All posts filed under: Dinner For Two

Citrus Steamed Fish

Citrus Steamed Foil-Packet Fish

“So now you must choose… Are you a child who has not yet become world-weary? Or are you a philosopher who will vow never to become so? To children, the world and everything in it is new, something that gives rise to astonishment. It is not like that for adults. Most adults accept the world as a matter of course. This is precisely where philosophers are a notable exception. A philosopher never gets quite used to the world. To him or her, the world continues to seem a bit unreasonable – bewildering, even enigmatic. Philosophers and small children thus have an important faculty in common. The only thing we require to be good philosophers is the faculty of wonder.” (Jostein Gaarder, Sophie’s World) When one looks at pictures with scenery like this, of stunning places and adventurous times, it’s hard to imagine not knowing what to write about it. But, such is my reality right now. Writer’s block, motivation lacking, the wild tempests of life unexpected, the general wearing down of one’s reserves. Whatever the …

Duck, Duck, Salad

I never liked playing Duck, Duck, Goose. It’s an interminable game that’s excruciatingly boring for unpopular kids and overly exhausting for those who are continually picked. And no matter who you are, you still have to sit there and be repeatedly patted on the head by probably unwashed hands. As if that wasn’t enough, it’s completely nonsensical, because by far the funnest part is when you become the picker, but you only become so when you “lose” the chase! So is there ever really a winner? Now, these two duck salads are a different story. Together, they have something for everyone. One uses breast meat, the other dark meat. One is fresh and tangy, with dried cranberries and sharp cheese, the other is sweet and creamy, with cherries and hints of licorice from fennel. Whichever you choose (I hope you choose both) you won’t be disappointed. So, without further ado, I present part three of my duck series. If you’re interested in other duck recipes, check out some previous posts: Duck Ramen + Whole Roasted …

Duck Ramen + Whole Roasted Duck and Rich Duck Stock

I have these moments when I ache for the future. It’s usually when I have too much time on my hands. Whether the anticipated event is a few hours, a few days, or a few months away, I abhor waiting. My parents always told me that I wanted instant gratification, that this was not good for my character, and I needed to learn to wait. However, I feel as though I’ve done my share of waiting in this life. As the daughter of a preacher, many hours of my childhood were spent waiting after church for all the little old ladies, happy young couples, and the occasional disenchanted parishioner to shake the hand of my mother and father. Now and then I stood next to them, resigning myself to the hugs I would no doubt receive from the well-meaning elderly, ending up with aching jaws from forced smiles, and smelling like a perfume factory whose target consumer group is women over seventy. I’m not complaining about this, mind you; these memories are fond ones that …

Calvados Brie Fondue

“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.” (Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast) While my family is known to be crazy enough to have fondue dinners with as many as ten or twelve people, I’ve always felt that it’s more inclined to smaller settings. When you’re with one of the few people who bring about happiness like Spring, or if you’ve managed to set aside some peaceful quietude for yourself, a little pot of fondue can be just the thing you need to secure your contentment. This makes enough for a hearty dinner for one, or a nice appetizer for two. Ingredients Directions Cut or scrape the rind off the brie, and cut into cubes. Toss the cubes in the corn starch until coated and …

Bouillabaisse

“You can make as dramatic a production as you want out of a bouillabaisse, but remember it originated as a simple, Mediterranean fisherman’s soup, made from the day’s catch or its unsalable leftovers, and flavored with the typical condiments of the region—olive oil, garlic, leeks or onions, tomatoes, and herbs.” (Julia Child et al., Mastering the Art of French Cooking) Bouillabaisse is a summer soup, reminiscent of balmy breezes and the scent of seawater in the air. Unlike thick, cream-based soups, or chunky meat and vegetable soups, this bouillabaisse—with hints of citrus and saffron, and studded with fresh, briny seafood—energizes, and in fact finds itself rather at home on a hot, sunny day. Serves 2-3 Ingredients 1 cod fillet handful cooked mussel meat (or raw mussels in the shell) handful uncooked shrimp (OR fish and seafood of your choice) 900g (2 lbs) tomatoes 2 tablespoons olive oil 3 large garlic cloves 2 shallots 1 fennel bulb 4-5 stalks celery 1 cup dry white wine 1 cube vegetable or fish bouillon 1 cup water 3/4 teaspoon …

