Do you like the band Vampire Weekend? I do. I know they're preppy and all that, but I still like them. That is my prerogative. I like a song that's been playing on the radio, and I haven't paid close attention to it as it's usually on in the background, but found myself humming and singing along earlier this week.
"In December, drinking hot chowder"
Then it occurred to me--how do you drink hot chowder? You don't drink chowder. That'd be a choking hazard, all those clams or corn or potatoes or whatever, going down and clogging your windpipe. You eat chowder. You chew it before you swallow it. Not so much of a choking hazard that way. So why were they insisting on drinking chowder? Was this some odd form of suicidal behavior? A cry for help? An ignorant lyricist waxing poetic about things he hadn't learned enough about?
Yes, I'm aware there are bigger problems in the world. But this bugged me enough that I finally looked up the lyrics.
I still like the song, although I fear I may always think of it as the hot chowder song. If you're curious, the second line--and this is correct--is "I'd look psychotic in a balaclava." I think you'd look psychotic drinking hot chowder.
Now onto some real food. Having wasted far too much time considering the proper way to eat or drink chowder, then learning what horchata is, I found myself one evening with a thawed-out slab o' salmon and no real plans for it. I dug around online and found a simple recipe which only needed two ingredients beyond the salmon itself.
Maple syrup and soy sauce. One-quarter cup of each mixed together and boiled on the stove until reduced to about 1/3 cup.
Gotta tell you--this does not smell good when it's happening. It immediately began to smell scorched, which worried me. I kept testing it, and it tasted fine, but the smell? Blech.
Eventually, or 5 minutes, it was reduced properly. I set aside a couple tablespoons for drizzling over the final product, then brushed half of the rest over my salmon.
I baked it as required for 10 minutes, and once again? The smell? Not resembling delicious in any way. After 10 minutes, it was time to pour the rest of the sauce on and set under the broiler until done.
By this point I was having some serious doubts. Hard not to, when your kitchen smells scorched. But it was actually pretty good. Well--the Teens were not enthused. DH and I thought it quite enjoyable. I think the Teens may have been affected by the smell in the kitchen. Perhaps this would be better grilled outdoors? I'll try it in the spring. Also, one of the commenters at the original recipe noted she'd try it again with a higher maple syrup content, and I think I'd do that too. The soy was the dominant flavor, and the sweetness got a bit lost.
FYI, if you want to see a very, very cool Norwegian kindergarten program, click here. It's long, but so worth it.
Anyway. The kind folks at Andrews McMeel Publishing sent me a copy of this book for me to
drool overmarry look at for review. It's a thing of beauty, about as much a coffee table book as cookbook, full of gorgeous Scandinavian landscapes.
It also has some wonderful sounding recipes. The book is organized by month, and each recipe has information about the recipe's basis, or the author's history with it. Everything from rye bread, spelt buns, homemade herring, homemade marzipan, elderflower cordials, various versions of smǿrrebrǿd, salad of chanterelles, bacon and plums, crepes with gooseberry compote, captain's stew...how to choose?? I started with the January and February recipes and thought about marinated salmon or roast chicken with root vegetables, but as it happened, I had some mighty fine smoked salmon that needed to be used, and April had a recipe that caught my eye.
I know what you're thinking: Lettuce? In February? Really?? But yes, I picked a salad recipe. I've been hankering for some leafy greens for a while now, and even though the really good farmers market greens won't be here for a few months yet, I went for the gusto anyway. I've no doubt this will taste even better in June, but for February, it was still darned good, and gave me a little taste of spring.
Essentially you get some mixed greens and toss with cucumber slices and caraway seeds. Then you make a dressing with sour cream, horseradish, sugar, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Toss half the dressing with the greens, add smoked salmon, and serve the rest of the dressing at the table. Easy peasy.
The recipe suggests serving with caraway seed bread, which I didn't have (or make--the recipe's in the book), but I did have a hearty whole-grain bread that served a good purpose. Oh, this was good. So fresh. So springy. I love smoked salmon. The sweet caraway contrasted beautifully with the spicy horseradish and the tangy sour cream and smoked salmon. It occurred to me that the sour cream-horseradish dressing would make a nice bagel topping, which I tried the next day, and lo and behold, I was right. By itself, the salad was yummy--but adding the smoked salmon definitely kicked up quite a few notches.
