Masala Groundnuts (peanut salsa)

I picked this one up at a bar in Delhi.  It made up for the fact that the beer was so ‘meh’!  I’ve started using it as an additional dish when I make tapas.  You can throw it together in less time than it takes to say ‘masala groundnuts’.  And, yes, it does go quite well with beer.

1 C roasted, salted peanuts
1/2 red onion (diced)
1 tomato
1 T fresh chili pepper (chopped)
¼ t cumin powder
¼ t salt

Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl.  The salsa is ready to server right away, but the flavors will mix more if allowed to sit for an hour or so.  Vary the amount of chili based on taste.


Yesterday was the holiday of Midsommar.  In Sweden, the longest day of the year is celebrated not on the solstice, but on the closest Friday.  As with any good holiday, it is all about sharing good food and drink with friends and family.  Our friends Joseph, Carolina, Maria and Emilija all came over.  The Swedes led us in some traditional Midsommar songs… mostly about drinking.

My own Brännvin

My own Brännvin

Earlier in the week our neighbor, Sandra, took us to a little farm in the countryside which has both a nursery (of the plant variety) and a cafe.  There I found a variety of herb blends for flavoring brännvin (vodka).  I bought a packet of a fläder blend.  I found a plain brännvin, added the herbs and let it steep for three days.  It was ready just in time for our Midsommar dinner.  I filtered it into the lovely bottle that Sandra had bought us.

Midsommar Meal

Midsommar Meal

And of course there was lots of food.  I was at a conference until the early afternoon, and when I got home, I found that Sarah had gone crazy cooking.  She was baking a strawberry rhubarb pie with rhubarb from our garden.  She also made deviled eggs and blue-cheese stuffed celery.  Joseph brought homemade meat balls (which I hear were delicious).  Carolina baked fresh rolls and a wonderful rhubarb cake with elderflower cream.  Maria supplied freshly pickled herring and a wonderful quiche.  Emilija brought a delicious fava bean and mushroom salad, which went perfectly with the quiche.  In addition to all that, we had smoked and marinated salmon and new potatoes.


Strawberry Rhubarb Pie



We moved into a new house last Winter. This Spring we discovered that we had rhubarb and strawberries growing in our back yard. This inspired Sarah to begin making pies. I didn’t complain. True to her nature, Sarah started by doing lots of research. It seems that rhubarb from the garden is much more sour than the store-bought variety. This made for very tart pies. You might want to lessen the amount of sugar a bit if you use rhubarb from the store.

The filling is thickened with a mixture of flour and sugar.  There are recipes that use tapioca, but that is harder for us to find here.  The layer of this mixture on the bottom absorbs the liquid from the fruit.  This keeps the bottom dryer and produces a flakier crust.

7 oz Butter
2 C Flour
1 t Salt
3 T Cold Water
2 stalks Rhubarb
1 pint Strawberries
1 C Sugar
¼ C Flour

Combine flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut butter into flour. Use a mixer or your hands to quickly work the butter into the flour (the more the dough is worked, the less flaky it will be). Add water until the dough forms into a ball. Wrap in plastic and place in the refrigerator for 1 hr.


Cut Strawberries and Rhubarb

Clean and cut the strawberries and rhubarb in to slices.

In a separate bowl, mix the sugar and flour for the filling.

Prepare a clean surface and dust with flour. Roll out 2/3 of the dough until it is large enough to cover the pie dish completely. Spread half of the sugar/flour mixture on the bottom of the crust. Now add the fruit and then cover with the remaining sugar/flour. Roll out the remaining dough and cover the pie. Crimp the edges and cut off any excess. Cut several slits in the top of the pie to allow steam to escape.

Place in a pre-heated 375 and bake for approx. 35-40 mins. or until the crust is golden.

Orange Ginger Salmon

my own recipe
2 Salmon filets (around 125g/4oz each)
3 Large oranges
1 T Ginger (grated)
4 t Brown sugar

Begin by juicing the oranges and grating or finely chopping the ginger. Heat a large frying and sear the salmon on both sides. Add orange juice, ginger and sugar stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Cook over medium-low heat, turning the fish occasionally so it is well glazed. It is done when the liquid has reduced to a thick sauce.

Try replacing the ginger with garlic for a spicier flavor. Orange juice can be replaced with lemon juice, but you will need to add more sugar.

Caramelized Peppers and Onions

My own recipe

I’m sure I picked this recipe up from my family at some point, and I really love it. It is quite simple and very delicious. When done right, you’ll swear there was added sugar. It is best when made with good, sweet peppers.  Serve this with lots of good crusty bread to soak up the juicy oil.

2 Bell peppers (Red, Orange or Yellow)
2 Red Onions
½ C Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Cut both the peppers and onions into wide strips (they will cook down, so don’t make them small). Choose a large skillet which has a lid. Add all the ingredients to the skillet and cook covered over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally. This is the only trick in the recipe. If the heat is too low, the onions will cook to mush before they caramelize. The lid is important or the juice from the peppers and onions will evaporate too much. It is ready when the peppers are soft and the onions have begun to turn in color.

