Norway (Part 1)

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Fiskekaker

Traditional Norwegian fish cakes.

Total time: 45min
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 1.2kg cod* (see notes below)
  • 3 teaspoons salt* (see notes below)
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup milk* (see notes below)
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup minced chives
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • vegetable oil as needed
  • bread crumbs as needed* (see notes below)

Directions

  1. Slice the fish into small chunks and pound with a meat tenderizer until fish is soft and flaky.* (see notes below)
  2. Combine salt, pepper, 2/3 cup milk, butter, eggs, chives, and nutmeg in a large boil.
  3. Add fish to the mixture and knead together until the desired consistency is reached. (The mixture should be thick enough to allow firm patties to be formed. If the mixture is too watery, breadcrumbs can be added while stirring until the mixture thickens. If the mixture is too thick initially, another 1/3 cup of milk can be added).
  4. Make patties approximately 2-3 inches in diameter and approximately 1 inch thick.
  5. In a large pan, heat a few tablespoons of vegetable oil on medium-high heat. Sauté fish patties until golden brown (3-5 minutes each side).
  6. Serve as patties with a side dish (see smoked salmon rolls on this blog) or in a bun as fish burgers.

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Notes

  • Depending on availability, haddock or pollock can be substituted for cod.
  • Some of our family members found this recipe quite salty, so less salt (1-2 teaspoons) may be preferable.
  • The original recipe suggests using a much larger quantity of milk. However, we found that this made it very difficult to form patties. We added bread crumbs to thicken the mixture and recommend using 2/3 to 1 cup of milk as needed to reach the desired consistency. Our fish patty mixture is pictured below.
  • The original recipe suggests using a food processor to prepare the fish. However, we found that slicing and manually tenderizing the fish gave the patties an appealing chunky texture and emphasized the flavor of the cod.

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Family Ratings

  • Mama: 4.5/5, delicious recipe although quite salty!
  • Papa: 4.5/5
  • Nanya: 5/5
  • TW: 5/5
  • Girlie: 5/5
  • McM: 3/5

Original recipe: https://arcticgrub.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/homemade-fiskekaker-our-monday-dinner-suggestion/

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Greece (Part 2)

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Shrimp Scampi Linguini

Greek-style pasta dish. Pictured above (on right) with spanakopita (on left).

Total time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 1kg linguini
  • 1kg medium or large shrimp, peeled and de-veined with tails removed
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 3 sprigs oregano, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper.
  2. Place a large pot of water on the stove to boil. Salt water and cook pasta to al dente.
  3. Heat extra-virgin olive oil in a deep skillet and cook garlic on medium heat until browned (3 minutes).
  4. Add shrimp and cook on medium heat (3 minutes).
  5. Add red pepper flakes, lemon zest, oregano, olives, and wine and cook on medium heat (2 minutes).
  6. Add lemon juice and 1 cup of starchy pasta cooking water to skillet. Remove from heat.
  7. When pasta is cooked to al dente, drain water and add pasta to skillet.
  8. Toss with parsley and feta. Feta will melt onto pasta.
  9. Top with chopped olives and serve.

Family Ratings

  • McM: 3/5, very tasty though oregano creates a strong flavor

Original recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/greek-style-shrimp-scampi-and-linguini-recipe.html

Greece (Part 1)

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Spanakopita

Traditional Greek savory pastry. Spanakopitas can be labor-intensive to prepare but they are well worth the effort!

Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 12-15 strudels

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
  • 500g frozen* chopped spinach, defrosted* (see notes below)
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • plain dry bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups small-diced feta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 24 sheets frozen phyllo dough, defrosted* (see notes below)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Gently squeeze most of the water out of the spinach and place it in a large bowl.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan, add the onion, and cook over medium-low heat (5 minutes).
  4. Add the scallions to the pan and cook until the scallions are wilted but still green (2 minutes).
  5. Add the cooked onion and scallions to the spinach.
  6. Add eggs, Parmesan cheese, 3 tablespoons bread crumbs, nutmeg, salt, pepper, feta, and pine nuts to the spinach mixture.
  7. Place one sheet of phyllo dough flat on a table. Brush the dough lightly with melted butter and sprinkle it with a teaspoon of breadcrumbs. Place another sheet of phyllo dough on top of the first, brush it with butter, and sprinkle lightly with breadcrumbs. Continue in this way until there are four sheets on top of each other. Use just enough breadcrumbs between layers so that the sheets don’t stick together.
  8. Cut the layered sheets of phyllo lengthwise: cut in thirds lengthwise for small strudels, cut in half lengthwise for large strudels.
  9. Place spinach filling on the end of the sheets: use 1/3 cup filling for small strudels, use 1/2 – 2/3 cup filling for large strudels.
  10. Roll the phyllo sheets diagonally to make a triangle. Then fold the triangle of phyllo back straight. Alternate diagonal and straight folds until you reach the end of the sheet. The filling should be totally enclosed.
  11. Continue assembling layered phyllo sheets and folding over filling until all of the filling has been used.
  12. Place strudels on a sheet pan with the seam sides down.
  13. Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with salt, and bake for 30-35 minutes until the phyllo is brown and crisp.
  14. Let stand for a few minutes before serving.

Notes

  • Frozen chopped spinach and frozen phyllo pastry dough can be defrosted in the microwave (using the preset defrost function), however this may cause the phyllo to become brittle and difficult to fold. For best results, we recommend thawing the spinach and phyllo in the refrigerator for 24 hours prior to recipe preparation.
  • Fresh spinach (steamed and chopped) can be substituted for frozen spinach.

Family Ratings

  • McM: 5/5, these are amazing fresh from the oven and also delicious served cold the next day!

Original recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/dinner-spanakopitas-recipe.html

South Africa

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South African Chicken Curry

Simple chicken curry from South Africa. Apple, raisins, and coconut add sweetness to a savory dish.

Total time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 3 cups white rice
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil1.2kg chicken breast, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 large apples, peeled and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups celery, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 can (284ml) chicken broth
  • 3 cups 1% milk
  • 1 can (284ml) sliced mushrooms, drained
  • raisins, sweetened shredded coconut, peanuts (for garnish)

Directions

  1. Cook rice according to package instructions. We find that a rice cooker is the easiest method.
  2. In a large frying pan, cook chicken cubes in vegetable oil. Ensure chicken is cooked through, then set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan, melt butter. Add celery and onion and cook on medium heat until soft (about 10 minutes). Then add apple and continue cooking until tender (another 5 minutes).
  4. Combine cornstarch, curry powder, and chicken broth. Stir into onion mixture.
  5. Add milk to onion mixture.
  6. Cook on medium heat, stirring, until thick and bubbly (about 5-10 minutes).
  7. Reduce heat to low. Stir in cooked chicken and mushrooms. Heat through.
  8. Serve over rice. Add raisins, shredded coconut, and peanuts as garnish.

Family Ratings

  • McM: 5/5, my new favorite curry dish!
  • Papa: 4/5

Original recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/african-chicken-curry-50400

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