Roasted Kohlrabi Mascarpone Cannelloni

The sunlight floods in, combining with the heat of the stove to trick my mind and body into believing it’s summer. There’s no memory behind this recipe. It’s brand new. But it represents those moments of pure contentment, when I find myself busy at a fulfilling task, looking forward to success, hopeful that I’ll achieve something beautiful. I take another shell and fill it. Then another. I think of Italy, nostalgic for a heritage that isn’t mine. I pour a glass of wine, and reach for another shell. My aunt challenged me to come up with ideas for kohlrabi other than the standard stir fry. This is my second recipe; the first was my Twisted Apple Salad, where I used it raw, along with roasted beets and Granny Smith apples. That salad was the first time I had tasted raw kohlrabi, and this cannelloni is the first time I’ve tasted it cooked. It’s a brand new vegetable to me, and I’m so very glad I was introduced to it! It’s a fantastic little veggie: crisp, …

Spring Quiche

Everywhere I look people sit in the sun, bundled in jackets and scarves, feeling the warmth on their closed eyelids, basking in Spring’s first rays. I realize there’s a reason Springtime in Paris is a cliché. Tourists flood the city, searching for romance and adventures; locals respond more softly towards said tourists, with the knowledge that winter is behind them and in a few months they’ll be able to escape the city before the worst of the heat sets in. Flowers poke through the soil, and cherry blossoms blow in the wind like nature’s confetti. The last few days in Gothenburg have been like this, and much like in the picture above from Paris nine years ago, I’m donning my Spring jacket despite the cold wind. But in the refuge of my balcony, sheltered from the wind but open to the sun, it’s like summer for a few hours in the afternoon. I’ve planted flowers and herbs and prepared it for afternoon lounging. And even though I might have to bring everything in during freezing …

Turmeric Fennel Walnut Stuffed Cod & Orange Anise Kale

The silence is palpable, interrupted only by a quiet buzzing of insects and the occasional cry of a far off bird. The scent of mown grass and manure waft across the fields, and the gentle breeze causes silent ripples to move towards us and the shore. My peaceful calm shatters as Dad dangles a wriggling worm in front of me; it’s time to bait the hook. I can’t do it. Nope. Impaling even a minuscule and slimy creature isn’t in my repertoire. Not to mention that I’m seven and simply think it’s gross, even if I could do it. Thankfully, Dad gallantly baits my hook, and I’m able to enjoy the fun part of fishing. We fished for catfish at the family farm in Tennessee. Now that Scandinavia is home, cod is the fish of the day. Turmeric root has powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, among other attributes, and has been used for centuries to treat a number of ailments. I used the powder form for a long time (which is the main ingredient in …

Fennel Beef Pizza with a Rosemary Crust

Pulling out of the Pizza Hut parking lot, waistbands loosened, a slightly sleepy feeling setting in, we prepare for another five hours or so until we get to Granny and Pa’s. We’ve been on the road seven hours already. Interactions between me and my siblings decrease, and a quiet solitude sets in. One by one, we succumb to sleep… …My eyes crack open. Dashboard lights shine through the permeating dark. I hear the seams in the concrete going past in a regular rhythm, with an occasional disturbance in the pattern; perhaps this is what woke me. My siblings beside me breathe steadily with the slow, even breaths of sleep; it’s the only time we’ve all been peaceful together in hours. My mom in front of me, also asleep. My dad—also asleep?! I stare in the rearview, forcing my wide eyes not to blink; no, not asleep, just squinting from a long day of driving. During our many road trips down the Eastern seaboard to visit my grandparents, Pizza Hut was a common pit-stop for my …

An Unconventional Norwegian Christmas Dinner for Two

A traditional Norwegian Christmas dinner consists of surkål (sourkraut), kålrabistappe (rutabaga purée), and Ribbe (a side of pork, from the rib meat to the skin). The meat is slow roasted and the rind gradually cooks and crisps into a nice crunchy crackling. Living in Sweden, I couldn’t find this cut anywhere, so I went for a leg, hoping to get the same effect with the crackling. Since I was already going a different route, I decided to mix up the sides as well, and made Hasselback Rutabagas and rødkål (spiced red cabbage) instead of surkål. Pork Leg with Crackling Ingredients -1.5-2kg (3.3-4.4lbs) pork leg, including bone and skin -1 tablespoon whole cloves -salt and pepper Directions Score the rind, through the skin and into the fat, with a sharp knife into 1.5 cm (.6 inch) diamonds. Rub completely with salt and pepper, working it into the grooves. Put one clove into each intersection of grooves. Bake right away, or leave overnight in the fridge, tightly covered. Preheat the oven to 230C/450F. In your baking dish, …