Category Archives: smörgås

Concept of Smörgås & Snittar

In my latest cookbook, Smörgåsbord: The Art of Swedish Breads and Savory Treats, I want to encourage you to make small portions of a classic Swedish Smörgåsbord. A little like a Smörgåsbord tapas! Together with a flavorful bread, it’s a concept that works for everyday smörgås (open-faced sandwich) meals as well as for festive starters.

The first chapter is dedicated to Nordic breads, both classic and new creations, baked with either yeast or sourdough starter. As rye bread is the most distinctive type of bread throughout the northern countries, I have included five different types. But there are some tasty wheat based breads too and a stove-top baked flatbread made with barley flour.

The rest of the chapters concentrate on spreads and toppings you can serve with the breads for every day smörgås, seasonal treats or more festive occasions. The last chapter is where you will find condiments like pickles, whole grain mustard, crispy onions, and classic sauces. It’s that addition that can turn any dish or open-faced sandwich into something more special. In my opinion the best smörgås is built up with several combined toppings.

As a starter for your upcoming holiday dinner parties or just as a treat for yourself, I suggest you serve a few of the dishes arranged separately at the counter and have everyone build their own little treat. You can also create snittar, Swedish tiny open-faced sandwiches, by cutting the bread into squares, rounds or triangles, and top them with any spreads of your choice. Here are a few of my favorites snittar that are based on recipes from the book:

Pickled Herring with Sour Cream, Red onions & Brown Buttered Bread Crumbs – Pickled herring is a staple in Sweden and comes in many different flavors, either in vinegar or with cream. I love herring and like many Swedes I eat it all year around. In the book I share two of my favorites, a creamy mustard herring and a vinegar based herring spiced with rhubarb, cloves, and cinnamon.

Gravlax on Toasted Sourdough Bread topped with Fresh Pickled Vegetables and Pickled Mustard Seeds – If you plan ahead, gravlax is a simple and festive smörgås topping that can be flavored and paired in many different ways. The most classic is to serve it with simple mustard sauce or as in Finland with Fresh Pickled Cucumber (pressgurka). My version of gravlax is cured with fennel seeds and I warmly recommend it served on toasted sourdough bread and topped with Quick Pickled Vegetables and Pickled Mustard Seeds. (You can find all these recipes in the book).

Roast Beef with Danish Remoulade and Crispy Onions on Danish Rye Bread – This is a very common smörgås or smørrebrød combination in both Sweden and Denmark. The remoulade, which is a mayonnaise based sauce spiced with curry, pickles, capers, parsley and tarragon, is simply whipped together and pairs surprisingly well with roast beef and crispy onions (rostad lök). The Danish rye bread, baked with loads of whole rye berries, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, and toasted sesame seeds, is a delicious and wholesome bread. Instead of roast beef, I’m sure this little treat can easily be done with some leftover Thanksgiving turkey.

For every recipe in the book you will find several more pairing suggestions. I hope you will find it useful and inspiring enough to find your own special Smörgås combinations.

And there is of course always the option to create a whole feast too! If you plan it well, it doesn’t have to be that complicated and for many dishes like cured ham, gravlax, and pickles most of the process takes place when you are at work or doing other things.

If you bake or cook anything from the book, I would love to see it! Please share it with me here in the comments or tag it with #ArtofSmorgasbord on instagram, twitter, or facebook.  A selection will be re-posted or linked to here on kokblog.

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Smörgåsbord
cooking & baking by others:

Danish Rye Bread & Rustic Rye Bread
baked by Kira Nam Greene

Tweaked version of Rustic Rye Bread
baked by Jeremy Shapiro

Rustic Rye Bread
baked by Kira Nam Greene (1st bake)

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other related links

upcoming Smörgåsbord events

talking Smörgåsbord on Off the Menu
with Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl
at WCCO | CBS Local Minnesota
(October 28, 2017)

Foodrepublic
want to make Smörgåsbord tatoos

Smörgåsbord interview
on Martha Stewart

you can read more about the book
here and here

 

Don’t have your own copy of Smörgåsbord? You can get it in almost any bookstore online all over the world! Here are a selection of bookstores… Random House, Barnes & Noble, Indie BoundAmazon (US), and Amazon (UK).

