Sweet • Sour • Savory

Food blog on scandinavian style food done right.

Appetizer

Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Canapés

Appetizer, Brunch, Fish & seafood, SnacksTove Balle-PedersenComment
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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!

 

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!

Oysters Rockefeller

Appetizer, BBQ, Fish & seafoodTove Balle-PedersenComment
Oysters Rockefeller

Oysters Rockefeller

It took me 40 years to build up the nerve to try to eat an oyster. After the first bite, I was hooked. We just went back to Hog Island Oyster Farm, for yet another oyster fix. I love the down to earth feeling, when sitting at wooden picnic tables eating the scrumptious grilled oysters, while enjoying the beautiful Tomales Bay and the hills of Point Reyes. 

Like last time we brought some oysters back home, so we could try to make our own Oyster Rockefeller. 

Next time I might use less breadcrumbs and a little more cheese. But over all the oysters was so so good, I love Pernod's, anise taste.

This is my version inspired by Florence Tyler's recipe.

1 dozen (12 oysters)

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons butter

  • 1 garlic cloves, minced

  • ca 20 g (¼ cup) bread crumbs, I used Panko

  • 1 shallots, chopped

  • 225-250 g (1 cup) chopped fresh spinach

  • 30 ml (1 fl oz) Pernod or dry white wine

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • 1 tablespoons olive oil

  • 25 g (¼ cup) grated gruyere cheese

  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

  • 1 dozen oysters, on the half shell

  • Rock salt

  • Lemon wedges & hot sauce, for garnish

Directions:

Melt butter in a skillet over low heat. Infuse the butter with garlic by letting the garlic sauté in the butter for about 1 minute, remove from heat. Don’t let the garlic brown, and burn, his will make the garlic bitter. Place the bread crumbs in a bowl and mix in half of the garlic butter, olive oil, gruyere, parsley and season with salt and pepper, set aside. 

Add shallots and spinach to the remaining garlic butter. Cook until the spinach wilts and the shallots get translucent. Deglaze the pan with Pernod. Let the mixture cook down for a few minutes then season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat, at let sit to cool.

Preheat the oven to 450 ℉ (230℃). Sprinkle a baking pan with a good amount of salt. Arrange the shucked oysters in the salt to steady them. Spoon a heaping teaspoon of the spinach mixture on each oyster followed by a spoonful of the bread crumb mixture.  Bake oysters for about 10-15 minutes until golden. Serve with lemon wedges and hot sauce.

I grilled my Oyster on the BBQ at about 450℉ for 10-15 minutes.

Enjoy!

 

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Appetizer, Dinner, Holiday, Soup, VegetablesTove Balle-PedersenComment
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Dansk udgave

First time I encountered a butternut squash was after moving to the US. Every fall I would see piles of this oddly shaped beige vegetable in the grocery store. They were hard like a pumpkin, but didn't look like the pumpkins I knew from back home. Pumpkin was not something we cooked with in Denmark, at least not in my family. My mom had made pumpkin jam and sugar pickled pumpkin, but the recipes is long gone.

I got to taste a butternut squash soup at a friends house one Thanksgiving, and I kinda liked it, but I was on the sweeter side, and as I recall it, it had nutmeg or some warm spices in it. 

I don't have to tell you, but I'm not a fan of pumpkin pie, but I will never pass on a Pumpkin Spice Latte. It must be the coffee that make me love it.

I like a fresher and lighter taste to my butternut squash soup, so I was delighted when I found a soup with few ingredients, including an apple, on CHOW.com.  I made a few changes, and got a crisp fresh butternut squash soup, that even my squash-hating husband liked. He ranked it up with his favorite, spicy peach soup, so I must have hit something right with this soup.

Here is my version:

Serves 4 for dinner or 6-8 for an appetizer.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons butter 
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced 
  • 1 small onion
  • 4 fresh sage leaves
  • 3 teaspoons chicken paste*
  • 4 cups (about 1 liter) water
  • 2 teaspoons salt or taste
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or taste

Garnish:

  • ½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • ½ leek, thinly sliced
  • a few sugar pickled chilies

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425°F (220℃). 

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the squash pieces cut-side up on the baking sheet. Brush them with about 1 tablespoon of butter all over the cut side. Season generously with salt and pepper. Roast squashes for about 50 minutes, until knife tender and browned on the edges.

Melt the remaining butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the apple and onion, and cook while stirring until softened about 5 minutes. 

When the squash has cooled somewhat, scoop the flesh out with a spoon into the sautéed onions and apples. Discard the skins.

