Beatrice Ojakangas

Recipes from the Scandinavian Chef

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Location: Duluth, Minnesota, United States


Holiday Recipes


Holidays, for many people are laced with a web of memories, and these memories center on “together” times, be they a cookie making session, a coffee party, a family gathering, or just a get-together of friends.

Here, four special friends share their own favorite holiday recipes, each one is connected to family or friends in a special way. I offer, also, my family’s favorite memory.

Kathryn Martin, UMD Chancellor, shares the recipe from her Dutch grandmother. Kathryn writes: “My grandparents, Katrina and John VanZutphen moved to the United States shortly after the First World War, settling first in Kimberly then Little Chute, Wisconsin which was home to a significant number of immigrants from the Netherlands. My grandfather worked in a tannery and my grandmother ran a rooming house, both in an effort to save money to buy their dairy farm in Stanley, Wisconsin. Every Friday my grandmother baked fresh cookies, fresh bread and a variety of kinds of cakes and pies. But only at Christmas time did we have “Grandma Van’s Refrigerator Cookies”. Christmas for me is not complete without my Grandma VanZutphen’s Refrigerator Cookies, both as a recollection of wonderful family events, but also for my memories of helping her and my mother stir the dough and make the cookies.”

Grandma Van’s Refrigerator Cookies

1 cup butter

1 cup lard (can substitute Crisco, but do not substitute butter for this)

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

5 cups all-purpose flour

Melt the butter and lard together. Add soda to the melted mixture and add the remaining ingredients in the order given. Form dough into sticks, either round or rectangular. (I usually make rectangular blocks about 2 inches high by 2 ½ inches wide). Wrap and chill overnight. Slice 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick and bake at 375 degrees F. until light brown. Time depends on how thick the cookies are.

Arlene Coco, restaurant owner, writer, and fellow “foodie” is of Southern heritage She says her mother would always make Jambalaya on Christmas Eve because it fed a crowd and she could keep it warm in the oven to serve when the family came home after Midnight mass.

Louisiana Jambalaya

Serves 12


4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)

2 cups onions, diced (1 large)

2 cups celery, chopped (2-3 stalks)

1 ½ cups green pepper, chopped (1 large)

2 tablespoons garlic, minced (3 large cloves)

2 pounds of Boneless Chicken Breast, diced

1 can (28 ounce) diced tomatoes in juice

1 Tablespoon Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce

1 Tablespoon Cajun seasoning

2 teaspoons salt

1 pound smoked sausage, sliced thin

3 cups parboiled rice (Uncle Ben’s)

5 cups Chicken stock

1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced

½ bunch fresh parsley, chopped

Tabasco to taste

In a large Dutch oven or straight edge saucepan with a lid, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions, celery, green peppers and garlic. Cook until soft, about 5-10 minutes. Add chicken and cook slightly. Add diced tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce , Cajun seasoning and salt. Simmer 10 minutes more and add sausage and rice.

Stir until well mixed and add 5 cups of chicken stock. Stir again and heat to a boil. When boiling, turn heat to low and simmer covered for 30 minutes.. Add green onions and parsley. Season to taste with Tabasco.

Lise Lunge Larson, was born and raised in southern Norway, and brings her tradition of food and story telling to Duluth. For many Norwegians, Ribbe, Pork Rib Roast with red sweet cabbage (surkal), mashed potatoes, gravy and green peas is the traditional Christmas meal. Its status is a little like that of the Thanksgiving turkey for Americans. In other words, it’s just not Christmas without it. The fact that the roast should be seasoned and refrigerated for 1 to 3 days makes it very handy for the cook to get a large part of the meal preparation done ahead. And, the cabbage is best made a day ahead of time, too.

Norwegian Pork Rib Roast, “Ribbe”

Serves 6

One 4 pound pork rib roast with the rind and fat. The bones need to be cut every 2-3 inches by the butcher.

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

½ -1 cup water

If you managed to get the pork rib with the rind, place it fat side up and with a very sharp knife, cut through the rind and fat in a crosshatch pattern with 1 inch diamond shaped squares. Rub the meat all over with salt. Cover and refrigerate for 1 or 3 days.

Preheat oven to 400degrees F. Place the meat fat side up in a roasting pan. Bring the water to boil and pour over the meat. Cover with aluminum foil and place the roasting pan in the middle of the oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes.

