beet salad with Orange Supremes, Toasted Hazelnuts, Laura Chenel Goat Cheese, Vanilla Honey Drizzle. Since I love beets it was a fabulous appetizer.
Then for dinner I had the Braised Short Ribs with Baby Bok Choy Kimchi, Shitake Mushrooms, Asian Barbeque Sauce. Oh my! This was delishhh! Not only were the ribs cooked perfectly but the Baky Choy Kimchi was amazing. I had to ask for the recipe. I am a kimchi lover and the way the chef put this together was just very imaginative. It fit perfectly with the dish. My husband had the Ginger Crusted Sea Scallops Beluga Lentils, Apple Bacon, Pea Vines, Maitake Mushrooms, Cipollini Onions, Smoked Almonds, Green Curry Coconut Sauce. It was also excellent, however, the ribs were better.
For dessert we tried three different desserst for the table. Caramelized Pear with Bavarian Cream Filled Bosc Pear, Moist Frangipane Cake and Caramel Pear Sauce, Vanilla Raspberry Pot de Crème with Vanilla Custard over fresh Raspberries and Chocolate Molten Cake with Woodinville Wine Infused Ganache, Hazelnut Ice Cream. I am nota marzipan fan so I did not like the caramelized pear dessert. The vanilla custard was my favorite. It was just like a Creme Brulee but less sweet. Also the chocolate molten cake was very good but I like chewy chocolate cake not the dense molten type. But if you are a huge chocolate cake fan this is probably your type of dessert.
I highly recommend Barking Frog.
14580 NE 145th St
Woodinville, WA 98072
Chateau Ste Michelle
14111 NE 145th
Woodinville, WA 98072
Friday, March 26, 2010
Depending where you are from you either call these pancakes or American pancakes. Either way they are delicious. We have these for breakfast with fresh berries or really anything you want. You can make these plain or add berries, bananas, apples, etc. I have some examples at the bottom of the recipe. But my favorite is blueberries. A few weeks back I also did Swedish Pancakes. Which version is your favorite?
Makes: about 12 medium pancakes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla sugar or vanilla essence
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/4 cups milk
3 tbsp melted butter
2 cups of berries
Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Whip in eggs and milk. Mix in melted butter. Allow batter to rest at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes.
Cook pancakes on a hot greased griddle or a large non-stick frying pan using butter. Sprinkle berries over the batter immediately after pouring it on the griddle or pan. It is time to flip pancake when the batter surface is covered with little breaking bubbles. Serve with real warm maple syrup.
Other possible fillings:
Other fruit can be added to batter immediately after it poured on the griddle: strawberries, raspberries, sliced bananas, toasted nuts, granola, apples or pears.
Sautéed pears or apples:
Peel, core and thinly slice 2pears or 2 apples. Melt 1 tablespoon unsalted butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add fruit, and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Sauté until fruit is soft, about 6 to 8 minutes. If using apples, sprinkle with cinnamon. The fruit may be mixed in the pancake batter or serve warm as topping.
Cranberries: Place 1 cup whole cranberries and 1 cup maple syrup in a medium saucepan. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes to allow cranberries to pop. Serve warm.
Honey and Spice: Warm 1 cup honey, 4 star anise, and 4 cinnamon sticks in small saucepan over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes. Use warm over pancakes. The mixture keeps up to a week in an airtight container.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Picture from The Best Thing i Ever Ate website
I like the food network but I don’t watch it very often due to many reasons but the main reason is that I do not have time. However, I have a TIVO, can’t live without that and the ONLY thing that I record from the Food Network is The Best Thing I Ever Ate. Have you see it? If not do! Ever episode has a theme for example Salty, Crispy, Pizza, chocolate etc. Celebrity chefs and others present each of their favorite item based on the theme and then they describe how it is prepared and then they show you them eating it. There aren’t many TV shows that make me drool, but this TV show makes me drool. Watch it and let me know what you think.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
I don’t know about you but I love Guacamole and it is very easy to make too. Most of the time when people serve guacamole it is store brought and it never taste the same as fresh made. Next time make it from scratch and it is healthy too. It is very easy and takes about 10 minutes.
2 ripe avocados
2 tbsp finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove finely chopped (optional)
1 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground pepper
1 plum tomatoes finely chopped
1 Serrano chilies seeded and minced (optional for spiciness)
Cut the avocado in half and remove pits. Set one pit aside. Chop one half of one of the avocados into small chunks and set aside. With a spoon, scoop the soft flesh from peel of the remaining 3 halves into a bowl. Add remaining ingredients except for tomatoes and avocado chunks and mash with a fork.
Stir in tomato and fold in avocado chunks, making sure not to mash them. Remove to a serving dish and place the pit in the center. This decoration actually keeps the dip from turning brown. Refrigerate if needed for a few hours. Serve with chips.