Smörgåsbord: The Art of Swedish Breads and Savory Treats (Book Release)

 

“Cultured butter shaped into roses sitting next to breads that smell of rye, fennel, and caraway seeds. Different kinds of herring lined up in separate ceramic jars next to a glorious Cheddar wrapped in cotton. A platter of salmon, mildly sweet with a smooth texture that melts in your mouth. Generous mounds of pink shrimp, piled up in a crystal bowl, just waiting to be dipped into a creamy sauce or eaten just as they are, salty and fresh. Strong flavors like mustard and horseradish— faithful companions to the spread of charcuteries like pâté, smoked goose breast, and wrinkled juniper- smoked sausages. This table, with its light and well- balanced flavors of sweet, sour, and salty, is the ultimate display of Nordic cuisine. In Sweden, we call it a smörgåsbord.” – Page 1 of  Smörgåsbord: The Art of Swedish Breads and Savory Treats, Ten Speed Press, September 26, 2017

This is the first paragraph of Smörgåsbord, my second cookbook that goes on sale today (September 26, 2017). I’m super thrilled and celebrating with champagne and by baking bread from the book. I hope this book will inspire you to cook and enjoy the Nordic flavors as much as I do. And that by cooking from it you will find your own favorite combinations that you share with your friends and family for weekday treats as well as when celebrating something special. I also hope to hang out with you at any of my planned book events (listed below). Please also check my event page for updates.The book is a celebration of the Swedish tradition smörgåsbord which is a festive buffet with dishes like cured herring, gravlax, cold cuts, pickles, salads, and meatballs. While a full represented smörgåsbord in all its glory can have up to over 100 dishes, this book wants to inspire you to create and share it in smaller portions, as entertaining hors d’oeuvres or everyday smörgås bites.

Mustard Herring with egg, cheese and Danish Rye Bread.
And a shot of Aquavit.

Except for a few sides, most dishes are things you can put on a piece of bread to create a smörgås (Swedish open-sandwich). All through the book, I suggest different combinations so the reader and cook can easily combine the spreads into a mini version of the real thing. To get some Nordic flavor for your next cocktail party, this can be as simple as whipping together some Smoked Fish Salad spiced with horseradish and serving it with some fresh pickled vegetables and homemade bread.  But if you wish, you can always go ahead and prepare the whole feast too.

Quick Pickled Vegetables, Dill Pickled Cucumbers,
and Pickled Beets

The recipes in the book are my selected favorites on a traditional smörgåsbord. Dishes I grew up with and things I cook regularly at home. Many of them are iconic dishes in Nordic cuisine. In the kitchen I like to cook with easy and simple tools, therefore most of the recipes in the book are simple enough to do without a heavily equipped kitchen. The book also share step-by-step bread baking methods (especially sourdough), sausage making, and tips for simple pickles.

Elderflower-Cured Rainbow Trout which is amazing
on Knäckebröd (Swedish Crispbread) and Fresh Pickled Cucumber

I spend most of last year researching the history of smörgåsbord, collecting anecdotes and munching treats while recipe testing. When my kitchen couldn’t fit another piece of bread or dish, I invited my friends over to feast around my table. Parallel to the cooking and writing I worked on the illustrations to accompany the story as well as the recipes in the book.


one of the most satisfying Autumn treat is
Butter-Fried Chantarelles with Walnuts

I have along the way many to thank in the making of this book. First of all I want to thank my husband Marek, who is always there supporting me and finding words when I’m blocked. He also forces me to take breaks when I haven’t moved from my desk in several hours by making coffee or pouring me a glass of wine. Second, I want to thank my friend Tenaya Darlington, who did the first edits of the manuscript. Your comments were inspiring and encouraging. You really pushed me forward. And most of all I want to thank my editor Kaitlin Ketchum at Ten Speed Press for being such a wonderful person and editor. Thanks for believing in me and this project! And a big thanks to Lizzy Allen and the rest of the team at Ten Speed Press who did a splendid job in the making of this book. I think it looks smashing!

To celebrate the release, I’m having a giveaway of the book. Share your favorite spreads for bread on Instagram. Doesn’t have to be typical Scandinavian, it can be almost anything as long it’s something you would have with a piece of bread. To participate: tag me @johannakindvall as well as the hashtag #ArtofSmorgasbord in the post. Entries needs to be posted by Thursday October 5. If you don’t have Instagram, no worries, post a comment here and tell me your favorite.


homemade Cultured Butter and Danish Rye Bread

 

If you can’t find the book in your local bookstore you can order it online all over the world. Here are a few examples: Random House, Barnes & Noble, Indie BoundAmazon (US), and Amazon (UK). The book is also listed at the Swedish bookstores Bokus and Adlibris.

