Bye to Scandinavia and on to . . . surprise!

A million pardons for neglecting the blog for a few days, but frankly, I got distracted by a novel about a Chinese prostitute who became a famous painter, and couldn’t drag myself back to the computer.

Okay, here’s a summary of last week’s Scandinavian/Finnish culinary endeavors:

  • Swedish Meatballs:  thumbs up all of us
  • Finnish Salmon Soup: thumbs up Beto and me
  • Norwegian Farikal: thumbs up Luke, Beto and Me

Based on this informal poll,  I will not pass on the recipe for salmon soup (If you’re interested, check out but I will give you the recipes for the Swedish Meatballs  and the modernized Norwegian Farikal, both well worth the cooking.  Good old A.J’s came through with the lingonberry preserves, and we loved them — definitely going to buy them again — sort of tart and sweet, with a hint of cranberry.  And the boys were nuts about the moist, yummy meatballs.

Swedish Meatballs

  • 1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs (I used Gillian’s Foods Bread Crumbs from Whole Foods)
  • 1/2 cup light cream
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 7 oz. ground beef
  • 7 oz. ground turkey (they called for pork)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 Tbs. grated yellow onion and/or 2 crushed garlic cloves (I did the former)
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 3 Tbs. margerine or butter

Mix the bread crumbs, cream and water and set aside for 5 minutes. Work together the beef, turkey, salt, allspice and onion.  Gradually add the bread crumbs, then the egg. Blend well.  Shape into balls, large for dinner size, and small for smorgasbord (appetizers).  Heat part of butter in skillet and fry 10 to 15 meatballs until they are brown and cooked through. Transfer to serving dish and keep warm while you cook the rest of the meatballs.  Serve with boiled potatoes, lingonberry preserves, and tossed salad.

Farikal with Cinnamon

  • 1 lb. (or more) lamb chunks on the bone
  • 1/4 medium cabbage
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 3-4 small boiling potatoes (I used yukons)
  • 5-6 peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. cardamom
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 3-4 beef stock cubes
  • water

Peel and chop onions into bite sized pieces. Cut cabbage into large chunks — do not separate. Chop potatoes into large pieces — they will dissolve into bite-sized pieces and enhance broth).  Grate or mince the garlic.

Saute the onions in a large cooking pot.  When onions are translucent, add garlic and lamb chunks.  Sear the lamb on the outside. Add in peppercorns, cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg and stir.  Add in sweet potato, cabbage, and potatoes and stir.  Fill the pot with enough water to cover 2/3 of ingredients.  Add beef stock.  Bring to boil and then simmer for two hours with a lid on.  Stir occasionally.  Serve warm in a big bowl.

This recipe comes from a lovely website called in which the authors explain that they have been experimenting with Farikal, a traditional Finnish dish which is otherwise quite bland. Besides this delicious version, they have made Farikal with curry and also with rosemary and garlic.

You’ll have to come back tomorrow for the surprise announcement in which I will describe a bloodless household coups d’etat and a radical switch in menu plans. Until then. . . . . .


About tamisrenteria

Tamis Renteria, author and anthropologist, writes novels and short stories about people struggling with different religious, spiritual, and cultural traditions. She lives with her husband and youngest son in Tucson, Arizona where she types on a Mac, cooks ethnic food, and gardens among the sahuaros.
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