Add chicken paste and water, and bring it to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and let the soup simmer for about 15 minutes, until the flavors are blended. Season with salt, pepper and fresh sage. 

Purée the soup in batches in a blender** until smooth. (You can also use an immersion blender.) Season with more salt and pepper if needed. 

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

* You can use chicken or vegetable stock instead of the paste and water. 

**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.


The Danish version:

Bagt Butternut-Græskar-Suppe

Til 4 personer til aftensmad eller 6-8 personer til forret.

Ingredienser:

  • 2 mellemstore butternut græskar, halverede på langs og fjern frøene
  • 2 spsk smør
  • 1 Granny Smith æble, skrællet og skåret i tern 
  • 1 løg
  • 4 friske salvieblade
  • 1 liter kylling eller grøntsagsboullion
  • 2 tsk salt, eller efter smag
  • ¼ tsk friskkværnet sort peber, eller efter smag

Tilbehør:

  • ½ dl ristede græskarkerner 
  • ½ porre skåret i tynde skiver
  • lidt sukkersyltede chilier

Fremgangsmåde:

Opvarm ovnen til 220℃. 

Kom staniol på en bageplde/bradepande, og sæt de flækkede græskar her på, med skærefladen opad. Pensl dem med lidt smeltet smør, og krydder med rigeligt salt og peber. Bag græskarne i ca. 50 minutter, indtil de er møre og brunede i kanten. De er møre, når du let kan stikke en kniv ned i kødet.

Smelt resten af smørret i en stor tykbundet gryde, og sauter løg og æbletern heri indtil de er bløde, ca. 5 minutter. 

Når græskaret er kølet lidt og det er til at håndtere, skrab kødet ud af skallen og ned til løg og æbler. Smid græskarskallerne ud.

Tilsæt bouillonen og kog suppen op. Lad suppen simre i ca. 15 minutter. Krydr med salt, peber og salvie. 

Blend suppen i en blender eller med en stavblender. Pas på med at blende den varme suppe, da det kan give skoldninger, hvis låget hopper af. Man kan evt. tage det lille låg af blenderen og dække hullet til med et viskestykke, men der blendes. 

Smag suppen til med salt og peber en sidste gang, og server den brændvarm med det ønskede tilbehør.

Velbekomme

NB. Man kan få blendere som f.eks. Vitamix, som gør det muligt at blende varme supper uden problemer.

Grilled Oysters

Appetizer, BBQ, Dinner, Fish & seafoodTove Balle-PedersenComment
Grilled Oysters

Grilled Oysters

I went on a weekend getaway with my hubby. We went to Tomales Bay north of San Francisco. I love getting out of the city, away to small-town USA. Just a few hours driving takes you into the country side. Point Reyes Station is a small town with all the things you need. A few stores, a hole in the wall coffee shop (Toby's coffee bar makes very good lattes!) and a handful of restaurants using mainly local ingredients. 

I hadn't done my research properly, I know that now. I totally missed that we were going to cheese-country, but more about cheese in another post.

The view

The view

The real reason for this trip was to go back to Hog Island Oyster Farm. We went there last year and both of us have been craving their grilled oysters ever since. I know we could get our fix in downtown San Francisco, but it would not be the same. There is something special about sitting on wooden benches eating oysters while enjoying the beautiful view of Tomales Bay.

We brought some oysters back with us. I wanted to try to make these scrumptious grilled oysters at home. And my, oh my, oh my - the home grilled oyster was just as tasty as the ones at Hog Island Oyster Company.

serves 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 12 oysters (small oyster from Hog Island Oyster Company or any local oysters)
  • 1 lemon

Butter:

  • ½ stick (55 g) salted butter, cold
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon or whiskey
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped chipotle chilies in adobo-sauce
  • 1 sprinkle of salt
  • 2-3 garlic cloves

And:

  • 1 knife for shucking the oyster (I used a Dexter-Russell)
  • salt for the serving plate

Direction:

Dissolve the sugar in the bourbon/whiskey. Add all ingredients to the a food-processor and mix until you have a smooth paste. Chill the butter until semi firm.

At the grill:

Heat your grill to a medium heat (400℉/200℃)

Shuck the oysters like in this video.

Place about ½ teaspoon of the butter in the open oyster and place them on the grill. Close the lid and peak a few times for the butter to melt and the liquid to start bubbling, let the oysters bubble away for about a minutes. Remove from the grill and let them cool for a brief moment before eating.