Sverige 2015

Sverige 2015

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I've Missed You.

Dear readers,

I'm alive, I promise! Thank you for your patience. Work has been keeping me quite busy lately, so please pardon my blogging hiatus. 
I have some delicious, healthy recipes to share with you today. These are adapted from Jillian Michaels' Master Your Metabolism Cookbook
Here is a wonderful, end-of-summer recipe that requires some work on the chef's part, but is totally worth it in the end:

Roasted or Grilled Vegetables with Romesco Sauce
Adapted from Jillian Michaels' Master Your Metabolism Cookbook

Olive oil spray, if grilling
6 plum tomatoes (about 1 pound), cored and halved
3 medium zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise
4 bell peppers, 1 red and the rest red, yellow, or orange, cored, seeded, and each cut into 6 wedges
2 small eggplants (about 6 ounces each), each cut lengthwise into 3 slices
1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed
1 pound large cremini or button mushrooms, stemmed
1 large red onion, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
5 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 teaspoons ground black pepper
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
6 garlic cloves, peeled
2 Tablespoons sherry vinegar

If roasting the vegetables, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and have ready three or four large, rimmed baking sheets or shallow roasting pans and one pan or small cast-iron skillet for the mushrooms. If grilling, spray a grill grate with olive oil and prepare a medium-hot grill.

Place half of the vegetables in a large bowl and add 1 1/2 Tbsp of the olive oil, 1/4 tsp of the salt, and 1/2 tsp of the pepper. Use your hands to gently toss the vegetables so that they are evenly coated with oil. Repeat with the remaining vegetables and another 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper.

If roasting, arrange the vegetables on the baking sheets, placing the mushrooms in their own small pan. Do not overcrowd the vegetables, or they will steam instead of roasting. Roast until lightly browned and tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, 20 to 40 minutes. Some vegetables may be done before others, so start checking after 20 minutes of roasting, and remove any vegetables that are ready. Return the remaining vegetables to the oven until they are fully roasted.

Or grill the vegetables 5 to 6 minutes per side.

When the vegetables are cooked, set aside 4 tomato halves and 6 red bell pepper wedges. Arrange the remaining vegetables on a large platter; set aside while you prepare the sauce.

In the work bowl of a food processor, place the almonds and garlic. Process until the nuts are ground. Add the reserved tomatoes and bell peppers along with the remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil, the remaining 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper, and the vinegar. Process until the mixture is well combined; it will not be completely smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and serve with the vegetables. 

Delicious! I served this dish with dinner rolls fresh out of the oven. They are definitely not the healthiest rolls in the world, but very easy to make:

Dinner Rolls

1 cup warm water
2 pkgs. active dry yeast
1 stick butter (melted)
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp salt
4 - 4 1/2 cups flour
Optional: additional butter

Combine the warm water and yeast in a large bowl. Let the mixture stand until yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the butter, sugar, eggs, and salt. Beat in flour, 1 cup at a time, until dough is too stiff to mix (some flour may not be needed). Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or up to 4 days. Grease a baking pan or cookie sheet. Turn the chilled dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 24 equal size pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth, round ball. Place balls in even rows in the prepared pan. Cover and let dough balls rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Bake until rolls are golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Brush warm rolls with melted butter, if desired.

I am always looking for new, tasty fish recipes. Here is an exotic, tasty recipe for barramundi or halibut:

Thai Green (or Red) Curry Barramundi (or Halibut)
Adapted from Jillian Michaels' Master Your Metabolism Cookbook

1 Tbsp virgin coconut oil
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 Tbsp green or red curry paste, or to taste
2/3 cup coconut milk
4 (4-ounce) barramundi or halibut fillets, rinsed and patted dry
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
Lime wedges, for serving

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 4 minutes.
Note: I could not find coconut oil, so I simply mixed olive oil with a little bit of coconut milk.

Stir in the green curry paste, and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the coconut milk and bring to a simmer.

Lay the fillets skin side down in the pan, moving the vegetables to the side to make room as you add each fillet. Pile the vegetables on top of the fillets, cover the pan, and simmer for 10 minutes, until the fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.

Place a fillet on each of four plates and spoon the vegetables and sauce over the fish. Sprinkle cilantro over each serving and garnish with lime wedges. Serve.

Happy cooking!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Mediterranean Pizza

Two weeks ago was my birthday. What did the most amazing man in the whole world buy me? Jillian Michaels' Master Your Metabolism Cookbook! Needless to say, I was elated!! Last night I tried one of the recipes from the book and LOVED IT. I think you will too.

