Q. You write about foods from many countries. We are from Minnesota, where the Scandinavians have holiday traditions like lutefisk and lefse plus Swedish meatballs. Would you know someone who can help us with recipes now that we live in Hollywood?
I hope to never taste lutefisk again (for the uninitiated, it is salt cod cured in lye). As to lefse, which I’d describe as looking like a tortilla but made with mashed potatoes, I’ve never been able to make a recipe work. But I’d be happy to pass along recipes from others.
I do have a recipe for Swedish meatballs that I am happy to share, from my mother-in-law’s recipe box. Her Swedish ancestors settled in St. Peter, Minn., more than 100 years ago. You can it serve as an appetizer or with mashed potatoes or buttered egg noodles as a main dish.
A key ingredient is lingonberry jam, which adds both sweetness and tartness, but in 19th century Minnesota, wild choke cherry was used. If you can’t find lingonberry (available at IKEA), I have used anything from cranberry sauce to guava jelly with good results, though the gravy can turn a rosy shade instead of light tan.
Q. The mussels at Trattoria Il Migliore in Aventura are the best I’ve ever eaten, in a spicy sauce so good you’ll fight over the last piece of bread when you share. Can you get the recipe?
The sauce that envelops these mussels is indeed a fiery treat, with a saffron-infused broth and kick of smoky chorizo. Don’t let the length of the recipe scare you — you can shortcut by substituting a good quality store-bought sofrito. I didn’t roast the tomatoes either — just substituted some good canned ones.
Marion D’Laurenti asked for a fruitcake cookie recipe lost from her files. “This recipe is both easy to make and good to eat,” said Deborah Goldfried of Hollywood. Thanks also to K. McMillan and to Brenda Estes, who suggested recipes that can be found via an online search for “English rocks.”
Martha Kent writes: “I’m responding to your column regarding paprika. Thought you and your readers should be aware of a terrific new spice shop in South Miami, Spice Galore. It is a delightful store. ”
The shop, at 6010 S. Dixie Hwy., carries six types of paprika and does mail-order as well from its website, spicegalore.com.