Taco Tuesday

I’m enjoying my last day of this six week break from reality. I’ve done some laundry, worked on my tan, prepped some food for the rest of the week and of course relaxed in the couch waching Grey’s Anatomy. I think the worst part will be having to face morning traffic again, every day, for a longer distance than I’m used to. I used to have 30 minutes to work and now it’s 45 minutes, not that big of a difference – but I love my sleep. Fifteen to twenty minutes in the morning is a lot to me. But I am excited to get a new fresh start with more capacity than before. Yesterday I passed my final exam so I’m officially licensed! Yaay! To celebrate we drank champagne and had shrimp tacos – perfect timing for Taco Tuesday! I love tacos – both the ”Swedish” and Mexican kind😉 We’ve learned that tacos can be so more than just ground beef spiced up with Santa Maria Taco Seasoning. You can basically make a tacos with anything topped with everything. We made the most amazing ones’ yesterday.

I marinated shrimp in garlic, parsley, olive oil, salt, pepper & cajun seasoning. Fried them up really quick. Then we build the tacos with shrimp, refried black beans, thinly shredded red cabbage, salsa verde, pickled red onion, mango salsa, sour cream, melted cheese dip, pico de gallo with diced tomatoes, cilantro and scallions, jalapeños and finally some fresh pressed lime.

Pickled red onions are so good and it’s really simple to make. You need:
1 medium red onion
1 teaspoon sugar (or more if you want them sweeter)
0,5 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1,8 dl) white wine vinegar

How to make it:
Slice the onion thinly. Mix salt and sugar in the vinegar in the container you will use to store the onions. Stir to dissolve. Place the onions in a sieve and place the sieve in the sink. Slowly pour boiling water over the onions and let them drain. Add the onions to the jar and stir jently to make sure every slice is covered. Store in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before use (the longer the better!). They will keep for several weeks.

img_20160308_215214.jpg

Another Foodie Weekend with Sushi & Home Made Pizza

My last full week of this study program just passed and it feels kind of bitter sweet to get back to reality on Thursday. I know that the whole purpose of my studies has been to get a license and then put my new knowledge to practice, but I like studying and learning new things. And also I had the freedom to study from home, take breaks whenever I needed to or take a run in the middle of the day to clear my brain. So it’s been kind of relaxing. Some people don’t have the self disciplin to actually focus on what they’re supposed to do if they work from home, but I have honestly never had that issue. I’ve always thought that school was pretty easy and I don’t know how old I was when I started to see good grades as some kind of competition. Of course I have older brothers that did great in school, so I guess I didn’t want to be that last little slacker, but nobody told me that I had to accomplish a certain grade or score on an exam to be considered a good student or a good person. Still I have always felt like I have to do great and be that ”good girl” or ”good student” that somehow people expect of me. Or maybe it was just always in my head. I probably put the highest expectations on myself. But so far in this training it has paid off, two out of three exams done and I have my final one on Tuesday. I just have to surpress those anxiety issues in the process and focus on what I am doing instead of what would happen if I actually failed😀 And to cheer me up most people say but heeey you would never fail!!! Making it even worse😉 End of therapy session – let’s focus on what you all visit this blog for. Food!

This weekend has been very relaxing and we’ve had so much good food! I just didn’t feel like cooking on Friday night and I’ve been wanting to go to a Sushi place here in Brandon that has 5/5 stars on Yelp. So we decided to go and ignore the fact that sushi is very expensive. I used to think that sushi is expensive in Sweden, but hey – if you want to get actual sushi and not just rolls in the US, you pay at least $4 for two small pieces of salmon sushi. It is ridiculous! The only sane way to eat a couple of sushi bites is to buy some kind of combo. And those combos are usually around $18-20. So with our money-spending-boots on we drove to Sushi Ushi. A small little place, doesn’t look too fancy and the service wasn’t great. But holy moly how much fresh fish we got on our plates!! We all did a sushi and sashimi combo – $23. For that you get 6 pieces of sushi, 9 pieces of sashimi and a california roll. And those slices of fish were thick! I don’t know how many pounds (grams!!!) of fish we ate. We also had  BBQ squid for appetizer and the chef came out with a free sample of tuna poke – which was equally amazing. I had a giant sushi baby growing in my belly for hours, because nothing on that plate could go to waste! I even ate the orchid – dipped in wasabi soy.

img_20160305_000907.jpg

img_20160304_205239.jpg

Now some of you might think that after that experience, you guys weren’t hungry for two days. But no, we had Swedish Pancakes for brunch Saturday morning! And then we started planning for our Saturday night dinner. We decided for grilled pizza. Our supermarket has a really good pizza dough that is made fresh in the bakery – which makes home made pizza really easy. We have struggled before with making our own dough, but it’s just not as good. We might take up the challenge again now that we share house with an Italian (born in the USA with a heavy Alabama accent), but to be honest the best part is to figure out great pizza toppings! If you add garlic butter on the crust almost any dough will due😉 So we spent fifteen minutes in the deli trying different smoked meats for our pizzas. I bought prosciutto for mine, Niklas had pepperoni and pancetta and George mixed pancetta and salami. Of course we all had mozzarella cheese, and then as we walked by the fresh seafood section I just had to buy some giant shrimp too – that I marinated in garlic, lime and chili. Mmmh it was all so good! We skipped marinara sauce – it’s way too heavy, garlic butter is the best base. And to top it all off you add some fresh arugula salad on top when the pizza is done (fresh arugula with some olive oil, lime, salt & pepper). Delish!

img_20160305_205545.jpg img_20160305_204949.jpg

Salmon with amazing Arugula, Garlic & Basil spread

So I figured I should update you guys about our meal last night. Just like the first time – it was amazing. Yes, I am talking about the salmon. And since we had lots of arugula in the fridge, I figured I’ll try to make a type of sauce/spread that my aunt and cousin frequently makes. Why on earth have I not done this before? It is soooo good. So I had it with the salmon for dinner yesterday and also for lunch today. I made the best crisp bread sandwich ever.

Step One: Smoke your own salmon! (I’m sure store bought will work too)
Step Two: Make the amazing arugula spread – which I’ll give you some type of recipe for below.
Step Three: Pick your favorite cracker/crisp bread and top it with arugula spread and salmon. Yum!

img_20160225_130727.jpg

So how did I make this Awesomesauce Spread. I really don’t know the proportions. As usual I just mix things together, taste it and it turns out great😉 But it goes something like this:
1 bag of arugula (2-3 cups)
1/2 cup (1,2 dl) fresh basil (more to taste)
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup cream cheese
3-5 tablespoons of sour cream
Salt & pepper

Mix arugula and basil in a mixer until it’s roughly chopped. Add cream cheese, sour cream, garlic, salt & pepper. Mix until evenly blended and you have a spread looking like a dairy infused pesto. Taste and add more salt, pepper, sour cream or cream cheese if necessary. And indulge! This spread is especially wonderful on fresh baked bread and goes really well with chicken.

img_20160224_195511.jpg

Time for smoked salmon, again!

We’ve definitely been making the most out of George’s smoker since we moved in. It’s really awesome! You pick the meat, prep it however you want and put it in the smoker for a specific time. This one has a digital display so you can set the temperature of the smoker and also the amout of hours you want it to smoke. So basically you put dinner in when you leave for work and come home to a finished meal! Most meats don’t take that long to smoke though, but you still get the idea of how convenient it is. The smoker does all the work. So far we’ve made salmon, ribs, chicken wings and pulled pork, but the list of items we have to smoke still keeps getting longer. Tonight we went to Costco again and fell for the seductive look of the pink salmon.. So tomorrow we’re having salmon for dinner, and since it was awesome last time – why change a winning concept? The recipe I used last time had a dry brine and it’s supposed to brine for 14-24 hours. So if anyone has a smoker or decides to smoke some salmon on the grill – here’s a wonderful recipe for you!

1-2 large salmon filéts/sides

Dry brine:
1 cup (2,4 dl) kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp crushed pepper corns

Rub both sides of the salmon filét(s), cover in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. Put the fish on a baking sheet in the fridge (fluids will come out) for 12 hours and then flip the fish. Let the fish brine for another 4 hours. Once the brining is done, rinse the fish in water. Then leave the fish out without any plastic to air-dry for 2-3 hours. Now let’s the smoking commence! Heat the smoker to 150 degrees (Fahrenheit) and use wood chips of your preference. We used hickory. Let the smoke fish for about 5 hours, or until the temperature on the thickest part of the salmon reaches 150 degrees F. We actually took it out after 4,5 hours and the temperature was just below 150. So it’s really up to you how long you want to smoke it, since salmon can be eaten raw. Enjoy!

img-20160223-wa0003.jpg

img-20160223-wa0004.jpg

Fresh Start

It’s been forever since last time I blogged and I have noticed that I find it harder to express myself in Swedish, so I have decided to start writing in English from now on (Hey I do live in Murica!). This will also make it easier for my American followers:) We’ve had so much going on for the past six months so I just haven’t found myself eager enough to blog about everything. Niklas mom and siblings came to Tampa in the end of October, Niklas dad came to visit in November and finally my parent and my aunt spent two weeks here for Christmas:) It was great seeing everyone again and I couldn’t believe that it was actually more than one year ago since last time I met my parents. Time goes by so fast and thanks to Skype you don’t actually realize how rarely you get to see each other. I can’t remember last time I was that pumped for Christmas! Luckily both Niklas and I got to take time off from work, so we got two weeks of vacation too and could really maximize the time spent together. The worst about having people visiting though is that they end up leaving. If you haven’t lived abroad or at least far away from your friends and family I think it’s hard to imagine the feeling, but I’ve felt it every time we drop someone off at the airport. That moment, you realize how big of a distance there actually is between you and the ones’ you love the most. And not knowing when you’ll be able to see them again makes it even harder. Thankfully we had already made plans to travel home to Sweden this summer, so when we dropped my parents off I kind of tried to convince myself that it’s really not going to be that long until next time. Which semi worked!

Since then we spent most of January packing up our apartment. The first weekend of February we moved to Brandon. I guess it’s a suburb to Tampa and it takes about 20-25 minutes by car to get to Down Town Tampa, which really isn’t too bad. We moved in with our neighbor George who found a really nice 4 bedroom house. So now we live in a green and calm neighbourhood with side walks everywhere, perfect for walking and running! We also have plenty of stores conveniently located. Oh and we now have ”step dog”, Otto😉 A very energetic pointer. Our plan is to stay here and keep building our credit for a couple of months and then hopefully in the summer this year we might be able to buy our own house. Everything has taken a little bit longer then we first anticipated, but we are slowly getting there. I am currently in the process of getting my license to be able to sell life insurance and securities – which will give me a bump career wise. So for the last two weeks I have been studying full time, and I will keep on doing it for another four weeks.

I really want to keep blogging but writing recipes takes a little too long sometimes. So I might not publish as many recipes as before, but I will try to keep posting about things we do and eat – because we do eat plenty of good stuff😉 George just invested in a new weber grill and a smoker, so there will be plenty of smoked meats in the near future! We have already smoked salmon and chicken wings. Items on the smoke list are currently ribs, brisket, burgers and jalapeños – but we keep adding stuff every other day:) This post was not very food oriented but I felt like I had to ventilate a little bit about the things that have happend during these five past moths. The next one will probably be a foodie post😉

20160215_210004.jpg

20160215_205001.jpg

Pasta Carbonara

I brist på annat att bjuda på gällande matlagning så tänker jag idag bjuda på ett recept som jag slängde ihop för flera helger sedan. Jag har inte velat ladda upp det för att bilden är halvtaskig, men eftersom jag lagar ”ordentlig” mat så sällan nu för tiden så får det bli en halvdan bild, för smakmässigt blev det awesome. Inte världens nyttigaste pastarätt kanske, men så himla snabb att bara kasta ihop! Vi har nästan alltid bacon och spaghetti hemma, vilket gör det ännu mer behändigt. Som vanligt lyckas jag kasta om i originalreceptet jag tittade på som inspiration, men jag tror att jag minns vad jag stoppade i pannan.

wpid-img_20150417_2114262.jpg.jpeg

4-6 port
300-400 g Spaghetti
280 g bacon (två paket)
1,5 dl grädde (visp blir helt klart godast)
3 ägg
2-3 dl riven ost
Salt & Peppar

Gör såhär:
Koka spaghettin enligt anvisningen. Stek bacon i en stekpanna och ställ åt sidan. Slå ihop ägg, vispgrädde och salt och peppar. Vänd ner spaghettin i stekpannan med bacon. Häll på äggblandningen och rör ihop med all ost. Servera!

Den kommande helgen ska bli så härlig och lång eftersom vi firar Labor Day här i Amerikat på måndag. Jag har ingen aning om varför dagen firas, men jag är glad att jag får en extra dag ledigt. Vi har inga spikade planer förutom en parmiddag med våra kära vänner så jag sitter redan och knåpar ut en meny. Det är ju så lätt att alltid göra samma sak när folk kommer över och min favoritdessert går bara inte att göra! För vi har ingen hjortronsylt. Så det får bli friterad camembert vid ett senare tillfälle😉 Nu är det mindre än två månader tills vi får våra första besökare till hösten – Niklas mamma och bror över höstlovet. Sedan är jag såå glad över att vi inte behöver fira julafton själva i år, för mina föräldrar och min moster kommer och hälsar på. Det ska bli så roligt så nu är det nedräkning tills dess. Å så ser vi till att de bland annat packar med sig hjortronsylt😉 Det känns fortfarande konstigt att vi faktiskt bor här, men samtidigt trivs vi väldigt bra. Vissa dagar är det lite tungt med saknaden, men vi har ju i alla fall varandra och skype är ett riktigt bra redskap😀

Brownies with Bacon & Fudgefrosting

Äntligen har jag ett smaskigt recept att dela med mig av! I julas köpte vi en stor box med en blandning av unika ölsorter. Sedan dess har den stått i vår ”tvättstuga” och tagit upp onödig plats och jag har trott att det mestadels varit konstiga ölsorter där i. Så i veckan fick vi ett infall att ta över några vänner och ha ölprovning med food pairing. Redan när jag ställde in kylen i ölen insåg jag att det mesta fasiken såg gott ut! Bara en IPA – som jag har otroligt svårt att gilla och bara en stout. De flesta andra var Pale Ale och klassiska tyska Märzen och Oktoberfestblandningar – så jag började se fram emot kvällen mer och mer. Våra två gäster fick i uppgift att ta med sig en ostbricka och en bricka kallskuret. Två eftersläpare tog med sig chips. Niklas bakade pizzamuffins med peperoni och croissanter med vitlökssmör och ost. Jag försökte fritera cheddarost – vilket gick helt åt skogen! Men min dessert blev desto bättre och passade perfekt till Chokladstouten: Brownies med bacon och fudgefrosting. Jag hade skrivit ut en sammanfattning av de 14 ölsorter vi hade och jag hittade ett ölprovningsdokument som var förskrivet där man kunde poängsätta utseende, lukt, smak, eftersmak och drickbarhet. Det låter kanske lite överseriöst men det var faktiskt väldigt roligt! Jag har nog aldrig analyserat en dryck så mycket förut. Jag tror dock att de första 6 ölsorterna fick mer rättvisa betyg än de 8 sista – både smaksinnet och ölsinnet blev sämre under kvällens gång😛 Så det här blir nog inte vår sista ölprovning och jag skulle absolut vilja göra samma sak fast med vin😀 Så här kommer receptet på mina brownies – till och med George som vanligtvis inte gillar dessert lämnade tallriken ren. Å de var väldigt enkla att göra!

Brownies with Bacon Fudgefrosting
1 pkt bacon (ca 140 g)
150 g smör
2,75 dl strösocker
1,5 dl kakao
0,5 tsk salt
1 tsk vaniljsocker
2 ägg
1 dl vetemjöl

Fudge:
0,75 dl vispgrädde
0,25 dl mjölk
0,25 dl ljus sirap
1/4 tsk salt
100 g choklad
ev flingsalt

Gör såhär:
Sätt ugnen på 160.C. Hacka baconet i små bitar, stek tills det fått en fin färg men inte för hårt. Låt rinna av på papper. Smält smöret långsamt i en kastrull. Blanda i alla torra ingredienser. Rör till sist ner äggen – ett i taget. Smörj en ugnsform 20×20 cm med smör och täck bottnen med bakplåtspapper. Häll smeten i formen och fördela baconet ovanpå – men spar lite till garnering! Grädda i ugnen i 22-25 minuter. Låt sedan svalna i kylen. När brownien är sval/kall, vänd den upp och ner på ett nytt bakplåtspapper så den får en jämn yta på ovansidan och börja med fudgen. Värm alla ingredienser utom chokladen på låg värme i en kastrull. Rör sedan ner chokladen tills den har smält helt. Täck hela kakan med fudgen och toppa med bacon – eventuellt lite havssalt också. Låt stå kallt till servering.
image

image

image