Darra Goldstein’s Mussels in Aquavit in The Norwegian American

Mussels in Aquavit

Mussels always take me back to that summer in Oslo, the first time I visited the country where my dad was born. Norway had been a place with almost a mythical quality, someplace alive and real in my mind but also distant and seeming quite idyllic. Arriving by air that summer, a quarter of my life having heard about Norway but never traveling there, I felt a deep sense of home, one that has morphed over the years into a place of longing. There, on the waterfront at Aker Brygge, my husband and I ate steamed mussels with fries, commonly known as moules-frites, while the midday sun forced us to squint and the marine air wound its way through our hair. Something that I had previously associated with an August spent in Normandy years before, due to those signs advertising it outside of beachside cafes, had now become a thing of Norway to me. So now, these little shellfish prompt memories of that special time.

This summer I made a recipe for mussels steamed in aquavit with horseradish from the lovely cookbook Fire and Ice: Classic Nordic Cooking by Darra Goldstein. Released last fall by Ten Speed Press, the book has quickly become one of my favorites in my collection, one that’s as gorgeous to look through as satisfying to cook from (all the recipes I’ve tried are delicious). I interviewed Goldstein for The Norwegian American recently, and she agreed to share her recipe for these mussels with readers. I hope you’ll click on over to the paper’s website to check out the recipe along with my latest story.

Kvæfjordkake: Norway’s National Cake


If you’ve ever eaten a slice of Kvæfjordkake, you probably know that the cake pretty much speaks for itself. With its layers of buttery cake, delicate meringue, silky vanilla cream, and chopped almonds, it’s rich yet light, each bite almost like a cloud. Commonly known as verdens beste kake, or world’s best cake, it’s been named Norway’s National Cake, and it has a worldwide following along with official ambassadors. I had the opportunity to interview the cake’s U.S. ambassador, Mari-Ann Kind Jackson, recently and am sharing the story in the latest issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. Kvæfjordkake is a popular cake to serve on Syttende Mai–Norwegian Constitution Day–and if you’re looking for something celebratory to serve on May 17, let me point you over to my article, which features the recipe Jackson provided me. Also be sure to sign up for my newsletter for monthly Scandinavian food inspiration!




Click here for the recipe in the Norwegian American Weekly

Scandi-Style Salmon Burger in The Norwegian American

Scandi-Style Salmon Burger

A taste for the sea must run in my blood. Wild salmon grilled, cured, or smoked; oily silver-blue mackerel salted and grilled; humble cod, elegant with its understated opaque white flakes–these are foods my kitchen knows well. Most of the time I prefer fish cooked simply, brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt to accent the taste of its native waters. But every once in a while a recipe or idea comes along that warrants playing. Such is the case with the Scandi-style salmon burger I’m sharing today in the latest issue of The Norwegian American. This recipe is packed with the traditional Nordic flavors of salmon, dill, and rye, and its open format is a nod to the traditional Scandinavian smørbrød. Bright and flavorful, it’s a perfect transitional weather meal as we eagerly await the arrival of spring. Head over to the Norwegian American Weekly for the recipe.

Scandi-Style Salmon Burger Scandi-Style Salmon Burger

Norwegian Fluffy Sweet Omelet

Norwegian Fluffy Sweet Omelet

The holiday of the moment may be Valentine’s Day, but I’m popping in here for a moment to let you know that this Sunday is also Norwegian Mother’s Day. If you’re not already marking the occasion, why not surprise the mothers in your life by doing something special for them? I have just the recipe to help you out. This Norwegian Fluffy Sweet Omelet is an old-school and comforting, just the thing to serve for brunch. Head on over to The Norwegian American to read my latest story and get the recipe!

Norwegian Fluffy Sweet Omelet

Cardamom-scented Fastelavnsboller and other recently-published recipes

Fastelavnsboller - DSC_2615

A few weeks ago I pounded so much cardamom in the mortar and pestle that I must have sneezed about ten times in the half hour that followed, whispers of the spice hovering around me and clinging to my hair. I briefly worried that I might develop an allergy to this favorite Nordic flavor. (I’ve since bought myself a spice grinder.) In the weeks that have followed, I’ve managed to maintain a sense of hygge or koselig in my home with little more than the aroma of freshly-baked boller, sweet cardamom buns. I’m still working on recreating my grandma’s boller recipe, which many of you have been waiting for with anticipation, but I trust that these Fastelavnsboller will tide you over in the meantime.

Sweet cardamom-scented buns bursting with rich almond paste and a cloud of whipped cream, Fastelavnsboller are the Norwegian symbol that Lent is approaching–and spring along with it. (Those of you with Swedish backgrounds will know them as semlor.) Head on over to the Norwegian American Weekly for the story and the recipe.

Fastelavnsboller - DSC_2619

While I’m at it, let me point you to some of the other recipes I’ve featured in the NAW in recent months: Scandinavian pickled beets with star anise, my signature recipe for gløgg/glögg, lingonberry swirl brownies, author J. Ryan Stradal’s family recipe for potato patties, Viking Soul Food’s pickled eggs with black pepper mayonnaise and caviar, Bergen fish soup, and grilled salmon with lemon-horseradish cream. You’ll find many more great Scandinavian recipes over there, too, from the talented writers I’m so happy to have as part of my team.

To wrap up a bit of housekeeping, I’d also love to share with you my recent cover story for Edible Seattle, “Norwegian Christmas Cookies: a tradition of butter, time, and love.” The recipe was only in print until a few weeks ago, but now that it’s available online too, I hope you’ll file the article–and its accompanying recipes for serinakaker, sirupsnipper, and Berlinerkranser–away for next Christmas.

