Cod, Beluga Lentils and Salsa Verde

Cod and salsa verdeWhite, black and green. Keep it simple. In my part of the world cod is in season and I pair it with beluga lentils, because of their beauty and bite, with latin inspired  salsa verde for color and flavor. In Southern California where I have spent many magic years, salsa verde contains tomatillos and cilantro, the Italians add anchovies. This is my weekday version.

Salsa Verde

  • 1 handful parsley
  • 1 handful basil
  • 1/3 cup / 85 ml olive oil
  • Juice from 1 small lemon
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Salt to taste
  1. Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse a few times. You want to keep a bit of texture. At least that’s how I like it. A smoother salsa works too as does a more coarsely chopped salsa verde.

Cod and Beluga Lentils

  • 1 pound cod
  • 1 cup / 2.5 dl beluga lentils
  • 2 tbsps butter
  • 1 shallot, optional
  • 2 tsps olive oil, optional
  • Chili flakes, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F/190 C.
  2. Cut the cod into serving size and place on parchment paper.
  3. Bring 2 cups of salted water to a boil. Rinse the beluga lentils and cook uncovered according to instructions for 15-20 minutes.  Taste once in a while after 15 minutes to avoid mushy lentils. You are aiming for a delicate al dente bite. If you have the time you can mince the shallot and fry in olive oil with a drizzle of chili flakes before adding the lentils.
  4. Top each piece of cod with a dollop of butter and flaky salt. Bake for 12-15 minutes depending on the size. Test with a fork, they are done when they are flaky.
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Amazing Colorful Quinoa Salad

Colorful quinoa

This salad is light, full of flavor, beautiful and so simple. I saw this version  on the inspiring site of Chef Marcus Samuelsson. I added the quinoa and feta cheese to turn it into a meal rather than a side dish – and it is a keeper for sure.  Don’t worry about cooking more quinoa than you can eat. Try quinoa for breakfast for a nice change.

#funfact Blood oranges are in season right now. The temperature affects the color of the blood oranges. The colder the temperature, the deeper maroon color the blood oranges will develop. Apparently it’s been a warm winter in Sicily this year.

Amazing Colorful Quinoa Salad 

  • 1 cup / 2.5 dl quinoa
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 3 blood oranges
  • 1/4 cup / 60 ml black olives
  • 2 tbsps feta cheese, crumbled
  • A small handful of mint
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • Flaky salt

Procedure

  1. Cook the quinoa according to instructions.
  2. Finely slice the fennel.
  3. Cut the peel of the blood oranges and cut circles, because blood oranges are too pretty to cut into segments.
  4. Simply layer the salad: start with quinoa, then fennel, blood orange slices, olives, feta and mint.
  5. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon then sprinkle the flaky salt and serve.
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Herb risotto with prosciutto wrapped salmon

Herb Risotto

I recently read in a Danish newspaper that roughly half of us care about the food we eat and the other half doesn’t. What surprised me the most was that so many people don’t care. As for me, I am pretty much guaranteed three highlights every day.

Obviously cooking is more fun, when you love to eat. But everyone can learn to cook, especially these days with cooking shows on every channel. So what’s stopping you?

I want to share my Monday evening meal with you. It took just 30 minutes to make. So worth it. For your taste buds, for your health and for your wallet. Before you start, you should know that under that salty prosciutto and on top of that fatty fish is a slice of tart, yet sweet apple. Are you hungry yet?!

Risotto with herbs

  • 4 cups / 1 liter chicken or vegetable bouillon
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 14 oz / 400 gr arborio rice
  • 1 cup / 2.5 dl white wine
  • 1 3/4 oz / 50 gr butter
  • 2.5 oz / 75 gr parmesan
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Handful of parsley and chives, chopped
  1. Preheat the oven  to 375F/190C, if you plan to serve with the wrapped salmon.
  2. Start by heating the bouillon.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a medium pot and chop the onion, celery and garlic.
  4. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add rice and cook another for 1-2 min while stirring.
  5. Add white wine and cook while stirring until all the wine is absorbed.
  6. Use a ladle and add about 1/2 cup of the bouillon to the rice and stir well until the liquid has been absorbed. Repeat this step for about 15 min until all the bouillon is used.
  7. Taste the rice, it should be al dente. You can add some boiling water if the rice is still too hard. Just add a little at a time and keep tasting. You don’t want it to be mushy.
  8. Take the pot off the heat and stir in the butter, parmesan and chopped herbs. Cover the pot and let rest for 2 min. Then serve right away.