Any pizza lovers out there? I looove pizza. However, I also realize the need to eat healthy so I don't swell up like a Goodyear blimp. Well, Jillian Michaels provides a healthy, delicious mediterranean pizza recipe. It is loaded with vegetables and flavor. It is so delectable that you will want to savor every bite. 
Thank you, Jillian!

Mediterranean Pizza
Adapted from: Jillian Michaels' Master Your Metabolism Cookbook

For the crust:
- 1-2 Tbsp organic cornmeal for the baking sheet
- Whole wheat flour, for work surface
- 1 lb whole wheat pizza dough, thawed if frozen
Note: I could not find whole wheat pizza dough at my local grocery store, so I used a pre-baked whole wheat crust. It was still ridiculously tasty.

4 cups (packed) shredded spinach (about 5 oz)
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp coarsely chopped fresh marjoram, oregano, or basil leaves
1/2 small red onion
Note: I used a yellow onion because I already had it on hand, but I believe red onions are healthier.
1/3 cup crumbled low-fat feta cheese
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. (If using pizza dough) spread the cornmeal on a large baking sheet; alternatively, rub the baking sheet with olive oil.
Place the spinach in a microwave-safe bowl with a lid. Cover and microwave on high power until the spinach is bright green and wilted about 1 minute. Transfer to a strainer and rinse with cold water. When cool enough to handle, wrap the leaves in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out all the excess liquid. Remove the spinach from the towel, using your fingers to loosen and separate the leaves. Set aside.
(If using a pre-baked crust, skip the following paragratph:) on a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin and your hands to roll and stretch the dough to a roughly 10x14-inch rectangle. If the dough becomes so elastic that after it is rolled it just snaps back, contracting to its original size, let it rest for a few minutes before continuing to roll. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet.
Brush the dough (or pre-baked crust) with 1 tsp of the olive oil. Arrange the tomatoes on the dough. Sprinkle marjoram/oregano/basil over the tomatoes. Spread the spinach on top, followed by the onion, feta, olives, and pepper. Drizzle the remaining 1 tsp olive oil over the pie.
Bake until the crust is golden 15-20 minutes. If using a pre-baked crust, bake for 10-12 minutes.

Happy cooking!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Chicken Tagine

Yesterday I tried a new chicken recipe. I am officially in love with this recipe, because it is incredibly flavorful and still easy to make (except for preparing the chicken...I loathe trying to cut fat from chicken thighs!) The recipe is for Chicken Tagine, which is a North African stew named after the clay pot in which it is traditionally cooked. This dish is sure to be a crowd-pleaser, so the next time you come over for dinner at my house, expect to be served Chicken Tagine! 

Chicken Tagine
From: Nutrition Action magazine

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless, chicken thighs
1 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp groun cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 Tbsp whole wheat flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 carrots, chopped
1/2 lb zucchini, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stick cinnamon
1-15 oz can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup whole wheat couscous

In a large, heavy pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Saute the chicken in two batches until well browned. Remove the chicken from the pot to a plate.
Mix the spices and flour together in a small bowl. Reduce the heat to low and add the spices-flour mixture and garlic to the pot. Stir for 30 seconds then whisk in the broth. Add the vegetables, cinnamon, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer. Return the chicken to the pot and gently simmer until the vegetables and chicken are tender, about 20 minutes. Season with up to 3/4 tsp of salt.
While the chicken stew is simmering, put the couscous in a heat-proof bowl and stir in 1 cup of boiling water. Cover and let stand until the chicken is ready.
When the stew is done, fluff the couscous with a fork. Serve the stew over the couscous. Serves 6.

Also, please note regarding my recipes utilizing the metric system:
My friend Jess (check out her awesome blog: just informed me that IKEA now sells basic metric measuring cups with measurements for milliliters and deciliters! If you are interested in trying European recipes (such as my Swedish ones), these measuring cups would definitely be a good investment.

Happy cooking!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Requested Recipes

Here are some of the recipes mentioned in a previous post:

Tomato Tartines:

2 slices whole grain bread
1/4 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
1 tsp olive oil
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 tsp fresh garlic, minced
1/2 tsp thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, shredded

Toast bread slices and distribute ricotta cheese evenly over top of each.
In a small skillet, heat oil and saute tomatoes, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper, to taste, until tomatoes soften, about 5 minutes.
Top bread slices with tomato mixture, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.

