Sweet • Sour • Savory

Food blog on scandinavian style food done right.

Appetizer

Beetroot Gravad Lax

Appetizer, Christmas, Fish & seafood, HolidayTove Balle-PedersenComment
DSCF1666_PM.jpg

Thanksgiving and December really sneaked up un me this year. As many others in California, we were living in unhealthy air due to the big wild fires. We tried to escape to the Sierras, and this threw my schedule way off. But now, over halfway to Christmas, I’am getting back into the game.
We are going to the annual Danish Christmas lunch, and I alway make gravlax. This year I decided to make 2 different versions, the regular and a pretty red beetroot and gin version.

The pretty pink gravlax is delicious too. I serve it with a dill and creme fraiche sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 800 g side of salmon, skin on, scaled, pin-boned, from sustainable sources

Beet cure:

  • 200 g raw beets (2 beets)

  • 2 lemons, the zest of

  • 100 g coarse sea salt 

  • 50 g sugar 

  • 50 ml gin (I used Hendricks)

Herb cure:

  • 1 big bunch of fresh dill, finely chopped

  • 6 sprigs, tarragon, the leaves, finely chopped

  • 50 g fresh grated horseradish 

  • 50 ml gin (I used Hendricks)

Directions:

In a food processor or mini chopper, blitz together the beets , gin, and lemon zest until they become a smooth paste. Transfer the beet mixture to a small bowl and mix in the rock salt, and sugar.

Rub a little mixture on to the salmon skin, then place the salmon, skin side down, in a large zip lock bag in a dish or baking tray. Pat the remaining mixture all over it so that the salmon is completely covered. Remove as much of the air from the zip lock bag as possible. Pace a little cutting board on top of the salmon, and place some weight on top to have an even pressure on it. Place in the fridge for 24 hours.

After 24 hours, gently unwrap the salmon and remove the beet mixture. Gently splash the salmon with a bit of water to rinse off any remaining cure and rinse the dish too.

Mix together the herb cure ingredients in a small bowl, place the salmon (skin side down) in a new zip lock bag in the dish. Cover the salmon evenly with the herb cure. Remove air and put the weight on back onto the salmon. Refrigerate for another 24 hours.

The next day, your cured salmon will be ready to enjoy. The herb mixture does not need to be rinsed off- just thinly slice the salmon and serve it as an open faced sandwich, with a creme fraiche (or sour cream) with dill.

Enjoy!

Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Canapés

Appetizer, Brunch, Fish & seafood, SnacksTove Balle-PedersenComment
IMG_1824.JPG

These smoked salmon canapés are just perfect at any party. They are super easy to make and packed with flavor. The cucumber provides the crunch and a clean crisp taste. Make sure to make plenty, it's a crowd favorite.

Makes 25-30.

Ingredients:

  • 1 English cucumber
  • 50-75 g smoked salmon 

Cream cheese/dill spread:

  • 50 g cream cheese
  • 25 g creme fraiche (you can use sour cream)
  • 1 bunch fresh dill, finely chopped, safe some for garnish  
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • salt to taste

Directions:

Mix the ingredients for the spreads together and season with salt. Scoop the spread into a piping bag and let it rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, allowing the flavors to develop.

Cut the cucumber into ⅓-Inch  (1 cm) slices. Arrange the cucumber slices on a serving platter. Pipe the spread in small tops on top of the cucumber slices. 

Cut the smoked salmon into strips. Fold it up and place on top of the cream cheese.

Garnish with a small sprigs of dill.

Enjoy!

 

Gruyere & Thyme Gougères

Appetizer, SnacksTove Balle-PedersenComment
 Gruyere & Thyme Gougères

Gruyere & Thyme Gougères

Gougères are the perfect party snack served with a glass of sparkling wine. They are totally addictive. Gougères are small savory hors d'oeuvre made with choux pastry with addition of some kind of strong dry cheese like parmesan, gruyere, or a sharp cheddar. 

You can choose to fill the Gougères with some kind of creamy savory filling, or split them to make tiny sandwiches with ham or salmon. 

Makes about 30 small bite-sized puffs.

Ingredients:

  • 250 ml water
  • 100 g butter
  • 130 g all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 100 g gruyere cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1-2 pinch salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400℉ (200℃). Grate the cheese and chop the thyme, set aside.

Put water and butter in a medium saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium heat. When the butter is all melted add all the flour at once, and stir the mixture with a wooden spoon. Lower the heat and keep stirring until a dough is formed and it pulls away from the sides of the pan and is slightly shiny.  Remove from heat.

Keep beating the dough with the wooden spoon until slightly cooled, about 2 minutes.  

Beat all the eggs in a bowl. Add a little of the beaten eggs, incorporating it thoroughly before adding more. Add the egg in small amounts until you have a thick paste but not runny at all. Stir in the cheese and thyme.

