A Swede Tradition

It's a running joke in my family whether the Norwegians or the Swedes are better. Considering we are all a mixture of both, it doesn't really matter. But the Swedes definitely take the cake in the pancake territory (pun intended). Of course Norwegians have kransekake, krumkake, and lefse, but nothing is quite like the perfection that is the swedish pancake. They may look a lot like crepes, and the recipe might even be very similar, but to us they are far superior. In fact, we'll drive halfway across the state just for a taste! My grandparents have been making these pancakes for years, my aunt served them up to me and my sisters during our college days, and even today they'll show up on the menu whenever family gets together. So I thought it was high time I try whippin up these puppies for myself (well, not just myself, I decided it'd be nice to share).

Turns out I had quite the marathon Swedish-pancake night! Evan and I invited our friends Marit and Tim over for dinner. But my sister Sarah, who is at St. Olaf College not too far away, is a die-hard Swedish pancake fan (who isn't?) so once she heard we'd have some batter on our hands, she decided to stop by as well. You know, for a test run. And she brought her boyfriend, Caleb, along. Then just two weeks later there was another swedish pancakes gathering (yea, we sound like a cult) at my aunt's house just north of the cities. The Sykoras drove out from Rapid City, SD (Ok, not just for the pancakes - Anna had a volleyball tourney), more cousins drove down from Concordia college, and Sarah and I drove up from Minneap. and Northfield. We just can't get enough of our sweet Swede family tradition!

Interested in making some of your own pancakes? Follow the recipe card at the top of this post and cook 'em up in a pan on the stove. Cast iron is preferable but we've used regular pans in a pinch. Just grease it lightly with olive oil before starting (just on a paper towel). The key is to get them really thin! And you'll need a long, thin spatula like this. We went on a wild goose-chase one night to track one down. Ended up finding one in the frosting aisle of a kitchen specialty store.

I put a little video together so you can see our pancake making and flipping technique.

Here's to family, friends, and all our swedish pancake memories, and many more to come!

What recipes are near and dear to your family? Feel free to leave a comment or link to your blog as I always love trying out new recipes!

Wanna see what else we've been enjoying in the Pierson kitchen? Check out our recipes here.

C is for Chocolate

Nothing says *love* like a bowl of gooey chocolate. Right? Well ok. Maybe gooey doesn't exactly scream romantic, and I typically roll my eyes at cliché's, especially ones about love and chocolate around Valentine's Day. You see, I don't usually buy into all of the commercialized Valentine's Day "stuff", but I do enjoy spending the day with people I love, celebrating love in general (not just romantic love, but love for family, friends, and life), and I do love chocolate, so the added tradition of whipping up something wonderful and chocolate-y for dessert works out well (like you need an excuse to do that!). So without further ado, let me introduce you to my new true love favorite dessert: 

Molten Chocolate Lava Cake

Oops, looks like someone was too excited to dig in to snap a photo first!

Luckily, I had some extras set aside to indulge in on Feb. 15, 16, and 17th ... 
Yea, I know, this photo isn't spectacular without the dollop of whipped cream on top. And you have to just imagine the chocolate "lava" inside. Thankfully my sister Kirsten, who shared this wonderful recipe with me, was on her A-game the night she served these lava cakes up to some dinner guests and snapped a before photo that gives the cake justice. (Although I believe Scott, her boyfriend, was the chef behind these beauties?)

And now for the goods ... the recipe!

Molten Chocolate Lava Cake

Serves 6, Prep Time: 15 minutes, Total Time: 40 minutes

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temp, plus more for muffin tins
1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for muffin tins
3 large eggs
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 teaspoon salt
8 ounces melted bittersweet chocolate, melted (we used Baker's Semi-Sweet baking chocolate squares and melted it in the microwave)
Confectioners sugar, for dusting
Whipped cream, for serving (optional) or vanilla ice cream

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Generously butter 6 cups of a standard muffin tin. Dust with granulated sugar, and tap out excess. Set aside. (or we just sprayed 6 little ramekins and left out the sugar dusting since we ate right out of the tins)

2. In a bowl (stand mixer or hand mixer) cream the butter and granulated sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. With the mixer on low, beat in the flour and salt until just combined (I always cut back on salt). Beat in the chocolate (do not over-mix). Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups.

3. Place the muffin tin (or little ramekins) on a baking sheet; bake just until the tops of the cakes no longer jiggle when the pan is lightly shaken, 12 to 14 minutes. Remove from the oven; let stand for 10 minutes.

4. To serve, turn the cakes, and place on serving plates, top sides up. (Or we just ate right out of the ramekins). Dust with confectioners sugar and serve with whipped cream, if desired. Evan likes his lava cakes with vanilla ice cream to tone down the chocolate intensity. I'm not a huge fan of mixing hot and cold together (hurts my teeth!) so I prefer the whipped cream.

See what we were up to last Valentine's Day weekend! Hint: replace a mountain of chocolate with a mountain of snow ...  ; )

Let there be Light

... Yea, that's not my kitchen. But a girl can dream, right?

I think it's pretty fair to say that I am less than in love with our kitchen. Awkward layout? Check. Odd jutting-out counter in front of the stove? Check. Smelly cupboards? Yup. Dim lighting? You betcha. For the past 1.5 years Evan and I have chopped many a veggie, washed many a dish, and fried many a fish with the dim lighting typically reserved for a date night. But romantic hide-all-imperfections lighting isn't exactly what you're going for in the kitchen. It'll result in many can-you-tell-if-the-chicken's-done and is-this-skillet-really-clean moments, let me tell you. Let's take a gander for a moment:

Not quite your dream dishwashing spot, is it? This is with the overhead light ON. Sorry for the blurriness. Apparently it's too dark for picture taking too (in fact, to capture most of my food photos - like the ones found in these recipes - I've had to drag in a lamp from another room).

Although Evan and I had grown accustomed to using our "night-vision" in our kitchen cove, we realized we needed a lighting upgrade this past Thanksgiving when we had eight of us together in that tiny dim-witted-litted kitchen preparing our turkey dinner. It was clear, something had to be done. But since we didn't really want to tackle the ceiling lighting at the moment since that was posing a whole new set of problems (more on that some other time), I didn't think we'd find a simple solution any time soon.

The following week when I returned from my education class around 10pm this is what the kitchen looked like:

My parents (yes, they stuck around for a while, which we loved!) and Evan were up to something ...

... that involved sticking metal pieces into outlets?

They were installing a light above the sink! When we moved in to the house there happened to be a broken light fixture dangling above the sink from that oddly placed outlet (although it wasn't an outlet at the time). It looked like a fire hazard so we trashed the light fixture, taped and capped off the wires, shoved them all back in the wall, and closed it off with a nice solid plate. But sometime on that November night, the Evan and Pearson-parents trio realized we could utilize that outlet without creating a fire hazard if we mounted a non-obtrusive light under the cupboards (as opposed to dangling dangerously near the sink from the wall). All they had to do (after turning off the power, of course) was take off the plate cover, uncoil the wires, take off the end caps and tape, and connect the wires to a new outlet! I'm always nervous messing with wires and electricity, but to scientists Pearson and Pierson (one physicist, the other chemistry teacher) it was quite the fun project. I think the hardest part was shoving all the wires back in the wall within the new outlet box, which proved to be quite a tight squeeze. I believe that's where the photo above comes in, of them filing out the metal box to make room for the wires.

Now we have this handy dandy light under the cupboard that we can flip on and off when we please. Granted, if you peer under the cupboard it doesn't look the most attractive, but thankfully we're pretty tall and can pretend we have professional recessed lighting under our cabinets. We just screwed the light strip in place, tacked the cord up there with some little wire-clamp nails and plugged it in to the new outlet! Ideally we'd renovate the whole kitchen with brand-spankin-new lighting, but this works for now and was super affordable.

And we're thrilled we now have an additional outlet in the kitchen! Before we were struggling to function with just one, which proves to be a bit of a challenge when you have a portable dishwasher that needs to be plugged in AND situated next to the sink. So for us, this little installation was a big upgrade that gave us a ton more function in our little kitchen.

Curious about the random rope lighting under there? That was our first attempt to brighten the kitchen. It actually does have a nice effect and works well when all you have to do is pour some wine and slice some cheese, but it just doesn't quite cut it when you are engaged in some serious dish cleaning or dinner prep.

Here it is, in all its glory - our new outlet:
See? Looks pretty clean and seamless from standing height. (Just ignore the soup pot in the sink!) We can live with a little white cord dangling down if it means we turn this:

into this:

and our soup-pot washing goes from this:

to this:
Notice how you can actually see the bottom of the pot?!

I'm thoroughly enjoying basking in the sun cooking and cleaning in the light. I'd say this late-night electrical project was quite the success and perhaps Evan and my parents should spring more random home improvement projects on me at 10pm!

We moved into our 1950s house July '09 and have already had a whole heap of adventures fixing it up. Click here to read about our home improvement projects -- and check back often for there's always more to come!

Beautiful kitchen photo taken from here, originally from House Beautiful.

Follow @ Instagram

Back to Top