rustic

Swedish Meatballs - 2018 UPDATE

Christmas.
1988.
A savory but sweet aroma filled my grandparent's house. The cozy kitchen packed with family. My grandpa cranked the window to let out the heat from the overworked oven; my grandma fanned herself with an oven mitt. I’d watch the bustle about as food shuttled into the dining room. 
Mashed potatoes. 
Rolls.
But what everyone wanted was the Swedish meatballs.     
Growing up, I loved watching my grandparent’s cook and bake. Even a simple grilled cheese was special to me. 
It was made with love. 
My Swedish meatball recipe differs from the one I grew up eating, but it’s still made with love. It is soy allergy friendly, but that doesn’t mean it lacks taste. It is also lactose-free. With all my recipes, I urge people to use them as a foundation but make them their own.  Adjust ingredients. I want to give you that bridge and show you great food can be created with alternatives. 
Many memories have been made in the kitchen while cooking. Stories shared. Laughter. That is what makes food great.

Over the years, I've been asked by many for this recipe.

Here it is.

For the most part measured out. I'm a trial and error cook. I taste everything.  

Gather your breadcrumb goodness.

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Panera's Country Loaf is soy free but if that isn't an issue for you, please use whatever bread you like. Rosemary, Thyme, and garlic are also on the list.

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Many people know I'm a huge fan of CampMix and use it often in my recipes. Black Truffle Sea Salt is optional, but I add it for a little extra flavor.

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Cube your bread. I do the entire loaf because leftovers make excellent salad croutons. 

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Combine the seasonings, herbs, and garlic into the chopper. 

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Pour olive oil over the bread until every piece is coated. Combine the mixture and bread crumbs. Preheat oven to 390. Spread them out on a cooking sheet. Bake until golden brown. Leave your oven on 390 for the meatballs.

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Allow those to cool. 

Depending on how much you want in the meatball mixture, I pour all of my bread into a food processor. It will grind up in different sizes, which I like. 

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Put the breadcrumbs aside.

Time for the meatballs.

When available I use bison, but typically I use beef and pork.

Typically, I use 2lbs of meat. When cooking for just my family, I use a little over a 1lb.

In a bowl, combine beef, pork, breadcrumbs (go light and add as you go) and sprinkle on a bit more CampMix. When you make a meatball, make sure each one has some breadcrumbs. If they don't, add more to the mixture.

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I do use non-stick foil but also dab on a bit of olive oil.

Cook until brown. Usually between 20-25 minutes. I always cut one in half to check the middle. If it's a bit pink, that's okay because the meatballs will be cooking in the crockpot for a couple of hours. 

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As the meatballs do their thing in the oven, it's time to work on the gravy. 

In a pan, on medium heat, melt the butter. Add flour. Whisk. Add beef broth. Bring to a simmer. Add in the white part (at the top) into the gravy. This works as an excellent dairy substitute. Most Swedish meatball recipes use heavy cream or sour cream. It adds a bit of sweetness to the gravy. The gravy will thicken more in the crockpot. Whisk and carefully pour into the crockpot. 

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The crockpot should be on a low setting. About an hour in, I'll bump up the heat.  

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Add the meatballs. Slowly. Even all the goodness on the foil. Stir in and add more meatballs. Depending on the number of batches. It's 1lb per cooking sheet. 

Stir occasionally. 

The house will smell delicious. 

2 - 3 hours later...

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During holidays I will add lingonberry jam to the dish. The taste is similar to a cranberry sauce. The combination of lingonberry, mashed potatoes, and meatballs is a trifecta of euphoric bliss. Food coma will happen.

After you dish out some meatballs, turn the crockpot to keep warm. They are even better 3 hours later when the post-dessert grazing starts.  

Ingredients

For the breadcrumbs:

1 loaf of bread

Fresh rosemary, thyme, and sage

2 cloves of garlic

CampMix (salt, pepper, white pepper, garlic salt, and celery salt)

For the meatballs:

Breadcrumbs

1lb of 92/8 beef

1/2lb 80/20 beef

1/2lb of bison (if available) or 1/2lb of pork 

For the gravy sauce (optional):

1/3 cup butter

1/4 cup of all-purpose flour

1 cup beef broth

2 tablespoons of the beef/pork fat from the pan

3 tablespoons of coconut milk (white at the top)

CampMix 

 

CampMix purchased here.

Products used in this recipe: 

 

 

 

Color Me Salmon

As a child, my dad and uncle would take me fishing. I learned everything there was know including new colorful words. Worm on the hook didn't gross me out. Mosquito bites, eh. No big deal. Packed sandwiches and chips. Beef jerky and Charleston Chews. The smell of the lake water. Muddy shoes.

I loved every minute of it. 

I grew up in the Midwest. Trout was the main dish we ate. Grilled. Oven. No matter what it was always delicious. I haven't had Trout in many moons. Now my favorite fish fillets are Sockeye Salmon, Halibut, and Alaskan Caught Cod. All wild caught. Farm raised fish is not the best option. Fish farms have been deemed both ecologically and economically unstable, with “an unequal tradeoff between environmental costs and economic benefits” and high levels of contaminants are common in farm-raised salmon; the Norwegian Health Department went on the record recently warning against eating too much farmed salmon for this reason. Don't get me started on tilapia. 

Let's talk about salmon. When it is out of season markets will carry frozen wild caught. Publix is one of them. In the meat department is where you will find it. There are other options in the frozen food section. For instance, at Target the brand Simply Balanced has a pack of three individually wrapped wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon filets.

