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Sammy’s Rhubarb Pie

This rhubarb pie is probably one of the best pies we have ever tried and it’s really easy to prepare. It has quite a lot of sugar and butter in it but since we don’t eat pie every day, we decided not to feel too bad while enjoying some unhealthy stuff. Serve it together with vanilla ice-cream or vanilla sauce.  We promise, you and your guests won’t be able to resist a second serving.

Ingredients

A handful of rhubarb stalks, about 6-8 (trimmed, rinsed and cut in 2 cm pieces)
125 grams butter
2 dl flour
1 1/2 dl sugar
0.75 tsp. baking powder

Preheat the oven to 200 C. Place the chopped rhubarb in a pie tin. Melt the butter and mix together with flour, sugar and baking powder. Put the crust over the rhubarb. Bake it in the oven for about 25 minutes.

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Puttin’ on the Ritz

If you are dressed up like a million dollar trouper and have a few hours to spare, one of the best brunches offered in Washington, D.C. is at the Fyve Restaurant Lounge in the Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City. The place is not big but highly luxurious. The staff make sure everything is top notch and the buffet selection is beyond one’s imagination. You can go for salmon, shrimps, the likes, or have a more traditional breakfast. There is also a main course included in the price (if you can still eat after helping yourself a couple of times at the buffet).

As would seem obvious in such a fancy place but never checked by us before (banging our heads on the wall), champagne is unlimited so if no serious tasks  planned for later, the waiter will make sure that your glass is amply full throughout the meal. Fyve is famous for dining the power elites of D.C. and you definitely will feel like one. So, if-you’re-blue-and-you-don’t-know-where-to-go-to-why-don’t-you-go-where-fashion-sits…

Aquavit – Nordic tastes with a twist

Aquavit’s Executive Chef Marcus Jernmark (Photo: Evan Sung)

New York Times two-star rated restaurant Aquavit is run by Swedish Executive Chef Marcus Jernmark from Gothenburg. He has recently been ranked 2012 Top 5 rising chefs in the U.S. and samandthedunes managed to meet him for an exclusive interview.

“I started working at Aquavit as an Executive Sous Chef in 2009 after my job as Executive Chef at the Swedish Consulate in New York.  There I got the chance to cook for celebrities, royalty, politicians and over 25 Nobel Prize winners and it was a great experience,” says Jernmark. In April, 2010, after only six months at Aquavit, he got the opportunity to take over the role as Executive Chef after Marcus Samuelsson’s departure.

To stand out among the many restaurants in Manhattan, Jernmark explains that Aquavit is not a traditional mid-town New York restaurant. “For example, we change the menu every day and I like to be spontaneous in the kitchen, play with new ingredients and see what happens,” he says.  One of the Jernmark’s signature dishes is “forgotten beets.” “Yes, I once forgot some beets in the kitchen and the next day I experimented and the dish tasted even better,” says Jernmark.

(Photo: Evan Sung)

You will of course find many traditional Nordic fares on the menu like pickled herring, gravlax but also beef, seafood and some exotic desserts (how about Artic Birds Nest or Raspberry Cylinder). “Previously we only had a four course prix fixe menu but now we moved to a la carte which makes it more approachable,” Jernmark explains.

Among the guests there are many celebrities, including First Lady Obama. “We try to be discreet so that everybody can enjoy a private moment in Aquavit,” says Jernmark.

After the interview samandthedunes tried the New Jersey Asparagus, Gravlax 37C, Charred Icelandic Cod and Seafood “Norden 2012” and we just loved the unique, modern and clean tastes. The presentation was superb. We were even offered their fine selection of Aquavit shots with unique flavors of cucumber and figs. If you are looking for a first class evening in Manhattan and enjoy seasonal Scandinavian cuisine with an experimental touch in a classy setting, Aquavit is the place you should visit. Chef Jernmark shows why he has been ranked 2012 Top 5 rising chefs in the U.S. and will make your dinner an unforgettable experience.

More news about Aquavit: A Michelin Star is Born!

(Photo: Evan Sung)

Aquavit interior (Photo: Evan Sung)

The daily bread battle

OK, I admit. It was me. Yes, it was me (Hanna) who ate everything that was on that breakfast tray yesterday. Coffee, juice, egg, bread…bread crumbs. I felt so bad I even blamed Sam for insisting on having yogurt with strawberries. That wasn’t true of course. Here is the truth: I ate it all. So today I had the same morning procedure: swim, brisk walk with Sam and then, when we finally approached the house I saw it. That delicate bloody bread bag hanging on the door knob again. The mental strength you need to resist this warm and freshly baked bread you have to pass by to get into your own house. You need willpower made of steel for god’s sake. In fact, I have changed my mind. I don’t know if I am THAT enthusiastic about having bread rolls delivered at your doorstep every day. It doesn’t matter if I go for ten power walks a day, there is no way I can get rid of all those calories.  “-Shall we go for a run, Sam?”

Stalking bread rolls

Good Morning, Gran Canaria!