Remove the roast from the oven. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees, remove foil, and place the roast on a wire rack inside the roasting pan. Return to oven, this time in the lower third.

Roast for about 1 hour, basting if needed to keep it moist. It’s a little difficult to say exactly when the ribbe is done as it will depend on how thick the piece is. Use a thermometer to check for internal temperatures.

If you managed to get the ribbe with the fat and rind, move it to the middle of the oven when it is done and turn up the heat to 400-425 and roast for about 20 more minutes, checking it frequently. You want to turn the crackling crisp without burning the roast. When the rind is brown and the squares have started to separate, it’s ready.

Cut the meat into 2-rib sections and serve with mashed potatoes, gravy made from the drippings, green peas and a sweet and sour red cabbage (surkal) dish for a colorful and festive meal.


1 head of red cabbage

2 apples

2/3 cup water

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. caraway

2-3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or more to taste

2 tablespoons red currant jelly

2 tablespoons maple syrup or more to taste.

Finely slice cabbage into thin, long strips. Slice apples into sections and layer the cabbage and the apples in a heavy bottomed pot with the caraway, salt, and maple syrup. Pour the water and the vinegar over and bring to a boil. Stir to mix and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for at least one hour, till cabbage is completely tender. Add currant jelly and adjust the sweet and sour ratio to taste.

This dish is actually best when made one day ahead of time and is the perfect accompaniment to ribbe.

The talk at the Continental hair solon often centers on food, and when I mentioned this gathering of recipes for this story, Chuck immediately offered Bill’s recipe for Cranberry Pudding. This favorite of theirs was first served to them at a friend’s home, who shared it with Bill who makes it every holiday season without fail. The recipe, he thought came from an old Betty Crocker cookbook. Bill, however, always makes this steamed pudding in a metal loaf pan rather than a tube-type pan that is commonly used.

Steamed Cranberry Pudding

Serves 10 to 12

2 cups fresh cranberries

1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/3 cup boiling water

1/2 cup light or dark molasses


1 cup white sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

Lightly grease a 2-quart metal pan. Pick over the cranberries, wash and drain.
Sift together the flour and salt; dredge cranberries in the flour mixture. Dissolve soda in the boiling water and add the molasses. Stir and allow to foam up.

Add molasses mixture to the flour and cranberry mixture. Mix until well blended. Spoon into the prepared pan and cover with a double layer of foil. Fasten with a heavy elastic band or string.

Place into a deep saucepan and fill with water up to about half the way up the side of the pudding pan. Cover and place over high heat. Bring water to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for one hour. Remove from water and allow to cool. When ready to serve, invert onto a serving plate. Cut into 1/2 inch slices.

To make the sauce, mix together the sugar, butter and cream. Cook over medium heat until thick, stirring constantly. Add vanilla and pour over individual slices of the pudding.

I think my brothers and sisters would agree that Mom’s Raspberry Sauce is our number one Christmas food memory.

Back when our parents lived on Rose road, they had a huge raspberry patch. Every summer they froze ice cream buckets full of these beautiful, juicy, berries. Mom would use them to make Raspberry Sauce for Christmas Eve dessert.
On Christmas Eve we packed into their little house – there must have been a hundred of us, or so it seemed. The buffet was potluck and varied in offerings from hamburger casseroles to wild rice salads, fruit salads, a variety of Christmas breads and cookies.

What we all looked forward to, though, was the Raspberry Sauce Mom made from her frozen berries, and served out of a huge punch bowl. The sauce was a clear red pudding, which she usually thickened with tapioca. Cornstarch would have made it cloudy. We spooned the sauce into clear glass cups or clear plastic glasses and plopped a dollop of whipped cream on top. Even the babies loved this dessert!

Today, without the advantage of having buckets of home-grown raspberries, I make the sauce using raspberries from the supermarket and cranberry raspberry juice.

Mom’s Raspberry Sauce

Makes about 16 servings

2 quarts frozen unsweetened raspberries

2 quarts raspberry cranberry juice

1 cup minute tapioca

Sugar to taste

Sweetened whipped cream for serving

In a large 6 to 8 quart pot, combine the berries, juice and tapioca. Let stand for at least 15 minutes. Then, place over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring at first occasionally, but when the sauce comes to a boil, stir vigorously until it is smooth and thickened. Taste and add sugar.

