Sunday, December 25, 2011

Swedish Meatballs with Potatoes and Berries

I've been so thankful this year to have the ability to write this blog.  I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and share with you this delightful recipe for Swedish meatballs.  It is a perfect special occasion meal you could even make tonight!  This is traditionally served alongside mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam but you can substitute any of your favorite jam if you can't find lingonberry.  We happened to have some currant jam that worked perfectly!


1/4 cup minced onion
1 tablespoon butter
3 oz panko bread crumbs
1 cup milk
1 lb ground beef (best quality you can find)
1 egg
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

1.  Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large saute pan.  When hot add the minced onion and let cook about two minutes.  Remove from heat.
2.  In a small bowl combine bread crumbs and milk.  Let sit at least five minutes.
3.  In a food processor add meat, egg, breadcrumb mixture, onions, allspice, salt and pepper.  Pulse to combine (about 30 seconds).
4.  From into 1 inch round balls and set aside on a plate
5.  Preheat oven to "warm" setting or 200 degrees
6.  Heat a large saute pan on medium high heat and add two tablespoons of butter.
7.  When pan is hot, add meatballs to the pan being careful not to crowd them.  You might need to do  two batches
8.  Brown the meatballs, turning with tongs to brown all sides.  You will cook each batch about 8-10 minutes
9.  When done, remove to another pan and put in the warm oven until you are ready to serve!
10. Serve with mashed potatoes and lingonberries as mentioned above

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Brussels Sprout and Spinach Salad with Sesame Dressing

This time of year brussels sprout is all over the farmer's market and who does not love this classically comforting vegetable?  Here I have taken it to a different region and thrown on an asian sesame dressing.  My friends loved the result and I'm sure you will too!


1 lb brussels sprout
1 lb spinach (stems removed and rinsed/dried well)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1. Preheat oven to 375
2. Trim the ends off the sprout and cut in half.  Add these to a roasting pan as you go.
3. Evenly coat the sprouts with olive oil, soy sauce, and vinegar.  Evenly sprinkle salt on top
4. Pop into the oven to roast (about 40 minutes)
5. Meanwhile place the spinach in a nice salad bowl and set in the fridge while you wait
6. When sprouts are ready, remove from the oven and immediately add to the spinach, stirring to coat and wilt the spinach at the same time
7. Add sesame oil and stir to coat
8. Top with sesame seeds and serve

Friday, December 16, 2011

Parsley Pasta

The credit for this recipe goes to my mother in law Hilde.  This is one of the first recipes she taught me and still remains a "go-to" staple, especially when I don't want to cook a huge dinner.  I really can't imagine a better green to use than parsley but you might find another substitute if you have a different fresh green lying around.


12 oz farfalle pasta
1/2 cup pasta water (reserved from pot of boiling pasta right before draining)
3 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup goat cheese crumbles

1. Start boiling water and cook pasta per the directions on the box.  Be warned you need to reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water right before you drain the pasta when it is finished cooking
2. Meanwhile chop the parsley leaves very finely and set aside.  Peel and chop garlic and then measure out the red pepper flakes (the cooking goes fast at the end).
3. Drain the pasta.
4. In the same pot you cooked the pasta in, put it on medium heat and add a swirl of olive oil.  When the oil is hot (about a minute later) add the garlic and red pepper flakes.  Stir and cook a minute or two until browning and then add the pasta water.
5. Return the pasta to the water mixture and stir to coat.
6. Add the chopped parsley to the pasta mixture and stir to coat evenly.
7. Serve in bowls and top the pasta with goat cheese crumbles.  Salt and pepper served on the table accentuate the final flavors.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hot and Sour Soup

I nailed the flavor combination in hot and sour soup and made it easy and delicious to be cooked at home.  If you want to add some shredded chicken I think that would be a nice addition too!


1 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 medium shallot thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic chopped
4 cups chicken broth
1 small head of cabbage thinly sliced
1 lb boy choy
1 package of udon noodles or 1/2 package rice noodles
1 egg, beaten
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
Tobasco sauce

1. Combine vinegar, soy and fish sauces and lemon juice in a cup and set aside
2. Heat a soup pot over medium high heat.  Add a swirl of olive oil to the pan
3. When oil is hot add shallots and garlic
4. Cook shallots and garlic for two minutes and then add chicken broth
5. Meanwhile chop cabbage and trim the root ends of the bok choy
6. Add greens to the pot and then add noodles
7. Slowly add beaten egg to the pot stirring as you go to feather the egg in
8. Top with sesame oil and serve with hot sauce (trust me you will want hot sauce)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pear and Squash Salad with Lentils

I know what you are thinking....pears, squash and lentils?  My husband gave me the whole "You want me to eat rabbit food?" when he saw this, but he was soon converted.  This is a super filling winter meal but it is also easy on the waistline.  Any type of winter squash will work here but aim for butternut squash or kabocha squash.  There are three components to this salad.  A bed of greens (e.g. arugula), roasted squash and finally lentils and rice.

4 handfuls arugula lettuce washed and set aside
1 medium sized squash
olive oil
1/2 cup lentils
1/2 cup rice
2 cups water
1 small pear cut into small bit size pieces
1/2 cup almonds
1 small salad onion thinly sliced
1 lemon juiced
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 425.  Spray a cookie sheet with olive oil.
2. Prepare and clean the lettuce and put in the fridge for now
3. Prepare and cut the squash into half and remove the seeds.   Cut into half again and two more times into half.  You should have 16 pieces of squash (sorry if my math does not add up).  I ended up using my meat mallet and a sturdy all purpose butcher knife to cut this squash into pieces.  Please be careful because this is not an easy thing to do.
4. Put the squash on the pan and brush with olive oil and then sprinkle with salt.
5. Roast in the oven 20 minutes or until tender.
6. Meanwhile combine lentils, rice and water in a pot on the stove.  Cover with a lid and cook on high until water is absorbed (about 17 minutes).  This is essentially a mini-rice cooker!
7. While that is all cooking combine the lemon juice, mustard and olive oil.  This will be your salad dressing.
8. When squash is done remove from the oven and let cool.  Once it is cool, carefully slice away from the peel and cut into bit size chunks
9. Now it is time to prepare the salad.  Get a large plate (one for each person) and put a handful of lettuce on the plate.  Add a few onions, almonds and pear pieces.  Top with squash and finally a spoonful of the rice/lentil mixture.  Drizzle with the salad dressing and serve!
10. Enjoy your beautiful salad!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Nectar of the Gods - Prosecco and Vodka Cocktails

I promise that prosecco paired with vodka is a delicious idea.  Add any of the below "nectar of the gods" and you have a perfect and easy signature cocktail for kicking off your next dinner party.  In your supermarket there are two places for nectar; you can find it on the Mexican food aisle where there is a product called "Jumex" juice and you can also find it on the juice aisle and use any Kearn's juice nectar.

Serves 2


1 shot vodka
3 shots fruit nectar of your choice (apricot, pear, guava, banana pineapple, etc)
1 bottle prosecco or sparkling white wine

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice.  Add vodka and nectar.  Shake well.
2. Evenly distribute into two chilled martini glasses
3. Top each glass of with prosecco
4.  Repeat if you have more guests
5. Cheers!