If you want the dip spicy add the chilies.
Serves about 6 people.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
In Sweden this traditional salad is served in most pizza restaurants, because of its popularity it got the name pizza salad. You can do this salad with only cabbage or with shallots, peppers and carrots. Everyone includes either one of them or neither, it is really up to your taste.
I love this salad and it is so easy to make, on top of it, you can eat it the day after as well.
1 red pepper
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup vinegar
¼ cup water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
Shred the cabbage. I use a Swedish cheese slicer to do that, but you can use a knife too. Then slice the shallot, red pepper, and shred the carrot and put it all into a bowl. The dressing is prepared hot. Put all the olive oil, vinegar, water, salt and pepper into a pot and head up to boil once it start boiling turn it off and pour over your salad and mix well. I suggest you put the salad into the refrigerator for a few hours to cool down and marinate.
Monday, March 22, 2010
When I was a kid I used to hate Cauliflower, then my mother made this dish and ever since I always serve Cauliflower this way and everyone loves it. Even my friends that say they do not like Cauliflower like it.
Cauliflower can easily be a substitute for starchier foods such as potatoes and rice or as a side vegetable.
On top of that Cauliflower is a very good source of fiber. It is an excellent source of Vitamin C, a very good source of Vitamin K and folate, and a good source of Vitamin B6 and potassium.
In addition, cauliflower is one of the cruciferous vegetables, which have been shown to have anti-cancer properties. It also has a fairly high level of antioxidant phytonutrients on a per-calorie basis.
This is a very easy recipe. Try this out and let me know what you think?
2 tsp butter
¼ cup plain bread crumbs
I usually boil the cauliflower first to make it a little softer. I boil the cauliflower for 3 minutes in boiling water; you can also steam it if you wish. Once the Cauliflower is steamed or cooked let it dry off.
In a frying pan add the butter and let is soften, once the butter is softened pour the bread crumbs all over the butter and let it brown a little about 2 minutes. Once your butter and bread crumbs are brown pour in the cauliflower and mix it all together, about another 2 minutes.
Friday, March 19, 2010
I try to have fish at least once a week and I usually end up buying Cod in the store, especially if it is fresh. Today I wanted to try something different. I always like Black Cod and Miso sauce when I am out at a restaurant and they have it on the menu, it is light and tasty. And if it is prepared right it melts in your mouth. So I went out on the Internet to try to find something similar to prepare with my fresh cod file I had at home. I came across a great little blog called Rasa Malaysia and in her blog she had this recipe called Black Cod with MisoI adjusted it for my tasting and it turned out great. With this cod I served Udon noodles and Brussel Sprouts with Black bean Sauce.
Please let me know your cod recipes, I am always looking for new ones to try.
Cod with Miso
Adapted from: Rasa Malaysia
1 fresh cod fillet about 1 lb cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup sake
1/4 cup mirin
4 tablespoons miso paste
2 tablespoons sugar
Mix the marinate ingredients thoroughly in a bowl and set aside while you prepare your side dishes.
Preheat oven to 400 degree F.
Preheat a frying pan.
Place the fish on the frying pan and lightly grill on both sides until the surface turns brown.
Transfer the fish fillets to the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
Heat the remainder of the marinade in the frying pan and use as extra sauce.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
This is a perfect brunch. If you are having people over or if you are doing a shower this is a perfect dish you can prepare the night before and just cook it in the morning. One of the hardest things with brunch is to keep the eggs warm or get up early enough to cook and prep in the morning and that is why I love things I can prepare the night before. Not only that; Quiche makes an excellent left over the day after. You can put almost anything you want in a Quiche, but the below recipe is my favorite. They key to this Quiche is to cook the pie crust with Dijon mustard, that is what I think makes the delicious flavor of the whole thing. Here is a link to my pie crust recipe.
Let me know what you like to put in your Quiche.
Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 50 Minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
1 Pie Crust
4 ounces spinach
¼ cup mushrooms
¼ lb meat bacon or ham
1 cup grated Swiss cheese
½ cup cottage cheese
½ cup other cheese
1 cup cream
Prepare pie crust at 450 F for 10 minutes with some Dijon mustard on it. Then let cool.
Prepare mushroom, spinach & meat with nutmeg, basil, butter and salt and pepper.
Reduce heat to 350 degrees.
Sprinkle half of the cheese on the bottom of pie shell, then meat, spinach, mushroom combo, and then rest of cheese.
In a medium bowl, beat eggs and light cream, nutmeg and pepper until well mixed but not frothy.
Pour into pie shell. Sprinkle top with nutmeg.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until top is golden and center is firm when gently shaken. Let cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.
If the top of the quiche gets brown before the middle is done. Lower the temperature and let it cool slowly.