Celia, was always the queen of christmas.
She wanted the most beautiful christmas tree:
No designer tree for us.
She was obsessed with the holiday traditions.
There had to be a Christmas eve party, and every year we did the a crazy willy wonka gingerbread house decorating party.
for 100 kids……
Christmas eve morning, would bring stacks of Swedish pancakes, whipped cream and simply syrup cranberries. Fresh squeeze orange juice, crispy bacon and good coffee.
No visitors allowed.
This is a family only event.
Christmas day would have its own Celia special breakfast:
Scrambled eggs with ricotta cheese, and fresh herbs, gravlax or smoked salmon, crispy sweet potato latkes, more cranberries, more coffee.
Then she grew up.
She left for college, and declared she was “over” christmas.
But christmas (ie: me) is so not “over” her.
things may have changed.
But come christmas, the menu shall stay the same.
And so it was time for our Santa Lucia celebration and CRANBERRY!!!!
We made pork belly, yeah, cause what’s funnier and yummier than that?
And Bob, I am so sorry, you were much more than pork belly, more special than the best italian prosciutto, sweeter than the crispiest pancetta, and more interesting than a speciality salami.
Every day, I miss your big appetite and your cute grunting. And you were probably one of the few pigs that attended a highschool prom. You were undoubtedly the star of the Beverly hills dance as Casper’s date in your black bow tie. Your attendance was noted in the HW Chronicle newspaper as the “top 4″ school event of 2009.
And so I am not over Christmas, I am not over “Bob”, but I am over Christmas ham.
And pork belly is so much yummier.
With our ultra delicious pork belly we made raw chard with cranberry and pepitas, bread salad with cranberries and pine nuts, sweet potato fries with seriously lime dressing and rum cranberries, beets with green beans, a salad with pear and blue cheese, and a mountain of Swedish pancakes.
And if you rather have Brisket – go to the recipe link for that.
Is really super cheap, and its uncured bacon, and what else?????
yeah, a small amount goes a long way.
Rub your pork belly with salt+ pepper+ brown sugar 24 hrs in advance.
Then score the skin, and pour some boiling water out of a tea kettle over the fat.
This will help it crisp up. Dry and season with some additional salt. Place on a sheet pan. You can drizzle some water or a bottle of beer on the bottom of the pan if you like. Then start it off at a high temperature, 425 degrees for 45 minutes, then turn the heat down and leave it in there for 2 to 3 hrs. Slice it thin.
Brown and wild rice
Actually we didn’t do the brown rice, but it would go very well with this menu, so revisit the hazelnut brown rice recipe for here but substitute cranberries for the cherries.
All around the Mulberry bush, the mulberry bush, all around……are we catching on?
Sweet potato + seriously lime= delish.
This time we will bake them.
So first we will zebra peel the skin (as in remove some of the skin, but not all). Cause there are nutrients in the skin. Then we will cut into wedges, then drizzle with some oil, then into a 425 degree oven, for 30 – 40 minutes or until nice and brown. You will need to flip them midway through. Then briefly drain on paper towels, season with s+p.
Now you can either use your seriously lime dressing as is, or add in pomegranate seeds for color, or toss in some rum cranberries (dried cranberries soaked in rum) and then pour the seriously lime and rum cranberries over the baked sweet potato fries.
We are eating pork belly so we are going to need something heealthy to go with that.
Any kind of raw chard or kale
s+p+ a pinch of sugar
drizzly of good oil
Splash of balsamic.
Dried cranberries, figs, or sliced grapes
agave pepitas, or toasted sunflower seeds
Yeah. I want one. Not gonna happen.
So gonna give one.
No, sorry John, the chard is getting the massage. Say what?
Yeah, if you don’t massage it, it doesn’t absorb any dressing, and then its just raw chard tickling your throat, and really who wants to eat that?. So gently massage your leaves with salt, pepper, pinch of sugar and a little oil, until the leaves are nice and glossy.
