Sweet • Sour • Savory

Food blog on scandinavian style food done right.

Appetizer

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.

Tomato Risotto

Appetizer, Dinner, RisottoTove Balle-PedersenComment
Tomato Risotto

Tomato Risotto

Risotto has been a thing I have been reluctant to cook. I have always been convinced that it was a difficult dish to master. But after I have been cooking risotto a few times, I can't see what I was afraid of.  Somehow I might have been cooking risotto for many years. Well, not risotto, risotto. But the classic Danish dish Risengrød, is arborio rice cooked in milk, a sweet milky risotto sprinkled with cinnamon. And I have had Risengrød numerous times through my childhood.

This risotto embodies some of my favorite ingredients, tomatoes, wine, parmesan and basil, And of cause is was delisious. 

Inspired by Martha Shulmans Tomato Basil Risotto.

Serves 2-3 (4-6 as an appetizer)

Ingredients:

  • 700 ml chicken stock, or vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 225 g tomato, grated (2 large tomatoes)
  • 2 sprigs thyme, leaves only
  • 130 g arborio rice
  • 100 ml white wine (I used a Pinot Grigio)
  • 2 tomatoes, without seeds, and diced
  • ¾ dl (about ¼ cup) fresh grated parmesan
  • 5 basil leaves, thinly sliced

Directions:

Grate the parmesan, set aside

Grate the tomatoes. Cut the tomato in half at the equator. Grate on the coarse side of a box grater, with the cut side of the tomato up against the grater. Watch your hands. Set aside.

Slice the basil, set aside. 

Dice onion, and mince the garlic.

Heat the stock, and keep it warm.

Heat olive oil in a wide sauté pan, sauté the onions until translucent. Add rice and garlic, cook while stirring, until all the rice are coated and they start to crackle. Add grated tomato and thyme, and cook until the rice has absorbed most of the tomato liquid. 

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

Start adding a small ladleful of 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 the diced tomatoes, basil and parmesan, making the risotto nice and creamy. Season the risotto with salt, to taste. Serve Immediately.

Enjoy!

Duck Rilette

Appetizer, Meats, Lunch, Poultry, SnacksTove Balle-PedersenComment
Duck Rilette

Duck Rilette

I live in Silicon Valley, and right now the biggest thing is Super Bowl 50. Everyone is talking about all thing Super Bowl. The Venues, the concerts, the parties, the fan-experiences, the celebrities and off course the food. Most popular must be wings and guacamole, but I wanted something different. Still going for the salty and meaty, I choose a duck rilette, served on toasted baguette slices. A perfect finger-food paring well with a cold beer.

I hope you all will enjoy your Super Bowl parties, weather you are there for the game, the halftime show or the food.

Ingredients:

  • 4 duck legs, I got the legs from Grimaud Farms
  • duck fat, enough to cover the legs completely, I used little over 1 lb
  • 1 bay leave
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1-1¼ teaspoon salt (you want to use 1 teaspoon salt pr 350 g meat)

Directions:

Place the duck legs, thyme and bay leave in a pot, pour in the duck fat to cover. Let the duck simmer for about 4 hours, until the meat pulls apart from the bones. Let the duck and fat cool, so you can handle the duck with your hands. 

Wash your hands thoroughly and/or use gloves. Pull the meat from the bones, discarding ALL bones and skin. Weigh the meat, to calculate how much salt you need for the seasoning.  You want to use about 1 teaspoon salt pr 350 g meat. 

Put the meat into the bowl of a stand mixer. Season the pulled meat with the salt. Using the paddle beat the meat for about a minute. Add some of the duck fat, you want to saturate the meat, so when squeezing the fat will slowly drip from the meat. You are looking for at paté consistency.  If not using immediately, spoon rilette into clean jars rinsed with a bit of vodka. Cover the rilette with reserved fat from the duck confit. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Serve the rilette on thin slices of toasted baguette, and top it of with a cornichon. 

Enjoy!

French Onion Soup

Appetizer, Dinner, SoupTove Balle-PedersenComment
French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

French onion soup is a worldwide classic and a big favorite in my house. The deep, somewhat sweet and umami flavors with the saltiness from the gruyere is a party in my mouth. I like to serve  some extra crispy slices of cheesy bread slices, to add some extra texture. French onion soup is normally an appetizer, but somehow it always transforms itself to a main course, when I make it at home. Perfect for a meatless Monday or any other day. 

Serves 6 as an appetizer 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter, salted
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 5 onions, thinly sliced
  • 4-5 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leave
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 cup (2½ dl) white wine
  • 1 liter (4 cups) beef broth

Topping:

  • 1 baguette, sliced
  • ½ pound gruyere cheese

Directions:

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add olive oil, onions, and thyme, and cook until the onions are soft and caramelized, this will take about 25 minutes. You want to get a good caramelizing on the onions, this will make the flavors more deep and more complex. Add the wine, broth, garlic and bay leave. Bring the soup to simmer. Let the soup simmer for about 10 minutes. Season to taste. Discard thyme sprigs, garlic and bay leave.

Preheat the oven to 400℉ (200℃). Spread the baguette slices on a baking sheet, sprinkle with some olive oil. Toast the bread for about 10 minutes until golden and crispy. 

Preheat the boiler.

Pour the soup into ovenproof cups or bowls. Place 1-2 bread slices on top, and sprinkle a good amount cheese on top. Place the soup under the boiler and heat until the cheese has melted and turned golden and bubbly. 

Serve the soup immediately.

Enjoy!

Semi-Dried Tomatoes

Appetizer, Snacks, Vegetables, VegetarianTove Balle-PedersenComment
Semi-Dried Tomatoes

Semi-Dried Tomatoes

I love love love tomatoes in any way or form. But theses semi-dried tomatoes are pure candy. They are nothing like sun-dried tomatoes, they are soft sweet and with the slight tanginess from fresh tomatoes.

You can use them for almost anything. On sandwiches, pizze (plural of pizza), in casseroles, or stews, in salads and just for a snack.

Ingredients:

  • about 500 g cherry tomatoes, the amount is not important
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 ℉ (165℃). 

Rinse the tomatoes, and cut them in halves, or quarters for the bigger ones. 

In a cup combine oil, salt, pepper and garlic. Place all the tomatoes in a large ovenproof dish or sheet pan, and coat them with the seasoned oil. Arrange the tomatoes skin side down, being careful not to crowd them. Bake tomatoes for 25-30 minutes. Reduce the  heat to 200℉ (95℃), and keep baking for another 2-3 hours.

Let the tomatoes cool slightly before storing them in a clean container filled with olive oil. They will keep for weeks in the refrigerator. 

Use the semi-dried tomatoes in salads, with any protein, bruschetta or just eat them as a snack.  

Enjoy!