Car Camping

IMG_5581Sometimes nature (or a music festival, or a midsummer eve) beckons and you kind of want to sleep outside, but maybe not really?  Shelter can be a good thing. You may also want to make a quick getaway in the morning without having to tear down camp. Enter car camping. The basic set up can be as minimal as a blanket and a pillow, but you can do a few little things to make yourself more comfortable. The challenges are comfort, privacy, and ventilation. I’ll share my tips on each.IMG_3578

Comfort: Finding a good place to lay down. Create a flat space in your car by folding down seats  and/or stuffing the wheel wells. If you have a wagon or an SUV this will be much easier, but you can also use a back seat. Place an air mattress on the flattened area and inflate in place. A tight fit will give you a custom crash pad. Now make up a bed with sheets, a blanket, and extra pillows to jam into those nooks and crannies.

Privacy: Hang a curtain, or sheet, on a dowel or car clothing rod from your vehicle’s grab handles or clothes hooks. Now cover the remaining windows in your sleeping area. The cheapest and easiest thing I found for privacy was to take aluminum bubble wrap insulation and cut it a little larger than the windows. It is sturdy enough to jam into place and stay there. I bought mine at Lowes here.

Ventilation: I wanted to be able to open a couple of windows without getting bugs and I found these sun shades. They work like a thin sock over the car door and allow the windows to be opened. They also provide a little bit of privacy, similar to window tint.

You can add some battery operated lights and candles, and creature comforts like a battery operated fan. Once you have the basic set up it’s quick and easy to set up and tear down.







Posted in DIY | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Apple Cinnamon Overnight Porridge

IMG_3023Porridge is a traditional healthy, hearty breakfast, serving as a staple of the Swedish diet for hundreds of years. In the Viking era it was affordable sustenance, sometimes served at breakfast, lunch and dinner. This overnight pre-portioned version is a big hit for sleepy heads, or on-the-go early risers. At its most basic it is one part oats, two parts milk, soaked in the fridge overnight. I urge you to try this overnight method if you find cooked oats a little “gummy” as I do. The flavor builds with the add ins. You can add fruit, jam, preserves, granola, nuts, and sweeteners. My favorite, apple cinnamon, can all be put together the night before. It has the same flavors as apple cobbler. Imagine grabbing one on the way to class or after a morning workout. Have them ready in the morning for overnight guests. Set out a tray full, with topping options, on a brunch buffet.

Apple Cinnamon Overnight Porridge

  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1TBS. chia seeds (optional)
  • 4 Tbs. cinnamon apple sauce or apple sauce with a dash of cinnamon
  • A sprinkle of cinnamon sugar

You will need a mason jar or other individual serving container. A cute container helps, as this is a dish that probably tastes better than it looks. Combine oats, milk, chia seeds, if using, and shake or stir. Layer apple sauce on top and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Let sit in refrigerator at least 6 hours, up to a couple of days. Makes one grab-and-go serving.

Posted in Easy, Swedish Classics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Västerbotten Cheese Pie

IMG_3004IMG_2973IMG_3001Västerbottenostpaj is a great part of a Swedish feast. The tangy cheese pie pairs well with seafood, and is a traditional part of the Swedish Crayfish Party. It is dense, rich, and more flavorful than quiche. I like to add a little onion, and sometimes even a small amount of sautéed chanterelle mushrooms to make “Västerbottenspaj med kantereller.”  Serve it with salad and cured salmon for a simple meal. Enjoy it alfresco in a picnic.

Västerbotten Cheese Pie

  • Ready made, or home-made, pie crust
  •  3 Eggs
  • 10 oz  Heavy cream
  • 7 oz  Västerbottenost, or sharp cheddar cheese. grated
  • 1/2 Onion  finely chopped or grated (optional)
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Stir together the eggs, cream, cayenne and cheese and onion if using. Form pie crust in 9 inch pie or tart pan. Add filling to crust. Bake for about 25-30 minutes until the filling is set, and lightly golden. Serve cold or at room temperature. Makes 8 servings.


Posted in Easy, Swedish Classics | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hasselback Potatoes

IMG_2360Hasselback potatoes are an impressively simple idea. They combine the comfort of a baked potato with the crispness of a chip. The Restaurant at the Hasselbacken Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden is credited with inventing this dish.

A potato is sliced into thin crisps but left joined at the bottom. Then baked until the layers fan out and potato perfection is achieved. They make an elegant addition to any meal.

