Tag Archives: Swedish food

March: San Francisco Book Events

Illustration of Kantine, SF 
by © Johanna Kindvall

Big news! I will be in San Francisco for some book events (and some hiking, eating, and drinking) between March 10 to March 16, 2019. I will be doing a book signing with special treats at Kantine, special Fika & Smörgåsbord classes at 18 Reasons, and an author’s talk at Omnivore Books on Food. If you are in the Bay area and would like to learn more about Nordic treats or just say hi, please sign up or come by to any of my scheduled book events and classes listed below. I’m super thrilled and would like to meet you all. A special thanks to my dear friend and awesome writer Larissa Zimberoff who invited me down to San Francisco in the first place! And thanks to all the lovely people at Ten Speed Press (my publisher) for your constant support.

Illustration of Omnivore Books, SF 
by © Johanna Kindvall

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Sunday March 10
Special Fika & Smörgås event
at Kantine, San Francisco
btw 3pm to 5pm
The Kantine kitchen will create
Scandinavian dishes inspired by my books!
Come by for a bite and a chat.
I will be there with signed books.
Address: 1906 Market Street, SF

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Monday March 11
Flavors of Sweden: Cinnamon Buns, Three Ways
hands-on baking & cooking class at
18 Reasons – 
San Francisco btw 6:00pm to 9:00pm
more info & tickets –> SOLD OUT

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Tuesday March 12
Author’s Talk
at Omnivore Books, San Francisco
Talk & book signing
btw 6.30pm to 7.30pm
Its a FREE so come by and hear
me talk about Smörgåsbord,
Nordic breads & Fika.
If you are in the San Francisco area,
I hope to meet you there. Its FREE!
Address: 3885a Cesar Chavez Street
more info –> here

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Wednesday March 13
Flavors of Sweden: Smörgås & Fika
hands-on baking & cooking class at
18 Reasons in San Francisco

btw 6:00pm to 9:30pm
more info & tickets –> HERE

Illustration 
by © Johanna Kindvall

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If you don’t have any of my books yet, you can easily
get them in almost any online bookstore around the worlds!
Fika – The Art of Swedish Coffee Breaks
Smörgåsbord – The Art of Swedish Breads and Savory Treats

Pickled Mustard Herring

KINDVALL-herring_updated

This year I will be celebrating midsummer here in NY. Midsummer is the day when Swedes like me celebrate the longest and brightest day of the year. We eat plenty of herring, new potatoes (that you buy freshly picked and dirty), aged cheese on “knäckebröd“, drink aquavit and sing songs. The dessert is always strawberries which are often eaten plain with just a little sugar and cream (either whipped or mixed with milk.) Some make creamy strawberry cakes while I serve mine with dark chocolate cake and whipped cream.

For practical reasons the midsummer holiday is always on the Friday closest to the actual summer solstice day which this year will be on Friday the 22nd of June.

The traditional herring you eat for midsummer is Matjes. It’s an excellent herring typically spiced with sugar, allspice, cinnamon and cloves. Traditionally you eat this type of herring with sour cream topped with chopped chives and new potatoes & fresh dill. I love this meal so much that I keep eating it throughout the whole summer.

Other common flavors are mustard, onion, lemon or dill herring. More rare or rather unexpected flavors are tomato, garlic or curry herring (not my cup of tea though). You can find these different types at any supermarket in Sweden or more homemade styles in most Swedish fishmongers.

If you can get hold of fresh herring, the best experience is to cure and flavor herring yourself. This can be a tough task if you are outside Scandinavia. In New York City I have only seen fresh herring a couples of times. In the city it’s possible to find simple cured herring in vinegar. You don’t really need to do anything if you find this kind of herring but with just a few simple additions like mustard and dill you will raise this fish to another level (see below).

the cure
(if you can get hold of fresh fish otherwise skip this part)

  • about 1 lb filets of fresh herring*
  • ½ cup white vinegar (6%)**
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoon salt

Rinse the herring in cold water. If you like you can skin the herring but I normally do that after the cure as it gets off easier then. Mix the white vinegar together with the salt and the sugar. When the sugar and salt are totally dissolved in the liquid add the water. Place the herring in a bowl and pour the vinegar mixture over. Set aside in the fridge for about 24 hours. Stir in between to make sure that all fillets gets properly cured. Its done when all fillets have become white in color.

Let the fillets drain properly in a strainer while you prepare the sauce. Remove the skin with your fingers or use a knife to peel it off. Cut the fillets with a scissor into bite size pieces.

mustard herring

  • about one lb cured herring(as above or get simple herring in vinegar. Only use the herring pieces, removing all liquid, onion, etc.)
  • 3 tablespoons sweet mustard
  • one tablespoon dijon mustard
  • one tablespoon brown sugar
  • one teaspoon sherry vinegar (apple cider vinegar works as well)
  • 50 ml sunflower oil (or other neutral vegetable oil)
  • ½ cup dill
  • one shallot

for decoration
chopped chives

Mix together mustard, sherry vinegar and sugar. Add carefully the  oil drop by drop while stirring. Chop the shallot and dill finely and add it to the sauce. Season with salt and freshly milled black pepper. Place the herring pieces into the sauce and stir carefully around so the sauce gets around the fish evenly. Let the fish rest for a couple of hours, preferably 24 hours but I can never wait that long. Before serving chop the chives into 1/4” pieces and sprinkle on top. Serve the herring with new potatoes or just on dark rye bread with sliced boiled eggs. Enjoy!

