Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Corn on the cob!

We are in the middle of working out summer visits, one from rellies from Norway that we visited in 1998, and Andrea, Stefan and Haylie coming from Sweden. When Andrea told Haylie they are coming to Minnesota, she said, (in Swedish th0') "Tell Grandma and Grandpa to get some corn on the cob." Here she was in August of 2008, working on her favorite Minnesota food. Those warm evenings on the deck seem so far away . . .

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Today is one of those beautiful days in Minnesota! Even with 4 feet of snow in the yard, we know that spring is actually coming. We'd be driving around with the car windows open, if the salty road spray wasn't a consideration. The lake behind me is still frozen hard enough to drive on, but in 2 months we'll be launching the boat for the summer. Hard to believe.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Spring Break, At Last!

It was such a treat, and a shock, to put on a swimsuit after all winter long, and enjoy the water. Especially when back home in Minnesota a blizzard was in full swing. Golf balls would whiz by once in a while. We joked that a helmet might be in order out by the pool. There are some crazy golfers out there. This was the coolest horse sculpture in Fountain Hills, made from old junk. Old pieces of this and that, most of which we recognized from 'back in the olden days' when we were kids. We spent a while naming the things we saw - bedpans and percolators, Maytag wringer washing machine, chrome bumpers, baby buggy, tractor seat, almost everything imaginable.

We went to nearby Saguaro Lake for lunch on the reservior.

Sedona, Arizona for a little shopping and sightseeing.

I had a great time at Denice's, exploring a totally different environment that the Minnesota blizzard that was raging back home! The weather in Arizona reminded me of those beautiful days in May, before the Minnesota mosquitoes swarm in.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Haylie poses for me at the Klintehamn bakery. It's a great little place to eat lunch or to "fika", the verb meaning "have coffee and something good". (yellow saffron rolls behind her)
I thought I'd add some photos from Christmastime. When they live so far away we sometimes feel like we exist from visit to visit. But phone calls and Skype really help. Imagine if it was 1870, when my Swedish ancestors came to Minnesota.

Gotland has both old and modern windmills. Very scenic.

Wary of the decorative straw Christmas goat getting torched every year by pyromaniacs, Klintehamn went with this steel model.

Christmas Eve, getting ready for our 2nd go around at the Smorgåsbord. Uffda.

Shopping and sightseeing in Visby for the day.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Is spring ever going to come?

Tonight we were talking about cabin fever, and the feeling that all we do is work, work, work lately. I found this photo for Chuck to remind him that summer will come again. I'll paraphrase Arielle: We work to make money to buy dilly bars.

Don't talk to me until I've had my morning coffee . . .

On the way home from Sweden, Chuck's suitcase is usually full of pounds of coffee, enough to last him for at least 6 months. He insists it's the best. His favorite brand is Zoegas, medium roast. This photo of Haylie reminds me of her Grandpa in the morning. Their website is zoega.org

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Andrea emailed me today to check out the school lunch menu on Gotland. Next Monday's entree is blood pudding. Haylie likes it with bacon and lingonberries. Stefan baked it for us at Christmastime this winter.
Gotland School Lunch Menu for Monday, March 9:
Måndag 09 Blodpudding/potatisburgare, sylt, råkost
Can you imagine serving that in Minnesota at school? Uffda.

Gotländsk Salmbärssylt - Gotlandic blue raspberry jam

I got this for Christmas when I was on Gotland, Sweden in December. It's one of the specialty foods you can only get there, and part of the topping for the Gotland pancake.

Saffranspannkaka - the finished product

Well, here it is, a piece ready to eat. It must be an acquired taste, the flavor of saffron. The texture of the pancake is sort of funky, with chopped almonds and rice in it. Uffda. Plus the seeds from the jam. I did learn a new technique for using my mortar and pestle when grinding up the saffron. The directions said to add a sugar cube (a 1/2 tsp. of granulated sugar worked too) to the mortar and then the saffron and grind away. The sugar acted as a grinding agent, which worked well for something sweet.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Salmbär, Blue raspberries

Salmbärssylt (jam) is the authentic topping for the Gotland Pancake. It's also called blåhallon (blue raspberry) and they grow like wild raspberries do, on the island of Gotland. Latin name: Rubus caesius.

No wonder Donovan was mad about Saffron!

Gotland has a special dessert called a Saffron Pancake. We've eaten it several times when we've been there. I'd never used saffron, and was shocked when .06 of an ounce cost about $16 at the store. I looked at the little informational label under the saffron on the spice shelf there. It showed that it works out to over $200 a pound. Uff-da! Other requirements are rice pudding, whip cream (of course!) and salmbärssylt - a special berry that grows on Gotland on bushes. I received a jar of that for Christmas, so at least I had that.

Saffron is the dried stigma (receives pollen) of a crocus flower. The saffron I bought is called Spanish saffron. I only had to use about $5 worth of saffron for the recipe, which makes enough dessert for 10 people.