My mom isn't a huge fan of plain fish. She prefers breaded. Understandable. I was thinking about a recipe to make for my parents when they visit in May. I had leftover homemade breadcrumbs and decided to use them for the salmon filets. Popped the filet in the air fryer and voila, a perfectly crispy but not dry salmon dinner.

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In previous posts, I've detailed my breadcrumbs recipe. You absolutely can purchase panko or breadcrumbs. If you know me, you know I use CampMIX with everything. The company also has a Lemon Pepper mix. Nothing funky added in like some lemon pepper seasonings and turmeric is a lovely add to the blend.

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When I add the breaded filet into the air fryer, I also add a few sprigs of rosemary, a clove of garlic, and half a lemon for aromatics. Plus, the house smells like herbs and not fish because we all know what that smells like when cooking fish in the oven. It lingers for days. 

Not with the air fryer.

Even my teenage anti-fish son enjoys the breaded salmon. Well, at least a few bites. I'll take it. 

On occasion, I'll make a garlic butter to melt over the filet.  

Ingredients

Sockeye Salmon Fillet - preferably wild-caught

Lemon Pepper Camp Mix (garlic, onion, black pepper, salt, celery salt, white pepper, citric acid and turmeric) or your chosen lemon pepper blend

One lemon

Fresh rosemary

Fresh garlic

For the breadcrumbs

1/2 loaf of cubed sourdough (I purchase mine at Publix because it's soy-free) Also, Panera's Country Loaf is an excellent option. It's also soy-free. 

A teaspoon of Camp Mix or a blend of garlic, onion, black pepper, salt, white pepper and celery salt. 

Olive oil

Instructions

Follow my breadcrumbs recipe or use pre-prepared breadcrumbs or panko. In a bowl mix the breadcrumbs and seasonings.

Take the salmon fillet, place it on a plate, prep board, whatever you choose and cover it with olive oil. Squirt 1/2 a lemon on the salmon. Sprinkle the lemon pepper seasoning on. More is better. What I've discovered with fish is it absorbs the seasoning and when cooked a person can hardly taste it. Cover the top of the salmon in the breadcrumbs mixture. Dump it on. All over.

Set the air fryer to 370 for 15 minutes.

If you have an air fryer accessory pan, use it otherwise right in the basket works. But I'd rub a little extra olive oil on the bottom because the salmon skin can stick easily. Put in the sprigs of rosemary, garlic, and lemon in the basket.  

Depending on your air fryer, I'd check the fish at the 10-minute mark. I know my larger one cooks a bit faster than my smaller air fryer. Once the breadcrumbs or panko are golden brown, your salmon is done. Which is about 15 minutes.

Be careful removing the salmon from the air fryer basket. A spatula works great.

You can add an extra squirt of lemon or the butter I mentioned above. Or nothing at all. Either way, it's delicious. Not fishy at all. Crunchy. The lemon, garlic, pepper is on point. 

The next few recipes on here will be essential items people have requested from me. Sauces, mixtures, and condiments I use in my everyday cooking and how I add them to my meals. 

 

  

 

 

 

 

Hello? Is It Cheese You're Looking For?

March 7, 2017, USA Today published an article titled Cheese is so addictive, one doctor calls it 'dairy crack'. I 100% believe it. There is something about cheese when it's listed on a menu. A gleam in one's eye. The giddiness inside.

My relationship with cheese is complicated. When I was young whether my grandma was visiting our home or my family was visiting hers, she'd cook delicious food for us. Every single meal. Most contained cheese. One of the favorites was her fried macaroni and cheese. Nothing fancy but she made it with love. The crispy noodles mixed with creamy cheese was on another level for a nine-year-olds palette. I've mimicked the recipe, but it's not the same. It's not my grandma's.

I decided to create my own.

Soy-free. Lactose-free. Vegetarian-friendly. No noodles.  

What the heck is it?

Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Bake.

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Activate watering of the mouth. 

Spaghetti Squash. Cheese. Basil.

The trifecta of awesomeness. 

As I've stated in a previous recipe I cook the squash the night before, The Foolproof, Step-by-Step Guide to Cooking Spaghetti Squash, I add a few cloves of garlic and fresh basil for aromatics.

The end result is cheesy goodness.

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Ingredients

1 large spaghetti squash

3 tbsp of Earth Balance Soy-free butter

3 tbsp of ap flour or your flour of choice

2 cups of coconut milk (I use VitaCoco Original)

1 tablespoon of Thai Kitchen Organic Coconut Cream

A handful of fresh basil leaves

3/4 tbsp CampMIX or create your mixture of garlic salt, salt, garlic powder, celery salt, black pepper. I recommend tasting as you go. 

1 block of Cabot Farmhouse Reserve Cheddar (Shred the entire block) 

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Instructions

Preheat oven to 390.

Mince basil leaves. 

In a medium saucepan or cast iron pot on low-medium heat melt the butter. Whisk in flour until small lumps form. Add coconut milk and continue to whisk until smooth. Add seasonings salt, basil, whisk and simmer for about 2 minutes or until sauce has slightly thickened. Add the cheese and whisk until smooth. 

Add spaghetti squash. Stir and blend carefully.

In an 8x8 Pyrex dish pour in the cheesy awesomeness. A 10" cast iron pan is also an option.

I have an electric oven--miss our gas oven--I cook the squash for 5-7 minutes. Then I switch to broil on high. Check every couple of minutes until golden brown.

This entire dish is 5-6 servings depending on the portion size your spouse or children dish out. My husband dishes heavy.

The leftovers are perfect to fry up the next day. Too bad I never have any leftovers which I guess is a compliment.

Now go make this dish and make it your own.