Category Archives: Cook

We Want You! (well your feedback)

Kendra cleaning up shop

Kendra cleaning up shop

 

I am currently working on some exciting new content, and a makeover for Americulinariska!

However, it would all be in vain without the input and ideas from you!

  • Any specific topics you’d like to see?

  • What are some of the set-backs you have when it comes to cooking?

  • Any random  questions?

Just more bacon? (Okay, that’s what I want…)

 

Email your thoughts to info@americulinariska.com or comment under this post on Facebook! I will share your insights and respond to every email and post!

Looking forward to hearing what you have to say and stay tuned!

Love Kendra

Taco! Taco! Tex-Mex Book cook meat

One Pot to Rule them All? Le Creuset

Le Creuset ‘fo ‘sho: The dutch oven to rule them all!

Photo from cookingequipment.about.com

Photo from cookingequipment.about.com

 

My Le Creuset Dutch oven pot was the best kitchen tool investment I have made to date. I use it for everything: from deep-frying to tomato sauce to wonderful slow cooked stews and braises (gryta). If you cook, this item is essential. Forget the price: it has a lifetime guarantee.

Now that fall is upon us, slow cooking on Sundays is on the agenda. Not only is it easy to throw your ingredients into the pot to let it cook on low for hours while you get on with your day; but flavors are like none other.

PLUS: If you cook a lot of meat, you can use the leftovers in a couple of dishes during the week, making your weekday meals not only easier but also a lot more luxurious.

Basically, your braise will consist of protein + spices + liquid + vegetables. The trick is to brown your meat, bring all you ingredients to a light boil and then turn down the heat and cook on low for hours until the meat falls a part. If you cook with high heat the meat will be tough and chewy. I like to start on the stove top and then slow cook on low in the oven. Here is a good article on the basic tips for braising from my favorite magazine Bon Appetite: 4 Simple Rules For Braising Anything.

Here are some of my favorite ingredients to play with:

Meat: Chicken breast (Kycklingfilé)/ Pork shoulder (Fläskkarré)/ Oxtails

Base: Onions/garlic/shallots/Carrots/ Chipotlé chili/ Smoked paprika/ Bay leaves/ Lots of spices and herbs

Liquid: Chicken broth (bouillon)/ Wine/ Beer

Want some recipes for inspiration? Visit my slow cooking Pinterest page to see some glorious photos, recipes and resources!

Magasinet Hunger intervju: kökstång perfekt för fritering

Swedish food magazine “Hunger” interviewed me for this issue’s “The Favorite” column featuring my trusty tongs (kökstång)! From turning tortillas as a child in California to deep frying comfort foods in Stockholm, this American classic has served me well! Below the article, you can find the recipe for the “Panko Fried Eggplant” (“Panko Friterad Aubergine”) that I cooked for the magazine shoot: (In Swedish and English!)

Favoriten-Kendra-Valentine Hunger Magazine CROPPED

“Panko Friterad Aubergine”

Av Kendra Valentine

2 auberginer

3 ägg (blandat med lite vatten och chili peppar sås, om du vill)

1 dl vetemjöl

4 dl. Panko ströbröd (blandat med vitlök flingor)

1 l  rapsolja

 

Skär auberginen i ca. ¾ cm tjocka skivor och salta. Doppa skivorna i mjölet. Fortsätt därefter med ägg blandning, och tredje panko blandning. Lägg dem utspridda på en plåt eller bricka.

Låt dem ligga och torka medan du värma oljan i stekpanna eller kastrull. Värme till ca. 160 C eller level 7.  När en skärva panko fräser och flottör i oljan: kör.

Fritera tills de är gyllenbruna, ca. 2 minuter på varje sida.  Lägg upp på hushållspapper för avrinning.

