Baked German Cherry Almond Pancakes

Baked German Cherry Almond Pancakes

As many Summer stories do, at least for me, this one, the story of the Baked German Cherry Almond Pancakes begins with a large bowl of cherries. I pitted the cherries and then what to do? It turns out, wait for your birthday, which isn’t in the summer at all. I first made these Baked German Cherry Almond Pancakes last summer and then never quite got them up and posted. But this year on December 10th, for my birthday, I was inspired to make a special breakfast for one. I love baked German pancakes of all flavors. I like the apple ones in the fall, blueberry is a particular favorite, but this cherry almond one is fit for nizoral. And since it can be made with fresh cherries when they’re abundant in the summer, or with the special flown in from Chile cherries in the winter, or even from frozen cherries if you’re far from the fancy flown in from Chile sort of markets, it’s something you can make special to celebrate all year long. No matter when you make it, or what cherries you’re using, you’ll love these Baked German Cherry Almond Pancakes. … Continue reading

Celery Aquavit Spritzer

Celery Aquavit spritzer

I find that a good cocktail, while not essential, is a great social lubricant to get a party started off right, and this Celery Aquavit Spritzer certainly set the right tone when paired with a Rhubarb Lillet Rose Spritzer at the beginning of my Scandinavian Thanksgiving Menu. It’s light, bright, and very dry, which goes well with the Gjetost fondue, pickled carrots and cauliflower, and salmon mousse, as well as the fact that Thanksgiving is a long night with lots of courses! It’s also another fun excuse to use the Celery and Caraway Aquavit I made. I love serving savory cocktails, like this Celery Aquavit Spritzer because they’re a little unexpected by guests, which makes them all the more fun. And this Celery Aquavit Spritzer is great for improvising and trying new things. It makes a great martini shaken and served up with a lemon twist (and no club soda). I think a tiny bit of dill, or even a dill simple syrup in place of the celery would be a great variation as well but I haven’t yet tried it out. And whether this Celery Aquavit Spritzer is shaken or stirred, it’s a delicious drink that will get any party … Continue reading

Cedar Plank Salmon with Cherry Glaze

Cedar Plank Salmon with Cherry Glaze ready for grill

Cedar Plank Salmon with Cherry Glaze is quite straight forward, in terms of recipe; there’s just not much to it. Most of the drama and the flavor comes from the cedar planks themselves. That said, there is lots of drama and flavor, both of which make Cedar Plank Salmon with Cherry Glaze a perfect dish for parties all summer long. Be it the 4th of July, Midsommar’s or just a Saturday night with a few friends over you’re going to have fun preparing it to your guests amazement and only you will know how simple it is. You will have to plan ahead a bit to make sure you have appropriate cedar planks around as you probably can’t just grab them at your local grocery store, but other than that, my Cedar Plank Salmon with Cherry Glaze preparation is straight forward and really delicious. I first made Cedar Plank Salmon with Cherry Glaze for a Midsommar’s party as both salmon and cedar are very Scandinavian. The cherry glaze came about because I was in Door County for the solstice and since we were sipping on Door County Cherry Spritzers anyway… well, you see where I’m headed. But the flavor was so great … 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

Door County Cherry Spritzer

Door County Cherry Spritzer

If you happen to live somewhere where Door County Cherry Juice is available, you probably already make a version of this Door County Cherry Spritzer. It’s a no brainer to make for summer parties since it’s delicious and an easy sipper that you can adjust to suit your individual sweetness, booziness, and sparkliness preferences. It also makes a great Door County Cherry Spritzer cocktail for teetotalers and kids alike. I keep this one on the tame side and let guests amp it up if they like because it goes down easy and I try to help friends stay out of trouble, but you don’t have to be so kind. I also have a few modifications for you if you can’t find sweetened Cherry juice, etc. Everyone agreed that my Door County Cherry Spritzer was a great way to get our Midsommar’s Eve Party started, even the staunch beer drinkers. And that’s saying something when there’s plenty of New Glarus Spotted Cow around to tempt people. It goes well with salty hors d’oeuvres in particular because of the sweet and tart elements, so don’t be afraid to pair this Door County Cherry Spritzer with all sorts of cheese, pretzels, and even things like smoked fish dips.  … Continue reading

Daisy Crowns for Midsommars

Daisy Crowns for Midsommars Eve

Growing up in a Scandinavian community, especially a Northern one that can relate to the Scandinavian obsession with light and sun, you learn about the importance of Midsommar’s Eve. With the special night comes essential Daisy Crowns for Midsommar’s. While of course you can make your crowns with any flowers, my dad cut us a giant bucket full of daisies, which I thought were perfect for the occasion. Their sunny centers decorated our drizzly night and the sturdy but pliable stalks made for easy braiding for first time wreathe makers. I have always carried with me that the wreathes are important to wear throughout the party, late into the night, until it’s time to dance and sing around the fire. We always burned the wreathes just before we put the fire out and headed to bed to keep the witches away. As I researched this tradition before I wrote this post, I discovered that perhaps this particular purpose (fear of witches) was specific to my family and friends. I definitely found lots of evidence that they are traditionally burned late at night, but nothing about the witches. Perhaps a reader will have further insight into the origin of burning the wreathes? Whatever the purpose, the … Continue reading

