Sunday, September 28, 2014

Fresh Apple Cake

It's the weekend! And a grand weekend at that. Our good friends are getting married today (yay!), it finally has cooled down here in LA, and I had time to bake!

Ryan and I went apple picking last weekend with some friends in Oak Glen. Ever since, the apples have been staring me down all week in the fridge. I couldn't decide what to make with them until I came across this apple bundt coffee cake recipe. I love coffee cakes. They are the perfect midday fika and you can also eat them for breakfast because it has the word coffee in it [sound logic, don't you think?].

I apparently couldn't wait to try the cake before taking a photo. Oops. 

This cake is quite scrumptious. I used this recipe here on the Food Network site, and subbed out the 1 1/4 cups oil for 3/4 cup applesauce and 1/2 cup oil instead. I also did a cinnamon glaze instead of the honey glaze it called for. I think it would be even more delicious with some Swedish vanilla sauce! Yum!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Scandinavian Christmas 2014!

You guys might not want to hear this yet, but Christmas is just around the corner! Sure, we have to get through this ridiculous heat wave we're having now in California, but before we know it we'll all be drinking hot chocolate and egg nog and singing some Amy Grant [my sister, Maren, has already started all three of those things]. That being said, it's time to start signing up for the 2014 Scandinavian Christmas Series here at the Pickled Herring!

 If you're new to my blog and haven't heard of the Scandinavian Christmas series, allow me to explain. Every year I invite various Scandinavian bloggers, friends, and family to share a favorite Scandinavian-themed Christmas tradition, craft, or recipe. There have been all sorts of posts over the years ranging from pickled herring recipes to a glögg tote tutorial. Check out the new Scandinavian Christmas Series tab to see previous years' posts!

So, if you're Scandinavian (or even just really enjoy Scandinavian culture), send me an email to contribute to the 2014 Scandinavian Christmas series! 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

5 Scandinavian Crafts

Lately I've been doing a little reminiscing. So, I decided to do a little roundup of some of my favorite Scandinavian-themed crafts that I've made over the years.

One of my all-time faves has definitely been the tomte tutorial! I made this sucker almost 4 years ago (get out, how does time do that?!)

Next up are these super easy + fun glass magnets. You pick out what you want them to say! I [obviously] chose Swedish words for fun.

And for all the babies in your life, this tutorial for how to stencil using freezer paper is fun. You can stencil anything you that can cut out, and ironing the freezer paper onto the onesie makes a nice clean line. It's basically the poor-mans version of screen printing.

These ornaments have been one of my favorite Christmas items I've made! I love that I got to incorporate my mom's old cookie stamps into a craft. And they're super cheap to make to boot.

And last, but certainly not least, is the Scandinavian ribbon headband tutorial. I love making these for the craft fair I do every winter here in Los Angeles. They're fairly quick to make, and the options are endless with all the fun ribbon out there in the world!

So there you have it, folks! 5 of some of my favorite Scandinavian-themed crafts I've made through the years. What are some of your favorite Scandinavian crafts that you've made?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pickled Sriracha Chard Stems

If you know my husband Ryan at all, you know that he's pretty obsessed with spicy foods. And I'm not talking just a hint-of-spice kind of obsessed, but rather the let-me-douse-my-entire-meal-with-crushed-red-peppers-until-my-nose-runs kind of obsessed. Needless to say, when the great Sriracha panic happened back in May, we stocked up on the hot sauce...just in case. Thankfully, the Sriracha panic subsided and the local factory never shut down production [phew!]. All that to say, if you like spicy foods and Sriracha, you will love these pickled chard stems!

We got 2 insanely huge bunches of red chard in our CSA* this month - the leaves were bigger than my head! After using a few leaves in our breakfast smoothies, then in some lentil soup, I started researching other recipes for chard. When I came across a recipe for Sriracha fridge pickles using chard stems, I knew I had stumbled upon gold.

They were super easy to whip up, too. I made them before heading to work in the morning they were that easy and quick. And that's saying something coming from a non-morning person.

If you feel like whipping some up yourself, all you have to do is cut up the card stems in 3-4 inch lengths and put them in a jar. Then...

...start mixing up your pickling liquid.

I cut the recipe in half and skipped the onion (only because I was trying to save time).

They were so fast to make. I even made it to work early!

And check out that gorgeous color!

I'm excited to use these in tacos and salads. I might even venture to use them with eggs and toast, or perhaps even just eat them straight from the jar.

Sriracha Pickled Chard Stems
slightly adapated from Bon Apetit

Chard stems from 2 bunches of red chard
1/2 cup vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp celery seed
1.5-2 Tbl Sriracha hot sauce

Cut up your chard stems in 3-4 inch hunks and put into a mason jar. Heat your vinegar and sugar mixture slightly until sugar is dissolved. Add celery seed and Sriracha and mix. Pour over chard stems and put the lid on. Refrigerate for 2 days before eating. 


