Thursday, December 25, 2014

God Jul!

Merry Christmas/God Jul to all of you out there! May you have a blessed day and new year ahead!


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Scandinavian Christmas: Day 11

Welcome to Day 12! I can't believe the series is already wrapping up! It's been so much fun to hear from everyone - a huge thank you to all who participated either in preparing a guest post or came to read! 

Today we will be hearing from my Dad! He will be sharing his delicious Swedish Rye Bread recipe! I love this stuff. I can eat an entire loaf by myself - and I'm not even exaggerating. I have such great memories of eating this bread at Christmas, and loving it when we had leftovers (this rarely happens now that there are so many of us!) and could use it to make sandwiches for our school lunches with it the next week. So good! 

Hi I'm Kathryn's dad, Mark. I will be demonstrating a recipe for Swedish Rye bread that was passed down from my Grandmother to my Mother and now from myself to Kathryn and her sisters.  This will be my third contribution to Kathryn's Scandinavian Christmas. This bread was a favorite of Kathryn and her sisters when they were little.  They would always want to help with kneading the dough.  The recipe is as follows:

   Swedish Rye Bread

1 quart of milk                                             1/4 cup warm water
1 cup shortening (butter)                           grate the skin of 3 oranges
1/4 cup of molasses                                   1 Tbsp anise seed
1/2 cup of dark Karo syrup                        2 cups of medium rye flour
1 Tbsp salt                                                    about 12 cups of white flour
3 cakes of yeast
1 cup of brown sugar

Scald the milk, butter, molasses, brown sugar, Karo syrup and salt.  Let this cool to room temperature so that the yeast is not inactivated when added.

Activate the yeast in a 1/4 cup of luke warm water with a pinch of sugar on top to get it started.  Add the yeast, grated orange peels, anise seed and rye flour to the milk mixture and let that rise for 1/2 hour.  

Then add enough white flour and knead to make a stiff dough, about 12 cups. 

Take this ball of dough and set aside in a large bowl and let rise until doubled, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. 

Take this dough and roll out and divide into 5 loaves and place in bread pans and set aside to rise again. 

  Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes.  Thump with finger and if it sounds hollow, its done. 

Remove from pans and place on rack to cool and immediately take a stick of butter and rub all over the crust, (top, bottom and sides) to keep the crust nicely soft.  

I hope all of you will enjoy trying this for your holiday season and thank you Kathryn for another opportunity to participate in your Scandinavian Christmas.  It is so much fun to see your passion for all things Swedish.  

Thanks again to everyone who participated! I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Scandinavian Christmas: Day 10

Welcome back to Day 10, everyone! I can't believe the series is almost over!! Today my cousin's wife, Lisa  will be sharing with us! Lisa blogs over at Married To Medicine,  and has some great recipes and hot clothing tips for shopping sites like Zulily! Today she's going to share the ever-delicious cardamom coffee bread recipe!

Thank you to Kathryn for inviting me to do a guest blog on her "Scandinavian Christmas" series - you can find and follow the series on her blog "The Pickled Herring."  She is my husband's cousin on his Swedish side... and if you've ever wondered what Scandinavian cooking, crafting, and fika-ing is all about, look no further than her blog!

I've actually written before about how I'm a Scandinavian poser.  I love the food and I look the part but I'm actually just a Euro-mix and there's nothing Scandinavian in there.  Hasn't stopped me though.    I went to a Norweigan-affiliated college and married myself right into a culturally Swedish-American family.  My husband's family lives near the Swedish area of Chicago.  They are ECC Christians and most attend college at North Park University (both Swedish-affiliated).  They have a massive "smorgasbord" on Christmas Eve, and some of the nuttier ones actually wake up at dawn on Christmas morning for a Julotta service.  (Never.  Again.).

Me, I'm just in it for the food.  (And the excuse for extra cute Christmas decor in our apartment).  And one of my absolute favorites is a simple, moist, sweet, little-something-extra bread.  I have no idea how my MIL keeps it stocked at the epic Murakami Christmases, where seriously like 30 people (more one year!) stay in the same house and never stop eating this bread.  She must make like 20 loaves of it and freeze them all or something.  But it is THE staple of Christmases I've come to know and love over the past 15 years and it's just perfect - you'll never tire of it.  So if you're all snowed in or you have a day you can spend relaxing at home, I highly recommend Swedish Cardamom Coffee Bread.  The recipe makes four loaves - perfect for sharing or freezing!  My husband's family members are most likely to be found eating a slice toasted with butter, cinnamon, and sugar or plain with a slice of jarlsburg cheese.  I like it just straight up - so moist.

