Saturday, April 23, 2011

Laboring for Her Room and Board

My sister Sandy was my helper for this week's Scandinavian Saturday meal!  Earlier in the week, she realized she'd be able to make a quick Easter weekend trip to ND from her home in NE.  She left after work yesterday and arrived at our house around 1:00 A.M. today.  She got a little shut-eye and then sneaked downstairs to wake her nieces (whom Susan and I hadn't told that Sandy was coming)!  Then Sandy spent part of the morning in the kitchen with me, helping me to make an ethnic dinner.  This afternoon we'll play a game of Norwegian whist (a card game from our childhood, thanks to our aunt and uncle Shirley and Lawrence), and then Sandy will leave before suppertime (which is why we had our "Scandinavian Saturday supper" at noon today) to go to our dad's home a few hours north of here.

Sandy's visit, like Sandy herself, is short but sweet.

Faithful Reader, I know that you're here for the photos.  In addition to the usual tantalizing pics of the tasty food, this post features photos of Sandy and the girls (and me), too!  Remember that you can click on any of them to enlarge them.  Check 'em out:

The main course featured a soup, a fish item, and a vegetable side.

rækjusúpa [Icelandic "shrimp soup"] -- We sautéed carrots, onions, and celery in canola oil and then added dill, marjoram, rosemary, and paprika.  We stirred in flour and then slowly added fish stock.  We brought it to a boil and added cubed potatoes.  When they were cooked, we added a pound of shrimp that we had roughly chopped.  When that was heated through, we stirred in cream, white wine, and salt and pepper to taste.  The end result was salty but oh-so-good.  The mix of seasonings gave it great flavor, and it was hearty with all the vegetables and delectable shrimp.

lax i filodeg med varm potatissallad [Swedish "salmon in phyllo dough with warm potato salad"] -- In preparation for this dish, we toasted some caraway seeds on the stovetop and roasted some potato wedges (tossed in olive oil, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper) in the oven.  Then we marinated salmon fillets in a mixture of olive oil, honey mustard, and fresh dill.  We created stacks of thin phyllo dough, brushing the sheets with melted unsalted butter and sprinkling toasted caraway seeds and more fresh dill between the layers.  We seasoned each fillet with sea salt and black pepper and placed it on a phyllo dough stack, wrapping each fish portion in its own phyllo packet and baking them all in the oven.

We made the potato salad by sautéing leeks in olive oil, adding the roasted potatoes to reheat, and tossing them in a mixture of sour cream, honey mustard, fresh dill, and dried currants.  On each plate, we put a portion of the warm potato salad, then a handful of mixed greens, and then a salmon packet.  In the photo above, you can see the potato salad visible underneath the greens and the salmon inside the cut-open phyllo packet; in the photo above that, you can see a roasted potato on the fork near the uncut packet.

The roasted potatoes were delicious all by themselves, but we enjoyed them in the creamy mustard sauce, too.  Even the mixed greens added flavor because they contained tasty leaves from so many different kinds of plants.  The salmon was cooked perfectly and had good flavor from the seasonings and good texture with the crispy phyllo wrapping.  It took a while to clean the fillets and build the phyllo dough stacks and get the fish ready for the oven, but it was worth it in the end.

appelsinkake [Norwegian "orange cake"] -- I baked the cake last night while waiting for Sandy to arrive and frosted it this morning while she was downstairs surprising/awakening her nieces.  It contains flour, baking soda, eggs, sugar, sour cream, ground cloves, cinnamon, honey, orange zest, orange juice, and golden raisins.  The glaze is made from powdered sugar and orange juice, and those are morsels of candied orange peel for garnish.  (And that slice is served with Schwan's vanilla ice cream, of course.)

It turned out to be a very dense cake, so the texture wasn't as light-and-fluffy as I would have liked.  But the flavor was good, albeit not very orange-y (the cloves and cinnamon come through more clearly).  Everybody seemed to like it, and I'm sending a chunk of it with Sandy to share with Dad and Beverly, too.  And there's a reason for my choice of this dessert for the day before Easter: according to this article, oranges are very popular in Norway at Eastertime.  Who knew?

Hillary, Auntie Sandy, Abigail, and Suzanna
Sandy got in on the Easter egg dyeing, too!
"Blood relatives": Abigail, Sandy, I, Hillary, and Suzanna


  1. Oh -- so yummy!!! Another successful Scandinavian Saturday -- and a fun (but too brief) visit with Sandy!

  2. I had so much fun! The girls were so surprised so see me when they woke up! I laughed! As always, the meals we eat together are so good! It was fun to help with a new recipe.
    Thanks for letting me stay! Love you all!