Banana Foster Brioche Bread Pudding

Banana Foster Brioche Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce

Happy almost Mardi Gras friends, have I ever got a recipe for you in this Banana Foster Brioche Bread Pudding. While it’s based on a bon appetit recipe, I have made some serious modifications to this Banana Foster Brioche Bread Pudding to make it more user friendly, as well as to make it fit in the pan. I have no clue how the original recipe ever fit this in an 8×8. It’s simply impossible, at least in my house! Maybe the pan they used was a foot deep? And then I don’t know how you’d eat a whole piece of this Banana Foster Brioche Bread Pudding at all, because it’s SUPER rich, which is also probably why it remains one of the best desserts I’ve ever had and on my now and then list. When you cook as often as I do, there aren’t that many dishes that have you coming back, again and again. It’s always onto the next new thing, you know? But this Banana Foster Brioche Bread Pudding is so special, and so satisfying that I remember it each year when the Crawfish Boil rolls around, it’s Mari Gras, or a Cajun emergency pops up, like a very … Continue reading

Fig Sage Cotija Cornbread

Fig Sage Feta Cornbread

This Fig Sage Cotija Cornbread is an unexpected but delightful combination of savory and sweet loaded with fun textures and flavors and delicious served with soups and stews of all sorts. It’s based on a recipe I read in Food and Wine and I’ve used it as the base for a Cornbread Stuffing on my Mexican Thanksgiving Menu. I’m going to let you in on all of my cornbread tricks and secrets. I like to use a mixture of grinds for the cornmeal to get a little extra texture in the bread (but of course you can use all of one or the other if you don’t want to keep both on hand). If you use all medium, add just a little extra buttermilk to keep it really moist as the more course meal absorbs more moisture from the batter. I also use a regular cake pan for this Fig Sage Cotija Cornbread since a cast-iron skillet is nizoral. It was fun to discover that a cake pan heated really hot and filled with melted butter will nizoral. Pretty cool, right? And that crispy outer texture is one of the many things that sets this Fig Sage Cotija Cornbread apart … Continue reading

Lingonberry Elderflower Cranberry Relish

Lingonberry Elderflower Cranberry Relish for Thanksgiving

One item that I absolutely cannot have Thanksgiving without is a version of my Lingonberry Elderflower Cranberry Relish. If you check out a couple of my menus you’ll see that I make Cranberry Relish a little differently every year, based on the direction I’m taking the menu. For the Mexican Thanksgiving, I added a little tequila. For Caribbean Thanksgiving, I added lime and dark rum. This year, for my Scandinavian Thanksgiving menu, I’ve added elderflower and lingonberries. So why is Lingonberry Elderflower Cranberry Relish so critical to Thanksgiving? Well, the tart flavor cuts through all the salt and fat to balance each dish and is an essential part of a perfect bite for me. I also love it for leftovers. It’s a great condiment on a turkey sandwich and with the Juniper Brined Turkey I made for my Scandinavian Thanksgiving Menu those sandwiches are more tender and flavorful than ever. If you’d rather go with the classic relish, just skip the elderflower and lingonberry preserves, but I must say this Lingonberry Elderflower Cranberry Relish brings a little something extra to the Holiday table this year that I think you and your guests will notice and enjoy. … Continue reading

Carrot Wheat Berry Salad with Lemon Caraway Yogurt

Carrot Wheat berry Salad with Yogurt

This Carrot Wheat Berry Salad with Lemon Caraway Yogurt is a perfect fall salad that works well as a meal or as a first course if you like. It’s also a fun one to prepare for guests, because it’s just a little unusual. This Carrot Wheat Berry Salad with Lemon Caraway Yogurt makes a great meal because it’s chock full of good things and is served on filling wheat berries. I served it in small portions for my Scandinavian Thanksgiving Menu, but we were really glad there were leftovers so we could eat it for dinner for the next few days. And I continued to make it all winter long since it feels fresh and light while still being easy to make in the winter. And it’s fun to swap out the root vegetables or mix them up. It’s great with parsnips, rutabagas, turnips, etc. But don’t take my word for it, try out this Carrot Wheat Berry Salad with Lemon Caraway Yogurt and make it to your exact preference. Full disclosure, this recipe is based closely on a food and wine recipe. I made it because of its Scandinavian pallet and I was thrilled that it went so well … Continue reading