My thanks to Andrews McNeel Publishing for this lovely book!
Smoked Salmon and Horseradish Cream with Crunchy Cucumber and Caraway Seed Salad Serves 4
Dressing: 1 1/4 cups reduced fat sour cream 2 tablespoons grated fresh or prepared horseradish 1/2 teaspoon sugar 1 tablespoon lemon juice Salt and pepper
Tear the greens into small pieces. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and then cut it into thin slices. Mix the greens, cucumber, and caraway seeds in a salad bowl.
Make the dressing. Mix the sour cream, horseradish, and sugar together, stirring very gently. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
Add half the dressing to the salad and toss. Arrange the smoked salmon on plates with the dressed salad on the side. Pass the remaining dressing at the table. Serve with nice homebaked bread, such as caraway seed bread or yogurt and wheat berry bread.
Last week, doing my part of the Knitcircus blog tour, I mentioned that Miss T. has a pattern in the latest issue. Then I remembered--hey! I was a test knitter for that pattern! I made one all by myself, and have worn it several times, but didn't blog about it, because it was Top Secret!
It's worth going over to the Ravelry page for the pattern and looking at the different projects that have been made from this pattern. The wild and crazy, thick-n-thin texture of the Malabrigo gave this pattern a different look than a more even-keeled yarn would, and different yarns are shown on the Ravelry page.
I like my crazy scarf, with its not-as-lacy outcome.
Thanks, Miss T., for letting me be one of the first to try this fun pattern!
Whew, I just blew off the tops of all your heads with that post title, didn't I??
It's Thursday! And there's food! And there's knitting! Why so much goodness on one single day? Because today is the day I'm hosting the blog tour for Knitcircus' online debut! You may have seen Miss T's interview with Knitcircus' fearless leader, Jaala Spiro, last week. You might also note that Miss T--who appears to have been quite busy--has an interview with Lily Chin in this issue of Knitcircus, as well as a pattern. And the Queen of Cookies herself, Bezzie, has a cookie recipe too. So! What are you waiting for? Go forth and read Knitcircus!
Oh, but wait--I have a couple of goodies for you just because you stopped by my post today. First of all is this:
Mmm, pretty and warm. This is one of the patterns from an earlier issue of Knitcircus, and now through the end of February, you can download it for free over at Ravelry.
But. That's not all. I promised food too, right?
Here's what Jaala has to say about why cookies are included in a knitting magazine:
We always include a recipe or two in our issue, and people often get a fun surprise from it; they’re looking through knitting patterns, articles, interviews, and suddenly there’s a cookie or delicious-looking plate of linguini. At first, we wondered if people would ask why the heck a knitting pattern has recipes. But whenever our readers mentioned the food, they always said how much they enjoyed it, so we knew our hunch that people who appreciate a merino handknit sweater will appreciate a well-made applesauce cake was right.
Now I’m happy to share my personal favorite recipe from Knitcircus (originally shown in Knitcircus #4, Fall and Holiday) for Molasses Crinkles. My seven-year-old son loves to bake these with me. In fact, just looking at the pictures makes me want to make these again for tonight’s dessert….
Thanks for sharing, Jaala! The next blog tour stop will be here. In the meantime, enjoy some nice warm cookies.
Makes 2-3 dozen cookies 20 min to prep and 12-15 to bake
Ingredients: .5 C butter .25 C blackstrap molasses 1 C sugar 1 egg 1 t salt 2 t baking soda 1 t cinnamon 1 t allspice 1 t powdered ginger 1 C white flour, 1 C whole wheat pastry flour 1-2 T additional sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheets Melt butter and transfer to bowl. Beat in molasses and 1 cup sugar. Beat egg by itself, then beat into molasses mixture. Add dry ingredients to wet mixture and stir well. Flour your hands and use them to roll 1.5” balls. Roll each ball in extra sugar and place on cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes until firm to touch.
Recipe from Susan Spiro, Jaala’s mom and an excellent baker!