While Alex is doing his round-the-world-birthday-tour (and some business of course), the rest of the team, myself (Hanna) and Sam are staying in the vacation paradise Gran Canaria for a month. What I enjoy most while staying here are the mornings. Usually I am quite lazy and I only have enough energy to drag myself out of bed and prepare a cup of coffee. But here the routines are very different. First thing I do is taking Sam out for a brisk walk. When we get back to the house (here comes the best part) the bread delivery company has put fresh bread in a little bag on the door knob :-)

After a small breakfast (ehum, don’t even THINK I eat all of this by myself, Sam was of course insisting on having yogurt with strawberries) I listen to some music or radio and pass out on the sun bed before I take a morning swim in the heated pool. This is not as relaxing as it sounds since Sam runs around the pool in circles while barking hysterically. I think he is convinced that I am drowning every time I get into the water. Actually, I’m not THAT bad at swimming…I hope.

Asiate – on top of the world

Photo: Asiate

Located in the ultra-chic and ultra-expensive New York Hotel Mandarin Oriental, Asiate offers gourmet cuisine and arguably one of the best views, being situated on the 35th floor overlooking Central Park. Designed by Tony Chi who has dazzled with his contemporary and cool designs of hotels and restaurants worldwide, Asiate is grand without being overbearing; fun-looking without being kitschy. Don’t forget to check out their impressive wine wall with over 1,000 bottles to pick from.

The food is fabulous and can be best described as fusion with Asian influences. Try their Prix Fixe three-course menu with a nice selection of starters and main courses. If you are into shellfish, we would highly recommend the prawns as a starter and poached lobster as a main, you won’t be sorry – they are cooked to perfection and served with subtle sauces. To make a long story short, we loved Asiate, the food and the view will make us come over again. We hope that by then Asiate would be given a Michelin Star, we find it hard to understand why it yet doesn’t have one.

Photo: Asiate

The oyster bonanza kicks off: Sam’s surf n turf

100 oysters for our readers (well...at least the recipies)

We are supposed to be a joie de vivre blog, right? Sure, we have some five star hotels and Michelin star restaurants but when you think “high life”, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Obviously, champagne. Lots of it. And oysters. So, in an attempt to live up to our reputation, we went to Dakhla, famous for its oyster farms, and bought one hundred big ones. To prove to our readers (and to ourselves) that we really are a truly luxurious blog, every Wednesday for the next eight weeks we will present to you one new oyster recipe prepared by the samandthedunes team (keep your fingers crossed). Here is the first one:

Sam’s surf n turf oysters.

Ingredients

12 oysters
100 g bacon
Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sause

Open the oysters and put them on a baking pan. Put rice under to keep the oystes stable. Drizzle Worcestershire sause over the oysters. Top with finely chopped bacon (pre-fried).

Grill in oven  for about 5-10 min. at 250 C (480F). Serve with chopped parsley and lemon wedge. Savor with a nice bubbly!

 

Spicy crab sticks

We had this pack of crab sticks in the fridge but didn’t really know what to do with them except for using in various salads. But one day we bought some noodles and it suddenly struck us, hmmm, what if…

OK, here is a hot recipe you can make without breaking a sweat (ah, but you will when eating). In fact, it will even make your eyes water.

Ingredients

Noodles
200 grams crab sticks
1 red pepper, chopped
1 small chili pepper, chopped
½ can of pineapples, sliced
½ cup pineapple juice
200 grams sweet chili sauce
Sesame oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, curry
1 small leek, chopped

Put sesame oil, peppers, pineapples, chili and sweet chili sauce into a hot pan. Mix in the pineapple juice and the crab sticks.  Add salt, pepper, garlic and curry powder to taste. Cook for about 10 – 15 minutes. Boil the noodles. Add the spicy crab stick sause and garnish with chopped leeks. Enjoy with a glass of chilled rosé and beware – you will be breathing fire!

Sam’s grrrrrilled peppers with mango salsa

Don’t you get tired of French fries and heavy carbs sometimes? Sam’s grilled peppers is an excellent side dish to meat, sausages or chicken and it’s so easy to prepare that even Hanna and Alex can do it (OK, maybe not Sam). The spicy mango salsa lightens up, with a splash of colors and flavors, an otherwise boring lunch or dinner. Basically something very tasty and healthy to replace that everyday mom-not-again-fare.

 

Ingredients

2 peppers cut in half
1 mango (chopped)
1/2 chili pepper
1-2 cloves of garlic (grated)
1 tbsp fresh mint (finely chopped)
1 tbsp Mango pulp vinegar
A dash of lime juice
Olive oil
100 grams feta cheese
Salt, pepper and Tabasco to taste

 

Start preparing the salsa: mix mango, chili pepper, fresh mint, garlic, lime juice and mango vinegar. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Moisten the peppers with some olive oil before you add the salsa mix. Top off with feta cheese. Bake in the oven at 200C for approx. 25 minutes. Let cool down, serve and be prepared – your guests will be coming for more!

 

Cool Desert Lemonade

Ingredients

3 lemons  (zest and juice)
2 dl sugar
10 dl water
ice

Boil the water and wash the lemons. Add zest and sugar into the boiling water. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Let the liquid cool down and add the lemon juice. Strain the lemonade and store it in a carafe in the fridge.

 

 Serve it cold with plenty of ice!

 

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