Do you ever have those nights where you just can't sleep because you're too excited for tomorrow? That was the story of my life last week. Since my last post a lot of exciting things have happened and I've been awake at night the last few days thinking about it all.
What's been up lately? I got my Norwegian driver's license (which is much more intensive than in the US) and I road-tripped with the family to one of Norway's rainiest cities, Bergen where we had reindeer for dinner. Then I worked long days finishing a bunch of food styling for the cookbook and prepping 50+ pieces of pottery to be fired in the kiln before moving to Sri Lanka to work at the Sunshinestories Retreat!!! I just arrived on the island yesterday and am writing to you from the patio of our villa with a coconut in one hand. It's hot and really humid, but I love it here already!
Those of you who were expecting the cookbook soon, don't worry, it's still coming just a little later than I announced last winter. I'm very close to done and I plan to tie up the loose ends and publish it this fall when I come home from this tropical Island adventure.
Before I left, we had an amazing farewell dinner with family and friends and I promised them I'd share the recipes on the blog. The dinner was full of delicious citrus and garlic flavors, and there was lots of Champagne and laughter throughout the evening. None of it would have been possible without my fantastic family of sous chefs. Tusen takk Linn, Ingvild and Karleif!
Linn's Focaccia Bread
Arugula Salad w/ Apple Cider Vinaigrette
Raw Zucchini and Avocado Salad
Spicy Paprika Shrimp with Artichoke Hearts
Oven Roasted Eggplants
Bacon Wrapped Dates
Herbed Yogurt Sauce
Smoked Salmon Pizza
Basil Feta Stuffed Bell Peppers
Kailua Fried Bananas w/ Chocolate Covered Ice Cream
SMOKED SALMON PIZZA
This pizza was one of the dinner's highlights and it's super easy to make. Recipe from Spoon Fork Bacon.
1 cup (250ml) warm water
1 packet (7grams. 1/4 ounce) active-dry yeast
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon honey
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cups bread flour plus more for dusting
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup crème fraiche
6 ounces (170g) cold smoked salmon, cut on a bias into thin strips
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup capers, drained
1 cup baby arugula
3-4 large sprigs dill
zest of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425°F (215°C).
For the dough, mix the wet ingredients and let sit for five minutes. Sift flour and salt into the yeast mixture and incorporate until a dough forms. Knead until smooth about 8 to 10 minutes.
Form the dough into a ball and cover with plastic wrap or a towel and let rise until double the size (1-2 hours). Roll the dough into a 14 inch (35cm) round and place on a baking sheet. Poke the dough with a fork and brush with olive oil. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow crust to cool before adding toppings.
Dollop crème fraiche on the crust and top with pieces of salmon, red onions and capers, arugula and dill and sprinkle with a little salt, pepper and lemon zest. Serve.
RAW ZUCCHINI & AVOCADO SALAD
*this is one of those recipes that doesn't have to be exact, use what you have.
8oz (230g) snap peas
3 green onions, chopped
small handful of fresh chopped basil leaves
small handful of fresh chopped mint leaves
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
juice from half a lemon
sea salt, to taste
fresh black pepper, to taste
Use mandolin fitted with a julienne blade to cut the zucchini into thin spaghetti-like strands. If you don't have a julienne blade, cut the zucchini into very very thin strands. Chop the avocados into cubes and the snap peas into small pieces. Layer all green veggies in a bowl. Drizzle the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Keep chilled if not serving immediately.
BASIL FETA STUFFED BELL PEPPERS
Adapted from the blog Love and Lemons
Serves 2 as a main dish, four as a side
½ cup uncooked pasta (we cut up penne since we couldn't find orzo)
2 large red bell peppers
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
⅓ cup feta cheese
juice and zest of 1 small lemon
big handful of chopped fresh mint
pinch of red pepper flakes
freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the bell peppers in half, take out the seeds, and roast cut side up for 20 minutes. They will be a little brown around the edges.
In a pot of boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Strain and set aside
In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, pasta, feta cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest, mint, red pepper flakes and generous pinches of salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.
Fill the red pepper halves with the orzo salad. Put back in the oven for about 8 minutes before serving.
Adapted from the blog Spoon Fork Bacon
Serves 2 (we tripled the recipe to serve 10 as an appetizer)
*Karleif made most of this dish and it turned out amazing, but unfortunately, I don't have his exact changes to the recipe other than his advice to try it along the way and fit the flavors to your desired taste. It's the most time intensive of the dishes we made, but it was well worth it.
2 lobster tails (in-shell)
1 lemon, cut in half
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ lb. (230g) lobster shells, broken into pieces
2 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 carrot, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1/2 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/3 cup (80ml) brandy
1/3 cup (80ml) sherry
3 cups (7dl) fish stock
2/3 cup (155ml) heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
Skip step one if using pre-cooked lobsters. 1. In a small small pot add water, lemon juice, and lemon peel. Bring pot to a boil. Add lobster tails and reduce heat to medium-low to poach tails for 9 to 12 minutes. Remove tails from liquid and reserve 1/2 cup of the lobster stock. Remove the lobster meat from the shells and set aside.
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, and sauté the lobster shells for 3 to 4 minutes. Add tomato paste and toss together until the shells are well coated. Continue to sauté for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, and herbs and continue to sauté for until the onions become slightly translucent, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the brandy and sherry and stir.
Cook the mixture until most of the liquid has evaporated, then add the fish stock and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes.
Pour everything, yes including the shells, into a food processor and puree for 2 to 3 minutes.
Strain the mixture through a sieve back into the saucepan. Place pan back over medium heat and simmer. Stir in the cream and adjust seasonings.
Chop the lobster tail meat and use as garnish when serving the soup.
FRIED BANANAS W/ CHOCOLATE COVERED ICE CREAM
* this recipe isn't exact, use what you have on hand
Bananas (about half a banana per person)
Dark Chocolate, 70%
Good Quality Ice Cream (Hagen Dazs, or in Norway, I like the black box of Madagaskar Vanilje)
Split the bananas into thirds lengthwise along the natural split. Melt a little butter on the frying pan until it is light brown. Add the bananas. Drizzle with maple syrup, kailua, and brandy. Fry until golden brown.
In a saucepan, melt equal amounts of butter and dark chocolate. Keep an eye on it so that it doesn't burn. Pour over the ice cream and add the banana slices.