Splash with balsamic, and toss in dried fruit and nuts of choice.
Zuni cafe style bread salad.
I small loaf La Brea Bakery country bread, crust removed, torn into large chunks, and toasted
1 leek or 3 green onions, sliced thin and sautéed for a few minutes
2 cloves garlic, sautéed with the leek
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup of chicken broth
Toss together all of the above, season with s+p, bake for 30 minutes in 375 degree oven.
Try not to burn it.
Meanwhile, make an arugula salad, by tossing a sweet amount (which would be lots) of arugula with some good sea salt, pepper, olive oil and vinegar of your choice (red wine/champagne or balsamic). Give it a bit more dressing than you normally would. Then toss in the headed bread salad and ready to serve.
Super thin sliced pears
blue cheese, parmesan cheese, or any cheese of your liking
lettuce of your choice
Arrange me as nice as you can. Drizzle walnut dressing on top.
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
juice from 1/2 good lemon
1 teaspoon chopped shallot
1/8 cup of walnut, hazelnut or olive oil
2 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
whisk me all together.
It’s the holidays so let’s work in the holiday color palate. Which is red and green.
Unless its white and blue, and really super sorry, but the Swede in me, is all about red and green.
Green beans with roasted red peppers sliced thin, then finish off with toasted almonds.
Green beans with roasted red beets, finish off with sunflower seeds.
Asparagus with roasted baby tomatoes, finish off with feta cheese crumbles.
Thinly sliced fennel with cranberries and arugula
You get the idea? It’s all mix and match.
Green+ Red = holiday
Green+ Red+ nut of any sort= holiday cheer
Green + Red+ nut+ white (feta cheese, ricotta, mozzarella)= Holiday’s are here!
1 spaghetti squash, cut in half, baked, cut side down in a 400 degree oven until done. You can drizzle it with a little oil, and put a splash of water on the sheet pan to bake.
olive oil + lots of lemon+ salt + pepper + maybe splash of vinegar
Alright the squash is done. It’s nice and soft.
Actually if you want, you can stir in a bit of butter while it is hot. Then drizzle with some olive oil, s+p, lots of lemon and serve as is, or add some simply syrup cranberries, or pomegranate seeds, chopped parsley, and nuts of some sort is always a good addition.
Is my all time favorite swedish holiday, and so cranberry would also be our Santa Lucia celebration. Santa Lucia, is celebrated on December 13.
Got a crown?
Got a gown?
Got a satin belt?
And so we were all princesses of the night, queens of our households, the light in our families, and so we prepared a stack of Swedish pancakes with simply syrup cranberries and whipped cream. And next year, I want to see all of you on December 13, up at the crack of dawn, like a true Swedish Santa Lucia, bringing a tray of goodies to your family.
Better yet. Get the kids to bring you the goodies.
Please refer to your very well used copy of THE SWEDISH TABLE.
If you do not have a copy,
A) I am very disappointed in you and
B) it can be purchased at Amazon.
Swedish pancakes freeze very well and can be made in advance and then heated in the microwave just before serving.
1 part sugar + 1 part water. (although you could use less sugar with a sweeter berry such as a raspberry and more for a more tart berry such as a cranberry. taste the berry once finished and add additional sugar if necessary)
Heat until sugar dissolves.
Pour over your berries. Now if you have raspberries, currant or black berries, just let it sit, no need to cook any further.
If you have a firmer berry such as a cranberry or a gooseberry (looooove gooseberries, look for the yellow kind, available now), return your berries covered with simple syrup on top of a double boiler* and gently cook until soft. Chill before serving, or eat hot, either way is simply syruply sinful.
*If you don’t put it in a double boiler, it will turn into a caramel.
alright, you got some simple syrup cranberries, now all you got to do is add some lemon juice and thin with water to taste and voila, you are ready to drink like a Swede.
Although there are no cranberries, in Sweden. However, there are tons of lingonberries, which are like a small cranberry. I grew up picking lingon berries all summer long.