the other day, i was in a baking mood (as seems to happen frequently when i’m procrastinating…), and i decided to make another swedish treat. hallongrottor, or raspberry thumbprint cookies as you may know them, are soft, buttery shortbread cookies that have a delicious drop of raspberry jam in their centers. they are really very quick and easy to make, keep well in a cool place, and definitely satisfy that sweet tooth :)
i was fortunate enough to enjoy my easter dinner at The Ivy Inn in Charlottesville yesterday. we had spectacular weather: blue skies, a little bit of a breeze, and a toasty temperature (too hot for me, but still nice). the restaurant is a little converted house off of ivy road and had beautiful gardens and prime picture-taking spots.
as for the food? well it was divine. we started out with some mediocre amuse bouche (so i didn’t bother taking pictures), but the rest of the meal was so delicious.
it was a set easter menu that provided a few choices for the appetizer and the entree, with a salad course in between. i chose the asparagus soup with lump crab meat, a sprinkle of bacon, and chervil. it was silky smooth, smoky from the bacon (which i don’t generally care for at all, but it was just perfect in this context!), and the chervil was a bright note at the end.
|Mixed Local Green Salad
|Grilled Chinook Salmon and Scalloped Potatoes|
dessert was one of the richest things i’ve ever eaten. it was a duo of sweets. the first was a “torta ciocolatta”, or a really fudgy chocolate cake, with cappucino semi-freddo on top (which is really just soft ice cream), and a caramel and creme creme anglaise. the second was marinated strawberries in an almond cookie “bowl”, with a mascarpone zabaglione drizzled over the top. it was sinful. (sorry for the poor photos– the light was coming in strangely on the table by the time dessert arrived!)
there are really very few foods on this planet that can top pretzels. they can be small and crunchy right to the center, or big and puffy and soft with just the right crust on the outside. no matter what, these little salty guys make it on my top ten favorite foods list. and, knowing my love of food, thats saying a lot!
the other day, when my friend beth asked if i wanted to make soft pretzels (what a silly question to ask me, right?), i nearly jumped out of my skin. i realized that i had never actually made them before! i eat them with such frequency, yet they have never come out of my own kitchen. i was so very excited for this opportunity :)
can you resist these beauties?
they are about the easiest thing to make and here’s what you need:
-1 package of dry active yeast
-1 1/2 tbsp. sugar (to feed the yeast!)
-1 1/2 c. warm water
-1 tbsp. salt
-4-5 cups of flour
first thing’s first, dissolve the packet of yeast in a big bowl with the 1 1/2 cups of warm water. like i mentioned in my last post about the kanelbullar, the yeast is ALIVE so make sure not to use hot water or you will kill it! once dissolved, add the sugar to feed the yeast and stir again. this is your yeast base! add the salt and make sure everything is dissolved well in the mixture or your dough may not rise!
next comes the flour. you can use white flour or a mixture of white and wheat, whichever you prefer. we had white on hand so that’s what we used! slowly, about half a cup at a time, stir in the flour to the yeast mixture with a fork. the fork does two things: doesn’t mash the flour around like a spoon would (making the dough really tough!), but it also fluffs the flour through the wet mixture better than a spoon would. add enough flour (4 or 5 cups!) until the dough forms a ball like this! knead the dough for a good 5 minutes until it comes together with no lumps and bumps.
for a couple months now, i have been learning swedish, slowly and painstakingly, through books and online resources. the other day i came across a lesson on food vocabulary (HOORAY!) that was so kindly accompanied by photos of all the food. i say kindly because it was great to see snapshots of the words i was learning, but it was also incredibly frustrating because i wanted to eat every single swedish food that popped up. so, i decided that i would embark on a journey of making swedish delights. the first one that i want to show you is one of my favorite things in the entire world, cinnamon buns (kanelbullar)!
-1 tsp. salt
for this dough, you’ll need two packets of dry yeast. empty the two packets into a large bowl and pour a small amount of the warm milk/butter mixture in to the yeast (enough to cover all the yeast). at this point, you still need to feed the yeast, so add a tablespoon or so of sugar. stir all of this together until the yeast is mostly dissolved. once dissolved, combine the rest of the milk and butter in with the dissolved yeast. this is the base for your dough! next, we will tackle the dry ingredients.
|after three cups of flour|
|after five cups of flour|