Cover and set aside to cool. The sauce will thicken even more when it is cold.
Serve with sweetened whipped cream for dessert.

Pear and Apple Cobbler


I have always enjoyed reading about old-fashioned desserts in my collection of old and antique cookbooks. Early American cooks were masters of fruit puddings, dumplings, cobblers, pandowdies, crisps, fruit grunts, buckles, slumps, betties and roly-polies that have doughs and batters on top or are rolled in dough. There is as much variety in the names of the desserts as there are opinions about how they should be made. It is impossible to define or distinguish, for example, a cobbler from a buckle, or a slump from a fruit grunt. Yet, among the cooks that still know the difference, there are those who would defend with their life the name of their favorite buckle or grunt. One reason for the different names is simply because we have people from many different backgrounds in our country. Many of these desserts were considered a meal in themselves, and often served as a Sunday-night supper.

Cobblers aren’t part of my background; our favorite cooked fruit dessert was a thickened “sauce” that we topped with thick, fresh cream. We probably learned this from our father who we called “Isa”, (father in Finnish). He preferred sauce for dessert to anything else. My clever mother, knowing that everybody loves a choice would ask him, “What would you like to have for dessert, blueberry pie, apple pie, custard pie or strawberry sauce?”

Isa would immediately reply “Strawberry sauce!”

She hadn’t baked any pies that day, but she knew his answer before she asked the question.

Well, my father would have preferred a Pear and Applesauce to a Pear and Apple Cobbler. Sobeit. This is a great old-fashioned fruit cobbler, which I like to think of as a hot version of a shortcake.


Makes about 6 servings

4 medium pears, peeled, cored & sliced into 1/4 inch wedges

4 medium cooking apples, peeled, cored & sliced into 1/4 inch wedges

1 cup lingonberry preserves

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1freshly ground cardamom seeds

1/4 teaspoon salt


2 cups all-purpose flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup sugar

5 tablespoons firm butter, cut up

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/3 cup milk

Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for serving

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter 3-quart shallow baking dish. In a mixing bowl, combine lemon juice and vanilla and add the pears, apples and lingonberry preserves. Toss to coat evenly. Combine the 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup flour, cardamom and salt toss with the apples and pears. Pour the fruit into the baking dish and arrange into an even layer.

In a mixing bowl or food processor, combine the 2 cups flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Mix the egg and milk together and add to the flour mixture, tossing until dough comes together.

Roll dough out to 1/3-inch thickness and using a cookie cutter cut desired shapes (I used leaf shapes in the photo). Place cut-outs on top of the fruit mixture in the pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the cobbler is bubbly around the edges and the topping is lightly browned. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

Three Inspirations from Copenhagen


It had been an exhausting flight to Copenhagen. Packed like sardines in a can, we flew over the Atlantic in the 43rd row (of 44) in the Northwest plane. Hardly conscious, we were transferred in Amsterdam to a KLM flight to Copenhagen, our destination. It was midday in Denmark, sunny and bright and we collected our bags, passed through various controls and into the airport. Dick’s crutches and leg brace brought us more assistance than we’d ever had before and we found ourselves on an electric cart whizzing through the airport with a smiling young Dane who was humming a tune. “If you sing, people treat you much better,” he said, “they don’t get mad at you if you make a mistake!”

He was a bit surprised that we didn’t have a hotel reservation. We relied on our trusty Lonely Planet guidebook, which instructed us to head for the tourist information desk just outside customs where we would find a hotel room at a discounted rate. We ended up at Hotel Alexandra on Hans Christian Anderson Street. It looked a little old and tired from the outside, but proved to be a delightful place. Connected to the hotel is a brasserie where we decided to have our evening meal.

The restaurant was totally organic and the food was delicious. We ordered every appetizer on the menu and that’s where the inspiration for these recipes came from. All three of these spicy accompaniments are simple to make and have a variety of possible uses.

