Saturday, September 19, 2015

Eating Around the World - Sweden


When I was in college, I lived in an apartment with three good friends. We ate dinner together almost every night, a rarity that I appreciated only later when I realized how uncommon such familial atmosphere is among roommates. Two of my roommates were Swedish-American sisters. Any time they wanted to have a private conversation over the dinner table they would switch to speaking in Swedish, and my other roommate and I were left staring at each other across the table and be like, "So... how was your day?"

Anyway, when we reached Sweden in our geographical world tour, all I could think about were the delicious Swedish pancakes (pretty much like crêpes) that Sara and Jessica's mom would make when I'd spend the night at their house. And I thought of all the yummy Swedish cookies Sara would make in our apartment. But when it came to dinner I was kind of stumped, so I wrote to Sara for suggestions.

Sara suggested meatballs with lingonberry (or cranberry as a substitute) sauce, which she said "is a standard kids meal or busy week night meal. It's kind of like how we treat pizza." Alternatively, she suggested, "A special adult meal might be some kind of grilled fish with a white sauce and tiny, boiled new potatoes served whole. The fish is very often garnished with lemon and dill. They eat all kinds of fish but salmon sticks out as one of the yummiest ones."

I was all set to make meatballs, but when I offered the girls both options they emphatically went for the fish. So, grilled salmon it was. I made it pretty much like this recipe, except I substituted Greek yogurt for the crème fraîche in the sauce, and I left out the capers.

On the side we had boiled new potatoes from our garden, including a couple of the spectacularly purple "Magic Molly" potatoes. I don't think those are particularly Swedish, but they are pretty!

We also had a thin-sliced cucumber salad, which is kind of like a fresh refrigerator pickle. So good, and such a perfect contrast to the creaminess of the potatoes and white sauce.

Everything was delicious, although Collin made the same comment he's made with many of our European dinners, "It's good, but it's pretty Midwestern, isn't it?" Since he grew up in western Wisconsin, I can understand why Scandinavian food probably does taste pretty normal to him. Things will be a lot more different as we move out of Europe and into the Middle East and Asia.

And dessert! A three-layer sponge cake filled with whipped cream custard and strawberries. I used strawberry freezer jam for the filling and fresh strawberries for the top. I was short on time, so I made the cake from a box, but I used this recipe as a guideline and for the filling (which I doubled since I had three layers). Needless to say, this was a hit with the girls.

While on the topic of recipes, Annie wrote her first recipe all by herself during her afternoon quiet time! Can anyone tell what dish you'll end up with after following these instructions? (It's very American.) Now she's on a roll, and says she's going to make a book of them. "It's not just a cookbook! It's a recipe book!"

1 comment:

  1. That cake reminds me of our wedding cake!