Saturday, February 25, 2012

Meal Plan for February 25 - March 2, 2012

HubbyGrouch is traveling for most of this week, so there won't be that much cooking. Instead, I will try get rid of some leftovers.

Saturday:      Spaghetti and (Store-Bought :-/ ) Tomato Sauce

Sunday:        Skidneæg/Sennepsæg (Eggs in Mustard Sauce from Denmark)
                     Swedish Cabbage and Apple Salad

Monday:       Leftovers (Köttbullar)

Tuesday:       Leftovers (Peas and Chhana or Cheese)

Wednesday:  Leftovers (Turkey Burgers)

Thursday:      From the Freezer:  Tilliliha (Finnish Dill Meat)

Friday:           Paccheri and Cheese with Peas and Mint (from Bon Appetit)

Go to Menu Plan Monday to check out lots of other meal plans and ideas for this week's dinners.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Thursday, February 23, 2012

One Year of Blogging!

I can't believe it has been a whole year already! Time to sit down and reflect on my experiences. I must confess that, before I started this food blog, I had never looked at one. In fact, I had only known one blog about local "Things to do for kids". So why and how did I start? Well, after watching "Julie and Julia", HubbyGrouch kept telling me I should start a food blog. I have lots other interests and hobbies and hardly any time as it is, so I surely didn't want anything else on my daily to-do list. But subconsciously (helped along by HubbyGrouch's occasional remarks) this idea must have kept nagging on my mind because one day, seemingly out of the blue, I decided to start a blog. I have been keeping a "dinner diary" for a few years - just a notebook where I write down my meal plan and references for the recipes. I think I decided to start a blog as an online diary for whatever food I prepare. I used to put little post-its with my notes in my cookbooks, and with the blog, I would simply write down the recipe as I had adapted it for me. (In addition, I had the intention of including some views/incidents/opinion about life in the U.S.. I did that in the beginning but then cut those out because of lack of time. However, I do have a long list with notes about things I would like to mention and write about some time; and there are still rare occasions when I do find the time for one of my "opinion" posts.)

Finland: Tilliliha (Dill Meat)


Salami & Egg Mishmash

Just a different sort of scrambled egg - spiced up with some arugula and salami. (Adapted from Food & Wine.) I wasn't very impressed with this dish.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Speedy Ratatouille

This was a very nice and fast vegetarian recipe from Food & Wine. I have made several different versions of ratatouille and we always enjoy it. (Follow the link to see the recipe.)

Tomato Garlic Parmesan Couscous

It's time for the Secret Recipe Club (SRC) again. This month, I was assigned the blog Living Lou written by the very talented Louisa. She has great recipes and wonderful photos on her blog. There are usually three categories of recipe I look for first when I get my blog assignment: snacks, breakfast, and sides. I found this wonderful recipe for a flavored couscous which sounded perfect to go with the ratatouille I had planned to prepare. We enjoyed dinner that day very much. The couscous was indeed a perfect match! The major change I made was that I added all ingredients to the water instead of preparing a separate condiment in a pan. This step simplified an already simple side even more :-)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Meal Plan for February 18 - 24, 2012

This month I am exploring the cooking of Northern Europe for my Cook Around the Globe project, so my meal plan features some great Scandinavian recipes.

Saturday:     Black Beans and Rice with Chicken and Apple Salsa (from Bon Appetit)

Sunday:       Speedy Ratatouille with Goat Cheese (from Food & Wine)

Monday:      Pytt i Panna / Biksemad / Biximatur (Scandinavian-Style Hash)
                    Scandinavian Cucumber Salad

Tuesday:      Gnocchi Gratin with Gorgonzola (from Bon Appetit)
                     Swedish Tomato Salad

Wednesday:  Tilliliha (Finnish Dill Meat)
                      Swedish Cabbage and Apple Salad

Thursday:      Leftovers

Friday:           Bergens Fiskesuppe

Go to Menu Plan Monday to check out lots of other meal plans and ideas for this week's dinners.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Black Beans and Rice with Chicken & Apple Salsa

This was a nice dish from Bon Appetit. HubbyGrouch likes (almost) any combination of rice & beans. (Follow the above link for the recipe.)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sweden: Janssons Frestelse (Janssons Temptation - Potato and Anchovy Bake)


Denmark: Rödkaalssalat (Red Cabbage Salad)

A quick & easy side salad from Denmark, this is a very simple yet crunchy and fruity slaw. The original recipe used caraway seeds but as that is an absolute no-go for me (to me, caraway is absolutely repelling, I really dislike the taste), I used cumin instead. This recipe will be linked up to this month's Cook Around the Globe.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

I love short ribs. I have prepared them in several different ways and they were always excellent and tasty. So naturally, I was looking forward to trying out this recipe; also because it was described as being a go-to dish for dinner guests by the authors of the article in Bon Appetit. However, the dish turned out very disappointing. It didn't have much taste and I certainly will not repeat it again, let alone offering it to guests! (Follow the above link for the recipe.)