Cucumber Lychee Pimm’s Cups

Cucumber Lychee Pimms Cups with thai basil

Finally, picnic season is fully upon us and these Cucumber Lychee Pimm’s Cups are perfect for a leisurely afternoon picnic. In fact, I have them in mind as the light, low-alcohol cocktail for my English Polo Picnic Menu. After all, next weekend there’s a match in Jersey City and yours truly intends to be there, friends and picnic in tow, including these Cucumber Lychee Pimm’s Cups. The distinctively subtle cucumbers, lychee and thai basil muddles perfectly into herbaceous flavors of the Pimm’s No. 1 liquor. A little lychee syrup goes a long way to sweeten it up just a touch, and the effervescence from the sparkling water keeps the drink light and refreshing. Serve these Cucumber Lychee Pimm’s Cups with lots of ice, plenty of gorgeous lychees, cucumbers and thai basil for garnish and they’ll help you keep the party going all afternoon long. As the drink for my Polo Picnic Menu, I paired these Cucumber Lychee Pimm’s Cups with my Salmon Burgers with Curry Mayo and Saffron Poached Apricot Almond Trifle. It’s hard to tell you which dish stole the show since leftovers were few and far between, but I will say that even the non-cocktail drinkers got on … Continue reading

Cucumber Mint Lime Agua Fresca

Cucumber Mint Lime Agua Fresca with mint leaves

We’ve got leaves, we’ve got flowers, we’ve even got some legitimately hot days head our way and since it seems I’m determined to skip right into Summer this year, we’ve got refreshing Cucumber Mint Lime Agua Fresca just in time for Cinco de Mayo. In Spanish, “agua fresca” means cool waters, and I first really learned about the wonder that is agua fresca living in the San Francisco Bay Area, where every good burrito stand has some form of house agua fresca that they serve to counter the heat of the hot weather and the spicy food. I’ve had a lot of different flavors over the years, but recently a friend of mine made a Cucumber Mint Lime Agua Fresca (like this one) that she had at the restaurant Lemonade in L.A. While I don’t promise that this is their exact recipe, I can promise that I like it a lot, it is delicious and refreshing, and it’s easy to make. And once you make it the first time, you’ll be persuaded to make it often. It’s a great beverage to keep on hand for guests who aren’t imbibing, too. Just serve it in a big pitcher with lots of … 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

Tomatoes on a Fence

Tomatoes on a Fence 3

I’ve now had the pleasure of dining at Blue Hill in New York a couple of times. Last fall, I took my parents when they were in town visiting, and it was the catalyst for these beautiful photographs. Of course the whole meal was wonderful, but to my dad, who is a master craftsman when it comes to all things carving a woodworking, the highlight was the amuse bouche. Tomatoes on a Fence is a tribute to both Blue Hill, and my father, who share the gift of helping others see the art in the beauty of the natural word and appreciation for the nourishment we take from it. The amuse was in many ways, the simplest of things. It featured tiny heirloom vegetables blanched or served raw on a “fence”. Dad was so entranced by the beautiful fence that he made me one for Christmas. It’s definitely not a serving item that I use all the time, as it really does require tiny vegetables to make the scale work, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to share this lovely sculpture with you during the height of heirloom tomato season. The beautiful tomatoes look like precious gems or painstakingly … Continue reading

Stone Fruit Crostada with Rye Crust

Stone Fruit Crostada with Rye Almond Crust lemon verbena ice cream

This Stone Fruit Crostada with Rye Crust is born of many different influences. I love stone fruit season and have been waiting all Summer to do a Peach and Plum dessert. Initially, I thought you might be getting a crisp of some sort, but then I read a really lovely recipe that called for a crust with rye flour in the mix. I loved the dark color and the idea of a more savory and substantially flavored crust. Color me intrigued, right? And as a seasoned lover of rye breads (hello, Swedish Limpa anyone?) I figured I ought to add some almond flour in the mix just to up the Scandinavian ante. The dough was very forgiving and easy to work with and this endeavor definitely turned me on to working with rye flour again in the future with desserts. I’m already scheming on all sorts of citrusy combinations for winter. But I digress. Back to the stone fruits. I have been making tons of refrigerator jam this Summer, and I had some plums at the perfect stage of going bad. Sweetening fruits with jams has long been a favorite sweetening strategy of mine and you get that double whammy … Continue reading

Cherry Almond Gluten Free Muffins

Cherry Almond Gluten Free Muffin cups

When you’re visiting two different friends with Celiac disease in a single day, you definitely bake something gluten free, and if you’re going to see them for breakfast, these Cherry Almond Gluten Free Muffins are a great place to start. If you’ve never baked gluten free before, you’re going to love it for a variety of reasons. The best part about baking gluten free, is baking for gluten free friends. Gluten free friends are appreciative of home baked goods in a way that’s hard to explain, especially when your wares are these divine Cherry Almond Gluten Free Muffins. It has something to do with the fact that people rarely do bake gluten free. Once I knew I wanted to make muffins, the rest of the recipe came together easily as I had an extra cup of cherries just waiting for me in the fridge after cherries were defrosted for a sour cherry pie. I assure you that while they’re gluten free, they should really be called “The Bomb Cherry Almond Muffins,” as I fear billing them as gluten free will turn off some bakers who don’t tend to work with different types of flours. But once you start baking with … Continue reading