Don’t throw away those celery leaves! (selleri blad)

Celery (Selleri)

Celery (Selleri)

I grew up eating many meals that started with a base of chopped celery, bell peppers (paprika), and onion. In cajun and creole cooking (Louisiana) this is referred to as the ‘holy trinity’ and the base of many dishes. However, growing up I had no idea about this history… my best guess is my mom picked it up from my grandmother (father’s mother) who grew up in Louisiana.  I don’t keep to this tradition as often as I could, but lately celery has been making a come back in my cooking… I just had one little issue:

I was getting annoyed with throwing out the leaves, as I had most often seen people do back home.

Especially when I have celery stalks with tons of leaves like the one pictured above. In north America the stalks often don’t come with so many leaves still attached in supermarkets. So I decided that I would figure out how to use celery leaves in my cooking: “Wasted not want not” right?

How to eat swedish plums (plommon) for dinner

plums (plommon)

Cute little Swedish plums

This friday, my lovely neighbor brought over a huge bag of cute little Swedish plums, to add to my huge basket of apples from the yard. First thought: “Pie” followed by…

“How original, sexy and exciting!”

The second thought was clearly sarcastic… I only make deserts when I’m in the mood. So, what will I do with a bunch of cute mini Swedish plums that isn’t desert? Well (2) things:

The first, is a way to not only use many of the plums, but to also use some of the several bottles of snaps we have leftover from midsummer(s). Every year, someone forgets the snaps (read: Swedish holiday emergency), so we have to go buy a new bottle, and then bring it back home to add to the collection… and I haven’t quite gotten the urge to ‘pair’ fine Swedish snaps with anything but marinated or fermented fish. BUT! perhaps this plum chutney can be my gateway drug:

Plum Chutney with Snaps Sauce

(Tip: Try this with pork tenderloin, duck breast or grilled haloumi!)

12 mini plums, cut into slices (plommon)
1 dl. (.5 cups) Light brown sugar
2 teaspoons minced ginger (ingefära)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bay leaf (lagerblad)
.5 dl (.25 cups) Snaps
.5 dl. (.25 cups) Water
Salt
Heat oil in a saucepan (medium heat.) Add ginger and cook, then quickly add brown sugar, bay leaf, and water. Cook, stirring for about 2 minutes. Stir in plums and snaps. Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Turn heat to medium low and let simmer 20 minutes until thick. Season with salt.

The second way to use plums is a no brainer… and it sounds ‘oh so delighful’ to say! Try this viniagrette with a nice salad made with dark greens:

Expat Food Hack: Making REAL Buffalo Wings in Sweden

Amerikansk Buffalo Wings

Amerikansk Buffalo Wings

Dear Sweden:
Please, please, please stop making wings with sweet chili sauce, and then calling them Buffalo wings. It is misleading, and frustrating. I love you, but this I can not accept. We need to talk…

Buffalo wings are made with a tangy cayenne peppar and vinager based hot sauce, most popular is Frank’s Red Hot. Now, I know we can’t just go out and buy the original Frank’s Red Hot in stores here… but there is always a compromise better than sweet chili sauce… and finally I’ve found it in Stockholm: Piri Piri hot sauce.

Piri Piri Hot Sauce or 'Expat' Buffalo Sauce

Piri Piri Hot Sauce or ‘Expat’ Buffalo Sauce

Food Hack: Easy Mexican Queso Fresco

queso fresco & beans

Problem: I love making Mexican food, but can’t easily go buy queso fresco in Sweden… what can I do in a pinch?

Queso Fresco (“Fresh Cheese” in Spanish) is a popular cheese in Mexican cuisine. Although a tex mex style taco can do just fine with shredded cheddar, when you take the time to make a nice carne asada or carnitas and fresh corn tortillas for tacos, you want to use the good stuff: queso fresco.

Unfortunately, many of us don’t have a well stocked latin grocer nearby… or want to buy it overpriced at a posh specialty store. But alas, there is hope.

Queso Freso is essentially fresh cheese from raw cow milk (or sometimes a combination of cow and goat milks), that crumbles nicely with a salty and creamy texture. You know what other cheese can be described the same way? FETA. Where I live in Sweden, not only is feta reasonably priced but you can find it in any store. The main difference with feta is that is make with goat and sheep milk exclusively.

