Ikea Style

We’d been putting it off and putting it off — the family trip to Ikea.

Not because we don’t like Ikea — we love it. But it’s nearly an hour away, and there never seems to be a good time. But late Sunday morning, a bit hungover from too much tequila the night before, we had no excuses to put it off any longer. And a big plate of Ikea Swedish meatballs sounded like just the Rx for the hangover.

Swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes, gravy and lingonberries

Swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes, gravy and lingonberries

My wife can spend hours at Ikea. We were going to go the previous weekend, until I told her we’d probably be able to stay 90 minutes, which was going to be sorely inadequate. It seemed like plenty to me. I’m more of a strategic strike sort of shopper — 30 minutes would be plenty for me. I guess it’s probably a male/female thing.

My favorite parts of Ikea are all, not surprisingly, food related. The Swedish meatballs they serve in the cafeteria with mashed potatoes, gravy and lingonberries are just about the best thing on earth — followed closely by the chicken tenders I scavenged off my children’s plates when their heads were turned. Following the little floor arrows through the labyrinth of home furnishings is hard work, and nothing quenches your thirst like a big icy glass of not-too-sweet lingonberry drink.

I also love shopping in the Swedish food market by the exit. Maybe it triggers the quarter of me that is Swedish, but pickled herring and smoked cod roe paste never looked so good. I always get a jar or two of lingonberry preserves, which I like to eat with Danish abelskivers, which you can inexplicably now find in the frozen aisle at Trader Joe’s. (My mom used to make them fresh in a funny little dimpled abelskiver pan when I was a kid.) I get concentrate for the lingonberry drink so I can make it at home, which I never do. I like their potato crisps and even those dry ryebrøt crackers my mom used to try to get me to eat as a kid.

My kids as amanita muscaria in the Ikea kid section

My kids as amanita muscaria in the Ikea kid section

This time, I also got some rosti (potato pancakes) and a bag of frozen cold water shrimp — they looked like the bay shrimp you see in the grocery store, except they were from Scandinavia. I didn’t feel much like cooking after an Ikea field trip. So I toasted the rosti in the oven and made a Scandinavianish salad with the shrimp. It was a nice end to a busy day following arrows in one direction.


*    *    *

Ikea-style Scandinavian bay shrimp salad with rosti
serves 4

1 large russet potato, finely grated
1/2 sweet white onion, grated
1 egg
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1 lb. bay shrimp, cooked
1 stalk celery, shaved or thinly sliced
1 avocado, cubed
1/2 sweet onion, sliced lengthwise in slivers
1 dill pickle, thinly sliced
1 tsp. minced fresh dill
1 heaping tbsp. plain yogurt
1 tsp. mayonnaise
1 tsp. grainy mustard
1 tbsp. grated horseradish
flaky sea salt & freshly ground pepper

Place potato in a large bowl with cold water. Let sit for 5 minutes, then drain and squeeze out.

Combine potato in a large bowl with grated onion, garlic, egg and salt. Mix thoroughly. Form into four patties. Heat oil in a large non-stick skilled over medium-high heat. Fry patties 3-5 minutes per side, until crisp and golden. Remove to a rack in a 170 degree oven to drain.

Gently squeeze all water out of shrimp. In a large bowl, combine yogurt, dill, mayo, mustard and horseradish. Add shrimp, celery, onion, avocado and pickle. Toss thoroughly.

Place a rosti patty on each of four plates, and top with a large scoop of shrimp salad. Season to taste with salt & pepper, and serve.

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Andrea Cleall
    Apr 11, 2014 @ 00:10:29

    Bruce just called me and said look at Sean’s blog…there’s the cutest picture of the kids. And it was cute.

    I heard you liked the Clair de lune bottle…..when I saw that label on that bottle I said I wanna take that home and hang it in the living room as art. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a lovely package. Siob came up with a way to do very nice and nicely presented prints of your labels that we can sell for $10. I would think they would fly out the door. Bruce will give you a piece of the action.

    I will mail Willa’s birthday present soon as the end of the month gets busy. I went to a big sale at my art store and they had this really neat art set which is what made her mad when I gave one to Flynn. This one is a better quality but don’t tell Flynn. It had a broken latch on the box so I got a great buy on it. She won’t notice hopefully. If she does tell her I wanted it for her so badly and if it hadn’t had a broken latch I probably couldn’t have afforded it. Might be true.



  2. Andy
    Apr 11, 2014 @ 00:46:23

    That WAS a cute picture of the kids!! Immy looks sooo different from the last time I saw her!! She’s ADORABLE….just like the other two!


  3. Glennis
    Apr 11, 2014 @ 03:10:02

    Oh. My.God. That photo of the kids is amazingly cute.


  4. Jessamine in PDX
    Apr 12, 2014 @ 16:01:49

    Oh man — IKEA. I love it but it’s a total day waster, even though we have one less than 15 minutes from our house. It just sucks you in and it’s impossible to get out. So many things to look at! I also love the food section though I stay far away from the pickled herring. I’m half Swedish but that taste gene seems to have skipped a generation.


  5. pal-O
    Apr 18, 2014 @ 17:47:25

    IKEA: The Time Killer Sounds like a case for Kurt Wallander . . . could somebody please get that fellow a sandwich?


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