Sverige 2015

Sverige 2015

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mini Spinach Quiche

I love this recipe for mini spinach quiche. It is a proven crowd-pleaser and insanely easy to make:

1 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 cup baby spinach, washed
salt and pepper, to taste
2 large eggs
1/4 cup half and half
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 package (15 count) Athens Mini Fillo Shells

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and saute 1-2 minutes, being careful not to let the garlic burn. Add the spinach and cook 1-2 minutes, until just wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, beat together eggs and half and half until fluffy. Stir in cheeses and spinach mixture. Place mini fillo shells onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Put a teaspoon of filling in each shell. Feel free to pack in as much filling as you can; just make sure the shells don't tip over.
Bake 15-20 minutes until browned.

Happy cooking!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Family Fika

Today my mother and older brother came over for lunch. I wanted to make something that was fairly light and not too dinner-y, so I decided on the following:

-- Tomato Tartines
-- Mini Broccoli-Spinach Quiche
-- Fresh Summer Salad w/ Apples & Cranberries
-- Baked Oatmeal

In Sweden we have "fika" several times throughout the day. This is basically a coffee break which includes coffee or tea and pastries or small cookies. When I can't be in Sweden, I try to bring Sweden to me. 
This is what I made for fika/dessert: 

Chokladsnitt (biscotti-type chocolate cookies)
Hallongrottor (sugar cookie type dough with dollops of raspberry jam)
Bullar (Swedish cinnamon buns)

If you would like any of the recipes, do not hesitate to ask. 
Please note: the recipes I have for the desserts use the metric system.

Happy cooking!

Photo: clockwise from the top left: tomato tartines, mini quiche, a plated combination, & hallongrottor.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Paprika Roasted Salmon with Wilted Spinach

My husband is very physically active in his line of work, so I try to cook meals that will keep him feeling healthy and energized. Today I want to share a fish recipe with you. We all know that salmon is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and that spinach is a very nutrient-dense food, providing iron and antioxidants. Here is an easy, delicious recipe that combines the two:  
Paprika Roasted Salmon with Wilted Spinach
1/4 cup orange juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp thyme leaves (divided)
2 lb salmon fillets
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp paprika
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp grated orange peel
1/2 tsp salt
1 bag (10 oz) spinach leaves
1 tsp olive oil
Mix juice, 2 Tbsp oil, an 1 tsp of the thyme in a glass dish. Add salmon; turn to coat. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Mix sugar, remaining spices, and orange peel. Remove salmon from marinade. Place in foil-lined baking pan. Discard any remaining marinade. Rub top of salmon evenly with spice mixture.
Roast in preheated 400 degree F oven for 10-15 minutes (depending on oven) or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Heat 1 tsp oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Serve with salmon. Makes 8 servings.
Last night I had a hankering for chocolate and was itching to bake. I really didn't feel like going to the store for more ingredients. I decided to try a simple chocolate recipe that one of my dear Swedish relatives gave to me. If you are looking for a delicious, moist chocolate cake that uses ingredients that you probably already have in your cupboard, try this one:
Maj-Britt's Chocolate Cake
Note: this recipe utilizes the metric system.
150 g margarine or butter
2 1/2 dl sugar
2 1/2 dl flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 dl cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla sugar (you can use vanilla extract as a substitute, but do not use as much and make sure you add it after combining all of the dry ingredients)
2 eggs
1 1/2 dl hot water
Melt the butter and let cool.
Combine all of the dry ingredients in a bowl.
Beat the eggs. Add the eggs, butter, and hot water to the dry ingredients.
Grease a baking pan and add the batter.
Bake at 175 degrees C or 350 degrees F, for approximately 40 minutes.
Frost with: 2 dl powdered sugar combined with 2 Tbsp water.
Optional: Top with M&Ms or chopped up dark chocolate.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Quick Roast Chicken & Root Vegetables

Guess what? The Västerbotten pie was absolutely delicious. My husband and brothers devoured it in a day.