If using the cheese as a garnish, then I doubt you can really mark a big difference…unless you are the “Rain man” of cheeses.

To hack your feta into queso fresco, all you need to do is this:

Let the feta block soak in a small bowl of cool water for 5 to 10 minutes… that’s it!

Just, wait to crumble the cheese until after you soak it.

Otherwise… try a recipe for making your own queso fresco… like this one.

 

 

 

Infographic: “Cooking with kids” (“matlagning med barn” undersökning)

Cooking With Kids - Survey Results

Cooking with kids UK survey by greatbritishchefs.

Mexican Refried Beans at home (Mexicansk friterad böner)

Mexican Refried Beans (Mexicansk friterad böner)

Mexican Refried Beans (friterad böner)

Cooking refried beans (Mexicansk friterad böner) is an essential skill if you have Mexican/Tex Mex food cravings like I do… living in Sweden I haven’t come across Pinto beans, but you can use many different kinds of beans: Cannellini and Borlotti beans are most similar to Pinto. And of course you can use black beans or even kidney.

Pinto beans alternative

Borlotti Beans (Böner)

 

Refried Beans Recipe (Recept):

1 Can beans (böner)
1/2 small yellow onion, diced (gullök)
2 cloves garlic (vitlök)
dash of cumin (spiskummin)
dash of ground coriander (optional)

1 teaspoon bacon fat (optional)

or

1/4 cube chicken bouillon and
1 dl. water (1/2 cup)

Plus: A little oil (if not using bacon fat), frying pan, and wooden spoon

1. Drain beans, and set aside 1/3 of the beans for later
2. Heat frying pan to medium heat and bacon fat (or oil), onion, and garlic. Saute until soft.
3. Pour in the can of beans, bouillon (if not using bacon fat), and water and mash with potato masher. It will be watery… then stir in the rest of the whole beans. (no more mashing)
4. Allow to cook down on medium heat, stir constantly. This is the frying part! Keep on cooking and stirring until it is as thick as you like your refried beans! Salt to taste if needed.

 

A snack for champs: Homemade Fried Pork Skins (Flashback)

Homemade Pork Cracklins (Fried Pork Skins)

How did I end up making homemade fried pork skins?

I recently made a trip to one of the most inspiring institutions created by modern man: The butcher. Living abroad adds another special dimension to such visits, since there is no uniform way to butcher meat… as the saying goes ‘there’s more than one way to skin a cat’ well multiply that assumption when it comes to butchering a cow. (Unless you’re in some parts of India, then there is only one way to butcher a cow… more on that another day :)

 

I now live in a land where good old rib-eye is called entrecote and wrapped up small and boneless… a pleasant cut, but some days I need to go back to my roots and get a nice thick dry aged cut- bones included, just as nature intended.

 

That’s when I go to Taylors & Jones… it’s a British butcher shop on Kungsholmen , here in Stockholm.  Great product and service to match. This visit I went with some lovely pork chops, and of course a few of their popular house made sausages.

fried pork skins step 1

Pork chops and skin

 

Once I got home, I realized I had been gifted another treat I often forget about: a large strip of skin was left on the chops…. I had a flash-

Pork Cracklins were now on the agenda!

 

(If I was going to bake the chops I may have left the skin on to crisp up nice and flavor the meat: but homemade fried pork skins was too tempting.)

 

Fried Pork Skins may not sound so fantastic if you are not already well acquainted (but if you eat bacon you ought not judge), but for those who know- it’s a snack you grew up with… salty, savory and crunchy.

and to top it all off- I feel a lot better not throwing parts out to waste.

 

You find this snack all over the world, but from an American perspective its very southern. Back in the day, people cooked down the skins to render out the fat to make cooking lard, and fried pork skin was a byproduct of this process.

 

This is how I made my little bunch at home:

(If you are making a lot, I suggest cooking outside in a large pot over a fire, this can be a fire hazard.)

 

fried pork skins

Slicing Pork skins

1: I sliced the skin into strips and then chopped into rectangles… but you can cut as you like.