Monthly Archives: June 2013

Authentic Pannkakor (Swedish Pancakes) With My Personal Swedish Chef

When Morgan and I first were dating, he won me over with his Swedish Chef impersonation (my all-time favorite Muppet) and rock-star ability to make perfect pannkakor (Swedish pancakes). I soon learned that Swedish pancakes were the absolute only thing he knew how to make, however; but I married him anyway. He’s very good at washing dishes and cleaning up after I destroy the kitchen, so it all works out.

130629_swedishpancakes

He learned to make pannkakor from his mom, who moved to the U.S. from Sweden when she was 18, so I think they’re pretty authentic. We spent a week in Sweden in 2009, but I didn’t eat any pancakes, so I can’t tell you if they taste the same in Seattle as they do in Stockholm. What I can tell you is that Morgan’s version are super delicious and I don’t get them nearly as often as I would like. They are similar to crepes, but a bit thicker and more “eggy.”

We like them a few different ways — traditionally, with lingonberry jam or fresh berries and whipped cream; German-style (my personal favorite), with powdered sugar and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice; and Lucas’s all-American favorite, with butter and maple syrup. So when Morgan wakes up on a weekend morning and busts out his skillet, we know we’re in for a treat. I hope you enjoy these as much we do!

Here are a few tips from my personal Swedish Chef. “Orn desh, dee born desh, de umn bork! bork! bork!”:

  • The #1 rule: Your skillet must not be too hot!! Medium heat works best, and you need to give your pancakes time to cook. They will take about two minutes per side.
  • Ignore your first pancake. It inevitably will turn out crappy and only is your litmus test for a good skillet temperature. Be prepared to trash it and move on.
  • Your pancake is ready to flip when it appears slightly dry on top and the edges lift easily from the side of the skillet.
  • Use the thinnest spatula you own for flipping, preferably thinner than the pancake itself (which you probably won’t find in the plastic variety). According to Morgan, metal spatulas always trump plastic for pannkakor. I think I bought him 27 spatulas as gifts before this one from OXO became his favorite.
  • Don’t use too much batter. You’ll want just enough to cover the bottom of your skillet; around 1/2 cup per pancake. (You may need a little more or less batter, depending on the size of your skillet.) You can use a regular or non-stick frying pan, but a flat cast-iron griddle is definitely the way to go for the perfect pancake.

Smaklig måltid (the Swedish equivalent of bon appétit — enjoy your meal)!

Pannkakor (Swedish Pancakes)

(Makes 8-10 pancakes)

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 3 1/3 cups milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla or almond extract, if desired (We like to mix it up and sometimes use this, sometimes don’t.)
  • Butter for your skillet (We usually have a softened stick available for this.)

Directions

  1. Set aside a cookie sheet and preheat your oven to its lowest setting to keep your pancakes warm as you cook.
  2. Whisk the eggs and milk together until well incorporated.  Slowly whisk in the flour, sugar, salt and vanilla or almond extract. Your batter will be very runny — this is normal, don’t worry.
  3. Warm your skillet (we use a 10.5-inch pan) over medium heat. Add a small pat of butter to grease the pan, and swirl around to coat your cooking surface.
  4. Pour in the batter, around a 1/2 cup per pancake, tilting the pan in a circular motion to cover the surface with batter. You may need a little more or less batter, depending on the size of your skillet.
  5. Now, leave your pancake alone for about two minutes. No, really, don’t touch it (but watch it carefully)!
  6. Your pancake is ready to flip when it appears slightly dry on top and the edges lift easily from the side of the pan.
  7. Flip your pancake and cook on the second side for an additional two minutes (approximately). The second side also will be done when the edges are browned and lift easily from the side of the pan.
  8. Remove your pancake from the skillet and keep warm on a cookie sheet in the oven until serving time.
  9. Stir batter in between each pancake to make sure it remains well incorporated, and re-grease the pan with another pat of butter for every pancake.

Greek Salmon Flatbreads with Peppers and Onions

Of all the regional cuisine I’ve had in my life (and I’ve taken full advantage of living in Seattle, where there is an opportunity to try anything you can imagine), Greek food definitely tops the list. When I have a craving at home, there are a few go-to tasty recipes that everyone in our family enjoys. And when everyone likes dinner, that’s a gold star in my book! 130626_greeksalmonflatbreads

I can’t say these flatbreads are necessarily authentic, but they have all the flavors and ingredients I love when I’m at a Greek restaurant — a little bang of garlic, zesty oregano, salty kalamata olives, and tangy yogurt. They’re also simple to make any night of the week. Someday, I will eat real Greek food in Greece, but until then, I will make do. This meal also goes well with a nice, chilled glass of pinot gris or sauvignon blanc (when you’re not knocked up).

Kalí óreksi — enjoy your meal!

Greek Salmon Flatbreads with Peppers and Onions

(Serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 4 pitas or pieces of flatbread (We are kind of in love with Trader Joe’s Middle Eastern Flatbread around here. It’s great for individual pizzas, too!)
  • 1 12 oz. container of store-bought tzatziki sauce (Again, big fans of the Trader Joe’s brand at our house.) If you make your own, you must try this recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything. It is so much better than store bought, but in the interest of time, we’re taking shortcuts around here. And TJ’s tzatziki really is pretty tasty.

