Seasonal Sundays (Week 25) Midsummer

A quick read, a collection of summer recipes from the lands of the midnight sun, just in time for the summer solstice here in the northern hemisphere. Yes, it's "midsummer" on June 20th. Perhaps there's a recipe or two or three here that will inspire your own Nordic-style celebration of the official start of summer ...
Seasonal Sundays ♥ KitchenParade.com, a seasonal collection of recipes and life ideas in and out of the kitchen.

Welcome to Seasonal Sundays ...

I'm loving these seasonal recipe collections, I hope you are too?!

Today I've gathered my best summer recipes from the Scandinavian countries that experience the midnight sun, especially Finland where I lived for one year as an exchange student and where I return to visit every chance I get.

(Yes, I know! For anyone who wants to get technical, officially only Sweden, Norway and Denmark make up the true Scandinavia even if Finland and Iceland are often lumped in too. Today the preferred term in some circles is Nordic. The Nordic countries include the three official Scandinavian countries but also Finland, Iceland, Greenland and in some circles, Estonia. Which is the better term? Honestly, I'm not sure! I do sense that there's a growing sense of Nordic identity ... )

Midsummer is a lovely celebration, usually beginning on the Friday evening, Midsummer Eve. It's an outdoor occasion going long into the night, an easy thing when the skies stay light all night long.

How bright is the light? A few weeks after Midsummer, my Finnish family and I drove north from the capital city of Helsinki in the south of Finland where at midsummer, the sun sets from about 11pm to 4am. Our destination was the small family summer cottage on an island in a lake in central Finland, accessible only by boat, no plumbing, no electricity. That first night, I couldn't sleep but I could read, my book lit by natural outside light at 2am.


About the Photo By Popular Request, a Little Insight into the Top Image: Five years ago this week, I was cooking like mad in preparation for a big Midsummer weekend party, a Nordic feast here at the house on the Saturday and a day of floating and fishing in the country on the Sunday, if you're interested, this was our menu. I created this image for the invitation, the big Juhannus lakeside bonfire on the right, the never-setting midnight sun in the distance.

Still, perhaps my favorite Midsummer gathering was the year before, just two couples and quiet talk around a small fire along a small stream in the Missouri Ozarks until late-late-late.

So if ever there's a year to fashion your own Midsummer celebration ... this may be it.




PICK ONE

Pick One is for those of us overwhelmed by life's unending choices. If that resonates, then check out this one recipe and then call it a day. It's one that I think could make the most difference, the one I hope will become a regular in your kitchen, as it is in mine.


Finnish Summer Soup aka Kesäkeitto ♥ KitchenParade.com, perfect new summer vegetables suspended in a milky broth, make it all summer long.

Funny enough, Kesäkeitto has both fans and foes in Finland. Me, total fan.

What makes this "summer" soup is the idea that you will use the first of the vegetables that emerge early from the garden, tiny and perfect, like vegetal Thumbelinas. But I make it all summer long without regard to the "new" ness of the vegetables and have yet to be disappointed. Once upon a time, I even made it with frozen mixed vegetables. Still good!


A Simple Breakfast

Finn Crisp with Marmalade & Cheese, a typical Finnish breakfast ♥ KitchenParade.com.

Just Friday I found a carton of Finn Crisp at the back of the pantry and did a little Finnish jig right there in the hallway! I so remember these and other crackers set out on a common plate for breakfast along with other plates of thin-sliced cheese, cured meats, hard-cooked eggs, tomatoes, cucumber. So good ... and a welcome change from eggs and oatmeal, especially during the heat of the summer. As of yesterday, I'm officially over oatmeal with peanut butter until frost.

But my personal heaven? Yeah ...



To Start ...

Estonian Deviled Eggs ♥ KitchenParade.com, ultra-soft and ultra-creamy with a buttery filling.

The best deviled eggs, the addition of butter makes the fillings ultra-creamy. If you have your own favorite recipe, you could use it but just work in the butter ...


The All-Important Makkara (Sausage)

Homemade Finnish Mustard ♥ KitchenParade.com, homemade mustard Finnish-style, a creamy, spicy mustard just like the amazing mustards in Finland.

Perhaps the most important food of midsummer, at least for Finns? Good sausage, cooked hot-dog style on sticks over a fire and daubed with a little Finnish mustard. On the rare occasions I find tubes of good Finnish mustard, I buy all there is and then hoard it. I still have a tube left from our 2014 trip!

Luckily, there's a close second that's easy-easy to make and luckily it keeps for months in the fridge, so handy to have on hand.


The Smorgasbord

Simple Grilled Salmon, another Quick Supper ♥ KitchenParade.com, how to grill salmon, simply, sumptuously. Weight Watchers Friendly. Low Carb. High Protein.

When you live near the sea ... you eat fish. I grew up on Minnesota walleye so the whole salmon served for a welcome lunch when I first arrived in Finland was ... so exotic! (It's hard to explain what a another time this was, truly, food-wise back in 1976. I hadn't even seen fresh mushrooms in grocery stores, that would come three years later.)


Finnish Summer Potato Salad, ♥ AVeggieVenture.com, just new potatoes and a simple vinaigrette. No Mayo. Vegan. Paleo. Easy. Nordic.

Finland, Sweden, Estonia and other northern European countries are overrun with new potatoes in the weeks before Midsummer. They are truly special ... luckily this easy salad works beautifully with any small potatoes, not just those grown in the special potato terroir of northern Europe.



Swedish Red Cabbage & Apples ♥ A Veggie Venture, savory not sweet, a tradition at Christmas, adding welcome color and texture to a plate. Recipe, cooking tips, nutrition, WW Weight Watchers points included.

Red cabbage and apple is traditional at Christmas but I love it in summer too, especially barely cooked so the cabbage still has some crunch.



Refrigerator Pickled Beets ♥ KitchenParade.com, made with canned beets or fresh roasted beets, no canning required, keep for weeks in the fridge. Vegan. Low Sugar. Low Cal. Low Carb. Weight Watchers Friendly.

Here it's beet season all year round but these are especially good to have on hand for impromptu salads all summer long, just one or two beets at a time. A little secret: I use canned beets for pickling!


How to Make Swedish Rye Bread in a Bread Machine or By Hand ♥ KitchenParade.com, the traditional recipe, slightly sweet, bright with orange, anise and caraway. Recipes, many insider tips, nutrition and Weight Watchers points included.

Heads up! I found yeast (affiliate link) last week! It was so great to make my usual everyday bread again! I'd been limping along with older, improperly stored yeast for a couple of months.

Anyone with both good yeast and good rye flour, try this ...


The Dessert Table

Finnish Fruit Tart (RahkaPiirakka) ♥ KitchenParade.com, here with sour cherries, also try rhubarb, raisins, blueberries. One Bowl. Press-in Crust. Super Easy.

I in a Finnish food and culture group on Facebook and if there's one recipe that people are always going on and on about, it's mustikkapiirakka, this easy pie/cake/tart made with blueberries.


  • THE RECIPE Finnish Fruit Tart For blueberries, lingonberries, sour cherries, rhubarb, raisins, figs and more ...
  • THE BITE-SIZE VERSION Mini Blueberry Tarts With a "pop" of fresh blueberry right in the middle.

Finnish Strawberry Whipped Cream Cake ♥ KitchenParade.com, layers of sponge cake, fluffy whipped cream and strawberries, a real celebration cake.

But if your strawberries are pretty (even good grocery-store strawberries work) and plenty of people, there's nothing like this show stopper.


Compliments!

Spinach Burgers, another healthy veggie burger ♥ A Veggie Venture. Moist & Juicy. Budget Friendly. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Weight Watchers Friendly. Gluten Free. Whole30 Friendly. Paleo Friendly. Low Carb. High Protein.
  • "We like it alot and will make it again ..." ~ Orinda, who turned burgers into meatloaf, such a good idea, eh?
  • THE RECIPE Spinach Burgers

  • "This has become a favorite in our house. Easy and healthy!" ~ QuiltingAgain
  • THE RECIPE Brussels Sprouts Dijon

What's New?!

Rhubarb Cake ♥ KitchenParade.com, simple, rustic rhubarb cake, less sweet to really taste rhubarb's 'sour'.
  • THE RECIPE Rhubarb Cake Simple and rustic, less sweet to taste rhubarb's wonderful "sour".

Just Updated!

Thirst-Quenching Low-Cal & Low-Alcohol Summer Drinks ♥ KitchenParade.com.

How to Keep Fresh Vegetables Fresh Longer, more helpful, practical tips about vegetables ♥ AVeggieVenture.com.


Best Ever New Potatoes & Green Beans, a classic summer combo ♥ AVeggieVenture.com. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Budget Friendly. Gluten Free. Rave Reviews.

Lemon Mint Cucumber Water ♥ AVeggieVenture.com, a great way to stay hydrated.

I've been drinking this outside all week, so refreshing! I love the mint but oh, if you have fresh dill, try dill ...



Beet Pesto, another healthy vegetable spread ♥ AVeggieVenture.com. Gorgeous Color. Budget Friendly. Quick to Make. Weight Watchers Friendly. Low Carb. Low Fat. Vegan. Gluten Free.

Text Me Back!

I'd love to hear from you. Comment, send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com, dot-dash in Morse code, build a fire for smoke signals, launch a message in a bottle, send a Christmas letter, get the dog to yip, toss me a note wrapped in a rubberband, write a message in the sky, scratch a note in the sand, listen to a seashell, whatever.


Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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2020

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.

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