Salmon wrapped with apple and prosciutto

  • 4 salmon steaks, skin removed
  • 8 slices of prosciutto
  • 1 green apple
  1. Peel and slice the apple.
  2. Cut the salmon steaks in two pieces.
  3. Place a slice of apple on each salmon piece.
  4. Wrap each with prosciutto
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes
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Lucuma coconut bites

Lucuma coconut bites

In the last post I experimented with super food baobab powder, which worked really well. So now I decided to tackle lucuma powder, also known as “the Gold of the Incas” with numerous health benefits like antioxidants, B vitamins and much more. It has notes of soft golden caramel. I googled the net for recipes with lucuma powder and there are hundreds of lucuma ice cream recipes, which apparently is the most popular ice cream flavor in Peru. Lots of the recipes contain dates, but I don’t have any. So I had to create a new recipe and this is it:

Lucuma Coconut Bites

  • 1/2 cup / 1.25 dl shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup / 1.25 dl finely chopped cashew nuts (unsalted & unroasted)
  • 1/4 cup / 60 ml coconut oil, melted
  • 3 tbsps lucuma powder
  • 2 tbsps maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • A dash of salt
  • 2-3 tbsps cocoa powder, unsweetened
  1. Finely chop the cashew nuts or throw them in a food processor with the coconut.
  2. Stir in the lucuma powder and salt.
  3. Mix coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla in a separate bowl.
  4. Combine everything in a bowl and stir well.
  5. Shape into balls and cool in the fridge.
  6. Roll in cocoa powder when cold.
  7. Store in the fridge.

Yields 12-15 lucuma coconut bites

 

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Rice krispie power bars

Baobab rice krispies

It’s a new year, a new beginning and a time to reflect upon your life. Do you have plans or dreams for 2015? And what are you going to do about it… This is the time to start your game plan to be sure that your goals and dreams are within reach!

THINK BIG. If your goal seems to be up there among the stars, then break it down into smaller steps. Just like shedding those holiday pounds. Keep your focus (I’m talking to myself here!). One pound at a time – and always celebrate when you reach next level (but not with chocolate – I’ll buy something pretty for the new slimmer me).

So this treat is for the kids lunchbox. It is packed with good stuff like coconut, cocoa nibs and baobab powder, which has a mildly sweet, yet slightly tangy  flavor and is supposedly packed with nutrients.

Rice krispie power bars 

  • 3 cups / 7.5 dl rice krispies
  • 1/2 cup / 1.25 dl shredded coconut, unsweetened
  • 1/4 cup / 60 ml cocoa nibs
  • 1/4 cup / 60 ml acacia honey
  • 1/4 cup / 60 ml cane sugar
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp baobab powder
  • Dash of vanilla extract

Procedure

  1. Coat a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Mix rice krispies, shredded coconut and cocoa nibs in a bowl and set aside.
  3. In a small pot add honey, sugar and coconut oil. Bring to a boil over medium heat and let simmer until the sugar has melted.
  4. Stir in baobab powder and vanilla extract and pour over  the rice krispies.
  5. Combine everything well, there should be no dry spots.
  6. Pour into the prepared baking pan and press down firmly. I use an extra parchment paper to press down, it gets sticky using your hands.
  7. Cool in the fridge for 30 minutes. Then cut into bites and store at room temperature.

Suggestions

You may replace cocoa nibs and baobab powder with dried fruits and nuts. It’s a great afternoon snack for both kids and grown-ups.

If you like the super anti-oxidant cocoa nibs, you may also like this recipe.

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Holiday treats (konfekt)

Classic marzipan

Happy holidays to you wherever you are and however you celebrate – and thank you for stopping by!

Mouse      Present

There are many ways to celebrate (or not). My family and I celebrate christmas on the 24th here in the cold north. We used to have a real tree with real candles burning in the living room, but we brought home a more politically and environmentally correct tree, when we relocated from California three years ago – it has a plug, pine cones and 200 little light bulbs.

Taco     Bird

We open presents after the holiday dinner, which according to old traditions begin with a creamy rice porridge drizzled with cinnamon sugar and a dot of melting butter – hidden in one of the bowls is a blanched almond – whoever finds the nut, gets a special present. The main course is always slow-roasted duck stuffed with apples and prunes, small sugar-browned potatoes, boiled potatoes, duck sauce and red cabbage slaw with fresh oranges and toasted almonds, which is less traditional.