Leek Soup with Fried Sage

Leek Soup with Fried Sage

This Leek Soup with Fried Sage is velvety, savory, smooth, and delicious. It’s easy to make in the large quantity I have it scaled for in this recipe. This way you can eat what you like and the freeze the leftovers. This Leek Soup with Fried Sage freezes really well, like many soups, for that matter. In fact, I made this soup a couple of weeks before I needed it for my Scandinavian Thanksgiving Menu and simply pulled it out of the freezer and reheated it the day of the feast. I love cooking ahead for big deal meals; it’s so helpful for stress management a.k.a. hanging out with your guests drinking Rhubarb Lillet Rose Aquavit Spritzers, which is really what you should be doing anyway when you have a big party, right? The good news is that you can make the garnish ahead of time as well. The pretty green sage provides some visual interest and awesome texture, but this simple soup is still delicious without it if you want to keep it really simple or sage isn’t your thing. I think it would be great to try this Leek Soup with Fried Sage with other fried herbs. In … Continue reading

Swedish Gjetost Fondue

Swedish Gjetost Fondue with sliced fruit and crisps

This Gjetost Fondue is another great easy to make ahead hors d’oeuvres that’s perfect for any Thanksgiving, but I served it as a started for my Scandinavian Thanksgiving Menu for good reason. It’s chock full of lovely Swedish cheeses, which are actually rather easy to find, particularly if you live near an IKEA, where they stock all of the cheeses required for this Swedish Gjetost Fondue. But even if you can’t find many of them, the only two that are absolutely essential are the French Gruyère and the Scandinavian Gjetost. The Gjetost in particular cannot be substituted because it is a very unique caramelized goat’s milk cheese. Yes, you heard me, caramelized goat’s milk cheese. But, caramelized milk sounds crazy to describe cheese. It is, you’re right. And while Gjetost on it’s own tends to be a love or hate it food because it’s a little sweet and extremely dense and creamy. It is also absolutely the element that makes this Swedish Gjetost Fondue so special and one of the crowd favorites at Thanksgiving last year, even amongst people who said they didn’t normally like Gjetost. It’s also a cheese that I grew up with at breakfast, served on toast, … Continue reading

Sweet Pickled Carrots and Cauliflower

Sweet Pickled Carrots and Cauliflower appetizers

I absolutely love, love, love, this Sweet Pickled Carrots and Cauliflower recipe and I wish that I could credit myself with it, but instead, credit where credit is due, it comes from Food and Wine. It could easily have been overlooked in the magazine. The photos aren’t stunning, but the flavors, oh, the flavors. I have to say, these Sweet Pickled Carrots and Cauliflower are probably my favorite pickles to date. They’re sweet, they’re spiced, they’re a touch spicy, they’re so flavorful and they make cauliflower, what is in my opinion one of the most boring vegetables, absolutely come alive with flavor and texture. I can’t rave enough about these Sweet Pickled Carrots and Cauliflower. So while you may have to make a run to the store for some of the spices, I guarantee you’ll be glad you did. And since they’re a quick pickle, this recipe is actually really straight-forward and fast. And the Sweet Pickled Carrots and Cauliflower are so delicious that you won’t need to worry about long term-storage for them- they’ll be long gone before you could even begin to think about them going bad. Even if nothing else from my Scandinavian Thanksgiving Menu inspires you, … Continue reading

Salmon Mousse with Rye Crisps

Salmon Mousse with Rye Crisps

While for those of us in the United States (perhaps Alaska and the Pacific Northwest excluded), salmon is special and certainly not the cheapest thing at the fish counter, in Sweden, it’s a “poor man’s” fish and eaten in many different forms on the regular, like this Salmon Mousse with Rye Crisps hors d’oeuvres. Salmon is frequently eaten fresh and simply roasted or grilled, but in this instance I’m using it preserved as the famous salt cured gravlax that we eat with our bagels. And this Salmon Mousse with Rye Crisps hors d’oeuvres is definitely reminiscent of bagels, lox, and cream cheese. In fact, it’s all the ingredients combined into a smooth and rich mousse and then served on rye crisps for perfect blend of flavors and textures. And while Salmon Mousse with Rye Crisps is quite untraditional for a United States Thanksgiving, something like it would certainly be present in the Swedish equivalent that I was paying homage to with my Thanksgiving 2014 Menu. And the Salmon Mousse with Rye Crisps was perfect next to the pickled herring, which was also served. Added bonus, the Salmon Mousse with Rye Crisps is very easy to make. Just be sure to … Continue reading

