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Archive for June 6, 2013

FOOD HOLIDAY: Smorgasbord Buffet For A Midsummer Feast

In Sweden, Midsummer marks the start of summer holidays. Midsummer Eve is always the Friday in the middle of the month. People head to the country to be close to nature, enjoy a delicious smorgasbord with beer and aquavit (no wine!), and be with family and friends.

If you’ve seen Ingmar Bergman’s Smiles of a Summer Night, or Woody Allen’s parody of it, A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy, you get the drift.

Celebrants pick wildflowers to weave into wreaths, set up the maypole and outdoor dance floors. Midsummer is supposed to be a magical time for love. But we’d like to focus on that big table laden with food, the smörgåsbord.

Swedish retailer IKEA has an annual Midsummer Smörgåsbord; you can purchase tickets for the 6/14 event at the store. They sell out, so do it in advance—$12.99, for adults, $4.99 for kids. Details at


Pickled herring canapés on pumpernickel bread with gherkins. Photo by Marta Sobo | SXC.

While IKEA offers food only (no dancing, no chasing your romantic interest through the woods), the menu is impressive. Why not adapt it to your own Midsummer Eve’s feast? Make selections from Ikea’s list, or whip up your own favorites:


  • Gravlax with mustard sauce
  • Herring, in assorted preparations
  • Hard boiled eggs with shrimp
  • Meatballs with lingonberries
  • Prinskorv sausage, a type of Vienna sausage, sautéed
  • Smoked salmon with horseradish sauce
  • Swedish ham served cold with mustard
  • Whole poached salmon

    Swedish meatballs. Here’s a recipe from
    Betty Crocker.



  • Cucumber salad
  • Green salad
  • Other favorite salads

  • Boiled dill potatoes
  • Assorted Swedish cheeses (Herrgardsost, the most popular cheese in Sweden, Hushallsost is Swedish farmer’s cheese)
  • Crispbread, thin bread, dinner rolls


  • Assorted desserts—cakes, cookies, Swedish pancakes with lingonberry jam and whipped cream
  • Ice cream
  • Coffee, tea
  • Strawberries and whipped cream

    While you may not have an inventory of Swedish music, ABBA always works for us!


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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Gourmet Condiments

    Today’s tip comes from McCormick, and it illustrates how easy it is to make gourmet condiments in your kitchen. Just open the bottle of mayonnaise, mustard or ketchup and add herbs and spices.

    Use the recipes below on burgers, grilled chicken, hot dogs and brats, sandwiches/wraps and anything requiring some condiment verve.

    Just combine the ingredients and whisk thoroughly to blend. Letting them sit in the fridge for a half hour or longer allows the flavors to meld.


  • Southwest Mayo: 1/2 cup mayo, 1-2 tablespoons lime juice, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Smokehouse Maple Mayo: 1/2 cup mayo, 1 teaspoon Grill Mates Smokehouse Maple Seasoning
  • Lemony Herb Mayo: 1/2 cup mayo, 1 teaspoon basil, 1/2 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

    We mixed ketchup with salsa: What a great idea! Photo courtesy

  • Customize Your Own Mayo: 1/2 cup mayo plus 1/2 teaspoon of two of your favorite herbs and/or spices; adjust seasonings to taste

  • Honey Mustard: 1/2 cup mayo, 2 tablespoons ground mustard, 2 tablespoons honey, 1 tablespoon water (NOTE: This is McCormick’s recipe; we simply blend honey into Dijon mustard)
  • Herbed Mustard: 1/2 cup Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon dill weed
  • Worcestershire Pub Mustard: 1/2 cup Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon McCormick Grill Mates Worcestershire Pub burger seasoning
  • Customize Your Own Mustard: 1/2 cup mustard plus 1/2 teaspoon of two of your favorite herbs and/or spices; adjust seasonings to taste

    We mixed mustard with sauerkraut to create a
    tangy, textured mustard for pork chops. Photo
    courtesy National Pork Board.



  • Asian Spiced Ketchup: 1 cup ketchup, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Cajun Spiced Ketchup: 1 cup ketchup, 1 tablespoon McCormick Perfect Pinch Cajun Seasoning
  • Curry Ketchup: 1 cup ketchup, 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • Horseradish Ketchup: 1 cup ketchup, 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish, optional 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Customize Your Own Ketchup: 1 cup ketchup plus a total of 2 teaspoons of your your favorite herbs and/or spices; adjust seasonings to taste


    A condiment is a food product used add flavor to another food. Hot sauce, ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, salad dressing, relish, syrups and vinegar, among many others, are condiments.

    The word is first found in print in late Middle English, in the period of 1400–1450, derived from Middle French. The French took it from the Latin condimentum, meaning spice, seasoning or salt, and the verb condire, to preserve, pickle or season.

    There is disagreement as to what constitutes a condiment. Some say that salt and spices are condiments; others say that a condiment must be more complicated and moist—i.e, with some liquid in its make-up.

    Formal sauces belong in the sauce category; they are not condiments. Thus, while a mayonnaise dip for asparagus is a condiment, hollandaise sauce on the asparagus is not.

    Relish is a condiment; pickles are not (they’re vegetables, which happen to be preserved). If you‘re not sure if something is a condiment or belongs in another category, bring the debate to the dinner table. You’ll have fun working it out.


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