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September 22, 2021

7/9/2021 11:35:00 AM
For KO Days, everyone is a Swede!

It’s time to perfect your “välkommen” and “tack så mycket”, Karl Oskar Days is starting this week!

The town’s annual celebration has been near and dear to my heart for over a decade now. I’ve covered a bunch of Loppets, and car shows and basketball tournaments and parades during the early July festivities, plus a few too many street dances (that may or may not be a little bit fuzzy) and it’s always a great time to see smiling faces and locals having fun.

I am especially excited this year since we missed out on everything last year!

I’ve gathered my best Swedish recipes in this week’s column, and no they don’t include Swedish Fish, although those are delightful. I’ll be honest, my best Swedish recipes are pretty much my only Swedish recipes as it’s not a common fare in the Norton household. But, the few things I do make are pretty dang good!

The first is of course Swedish Meatballs. These are the most popular Americanized Swedish recipe. Although traditional Swedes don’t typically use the gravy, as it’s served just meatballs over noodles with various lighter toppings than a creamy gravy.

These aren’t the easiest to make, but no homemade meatballs are. If you want to buy pre-cooked meatballs, you certainly can and just make the gravy with egg noodles.

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2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 onion, diced
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1/2 c. bread crumbs
2 large egg yolks
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/4 c. unsalted butter
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
4 c. beef broth
3/4 c. sour cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine ground beef, ground pork, Panko, egg yolks, allspice, nutmeg and cooked onion; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Using a wooden spoon or clean hands, stir until well combined. Roll the mixture into 1 1/4-to-1 1/2-inch meatballs, forming about 24 meatballs.
Add remaining one tablespoon olive oil to the skillet. Add meatballs, in batches, and cook until all sides are browned, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

To make the gravy, melt butter in the skillet. Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about one minute. Gradually whisk in beef broth and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about one to two minutes. Stir in sour cream; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Stir in meatballs and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through and thickened, about 8-10 minutes.

Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.

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Local cooking/baking extraordinaire Craig Stockel introduced me to this recipe a few years back. As he is wont to do, he brought a loaf of Swedish Almond Cake in to the Press office to share with us and I fell in love with the light, springy cake.

I immediately bought an Almond Cake pan and made my own for many holiday parties!

1/2 c. butter (1 stick)
1 c. sugar
1 egg
2/3 c. milk
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 c. flour

Optional toppings:
Powdered sugar
Slivered almonds

This cake is traditionally made in an Almond Cake Loaf Pan (shown here). If you don't have one you can double the recipe and bake it in a bundt cake pan instead.
Whichever pan you are using prepare it by coating the pan with cooking spray and preheat the oven to 350 F.

Melt butter in the microwave. Beat together sugar, milk, egg, and almond extract.

Stir the baking powder and flour into the milk mixture. Mix in melted butter until thoroughly combined. Fill the prepared pan with cake batter.
Bake the cake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Set the cake pan on a rack to completely cool. Do not try to remove the cake while it is warm as it might crack. When cooled, place pan upside down and tap. Sides can be loosened with a silicone or wooden tool. Don't use metal since it can scratch the pan.

Decorate the cake by sprinkling powdered sugar on top along with slivered almonds. You could also top it with fresh berries, sprinkles, whipped cream or ice cream.

A single loaf should get eight to 10 slices out of it.

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This breakfast fare is very similar to crepes, and it’s absolutely delightful. It’s sweet with the whipped topping and fruit on it though, so despite how good they are, you can’t eat too many at breakfast!
2 c. milk
4 eggs
1 tbsp. canola oil
1-1/2 c. all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
Lingonberries or raspberries
Seedless raspberry jam or fruit spread, warmed
Whipped topping

In a blender, combine the first six ingredients. Cover and process until blended. Heat a lightly greased 8-in. nonstick skillet; pour 1/4 cup batter into center. Lift and tilt pan to evenly coat bottom. Cook until top appears dry; turn and cook 15-20 seconds longer.

Repeat with remaining batter, adding oil to skillet as needed. Stack pancakes with waxed paper or paper towels in between. Reheat in the microwave if desired.

Fold pancakes into quarters; serve with berries, raspberry jam and whipped topping. Makes 8-10 pancakes.

TFD: Whether you’re a spectator, a volunteer, a competitor, a parade-goer, a vendor, an ambassador candidate or the Grand Marshal himself (Congrats Dave Waldoch!) have a great Karl Oskar Days, and enjoy the weekend!

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