Tag Archives: cooking

Swedish Sea Salt and Dill New Potatoes with Lemon Caper Dipping Sauce

22 Jun

DSC_1265

Yesterday was the Summer Solstice! The longest day of the year marks the beginning of Midsummer, and this day has been celebrated throughout Europe since pagan times. Midsummer is especially important in the cultures of Scandinavia, Finland and the Baltics where it is the most celebrated holiday apart from Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

So when I was invited to a potluck style Summer Solstice party hosted by Emily of Joyful Abode, I knew that I wanted to get all 7th century old school with the potluck dish. When it comes to historic Midsummer celebration fare, Swedish traditional foods consist of the year’s first fruits, new potatoes, soused and pickled herring, chives, sour cream, beer, vodka and shnapps. After trolling the interwebs for inspiration and simple dishes that would satisfy the living history geek as well as the average modern day potluck goer, I settled on the potatoes.

New Potatoes are a delicacy in Sweden, being essentially baby potatoes that never had a chance to grow up. And their premature picking and wasted potential tastes SO GOOD.

Because they can be harvested very early in a short season, they have come to represent the long-awaited summer after what is generally a cold and dark Scandinavian winter. Since the potato gets its flavor from the minerals in the soil, the young potatoes are much more flavorful than the adult varieties. Early picking results in a flavorful, delicate potato that is high in water content but extremely low in starch content and only has a very thin film for a skin.

Traditionally Midsummer New Potatoes are simply served boiled with dill and sea salt, with a dipping sauce on the side. So that’s what I decided to stick with: Swedish Sea Salt and Dill New Potatoes served with a Lemon Caper Dipping Sauce!

To Make This Simple Dish You Will Need:

2 pounds of New Potatoes

¼ cup of butter

Sea Salt, to taste

Dried Dill Weed, to taste

1 ½ cups of mayonnaise

2 tablespoons of capers

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

DSC_1057

1. Boil the potatoes.

Nothing special here. Simply bring some unsalted water to a rolling boil, and plop the potatoes in. Since New Potatoes are harvested at various stages of development, it really depends on the size of your potatoes as to how long they will need to boil. Usually they will take anywhere from 30-45 minutes. When a fork sinks into a potato at a consistency that you’d like to eat it, that’s when it’s done!

new1

DSC_1080

DSC_1096

2. Melt the butter over the potatoes.

This dish is really as simple as they come, but the one thing I will say you need to be careful about is be sure to TOSS GENTLY! Since these babies have little to no skin, they are easy to crush, pierce and mangle if you don’t handle them with care. Thinly slice your butter and place it over the potatoes and allow it to melt, turning and tossing the potatoes GENTLY, until they are evenly covered and glistening with buttery goodness.

3. Sprinkle with sea salt and dried dill weed.

For the sea salt, I used some specialty freshly ground Grey Bretagna Sea Salt, a hand harvested Celtic salt obtained through natural evaporation. But any sea salt will do! Sprinkle the coarsely ground salt and the dried dill weed over the potatoes while turning and gently tossing them, until they are evenly coated. This part is all a matter of personal taste. I like flavors to punch me in the mouth and make me it’s woman, so I tend to be heavy handed when it comes to seasonings and herbs.

DSC_1114

DSC_1128

DSC_1138

4. Stir the capers and lemon juice into the mayonnaise till well mixed.

Nothing special here. Just get your mayonnaise into a bowl, plop in the capers and squeeze in the fresh lemon juice (I used lemons from the tree in my back yard!) and stir stir stir till it’s smooth and well combined. You can add more or less capers or juice to taste. This dip is a fantastic accompaniment to the bite sized New Potatoes, just dip and enjoy!

DSC_1145

Advertisements

How To Make Campfire Hobo Packs

28 May

DSC_7724

When I first heard about hobo packs I was on the very first “meeting the boyfriends parents” trip to Washington. We were camping out on our way to visit Mount Saint Helens and Jonathan got super excited when it came time to make his favorite camp food cuisine. I learned that making “hobo packs” over an open fire while camping has been a family tradition in the Freeman family since Jonathan was a kid – and it is now one that we intend to keep up as well.

