Tony and Sarah Nasello
If you've checked the forecast for this Memorial Day weekend, I hope you're doing the same little happy dance that I am because it looks like grilling season has finally arrived.
Come tomorrow, Norwegians around the world will join in the celebration of Syttende Mai, the 17th of May and Constitution Day, Norway's greatest national holiday. Cities, town and villages across Norway and throughout the Norwegian diaspora will showcase their pride with parades, flags and bløtkake, a deliciously sweet Norwegian cream layer cake. I have a few Norwegian specialties in my culinary repertoire, and I love to look for new dishes to add each year.
Scones are one of my favorite pastries to make, and if you look in my deep-freeze on any given day, you'll almost always find a bag of scones just waiting to be popped into the oven. I love the simplicity and versatility of scones, which can be made in just about any flavor, including sweet and savory variations.
Cinco de Mayo is Saturday, and it's become an annual tradition in our family to celebrate with a new taco recipe. There's something about a fish taco that fills me with an almost weak-in-the-knees kind of craving, and this year's Grilled Salmon Tacos with my new Avocado, Corn and Cucumber Salsa have left my entire family longing for more.
I love crostini, an Italian appetizer consisting of slices of toasted bread that can host an endless assortment of toppings. Their versatility makes them a perfect party food, as you can adapt the toppings to suit any menu. And, depending on the toppings and how thickly you slice the bread, crostini can be light and delicate, or strong and hearty, like today's Wild Mushroom Crostini.
I often receive emails from our readers, who will ask questions about a recipe or culinary technique or share a memory about a dish we recently featured. Many of you have the same questions, and I am excited to introduce our new Q & A series, which will be featured every four to six weeks in this column.
Every year around this time, my mind invariably fills with thoughts of France. In my former life as a cruise director, Tony and I spent several spring seasons sailing around the western coast of France, visiting famous port cities like Bordeaux, Rouen and Saint-Malo, as well as some lesser-known stops like Belle-Île, a summer haven for the French but secluded enough to stay off the tourist trail, and Île d'Aix, the tiny little island of approximately 250 residents, where Napoleon spent his last night on French soil and the only cars allowed still today are service vehicles.
Even though it's snowing as I write this, April has arrived and with it, the season for springtime salads. This week's Symphony Salad was thus named because it is a beautifully composed salad, which means it is built and dressed in layers, rather than tossed.
Ham is a longstanding tradition at our Easter dinner table, and several years ago we shared a recipe from my great-grandmother called GooGoo's Baked Easter Ham. This week's rich and creamy Three Cheese Scalloped Potatoes are the perfect side dish to complement the salty-sweetness of a baked ham, and they are so delicious that I bet you won't wait until next Easter to serve them again.
Most people dream of spending their March break in warm and sunny places, like Florida, Arizona, Mexico or the Caribbean. But not Tony's older brother Emanuele, a teacher at Lakeshore Collegiate Institute in Toronto, Canada. For as long as we can remember, Emanuele's spring break dream has been to spend it with us, here in Fargo. Last week, that dream finally became a reality.