Christmas Carol Punch

Christmas Carol Punch with cranberry

This Christmas Carol Punch started a couple of years ago when a friend gifted me a bottle of Sorel. Sorel is one of those made-in-Brooklyn hipster sort of products that is based on old traditional Caribbean recipes. It’s a liquer that’s made with Brazilian clove, Indonesian cassia, Nigerian ginger, Indonesian nutmeg, Moroccan hibiscus, pure cane sugar, and grain alcohol. It took me awhile to figure out how best to work with it. Because of the clove, I’m really only open to it during the winter, but others may not have such a strong seasonal association and find it enjoyable all year. The clove, ginger and nutmeg make the drink just a hint spicy and the hibiscus gives it a lovely red color that enhances the cranberry juice. The Christmas Carol Punch is strong but balanced. It’s got lots of tart, plenty of spice, and just enough sweet to make this go down just a little too easy. Another fun part about this Christmas Carol Punch is that because the cranberry juice, the rum, and even the tequila can really change how the final product tastes, you can experiment until you make the perfect one for your own taste. In fact, … Continue reading

Old School Sugar Cookies with Almond Icing

Old School Sugar Cookies with Almond Icing tree

You may recognize these Old School Sugar Cookies with Almond Icing as my Halloween Sugar Cookies and you’re right. They’re exactly the same. But somehow, when I was looking at the page to make our Old School Sugar Cookies with Almond Icing to give to friends, it simply didn’t feel right. I figured that if I was having a hard time using Halloween pictures to make Christmas cookies, well, probably you were having a hard time, too. Or even worse, not using Dirty Laundry Kitchen to make your Old School Sugar Cookies with Almond Icing at all. Imagine my horror. Today, might have been my favorite time to date making these Old School Sugar Cookies with Almond Icing, because my daughter and her daycare class all helped me out in the kitchen. Each child stamped out their own cookie, waited patiently as they baked, and then tromped back to school where these (unfrosted) cookies were the afternoon snack. Meanwhile I decorated the rest of these Old School Sugar Cookies with Almond Icing. Since I forgot how intense the gel food coloring I use is, I ended up with some seriously intense colors this year. But I really like them. And … Continue reading

Lingonberry Cardamom Tart

Cranberry Almond Lingonberry Torte with creme fraiche

From a technique perspective, this Lingonberry Cardamom Tart is closely based on a Martha Stewart recipe. But I have a confession to make, I’ve never actually made it according to the original instructions. The second I saw it, I knew it was destined for Swedish Thanksgiving greatness. In so many ways, the original recipe waltzes around so many Scandinavian ingredients and flavors and that was enough to pique my interest right away. In my Lingonberry Cardamom Tart I swap in lingonberries wherever possible. I add in cardamom in enough quantity to make sure it doesn’t get lost. And I keep up the rich buttery, almond paste that really makes this dessert feel Swedish to me. I have to admit, anything that requires blind baking, like this Lingonberry Cardamom Tart, I consider to be somewhat of a pain and it better be worth the extra steps. This Lingonberry Cardamom Tart definitely is worth any extra effort. It’s as beautiful as it is rich, tart, sweet, spicy, savory and delicious. The cranberries make this Lingonberry Cardamom Tart wonderful as a Thanksgiving, Christmas, or even Valentine’s Day dessert and everything else about it will soon make it a family favorite. … Continue reading

Dense Walnut Cake

Dense Walnut Cake with blood orange

Go ahead, bake this Dense Walnut Cake today and “Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!” The checkout line at the grocery store was so long that I simply shopped from the line yesterday, so I can tell snowpocalypse or snowmagedon must be upon us. We’re cozied in and ready to enjoy? a massive Philly snow storm, so we’ll definitely need a satisfying treat of some sort to warm up the house and our cold wintery hearts. And when I think about the most wonderful of winter cakes, one of my first thoughts is of this bon appetit recipe, but since it’s about as rich as it gets, I’ve modified the recipe to make it smaller. A full 9×13″ pan of this cake is just a little too much to have around the house unless you have a large party on the way over. Just a little square of this Dense Walnut Cake will perfectly revive you after a winter ski or skate. The cake is not all that sweet, which cements its status securely in Scandinavian baking; we Scandinavians often tend towards fat rather than sugar when it comes to winter treats and this cake certainly follows … Continue reading

Thick and Smooth Fall Apple Butter

Thick and Smooth Fall Apple Butter with croissant

Thick and Smooth Fall Apple Butter is a delight to eat and a cinch to make. And the best part? Thick and Smooth Fall Apple Butter makes fall last all year long if you decide to preserve it. The apples, plus apple cider give it a very concentrated flavor. The cinnamon and cardamom make the thick spread full of spice and flavor. And the dark brown sugar, which is my personal preference, makes this spread rich and deep in flavor. I love spreading it on warm breads of all sorts but warm croissants are one of my personal favorite uses. I also love it in place of mustard or mayo on a sandwich like my Ladies Lunching Chicken Salad Croissant Sandwich. My sister put it on a slice of my Double Almond Pumpkin Bread over Thanksgiving and remarked, this tasted like fall! No matter how you choose to use this Thick and Smooth Fall Apple Butter, you’re going to love it. … 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

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

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

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

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