Category Archives: Products

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

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.

 

EAT BUTTER: I knew America was coming around! (Time Magazine)

Time Magazine Butter Cover

So there I was, wadding through my usual Sunday tasks when I got a text with an image of this week’s TIME magazine from my best friend stateside:

“Eat Butter.”

I stopped in my tracks and let out a huge “YESSSSSSS! I called it!” Exactly 2 years ago, actually almost to the day, I stood in front of a panel at London Business School pitching a business plan for an innovative butter product I developed. When asked the usual question about intended market, I stated something along these lines: ” The initial market for the product will be Sweden, as butter is a large part of the diet here thus allowing us to go directly to educating the consumer on usage, whereas in the U.S we would have the setback of prevailing ‘Anti-butter’ food culture. However, I predict that attitudes are changing, and the market will be prime in about two years time, making it the ideal time to launch on the U.S market, tapping into this new niche…” They further asked me what qualified my assumption, and the dance of doubt began… And there I was, 2 years later starring at the literal manifestation of my prediction. I’m no stranger to calling a foodie fashion trend before it comes, but this was an exemplary example… I look forward to what lies ahead, and implore anyone who wants to jump on the business bandwagon to message me. I have a plan!

Lesson of the day: Trust your intuition

Starbucks in Stockholm?!?

Starbucks billbord

Look what I found in Stockholm!

This morning, I was woken up with a phone call: “You’re not going to believe it, there’s a pop up store of one of your favorite places…. Starbucks! Right next to the castle!(Literal castle, this is Stockholm)” Me: “No way… no way, oh snap! Merry Christmas to me!”

So, I gathered up my snow gear and went over to check out the situation, and indeed found a contingent of Starbucks ‘workers’ next to the castle, however it wasn’t the unimaginable portable Starbucks cafe complete with pastries I like to look at but never buy, I had tried to imagine… it was a promotion. A promotion for a cold latte product for sale in stores.

Starbucks Discoveries Latte

My free sample of the retail product: Starbucks Discoveries Latte

That’s right, cold Starbucks for a cold winter day… funny, funny. But who am I kidding, I indulged, after all it was free. I didn’t earn my Starbucks Gold Card from passing up on the goods.

Howard Schultz, if you get this: Please save me airfare by opening a real Starbucks in Stockholm. Me love you long time.

A happy Starbucks promotion worker

A happy Starbucks promotion worker: I think she would be happier inside a real warm Starbucks ;)

Glögg Mat: Cooking with mulled wine- Pork Tenderloin

Leftover bottle of Glögg

Here is the Glögg or spiced mulled wine that I used in my cooking.

Its Christmas time, and in Scandinavia that means time for cups of warm Glögg (mulled spiced wine) at parties. Last year, I had a lot left over from the holidays, so I decided this year the holiday drink should pull double duty and I should think of a couple of ways to use it in my cooking.

The first great opportunity came last Weekend, I was making a pork tenderloin. I crusted the tenderloin with freshly coarse ground peppercorns and allspice. As we all know, pork goes well with a bit of sweet and spice, so I instantly though of using some leftover Glögg for a sauce. You can tweak the flavors any way you like, but using the things I had on hand I made a reduction using:

Pan drippings from tenderloin

Glögg

Dijon mustard

Apple cider vinegar (tiny splash)

Ginger ale

Agave syrup (or honey)

A dash of salt

I started with the Glögg on high heat to scrape pan drippings from the pan and then turned the heat to medium high. I added the rest of the ingredients, in about the same order as listed, allowing each one to blend into the sauce before adding the next. Just use a bit of each ingredient, keeping ratios about the same (except the vinegar, just a small splash and the Gløgg should be double the amount of the other ingredients combined) You can always taste as you go, and tweak the ingredients to your taste. To finish, I reduced the liquid down, cooking until I had a few spoonfuls of a glossy sauce. Done.

Pork tenderlion, Jul mat, Kendra Williams-Valentine

Peppercorn & Allspice crusted Pork Tenderloin with Glögg Agave reduction

 

Blue Bottle Coffee, and the difference between the Entrepreneur and Auteur

I have been away, working on developing a new food product… yes, yes I am. But this is not an undertaking that has spontaneously arisen from thinking I’m a brown Rachael Ray because I write a blog… nope it’s been a long time coming, and let’s just say, Rachael Ray isn’t my steeze.

It actually started 1.5 years ago at the same time as I was introduced to the topic of this little write up: During an immersive entrepreneurship program funded by the Swedish government (A strong public sector is socialist perk!), that took me to San Francisco to study food culture, entrepreneurial endeavors, etc, etc. Many of the other students in the group were all about Silicon Valley… I just wanted to see, be seen, and eat.

