We asked our 4-year-old grandchild what she wanted to do for the winter holiday. She replied with no hesitation: "I want to go to the summer!"
A lot of Swedes want to "go to the summer" during the cold winter months, and lucky enough, there is a way to do it.
Swedes travel abroad like never before, and winter is the time to escape the long dark months in Sweden. Vacation makes us happier, we get broader views, we satisfy our longing for the sun ... and expand our taste buds. With over two million Swedes selecting it, Spain remains among the favorite destinations ever since charter tours started for the Mediterranean island of Majorca in the 1950s, with the top Spanish destination in the winter being the Canary Islands.
In just 5 hours we find the Canary Islands, and they have welcomed us pale scandinavian people since 1956, when the first Swedish airplane landed at Las Palmas Airport.
Swedes are used to oranges, potatoes and tomatoes imported from Gran Canaria during the winter. The Canarians export their crops to Sweden, and Sweden export tourists to them. A nice exchange, as there are flights to and from Gran Canaria from Stockholm, Gothenburg and a few small airports every day.
I like going to Gran Canaria to have some sun, but also for having the lovely seafood and vegetables. Here are three recipes I brought home last time.

Shrimps with garlic and olive oil
Gambas al ajillo, shrimps simmering in olive oil seasoned with bell peppers and garlic. Serve as a small starter or together with other small tapas.
4 servings, as a starter

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1/2 pound peeled, large raw shrimp
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1/2 red bell pepper
6 cloves garlic
1/2 bunch parsley
3/4 cups olive oil

You will also need: oven-safe serving dish, bread

Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Cut the pepper lengthwise, scrape out the seeds and cut the fruit into thin strips. Peel garlic cloves and slice them thinly. Finely chop the parsley.
Heat the olive oil in an ovenproof serving dish. When the oil begins bubbling, add the pepper and garlic. When the garlic begins to turn yellow, turn down the shrimp and fry until they are cooked through, about 3 minutes.
Remove dish from heat, sprinkle with parsley and cover with aluminum foil or lid. Serve immediately with bread to soak up the garlic oil.


Papas arrugadas with mojo rojo
Papas is the South American word for "potatoes," and arrugada is Spanish for "wrinkled." Potatoes in all possible forms occur in a variety of dishes in Canarian cuisine, and this might be considered the national dish of the islands. Serve as tapas, or as an accompaniment to grilled meats.
6 servings

2 1/4 pounds small potatoes
1/2 cup coarse salt per 2 cups of water
1 lemon wedge
Red mojo:
1 whole garlic
2 red bell peppers
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup olive oil
You will also need: mortar and pestle

Peel the garlic cloves and chop them coarsely. Cut bell peppers lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Chop the flesh coarsely. Crush them in a mortar with salt and put into a bowl.
Add the cumin and paprika and stir slowly down with oil and vinegar until a thick paste is formed.
If you think the sauce is too thick, dilute with a tablespoon of water. (Mojo can be kept several weeks in the refrigerator.)
Wash the potatoes thoroughly, but keep the skin. Place potatoes in a pan and cover with water. If necessary, pour out water to save and measure, add cup coarse salt per 2 cups of water. Pour the salt water back over the potatoes in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil without a lid until the water evaporates and potatoes are soft and wrinkled.
Serve the potatoes warm and dip them in mojo.

Tips
For spicier mojo, replace the red bell peppers with chillies.

Paella con marisco seafood paella

Seafood is ever present in the Canary Islands. The cold, salty water surrounding the islands provides good fishing for a variety of lovely Atlantic fishes, squids, mussels, snails and sea urchins. This paella has squid, mussels, clams and shrimp.
6 servings

1 1/2 pounds squid rings
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 large shrimp in shells
6 scallions
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 dozen mussels

1 dozen small clams
3/4 cup white wine
4 cups fish broth

1 teaspoon thread saffron

1 medium onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pounds green peas
1 large tomato
1 green bell pepper
1 3/4 cups parboiled rice 

Spice paste:

8 garlic cloves

2 tablespoon minced parsley

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
To serve:
lemon wedges
You will also need: mortar and pestle, foil or lid


Start with making the spice paste: Peel garlic cloves then mash the parsley, garlic, thyme and salt into a paste in a mortar. Stir in paprika and add water, if necessary, to form a paste.
Sprinkle squid rings with salt and let sit 10 minutes. Peel the shrimp but let them have the shell left on the tail. Clean and brush the mussels under cold running water. Toss those with cracked shells and those that do not close when tapped on the shell.
Peel the scallions and chop them finely. Heat the olive oil in a pan, and fry the scallion and shrimp shells for 2 minutes. Add wine and cook the mussels and clams 4 minutes with a lid on. Discard mussels that have not opened. Put saved mussels and clams aside.
Strain the broth and put it a pitcher. Put the fishbroth in the same pitcher and stir in saffron.
Peel and chop the onion finely. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium high heat and quickly brown the squid rings for 1‒2 minutes. Remove to warm platter. Chop the tomato.
Add onion and olive oil to the pan and fry for a few minutes. Raise heat, add tomato and cook until it becomes sauce-like, 2‒5 minutes.
Pour in the hot broth and bring to a boil. Put the rice in the pan, boil for 3 minutes, stirring rice and rotating pan occasionally. Add reserved squid and peas, stir in spice paste and taste for salt.
Do not stir after this point. Lower the heat, continue to simmer until rice is no longer soupy but enough liquid remains to continue cooking the rice, about 10 minutes. Add extra liquid if necessary.
Trim and chop the bell pepper. Arrange shrimp, clams, mussels and bell pepper over rice. Cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes until rice is almost done.
Remove pan from the heat and cover with foil. Let sit 10 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.