Grilled Havarti Cucumber on Rye

Grilled Cucumber and Havarti Sandwich

This is an easy recipe but must be made in two steps. First, you want to marinate a cucumber in some vinegar with dill weed, salt, and pepper.

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dill weed
  • salt and pepper

Slice the cucumbers and put in a sealable container. Add vinegar, dill weed, salt, and pepper. Put the lid on and shake. Stick in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. Since you are only using the cucumber slices, you can reuse the vinegar to pickle another cucumber. I like this on sandwiches and have used it on a fried chicken sandwich and on a sandwich with slices of London broil.

Now on to the sandwich. Heat a cast iron skillet on low (3 out of 10 on my stove). Butter one side of a slice of rye bread and lay butter side down in the skillet. Layer thin slices of Havarti Dill cheese to cover all the bread. Then layer the cucumber slices. I layered two layers of cucumber because I think Havarti is a relatively sweet cheese and wanted more vegetable than cheese. Please the second slice of rye on top. Let cook until the cheese is melted and the bread is grilled. Flip and cook the other side. Remove, cut in half and serve.

It’s very important the cucumber marinate so it’s more pickle than cucumber. The unctuous cheese needs that vinegary bite. The dill in the cucumbers reinforces the dill in the cheese. The cucumber retains just enough of its crunch to give you a bit of toothiness. It’s delicious and easy.

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Sour Cherry Seed Cake

Sour Cherry Seed Cake

1 tablespoon butter, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
salt to taste
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon caraway seed
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
Lemon zest from 1 lemon.

Sour Cherries (pitted)

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Grease and flour the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square cake pan with softened butter. I actually just used the butter wrapper paper.

Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. Add lemon zest.

Cream 1/2 cup butter and sugar together. Mix in caraway seeds and egg. Add flour mixture and milk, beating well.  Stir in sour cherries. Spoon batter into prepared cake pan. It’s pretty thick and gloopy, but it works.

Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool.

Sour Cherry Seed Cake

This is a zingy cake what with lots of lemony flavor from the zest and the pucker power of sour cherries. But somehow it’s just perfect.

Grilled Pear Sandwich with Caramelized Onion Jam & Tomato Jerk Jam

Grilled Pear Sandwich

Who doesn’t love a grilled sandwich? I discovered that pears are delicious on a grilled rye sandwich. I don’t have a grill nor a yard for grilling, but if you turn your stove fan on high and pay attention you can grill thinly sliced pears on the electric burner. Just don’t try to do more than three slices at a time.

To make this sandwich, I heated my griddle to medium heat and buttered two slices of rye bread. I spread some caramelized onion jam on one side and some tomato jerk jam on the other. I layered 1/2 of a pear thinly sliced and grilled on top of both slices of bread and let them cook on the griddle until toasted, putting the sandwich together after it’s done.

Grilled Pear Sandwich

The char on the pear gives it such a delicious flavor, sort of sweet and smoky. The onion jam is deep and herbaceous with the flavor of bay and thyme lifted by balsamic vinegar. The tomato jerk jam is bright, sweet and earthy. Together they all come together into a burst of flavor that is bright, fresh, and satisfying. If you spread the rye bread with olive oil instead of butter, you could make a vegan version.

 

Dutch Baby with Pear Sauce and Yogurt

Dutch Baby with Pears and Yogurt

Leave 3 eggs out overnight so they are room temperature when you make this.

Preheat oven to 450° F.

Heat cast iron skillet on stove top. Add 3 TBSP of butter and melt until bubbling, but not browning.

Meanwhile, beat 3 eggs (room temperature) for about a minute, just to get some air in them.

Add 3/4 cups of milk.

Add 1 TBSP sugar

Add 3/4 cups of flour

Add 1/2 tsp of salt.

Mix together and pour into the melted, bubbling butter.

Put in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, turn the oven off and let sit for another 5 minutes.

While it’s baking, melt a TBSP of butter, peel and dice one pear, add to the butter and cook until tender. Add 1 TBSP of brown sugar and let it melt into the butter, coating the pears.

Cut your Dutch Baby into quarters, put a fourth of your pear sauce on top, with a spoonful of plain yogurt.

This is simply delicious, fast and easy. It’s a recipe that is easy to keep in your head, too. Think of the 3s, 3 eggs, 3/4 cups of flour and milk, 3 TBSP of butter. It’s also not too sweet, the yogurt adds a nice tang that balances any sweetness from the sauce.

 

Lemon Seed Bread

Lemon Seed Bread

Preheat oven to 325° F.

Grease a bread pan, I just used the wrapper off the butter I used in the recipe.

Cream together butter and sugar.

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • Zest from one lemon

Add

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk

Mix together:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoon caraway seed

Add to the liquid ingredients. This is a thick batter, almost like a cookie batter.

Put in the bread pan and bake for 30 – 40 minutes, until knife comes out dry.

Very tart and tasty. I love caraway seeds. This is a lovely old-fashioned pastry.

 

Oatcakes – Oatmeal Crackers

Smörgåsbord is a way of life for Scandinavians and open-face sandwiches and snack crackers like rye crisp are part of that tradition. These are my aunt’s oatcakes that make a delicious snack cracker sandwich.

Preheat oven to 325° F.

In a bowl, blend together

  • 3 cups oatmeal
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

Add liquid and mix.

  • 1/2 cup melted butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup hot water

Layer parchment paper on a cookie sheet and spread out the dough, pressing it flat to 1/4 inch. To get even edges, fold up the parchment paper and press until it is evenly flat. It will fill the entire cookie sheet so it’s nice if you use one with edges. I used a pizza cutter to cut into 24 squares before baking because it will crumble if you cut it later. The pizza cutter won’t pull the dough, so it’s easier than a regular knife.

