All together now: “Porkkanalaatikko!”

Confession time:  For years after I moved to Boston I wasn’t a huge fan of Christmas…it made me miss home. To combat the homesickness, I’ve tried to make some Finnish Christmas foods and treats every year. There’s been:

gravlax (cured salmon)
rosolli (beet and carrot salad)
glögi (mulled wine)
gingerbread cookies served with blue cheese (what?!)
joulutorttu ( prune tart – sounds delish, right?).

I have yet to figure out how to make a Finnish Christmas ham. It’s salted – not sweet like the glazed spiral hams here – and best used as a vehicle for my favorite Finnish mustard!

This year I didn’t cook a big Christmas meal. Don’t get me wrong, I still ate PLENTY. We enjoyed a fun, casual dinner with close friends at their house. I was asked to bring a side dish, so I decided to try another food I always associate with Finnish Christmas: a carrot casserole (porkkanalaatikko). I made a couple of substitutions to make it more fitting to my grain- and dairy-free diet and it still worked. My recipe is at the end of the post.

I also made two types of cookies over the holidays.
The smell of fresh-baked ginger snaps screams Christmas to me like no other scent, but I’m not a fan of crisp cookies. I prefer mine chewy. The three-ginger cookies from the Silver Palate cookbook are an old favorite and with that in mind I made these Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies with some added crystallized ginger. They came out excellent!

The Midnight Chocolate Almond Butter Cookies turned out to be a great choice for a decadent but not-too-sweet dessert.  Preferably with a glass of wine!

Porkkanalaatikko (carrot casserole)

2 lb carrots
1 cup riced cauliflower
½ cup syrup
1 cup coconut milk
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp salt
1 egg

½ cup almond flour
3 tbsp butter, melted

Chop carrots and boil them until barely cooked. Purée the carrots in a food processor and transfer into a mixing bowl. Add cauliflower, coconut milk, egg and spices to the bowl and mix well. Pour the mixture into a casserole dish.
Mix the almond flour and melted butter and spread / sprinkle on top of the carrot mix.
Bake in 400 F for 45 minutes.

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