Thanks to all of you who share this passion for using food to connect with our heritage–no matter where we’re from, Norway or otherwise–and those we love. I always enjoy hearing from you, whether it’s to share your experience with one of my recipes or a story about one of your own favorite recipes and how it’s touched your life in some way. You can keep in touch here, and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. I especially hope you’ll sign up for my new Scandinavian food newsletter.

Until next time,


Fastelavnsboller - DSC_2641

News from the Norwegian American Weekly (plus Kaffefromasj)


We’ll get to the dessert in a moment. But first I can’t wait to announce that I’m the new food editor for the Norwegian American Weekly! Starting this week, I’ll be shaping the paper’s Taste of Norway section, sharing everything from traditional recipes and stories about the connection between food and heritage to interviews with chefs and features on modern Nordic cooking.

I’ve been contributing to the publication for a few years, and it’s exciting to now be able to take on this role. The paper has some great existing writers, and I’m also seeking new contributors. I’m looking forward to seeing the coverage unfold. But first, I’m settling in with kaffefromasj–basically a Norwegian coffee mousse. It’s no surprise that Norwegians–well, almost all Nordics–love their coffee, and this recipe celebrates that bold, bitter flavor with a creamy, not-too-sweet dessert.

Head over to the Norwegian American Weekly’s website (it’s subscription-based; subscribe here) for my first article as editor–and the recipe for kaffefromasj!


Norwegian Coffee Mousse (Kaffefromasj)
Visit the Norwegian American Weekly’s websit for the recipe



In Print: Orange Pound Cake with Wine-Poached Strawberries and Mascarpone

Orange Pound Cake with Wine-Poached Strawberries and Mascarpone

If you follow along on Instagram, this image might look familiar. I offered the sneak peak a couple of months ago when developing a recipe for my latest article in Costco Connection magazine. That article–Beyond the Bun: A Camper’s Guide to Outdoor Cuisine–is now in print, and I want to take a moment to share it with you today. It’s all about how to break away from the typical camping fare of hot dogs and burgers and to eat as well as you would at home, with just a little extra preparation before the trip. You can find the article–along with my recipe for Orange Pound Cake with Wine-Poached Strawberries and Mascarpone–in the May 2014 issue of Costco Connection. Enjoy!

New Article: How to Enjoy Brunost in Our Amazing Norway

Our Amazing Norway Brunost Article with Cover

One of my favorite things about being a food writer is sharing the ingredients, food ideas, and recipes I love with readers from all over. Growing up in a Norwegian-American family, I developed a taste for Norwegian goat cheese as a young child. Much different than the soft white goat cheese that’s more commonly known to Americans, the Norwegian variety–known as brunost, gjetost, or geitost, depending on region or the particular composition of the cheese–is mocha-colored and comes in a block that can be easily sliced, perfect for eating with a hearty bread or perhaps a traditional heart-shaped waffle.

I wrote an article for the latest issue of Our Amazing Norway that explains brunost and provides a number of ideas for how to serve it. Check out Our Amazing Norway’s website to find out how get a copy, and don’t forget to follow them on Facebook!

Our Amazing Norway Brunost Article Spread

Images provided by and used with permission from Our Amazing Norway.

My Syttende Mai Recipes in the Norwegian American Weekly

Cardamom Ice Cream with Norwegian Chocolate Chunks

One of the best parts of being a recipe developer is coming up with ideas for foods that I would enjoy eating–and then having an excuse to try making them. Thanks to the Norwegian American Weekly, for which I am a contributing editor, I have a batch of lusciously smooth cardamom ice cream with Norwegian chocolate chunks in my freezer right now. Scented with the warm, woodsy notes of cardamom and a hint of vanilla, the custard is deceptively rich despite its low milk-to-cream ratio. The recipe is for the paper’s Syttende Mai issue, which is out today. Ice cream and hot dogs are common fare for Norwegian Constitution Day, so my latest story in the paper features recipes for both. I hope you’ll check it out and give the Syttende Mai recipes a try! Click here to read “Feast for a fest: 17. mai treats: A gourmet twist on the traditional 17. mai fare from Outside Oslo.”

Pølse med lefse

Published: Creating the Family Cookbook in Costco Connection

Family Cookbook Article in Costco Connection

When it comes to creating a family cookbook, there are so many things to consider: how many recipes to include and what format it should take are just two of them. My mom and I are in the process of creating our own family cookbook, and so when an editor at Costco Connection asked me to write a story on the topic, I jumped at the opportunity. That article is published in the April 2013 issue, and if you happen to be a Costco member, you’ll find it on page 49. For the rest of you, you can read “Creating the Family Cookbook: How to Preserve Your Family’s History–One Recipe at a Time” in the online edition. You’ll find great tips and inspiration in the interviews with Dianne Jacob, author of Will Write For Food (a must-read for anyone interested in any type of food writing); Alice Currah, author of Savory Sweet Life and a blog by the same name; Terry Guzman, author of a self-published family cookbook called What Can I Get You; and Elise Bauer of SimplyRecipes.com. The article includes three recipes, including my Grandma Adeline’s peanut bars, which she’s been making since the middle of the last century when she baked them for a restaurant. I grew up eating these sweet and nutty confections, and I trust that you’ll love them as much as I do.

This article epitomizes the current phase of my career, a time in which I get to have my “dream job.” When I started my career as a journalist fresh out of college, I envisioned a future of covering the news, eventually moving from my role as a writer and producer to becoming an anchor and reporter. Little did I know that I would eventually find my ideal outside of the newsroom and in my own home. Since leaving the traditional working world in 2011, I’ve begun freelancing more and more, transitioning from general news and features to writing about topics I’m passionate about: primarily food, Scandinavian cuisine, and parenting.

Check out the article! I hope that you enjoy it and that if you’re working on your own family cookbook, that you find it helpful and inspiring.

Image used with permission from Alice Currah.