I know, I know. Don’t worry, it’s not a crazy specialty ingredient that you need to hunt down to make this recipe. We’ll talk about the food in a minute. First, let me explain.
If you’ve been following along with any of the predicted wellness trends for 2017, you might have come across the word ‘hygge’. If not, consider this your mini crash course, or a little hygge 101.
It’s pronounced ‘hue-guh’ and means being comfortable and content in Danish. Think of it a bit like feng shui, Denmark-style. Hygge is often associated with enjoying the simple, cozy things in life like reading a book, enjoying a cup of tea or a bowl of porridge, and generally making your surroundings as enjoyable to be in as possible. It’s not necessarily about materials or consumerism, but more of a state of mind.
You might have heard that the Danish are among some of the world’s happiest people, and the concept of hygge is related to this. In the winter when it’s freezing cold outside, hygge is a big freaking deal because Danes spend a lot of time indoors. I guess they figure that if you’re going to be at home, you might as well make it the most comfy, cozy sanctuary possible. That’s not a bad idea if you ask me.
If you want to get a little hygge happening in your life, here are a few ways to do it:
- Light candles. Danes burn 13lbs of candle wax per person per year, and having the unscented kind burning everywhere from home to work and classrooms is considered an anti-depressant.
- Sport some warm clothes. Chunky knit sweaters, thick socks, slippers, scarves, toques – whatever keeps you warm.
- Think soft. Flannel, fleece, fur… all the cozies.
- Ride a bike. Hygge doesn’t always have to happen inside. Danish people cycle all over the place and just like other forms of exercise, this increases levels of the hormone dopamine in the brain. That makes us feel happy, and, well, hygge.
- Read a book.
- Drink a cup of something warm.
- Practice work-life balance. Western society could learn a lot from the Danish when it comes to the typical work week! Apparently standard office hours are 8-5 Monday – Friday, and women work an average of 35 hours per week. (Men clock 41). Regardless of gender, when they leave, they leave and are also entitled to 5 weeks vacation per year. Not the case over on our side of the pond, but you could still hyyge-up your work life by disconnecting once you leave the office and actually being with your family and friends – not just in body, but in mind too.
- Enjoy a bowl oatmeal. In case you missed it, I posted a mighty delish Vanilla Pomegranate and Pistachio version on Instagram this weekend. Danes don’t just eat oatmeal for breakfast. From what I’ve read, it’s an all-day-long sort of food.
With this concept making its way over to North America and spreading everywhere as of late, I’ve been interested in reading more about Danish culture, their happiness habits, and of course, their cuisine. I’m by no means an authority on what Danes eat, but what I do know is that they’re big on pastries, rye bread, oatmeal, cheese, potatoes, pickled vegetables, cold meats, and (be still my heart) seafood!
With all this in mind, I created these Herb Roasted Potato and Smoked Salmon Bowls, which may not be 100% traditional but are kinda Nordic-inspired. The ingredients list looks long, but I promise the steps are easy to follow and before you know it, you’ll have a bowl of colourful, delicious beauty in front of you. If you’re feeling compelled to get your hygginess on this week, I suggest you get this one on the menu. 😉
Herb Roasted Potato and Smoked Salmon Bowls
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Ingredients (2 servings)
For the lemon dill vinaigrette (you will have leftovers):
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove finely minced or crushed garlic
- 2 tsp minced fresh dill
- sea salt and pepper, to taste
For the potatoes:
- 2 small potatoes (about 400g total), or baby potatoes, diced into small bite-size chunks and rinsed well in cold water.
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 2 tsp fresh parsley
- sea salt + black pepper
For the cucumber salad:
- 1 English cucumber (about 225g), thinly sliced into rounds or ribbons
- 2 tbsp minced or shredded carrot
- 2 tbsp thinly sliced red onion
- 2 tbsp lemon dill vinaigrette (above)
- 1/2 – 1 tsp freshly minced dill
For the rest:
- 2 handfuls baby kale, arugula, watercress, or mixed baby greens
- 1/2 cup fresh green peas
- 100g smoked salmon
- 1/4 cup chopped or shredded pickled beets
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
- radish sprouts, to garnish
Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Prepare the dressing: Combine all ingredients in a jar or sealed container and shake vigorously until combined.
Cook the potatoes: After soaking the potatoes to remove extra starch, toss them in olive oil, aiming to coat as evenly as possible. Season generously with black pepper and sea salt, then scatter on the baking sheet and roast for 30-40 minutes, flipping and sprinkling with fresh parsley at the half way mark. (Adding herbs later prevents them from burning.)
Make the cucumber salad: Toss all ingredients together in a bowl. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper.
Assemble: Line the bottom of 2 bowls with baby greens. Divide the cucumber salad between the two bowls, then follow with the roasted potatoes. Arrange the peas, smoked salmon, beets and eggs on top, garnishing with sprouts. Drizzle more dressing and/or fresh lemon juice on top if desired before serving.
So tell me, would you say you have a hygge home? What are some of the things that make you feel most comfortable and cozy?