Ava’s Nordic Lunch

Nordic Around the World Lunch

Ah, winter. This week I took inspiration from the chill in the air and went Nordic with Ava's Around the World Lunch (Nordic simply means the cultural part of Northern Europe that includes Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The Nordic menu is quite simple and can be assembled in about five minutes. For Ava's main meal, I went Danish: A few slices of dark rye bread smeared with a bit of butter are topped with a translucent slice of smoked salmon. Two smaller slices of … [Read more...]

22 Campfire & Scandinavian Recipes to celebrate Midsummer’s Night

Swedish girl wearing a Midsummer crown. Photo by Bengt Nyman.

Midsummer's Eve - the longest day of the year - is celebrated in dozens of countries with huge bonfires, maypole dancing, and glorious food. In Scandinavia, the sun never fully sets. But even if night falls where you live, you can still celebrate. To get into the spirit, simply drop out of big city chaos and into nature. This is a time to make flower crowns, swim in clear streams, sing hymns, and laugh more than is wise. Some say Midsummer is also a time for love. After long, … [Read more...]

Monday Meal Review: Finland

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THE SCENE Rather abruptly, Ava threw up. She was in her room, but we could hear her all the way in the kitchen. Keith called out in a panic: "Sash, could you ... come here?" I excused myself from our guests, bracing for what I knew would be a gruesome sight. Little did I know... Blueberries. Were. Everywhere. Ava, strangely enough, didn't seem bothered in the slightest. She played with her baby doll while Keith and I scrubbed. Five minutes later I went back to the … [Read more...]

Recipe: Maple-Glazed Rutabaga

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Serves 2-4 You could glaze a hub cap and I'd eat it. The key is to make the glazed item tantalizingly sweet - leave a little mystery. I'm not into savory foods swimming in syrup. This Finnish recipe shows lovely restraint, striking a delicate balance. In fact, shortly after I took my first bite I decided to make this recipe as often as possible for the rest of my life. Rutabagas come from around northern Central Europe. Maple syrup and butter give the root the most addictive flavor and it … [Read more...]

Recipe: Scandanavian Mustard & Dill Sauce

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Makes about 1 1/2 cups Mustard-lovers unite. This tangy, spicy Scandinavian recipe goes great with meaty salmon. Take the time to buy really excellent mustard - the spicier the better. If you have leftovers try spreading a little on a sandwich. That's what I did! Ingredients: 3/4 cup (7 oz) spicy dijon mustard 1 1/2 ounces fresh dill, stems removed and chopped (about 1 cup) 1/8 cup vinegar 1 tsp salt 1 1/2 tsp sugar 3/4 cup oil Method: First things first. Start a small herb … [Read more...]

Recipe: Finnish Blueberry Milk

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Makes about 1 1/2 quarts The Finns are a healthy bunch. Between foraging for berries and milking cows, it is no wonder that they also enjoy slurping blueberry milk - an antioxidant rich powerhouse of a drink. Not to mention - it's blue - an underutilized color in cooking. Pretty cool in my book. This recipe is adapted from The Best of Finnish Cooking. They used half as much milk than I did - which would make a thicker and much bluer mixture. Play around and see what works for … [Read more...]

Oh Mämmi, do I have to?

Mammi

Finns greet Easter with a goopy, black as tar dish called mämmi. If that's not enough to entice you, let me see if I can adequately describe the flavor. It's been described as a cross between Guinness and shoe paste. Even with such a distinct look and taste, mämmi is a tradition held seriously enough to warrant protection from the European Union. Making mämmi is no joke - first you mix rye flour with bitter orange peel, a hint of sweetener, and a few other ingredients. Boiling water gets … [Read more...]

Recipe: Cardamom Sweet Bread (Pulla)

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Makes 1 giant loaf (or as many smaller shapes as you'd like) Pulla is the ultimate Finnish bread dough. Feeling sad? Shape it into a teardrop. Feeling confused? Twist the heck out of it. Feeling like Pippi Longstocking? Braid it! Feeling creative? Shape it into men, women and children. Feeling pregnant? Just make little buns, baby! There's also plenty of choice in regard to flavorings. Pulla always tastes of glorious cardamom. After that? You can leave it plain or fill it. Sweeten life up … [Read more...]