Wednesday, January 30, 2008

sweden: open face

Just some thoughts.
It has been hard to ignore the Swedes' love for open face sandwiches. They range from the simple cheese to the heartier meatball with beet salad. One of the first sandwiches I attempted to eat was an open face potato salad with roast beef and veggies. To date, that is the messiest and saltiest meal I've had in this country.
Now that I've become more comfortable in Swedish grocery stores, I've been able to take full advantage of their routine cuisine (nice rhyme, I know). But really, the variety of bread and crispbread (knackerbröd) is astounding. Equally as glorious is the plethora of common toppings. There are the familiar: jam (often lingonberry or marmalade), butter, cheese, cold cuts (very expensive), salami, sausage. And the enticing: caviar (typically red or black), tubed caviar (many flavors, including dill, egg, and banana), tubed paté, messmör (a sweet, spreadable product made from whey). Ok, there are likely more, but that list is comprehensive enough for my first two weeks here.

One of the most common and popular homemade sandwiches: caviar and sliced egg. You won't find this often in cafés or restaurants, but this is what people here eat for a quick, homemade breakfast, lunch, snack, and dare I say...fika (the ever-so-popular coffee break). I have tried adapting caviar to my usual, buttery-delicious, fried egg sandwich. I must admit, the Swedish version is a winner.

Knackerbröd may very well be the culinary backbone of Sweden. Even if it isn't being crunched at, one might ask "Can something be 'good' food if it can't be eaten on knackerbröd?". The answer: slice thin and pile high. It seems like every type of imaginable cuisine is, in some degree, popular here. And yes, if prepared properly, they can all be enjoyed on crisp bread. Oh, and you dont like your crisp break too robust? Pick up a thin, delicate variety. Added omega-3's? They have that too. Knackerbröd comes in all shapes, sizes, weights, flavor, and nutrition levels.

More to come

breakfast: oatmeal

A simple solution.

Since arriving in Sweden, it has been all but impossible to avoid the high price of food. But, seeing that I value a sound breakfast, I have fashioned a simple, wholesome solution: oatmeal. It's an unrefined carbohydrate, meaning it has a better portion of minerals, and it takes longer to break down, meaning you feel fuller for longer and energy is extracted for a longer span. Oatmeal by itself may be somewhat bland. Enter: banana. Cut into thin slices, it mixes well with the oats and boosts flavor and sweetness. A ripe pear, cut into small bits also works well. I've also tried pan frying apples and fresh ginger.

Other additives: lingonberry jam. (or any type of jam/jelly/preserve/marmalade). CINNAMON! butter? maybe

Oh, and what breakfast is complete without a tall coffee? not mine

banana! lingonberry!

apples and ginger!

Sunday, January 27, 2008


For the first time ever, I made latkes. Yes, I have helped my mother and grandmother prepare and fry potato pancakes throughout my life, but this was all me. And, despite memory of a somewhat long process, this only took 45 minutes from start to clean plate. While this short prep time is likely due to cooking a la solo, nevertheless, it has re-established my noshing desires. This dinner was 20 years in the making. More latkes!

note: no recipe was used. just love.
::1 medium sized potato, grated
::1/2 yellow onion, grated
::1 clove garlic minced (yes, garlic isn't a traditional ingredient, but I'm an addict)
::2 eggs
::1/4 c milk
::1/3 c flour

now for the hard part?

-mix all the ingredients together.
-pan fry with ample butter until crisp

because this was a spur of the moment meal, I was not adequately prepared with either sour cream or applesauce. So, in accordance with Swedish cultural practice, I used lingonberry jam. Turns out: delicious. Think cranberry, but smaller, and a more brief, subtle sour.

I will make these again soon.
...sweet potato? turnip? carrot? caviar? too Swedish

Thursday, January 24, 2008

quick Sweet Potato soup

I've been cooking lots of dishes recently with only a few ingredients. Though I primarily subsist on garlic, onion, mushroom, potato, knackerbrod, and cheese, I recently picked up a few small sweet potatoes. Though root vegetables, especially carrots and potatoes are very common cuisine in these parts (Sweden, for those of you were not aware of my recent transplant), sweet potatoes are very uncommon. In fact, only one of at least six markets in walking distance carries them.

nearly soup:

Today, though not cold (just below 40º), I was in the mood for something warm and slurpable. So,

::1 small sweet potato diced (leave on skin)
::1 small potato (leave on skin)
::1/2 small onion minced
::1 clove garlic (at least!) minced
::1-2 c water
::1/2 c milk

-Cook onion with butter until tender then add garlic.
-Season with salt, pepper, and cinnamon and cook for additional moment
-Add water, and potato (sweet and regular), cover for about 10 minutes
-Rough smash and add milk before serving.

I like this soup.

Friday, January 4, 2008

eggnog pancakes

There was still eggnog from Christmas in my parents' fridge, so I used it to make some pancakes. Substitute it for milk and add cinnamon and nutmeg. Maybe consider mixing in some holiday/winter beer/ale just before frying.

::1 c flour (whole wheat flour works great too)
::2 T sugar
::2 t baking powder
::1 t salt
::2 eggs
::1 c eggnog
:: 3-4 T melted butter

Mix dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients. Mix dry and wet. Thin out with milk if necessary.