Summer Salad

This is one of my all time favorite salads:
Combine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, apples, and dried cranberries/craisins in a bowl.
Toss with a homemade or store-bought vinaigrette. I usually use balsamic.

Baked Oatmeal

1/2 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 cups oatmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk

Beat oil, sugar, and eggs together in a bowl.
Add other ingredients and beat.
Top with cinnamon.
Pour into a 9x11 in pan.
Bake for 30 minutes in 350 degree oven.
Eat warm with milk.

As for the dessert recipes, I'll have to catch up on them later. They are all in Swedish, so I will need to translate them.

Happy cooking!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mini Spinach Quiche

I love this recipe for mini spinach quiche. It is a proven crowd-pleaser and insanely easy to make:

1 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 cup baby spinach, washed
salt and pepper, to taste
2 large eggs
1/4 cup half and half
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 package (15 count) Athens Mini Fillo Shells

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and saute 1-2 minutes, being careful not to let the garlic burn. Add the spinach and cook 1-2 minutes, until just wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, beat together eggs and half and half until fluffy. Stir in cheeses and spinach mixture. Place mini fillo shells onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Put a teaspoon of filling in each shell. Feel free to pack in as much filling as you can; just make sure the shells don't tip over.
Bake 15-20 minutes until browned.

Happy cooking!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Family Fika

Today my mother and older brother came over for lunch. I wanted to make something that was fairly light and not too dinner-y, so I decided on the following:

-- Tomato Tartines
-- Mini Broccoli-Spinach Quiche
-- Fresh Summer Salad w/ Apples & Cranberries
-- Baked Oatmeal

In Sweden we have "fika" several times throughout the day. This is basically a coffee break which includes coffee or tea and pastries or small cookies. When I can't be in Sweden, I try to bring Sweden to me. 
This is what I made for fika/dessert: 

Chokladsnitt (biscotti-type chocolate cookies)
Hallongrottor (sugar cookie type dough with dollops of raspberry jam)
Bullar (Swedish cinnamon buns)

If you would like any of the recipes, do not hesitate to ask. 
Please note: the recipes I have for the desserts use the metric system.

Happy cooking!

Photo: clockwise from the top left: tomato tartines, mini quiche, a plated combination, & hallongrottor.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Paprika Roasted Salmon with Wilted Spinach

My husband is very physically active in his line of work, so I try to cook meals that will keep him feeling healthy and energized. Today I want to share a fish recipe with you. We all know that salmon is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and that spinach is a very nutrient-dense food, providing iron and antioxidants. Here is an easy, delicious recipe that combines the two:  
Paprika Roasted Salmon with Wilted Spinach
1/4 cup orange juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp thyme leaves (divided)
2 lb salmon fillets
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp paprika
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp grated orange peel
1/2 tsp salt
1 bag (10 oz) spinach leaves
1 tsp olive oil
Mix juice, 2 Tbsp oil, an 1 tsp of the thyme in a glass dish. Add salmon; turn to coat. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Mix sugar, remaining spices, and orange peel. Remove salmon from marinade. Place in foil-lined baking pan. Discard any remaining marinade. Rub top of salmon evenly with spice mixture.
Roast in preheated 400 degree F oven for 10-15 minutes (depending on oven) or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Heat 1 tsp oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Serve with salmon. Makes 8 servings.
Last night I had a hankering for chocolate and was itching to bake. I really didn't feel like going to the store for more ingredients. I decided to try a simple chocolate recipe that one of my dear Swedish relatives gave to me. If you are looking for a delicious, moist chocolate cake that uses ingredients that you probably already have in your cupboard, try this one:
Maj-Britt's Chocolate Cake
Note: this recipe utilizes the metric system.
150 g margarine or butter
2 1/2 dl sugar
2 1/2 dl flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 dl cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla sugar (you can use vanilla extract as a substitute, but do not use as much and make sure you add it after combining all of the dry ingredients)
2 eggs
1 1/2 dl hot water
Melt the butter and let cool.
Combine all of the dry ingredients in a bowl.
Beat the eggs. Add the eggs, butter, and hot water to the dry ingredients.
Grease a baking pan and add the batter.
Bake at 175 degrees C or 350 degrees F, for approximately 40 minutes.
Frost with: 2 dl powdered sugar combined with 2 Tbsp water.
Optional: Top with M&Ms or chopped up dark chocolate.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Quick Roast Chicken & Root Vegetables

Guess what? The Västerbotten pie was absolutely delicious. My husband and brothers devoured it in a day.