Swedish Cardamom Coffee Bread

1 slightly rounded Tbsp. dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1 tsp. sugar

2 cups warm milk
1/2 cup butter
1 cup + 2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp salt
2 eggs plus 3 egg yolks, well beaten
7-9 cups flour (all-purpose)
2 Tbsp ground cardamom
Pastry brush or other tool to smooth on egg glaze

Cinnamon and sugar mixture (to taste - about 1-1.5 cups)

Stir the first three ingredients in a bowl to prepare the yeast. 

In a mixer, mix the butter, sugar, and salt.  Add the warm milk - to melt the butter.  Cool to lukewarm (so that you don't cook the eggs when you add them).  Add the cardamom.  Add the beaten eggs and egg yolks.  Add the yeast.  Mix.  Mix in 6 cups of flour and beat until smooth.  Turn out batter onto a floured (1 cup) board.  Gently kneed in the balance of the flour with greased hands for 5-10 minutes.  Place in a greased bowl.  Cover with wet towel.  Let rise until doubled in a barely-warm oven with a pan of water - should take 1.5-2 hours. 

Having a blast with the lady herself - people who see pics ask  me if she's "the Asian one" - no, she's Swedish.
Turn the risen dough out on a lightly floured board.  Kneed for about half a minute.  Divide into 4 equal parts; these will be your loaves.  Working with one part at a time, divide that part in 4 again and roll out into 4 ropes.

And now I'm a real poser - this was 2009 so I was 29 here.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Gather 4 ropes at one end and press them together.  Braid by starting with the rope on the right and weaving it over to the left, under-over-under.  Repeat with the rope that is now on the right, always weaving right to left.  Pinch the ends together.  It doesn't have to be perfect - mine never are.

Place the braids on greased cookie sheets (2 braids per sheet) and cover with another wet towel.  Let rise until double (45 minutes - 1 hour).  Take one egg, add a tsp of water, beat, and smooth it over the top of the loaves.  Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the top of each loaf, just cram it on 


Mark's mom's.  Hers look way better but you can mess it up like I do and it still tastes great!
Bake 1 pan with 2 loaves at a time for 20 minutes.  Check and add 1-2 minutes as needed.  Check the bottom along the edge to avoid blackening.  The top and bottom should be browned.  Cool on racks if possible.

Pretend you're 29 again as soon as these come out of the oven.   That way you can eat twice as much!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Scandinavian Christmas: Day 9

Here we are already on day 9! Today I welcome back Erica! Erica is married to my cousin Sten, and they have a precious little girl named Lucy. Erica shared wonderful Swedish Meatballs last year, these delicious almond cookies the year before, and Rosettes the year before that! So glad she's back to share again! 

So excited to be back for another year of Scandinavian Christmas! As my little one grows I think about traditions often. One of my favorite Christmas traditions was decorating our house while listening to the Amy Grant Christmas RECORD. I still have visions of my sister and I dancing around the house while singing: "Wonderful, Counselor! Lord of Life, Lord of ALLLLLLLL, He is the Prince of Peace, Mighty God, Holy One, Eeee-maaaaaa-nuel, Emanuel!" I think secretly our parents hoped that record would get scratched....
Last year for Christmas I got a 'Swedish Gingerbread House Cookie Cutter' from my mother-in-law and thought making gingerbread houses will be a tradition I start! Lucy is a little young yet, and was really more just in the way, but it's the thought that counts, right?! So- here we are, year 1!
This gingerbread recipe was delicious, I made little gingerbread men and gave them to a new family at our church and she asked for the recipe. Sten loved it too- as did my daughter Lucy.
Below are some pictures and the recipe. I hope you enjoy your traditions this year, and if you happen to crave a gingerbread treat- I highly recommend trying these! If you'd like the cutter for yourself, here is a link: buy it here!