* It’s not impossible to fillet the fish yourself but you need some practice. This is one way: Cut off the head and tail. Open up the stomach with a small knife (or even your fingers) to take out the innards. Make it as clean as possible. Now comes the tricky part where you use your thumbs to loosen the backbones by pressing your thumb under it. When it starts to loosen grab the top of the backbone and pull it off. You now have both fillets connected together. Remove the fins with a scissor and rinse the fillet in cold water. You will get a hang of it after some practice. If you think this is too messy, just ask your fishmonger to do it for you.

** If you only find 5% white vinegar you should use a little less water.

Before buying any fish check with Seafood Watch for the most sustainable options.

Thei article was originally published at EcoSalon on 19 June 2012.

Gingerbread Cookies (Pepparkakor)

My memories of making gingerbread cookies (pepparkakor) are limited to my childhood when my sister and I rolled out dough and cutout shapes like the classic gingerbread men, women and pigs. It was fun for awhile, but our efforts only used up half the dough before my mother took over and cut out about 100 more. There were always too many gingerbread cookies in the house, no one seemed to eat them so they often lasted until Easter. At which point my mother had enough and fed them to the birds.

My mother’s cooking has always been a great inspiration but I’m afraid to say that gingerbread cookies isn’t one of them. So I decided to asked Anna Brones to join me in a gingerbread post. While creating the article together, I realized what my mother’s dough was missing. Anna (and her mother) always doubled the spices!
Read Anna’s gingerbread story at EcoSalon.

 

Anna’s Pepparkakor (Gingerbread Cookies)
(about 75-100 cookies)

¼ cup (50 ml) heavy cream
2/3 cup (150 ml) light syrup* or molasses
Almost one cup (200 ml) sugar
3 ½ oz (100 gram) butter
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups (700 ml) flour (+ some for the rolling out)

Melt the butter and the syrup on low heat. Let cool before adding the other ingredients. Work the dough well. It’s important that the spices are freshly milled. Let the dough rest overnight in a cool place so the spices have time to fully develop their aromas. The resting will also make it easier to roll out the dough.

Roll out the dough and cut out shapes with gingerbread cutters. Bake in the oven at 375ºF (190ºC) for about 6-8 minutes. Keep an eye on them as they burn easily.

This dough can also be used for a gingerbread house. Just roll it out slightly thicker. Have fun!

This recipe is a modification of the original at the Swedish shop Svensk Hemslöjd in Stockholm.

*You can buy light Syrup (ljus sirap) at Ikea. You can also use ”Lyle’s Golden Syrup” that you can find in British food stores.

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Anna’s Franska Pepparkakor (French Gingerbread Cookies)

1 cup (almost 250 ml) almonds, chopped
7 oz (200 g) butter
1/2 cup (120 ml) sugar
1/2 cup (120 ml) molasses
4 tsp ginger
4 tsp cinnamon
4 tsp ground nutmeg
4 tsp cardamom
2 tsp allspice
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp baking soda
3 cups (700 ml) flour
Cream butter, sugar and molasses.

Mix dry ingredients with almonds, then combine with butter, sugar and molasses. Knead together with your hands.

Roll dough into cylinders, about 12 inches long and wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Cut dough into 1/4 inch slices. Bake at 380 for 10-12 minutes.

This recipe is adapted from the Swedish classic: “Sju sorters kakor.”

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Other Swedish baked classics

Semlor – cardamom rich bun is filled with almond paste and heavy whipped cream
Kanelbullar – Swedish Cinnamon Bun
Lussebullar – Saffron Buns
Mazariner – Guest post by Anna Brones

Gravlax with Gravlax Sauce

gravlax_worm
In English Gravlax should be called Buried Salmon, which would be the ‘correct’ translation. But I agree that Gravlax sounds better and today you don’t have to bury the fish to make it.

1 kilo (2 lb) salmon fillet
2 teaspoons crushed pepper
4 tablespoons salt
2-4 tablespoons sucanat or sugar
lots of dill

If I buy fresh salmon I always freeze it for 24hrs, to make sure that there are no parasites in it. Clean the salmon fillets of any bones but keep the skin. The skin makes it easier later on when you are going to slice it. Mix together salt, pepper and sucanut. (more sugar makes a softer gravlax). Rub the fillet with some of the mixture. Divide the rest of the mixture and the dill on top of the fillet. If you have two fillets, place them together, meat against meat and short side against wide side. Place the fillet in a plastic bag and close it carefully. You can also use plastic wrap but it can be a little messy. Let the fillets rest in the fridge for 1-2 days. Thinner fillets can be done in 24 hours and thicker pieces need 48 hours to be ready to eat.

Unwrap and clean the fillets. Start to slice the gravlax at the small end. Make thin slices with a fillet or boning knife at an angle. Gravlax can be stored in the fridge for a week or longer in the freezer.I often serve my Gravlax as dinner with either potatoes and gravlax sauce or with dill creamed potatoes. In the summer I like to have a fresh potatoe salad with mustard vinaigrette. But gravlax is also great as an appetizer on toast.

See also Gravlax Juniper and Elderflower Gravlax

Gravlax Sauce
(serves 4)

3 tablespoons unsweet mustard
100 ml (0.4 cups) oil
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon sucanat
salt and fresh ground pepper
100 ml (0.4 cups) chopped dill

Mix mustard, sucanut, vinegar, salt and pepper. Slowly start dripping in the oil while stirring the mixture. Continue dripping in the oil and stirring. If you add the oil too quickly the mixture can separate. The result should be a thick sauce. Lastly add the chopped dill.