IMG_2357Hasselback Potatoes

  • 4 Potatoes~ Russet, Yukon Gold, or Red
  • 4 Tbs Melted butter, olive oil, or a combination of both
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Optional~ minced fresh herbs, grated cheese, or bread crumbs


Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Partially slice potatoes in thin slices, being careful to not cut all the way through. You can rest the potato on a large serving spoon to use as a guide. You could even buy a special Swedish Hasselback Potato Cutting Board. For a large Russet, I nestle it between two cutting boards. Once cut, coat potatoes in olive oil or butter.  Be sure to get between the slices. Season liberally with salt & pepper and any optional topping. Bake for about 1 hour, until potatoes are cooked thru and edges are crispy. Makes 4 servings.

Posted in Swedish Classics | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Smörgåstårta (Sandwich Cupcakes?)

IMG_1934If you can make a sandwich, you can make a sandwich cake. Sandwich cakes are “old school” Swedish food. Once I understood the basic concept, layer bread, fillings, savory frosting, and decorations, I found they are fun to make. You are only limited by your sandwich imagination. Frosting options include mayonnaise , whipped cream cheese, sour cream, or ricotta cheese. Whatever fits best with your sandwich ingredients. Sandwich cakes allow me to experiment making fun and pretty food with seasonal ingredients. Sandwich cakes are often made in a large loaf and sliced into servings for a special lunch. To make a traditional loaf cake, star with a bread loaf trimmed to a rectangle shape. Slice into three long horizontal slices & follow the steps below. I prefer to make individual sandwich cakes, or …Sandwich Cupcakes.

IMG_1930Shrimp and Smoked Turkey Sandwich Cupcakes

per serving

  • 3 slices bread
  • 2 oz smoked turkey breast
  •  2 Tbs Skagen
  • 3 or 4 thin slices cucumber
  • 1/3 sliced hard-boiled egg
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbs olive oil mayonnaise
  • a sprig of dill
  • a few baby lettuce greens

Cut sliced bread into circles using a cookie cutter or drinking glass. Layer turkey, cucumber and mustard on first slice of bread. Top with another bread circle and layer shrimp salad (reserving a few shrimp), cucumber and a slice of the egg. Top with remaining bread circle. “Frost” with a light layer of mayonnaise. Use dabs of mayonnaise to attach greens around the outside of the sandwich. Decorate the top of the cake with shrimp, eggs, cucumber slices or ribbons, and a dill sprig.

Posted in Easy, Swedish Classics | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Flaskpannkaka with Apple Raisin Compote

ImageI love having company. And I love Swedish pancakes. I do not necessarily love making Swedish pancakes for company. I always feel like I’m standing endlessly over a hot stove pouring yet another round of pancakes. I distinctly remember my own mother standing over the stove while the rest of us dove in to a hot plate of pancakes topped with warm syrup. I think we’d probably be kinder (and a little more polite) to our mothers if we knew that one day we would be the one slaving over the hot stove! With the holidays around the corner I’d suggest making an oven pancake so you can join in on the fun (and the pancakes). Flaskpannkaka has all the flavors of the Swedish pancake without the work. With your extra time you can whip up the raisin apple compote which is a perfect complement to the warm oven pancake. Serve with real maple syrup or with only the compote for a perfect (and easy) company brunch.


  • 3 eggs
  • 1 c. flour
  • 2 c. milk
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tlb. sugar
  • 8 slices of bacon

Cut up bacon in pieces and fry til crisp. Beat eggs with salt and sugar. Add milk and flour. Pour into greased 13 X 9 dish on top of the bacon. Bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.

Top with:


  • 1/4 c. Butter
  • 2 tart cooking apples, sliced
  • 1/4 c. raisins
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 2 Tlb. lemon juice-with enough water to make 1/2 cup
  • pinch of salt

Melt butter in frying pan. Add ingredients and cook on low heat for 15-20 minutes

Posted in Easy, Swedish Classics | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Kanelbullar- Swedish Cinnamon Buns

IMG_1951A Swedish coffie break is often accompanied by a small roll. The enticing scent of  cinnamon rolls can not be underestimated. Unlike the American food court variety, these rolls are a more bread, less frosting, and more moderately sized. If you like soft gooiness nestle them close together on the baking sheet.



