“Nordic in the Northwest”: My Article and Recipes in The Oregonian

Daytona with Oregonian Article

So, here it is: the article I have been longing to tell you about! Published yesterday as the centerpiece food piece in The Oregonian (with a front-page teaser!), “Nordic in the Northwest” examines the similarities between the way of eating in the Nordic countries and the Pacific Northwest, especially each region’s emphasis on local, seasonal foods.

I started working on this piece earlier in the summer, interviewing experts on Nordic cuisine, researching immigration to the Pacific Northwest from Scandinavia, and developing five original recipes. If that weren’t exciting enough, I got to do all the photography, with three images used in the package.

I designed the recipes to work together as an entire late-summer menu, though you can certainly pick and choose which ones to make. They honor traditional Scandinavian cooking while reflecting modern influences. With salmon, blueberries, and an assortment of produce figuring heavily in the menu, the recipes also emphasize eating local and seasonal as much as possible and in such a way that is relevant in the Pacific Northwest and the Nordic countries this time of year.

I’ve included some outtakes from the photo shoot here in this post. Please do feel free to pin them on Pinterest–in fact, I’d be honored if you did!

Grilled Salmon with Lemon Horseradish Cream

Seasonal Greens Salad with Cucumber

Rye Berry Salad with Mushrooms and Goat Cheese

Blueberry Fruit Soup

The Delightful Simplicity of Strawberry Compote

One of the great strengths of Nordic cuisine is the simplicity that guides it. Built upon readily available foods at the peak of their flavor, recipes need not be complicated to be brilliant.

Take strawberry compote for example. While I was trying to figure out what to do with three pounds worth of late-season strawberries I picked up the other day, I discovered a recipe in Authentic Norwegian Cooking that instructed the home cook to do little more than cook the berries in water with some sugar and potato starch flour, and to serve the compote with cream. The author noted that the result was heavenly.

Though I took pleasure in the hands-on work of hulling and quartering the strawberries in preparation for cooking, as I stirred the boiling mixture and watched the water leach the color from the strawberries I questioned whether I would ever be sharing this recipe with you. Prematurely disappointed, I kept at it, stirring constantly as the mixture boiled, reducing the liquid and thickening the compote slightly. I spooned a little into a bowl for myself and drizzled a touch of cream on top, and suddenly I understood what the author meant when she called it heavenly. I poured some more into a bowl for the sake of photographing the end result for you here, and I happily ate it while it was still warm. The fruit is slightly sweet, with a little tang remaining, which is complemented by the richness of the cream.

Strawberry CompoteStrawberry Compote (Jordbærkompott)
Adapted from Authentic Norwegian Cooking

I know it’s late in the season, but if you can get your hands on some perfectly ripe strawberries while they’re still available, treat yourself to this simple dessert. It’s easy to prepare, and will keep for several days in the refrigerator. Just reheat it and pour cold whipping cream on top prior to serving.

4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
2 tablespoons potato starch flour
1/4 cup sugar
3 cups boiling water
Whipping cream, for serving

Combine strawberries and sugar in a saucepan and cover with boiling water. Return to a boil and then let simmer until berries are cooked through. Mix potato starch flour in a little water to dissolve, then add to the berries. Bring the mixture back to a boil and cook, stirring regularly, until the compote has thickened. Let cool slightly, then pour into bowls and drizzle with whipping cream.

Serves 5-6.

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