Having been away from Iceland (where I was born and raised) for 17 years, there are certain things I miss. Like cold black volcano beaches, midnight sun during the summer months, and dancing northern lights in the winter. Nostalgically, I miss the food, the flavors and textures of simple ingredients grown on the heath and collected by locals in the fall. Most of all, I miss my amma ("grandmother" in Icelandic)’s baking. She would effortlessly whip up a cake or a tower of crepes, and her freezer was always stocked with home-baked goods for unexpected guests and my munch-hungry grandpa.
When writing and creating the recipes for my book, From the North: A Simple and Modern Approach to Authentic Nordic Cooking, I looked back at my heritage and where I'm from, and Iceland seemed to pull me into the kitchen with a creative fervor. I felt empowered to take the flavors that I knew so well and push them to new heights.