For the salmon (slightly adapted from Allrecipes.com Greek-Style Baked Salmon):

  • 3 (5 ounce) salmon fillets, with skin
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 plum tomato, diced
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 kalamata olives, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the peppers and onions:

  • 1 large red, yellow, or orange bell pepper (or a combination of the three), cut lengthwise into strips
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, sliced
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Brush each salmon fillet on all sides with olive oil and arrange into the bottom of a glass baking dish with the skin side facing down. Scatter the tomatoes, feta cheese, basil, garlic, and olives over the fillets; sprinkle with the lemon juice.

Bake in preheated oven until the salmon flakes easily with a fork, about 20 minutes.

While salmon is baking, heat 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell peppers, onions, and oregano. Cook about 10 minutes or until tender, stirring often. Add minced garlic, and cook 2 minutes, stirring often. Keep warm over low heat.

When salmon is done baking, remove from the oven, let slightly cool, then remove and discard salmon skin. Flake the salmon with a fork and mix with the remaining ingredients in the baking dish. Set aside.

Warm pitas or flat bread in microwave for 10 seconds on high.

Layer each flat bread or pita with salmon, pepper and onion mixture, and top with tzatziki sauce. We like to eat them “taco style” once they’re assembled.

Four-Ingredient Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

My kiddo cannot get enough of these ridiculously easy, four-ingredient “breakfast cookies.” And to be honest, neither can I. They’re a great snack for this pregnant, on-the-go mama, and Lucas thinks it’s pretty freakin’ awesome that I’ve been letting him eat “cookies” for breakfast … and snack, lunch, etc.
130625_fouringredientcookies

Yes, it has been a cookie bonanza around our house since I discovered this recipe a couple months ago — variations are plastered all over Pinterest. These cookies seriously take only about five minutes to whip up, around 15 minutes to bake, and they will disappear faster than you can blink!

I only have made these with bananas, but any very ripe, mashable fruit will work. My friend Camille made them with half bananas and half strawberries, and said they were amazing. I’ll be trying that combo soon!

Four-Ingredient Oatmeal and Fruit Breakfast Cookies

(Makes about a dozen cookies)

Ingredients

  1. Two very ripe bananas (Or equivalent amount of other ripe, mashable fruit, e.g., strawberries.)
  2. One heaping tablespoon of creamy peanut butter
  3. One cup of raw oats (I always have old-fashioned oats on hand, but quick-cooking oats will work, too. Just don’t use steel cut.)
  4. One-quarter to one-half teaspoon of cinnamon (Use your own taste preference.)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Mash up the bananas and peanut butter, mix in the oats and cinnamon, and drop by the tablespoon onto a greased cookie sheet. (I never have used my Silpat Non-Stick Silicone Baking Liner as much as I have since beginning to make these cookies all the time!)
  3. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes. The cookies will not brown or spread very much. And by very much, I mean at all.
  4. Slightly smash with the back of a flat spoon when you remove from the oven, then let cool.
  5. Enjoy!

Easy Peasy Barbecue Chicken

For my inaugural post, I thought the absolute easiest “recipe” I could think of would be appropriate. Seriously, people. It doesn’t get easier than this. Four ingredients and you’re done! This is perfect “it’s-summertime-and-I-do-not-feel-like-cooking-but-need-to-feed-my-family-a-decent-meal” food.

130618_bbqchicken

And, I get to use one of my favorite kitchen tricks for this one, too. Shredding meat with my stand mixer! The first time I tried this method, I was amazed that it worked so perfectly. I’ve never been very successful using forks to shred meat, so it was an extra bonus to find something that both works better and saves tons of time.

Once your meat is cooked, cut it into big chunks (each chunk should be about the size of a half deck of cards) and throw it into your stand mixer with the paddle attachment. (I have a KitchenAid Artisan series 5-quart stand mixer.) Using the lowest speed, mix the meat for about a minute to shred. You’ll want to watch it closely and stop it when the meat is shredded to your desired fineness. Is fineness a word? Anyway, voila! Perfectly shredded meat.

Easy Peasy BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

(Serves 4)

Ingredients

  • Three unseasoned, average-sized, boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked
    (I use frozen chicken breasts and bake for about 45 minutes at 375F.)
  • About 1 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce
    (We like Sweet Baby Ray’s brand.)
  • Four slices of sharp cheddar cheese
    (We always have Tillamook on hand in our house.)
  • Four hamburger-style buns of your choice
    (I like sweet onion buns for this particular sandwich.)

Directions

Cut cooked chicken breasts into quarters, and add to stand mixer with paddle attachment. Turn mixer onto the lowest speed and slowly add barbecue sauce while chicken is shredding. Once chicken has reached desired consistency, turn off mixer and remove paddle attachment.

Preheat oven to broil. Open buns and place a cheese slice on one half of each bun. Toast under the broiler for about a minute, until cheese starts to melt and buns slightly toast. Remove buns from oven, throw on some chicken, and enjoy! This goes great with potato salad and a simple garden salad, too.