All posts filed under: Elevenses

Egg-in-a-‘cado

I emerged from the garage, stumped. The nest wasn’t there this time. Perhaps over by the rusted-out car… nope. The lumber pile? Uh-uh. The hen was getting smarter. I saw Granny disappearing into the woods with her three big dogs, while I stayed behind to hunt for the fresh eggs. The blooming Dogwood distracted me, raining down delicate petals with the breeze, falling around me like fairy dust, gently covering the surface of the scarcely-used-anymore sandbox. Eureka! Nestled against the big rock behind the sandbox? The nest! With two big fat eggs nestled in the dried grass and old feathers. Hopefully they would have double yolks… This is the grown-up version of the classic egg-in-a-hole. Though at first consideration a humble food, the egg is yet ubiquitous among tasty treats. And it can even, I daresay, be elevated to a gourmet treasure. The warm earthiness of baked avocado and caraway does just this, and yet it remains such a simple recipe that it could easily become an everyday habit. The beauty of baking an egg …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Brown Butter and Vanilla Bean Weekend Cake & Calvados Anise Weekend Muffins with a Blood-Orange Glaze

“I like the dryness of it,” Tor told me matter-of-factly, as if that should explain everything. “But the dryness is why I made a glaze for my own version!” I retorted. “Well…I like it dry,” he concluded, with a nonchalant shrug of his shoulders. I missed a couple weeks of Tuesdays with Dorie, a cookalong group baking their way through Dorie Greenspan‘s new book, Baking Chez Moi. Today I’m jumping back into the swing of things with a review of her Brown Butter and Vanilla Bean Weekend Cake. This cake was very nice, though I thought it a bit dry. However, that’s what others may find they like most about it, as evidenced by Tor’s remarks above. I did forego the optional addition of rum, so perhaps the whole thing would have been more moist if I had opted for it; however, I can’t imagine that the brown butter and vanilla flavor—which is what redeemed it, in my opinion—wouldn’t have been overpowered by the rum. I thought it was a bit fussy with the method, …

Scandinavian Rice Porridge Three Ways

I slowly roll the porridge around my mouth, feeling carefully for the prized almond before biting down. Cautious bite after cautious bite, I wryly think that this is one way to force someone to eat slowly. Whoever finds the single blanched almond hidden in the porridge receives a reward of a marzipan pig. And I want it. Tor doesn’t even like marzipan all that much. I’m nearing the end of my bowl, and no almond presents itself. I really don’t want to take seconds, but am considering it when I notice a slight smile stealing onto Tor’s face. He holds up the almond, which, as it turns out, he found early on and had been squirreling away, silently and joyously observing my slow, vigilant eating. Christmas Porridge This recipe for Christmas Porridge should make enough to serve two for dinner, with enough leftovers for both the baked pudding and the rice cream. If you’re only making the porridge, it serves six. Ingredients 300g (3.5 dl or 1 1/2 cups) Grötris (porridge rice); substitute short or …

The Rugelach That Won Over France & Provençal Butternut Squash Rugelach

This week, the group Tuesdays with Dorie is baking The Rugelach That Won Over France from Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. A light, flaky pastry contains a nutty chocolate coconut cherry filling and is baked in little upended pinwheels. I slightly modified the filling for my tastes: raspberry flavored dark chocolate and no cinnamon or cherries. Wow! It was good. It was my first time making rugelach, and I was quite pleased. So pleased that I decided to make my own savory version with a more traditional crescent shape. I also altered the dough a bit for a richer taste and more dense texture. I added crème fraîche and an egg yolk, and adjusted the flour accordingly. Filled with roasted and mashed butternut squash and shallots, flavored with Herbes de Provence, and sprinkled with flakes of sea salt, this savory variant provides a nice warming snack on a cold winter afternoon. Ingredients Directions Put the flour in a mixing bowl and add the butter and cream cheese in small chunks. Pinch the butter and …

Cheesecake Pumpkin Pie with a Gingersnap Crust

I’ve always loved a good pumpkin pie. It never occurred to me that it could be considered weird until I had several Scandinavians and Europeans look at me funny when I mentioned pumpkin as a dessert. But, then they’re doubly impressed after tasting it. I even sent home a can of pumpkin and some pumpkin pie spice with one of our Swedish friends one year, who in turn made one for her friends! Tor loves cheesecake: any time, anywhere, any kind. So, I thought, why not combine the two? A layer of creamy vanilla cheesecake sandwiched between a top layer of spicy pumpkin and a gingersnap crust. Yum. Ingredients Directions Preheat oven to 180C/355F. Combine crumbs and ground nuts. Add melted butter and stir until the mixture is evenly moistened. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate or spring form. Bake for about 8 minutes, then remove from oven to cool. Tip: After removing the crust from the oven, if it has melted down the sides, use some baking …

Golden Beet Potato Quiche

As I’ve said before, I have a special relationship with autumn. And winter in Scandinavia can be quite spectacular when the snow arrives and it feels like you’re in a wonderland. But the weeks in between, when the brightness of autumn has faded, and it’s still not cold enough for snow, carry with them a pervading and damp cold that reaches the bones and leaves you longing for a bit of color and warmth. The sky during these days is often an eerie white, which brings about a sort of timeless quietude. Yes, I’m looking forward to the bitter cold of winter here in Sweden, because it brings with it an often clear sky, snow-laden trees, and Christmas lights brightening the city. In the meantime, I’ll add some color to my day and some warmth to my belly with this Golden Beet Potato Quiche. Ingredients Directions Roast beets ahead of time. Wash, wrap in foil, and bake at 205C/400F for 1-1.5 hours, depending on size, until tender when squeezed. Let cool. For crust, combine flour …

Norwegian Cardamom Buns

The scene outside the passenger window takes my breath away. The fjord sparkles under the midnight sun, and mountains rise up in rocky walls, with glacier melt cascading down in shiny rivulets. I lean in to the curve as the car sweeps around yet another peninsula, heading back towards the mainland. A cluster of houses populate the shore here, and I wonder what it’s like to live here, to have to plan for groceries. Yes, this is what comes to mind: if I lived here I would need a huge trailer to haul groceries once a month! Would the magical location make it worth it? Perhaps. Time for a snack. Sometimes the simplest things in life are some of the best. Road trips are one of our favorite pastimes when we visit Norway. There’s this cardamom raisin bun that you can find in grocery stores and gas stations; it’s pretty common. And in most places, it’s just a regular bun, but for some reason, the ones from the gas station are so delicious. Ingredients Directions …