We threw a cocktail party / trip slideshow inspired by the food and drink of our trip to Iceland, squeezing about a dozen people into my tiny apartment.
It started as an excuse to share the Brennivin (somewhat harsh icelandic schnapps with caraway), Lava Smoked Imperial Stout, and a cocktail centered around Birkir, the excellent birch-branch-infused liquer we’d carried back in our luggage (Birkir + lemon juice + simple syrup + soda water).
And then the planning spiraled a bit out of control, as tends to happen with dinner parties– we decided we needed to make individual-serving-size appetizers based on various combinations we’d seen in Iceland (lamb + rutabaga, arctic char + fennel + apple + dill, salmon + horseradish + cheese). Fortunately we were able to find char in one of the bay area fish markets.
We tried a few ways of cooking rutabaga and ended up boiling and then deep-frying thick chips of it to layer carrot puree, lamb, fried onions, and salt on:
The salmon (house-cured gravlax — raw salmon packed in sugar and salt and dill and let sit) with cheese, pickles, onions, dill on rye. This was all inspired by a dish at the “Unnamed Pizza Place” in Reykjavik operated by the Dill team that in retrospect I think was a substitution– the menu said it was salmon and fennel, but the first night we went there it came with cottage cheese and pickles and horseradish instead, which ended up being a great combination.
Parnsip puree, arctic char (pan fried in butter), salmon roe, fennel (pickled and fresh), dill:
A dessert hannah created visually inspired by the snow-covered lava boulders– Icelandic Skyr + dry chocolate cookies (almost sables) + a licorice caramel.
More of the spread, before people showed up:
All surrounded by souvenirs (lava, wool, volcanic ash) and a slide show of some memorable trip photos: