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

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

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

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

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

Vasterbottenpaj Swedish Quiche

Vasterbottenpaj Swedish Quiche sliced

It feels a little ominous to post my Vasterbottenpaj (Swedish Quiche) the day before the US v. Sweden Women’s World Cup game. While I love celebrating my Swedish heritage, I have to admit that when it comes to sports, I’m USA all the way. That said, it’s time to start gearing up for my Midsommar Menu, and first up is this Vasterbottenpaj (Swedish Quiche). I based my Vasterbottenpaj (Swedish Quiche) on a couple of Swedish recipes (One and Two), so I left in the metric amounts so you can see the conversions, because I think it’s fun. That said, I also provided the standard amounts as well. You’ll notice they’re not quite your typical amounts. The good news is, this Vasterbottenpaj (Swedish Quiche) isn’t the type of recipe that requires extreme precision. Also, don’t let the foreign cheese intimidate you. It’s very hard to find these days, so check out the note at the bottom on how to get a good substitute for the flavor and texture. I think one of the best lessons to be learned from these recipes is the addition of crème fraîche into the filling. It provides a richness and tang that I absolutely love and … 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

Crunchy Blueberry Avocado Salad

Crunchy Blueberry Avocado Salad

This Crunchy Blueberry Avocado Salad is one of those super simple, but “best thing ever” recipes, especially if you have some pistachio brittle on hand, which you should, since I’m sure I convinced you to make it for my Citrus Flowers with Spicy Pistachio Brittle. It’s really easy to throw together with a very simple lime vinaigrette. But of course, it’s wonderful with any citrus dressing really. We’ve had it with grapefruit, blood orange and Meyer lemon depending on what I have on hand. This salad was served recently for Valentine’s Day Brunch, but of course, it isn’t really season specific unless you live in California. Otherwise, you may as well eat it in the winter, since the avocados have to be shipped in year ’round. I love the combination of blueberries, avocados and pistachios, and the hint of spice from the pistachio brittle is perfect for this rather sweet salad. I serve this Crunchy Blueberry Avocado Salad over spinach leaves most often, but of course it’s great with any green. Another favorite is wilted or roasted kale. This Crunchy Blueberry Avocado Salad is also a great weeknight dinner salad; between the avocados and the nuts, it’s plenty filling- just … Continue reading

Shallot Gruyère Quiche

Shallot Gruyere Quiche with root vegetable salad

This extra-special Shallot Gruyère Quiche is perfect for a special occasion, like my Valentine’s Day Brunch. It’s made with lots of butter, cream and eggs, so it’s not an everyday sort of thing. In general, I tend to make frittatas and crustless quiche as they’re easy and healthy menu items to make ahead for guests and even quick weekday breakfast, but this quiche is neither of those things. There’s a lot of slow cooking, to the point where I often make the crust and prep the shallots a day ahead. And healthy, not so much; but it’s well spent decadence. It is memorable; perhaps the best quiche you’ve every had? The crust is feather light, the filling is flavorful and melts in your mouth- pillowy eggs and melted gruyère. Did I mention it’s worth the trouble and the calories? I did? Well good, because it really is. A version of this Shallot Gruyère Quiche came from my friend Melanie (of Mel’s granola fame). It’s from an old cookbook her mother had that was a collection of home recipes. Unfortunately that’s all she knew about it and I can’t really give credit where credit is due. I have modified it extensively … Continue reading

Butter Bean Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

Butter Bean Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette marinating

I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to get around to making this Butter Bean Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette. I had something similar to it last Spring at the Fremont Diner and I absolutely loved it. I’ve bought the various ingredients many times in the past year or so, but it seems like I can never keep them all in the house at the same time. First I buy the fennel and then use it up roasting it with tomatoes and garlic for a quick pasta dish. Then I buy beets but use them up for salad or bruschetta. Then I buy beans but end up making them into basil bean spread. What can I say? Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of why something is in your fridge. But I finally made this Butter Bean Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette and I’m so glad that I did. Since I finally held the initial salad together, we’ve had it multiple times. And each time I make it, I’m as grateful for the leftovers and I am for the salad itself, which is saying something, because too many salads make terrible leftovers. I grilled some sweet Italian chicken … Continue reading