November 22, 2016

Smoked Trout and Black Garlic Open-faced Sandwiches

500 gram loaf European style sliced pumpernickle
1 7-oz container Finlandia Creamy Gourmet Cheese Black Garlic
8 oz smoked trout, cut into 2 inch wide pieces
1/2 English cucumber, sliced thinly
1/2 red onion, halved and sliced thinly
1 7-oz container Finlandia Creamy Gourmet Cheese Black Garlic

Spread a thick layer of Finlandia Creamy Gourmet Cheese Black Garlic on each slice of pumpernickel. Top with smoked trout then top with cucumber and onion slices. Slice the bread in half, if needed, for easy serving.

My thoughts:
Each year my husband and I make the rounds to as many of the Scandaivian holiday bazaars we can. We've been to Swedish, Finnish, Danish and Icelandic (this year we went to the Danish and Icelandic festivals back to back in the same day!) and this year we are hoping to finally make it to the Norwegian bazaar. I love Scandinavian food and these bazaars are the best place to not only try it but to bring back some of the foods to have at home. Luckily there are quite a few to choose from in the DC/Northern Virgina area which is a bit of a drive for us but worth it! One thing each of the fairs have in common are open-faced sandwiches. I liked them so much, I've taken to making them at home. So when I was asked to create a new recipe using Finlandia Creamy Gourmet Cheese and I happened to have some pumpernickel at home, I knew what I had to make! I love anything with black garlic so chosing that flavor was a snap. It is super creamy and spreadable so it was a great base for a sandwich piled high with toppings. It had a light black garlic flavor which was the perfect foil for the smoky, slightly oily fish. The onion and cucumber cut the richness just the right amount. I should have known Finlandia – making cheese and butter in Finland for over 100 years-would have a great spreadable cheese for an open-faced sandwich! Of course, I think it would be great on anything, I had it on pita crisps as a snack and even stirred it into pasta.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Finlandia™ . The opinions and text are all mine.

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Please vote for Coconut & Lime in the Finlandia Contest

My recipe for Salted Butter Jumbles with Blueberries, Coconut & Chocolate Chips for is up for a prize from Finlandia. Please vote if you loved the cookies or are a fan of Coconut & Lime! Thanks so much!

November 11, 2016

Salted Butter Jumbles with Blueberries, Coconut & Chocolate Chips

1 1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup (4 oz) Finlandia Premium Imported Salted Butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup large unsweetened coconut flakes/chips
1/4 cup dried blueberries
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silipat.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Set aside. In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy using a stand or electric handmixer. Add the egg and vanilla and combine thoroughly. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix until a very thick dough forms.

Fold in the chips, coconut, and blueberries.

Form cookies by dropping 1 heaping teaspoon of dough two inches apart.

Flatten slightly then bake until light brown on the bottom, about 12-13 minutes.

Slide them out on the parchment paper onto a wire rack and allow them to cool 1-2 minutes on the parchment or silipat on the wire rack before removing the parchment and allowing them to cool directly on the wire rack.

Cool completely before storing in air-tight containers.

My thoughts:

Traditionally jumbles are made with dried fruit, nuts and spices. I used dried blueberries (raisins are more typical but they are the devil's fruit), cocoNUT and chocolate because, well, that's what I like and I can. Using fresh tasting, Finlandia Premium Imported Salted Butter gave me a craggy, soft, surprisingly light cookie that everyone who tried it loved. I know it is somewhat unusual to use salted butter in a cookie but jumbles are a historical cookie (think Martha Washington) and salted butter was often used in cookies back then.

I'm not sure if it was the salt or the insanely soft, creamy texture of the butter (made from Finnish cows that their farmers treat like family!) but the dough whipped up super fast and was great to scoop. It didn't get stuck in my cookie scoop once! I can't wait to make these cookies again, maybe swapping the blueberries for cranberries for Thanksgiving?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Finlandia™ . The opinions and text are all mine.

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November 09, 2016


1 lb kielbasa*, cubed
1/4 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup finely shredded Polish sauerkraut, drained (if needed)
2 cups cubed Russet potatoes, parboiled
1/4 cup sour cream
10 eggs
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil

*I like to use the good garlic-y kind from the Polish grocery but any good, kielbasa would work.


Preheat oven to 350. Saute the kielbasa, onion, and garlic in olive oil until the onion is translucent. Drain off any excess fat. Allow to cool 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat together the eggs, sour cream, pepper until fluffy. Stir in the sausage mixture, sauerkraut and the potatoes. Oil an 8x8-inch baking dish. Pour the mixture into the dish and bake for 40 minutes or until fully set in the middle. Allow to cool 5 minutes. Slice into 9 squares and serve.

Note: Do not skip the cooling step, it is difficult to cut straight out of the oven.

My thoughts:
I bought some lovely kielbasa at the Polish market (in Broadway Market for the locals) and a bunch of other goodies like candies, arak flavoring, pierogies, ham, sauerkraut, bread etc. Anyway, I may have overbought the sausage so I thought I'd make a frittata out of it, then I wondered if a frittata would be good with sauerkraut in it and then last night it just evolved into a total pierogi-inspired baked frittata. My favorite pierogi have sauerkraut and potatoes in them and I serve them with onions, kielbasa, and sour cream so it made total sense. I know it sounds a little wacky but trust me, it totally comes together! It isn't super sour or anything, just a fun combo of some of my favorite foods in the world.