I ended up attending a panel discussion; I think it was on marketing your food product. I was helping a lady with a business in the Mission district, so we went together. This event was put on by the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, a wonderful resource for the community. It was very nice for these successful bay area entrepreneurs to give their time: one of which was James Freeman, the Founder of Blue Bottle Coffee.

After the panel, the image from his at times ‘soliloquy’ styled presentation, which was intended as advice, stuck with me.

The nu Knäckebröd

 

 

Deborahs Knäckebröd

Okay, so I have to admit. I am not the biggest fan of Knäckebröd…. For all my none Swedish readers, Knäckebröd is a really hard thin bread (I’d prefer the classify as a category of cracker, but I suppose I don’t have a vote on this one.) It is typically made with mostly rye flour.

 

Not to say there is anything wrong with it…. I’d actually hope I had some to store in my fall out shelter for the apocalypse, as it stores well forever… its just really hard and more vehicle then delicatess.

 

Deborahs Knäckebröd

That was until I tried Deborahs Extraknäcke.

 

This incredibly thin knäckebröd is a bit more on the crisp end of the spectrum… and in my opinion this is the key to its delight. You can just as easily snack on a few right out the bag or dip into hummus.

 

Not only is it  offered in a great selection of intense flavors… but the knäckebröd itself looks like works of art. This comes as no surprise as the wonderful woman who runs the show (Deborah naturally) is an art gallery owner and teacher. 

 

Deborahs Knäckebröd: Macadamia & Chili edition! I had to get a few packs for dinner parties (my favorite flavor being the Macadamia nut, rosemary and chili). Of course, I came to this conclusion through a tough tasting process… I couldn’t help myself and opened all the bags I bought on a rampage one day. Its okay though, I wrapped up leftovers… knackbröd stores forever remember?  Although I doubt these will stay on shelf long enough to find out just how long.

I keep it Kosher Stockholm… Kosher Salt that is…

Not a surprise to nearly any cook back stateside but kosher salt, something I consider a kitchen staple, is elusive in the Swedish cupboard.

There is no way of getting around kosher salt for a good brine, it is an absolute necessary in my kitchen, I’ve learned. That’s why I’m thankful for my dear friend Lyota (Owner of www.zuzy.se) who lovingly hauled 3 kilos of Kosher salt from the states to hold me over whilst looking for a supplier.

Kosher Salt!

So what is so special about kosher salt then?

It looks like coarse ground salt, however its actually not cubic crystals, and has a flat platelet shape and is usually manufactured with a grain size larger than table salt grains. Kosher salt also does not have iodine in it.

The traditional use of kosher salt is for removing surface blood and impurities from meat, as part of the koshering process. The meat is covered with a thin layer of salt, then allowed to stand on a rack or board f

or an hour. Left on longer, the salt starts to percolate through the meat and tenderize while seasoning, hence my love for it.

I really need to find out where my Orthodox Jewish brothers and sisters shop in Sweden… I put an ad out stating “hunting for Jews!” but no one answered…. odd.

Say What? Pink Garlic !?! Ail Rose de Lautrec

 Ail Rose de Lautrec

So there I was, walking around the international food market in central Stockholm, and I saw it… huge bushels of pink garlic! There is surprisingly not much information on Pink Garlic in English online but search “L‘Ail Rose” (French) and you will get some pages you can scrimmage through…. Apparently this garlic has some serious history in the town of Lautrec … gotta love how serious the French can be about their ingredients!

Now, Pink Garlic is from the south of France and the new harvest is typically ready around August. The time being a couple months before that, I figured perhaps I could haggle down the price a bit…. Why? Because Pink Garlic lasts 6 to 12 months! And is harvested annually, thus making these bunches potentially old news… but no dice. The vendor saw my mouth watering over it from the start.  So I took my new friends home to figure out what the big deal was with the pink stuff.

Ready to get your garlic on? Here goes….

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

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

I’m no Andrew Zimmerman but 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 “hot damn, well if everyone is doing it….” But alas we come to the meat in question: Horse meat or Gustafskorv.

Gustafskorv

Gustafskorv “Original”

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 a My Little Pony to the little pictures on the food pyramid, especially since it wouldn’t replace any meats we already over consume…. But just as much as I like the idea of better meat practices, I also believe in eating local, and in Dalarna “Gustaf’s Korv” (Horse Sausage) is as local as it gets!