Stuffed Pizza (a la Zachary’s or Giordano’s)

Zachary's Pizza

Stuffed Pizza

One of the great joys of living in Berkeley, California, is the opportunity to eat at Zachary’s Pizza. There is always a wait for a table (they don’t take reservations), but that’s part of the fun.  Put your name on the list, order your pizza (which will take 30 mins) and grab a cold beer for the wait.  If you are not up for bonding with the denizens of Berkeley, call in your order for a half-baked pie.  Then pick it up and finish baking it at home.  After we moved out of California, I was known to take half-baked pizzas back on the plane with me.  Here is our (humble) version of this great pizza.  For those of you from the Chicago area, you will be reminded of Giordano’s.

16 oz. flour
1 C warm water
1.5 t instant dry yeast (or 1 cake fresh yeast)
2 t sugar
2 t salt
2 t olive oil
8 oz crushed tomatoes
8 oz tomato sauce
1 T basil (preferably fresh), chopped
2 cloves minced fresh garlic
¼ t yellow cornmeal
Shredded cheese (usually mozzarella)
Choice of fresh ingredients

Creating the Perfect Crust:
Pour warm water into a large mixing bowl and dissolve in sugar and yeast.  Add flour, salt and oil and mix until the dough forms a ball.  You can add more flour or water to adjust the consistency.  Knead the dough for 5 minutes.  Place dough back in bowl, cover with a damp towel and leave in a warm spot to rise (while the dough is rising mix the sauce – see below).  When dough has doubled in size, repeat kneading and rising.

After the dough has risen a second time, split off 1/3 of the dough.

Mixing the Sauce:
Mix tomatoes and tomato sauce and add the chopped garlic and basil. Mix.  The sauce should stand for awhile, so I suggest preparing it during the first dough rising.

Putting it All Together:
Preheat oven to 475°F (245°C) (use a baking stone if you have one).  Grease and cornmeal a deep baking pan.  Take the larger piece of dough and roll out to fit the pan with dough coming over the edges.  Add your ingredients for the filling, starting and ending with a layer of cheese.

Roll out the smaller piece of dough to cover the pizza.  Tuck in the edges of this piece between the filling and the side.  Now fold the remaining crust down.  Keep top of crust below the edge of the pan.

Place in oven and bake for approx. 25 min.  Carefully remove pizza from pan and place on a large cutting board.  Bon appetite!

Apple Tart


Apple Tart

Bon Appetit

5         apples, peeled & sliced
5 T      butter
¾ C     sugar / brown sugar

1½ C     flour
⅓+ C     sugar
6 T         butter
2            egg yolks
¼ t        salt

Prepare crust first by mixing flour, sugar and salt together. Mix in butter and egg yolks. Mix until dough forms (I add a bit of cold water to help it along, but don’t add too much). Cover and place in refridgerator.
Melt butter in a large oven-proof frying pan, and add sugar. Add apples and cook over medium heat stirring up the apples occasionally. Continue cooking until the sauce which forms is a dark caramel color. Remove from heat.
While apples cool, preheat oven to 350°F (175°C) and roll out crust on a floured surface to size of frying pan. Cover apples with crust and place in oven for 30-35 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
Options: Add 1/2 t Cinnamon to apples while they are cooking.

Molé Sauce

4 C broth (chicken or vegetable)
3 T olive oil
2/3 C onion, finely chopped
3 T garlic, chopped
1 t oregano
1 t cumin, ground
1/4 t Cinnamon
2 1/2 T chili powder
3 T flour
2+ Onces dark chocolate
brown sugar to taste

SautÈ onion and garlic in the olive oil, along with the oregano, cumin and cinnamon. Add chili powder and flour. Stir for a couple minutes over medium heat. Slowly mix in broth, and then increase heat to high. Add chocolate and sugar to taste. Cook until sauce thickens and then remove from heat.

Thenthuk (ten-too)

Dough Recipe
1/4 kg flour
1/2 C water
1/2 ts baking powder (optional)

Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Add water slowly and squeezed together with hands until flour is completely absorbed. Place on table or countertop and knead for five minutes (around 100 times) turning dough often. Continue with soup recipe…

Soup (serves 3 people)
3 Ts oil
1 ts finely chopped garlic
1 ts finely chopped ginger
1/2 medium sized onion
1 tomato
1/8 head cabbage
1 carrot
1/4 ts black pepper
1 salt
1-2 ts soy sauce

After kneading dough, divide into five pieces. Roll each piece into a long thin shape and coat with oil. Cover and set aside. For best results, leave for one hour, but at least for ten minutes. Turn stove on high, and pre-heat wok (or frying pan). Add one tablespoon of oil. In a separate bowl, mix one egg with a few pinches of salt. Add to frying pan when oil is hot. Cook each side one minute, then cut into small pieces and set aside. Add remainder of oil to pan along with garlic, ginger and onions. Fry these until cooked, and then add tomato, cabbage and carrot. Fry for two minutes and then add soy sauce and salt. Add 2 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Take out the dough. Using both thumbs, stretch out dough until it is long and flat. Quickly tear thumb-sized pieces into the boiling soup. After all noodles are in the soup, cook for three more minutes. Serve hot. If you like, top with fresh chopped green onion and cilantro. Add chili to taste.

Apple Crisp

Wendy Olson
4 C apples, peeled & sliced
1/3 C butter
2/3 C brown sugar
1/3 C flour
1/3+ C oatmeal
3/4 t cinnamon

Place apples in a baking dish, and Crumble topping over them. Bake in pre-heated 375∞F oven for 30-35 minutes.
(Don’t follow the recipe)