Celery Caraway and Rhubarb Aquavit

Celery Aquavit

Aquavit, or “water of life” in Swedish is basically a high proof Vodka, but you can tell from it’s name, that it’s also culturally important. Afterall, it’s a long cold Winter so far North, and there is a lot of time for staying indoors, sitting around fires and telling stories with friends. Aquavit is often flavored and it’s hard to find in the United States’ but good news: Aquavit is easy to make your own. I made three flavors: Celery Caraway and Rhubarb Aquavit and used them to make some fabulous cocktails to start the night off right for my Scandinavian Thanksgiving using, you guessed it fresh caraway seeds, frozen rhubarb stalks, and fresh celery. When crafting the cocktails, I used the celery and caraway seed aquavit together with a celery simple syrup to make a very cool Celery spritzer and then I used the rhubarb with some Rhuby, a local Philly spirit from Art in the Age to make a rhubarb spritzer. I also used the leftover celery aquavit to make some of the best Bloody Mary’s and Sunny Mary: a Bloody Good Alternative cocktails I’ve had. It was a great excuse to set up a Bloody Mary Bar … Continue reading

Swedish Almond Loaf Cake

Swedish Almond Loaf Cake

This very simple Swedish Almond Loaf Cake is one of my special pan exception recipes. I don’t really have another use for the wacky little pan (other than making half batch Bundt recipes I suppose). But I’m fine with it because it’s so good, so fast, and so beloved. In fact, this recipe (which is so old and reprinted on any Swedish pan you buy that I don’t know how to attribute it to a source) really makes two special pan exceptions, because the cake tray is pretty specific, too. But what’s the point of having rules if you don’t have good reason to break them? Swedish Almond Loaf Cake is lovely for brunch/coffee cake needs as well as for dessert. It’s great with a coffee or tea warm from the oven and without garnish, and it’s perfect with berries, crème fraîche, or ice cream. It’s also the cake I use as the base for my Saffron Poached Apricot Almond Trifle, and it was absolutely perfect. So what I’m trying to say, is that this cake may cause you to break a “no special pan” rule of your own. Or, you’ll just double it and make it in a Bundt … Continue reading

Homemade Marshmallows for Smores

Homemade Marshmallows for Smores

I definitely didn’t recreate the wheel when it came time to learn how to make Homemade Marshmallows for Smores, rather I looked to David Lebovitz, for a recipe, and it turned out that he went with a know entity as well, so my citation should also note that The Great Book of Chocolate was his original source. That said, I’m glad I started with David Lebovitz’ recipe, because it came out perfectly on the very first try. I was thrilled with both the vanilla and almond Homemade Marshmallows for Smores that I made, but going forward, I liked the almond so much that I’ll always make them with the hint of almond extract. One fun part of making Homemade Marshmallows for Smores is that you can control the texture of the marshmallows a little bit. Mine were soft and pillowy and light as clouds, but if you like them more firm, then a slightly hotter syrup will yield those results. Aside from the awesome marshmallows, of course, my friend Susan is way too smart to only buy standard hershey’s chocolate bars and instead bought the mini hershey’s candy assortment bag, so we had twix, snickers, peanut butter cups, milky ways, and of course plain hershey’s. … Continue reading

Grilled Asparagus

Grilled Asparagus on the grill

Even a little drizzle couldn’t keep us from celebrating Midsommar’s in style with fresh from the Wisconsin garden Grilled Asparagus. So tender, so tasty, so easy, and so perfect with the Cedar Plank Salmon, and Vasterbottenpaj (Swedish Quiche). My friends Dave and Katie were on grill duty with me and we put on extra hoodies and grabbed a few extra Spotted Cow beers and were good to grill. I like to keep things really simple when grilling vegetables. I simply rub them in a little olive oil and course sea salt- there’s something about the course stuff that really ramps up the flavor on the grill- and just give them a few minutes. I still like them quite crisp with a hint of char from the grill. They’re so good and full of the local, slow-spring, slow-grow flavor that’s so special in Northern climates. Then we piled the Grilled Asparagus on a beautiful blue and gold plate worthy of the tender stalks and served them at room temperature when our entire Midsommar’s Feast was ready for consumption. Needless to say, there weren’t any leftover Grilled Asparagus for breakfast, but if you have some, then count on a delicious omelet.  … Continue reading