Category Archives: Reviews

Taco Bell Mild Sauce Copycat Recipe!

There’s no Taco Bell in Sweden, so I started making a homemade version of the mild hot sauce that comes in those little packets. Don’t judge me: Taco bell is my vice, my love, my old friend… and that mild sauce is golden.

  • 3 cups (7 dl.) water
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 6-ounce can (175 ml. tube) tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar (or white vinegar)
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Tip: You can of course use this sauce on tacos, but also makes a good enchirito (enchilada + burrito) or wet burrito.The sauce is a little thick for a hot sauce, so it works well. You could also use a bit in chili con carne or in a soup base. It’s totally worth the effort!

Garlic Fries!

If you haven’t had garlic fries already, then get ready for something spiritual! I use a whole head of garlic for these fries and if I’m going to eat fries at home, I’m going to make it count: Deep frying is the only way to go.

You’ll need:

  • 1 head garlic, minced or pressed
  • parsley, chopped
  • frozen french fries
  • frying oil
  • salt

Tip: Always deep-fry to get the best fries! Since I started making fries this way I don’t crave fast food fries. These are as fresh and crisp as can be: at home. Practice safety and use a splatter guard or be sure the fries are not covered in ice crystals or the oil will pop in yo’ face! Stand back!

Thai Red Curry Chicken

Thai red curry might be the easiest and fastest dish I’ve ever cooked. Seriously. I was furious that never tried to do this before, and instead thought I needed secret take-out wok skills to pull this off with ease- I was wrong.

You’ll need:

  • Thai red curry paste
  • Coconut milk
  • Chicken breast meat, sliced
  • Veggies, fresh or frozen (green beans, baby corn, bell peppers,etc.)
  • (optional) sliced red chili
  • (optional) Some cilantro or coriander- see my blog header!

American Rice Krispies Treats!

Rice Krispies Treats are a classic  American treat. It reminds me of my childhood: the first ‘recipe’ I ever made as a kid! So easy to make, yet tasty…

You need:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 package (300g) Marshmallows
  • 200g Kellogg’s® Rice Krispies® cereal

How to:

Melt 3 tablespoons butter, then melt marshmallows on low heat.
Stir constantly so it doesn’t burn.

Turn off heat, and add Rice Krispies. Stir until blended.

Put into any form you like and let sit for 15 minutes, then cut up into squares. Enjoy!

How to Cook Steak

Here are my tips & tricks for cooking the perfect steak… with a little know-how, you can have a great steak right at home! And remember: any self respecting steak eater will not buy thin sliced single portion steaks. You need a double thick steak (at least 1.5 inches or 4 cm.) to get that sear right!

My Steak Tips:

#1: The most important thing to do when cooking a steak is allowing it to rest at room temperature before and after cooking. About 20 minutes before you are ready to cook, let the steak sit at room temperature.

#2: This is also a good time to season with salt & pepper since it will sink into the meat, provide a nice crust during the cooking, as well as draw away any extra moisture. Your steak must be dry in order to get a good sear.

#3: Flipping your steak once per minute promotes even cooking. This way you don’t have an over done outer ring on the meat.

#4: After cooking, let it rest for 10 min. this allows all the juices to settle within the meat, and stay inside when you cut into it: instead of just running out onto the plate!

Here’s a video showing a little trick you can use to figure out the doneness of your steak:

Swedish Turkey Day

Thanksgiving Special

Oh Thanksgiving… living in a country outside the US during this holiday is when things ‘REALLY GET REAL.’ Nostalgia can creep up on you something fierce…

But, in some cases, you actually get more than you expected… case in point: an entire store dedicated to turkey.

I’ve visited Ingelsta Kalkon, a little turkey boutique in Stockholm to take a look at turkey through a Swedish lens…

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!

A HORSE of Course! Horse Meat in Sweden (Gustafskorv)

GustafskorvYou’re eating Horse?!? Nehhhhhh!(In my best Mr. Ed impression)

When it comes to regional food I never turn my nose up on something large numbers of peoples eat… no matter how cute it was in its living state. Sorry but I’ve been that way since learning what veal was when I was a kid… after that, it was like “hot damn, well if everyone is doing it….” But alas we come to the meat in question: horse meat sausage or Gustafskorv.

Why? Well, as my companion in Dalarna (county in central Sweden) put it:

“Why not? What’s the difference between a horse and a cow?”

Okay, riding a cow is neither practical nor romantic, but for all intensive purposes, they are pretty close hooved amigos. Now, I’m not advocating adding My Little Pony to the little pictures on the ‘ideal diet’ chart, especially since it wouldn’t replace any meats we already over consume…. but as much as I like the idea of better meat practices, I also believe in eating local: and in Dalarna “Gustafskorv” (Horse Sausage) is as local as it gets!

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.

Here’s “Taco! Taco! Tex-Mex” kids book to celebrate (U.S) National Taco Day!

Taco! Taco! Tex-Mex Book

Recently published on the Amazon Kindle store: “Taco! Taco! Tex-Mex” a kids ebook on the simple task of cooking a taco: Tex-Mex style. The book is really approachable for even the youngest readers and taco obsessed grown ups alike. If you don’t have a Kindle (I don’t) you can read on any device with the Kindle app, as well as right on your computer.

Here are some pages from the book, although the detail looks better on ipad! (Check out Amazon for reviews and more info)

Taco! Taco! Tex-Mex Book cook meatTaco! Taco! Tex-Mex chop lettuce