Ramp Butter Duck Breast Tartine

Ramp Butter Duck Breast Tartines

A Ramp Butter Duck Breast Tartine just might be the best possible way to wish a Happy Mother’s Day! to the ones you love best. It’s fun to make and even more fun to eat. The crunchy, sweet and savory toast slathered in decadent ramp butter and topped with thin slices of grilled duck breast are rich and flavorful. A drizzle of aged balsamic seals the deal. This lovely Ramp Butter Duck Breast Tartine works equally well when served as a rich dinner or as a slightly lighter appetizer (okay, it’s really not any lighter, you just eat less of it). I like pre-slicing the tartine for my guests because when left intact, the duck breast pieces are hard to bite and it makes eating the Ramp Butter Duck Breast Tartine just a little too messy a prospect, especially considering the elegance of the dish. But four little pieces of the Ramp Butter Duck Breast Tartine are the perfect solution. I feel like I should warn you so that you can best plan ahead, this tartine is so good, it’s on my list of dishes worthy of the wine cellar collection. So if you don’t have one handy, or in … Continue reading

Grilled Ramp Butter

Grilled Ramp Butter on buckwheat cherry bread

While Grilled Ramp Butter, isn’t actually a meal in and of itself, and it’s really simple, just two ingredients: grilled ramps processed with salted cultured butter, I think it’s the ultimate in decadent Spring condiments. This delicious butter is amazing on grainy toast with a poached egg, a slice of fancy cheese, a little ham, or, it’s the base for my amazing duck tartines. Keep this Grilled Ramp Butter in the fridge for a week or so and you’ll find it dangerously disappears. A tablespoon will slip into the spring peas you make as a side for dinner, a teaspoon will be on a late afternoon piece of toast with a sliver of good parm. A dallop will land in a cup of store-bought soup. This Grilled Ramp Butter is a special spring treat that helps make ramps season (one of my all-time favorite seasons) last just a little longer. Because, of course, if you haven’t eaten it all too quickly, Grilled Ramp Butter could also be squirreled away in the freezer. … Continue reading

Lemon Toasted Caraway Seeds

Carrot Wheat berry Salad with Yogurt lemon zest caraway seeds

Believe it or not, these Lemon Toasted Caraway Seeds are a simple and delicious snack that makes them worth keeping around just for the sake of delicious and healthy snacks. I make them ½ to 1 cup at a time, and munch on them when I want something satisfying but healthy. Seeds are typically lower in calories and fat than nuts, but they pack the same crunch. The other reason I make these Lemon Toasted Caraway Seeds? I routinely use them to brighten up a boring salad- or even really exciting ones like my Kale Salad with Toasted Hazelnuts and my Carrot Wheat Berry Salad with Yogurt. Even if you’re not feeling them as a snack, you’re going to want to make them for salads, and you certainly don’t have to make them in bulk; they’re still easy to make and totally worth it even if you’re just working on a couple of tablespoons. The oil and zest don’t need to be exact, so just cut it down to your liking. But once you make these Lemon Toasted Caraway Seeds once, you’ll probably want to keep them around. The fragrant lemon, the hint of oil that brings out the caraway, and … 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

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

Olive Honeydew Winter Summer Salad

Olive Honeydew Winter Summer Salad

This Olive Honeydew Winter Summer Salad is one of those amazing recipes that is fitting in both of the odd extremes of winter and summer. While a summer melon makes it burst with the gorgeous flavor only possible in summer fruit, the fennel, olives, and orange which are all readily available winter ingredients make this a salad I still think to prepare deep in the Winter. And as it finally warms up around here enough to make me more than dream of crisp mineral-y white wine and balmy summer night air heavy with the smell of barbeque and citronella (doesn’t that sounds wonderful as you sweep off your patios and plant your annuals?) I find myself making this salad early this year. After all, it truly was a long winter and I’m ready even if the weather isn’t quite. So, I will have to eat it inside with a glass of pinot instead… what a tragedy. The salt and sweet and bitter flavors are so perfectly balanced in the way of many Mediterranean dishes. Prosciutto Melone comes to mind. And even the Caprese. There’s something about simple but complex salads that Mediterraneans just “get” better than anyone else and this … Continue reading