I try to cook a lot of lean proteins, such as chicken and fish. Last night I decided to do a modification of a recipe I had taken from a magazine. This recipe is easy, quick, and bursting with flavor. Here is what I made:

Quick Roast Chicken & Root Vegetables
1 lb turnips, peeled & cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 lb baby potatoes, quartered
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried marjoram (1 Tbsp. if using fresh)
salt & pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth (pref. reduced-sodium)
24 oz chicken (the original recipe calls for 2 bone-in chicken breasts 12 oz/ea, but I prefer boneless and skinless)
1 large shallot, chopped
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp red or white wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
Toss turnips, potatoes, 1 Tbsp oil, marjoram, salt, and pepper, together in a bowl.
Spread in an even layer on a large baking sheet. Roast for approximately 10 minutes, depending on oven.
Meanwhile, place flour in a shallow dish. Transfer 2 tsp of the flour to a small bowl and whisk in broth; set aside. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off excess. Discard any leftover flour.
Heat the remaining 1 Tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until it's a nice golden brown color on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
After the vegetables have been roasting for 10 minutes, stir them. Grease another baking sheet, and place the chicken, browned side up, on it. Return the vegetables and the chicken to the oven and roast until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes more.
Return the skillet to medium-high heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Whisk the reserved broth mixture again, add to the pan, and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Stir in mustard and vinegar. Serve the chicken and vegetables with the sauce.

Friday, August 20, 2010


At the moment, my home is filled with the sweet, cheesy aroma of Västerbotten paj. It is my first attempt at this Swedish delicacy. If the pie tastes as delicious as it smells, I will have done justice to my Swedish heritage.

If this pie is unsavory, I will have failed at this recipe. It would not be the first time I have failed. I hope that is what you find refreshing about this blog. Its purpose is not only my own personal catharsis (in writing about my cooking endeavors). It is also to encourage amateur chefs to experiment without fear of failure. Cooking is a wonderfully creative and tasty learning process.

I have not always loved to cook, but I have always loved to eat. Most babies' first words are "mamma" or "pappa." My first words were "mera mat" which translates to "more food." My father, the most experimental and brave eater I know, predisposed me to a love of food consumption. Thanks to my mother, I had my first cooking lessons as a teenager. I was often resistant to this schooling, but looking back, I can't thank her enough for taking the time to teach me about food. My initial disinclination toward cooking transformed into the opposite -- a passionate love affair with food preparation -- after I moved out of the house. As I was forced to cook for myself, Ramen noodles and cookie dough eventually lost their palatal appeal and added inches to my waistline.

Now I am fortunate to be married to a man who loves to eat. He is my inspiration for cooking. He is not a picky eater and he loves my food creations -- the successes and the failures. He is the reason that I love to cook. He delights in my dishes, whether they turn out the way they are supposed to or not. And, more importantly, he loves this amateur chef unconditionally.

Happy cooking!

Note: I will do my best to post some of the recipes I try. As I tend to feverishly cut out recipes that seem interesting whenever I find them (magazines, newspapers, etc.), I do not always remember the sources. However, many are taken from Bon Appetit, Clean Eating, and the Food Network.

From: Very Swedish by Annica Triberg, Per Ranung, & Tore Hagman
Note: this recipe utilizes the metric system

Pie Crust:

3 dl white flour
125 g butter
2-3 tbsp water

1 onion
1 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
3 cl vodka
3 eggs
1 1/2 dl double cream
1 1/2 dl milk
300 g Västerbotten cheese or cheddar, coarsely grated
1/2 tsp salt, freshly ground white pepper
a few drops of Tobasco

Chop the butter into the flour, easiest done in a blender. Add water. Work into a smooth dough. Let rest in the fridge about 30 minutes.
Heat your oven to 200C/400F. Roll out the dough into a round shape and place in a greased pie dish or a springform pan with removable sides and about 25cm/10in in diameter.
Chop the onion and sizzle in a pan with caraway seeds and a little butter until golden brown. Whisk together the eggs, cream, milk, vodka, and the coarsely grated cheese. Season with salt, white pepper, and Tobasco. Pour the filling into the pie crust. Bake on the lowest rung about 45 minutes or until the filling has set. Serve the pie slightly warm (optional: with a dollop of vendace roe).

The finished product: