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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Squeaky cheese, cloudberries, leftovers reinvented, and sausages!

Since the kids have been out of school for winter break, I've had less time to cook, so we are using some Finnish "fast food."  For a snack yesterday, we had a very delicious Finnish cheese, leipäjuusto.  Direct translation, it is "bread cheese" but Trader Joe's calls it "Frying cheese."  The Finnish/American community calls it "squeaky cheese." has a recipe for it here--I haven't tried to make it myself before, I'm not sure where to buy rennet.  Someday when I am no longer able to just buy it at the store, I will probably try to make it myself.  My husband likes to put Cloudberry Jam on it, that is typically Finnish.  Cloudberries are one of the only Finnish foods I do not care for, they look like yellow raspberries, but have an odd flavor, and are quite a delicacy in Finland.  This jar of jam was purchased at Ikea.

For dinner, I decided to use up some mashed potato leftovers and meat in mushroom and cream sauce.  My family does not like leftovers if they can recognize them, so I had to get creative.  (My six year old would like to point out that he actually likes leftovers!)  In the Finnish Cookbook, Beatrice Ojakangas lists a Lapp recipe for stuffed potato patties.  I used this as inspiration and ground up the meat and thick sauce in my food processor with some onion.  Then I put more chopped onion in the potatoes and added an egg and lots of breadcrumbs.  I stuffed the patties in my hand, patting out the potatoes, adding some meat filling, and wrapping the potatoes around the filling.  Then I baked them instead of frying them in butter, I figured our cholesterol levels could use a break, too.  They were delicious topped with the kurpitsasalaati (winter squash salad, you can find my recipe here) and a little Finnish mustard.  I caught a couple of my half-American children putting ketchup on them, but I guess that is to be expected.  By the way, my oldest, who is probably my pickiest eater when it comes to vegetables, is the one eating the winter squash salad on everything!  

Today we spent the entire day at a museum, looking at Christmas trees from around the world.  If you would like to see the gorgeous Finnish Christmas tree, visit my other blog,

We got home late, and the kids were very excited to have a sauna evening in our newly built sauna, so what better to have for dinner than Finland's traditional vegetable...sausages!  These are the closest I have found to Finnish makkara in the U.S., and we have had to try lots to find them!  These are a little thinner and longer, but the flavor and texture is very similar.  They were delicious with Finnish mustard.  The kids really enjoyed learning about this part of their heritage.

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