patrice johnson

Lingonberry Salsa

By Patrice Johnson | August 21, 2012

Lingonberry Salsa

It has been 20 years since a friend’s mom introduced me to lingonberries. They were glamorous and strange, even to those of us raised on Swedish meatballs and boiled potatoes, crispbread and herring. More compelling, the tiny tart berries were mixed into a jar of prepared salsa. Fruit in salsa! How intriguing.

Later I learned that Swedes love Mexican food, but have very few restaurant options and little to no access to classic ingredients. If you cannot take the Mexican ingredients to the Swede, I propose taking the Swede to the Mexican ingredients. Here is my riff on Lingonberry Salsa. For Swedish tacos spoon it over grilled pork or chicken, and corn tortillas. To make Scandinavian chips and dip, brush a light layer of olive oil on lefse rounds and cut into triangles, then crisp in a moderate oven (around 325 degrees, and keep a close eye on the lefse so it doesn’t burn). Salt lightly, cool on rack, and serve with Lingonberry Salsa. For Scandinavian nachos, layer lefse chips with sour cream, your legume of choice (I love black turtle beans flavored with lime, onion, cumin, and cilantro), avocado, and of course,  Lingonberry Salsa.

You can also use the salsa for a quick marinade for pork loin or salmon. The sweetness of lingonberry preserves partially negates any chili pepper heat so don’t be afraid to turn up the capsaicin. Use whatever chili combination you can find such as jalapeno, banana, Anaheim, ancho, serrano, Poblano, habanero, and Thai. Think variety: color, size, heat, sweet, and spice.

Carrot and Crayfish Salad Recipe

By Patrice Johnson | August 7, 2012

Photo: Patrice Johnson

Photo: Patrice Johnson

Inspired by Kräftskiva, this summery salad highlights fresh seafood and is perfect for the season’s peak. Kräftskiva is a traditional Swedish celebration, where people gather to feast on crayfish, drink, and enjoy each other’s company. If the only crustaceans you’ve tried are the usual shrimp, crab, and lobster, take this recipe as an ideal introduction to the ingredient. Crayfish meat is mixed with mayo, lemon juice, and Old Bay seasoning, much like a crab salad, as well as sweet, shredded carrots. Serve it as an appetizer at an outdoor barbeque—or bring it Kräftskiva, if you’re going to one anytime soon!

Check out another Swedish-style recipe from Patrice below:
Rye Blini with Quick-Pickled Beets and Gravlax  

Rye Blini with Quick-Pickled Beets and Gravlax

By Patrice Johnson | August 4, 2012

Photo: Patrice Johnson

Photo: Patrice Johnson

For a few years I’ve been pickling every vegetable and fruit I could get my hands on. It started with cucumbers then moved on to mustard seeds and rhubarb. Diced, sliced and chopped: I fill jars with apple relish and Giardiniera, tomato jelly and bacon jam, mostarda and dilled chili peppers. I knew I had a problem when there were more pickles than actual food in my refrigerator.

Yet, it took an Italian brasserie to show me the beauty of a Midwestern condiment.

The server presented a plate with three perfect blini topped with cured salmon, horseradish cream, and the prettiest pickled beets I’d ever seen. The beets were glistening jewels diced into tiny ruby beads, and they burst in my mouth like sweet earthy caviar. The lowly pickled beet became an ultimate summer essence.

Quick pickled beets are the ideal crown for rye blini, tart chèvre, and gravlax (in Minnesota, trout is our “local salmon” and it cures quickly in sugar, salt and vodka). These blini make a delicious and pretty first course.

Patrice writes a food column that is published weekly in The Gaylord Hub and a blog that is devoted to food, Scandinavian and Americana pop culture. In her spare time, she volunteers with the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, Cooking Matters (Share Our Strength), Slow Food Minnesota, and for the Annual Immigrant and Minority Farmers Conference.


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Whether it’s finding the best goat tacos in LA, spotting a well-worn vintage bag in Sweden, or interviewing the “crab man” selling seafood on a corner in Harlem, we tell stories seen from Chef Marcus Samuelsson‘s point of view. strives to create conversations about food, nutrition, culture, art, and design. We want to find Read More


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