I try to cook a lot of lean proteins, such as chicken and fish. Last night I decided to do a modification of a recipe I had taken from a magazine. This recipe is easy, quick, and bursting with flavor. Here is what I made:

Quick Roast Chicken & Root Vegetables
1 lb turnips, peeled & cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 lb baby potatoes, quartered
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried marjoram (1 Tbsp. if using fresh)
salt & pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth (pref. reduced-sodium)
24 oz chicken (the original recipe calls for 2 bone-in chicken breasts 12 oz/ea, but I prefer boneless and skinless)
1 large shallot, chopped
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp red or white wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
Toss turnips, potatoes, 1 Tbsp oil, marjoram, salt, and pepper, together in a bowl.
Spread in an even layer on a large baking sheet. Roast for approximately 10 minutes, depending on oven.
Meanwhile, place flour in a shallow dish. Transfer 2 tsp of the flour to a small bowl and whisk in broth; set aside. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off excess. Discard any leftover flour.
Heat the remaining 1 Tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until it's a nice golden brown color on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
After the vegetables have been roasting for 10 minutes, stir them. Grease another baking sheet, and place the chicken, browned side up, on it. Return the vegetables and the chicken to the oven and roast until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes more.
Return the skillet to medium-high heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Whisk the reserved broth mixture again, add to the pan, and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Stir in mustard and vinegar. Serve the chicken and vegetables with the sauce.

Friday, August 20, 2010


At the moment, my home is filled with the sweet, cheesy aroma of Västerbotten paj. It is my first attempt at this Swedish delicacy. If the pie tastes as delicious as it smells, I will have done justice to my Swedish heritage.

If this pie is unsavory, I will have failed at this recipe. It would not be the first time I have failed. I hope that is what you find refreshing about this blog. Its purpose is not only my own personal catharsis (in writing about my cooking endeavors). It is also to encourage amateur chefs to experiment without fear of failure. Cooking is a wonderfully creative and tasty learning process.

I have not always loved to cook, but I have always loved to eat. Most babies' first words are "mamma" or "pappa." My first words were "mera mat" which translates to "more food." My father, the most experimental and brave eater I know, predisposed me to a love of food consumption. Thanks to my mother, I had my first cooking lessons as a teenager. I was often resistant to this schooling, but looking back, I can't thank her enough for taking the time to teach me about food. My initial disinclination toward cooking transformed into the opposite -- a passionate love affair with food preparation -- after I moved out of the house. As I was forced to cook for myself, Ramen noodles and cookie dough eventually lost their palatal appeal and added inches to my waistline.

Now I am fortunate to be married to a man who loves to eat. He is my inspiration for cooking. He is not a picky eater and he loves my food creations -- the successes and the failures. He is the reason that I love to cook. He delights in my dishes, whether they turn out the way they are supposed to or not. And, more importantly, he loves this amateur chef unconditionally.

Happy cooking!

Note: I will do my best to post some of the recipes I try. As I tend to feverishly cut out recipes that seem interesting whenever I find them (magazines, newspapers, etc.), I do not always remember the sources. However, many are taken from Bon Appetit, Clean Eating, and the Food Network.

From: Very Swedish by Annica Triberg, Per Ranung, & Tore Hagman
Note: this recipe utilizes the metric system

Pie Crust:

3 dl white flour
125 g butter
2-3 tbsp water

1 onion
1 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
3 cl vodka
3 eggs
1 1/2 dl double cream
1 1/2 dl milk
300 g Västerbotten cheese or cheddar, coarsely grated
1/2 tsp salt, freshly ground white pepper
a few drops of Tobasco

Chop the butter into the flour, easiest done in a blender. Add water. Work into a smooth dough. Let rest in the fridge about 30 minutes.
Heat your oven to 200C/400F. Roll out the dough into a round shape and place in a greased pie dish or a springform pan with removable sides and about 25cm/10in in diameter.
Chop the onion and sizzle in a pan with caraway seeds and a little butter until golden brown. Whisk together the eggs, cream, milk, vodka, and the coarsely grated cheese. Season with salt, white pepper, and Tobasco. Pour the filling into the pie crust. Bake on the lowest rung about 45 minutes or until the filling has set. Serve the pie slightly warm (optional: with a dollop of vendace roe).

The finished product: