Again, I’ve been neglecting my fine food blog. I think my main issue is how time consuming it is to translate and write recipes, especially when, for the most part, I don’t even have one! But tonight I made an awesomesauce drink, so I just have to share it. Also drink recipes are way easier than a complete meal 🙂
Anyways, two weeks ago I went on a happy hour with a group of new colleagues. We celebrated that out three day face-to-face training was completed. Ofc I took the initiative to find an appropriate locaton for this event. I turned to one of my favorite friends in restaurant life – Yelp! Found a bar two minutes away, called the Blind Goat. Great happy hour, and I was excited to try the majority of the cocktails on the menu. But the one that really caught my attention was the Jalapeño Cilantro Margarita. I love Margaritas, and cilantro, and jalapeños – it was the perfect combination for me. So I ordered it, with two other girls. And it was freakin’ amazing. It was almost like enjoying an entire meal right there, in that tiny little glass. So I had to make it myself!
Tonight I didn’t have fresh jalapeños in the fridge, but I had a red hatch chili (I think that’s what it was called), so I figured that should do the trick. Holy moly it sure did do the trick, spicylicious is definitely the correct description. It made my lips swell, LOL! So for the recipe – I will only recommend you guys to muddle ONE sliced ring of chili, not two. Or if you’re sensitive, maybe don’t muddle it at all.
Spicylicious Cilantro Chili Margarita (1 glass)
1,25 oz Tequila
0,75 oz Cointreau
1 sliced ring of fresh chili pepper or preferrably jalapeño
2 spigs of fresh cilantro
1,5-2 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
1 oz simple syrup
Salt for glass rim
Pour the Tequila into a shaker. Add the cilantro + chili, muddle gently. Fill up with ice and add all other ingredients. Shake it all up and strain into a glass. If needed, adjust the amount of lime juice and simply syrup to taste. Also make sure to add extra salt to the rim!! For anyone who never decorated the rim with salt; drag a piece of lime around the rim, then dip in course salt. Enjoy & decorate with a cilantro leaf. Yum!
So as always I spend less time with my blog than I think I will the moment I pick it back up again. But there has been a lot going on lately! Irma came and really shook up reality for a week, we went on a mini vacay to Saint Augustine AND I got a promotion! So many exciting things 🙂 But before all of that, we did the Grand Finally of Game of Thrones! We were hosting this final meal, and I spent two weeks researching to put together a fun, delicious and awesome dinner. I picked a French bistro theme! So while listening to a Spotify list called French bistro – I prepped a 5 course meal for our framily. I had so many ideas and I had the drinks picked out, so I wasn’t able to do less than that. On the menu we had Coquilles St-Jacques with Champagne, Steak Tartar with Cognac, Chevre Chaud with a French red blend, Bouillabaisse with Alsace Riesling and finally Deep fried Brie cheese with cloudberry jam & vanilla ice cream.
Today, I will try to remember exactly how I made the Steak Tartar. My biggest issue whenever cooking is that I take five different recipes and combine them together so it will fit my original idea, then I spend a lot of time adjusting everything according to my own taste. So by the time I am done with a meal, 1 teaspoon of a certain ingredient may have turned into a tablespoon. I would still encourage anyone who attempts to make my recipes to adjust everything to taste, because I may love dijon mustard and you might not. So here comes a recipe for 4 appetizer sized steak tartars:
12 oz beef tenderloin
1 finely chopped schallot
3 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped cornichons
4 tablespoons chopped capers
1 small garlic clove finely minced
red wine vinegar
salt & pepper
4 quail eggs
beet sprouts or watercress
root vegetable chips
Start by chopping all the condiments for the tartar. Leave to the side and prepare the truffle mayo. It’s easy peasy: mix Hellman’s mayo with black truffle oil and add salt and pepper. Done! Then start prepping the meat: freeze the raw piece of meat for about 20 minutes, this makes it easier to chop. Chop it as fine as you like it. Some people use grinders, I think it works just fine with a knife! That way you can pick how fine you want the meat. Mix half the schallot, half the dijon mustard (or start with 1 tablespoon!), half the cornichons, half the capers and the galic clove with the chopped meat. Add olive oil and red wine vinegar to taste. I probably did 1 tablespoon of olive oil and about 1 teaspoon of vinegar. Add salt & pepper. Once you’re satisfied with the taste of the tartar, leave in the frigde until ready for plating. Do this as close to serving as possible! At time of serving:
Brush a small round container with olive oil, use it to make a pretty shape of the tartar. Add the condiments on the side of the tartar. Dig a tiny hole with a spoon to make room for the quail egg yolk. Separate the egg whites from the yolk, and put the yolk back into the shell. It’s pretty! Decorate the plate with beet sprouts, the truffle mayo and grind fresh black pepper on top of the plate. Add some root vegetable chips for crisp and to make it look beauiful. This instruction may be a little confusing, but you can really contruct this lovely thing however you want! See picture below for reference. YUM! 🙂
Alright everyone, finally I have taken the time to translate my Swedish Langos recipe to English!!!! So whoever wants to fry up their own dough European style, keep scrolling down!
Now again, since I am soo slow in posting on my blog two Sunday dinners have already passed, and I have so many lovely pictures to post. Last weekend I went a little nuts with my GOT dinner plans.. I like going nuts with food. So I made a really cute looking menu, the theme for the night was “Celebrating the Life of Babe” aka PORK NIGHT! We did bacon wrapped pickles, sous vide pork tenderloin with a delicious smokey whiskey sauce and bacon cannolis!! Yess, that’s right – Bacon Cannoli. I am probably going to have to post the recipe of the dessert some other day, because they turned out really cute & delish. Especially with an adult floater = Vanilla Gelato in Sparkling wine. Yum. This past Sunday we got to explore another theme at Casa de Guarino Busquet: They took us to Dorne!!! For all of you none GOT geeks out there, Dorne is an awesome place to be. At least when you’re exploring Dorne in Brandon. Spanish influenced Cuisine. We got sangria with tapas: Manchego Cheese, Really awesome lemon/olive oil/chili olives that we’re just a tiny bit warm & heated smoked paprika almonds. Main course was Paella with giant shrimps, chorizo and mussels. Dessert was Crema Catalana which is smilar to a Creme Brulée. It was all very awesome and I will be posting pictures. But for today; it’s langos time! This recipe is enough for about 4 people.
Langos Recipe (about 12 pieces)
25 g of yeast, 1 and 2/3 package of Instant Yeast
3 dl water (1 + 1/4 cup)
1 tsp salt
1 boiled potato
7 dl flour (about 3 cups)
Make the dough:
Mix the yeast in room tempered water. Add salt once yeast is dissolved. Mash the potato with a fork. Add potato and flour to the water. Work the dough smooth by hand, or use a kitchen aid if you have it. Let the dough rest for 40 minutes. Then work the dough smooth on a floured table, split into 12 pieces. Shape into oval bread looking pieces then let them rest for another 10-15 minutes. Fry until golden in 180.C (356 degrees fahrenheit). Flip once to make sure both sides look good.
Then you serve them up with some garlic butter, sour cream, shrimp, red onion and cheese. Delish!!!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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
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!
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 😉