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upcoming events
also check my event page for updates

Wednesday, November 8
Autumn Smörgås Table with chef Renee Baumann
at 61 Local, Brooklyn
Tickets: $80
If you are interested, send me a message
and I will gladly send you an invite.

Monday, November 13
Breaking Breads
bread baking workshop + dinner
in support of GrowNYC‘s Grain Program
with Feast & Fight, Juanli Carrion, Stefani Bardin
at Lighthouse, Brooklyn
more details & tickets  –> here

Saturday, December 9, @ 7pm
Cocktails+Smörgåsbord with The Darlingtons at COOK, Philadelphia
more details soon

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said about the book:

“Her first solo book is “beyond beautiful. She’s a wonderful artist and illustrator. It’s got all the elements of hygge in it, and it offers a new way of thinking about small plates.” Judith Rosen, Publishers Weekly

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related links

my first cookbook: Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break
more about the Smörgåsbord book here and here

How Moving to New York Changed my Approach to Cooking
by Johanna Kindvall, Signature Reads

The retro classic The Parisian – the open-faced hamburger
with a beef & pickle beet patty and a sunny side egg

 

 

 

 

Cult Vinegar and Fresh Pickled Cucumbers

The other day I was in London and met up with Jonathan Brown in Kings Cross to taste vinegar. Even though we never met in real life, it was like meeting an old friend. We met through twitter via our shared interest in Nordic cuisine and mushroom picking several years ago. In 2012 I had the pleasure of drawing mushrooms for Jonathan and his wife Sarah’s wedding. Each mushroom was made into a cute place card to organize the guests during their wedding feast. Jonathan and I also share an interest in sourdough, pickling, and other fermenting things. So when earlier this year I discovered that Jonathan had gone into business to make vinegar I felt it necessary to meet up in person when passing by London.

And o’boy his Cult vinegar rocks!

During a wonderful lunch (mushroom toast with some deep fried squid) Jonathan let me taste about 10 different kinds of his Cult Vinegar collection (several of which you can purchase online). For example; red wine vinegar (perfect in a dressing over sun ripe tomatoes), white wine vinegar (think mustard sauce and Hollandaise), moscatel vinegar (sweet and sharp like a white balsamic vinegar), ruby port vinegar (deliciously sweet and perfect in red meat sauces, waldorf salad dressing or together with blue cheese), sherry vinegar, German Riesling vinegar (perfect in a Fresh Pickled Cucumbers, recipe below), sake (should work beautifully in a dumpling dipping sauce), apple cider vinegar, and champagne vinegar (curiously citrusy and sharp which I liked on the fried squid).

In 2011 Jonathan and Sarah traveled to Burgundy, France to hunt for their wedding wine. In a country side kitchen just outside Beaune they got introduced to a vinaigrier container; a very traditional ceramic vessel that lets natural bacteria in the kitchen turn leftover wine into vinegar. The initial incubation takes about 6 to 8 weeks – once alive it will last forever if topped up with the occasional half glass of wine.

Jonathan quickly got addicted to the living smell of vinegar, so back home in London he started to make his own while playing with the idea of creating a modern version of a traditional French vinaigrier. A few years later after visiting a local ceramic school he connected with ceramicist Billy Lloyd and together they took on the challenge to design a new version. The result is the Cult Ceramics Vinegar Vase which is both beautiful and clever. With it’s hexagon shape and three different colors on the lids (red, white, and yellow) you can easily group several vases together and have different types of vinegar in the making at the same time. The vase comes with a handy “How-to- Guide” booklet and a bottle of a vinegar culture (the “mother”) so you can start your own vinegar production as soon as you have unpacked the vessel.

Back in Brooklyn I have now started my first batch of white wine vinegar. Every time I walk by the vessel I can’t stop myself from lifting the lid to have sniff. I think I’m addictive already!

Here is a classic recipe for pressgurka, Swedish fresh pickled cucumbers. Normally these pickles are made with distilled white vinegar but some German Riesling Cult vinegar will make it extra special. If you don’t have a Riesling vinegar on hand, substitute with Champagne vinegar or a good quality white wine vinegar. Try the pickles with meatballs, gravlax, or on a smörgås (Swedish open-faced sandwich) with cheese.

