How is everyone doing? The Other Fisherman came home with fresh cod and rockfish last weekend and we have been enjoying it pan-fried, deep fried and grilled. That first taste of fresh fish is so special. I am happy winter is over and we can spend time outdoors.
Many things made me smile lately, but this was the best. Just by chance, looking out the window when making dinner one evening, I saw a great white snowy owl take flight from a birch tree on our property and fly around for a bit. It was beautiful, white with black ticking — just such a magnificent creature.
My friend received a Community Supported Agriculture box from Synergy Gardens full of produce and gave me the freshest spinach to make one of my favorite salads. This tasty salad is packed with lots of goodies and is substantial enough to be a main course.
Teri’s Special Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon and Red Wine Vinaigrette
Baby spinach, enough to fill a large salad bowl
1 carrot, peeled and grated
2 green onions, cut
1/4 red onion, sliced as thinly as possible
1 can water chestnuts, sliced and then cut into smaller pieces
4-6 fresh mushrooms, cut as thinly as possible
3 hard-boiled eggs, coarsely chopped
¼ cup approx. sunflower seeds (reserve to sprinkle over the salad just before serving)
Add above listed ingredients to spinach in bowl, adding each evenly over spinach.
Fry at least a half package of diced bacon cut in a skillet. Fry more if you are a bacon lover. Drain crisp and golden bacon on paper towel lined plate.
Leave bacon drippings in skillet to make dressing with.
Hot Bacon Dressing
Bacon drippings from frying bacon
3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons honey or sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Add all dressing ingredients to skillet to bacon drippings with heat on medium-high.
Stir with a whisk to blend ingredients and simmer about 3 minutes.
Taste and adjust ingredients as desired, adding more vinegar, honey, mustard or lemon to make dressing tangier or sweeter. Add salt and pepper to taste.
If dressing tastes too tangy, you can cut it with a little red wine or water. Cook a little longer to incorporate.
To serve, add bacon pieces and sunflower seeds to bowl. Pour warm dressing over all and toss. Plate and serve immediately.
You can make the dressing prior to serving salad. Warm dressing before adding to salad.
A fresh, ripe tomato would be an excellent addition.
This is an old recipe, a wonderful, special dessert known as kvæfjordkake, Norway’s national cake, also known as blitz torte. It features layers of dense yellow cake topped with meringue, cinnamon, and almonds; and a rich, creamy filling. You can stud the filling with fresh berries if desired.
Makes one dessert
• 8 tablespoons soft butter, at room temperature, at least 65°F
• 1/2 cup sugar
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 4 large eggs at room temperature — separate yolks and whites and save the whites for the meringue topping
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 3 tablespoons milk
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
• 4 large egg whites
• 3/4 cup Baker’s sugar or granulated sugar
• 1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 small package of instant vanilla pudding
• 1 ¾ cups half and half or cream
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 8” round cake pans. Or lightly grease the pans, line with parchment rounds, and lightly grease the parchment as well.
To make the filling: Mix 1 small box instant vanilla pudding mix with 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and 1 3/4 cups light cream heavy cream until thick. Refrigerate until ready to use.
To make the cake: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, salt, and egg yolks until well combined. Scrape the bowl, and beat briefly to incorporate any sticky residue.
Beat in the vanilla, milk, baking powder, and flour; the batter will be stiff.
Spread the batter in the prepared pans (it will barely cover the bottom of the pans; that’s OK).
To make the cake topping: Using an electric mixer or stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until foamy; gradually add the 3/4 cup sugar and continue to beat until the meringue is smooth, glossy, and somewhat stiff (but not stiff enough to form rigid stand-up points).
Spread the meringue on the cake batter. Sprinkle the almonds over the meringue. Mix the cinnamon with the sugar, and dust on top.
Bake the cakes for 30 minutes, until the almonds are lightly browned. The cakes will puff up significantly; don’t worry, they’ll settle as they cool.
Remove the cakes from the oven, and allow them to cool for 15 minutes. Carefully and thoroughly loosen the edge of each cake, and gently turn it out onto a rack to cool completely. The best way to do this is to place a flat object (a giant spatula, a small baking sheet) atop the pan, and to turn everything over. Lift the cake pan off the cake, then place a cooling rack against the bottom of the cake. Turn everything back over again, so the rack is on the bottom. Some of the almonds will fall off during this process; just sprinkle them back on top.
When you’re ready to finish the cake, remove the pudding from the refrigerator. Stir it gently, just to loosen it up enough to spread.
To assemble the cake: Place one of the cake layers, meringue side up, on a serving plate. Spread with the filling. Add a layer of fresh berries over filling if desired. Top with the second cake layer, meringue-side up.
Serve immediately, or refrigerate until serving time.
Stay healthy. Please wear your mask and gloves when out shopping and remember to social distance.