You've procured the salmon, dill, and other accoutrements and are about to get cracking curing a batch of gravlax at home, but now what? While a relatively simple process, home-curing — and, for that matter, slicing cured salmon — is a culinary adventure many aren't yet acquainted with, so we've broken it down visually to make matters more clear. Follow along with our step-by-step guide to preparing gravlax at home.
Home-curing gravlax, while perhaps not on par with dry-aging steaks at home or transforming a slab of pork belly into bacon, might still seem like a culinary experiment best left to the experts, but that's not the case. Minimal effort and time are required — the salmon cures for a mere three days — to yield results far superior to the majority of store-bought options. This is largely because you, not the producer, are in control of the quality of fish you select, as well as the choice of flavoring agents. And at a third of the price, home-cured gravlax is far more economical than store-bought, even when using top-quality ingredients.
Seek out the freshest salmon you can acquire: the flavor of the fish intensifies as moisture is lost in the curing process. Instructions here are for gravlax with a classic dill and anise flavor profile, but feel free to experiment with other spices and herbs; just keep the ratio of sugar, salt, and fish consistent.
For travelers craving an adventure, Sweden's Treehotel is a must-book vacation destination. The two-year-old "hotel" is located an hour by car from Luleå airport, with five very unique structures already built and in operation. In total, 24 rooms are planned for this forested area around Harads. Of course, there's also a sauna as well — it wouldn't be a Scandinavian stay without one.
The treerooms are suspended off the ground and can be accessed by various methods depending on room, with ramps or bridges two of the ways to get to your room. These eco-friendly and absolutely adventurous spaces are a delight to the senses. Keep clicking to take a quick tour of Sweden's Treehotel.
When the Scandinavian food trend hit tables this year, the answer dawned on me: aquavit! This time-honored Norwegian spirit — infused with the flavors of spices such as coriander, caraway, fennel, and dill seed — seems oh-so-festive for the holidays. Make a batch for your friends, then hoard a bottle for yourself! For full effect, serve it chilled in shot glasses with smoked salmon with dill, rye crackers, and other Nordic fare. Skål!
Amongst my group of friends, I am the birthday cake maker. Thus, when a friend told me she was hosting a "Swedish" dinner party to celebrate her 25th year, she asked if my contribution would be the cake. "Yes" was my immediate answer, and I suggested a princess cake.
A princess cake is no easy dessert; it involves six components: sponge cake, whipped cream, pastry cream, raspberry jam, simple syrup, and marzipan. But after extensively researching it and clearing away part of my weekend, I decided to give it a try. Luckily, the cake was a huge success! It was moist, delicious, and absolutely perfect.
Although I spent a lot of time worrying about it, each element of the cake was not that difficult. Since I've never worked with marzipan, rolling it out was the hardest part of the process. If you are an experienced baker looking for a scrumptious cake that will definitely impress, I suggest you make it. Here's the recipe and my photos.
One of my good friends was recently explaining how much she missed her Norwegian grandmother's Christmas cookies. She recalled them as a simple butter cookie marked by her grandmother's thumbprint and sprinkled in sugar. I took note of all of the details and luckily, I was able to find a recipe that matched her description.
I gathered up all of the ingredients and got to work. These treats turned out to be simple and dense butter cookies, perfect for a quick dip in a cup of coffee. While the thumbprint was not her grandmother's, she was thrilled to receive a plate full of such a familiar cookie. If you want to give these traditional Scandinavian cookies a try for your holiday, keep reading.
Be it Eritrean cooking or Colombian cuisine, I'm obsessed with trying new foods from around the world. I'm sad to say I haven't made it to any Scandinavian countries yet — but thanks to FinnLover, I'm dying to go now. During a recent trip to visit her husband's family in Finland, she ate her way through a number of Finnish specialties, like Ruisleipä, or black rye bread, shown above. To get a glimpse of her palatable pictures, read more
In case you haven't noticed, I am fanatical about sandwiches, which is why I thought I'd died and gone to heaven when I came across the pictures that FinnLover posted in Twinkle's Kitchen Goddess group of smørbrød: Scandinavian open-faced sandwiches.
Norwegian for "butter bread," these smørbrød sandwiches are everywhere in her current home of Bergen, Norway. "People eat them for breakfast, lunch, and at night before going to bed," she says. "I normally like to keep mine really simple and the ingredients to a minimum." This combination of red bell pepper and Snøfrisk, a spreadable goat cheese, is simply spectacular.
Last week I was invited to a demonstration hosted by Chef Marcus Samuelsson. An awarding-winning chef and cookbook author, Samuelsson is known for his role as chef and owner of Aquavit, New York City's innovative restaurant devoted to Scandinavian cuisine. Taking inspiration from his Ethiopian roots, the chef recently opened his first African restaurant, Merkato 55. His love for African cuisine was illustrated at the demo where he cooked shrimp piri piri in lettuce wraps and rack of lamb with couscous. In San Francisco to promote BlueStar cooking ranges, Samuelsson took some time out of his hectic schedule to speak with me. To see where he likes to eat in San Francisco and hear what he has to say about his buddy Rocco DiSpirito, read more
Depending on how much you like seafood, fresh-fish markets can be near paradise or unpleasantly stinky. Since I love just about any kind of ocean bounty, especially when it's fresh, I'm drooling over the photos of the Bergen, Norway, fish market that FinnLover recently posted in my Savory Sights group.
This was FinnLover's first visit to her new hometown fish market, which features live fish, high-end seafood dishes, and everything in between. According to FinnLover:
As you walk around the counters, the fishermen offer pieces of their product to taste, and everything is packed so the tourist can bring some stuff back home, like gravlax, smoked salmon, dried whale, peppered fish, caviar . . . There are also several kiosks that sell sandwiches, fish and chips, king crab legs, and warm dishes with salmon and shrimps.