Rose     Poop

Cookies and treats are served on platters after dinner. The main attraction in our home are the goodies the kids produce, while waiting for the day to pass. I set out marzipan, gianduja, sprinkles, chocolates, almonds etc. and they let their creativity flow. Every year we see new creations. This is my favorite holiday tradition.

Stay tuned – next up baobab treats…

 

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Barleyotto with butternut squash

Barleyotto recipeA simple meal before the big christmas dinner tomorrow. Barleyotto with butternut squash, red onions and toasted almonds for crunch. I didn’t measure anything, so here are just a few guidelines. Happy holidays!

If you make too much pearl barley, then cool it in the frige and make this tasty and filling barleyotto breakfast.

  • Pearl barley
  • Butternut squash
  • Red onion
  • Garlic
  • Toasted almonds
  • Heavy cream
  • White vinegar
  • Olive oil
  1. Boil pearl barley according to instructions.
  2. Cut and slice butternut squash, red onion and garlic. Cook on a pan with olive oil until tender.
  3. Toss the butternut squash and red onions with the cooked barley and add a splash of whipped cream and a dash of vinegar. Stir while heating briefly in a pot.
  4. Season, sprinkle with coarsely chopped almonds and serve.
  5. If you must have meat, then serve with sliced chicken.

Coming up soon rice krispie bars with baobab powder – a new (to me) powerful super food.

 

 

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Fig cookie bars with walnuts

Fig walnut bars

I had some dried figs sitting around in a jar. They didn’t really tempt me at all. So since I am very much against wasting food, I made these cookie bars. I figured that with all the figs, walnuts and oatmeal, it was okay to go a little crazy on the sugar content. It was the end of a looong day, you see.

Filling

  • 8 large dried figs, stemmed and chopped
  • 1/3 cup/ 80 ml brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup / 80 ml walnuts, chopped
  • 1/3 cup / 80 ml water
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  1. Put all the ingredients in a pot. Bring to a boil and let simmer until it thickens. About 5-7 minutes. Set aside.

Crust & top

  • 4 oz /110 gr  butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup / 80 ml brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup / 2 1/2 dl rolled oats
  • 1 cup / 2 1/2 dl all purpose flour
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F/190C.
  2. Cream butter and sugar.
  3. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and combine until there are no dry spots.
  4. Press 2/3 of the dough into a cake pan (app size 10″ x 7,5″ / 25 cm x 18 cm).
  5. Spread the fig filling on top and crumble the remaining 1/3 of the dough on top.
  6. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the top is golden. Let cool before cutting.
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Roasted root vegetables with butternut squash

Fall is in the air – and it is time to add squash and pumpkin to your food. So simple, so colorful and so seasonal. Not to mention super good for you. An all time fall favorite.

  • Potatoes
  • Butternut squash (or other eg. hokkaido pumpkin)
  • Walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • Goat cheese, crumbled
  • Parsley, chopped
  • Olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F/200C
  2. Peel and cut the vegetables into bite size pieces.
  3. Put in an oven proof dish, toss with a little olive oil and bake for 45-50 min.
  4. When baked sprinkle with walnuts, goat cheese and parsley. Season with salt & pepper.
  5. I like to drizzle just a bit of akacia honey on top.

Suggestions

Add other root vegetables eg parsnips, turnips, sweet potatoes. Try another herb.

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Sesame beef noodle salad

Sesame beef noodles

I have been neglecting my blog a bit lately with good reason. But things are about to change for the better… next month my life as a full-time working mother of 3 cool kids –  with a hungry husband and a blog to attend to besides everything else that family life entails – well, that life will be a little easier. Because by next month, I will have completed my master’s in communication. One more month of discipline, before I can devote more time to composing dinners likes this one: quick, simple  and full of flavor.

Sesame beef noodle salad

  •  1 pound / 450 gr ground beef
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 inch / 2.5 cm fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsps black sesame seeds
  • 400 gr rice noodles
  • 1 small head of iceberg lettuce
  • 1 small English cucumber
  • A handful of fresh cilantro

Topping: soy sauce and salted peanuts

  1. Heat sesame oil in a wok or skillet and fry the ginger and garlic until fragrant. Then add the ground beef and fry over high heat until brown. Break up the meat as it cooks.
  2. Meanwhile finely slice the iceberg lettuce and cut the cucumbers.
  3. Add 1 tbsp soy sauce and sesame seeds to the meat when browned.
  4. Cook the rice noodles according to instructions.
  5. Let each person assemble their own salad to their liking and dress with soy-sauce and salted peanuts.
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