Creamed Collard Greens

The description of this dish in Bon Appetit sounded interesting and tasty. However, I didn't like it at all. The greens had a bitter taste and should be cooked much longer than 30 minutes. (Click on the above link for the recipe.)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Norway: Røkelaksterte (Smoked Salmon Quiche)

When I started looking through Scandinavian recipes for this month's Cook Around the Globe, I didn't expect to find a quiche. But there it was - and with smoked salmon, too! Naturally, I couldn't resist a treat like that. We greatly enjoyed this quiche and are looking forward to eating the leftovers.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Currywurst with French Fries

Today, it was time to prepare my/our favorite fast food again. To check out the recipe, click here.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sweden: Hasselbackpotatis (Baked Potatoes)

This is a classic Swedish dish that can be found in almost every Swedish and Scandinavian cookbook. In my cookbook collection alone, I found 8 recipes. The main variations are the baking temperature (ranging from about 400F to 460F) and wether or not to use cheese. I think as a main dish, like we had, the cheese is good to have for some additional taste. If use serve the potatoes as a side, the cheese is not necessary. Some recipes recommend to half the potatoes horizontally before slicing them. Which is a good idea, unless you use really small potatoes. Our were kind of mid-sized and still a bit too raw in the middle, although nicely browned on the top.
(This dish will, of course, be linked to my Cook Around the Globe project.)


Denmark: Savoykål med æbler og timian (Savoy Cabbage with Apples and Thyme)

We hardly ever eat cabbage in our house, the reason being that HubbyGrouch doesn't like it. However, doing Northern Europe for my Cook Around the Globe project is changing that - for this month at least. I found several nice side dishes and salads with cabbage, which will be served with dinner. I liked this dish a lot, it has a very nice combination of flavors and textures: The cabbage is still crunchy, the apple soft and slightly tart, and then the not too dominant thyme. A really good side dish for chicken or pork.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Norway: Salmon Soup

When looking through recipes for this months Cook Around the Globe, I came across quite a few fish soups from Norway. Soups always make a nice, often light dinner - and I'm a sucker for soups anyway. I had never made a soup with salmon before and this recipe sounded good. It's quick and easy recipe with a nice combination of ingredients, all things I love: potatoes, salmon, tomatoes. The soup has rather a subtle flavor but you are always free to add more tomatoes or seasoning.


Meal Plan for February 11 - 17, 2012

This month I am exploring the cooking of Northern Europe for my Cook Around the Globe project, so my meal plan features some great Scandinavian recipes.

Saturday:     Salmon Soup from Norway

Sunday:       Hasselbackpotatis (Baked Potatoes from Sweden)
                    Savoy Cabbage with Apples and Thyme (from Denmark)

Monday:      Currywurst with French Fries

Tuesday:      Smoked Salmon Quiche from Norway
                     Cucumber Salad

Wednesday:  Red Wine Braised Short Ribs (from Bon Appetit)
                      Creamed Collard Greens (from Bon Appetit)

Thursday:      Janssons Temptation (Swedish Potato and Anchovy Bake)
                      Danish Red Cabbage Salad

Friday:           Black Beans and Rice with Chicken and Apple Salsa (from Bon Appetit)

Go to Menu Plan Monday to check out lots of other meal plans and ideas for this week's dinners.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Pizza-Style Puff Pastry Bites

I made these little bites for the Open House at LittleGrouch's preschool today. There is usually a lot of sweet baked goods, so I thought I bring something savory. I only had one piece, unfortunately; they were for the visitors, after all. They were very tasty and they are so flexible. I mean, you put pretty much anything between two sheets off puff pastry and it will taste good, right? How about cheese only, any cheese? Or maybe something with guacamole? Or how about a sweet variety with marmelade, or chocolate, or nutella (+ banana slices?), cream cheese, fruits.... How about rolling up the sheet and cutting little rounds? You see what I mean. A lot of ideas for the next bake sale or other event. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Denmark: Brændende kærlighed ("Burning Love" - Mashed Potatoes with Toppings)

I loved this dish. It is full of my favorite ingredients: potatoes, onion, bacon, eggs - yum! HubbyGrouch agreed, though he told me not to make again for one year, so that his cholesterol level has time to go down. It has a very interesting title, too. (A quick search didn't give any ideas how it got it's name - so I have to keep trying.) This recipe will be linked up to my "Cook Around the Globe" project.


Apricot Chocolate Chip Muffins

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Norway: Fiskegratin (Fish Bake)

We don't eat a lot of fish usually. But when I chose Northern Europe (i.e. Scandinavia & Iceland) for this month's Cook Around the Globe, I knew that was about to change. It's difficult to avoid fish dishes because a) Scandinavian cookbooks are full of them and b) there are endless miles of coast line and thousands of lakes in those countries. This is a very simple fish bake - almost like a soufflé actually. One major difference in recipes that I found, was that you can either add raw or cooked fish to the milk. I did the former but quite a bit of liquid accumulated on the bottom of the baking dish I used (at least I assume that the raw fish was the reason for that). So I would definitely recommend to use cooked fish for this dish.


Sweden: Svamp- och grönsaksgratin (Mushroom & Vegetable Gratin)

This dish is a great side dish or vegetarian main course. Just one of the many nice side dishes I am discovering during this month's "Cook Around the Globe". I liked the combination of vegetables in this gratin. Though I don't like the texture of mushrooms, I sometimes use them finely chopped in dishes. In the original recipe, the mushrooms were quartered, but I really don't like to bite on a chunky piece of mushroom. I am also discovering, that cream is a very abundant ingredients in Scandinavian cooking (or is there possibly just a bias in the kind of recipes I choose?). I do try to use light cream and milk instead to lighten things up. You can even go further and use only milk (maybe even skimmed). The original recipe required parmesan cheese but used Asiago instead. You don't need a lot, so a different cheese doesn't alter the taste of the dish too much (unless, of course, if you have a very refined palate - which I don't).