Aioli Sauce on Baby New Potatoes

Steamed, unpeeled baby new potatoes were halved and tossed with this sauce and served as an appetizer. To save time, you could use a commercial mayonnaise (comprised of the first five ingredients), but homemade mayonnaise cannot be better, even though we need to cook the egg these days. This sauce is great on hot or chilled fish or shellfish.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

1 large egg

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon Dijon style mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup each olive oil and canola oil

4 or 5 cloves garlic

1 pound steamed, unpeeled baby new potatoes, halved

Chopped fresh parsley

In a small saucepan, stir together the egg, lemon juice, water and salt over very low heat for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand 4 minutes. Pour into the blender container; cover and blend at high speed. While blending, add the garlic and very slowly add the oil, blending until the sauce is thick and smooth. Occasionally, turn off the blender and scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula.
Toss with the new potatoes and serve hot or as a cold potato salad.

Chili Butter with Grilled Corn

Of course, this tasty butter is delicious on all kinds of grilled vegetables. We had it on corn.

3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter, softened

1 clove garlic, pressed

1 tablespoon chili powder

Grilled or Steamed fresh corn on the cob

Blend all of the ingredients together. Shape into a log, wrap and chill. Cut into slices and serve with hot corn on the cob.

Smoked Tomato Sauce

This aromatic sauce is great on veal meatballs, but it is equally delicious on pasta, grilled or sautéed fish, shellfish, or chicken breasts. You start by smoking fresh tomatoes.

Makes about 2 cups

4 tablespoons hickory sawdust or black tea leaves

2 tablespoons brown sugar

12 fresh Roma tomatoes, halved and seeded

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups chicken stock

Line a wok or large frying pan with foil. Sprinkle sawdust or black tea leaves and brown sugar into bottom of the pan. Place a cake rack on top. Arrange the tomatoes in a single layer on the rack. Cover and turn burner on high until smoking. Smoke for 15 minutes. Remove from the burner and let cool.

Place tomatoes, salt, pepper, olive oil and chicken stock into a saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce heat; cook for 30 to 40 minutes. Puree in a blender or with a hand-held blender. Taste, and add more salt and pepper if needed. Serve over meatballs, cooked pasta, chicken breasts, fish or shellfish.

strawberry filled flapjacks

June-July, 2006 Woman Today


One of the pleasures of this time of year (there are many!) is the abundance of fresh, juicy, locally-grown strawberries. We eat as many as we can just plain, out of hand. For breakfast, they go on top of cereal with milk or cream. For dessert they’re a favorite with cream and sugar.

Personally, it seems a crime to cook these beauties into jam, or to mash them, strain them, and make jelly before you’ve eaten your fill of them just fresh and unadulterated.

Crepes sounds like a kind of fancy term for these pancakes, which our kids call “flapjacks”, and that I enjoyed as a kid. I had totally forgotten about them until one summer, not long ago, when they “slept over” at a cousin’s place, and their mom, Ann Snyder, made flapjacks for breakfast. It was a big hit – and as Ann says, you can hardly keep up with them when you get started. One at a time off the griddle, they’re buttered and cinnamon-sugared and eaten in seconds.

For this dessert, I make the flapjacks about 8 inches in diameter, stack them, and allow them to cool. Then I mix up the strawberry filling and roll them up with the filling in the center. At this point they can be refrigerated a few hours before serving if need be. Of course, they can be eaten immediately, too!



1 cup milk

3 whole eggs

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

Nonstick Spray or Butter


2 cups fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and sliced

1/4 cup granulated sugar

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup powdered sugar


Additional sweetened, sliced strawberries

Whipped Cream

In a large bowl, whisk the milk, eggs, flour, 1 tablespoon sugar and salt together until batter is smooth. Place an 8-inch omelet pan over medium high heat until a drop of water sizzles in the pan. Scoop about 1/4 cup of the batter and pour it into the pan. Tilt the pan around to coat the bottom of the pan evenly. Cook about 1 minute or until the top of the flapjack looks cooked. Run a rubber spatula around the edge of the pan, then turn the pancake over. Cook about a half minute or until the flapjack has flecks of golden brown on the second side. Remove from the pan and place on a plate. Repeat to make a dozen flapjacks, stacking them on the plate.

For the filling and topping, combine one cup of the berries with the 1/4 cup granulated sugar. In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth and well blended. Stir in the reserved berries.

Spread a spoonful of the filling onto each of the flapjacks. Roll up. Serve topped with chilled, sweetened sliced berries spooned over and a dollop of whipped cream.