Dry Mix

  • 7 Cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1Tbs plus  1/2 teaspoons dry yeast

Wet Ingredients

  • 10 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 cups milk


  • 4 Tbs Butter- room temperature
  • Cinnamon
  • Sugar


  • 1 Egg- beaten
  • pearl, or raw, sugar


Combine dry mix in a large mixing bowl. Gently heat butter and milk mixture until just warm to the finger. Create a well in the center of the dry mix and pour in the wet. Mix, I use a stand mixture with a dough hook, but a wooden spoon will work. Turnout onto a unfloured board and knead until smooth, about five minutes. Let rise for about 1.5 hours.
Divide the dough into two. Work each piece separately and  roll dough into a rectangle, spread with butter, dust with sugar and cinnamon. Fold into thirds or roll filled dough into a jelly roll. Cut into strips and roll each strip, or fashion into buns in your own way. I like to twist the dough. Let formed buns rise under a towel for about 45 minutes.Wash with egg and sprinkle with pearl, or raw, sugar. Bake at 450˚ F for 13 to 14 minutes. Store at room temperature for one or two days, wrapped in plastic to keep from drying out. Kanelbullar will keep longer stored cold in  a plastic bag. Keep up to one week in the fridge, or 2-3 months in the freezer.

Posted in Easy, Swedish Classics | 2 Comments

Vacation Chicken Salad

Vacation Chicken Salad

photoThis milk-poached recipe filled with mayonnaise is a little decadent but vacation allows for a little splurge.  We recently enjoyed this great luncheon dish while on vacation. The original recipe from my sister’s mother-in-law can be adapted to suit the likes and dislikes of the group. Originally made with oranges and tarragon I’ve made here with apples and dill. Red Grapes and thyme would make another tasty combination. This recipe is perfect for using up all those leftover herbs and fruits you seem to accumulate while cooking for a group.

  • 4 6 oz. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 ½ cups mayonnaise
  • 4 apples, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • ½ cup fresh dill
  • Salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken breasts in ovenproof dish and cover with milk. Oven-poach the chicken until cooked through (about 30 minutes). Allow to cool and discard the milk.  Combine remaining ingredients and serve cold as a luncheon salad or on a crusty baguette.

Posted in Easy | 2 Comments

Soused Herring & Beet Salad

IMG_1907Introduce your taste buds to authentic Swedish summer food. You can almost feel the sunshine and hear the seagulls when you taste this. This herring recipe is an example of the light and healthy way Swedes eat in the summertime. You can purchase the  Matjes herring in the refrigerated section of most big grocery stores. The only cooking is boiling eggs, and you can even buy those. Salad can be served along with lettuce as a light meal. Accompany with crisp bread, cheese, cold beer, and even colder Swedish vodka or aquavit. Also makes a great summer evening appetizer and can be portioned ahead into individual glasses.

IMG_1910Soused Herring & Beet Salad
Serves 4

  • 4-6 Matjes Herring Fillets
  • 2 hard Boiled Eggs
  • 2 Pickled Bees
  • 1 Bunch Chives
  • Sour cream

Drain  and dice Herring fillets. Halve the eggs, separate, and chop the yolks and the whites. Chop the chives, and dice the beetroot. Place in rows on serving dish, or dish up individually servings in glasses. Dollop with sour cream. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

Posted in Swedish Classics | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment


2013-05-21_12-46-43_330Mixologists, as they like to call bartenders these days, are in love with herbs and infused liquors. Swedes have always known the beauty of infusing vodkas and spirits with herbs and flowers. Caraway laced Aquavit and Juniper infused gins have been around for ages. But now mixologists are experimenting with dill, mint, basil as well as floral accented libations. Bon Appetit featured The Swedish Tart a few months back. This bright green cocktail along with the Elderflower Martini and Suzanne’s Wolf’s Paw would make a perfect trio of drinks for a thirsty Memorial Day crowd.

The Swedish Tart

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
  • 3 oz. green tea kombucha
  • 1 1/2 oz. aquavit

Shake the sugar and water in a jar until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the dill. Cover and chill until flavors infuse (24 – 48 hours). Combine remaining ingredients along with 1/2 oz of the infused dill syrup in a high ball glass half filled with crushed ice. Stir. Add more crushed ice, mounding above the rim. Garnish with a dill sprig.

Elderflower Martini

  • 1 oz. Elderflower Saft (available at Ikea)
  • 3 oz. Vodka

Combine ingredients in a martini shaker. Add ice. Shake until chilled and pour into a martini glass. Garnish with Elderflowers if available!

Wolf’s Paw

  • 1 part Lingonberry Saft (available at Ikea)
  • 2 parts Vodka
  • 2 parts Sparkling Water

Combine and serve over ice.

Posted in Easy | Leave a comment