Month: February 2015

Twisted Apple Salad

“There was no way this was going to work,” I thought, as I pressed my thumbnail into the apple, “I don’t care what she said!” I continued scoring the apple around the middle, however, persevering despite my lack of belief; after all, what better time than recess for carrying out ridiculous experiments? When I was satisfied that the score around the middle of the fat apple was good enough—and I couldn’t be criticized for half-hearted effort—I gripped the top in one hand, the bottom in the other, and gave it a mighty twist. Crack! I looked down at my hands, each palming a separate half! After a moment of astonishment, there was nothing left to do, really, except wonder at the usefulness of such an application. I was a bit trepidatious when taking the first bite of this salad. I really had no idea whether it would work. I had never had kohlrabi, and never tasted apple with beetroot, and the dressing was a concoction purely from my mind. My mom said one of the …

Zingy Shrimp Salad

Should I extoll the virtues of shrimp, the versatility, how you can sauté, fry, broil, grill, or boil it? How it’s just as good breaded, deep fried, and dipped in cocktail sauce (which, let’s admit, is just dressed up ketchup) as it is marinated and grilled to perfection? Should I recount memories of peeling fresh shrimp, bought from a stand in downtown Tromsø, Norway, hands itching from the salt water and juices seeping into my weather-cracked fingers? Should I confess that every time I see popcorn shrimp on a menu, I’m tempted—even if the restaurant shouldn’t be serving seafood? Or perhaps this time it’s just simple: I was in the mood for a salad, and I wanted it to be zingy and zany and delicious. So I made one. The following ingredients are enough for two servings. Ingredients Directions Combine oil, red pepper flakes, and mint, then add shrimp (thawed if using frozen) and toss to coat. Slide shrimp on skewers and broil for 5-8 minutes, until pink and opaque, flipping halfway through. Remove and …

Swedish Cinnamon Bun Cake

I clomped down, knocking slush and snow off my boots, and gazed at the display case. What should I choose? Pistachio almond turnover? Croissant? Cookies, pie, cake, brittle? A puffy scone-thing called “dreams”? Perhaps something I’ve never had here before. Blackberry pie—that’s the ticket! And a chokladboll for later. And one of those giant cinnamon buns to take home to Tor. The snow falls ever faster outside, coming down in fat, puffy flakes. The perfect environment for a cozy breakfast. And there’s a corner table available. Café Husaren, in Haga, the historical district of Gothenburg, Sweden, provides a cozy refuge for winter tourists and locals alike. In the summer, the outside is lined with tables, but at this time of year, people hurry in to get warm with a cup of coffee or tea (of which they have one of the city’s largest variety). In addition to a myriad of sweets, they also have quiches, sandwiches, and salads in the afternoon and evening. If small, dainty desserts don’t strike your fancy, they boast världens största …

Zesty Passion Fruit Cheesecake with a Red Velvet Crust

I loved them with a fierceness. Ferociously, constantly, and unconditionally. Tiger and Butterbear. They came to me for my second Christmas, and were my companions for years. I bestowed upon them priority of place and deference of position. Accompanying me everywhere, they enjoyed the sunlight and weathered storms. Butterbear once found herself hanging upside down from Granny’s clothesline, sodden and heavy with washwater. Knowledge of what soiled her is lost to me, banished by the heart-wrenching feelings at seeing her lumpy and dripping wet, upside down on that line. When Valentine’s Day rolls around, there’s conflicting responses: some rail against consumerism, staunchly insisting it’s a manufactured holiday to create profit; others focus on and celebrate the romantic love in their life; and still others recognize and appreciate the various forms love takes. Each of these responses is legitimate and valid, and I’ve found myself with each point of view at one point or other in my life, but I prefer to be in the third camp. No matter the numerous historical origin stories, or the …

Cocoa Rosemary Hazelnut Icebox Pinwheels

Settling myself on the grass, I began laying out my picnic. A man, at least in his fifties, caught my attention. In the process of limbering up for what I assumed would be yoga or tai chi, he commenced undressing, stripping down to tight boxer briefs. This being Paris, I wasn’t too taken aback, and I turned my attention to my food. This was not to be, however, because the man’s stretching was exaggerated to the point of absurdity, and I could not help but think that this was part of some elaborate ruse. I began stealing glances around me to see if anyone else was noticing these surreal happenings. Mesmerized by how even a Frenchman could act like he was completely alone in a public park (and even then, I surmise most people don’t act that ludicrous even when they are alone), I had no idea that it would get oh-so-much better. I was beyond surprised when he began rolling head over heels down the hill, somersault after somersault. Reaching the bottom, he bounced …

Tarte Tatin de Poire

Something heavy beckoned to me from the toe of my Christmas stocking. We had exchanged them early, in hopes we could enjoy our gifts before our trip to the States. What could this solid, heavy object be? I drew it out, and a small jar of jam appeared. Pear, pomegranate, and calvados. Eureka! I use the same pastry here as for my Provençal Butternut Squash Rugelach. With equal parts cream cheese and butter, and richened with crème fraîche and an egg yolk, it gives a flavorful and slightly flaky, yet quickly assembled, alternative to store-bought puff pastry. Ingredients Directions Prepare your pastry by putting the flour in a mixing bowl and adding the butter and cream cheese in small chunks. Pinch the butter and cheese into the flour with your fingertips until it starts to come together. Whisk together the crème fraîche and egg yolk, then add to flour mixture. Toss with your fingertips, then press together until you can form a ball. Remove to a sheet of plastic wrap and form a disk. Stick …