Makes 6 servings, 2 filled flapjacks each

Peruvian Flan

Woman Today – Feb/March, 2007

Peruvian Flan
On a recent cruise, we took a land tour into the countryside of Peru, through Lima. Sightseeing was mainly through the vantage of a bus window. We did, however, have lunch at a plantation.
What surprised me the most about Peru was its modern-day sophistication combined with a sense of ancient history. The Inca ruins reminds one of the ancient Roman Empire, but that’s where the similarity ends.
Culinarily speaking, maize (corn), potatoes and aji (peppers) date back to the Incas and pre-Incas. The cuisine was later influenced by the arrival of the Spanish and other ethnic groups, although Spanish is the predominant language.
The potatoes were amazing! Deep yellow, white, and even purple potatoes grow well here. At a plantation luncheon, we were served a terrine/salad made with layers of different colored mashed potatoes, chilled, sliced, and served with a dressing – definitely an avant-guard concoction.
As in all of South America, flan is the ubiquitous dessert - not the flan we know that’s a pastry with a filling, but the Spanish type that is a custard coated with caramel. I’ve had flan baked in individual pans, and flans that look like a wedge of custard pie topped with caramel. In this Peruvian variation, the flan is baked in a ring mold, and I like this the best of all because it is so easy to make and serve. I like to fill the center of the ring with fresh berries. Think of this as a springtime dessert when the new, sweet strawberries arrive.
I often get questions about the difference between sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk. Sweetened condensed milk (Eagle Brand milk), is a mixture of whole milk and 40% sugar, heated until 60% of the water is evaporated. This makes the milk sticky, thick and sweet. Evaporated milk is concentrated milk, sold in cans and comes either whole or nonfat. If a recipe calls for condensed milk, it almost certainly refers to sweetened condensed milk.
This is a great recipe for a lot of people. If you’d like to make a smaller flan, you can cut the recipe in half and cook the flan in a 5 or 6-cup ring mold. Baking time will be slightly less.

Peruvian Flan
Serves 18 to 20
1 cup sugar
10 large eggs
2 cans (14 ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
2 (12 ounce) cans evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 dash cinnamon
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat an 11-cup metal ring mold with nonstick spray.
2. Put sugar into a heavy skillet and stir over medium heat until sugar is melted and caramelizes. Pour the caramelized sugar into the tube pan and turn pan from side to side until the bottom and part of the sides are coated with the sugar. Set aside and allow to harden, (Set in a pan of ice water, if necessary).
3. In a large bowl, stir together the beaten eggs, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, vanilla and cinnamon until well blended.
4. Pour egg mixture into the caramel-coated mold. Place into a larger pan with 2 inches of hot water. Bake for 1 hour or until custard is set.
5. Let cool, then invert onto a serving platter or plate.
6. Decorate with fresh berries or edible flowers.

Scandinavian Cardamom Braid (Refrigerator Method)

Scandinavian Cardamom Braid (Refrigerator Method)

A sweet plaited cardamom flavored bread is a classic in all of Scandinavia and is always found both on the breakfast and the coffee “tables”. It is rich with eggs and butter giving it a tender crumb and a thin, golden crust. I bake this bread often, but have simplified the method to save time and effort, and to eliminate tedious kneading, I chill the dough after mixing. The chilled dough is easy to handle, making it simple to shape into braids. For the best flavor I recommend using freshly crushed cardamom seeds. Ground cardamom, regardless of the brand loses so much flavor you can hardly taste it in the finished bread.

2 packages active dry yeast
1 cup warm water, 105*F. to 115*F.
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1 teaspoon freshly crushed cardamom seeds
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
4 to 4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water and let stand about 5 minutes or until the yeast foams. Whisk in the butter, dry milk, cardamom, sugar, eggs, and salt.

Stir in flour, 1 cup at a time, until dough is very stiff, but still moist (depending on the time of year and humidity, the amount of flour you will need will vary.)

Cover and refrigerate at least two hours or overnight.

Divide chilled dough into 2 parts. Divide each of the parts into 3 parts. Shape each part into a rope about 30 inches long. Braid three ropes at a time together to make 2 loaves. Place the two loaves on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Cover and let rise until puffy, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (325 degrees F. for convection oven). Brush loaves with a mixture of egg and milk and sprinkle with sliced almonds or pearl sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden.

Tips for Preparing ahead:

The nature of this bread makes it a natural for “mixing up ahead of time”, as it needs to be stirred up and chilled at least for two hours. Once baked, the bread can be