Reader Anna Louise Fulks writes to ask: “I was wondering if you would ever do a column about Scandinavian cooking, especially as it relates to Christmas. Kringle cookies are well known, as well as roast pork stuffed with prunes and served with red cabbage and boiled potatoes that’s popular in Norwegian homes on Christmas Eve. Creamy rice pudding served with a red sauce is usually the dessert, although in the Norwegian household there is also the Princess cake.
“Since Miami is home to a couple of major cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean and Norwegian, with many of the captains, their families plus employees being of Scandinavian heritage, I thought it would be nice to have something in your cooking section of the Miami Herald honoring our Scandinavian neighbors.”
A. I love exploring traditions, and so asked Fulks to share one of her Scandinavian Christmas recipes. She makes Swedish tea rings and kringle cookies, but I tried this Norwegian recipe for a cardamom-scented fruit bread. The recipes have been adapted over the years, but the inspiration was a cookbook she received the Christmas of 1960, by the Culinary Arts Institute of Chicago.
Fulks says she prefers making her own ground cardamom: “It’s worth the effort in taste and freshness using the pods and crushing the meat with your rolling pin.” The bread is wonderful toasted and lightly buttered. I like it — and I am not usually a fan of candied fruit.
Q. Just discovered a new Peruvian restaurant in Kendall, Pisco y Nazca, and would love to make the stir-fry beef tenderloin at home. Can you get the recipe?
A. Once you’ve tasted Lomo Saltado you’ll understand why every Peruvian cook has a version. After all, with typical ingredients of beef tenderloin, onions, tomato, garlic and ginger you truly can’t go wrong. I participated in an online cooking class with Peruvian chef Diego Oka recently, and he said Lomo Saltado is the ultimate Peruvian comfort food.
He also stresses, as does Pisco y Nazca chef Miguel Gomez-Fernandez, that you must use high heat and stir-fry the ingredients for as little time as possible. You want a caramelized sear so the saltado is juicy, the onions still have bite. If it takes more than 2 minutes, you’ve overcooked. So make sure you have all your ingredients prepped and at hand before you start.
Orange Bowl Cookies
Allen Susser, one of the chefs credited with bringing South Florida’s unique blend of tropical ingredients and Caribbean cooking into the spotlight with his fabled restaurant Chef Allen, created this bar cookie recipe with Tropicana for the Orange Bowl next week.
Whether you’re tailgating at the game or simply watching Clemson and Oklahoma on TV, it’s a delicious, healthy and easy power snack. The punch of the chipotle takes these oatmeal bars to a whole new level.
Linda Cicero: @TasteMemories. Write to Cook’s Corner at Food, Miami Herald, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172.
Chef Allen’s Spiced Chocolate Orange Oatmeal Bars
Recipe by chef Allen Susser.
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned or quick oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon chipotle chile
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1/3 cup dried apricots, diced
1/3 cup raisins
1 1/4 cups orange juice
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix the oats, walnuts, salt, cinnamon, chipotle chile, cocoa, orange zest, apricots and raisins in a large bowl. Stir in the orange juice and honey and let stand 15 minutes. Fold in the chocolate chips. Spread the batter evenly onto the baking sheet (it should be ½ inch to ¾ inch high). Bake 20 to 25 minutes. Cut into equal-size squares.
Yield: 12 servings
Pisco y Nazca’s Lomo Saltado
Adapted from a recipe by chef Miguel Gomez-Fernandez.
1/4 cup canola oil
8 ounces beef tenderloin, cut in 1-by-2-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 red onion, sliced 1/2-inch thick and separated into pieces
1/2 finely chopped garlic clove
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
1 medium tomato, cut in 8 wedges
3 ounces soy sauce
1 ounce white vinegar
1 1/2 ounces beef stock
Cilantro leaves to taste, chopped
1 to 2 green onions, chopped
Heat a wok or sauté pan until very hot. Add the oil, tilt to coat the pan, and when it is hot but not smoking add the beef and sear until golden brown — if the pan and oil are hot enough this will take about 30 seconds. Remove the beef from the pan and season with salt and pepper. Add the onions and ginger to the same pan and sauté for 30 seconds, just until the onions start to color on the edges. Return the beef to the pan with the tomatoes. Stir-fry a few seconds. Add the soy sauce, vinegar and beef stock and let reduce briefly. Stir in a tablespoon of unsalted butter. Remove from heat and scatter the cilantro and green onions on top. Serve with French fries on top and a side of cooked rice.
Yield: 2 servings
Norwegian Christmas Bread
Recipe adapted by Anna Louise Fulks from a vintage cookbook. She prefers grinding her own cardamom (10 to 15 pods) for best flavor, but it’s OK from a fresh jar.
2 cakes yeast, or 4 1/2 teaspoons (2 envelopes) dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
2 cups whole milk
1 cup shortening
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, well-beaten
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom, approximately 10-15 opened pods
7 cups all-purpose sifted flour
1/4 cups each dark and light seedless raisins
8 ounces candied citron, diced
4 ounces candied orange peel, diced
8 ounces (226.8 grams) Old English fruit and peel mix
Soften yeast in lukewarm water.
Scald and cool milk. Cream shortening, sugar and salt together; add beaten eggs and ground cardamom. To lukewarm milk add softened yeast (if using dry yeast, mix in and let it become bubbly) and then 3 cups of the flour; beating until smooth. Add creamed mixture and remaining flour. Mix until smooth, adding more flour if necessary. Add fruit, sprinkled with flour. Knead dough for approximately 10 minutes until fruit is incorporated and dough is satin in look, adding more flour if necessary.
Let dough rise covered with cloth until doubled in bulk in greased bowl. Punch down and turn dough onto floured board, divide into 2 portions and shape into loaves. Place in greased bread pans and let rise covered with cloth until doubled in bulk. (Note: You can also bake these in rounds if you don’t have loaf pans. Also, I found I had too much dough to fit comfortably in my standard 8-inch loaf pans. Fulks uses a larger loaf pan. If your loaf pans are small you can make 3 loaves or bake any extra dough shaped into a round on a cookie sheet or in a pie plate.) Bake in 350-degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes, until bread is golden.
Yield: 2 large loaves, 24 servings