Sunday, December 27, 2009

Julbord i Clintondale or Honey is there a zebra in the closet?

We try to mix the best of both worlds (Swedish and American) around Christmas. We open presents on Christmas day morning according to American traditions (in Sweden we do it Christmas eve) but the food is Swedish ALL THE WAY. Julbord means Christmas buffet and here are a few highlights. Missing are things like 7 different kinds of herring and julmust (christmas soda) but you take what you have. 

Gravlax - Cured Salmon

My dad is the gravlax master, it's consistently the consistency of BUTTER, so following that tradition I decided to go ahead and cure my own this christmas. Just mix 2 table spoons of salt with a little less sugar and 1 table spoon crushed white pepper. Rub it all over the meat side of the salmon, leaving the skin on. Cover with fresh cut dill. Cut the filet in half and place the meat sides together. Wrap in a foil packet and stick it in the fridge for about 30 hours, longer is better. My sister says people are doing it with pine tree branches these days and I 'm ready to experiment. We serve the salmon with Hovmästarsås:

9 tablespoons of light olive oil
3 tablespoons of white vinegar
2-3 tablespoons of sharp mustard
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/4 sugar
fresh cut dill

Serve with lemon

Jansson's Frestelse - Jansson's Temptation

Slice potatoes in sticks and layer in a pan with chopped onions, sliced butter, minced anchovy filets (I ended up using about 5 small filets) and salt and pepper. Put in the oven at 450 degress for about 45 minutes. Cover if needed.

There have to be meatballs and prince sausages on the julbord, doesn't matter if they are dad's old trusties or from a bag from IKEA.

James' deviled eggs. 

And yes - food has EVERYTHING to do with it. Christmas that is. And then cartoons - lots of cartoons.

Our water issue turned out to be of a slightly different nature than we thought. In our state of denial we didn't see the big area by the cottage that was completely without snow. And also the fact that there was a small river flowing next to the cottage. All collecting in the puddle behind the house which we thought was directly from the leak. Scott figured it out and brought his digger. James and Scott then dug up the water line that feeds the cottage from the main house.

The pipe had not busted due to freezing, the pipes are buried well below the freezing line. Instead someone had done a crappy job of connecting 2 pipes a long time ago and it was that joint that finally gave out. A quick patch job and the cottage had water again. Scott says everything underneath the cottage should be well protected from the cold. Some insulation on a few pipes and good as new. He also pointed out a few ways for us to save a buck this winter... We are now hard at work weather proofing doors and windows. Foam edges on doors and plastic wrap over the basement windows for instance. And of course the little oxygen tent for Furnace Von Frankenstein. We want to turn into energy and money saving fools!!! 

And here is the next step:

En ny kaminman är född. A wood junkie is born. This is a 5th of a cord and should last us a good while but James already wants more... We are very interested in putting an insert into our fireplace to actually make it generate heat. Right now it's just for that special romantic atmosphere but if you want to use it for warmth you pretty much have to sit inside of it.

Other house plans during this vacation is to finish painting the living room to get ready for a floor sand and a couch. I made myself a little desk in the bay window and I think that's where I will spend most of my days finishing 3 screenplays and watching Hulu... James is hard at work in the upstairs bedroom which has become his temporary studio, figuring out new software and playing music. And then we take breaks and watch lots and lots of awesome movies. It's all very very very good.

James gave me little planters for christmas, and me - normally such a patient person, just ask my mom and dad... CAN'T WAIT for my herbs to grow. I have no idea what shade of green my thumb is so here we go, we'll soon find out.

And yes honey, there is a zebra in the closet.

So one last time - until next year - Merry Fishmas and a guppy new year.


  1. Gosh, what a blogging frenzy!!! You need to stay home more often ... ;-)

    I love the name Hovmästarsås, I assume that means Hofmeistersosse in German.

    I wish, I could put a positive ring to "Welcome to home ownership", but it never sounds that way. I'm terribly sorry about your cottage water problem, but think of it this way: Maybe the digging up the yard is going to kill the knotweed.

    You've got to show us the Zebra, next time E! and I are around.

  2. Tack för uppdatering och härliga bilder! Ni verkar ha ett perfekt "jullov" och gör sådant som man ska göra. Det är bra här också. Jag laddar för en bloggning under dagen. Puss o kram

  3. Tjenis! Ja det verkar bli USA för päronen i april (och Spanien i november). Vi siktar fortfarande på sommaren och vi pratar om det som en bestämd plan. Vi måste dock vänta in besked om Gs semesterveckor. Sådant bestämmer man inte själv i bussvärlden. Så fort vi får veta så ska vi leta biljetter. Det kan bli i mars-april. Typ. Vi restränar med lite Norrland över nyår och Helsingfors sista januari. Vi vet ännu ingenting om det blir nån skidresa över påsk eller så. Däremot har vi nog bestämt att inte fira mina 40 år i mars utan till sommaren. Då är möjligheten att ställa till med ett STORT kalas mycket bättre. Vi kan vara ute eller i... garaget! G fyller ju 45 den 23 juni och vi kanske slår ihop det. Runt midsommar således. Hoppas det inte krockar med hans semester för då ska vi ju komma till er. Jaja, vi avvaktar. Tack för FIN kalender!!! Den står framme i köket i väntan på den perfekta platsen. Nu ska jag fortsätta packa. Imorgon bitti, ASAP, drar vi mot Norrland. Hoppas ni får en kul nyårsfest! Kram!