Category Archives: Cook

Classic Christmas Eggnog

Don’t like store bought eggnog (äggtoddy) or can’t buy it to begin with? Then, perhaps you should make it yourself. It’s really easy, and you use things you likely already have on hand… PLUS you can make just what you need: no staring at a huge carton of leftover eggnog no one wants to drink after Christmas!

 

If you don’t already know ‘eggnog’ is ‘eggnog’ then it sounds a little nasty… let’s be honest. It’s a drink made with eggs. But it’s delicious and if you think of it as a custard drink, as it is basically an uncooked custard, it seems luxurious.

Note: Eggnog is also a family drink. Just don’t use the bourbon. Clearly.

Classic Christmas Eggnog

Adapted from Alton Brown

4 eggs
1/3 cup/ .75 dl. sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
2 cups/ 5 dl. whole milk
1 cup/ 2 dl. heavy cream
3 oz./8 cl. bourbon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (muskotnöt)

How to:

  • First, separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. (Many ways to do this, one of which is in the “Eggnog” video.)
  • With an electric beater, whisk egg yolks until they get milky or a bit lighter in color. Slowly add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it well mixed.
    Add the milk, cream, bourbon and nutmeg. Mix together, and set aside.
  • Place the egg whites in a second bowl and beat to soft fluffy peaks. Slowly beat in the 1 tablespoon of sugar and then beat until the egg whites are stiff like whipped cream.
  • Whisk the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Chill and serve with a little nutmeg on top!

Merry Christmas! God Jul!

Eggnog (äggtoddy)

Pickled Herring Korean Style!

I know what you’re thinking… “I’m not a huge fan of herring” but this pickled herring is really good. Trust.

This Korean style marinated or pickled herring will add a lot more flavor & a little kick to your Swedish holiday buffet, for sure. I’m really proud of this marinated herring recipe: I get to respect local customs and still get flavor packed eats… win, win. The taste of garlic, ginger, and spicy yet sweet chili flakes is a great way to liven things up, and it is not too spicy despite the chili flakes, so don’t worry. This herring is great the traditional way as part of a holiday buffet or with steamed rice and fresh coriander. Visit your nearest Asian market for ingredients: they are worth buying since you can use them in many other dishes…

Korean Style Pickled Herring

Water (1 cup)
Rice Wine Vinegar (1/2 cup)
Rice Wine (3 Tbs.)
Sugar (2 Tbs.)
Korean Red Chili Flakes “Gochugaru” (3 Tbs.)
Ginger (1 Tsp.)
Garlic (1 Large Clove)
Radish (1/4 cup)
Green onion (1/4 cup)
Prepared herring (5 minuters sill)
Preserves Jar

How to…

  • Simply mix first 5 ingredients together in a sauce pan. Bring mixture just to a boil and then quickly remove from heat. Allow mixture to cool. It must be below room temperature before using.
  • While your marinade is cooling, grate your garlic and slice your ginger, radish and green onion. Set aside.
  • Wash your herring under cool water, and then slice into pieces.
  • Now it’s time to arrange your jar: loosely layer the vegetables and herring. You want the marinade to be able to touch everything.
  • Once your marinade is cool, pour into the jar, all the way to the top. Seal the jar, and refrigerate for at least two days. Enjoy!

Homemade Corn Tortillas

Taco night? There is no substitute for fresh corn tortillas! Whether you can’t find corn tortillas where you live or you simply want to add a little love to your tacos: it’s easy to make your own corn tortillas at home.

Ingredients: (2 servings)
- 1 cup/2 dl. masa harina
- ½ cup/1 dl. warm water (plus more)
- Salt (optional)

Instructions
1. Line you tortilla press with plastic wrap or a plastic bag, and preheat a dry heavy skillet over medium high heat. Tip: If you don’t have tortilla press, use a heaving pan.

2. Mix masa harina and salt in a bowl.

3. Add about ½ cup water. Mix with your hands until dough comes together, add more water as needed.
Tip: You should be able to form a ball with the dough, but it shouldn’t stick to your hands. If it’s too dry, add a few drops water. If too sticky, add a little more flour.

4. Roll into 6-8 balls. Tip: If your tortillas seem dry at any stage, just add a little more water. No need to worry about over working corn flour: it has low or no gluten so it won’t get chewy easily.

5. Once skillet is hot, begin pressing the balls out into tortillas. Tip: Sprinkle water on the skillet see if its hot: sizzle = hot.

6. Cook tortillas until they begin to brown in places: 30 seconds to one minute on the first side, then 30 seconds on the other side.

7. Wrap cooked tortillas in a cloth to keep warm and from drying out.

Homemade Corn Tortillas

Storage tips:

One Pot to Rule them All? Le Creuset

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


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.