Swedish Fresh Pickled Cucumbers
(adapted from my recipe in Smörgåsbord)

serves 4 to 6 as a side

1 medium (about 12 ounces, 340 grams) English cucumber
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup (60 milliliters) German Riesling Cult vinegar + more if needed
1/4 cup (60 milliliters) water + more if needed
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons finely chopped dill or parsley
freshly ground white pepper, for seasoning

Rinse the cucumber in cold water. Slice it with a mandoline, cheese slicer, or potato peeler as thin as you can.

Arrange the slices in a wide colander and sprinkle them with the salt. Toss gently to distribute the salt evenly. Press the cucumbers down with a plate that fits within the colander and place something heavy on top. Let sit for about 30 minutes, at room temperature. (The salt and the heavy weight will help drain the water from the sliced cucumber.)

In the meantime, prepare the pickling liquid. In a small bowl, mix together the vinegar water, sugar, and dill. Mix until the sugar is completely dissolved. Adjust the acidity with more vinegar or water to your liking.

Remove the weight and the plate and squeeze gently with your hands to remove any excess liquid. Place the cucumbers in a bowl or in a clean glass jar and pour the pickling liquid over them. Let sit at room temperature for at least an hour before serving.

These pickles are best eaten fresh so consume them within a few days. Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container.

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related links

read more about Jonathan and his story here

fungathlon – half marathon with mushroom foraging,
invented and practiced by Jonathan Brown

Cult Ceramics & Cult Vinegar on Instagram

more work by Billy Lloyd

Classic Hollandaise Sauce by Ruhlman

How to make French Vinaigrette by David Lebovitz

Apple Cider Vinegar – kokblog recipe

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Smörgåsbord – My second cookbook

cover-smorgasbord-blog2

This week my forthcoming book, Smörgåsbord: The Art of Swedish Breads and Savory Treats (Ten Speed Press) is on its way to the printer and will hit the bookshelves on September 26. Yay!

The book is a celebration of the Swedish tradition Smörgåsbord which is a festive buffet with dishes like cured herring, gravlax, cold cuts, pickles, salads, and meatballs. This table with its well balanced flavors of sweet, sour, and salt is an excellent display of Nordic cuisine.

As the word Smörgåsbord is composed of two words; smörgås (open-faced-sandwich) and bord (table), the dishes are always served with several different types of bread, butter, and cheese. A smörgåsbord is most often set up in a separate room and the table can sometimes be several meters long and consist of over 100 dishes.
johannak-smorgas-03
At a time when we have too many things on our minds, it’s hard to find the time to prepare a whole smörgåsbord. The intention of this book is to inspire you to make smaller portions as festive starters or individual smörgås bites. Every dish in the book includes pairing suggestions so you can easily create your own personal smörgåsbord spreads. The dishes can be as simple as deviled eggs, or more ambitious with freshly baked rye bread paired with hot smoked salmon, homemade pickles, and marinated mustard seeds.

Thanks to my editor Kaitlin Ketchum for believing in this project. It’s always a pleasure to work with you and everyone at Ten Speed Press.

If you like, you can already now pre-order the book in several bookstores online: Random House, Barnes & Noble, Indie Bound, Amazon (US), and Amazon (UK). The book is also listed at the Swedish bookstores Bokus and Adlibris.

johannak-smorgas-2

related links

Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break (my first book)

Smörgåsbord chapter pattern on fabric at Spoonflower

 

my second cookbook

johannak-WRITING-DRAWING

I’m finally ready to tell you, I’m working on my second book. It will be, like the first one, an illustrated cookbook with recipes and stories inspired by my Swedish roots.  But instead of being on the sweet side I will be sharing savory treats. Right now I don’t want to reveal more about the subject, but stay tune I will share more details soon.

It all started about one year ago when I sat down over a fika with my dear editor Kaitlin Ketchum to discuss some initial ideas for a potential book.  The meeting was followed by a few weeks of intensive thinking, drawing, writing and cooking while looking over a walnut orchard in Chico, California. The final proposal ended up in a contract and was followed by an extensive amount of recipe tweaking, research and writing. And when I couldn’t lift more pots or fit another bread in my belly, I sat down to draw.

I’m now working closely with the Ten Speed Press team to get all the pieces in place. Later this Spring it will be off to the printer and the book is scheduled to be published by Ten Speed Press, September 26, 2017.

Some other exciting news is that Fika has been translated and published in both Chinese and Korean. And the book is about to be translated to Simplified Chinese. Hurrah!

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Related links

Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break
by Anna Brones and Johanna Kindvall

Behind the Scene of Fika
more about my first book

Fika on National TV in Korea
(in Korean)

johannak-bakar