Swedish celebrity chef (no, not that Swedish chef) Tina Nordstrom seems to be bubbling over with excitement and energy. Not just because the photograph of her in her new cookbook, Tina Nordstrom’s Scandinavian Cooking (Skyhorse 2014) shows her smiling, open mouth, and joyful – but because she writes with enthusiasm, as if she wholeheartedly wanted her fans to cook and eat her food. Is Tina the new Rachael Ray as her publisher suggests? Yes, in the sense that this is an approachable cookbook, full of easy-to-make recipes that you can tweak as you like. Tina is on TV, she turns out a lot of cookbooks, and shares Rachael’s exuberance: “It contains the recipes I’ve carried with me and developed over the years; I consider it to be my foundation.” (p. 7) She wrote the cookbook in her parent’s old restaurant, the Ramlosa, in the south of Sweden, so the book is awash in a healthy dose of nostalgia that translates into stories and head notes throughout the book.
The first chapter is on greens – salads, soups, frittatas, and cooked vegetable dishes – inspired by ingredients, and not Swedish cuisine. In fact, Tina practically covers the globe in this book – from Tacos to Tapas to Pizza – so her version of Scandinavian Cuisine includes just about everything – including plenty of sweets and desserts. The photographs by Charlie Drevstam will grab you – from a Caesar Salad with chunks of toasted sour dough bread, to a Cress Salad (p. 28) with ribbons of fresh coconut and a dressing of soy, lime, and mirin to a pretty Tomato and Buffalo Mozzarella Salad with Caramelized Butter and Basil (p. 30). Each dish is set on a white plate so that the colors of the vegetables – multiple hues of green – pop out. There are four photos on page 37 of a mason jar filled with layers of the ingredients of Picnic Coleslaw. You add the dressing, then shake the jar and mix up the various cabbages, onion, endive and parsley. What a fun idea!
Looking just at the chicken recipes will give you a good idea of how broadly Tina roams. There is a hearty French Chicken Stew with Polenta-Fried Potatoes (p. 226) flavored with thyme, tarragon, nutmeg, and mustard. It’s a creamy stew, rich with pearl onions. A more Nordic Corn-fed Chicken with Juniper-glazed Sauerkraut (p. 229) that would work well even if your chicken ate something else. Green Chicken Tenders with Paprika Dip (p. 232) are photographed nestled in paper with a bright green coating and a deep salmon colored sauce.
Tina is a spirited cook – there are plenty of fun recipes that would make for a colorful, tasty meal, a fancy dinner party, or a family reunion party. Tina’s Nordstrom’s Scandinavian Cooking is the kind of book to take to your own holiday getaway house and cook everything!