I baked for 40 minutes, until it began to brown and then let it cool. It will crack apart where you cut. The oatcakes are delicious plain, a bit of nutty crispness. However, oatcakes are also a fantastic base for snacks.

Things I have put on oatcakes include:

  • Diced tomatoes and parm
  • Hard-boiled eggs and olives
  • Cucumbers, sour cream, and dill
  • Zucchini, tomatoes, and red chili flakes (Thanks, Eripom!)
  • Pepper jack cheese
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Olive tapenade
  • Lingonberry preserves
  • Banana & Peanut Butter

Lemon Krumkake

My family sent my late sister’s krumkake irons to me. One is the traditional old-fashioned iron for use on a wood or gas stove. It’s from Nordicware, like the one Mom had, I used to have, and everyone I know has ever had.  The other was a Bethany electric krumkake baker. Bethany is the maker of my lefse griddle, so familiar to me. I was excited to try the electric baker because I am anxious about using the old-fashioned iron on an electric oven. It worked pretty well, though it does not press the krumkake as thinly as the stovetop iron.

So here’s the recipe.  I mixed the dry ingredients first. Then I mixed the liquid ingredients and added to the dry. I heated the iron, brushed it lightly with vegetable oil just for the first cookie, and then started baking the cookies. Each cookie takes about 1 TBSP of batter. This made about 3 dozen cookies.

You can stuff with whipped cream, lingonberries or use with sorbet, but for me, I prefer them plain.

  • 1 1/ 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Zest from 2 lemons
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/ 2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup of milk

 

Plum Tostada

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I got about 5 pounds of fresh plums from Oregon Food Bank’s Harvest Share a few weeks back. I have been waiting for them to ripen, but decided to just try cooking one to see what happened. I was really not sure what I wanted to make. Well, I wanted to make a cake but I don’t have a mixer or blender and it’s hot and I didn’t want to turn on the oven, so I stood in front of the fridge hoping something would leap out at me. I saw some fresh rosemary a friend gave me from her garden and wondered how plums would taste sautéed in a bit of butter with some onions and rosemary. I have some tostadas from WinCo, so decided to try something crazy.

So, I melted

  • 1 tsp of butter in a small sauce pan and added about
  • 1 tbsp of finely chopped onions. I tossed in about
  • 1 inch long piece of fresh rosemary. I cut up
  • 1 large plum into about 8 segments and then chopped them in half. I added them when the onions were tender. I sautéed for about 8 minutes on a low heat. I added about
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla sugar (I have a vanilla bean in my tea sugar and used it instead of my cooking sugar.) I added about
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon. Stirring everything, I thought about adding lemon, but thought the unripe plum was so tart on its own, I didn’t really need the lemon.

I spread it on the tostada, added some sour cream and lightly toasted pecans.

This was so good, I washed out the pan and made myself a second one. Who knew rosemary and plums were divine? That is a flavor combination I am going to try again. Perhaps in a cake when it’s not so dang hot.

Makes one serving, darn it.

 

Apple, Celery & Celeriac Puree

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Since this will be pureed, there is no need to dice or chop finely. Big chunks are just fine, so long as they can cook evenly and will fit in blender or Magic Bullet.

Heat 3 TBSP of butter (or olive oil for vegan option) at medium low (4 on a 10 point electric dial) in a large stock pot. Add 2 yellow onions and a bunch of celery, all chopped. Add salt and pepper. Cook until the onions have sweat and are translucent.

While that’s cooking, chop up 4 large or 6 small apples. I used some Galas and a Pink Lady. Eating apples, not cooking apples because we are not adding any sugar. Crush and peel 3 cloves of garlic. Add the apples and garlic to the stock pot. Add tsp of thyme. Add salt and pepper. Put the lid on a let cook about five minutes.

Meanwhile peel and chunk the celeriac. Add to the crock pot with 1 quart of vegetable broth. Add salt and pepper.  Bring heat up to medium. When everything is tender, remove from heat and let cool.

After it’s cooled down, puree with an immersion blender, blender or Magic Bullet. Serve hot with a bit of chopped parsley and toasted pumpkin seeds and, if you’re feeling ambitious, some thinly sliced pear grilled on a hot burner. I accidentally spilled enough pumpkins seeds to two servings in this picture. They were delicious, though.

The soup is a smooth, mildly tart puree with a delicious, rich flavor. There’s a nice bit of bitter heartiness from the celery that is lightened and balanced by the apples, the onions adding some bright notes and of course, celeriac is always delicious.

This makes about 8 servings, but it also tastes better as leftovers. In fact, it’s so much better the next day that I didn’t eat it the day I made it but let it wait overnight. Unlike most celeriac purees, I don’t add any cream so it will keep several days and can also be frozen.

 

 

Caramelized Potatoes with Jamaica Jerk

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Boil a dozen small new potatoes until fork tender. Let cool.

About 15 minutes before serving, heat a pan on medium. Add 3 tablespoons of sugar and let melt and start to brown. When the sugar is brown, add 1.5 tbsp of butter and 1/2 tsp of salt. Mix them together, keep the heat low. If it gets to high they start to separate. Drop the potatoes in the caramelized syrup and  heat the potatoes thoroughly, about 7 – 10 minutes.

Turn repeatedly so the potatoes are completely coated. Before serving, sprinkle a couple teaspoons of Jamaica Jerk seasoning over the top, stirring and rolling the potatoes around so they are completely coated.