Fill a large pastry bag fitted with an open tip, with the dough. Pipe quarter-size circular mounds about 2 inches apart, onto the parchment paper. To get the best tops on the gougéres stop pressing on the pastry bag before you lift it, make a small circular move with your wrist as you lift the tip of the puff. Dab the tops of each gougéres with a fingertip dipped in water to smoothen the tops. 

(You can freeze the gougéres unbaked, at this point, and bake them right out of the freezer, adding a few more minutes to the bake time.)

Bake them for 18-20 minutes, until they are puffed up and golden brown.

DO NOT open the oven while baking, it will cause them to deflate.

Let the gougères cool slightly before serving.

Serve the gougères as a snack with a good glass of sparkling wine.

Enjoy!

Lemon Risotto with Scallops

Appetizer, Dinner, Fish & seafood, RisottoTove Balle-PedersenComment
 Lemon Risotto with Scallops

Lemon Risotto with Scallops

We have something with risotto and scallops in our house. It is a great luxury you normally will get at a restaurant. But you can easily make it at home. Just make sure to have every ingredients prepared and ready to go. By making it at home you are sure to get the risotto perfectly al dente, creamy, and seasoned to your tasting. 

This risotto can be an appetizer or a full meal. 

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 6-9 scallops

Risotto:

  • 40 g butter
  • 2 small shallots, finely diced   
  • 175 g arborio rice
  • 120 ml (½ cup) white wine
  • 850 ml chicken stock, heated
  • 40 g grated parmesan
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • parsley, minced for a sprinkle on top.

Directions

Heat butter in a sauté pan, sauté the onion until translucent. Add rice and cook while stirring, until all the rice are coated and they start to crackle. 

Pour in the wine, and let it simmer lightly until the wine is absorbed. 

Start adding a small ladleful hot stock at a time, letting the rice absorb the liquid before adding more. You want the risotto to cook for a low simmer, stirring constantly. Cook the risotto for about 25 minutes, until the rice are al dente, and they have a little bite, without being crunchy.

Add lemon juice, lemon zest and parmesan and cook till its melted making the risotto nice and creamy. Season the risotto with salt and pepper to taste. 

Heat a skillet over high heat, add oil and butter. When the fat begins to brown and smoke sear the scallops for 1½ minutes on each side. The scallops should have a ¼-inch golden crust on each side, while being translucent in the center. Place the scallops on top of the risotto and sprinkle with more lemon zest and parsley.

Serve Immediately.

Enjoy!

Butternut Squash Soup

Appetizer, Dinner, Soup, Thanksgiving, VegetablesTove Balle-PedersenComment
 Butternut Squash Soup.

Butternut Squash Soup.

I love the fall season. Fall is the best excuse to make soups, and butternut squash soups are a fall staple here in the US. I earlier posted a roasted version, and to be honest I can't tell which is the best. 

This version is made mostly vegetarian, if you loose the cream and the sour cream and bacon topping. The crispy tart apples plays well with the clean flavors from the soup.

Serves 4-6.

Ingredients:

Soup:

  • 1 butternut squash

  • 2-3 large potatoes

  • 2 carrots

  • 1 chili pepper

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 heaped teaspoon grated ginger

  • 400 ml (1¼ cup) water

  • ½ lemon, the juice of

  • ½ teaspoon cumin

  • 1½ dl (little over 1 cup) heavy whipping cream

Topping:

  • 3-5 thin slices of bacon (+ a sprinkle ghost chili powder)

  • 1 crisp apple, cut in small dices, dressed in juice from ½ lemon + ½ teaspoon honey

  • roasted pumpkin seeds

  • 1 chili thinly sliced

  • creme fraiche (sour cream)

Directions:

Microwave the whole butternut squash for 2 minutes to soften it a bit, making it easier to cut.

Cut it in half, peel, deseed and dice the butternut squash. Peel and dice potatoes and carrots. 

Sauté the vegetables in a large pot in olive oil for a few minutes. Add water, chili, ginger and cumin. Bring it to a boil and cover it and cook it for 15-20 minutes, until the squash is tender.

Purée the soup in batches in a blender* until smooth. (You can also use an immersion blender.) 

Add the cream and season the soup with lemon juice, salt and pepper, heat soup through before serving.

Serve the soup hot with your favorite garnish and a slice of good bread.

*Be careful when blending hot liquids, it can make the lid pop off, and you may risk getting serious burns on you skin. You can remove the small cap on you blender lid and cover the lid with a clean kitchen towel. You need to hold on to the lid and towel. This will let the steam from the hot soup escape and avoid the lid from popping off. You can also get blenders like the Vitamix, where you can blend hot liquids, without any hassle.