Citrus Flowers with Spicy Pistachio Brittle

Citrus Flowers with Spicy Pistachio Brittle cara cara oranges

I’m sure you have no need for this Citrus Flowers with Spicy Pistachio Brittle recipe. Afterall, I’m fairly certain I’m the only person on the planet who wants some sort of dessert every single night whether they went to the gym or not. Right? Cue eye roll. Because I don’t always do as I’m supposed to and go to the gym, or eat perfectly, I need to have recipes on hand that satisfy my dessert cravings without breaking the caloric bank so to speak. This is one of those desserts. The beautiful rainbow of citrus feeds your eyes and your taste buds, and the little hint of spice, salt and more from the pistachios helps you know you’ve had dessert. This dessert is also easy to whip up at a moment’s notice. Simply keep the extra brittle in a jar in the pantry and this time of year, in the height of citrus season, your fruit basket is probably full of oranges anyway, right? Win, win, win. A dollop of ricotta or crème fraîche on top makes my Citrus Flowers with Spicy Pistachio Brittle guest worthy. And it’s not like you need to save this one for virtuous only menus. It’s … Continue reading

Balsamic Roasted Parsnips

Balsamic Roasted Parsnips

Sometimes it’s really hard to stay interested in salad and vegetables in the cold, dark or winter, but keeping things like these Balsamic Roasted Parsnips around can really help. I like to roast a big pan of veggies a couple of days a week and then I have them to reheat for quick snacks and sides. Roasting veggies is easy, but time consuming, and if you have lots of extras, then reheating make delicious roast veggies an easy weeknight option. Additionally, it’s more enjoyable to eat salads when you have some tasty roast veggies to pile on the greens. I don’t know about you, but this time of year I seem to want carbs and stews and soups, not greens and veggies. I love parsnips as a salad topping choice because of their sweetness. They balance perfectly with spicy greens and taste great with nuts and cheeses. This preparation keeps it really simple with just olive oil and sea salt in the pan with the parsnips. When you remove the parsnips from the oven, toss them with some aged balsamic for a simple but delicious flavor. And this simple seasoning of these Balsamic Roasted Parsnips form a great base for … Continue reading

Roasted Cauliflower Hazelnut Celery Salad via Jerusalem

Roasted Cauliflower Hazelnut Celery Salad via Jerusalem

This Roasted Cauliflower Hazelnut Celery Salad via Jerusalem is one of my very favorite recipes, from one of my very favorite cookbooks from recent years. I have made, or tasted many of the recipes from this book, as the book has been very popular amongst my cooking and entertaining friends, but there’s something about this salad. I have made this Roasted Cauliflower Hazelnut Celery Salad via Jerusalem multiple times, which for a person who has to cook constantly and come up with new recipes of her own almost as frequently, repeating a recipes says something big. Basically, I really love this Roasted Cauliflower Hazelnut Celery Salad via Jerusalem and of course was quick to include in on the menu for my Jerusalem Cookbook Dinner Party. It’s absolutely everything that’s right about winter cooking, and more importantly, a winter salad. And you get to show off your new Pomegranate opening techniques when you make this Roasted Cauliflower Hazelnut Celery Salad via Jerusalem. Fun, right? … Continue reading

Baba Ganoush via Jerusalem

Baba Ganoush via Jerusalem with pita chips

Ok, you got me, this Baba Ganoush via Jerusalem isn’t strictly Baba Ganoush. The flavor profile is really different with the lack of tomatoes and onions in the eggplant base. That said, the title that Jerusalem chooses (Charred Eggplant Salad with…), just distracts me from the fact that this is, at least to me, a gussied up and very modern take on the classic dish. I love this Baba Ganoush via Jerusalem for so many reasons, perhaps best of all is the brilliant choice to add pomegranate kernals to the mix. In winter, the bright ruby jewels are a welcome sight contrasted with the bright lemon zest and intensely green herbs. As the kernals explode in your mouth with little bursts of tart juice, they contrast the smokey, salty, garlicky goodness of the eggplant. This is a dish where skimping on the olive oil both in quantity and quality isn’t the way to go. It adds so much body and flavor to the Baba Ganoush via Jerusalem that you should consider it carefully as an ingredient. I think I try a different olive oil every time I make this dish, and I still haven’t settled upon my favorite. It’s a … Continue reading