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October 26, 2016

Admitting it is Autumn Lentil Salad


1 6.7-oz tin smoked herring in oil*
2 tablespoons good quality apple cider vinegar
2 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
1 bunch French breakfast radishes, thinly sliced
8-9 oz cooked beets, halved and sliced
8 oz cooked Beluga lentils**
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
freshly ground black pepper


Drain half of the oil from the fish into a small bowl, whisk in vinegar and spices. Discard the remaining oil. Chop the fish. Add to the bowl along with the lentils and onions. Serve at room temperature.

*I buy mine at Trader Joe's but they are easy to find
**many stores, include Target, sell these fully cooked in vacuum-sealed packets. Simply heat them according to package instructions.

My thoughts:
This is a difficult thing for me to do but I have to do it. We are nearly a month into autumn. The fact that today was the first day I had to wear tall boots (no tights yet!) instead of sandals or ankle boots really drove it home for me. That and the fact that all is left new in the ground are radishes, beets, squash and some hardy greens. So this that in mind, I came home and made this for dinner. It, like quite a few things I seem to enjoy, combines a few ingredients people are skeptical of: radishes, beets, canned smoked fish, lentils...but again, I swear it is really good! Slightly pungent (eat among loved ones) but it really comes together to make a savory, smoky veggie packed salad that makes a lovely lunch or light dinner.

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October 17, 2016

Smoked Turkey and Greens Pot Pie

1 cup frozen Lima beans
1 cup peeled, diced Russet potatoes
1 bunch kale, chopped
1/2 cup flour
1 carrot, cut into coins
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 parsnips, cut into coins
1 onion, diced
3 tablespoons butter
3 cups cubed, smoked turkey breast*
2 1/2 cups chicken stock or turkey stock
1 3/4 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1 egg, beaten
freshly ground black pepper

puff pastry (if using defrosted frozen, you will only need one sheet)


Preheat oven to 350.

Melt the butter in a large skillet with high sides, a large saucepan or a stove top and oven safe 2-quart casserole. Add the onion, garlic, parsnip, celery, carrots, Lima beans, potatoes, and kale. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent.

Stir in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the milk, bay leaf, and stock. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid reduces and thickens a bit, about 10-15 minutes. Fish out the bay leaf. Add the turkey, herbs and spices. Stir to evenly distribute all ingredients. Cook for 2 minutes. Divide into large, oven-safe ramekins or pour into a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish. Leave  1/4 to 1/2 inch of room at the top.

Top with a layer of puff pastry. Pierce with a knife. Brush with egg. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly.

*Store-bought or homemade
My thoughts:
I bought this whole, smoked Butterball turkey ages ago at Aldi and stuck in the small extra freezer we have in our basement. It sat there forever because we never had room in the fridge to defrost it. One of the only lucky things to come out of the fridge breaking and throwing out all of our food is that we now have tons of space because we have no food. So I defrosted the turkey (and transferred all the frozen stuff from the basement into the fridge freezer and defrosted that so I have that to fill too!) on the empty shelf. I didn't really know what to expect but it was really good! It was super moist and juicy (there were even enough juices in the cavity to make a quick turkey stock with!) and while smoky, it wasn't overpowering.

One of our favorite things to do with smoked turkey legs is make greens and while I had kale from my produce box order, I wanted to make something different with it. So I came up with the idea to combine greens and another favorite way to use up cooked poultry; pot pie! OMG, it was so good! Creamy without being too rich, savory and smoky and just really really good. Normally I put peas in my pot pie but since I was going Southern-inspired, I used Lima beans instead. They held up really well and added to the "packed with vegetables" pot pie I was going for. I hate having to make a side dish after making a time-consuming recipe so the more vegetables, the better! We have been so busy this summer it was good to get back into the kitchen with my partner in marriage and crime and make a fun meal! Pot pies are simple to make but time consuming so leave yourself more time than you'd think for the prep.

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October 14, 2016

Smoked Olive Egg Salad

7 hard-boiled eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4-1/3 cup sliced smoked olives*
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard (powder)
freshly ground black pepper


Slice eggs in half and remove the yolks. Place the yolks in a small bowl. Set aside.

Remove one egg's worth of white. Discard or eat. Chop up the remaining egg whites. Place in a medium-sized bowl. Stir in the onion and olives.

Place the mayonnaise and spices in the small bowl with the yolks. Mash with a fork until smooth. Pour over the chopped egg mixture. Stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

*I get these at our local smokery but they are also available in specialty or gourmet stores

My thoughts:
It has been an unfortunately eventful last few months. One of the most recent disasters was our refrigerator going up resulting in the loss of hundreds of dollars of food including tons of beef, seafood, all of the produce I harvested and frozen this summer, and every thing in the fridge except cured meats, olives, butter and cheese. We are slowly trying to get things back in stock but between not having a fridge for nearly a week, visiting a peanut farm, the apple butter festival two hours away and Matt's school schedule I've barely cooked in weeks. I finally broke down and made this for our lunches. Luckily the smoked olives I had bought at the smokery survived and they add a ton of flavor to this easy egg salad. I bet regular olives would be good too if you can't find smoked--just swap the paprika for smoked paprika.

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