Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Kurkkusalaatti - Cucumber Salad

Is everyone "detoxing" today from all their Christmas feasts? We had a wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with some Finnish favorites, and also some non-Scandinavian treats too.

One of the things that I made for our Christmas Eve buffet was Kurkkusalaatti or Cucumber Salad. This was a recipe from Beatrice Ojakangas "The Finnish Cookbook" and was highly recommended by my family friend's daughter, Lisa. We decided that it would be a nice refreshing counterpoint to the Swedish meatballs, smoked salmon, and Italian antipasti. And so it was!

As a side note, since it is the middle of winter in New England, it is difficult to find fresh dill. However, I think that the fresh herb would have made the salad even better.

Kurkkusalaatti - Cucumber Salad
Serves about six. Make this salad two hours before you plan to serve it to allow the flavors to blend.

4 medium cucmbers, peeled and thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh or dried dill
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons salad oil

Toss the cucumber slices with the dill. Arrange the cucumber in a chilled glass bowl. Mix the vinegar, water, sugar, salt and salad oil and pour over the cucumber slices. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Warm Wishes for the Winter Solstice

Dear reader, it seems like ages since I last posted. I returned from Italy last weekend to find a winter wonderland here at my home. Here is a photo of my barn taken this morning -- I thought it looked lovely and peaceful -- how I imagine the Finnish countryside in winter must look.

It is the Winter Solstice -- the shortest day of the year. And I imagine that there are places in Finland where the days are very short indeed, if the light dawns at all! However, it gives me hope to think that from now until June, the light each day will be getting a little bit longer.

I think that my ambitions for trying many new Finnish recipes for Christmas were just that -- ambitions and perhaps overly ambitious at that. Tomorrow, I will be baking Nisu -- however, you have already heard about my adventures in that department. As part of our Christmas Eve dinner, we plan to make a Finnish cucumber salad (Kurkkusalaati). However, the rest of my time has been absorbed with our family traditional recipes, which are not Finnish in origin -- cranberry bread, Spritz cookies, "black bottom" cupcakes.

Peace to all in these days of the Solstice and Advent. I leave you with a picture of our pine grove in the snow. In ancient Rome, the evergreen was considered a symbol of the Solstice, and still today we see sign of never-ending life in the pine