Project Food Blog Challenge #2: Välkomna

by Heather on September 26, 2010

As much as I talk about my love for Italy and the fact that I’m Italian by marriage, I am extremely proud of my heritage from my side of our family.  You see guys, this blond-haired, blue-eyed girl is actually not Italian.

No sirree.

I’m actually a German-Swedish hybrid; German from my father’s side of the family (hence the maiden name Schoenecke) and Swedish on my mother’s side (Hawkinsen).  So when I found out (ecstatically I might add) that I’d made it through to the second round of Project Food Blog, I immediately thought of making an ethnic food that has everything to do with my heritage.  I have to admit there was a lot of second-guessing myself, and even Nate pointed out that different types of Asian cuisine seemed a lot more ‘ethnic’, but in the spirit of staying true to myself and the things I love about where I come from, I knew that German or Swedish food was the way to go.

I present to you Rökta laxknyten (crab-stuffed salmon), Vitkålssallad med gurka (coleslaw with cucumbers), and Räkor i dillröra (shrimp in a dill cream sauce)!  The best part about all of these dishes is that they are fresh, light, full of flavor, and so uniquely Swedish.

The simple flavors come together incredibly well, and served with a side of fresh rye bread and apples you can have a complete meal in less than 20 minutes.  This is also a meal that is naturally healthy and can also be served as a series of appetizers at parties.  Does it get much better?  I think not!

Rökta laxknyten (Crab-Stuffed Salmon)

  • 6 red leaf lettuce leaves, washed and trimmed
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 5 tsp hot horseradish
  • 1 Tbsp stone ground mustard
  • 3/4 pound crabmeat, picked through for shell pieces
  • 6 slices smoked salmon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 sprigs of dill (optional)

In a bowl whisk together the sour cream and lemon juice.  Add in the horseradish (more if you like the heat, less if you don’t) and the mustard.  Whisk until totally combined.  Set aside 6 teaspoons of the mixture.  Fold in the crab meat and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Lay out the slices of smoked salmon and add about 2 Tbsp of the crab mixture to the middle of each piece.  Roll the salmon around the crab mixture and secure with a toothpick.  Top each roll with a little of the sour cream mixture and a sprig of dill.  Set each roll on a lettuce leaf.  Serve chilled.

Vitkålssallad med gurka (Coleslaw with Cucumbers)

  • 1 small head of green cabbage, sliced very thinly
  • 1 leek, washed and sliced thin
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced into very thin strips
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 English cucumber, sliced very thinly
  • 6 Tbsp olive oil
  • 5 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp pickling spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

After slicing all of the vegetables, put them in a large bowl.  In a saucepan combine the oil, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and pepper over medium heat.  Bring the mixture to a boil.  Boil for 1 minute and then pour over the vegetables immediately.  Toss (be careful!) and set aside to let the vinegar wilt the cabbage a bit and to let the flavors marry together, about 10 minutes.  Serve either chilled or at room temperature.

Räkor i dillröra (Shrimp in a Dill Sour Cream Sauce)

  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveigned
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 large bunch of dill, chopped
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp sherry
  • salt and pepper to taste

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Poach the shrimp, about 3-4 minutes, or until they shrimp are pink and firm to the touch.  Drain and set aside.    In a bowl, whisk together the sour cream, sherry, red onion, and chopped dill.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  When the shrimp are cool fold them into the sour cream sauce.  Serve chilled with toasted rye bread.

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Guys, this food reminded me so much of my Mimi and brought so much joy to prepare.  It’s not that we all just sat around and ate German and Swedish food growing up, but the pride in where we come from was always there.  I miss her every day, but her legacy lives on in me, and for that I could not be more joyful!

I’m constantly amazed by the diversity of this great country, and how all of that incredible culture is shown in the food that we eat every day.  Thank you so much to everyone who got me through to this second round of the Next Food Blog star.  My hope and prayer (obviously) is to get to round three!  Voting begins tomorrow, at which point I’ll be posting the link, but for now I encourage all of you to sit back and think about where you come from and rejoice in that.  I know I am by going and eating more stuffed salmon rolls with my sweet tea ;)

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