This past weekend, while camping at the Grand Canyon in Arizona, we introduced our friend Nate to hobo packs and I thought, hmmm, why not make a blog post out of it? I’ve been meaning to make a kind of “Freeman Family Cookbook” soon (which is currently disproportionately packed with Cajun foods and booze), so taking picture of and blogging about our favorite recipes is something I intend to do over the next few years at any rate.

A hobo pack is, essentially, a foil packet containing a piece of meat and some vegetables, seasoned however you want. It’s a simple as that. While I’ve tried to be a good foodie and track down the origin of the hobo pack, the best I can find is that boy scouts have coined the phrase for the dish and make them while being outdoorsy. The title of the food is an obvious reference that hearkens back to the days when hobos used to procure their food by cooking it over dumpster bonfires, and not panhandling on intersections and using conned money to buy cheap vodka and fast food.

The concept of the hobo pack is genius in it’s simplicity. You really can’t mess this recipe up. Apparently there is a whole camp cooking subculture that deals with the myriad recipe possibilities that involve shoving random eats into a packet of foil, some bordering on being downright gourmet. But whenever we make our hobo packs, we keep it simple with good ol’ fashioned meat and potatoes.

Here’s the Freeman Family Hobo Pack staple. You’ll need:

Ground Beef

Red Potatoes

Carrots

Onion

Mushrooms

Garlic Cloves

Olive Oil

Hamburger Seasoning

Aluminum Foil

1. Get your fire started.

My husband is a ridiculously outdoorsy mountain man and takes his campfire building very seriously. So I won’t even begin to try and go into the details he insists are involved in starting a “real” fire. (While he prefers to build old fashioned organic fires from found wood that he labors over lovingly with an ax in hand, he has been known to get wild with the lighter fluid from time to time.) So suffice it to say, once your fire is started, let it burn down for about an hour. What you want is glowing embers, not a crackling fire. While your fire is working it’s way down to a smoldering heap of yum yum making embers, get to work on step 2….

DSC_7613

1

2. Prepare the fillings.

First, work your ground beef into hamburger patties and season it with your favorite seasonings. We used Pappy’s for these packs, but we’ll change it up depending on what we have on hand or feel like at the moment. You can make the patties as big or small as you’d like, but flatten them out into a patty so that they cook evenly!

Next, slice the carrots, onions, mushrooms, and red potatoes (we like to keep the skin on ours). And depending on how garlic crazy you are (we are somewhere between ‘bat shit’ and ‘Tom Cruise’) prepare some minced garlic, or whole cloves. We went with the whole cloves.

DSC_7616

DSC_7620

3. Fill your packs.

Double up the aluminum foil and spread a little olive oil on the surface. Then, pile the veggies and meat into the center of the foil. The size of the pack should match the size of your appetite. Whats awesome about these packs is that everyone can mix and match up their own pack to their own taste. So when it comes to filling time, you can be as uniform or creative as you’d like. Once they’re to your liking, lay another layer of doubled up aluminum foil over the top and wrap them up by turning in and pinching the corners. I fold each edge down two or three times and then dog ear the corners.

DSC_7646

4. Cook your packs.

Place the pack on the embers and surround with coals. You should hear these bad boys sizzling in no time. The foil should expand to the heat, but they won’t shouldn’t explode. Let them cook for 30 to 40 minutes. Again, this depends on how big the packs are, and how hot your campfire is. Use your judgement or just err on the side of well done and pick them out by the 40 minute mark. Once you’ve pull them out of the embers, let them cool for 10 minutes.

When you’re ready to serve, cut them open (be careful of the steam!) and serve right out of the packs or shovel onto a plate. You can add BBQ sauce or teriyaki sauce, or anything really. The beauty of these packs are their versatility to suit individual cravings. These are the perfect camping food and super fun to make. Once you try them, you won’t want to go back to hot dogs and hamburgers!

DSC_7721

DSC_7712