Southern With A Dash of Swedish

Once a week I join a group of friends for Culinary Experimentation Club. It started out with five of us, formed after the season finale of "24" left us with free Monday evenings. :-) Over the months new foodies have swelled our ranks to 13 on an average night.

It is such a jolly time, everyone arriving with armloads of ingredients, visiting amiably over glasses of wine as we stir, chop, roast and finally, EAT!

We are a motley crew of musicians, artists, computer techies, writers, students, and salesmen. Many of us were strangers until Culinary Experimentation Club brought us together, and for some of us, this night is the only time our lives intersect.

In our regular lives we face divorces, single-parenting, heartbreak, and turmoil of faith, but this weekly gathering is a safe haven, a place to love and be loved and divulge as little or as much as we like. Outside world tensions ease as we sip our drinks, discuss recipes, and sneak bits of each others creations when no one (or everyone!) is looking.

I love these people.

This week we chose a Southern theme, adding a dash of Swedish to keep things interesting.

Toby started off the evening with a gorgeous cheese platter and beautiful apple flower, while Cameron braved the rain-storm to find some alder in the woods to smoke flank steak and brisket.

Darren made homemade creamed corn in the crock pot and prosciutto wrapped asparagus in the smoker.

Kat's friend Serena made a crispy coleslaw zesty with lime juice and fresh cilantro.

My brother and I made savory Swedish mashed potatoes, rich with ricotta cheese. Kat whipped up spicy gluten-free hush puppies and, with Mike's hammer expertise, made a pan of fudge dotted with smashed candy canes.

Twas a delicious evening!

Swedish Mashed Potatoes

12 large potatoes
12 garlic cloves
1 stick butter
2 tsp garlic powder
15 oz tub ricotta cheese
15 oz tub sour cream
1 bunch scallions, sliced

Boil potatoes with garlic cloves until potatoes are tender. Mash potatoes, garlic and remaining ingredients. Spread mixture into buttered 9" by 13" pan, sprinkle with paprika and bake at 375 for 45 minutes until golden brown.


  1. Your group looks like great fun and great eating. That is some menu, your group cooked.

    I love the addition of Ricotta to your smashed potatoes and still with yummy sour cream. This is a must do.

  2. Oh, they are a wonderful bunch, Chaya. :-)

    The ricotta makes such a savory addition to the potatoes - I love it. :-)

  3. What a great idea. It must be FUN!

  4. Hi Christa! I love reading your blog.Cameron told me about it and now i'm hooked. :) the food pics andrecipes make my mouth water...good food is lacking here.Even just all of your simple pictures from around the PNW. the grass and dandelions make my hearthappy. Thank YoU. Can't wait to taste some goodness when I return...and bring some South AFrican flaVA!