* Use my code to get $10 off your first CSA box if you want to sign up for your own! KATH5242

Monday, September 8, 2014

IKEA is the best

You may have already seen this genius IKEA commercial about their new catalog. But if you haven't, I implore you to watch it right now!

Those Swedes are pretty funny.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Scandinavian Baking Essentials

If you love Scandinavian baking as much as I do, here is a list of popular Scandinavian pans/specialized baking equipment that you may need to add to your collection!

These tasty treats are one my favorites, and not only because of the nostalgia factor. My mom sometimes makes these at Christmas and they are so good. If you only get one thing from this list, make it this one.

You may recall me saying that I'm not a huge cake person [the horror!] - that is, with exception of Swedish almond cake. It is mouth-wateringly delicious. So delicious, in fact, that I have been known to eat it for breakfast.

These are just plain cute. Who doesn't like heart-shaped waffles?!

An essential pan for any people out there who consider themselves true Swedes. Even if you're not even a little bit Swedish, I bet you'll love Swedish pancakes. I mean, what's not to love about crepe-like pancakes covered in lingonberry jam? [answer: nothing]

While I didn't grow up eating these, that doesn't meant they're any less delicious. Try eating them without syrup and just lingonberry jam. 
Cuteness factor strikes again! Sandbakkel are adorable little cookies that can be eaten plain, or filled like a tart with yummy jam and whipped cream.

I inherited my Mom's old rossette set a while back and it's been great fun trying to make these little suckers (again, the cute factor) without burning myself. Practice makes perfect?

I don't own these [yet...hint hint, Ryan], but they make one heck of a fun cake! Traditionally only made for special occasions like weddings, Christmas, or New Years Eve.

Aebleskivers can be a bit tricky to master, but once you get the hang of 'em, there's no turning back! Traditionally they are filled with bits of apple or applesauce. Nowadays, they are more often are found served with jam, with a dusting of powdered sugar too.

These are one of my all-time favorite fika treats. They are filled with a delicious vanilla-custard and baked in a sugar cookie, of sorts. So. Good. 

If you're ready to really commit to the whole "I'm a Swede," thing, this is the item for you. Impress your family by making some homemade knäckbröd, or crispbread. Perfect addition to any smorgasbord.

I've never made lefse myself, but I certainly love eating it! Lefse is a thin potato pancake that is spread with butter and brown sugar. As you can imagine, it's both delicious and addicting.

So there you have it! A collection of Scandinavian baking pans and the like! Can you think of anything I missed? What's your favorite Scandinavian treat?

*photo source for all images used (unless otherwise noted below picture):
**I've added this post to the tabs up above on the blog header, for an easy + quick reference for the future

Friday, September 5, 2014

Old Swedish Books

I recently acquired these awesome, old, Swedish books. Back when Ryan and I went to Chicago for the weekend for our friend's wedding, they used these great books as part of their centerpieces. When the wedding wrapped up, I was told I could take some home! (I didn't steal them, don't worry) Luckily, Ryan had lots of room in his carry on bag!

I think old books are beautiful. They just have a certain kind of charm about them. 

Some of these books are from the 1800s! And check out this old cookbook! I have yet to try any recipes yet, but I may have to give an old, Swedish recipe a whirl.

My favorite part about them are their bindings - they are so intricate and have such neat designs. [yes, I'm aware I'm a nerd]

I put all of them up on our shelf in the living room. I love adding things to our apartment that make me smile. These remind me of our wonderful time in Chicago and of our friends' fun wedding day!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Figgy jam

It's no secret, I love jam. I love making it and I love eating it. What's not to love about fruity goodness in a jar?

The last few weeks I've been pretty obsessed wtih fresh figs. They're soooo good. Especially warmed in the oven with a little goat cheese. Even just typing that makes my mouth water. 

So what's a jam-loving girl to do when she gets her hand on a couple pounds of fresh figs you ask? Make some fig jam of course!

Such a pretty fruit. And quite nutritious too - packed with lots of good fiber and potassium.

Ok, back to the jamming! I cut up a bunch of the fresh figs, added some sugar and lemon juice and let it sit...

...until it turned into this figgy mess:

Then it was ready for boiling! I let it simmer away for only about 5-10 minutes until this figgy jam was ready to be canned. I've been adding this stuff to just about everything, including our morning breakfast smoothies for a little extra sweetness.

If you're in the mood to make your own fig jam, here is the recipe I went off of. I added just a splash of lemon juice for good measure. Happy jamming!