Jenny's Pepperkakor
1 Cup Shortening
1 Cup sugar
1 Egg
1 Cup molasses
2 Tbls vinegar
5 Cups Flour
1 1/2 tsp Soda
1/2 tsp salt
2-3 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves

Cream shortening and sugar. Beat in egg., molasses and vinegar. Sift together dry ingredients, blend into other ingredients. Chill 3 hours. Roll dough 1/8 inch think on a lightly flour cookie sheets. Use cookie cutter twice to make enough shapes for one house. Remove excess dough between shapes. Bake at 375 for 5-6 minutes Cool slightly; remove to rack. 

I used a generic buttercream frosting for the glue.

 I pre-decorated the pieces, this seemed to work well!

 simple and delicious!

 I used course pretzel salt to look like snow

Here's Lucy eating a gingerbread man. She was LOVING it.

God Jul! I hope your Christmas is full of traditions new and old!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Scandinavian Christmas: Day 8

Welcome back! Here we are on Day 8 already! Today we have the very talented Rachel sharing with us, who blogs over at Nest Full of Eggs. Rachel is an amazing seamstress and always is sharing the fun and creative items she sews for her children. She has participated in Scandinavian Christmas since it started! She first shared her Nordic Gift Wrap tutorial, then the Dala Horse Crown, a Glögg Tote Bag, and last year shared this adorable Children's Tomte Outfit! Please welcome back Rachel!

Scandinavian Christmas dress by nest full of eggs

Hello Pickled Herring readers! I'm Rachel and I blog at nest full of eggs. I'm American, but half of my ancestry is Swedish. What can I say? Christmas brings out the Scandinavian in me. I'm delighted to be joining the Scandinavian Christmas series again this year. In the past I have shared:

This year I am excited to show you the unique, one-of-a-kind Scandinavian Christmas dress I created. I was inspired by Saint Lucia who wears a white dress with red sash and a crown of green leaves. Recently I was out shopping at a local store. In the Christmas decorations there was a Scandinavian section where I found this woven placemat with a Scandinavian motif. Even though it wasn’t made in Scandinavia, I found it ideal for my project since it was all red and white and Christmassy (the design reminds me of Nordic knitted sweaters). It is a higher quality textile since the design is woven and not screen printed.

Scandinavian woven placemat

 This placemat became the fabric that I used for the front yoke on this dress.

 I didn’t even need to separate the two layers of the placemat, I just cut through both layers and that’s how I got the lining for the front yoke!

 So I encourage you to grab any Scandinavian textiles that you fall in love with because you can always use it in a future project.

I took some modeled photos at the American Swedish Institute (in Minneapolis, Minnesota) all decorated for a Nordic Christmas. This photo was taken in front of a Danish Christmas tree in the Denmark room on the second floor of the mansion.

Scandinavian Christmas dress by nest full of eggs

 And this photo was taken on the third floor of the mansion in front of an over one hundred year old green tiled stove from Sweden! I made this lingonberry headband that becomes the perfect accessory for the dress.

Scandinavian Christmas dress by nest full of eggs

 Lastly, one final detail to share, one last touch of red is on the back with three red buttons.

Scandinavian Christmas dress by nest full of eggs

Thanks so much for having me Kathryn!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Scandinavian Christmas: Day 7

Welcome to Day 7, everyone! The series is flying by! Today my bestie, Jessica, will be sharing this adorable little gnome lovie! Perfect for any little baby or kid your in your life! Last year, Jessica shared this wonderful Danish heart cozie tutorial and when I went home we drank coffee out of our matching cozies. I can't wait to see her in just a few short days!

Hello! I'm happy to be back for Kathryn's Scandinavian Christmas Series! My name is Jessica, and I'm Kathryn's BFF. I am of Swedish descent. I chose to make a Gnome Lovie this year. My son is just over 1, and has really started to love his little stuffed animals and things. 

What I did was cut 2 pieces of white fleece into this shape:

Next, sew around the edges, leaving a small opening to turn it. Clip the corners, then turn right side out. Put some stuffing in the head part. Next, take some white floss and wrap it around the neck. Make sure it is really tight and knotted well - you don't want your little one to get a hold of any loose string! Then do the same for the corners of the lovie, making hands and feet. Use some floss to sew on a couple eyes. Put the knots on the back of the head, where the hat will go. Now take a triangle of red fleece, and sew the hat. Turn it right side out, and sew it onto the head by hand, using red floss. Now for the cheeks, I just used blush. If I end up making more of these, I will probably use fabric paint, as that will be a more permanent solution. 

My nephew, Stuart, likes it better than my son! He loves chewing on the hat =)

 Merry Christmas!!