Archive for April, 2012

Spicy Meat Ovoids

Posted in discount, ground beef, mediterranean with tags , on April 18, 2012 by oskila

It’s that time of the month again! No, not the communists-in-the-gazebo-time, but discount ground beef time! And this time we’re talking proper deli shit at a small fraction of the original price (which in hindsight means I shouldn’t have seasoned it so heavily).

To start with, remove the ground meat from the fridge. It’s going to be much more cooperative at room temperature. After that’s been taken care of, chop up and  sear a carrot and a red onion.

Second, put the above in a bowl together with salt, pepper, an egg, a splash of milk, a spoonful of tomato paste and as much garlic and parsley as you want. Then have at it with a hand blender.

Once the contents of the bowl is a smooth goo, rummage through your herbs and spices stash and choose what to use. I started out with coriander seeds, onion seeds, allspice, black mustard seed and cardamom. Toast in a pan.

And then grind it up and add to the bowl. I also added some cinnamon, sumac, cumin, turmeric, chili powder and nutmeg and the tiniest hint of saffron.

In my opinion, the garlic and parsley are key to achieving the flavour I’m aiming for, which is probably something with an air of the eastern Mediterranean area. The closest I’ve been is Crete and in most restaurants we visited there they either served deep fried calamares or microwaved moussaka. What I mean is – use the spices you like.

Add a pound of minced beef and mix thoroughly. Using your hands is the most effective way, but be aware that everything you touch on the way to the hand soap afterwards will turn greasy and yellow. Put the bowl away for a while and go prepare the side dishes. I’m having rice with fried leeks but I forgot to take pictures (but rice isn’t that exciting).

While the rice simmers away, roll the meat mixture into balls or the shape you prefer. The meat sludge thingy should be fairly loose in the sense that these balls won’t stay in shape for more than a couple of minutes. This means they’ll still be juicy, even after being cooked well done.

And then it’s just about time to fry away. I roll the meat into balls only because it’s easier to make them the same size that way. Before I fry them I flatten them, which makes searing them evenly easier and cooking through faster.

As you will notice about now if you do this my way, half-heartedly squashed patties shrink and get thicker at the center when heated, which is why the title says ‘ovoids’ and not ‘balls’.

90 seconds per side and then done! Much easier than fiddling with round balls that need a constantly shaking pan.

Dinner accomplished. I’d assume a yoghurt-y something, like tzatziki, would fit in rather well on that plate, but I didn’t think about that until afterwards.

Crustacean carcasses, part 1

Posted in leftovers, shellfish, stock with tags on April 12, 2012 by oskila

The Easter feast my parents threw didn’t only see typical Swedish Easter food like eggs and pickled herring, but also lovely Norway lobster, in culinary context know as Scampi. We also had some nice shrimp.

Eating these creatures means there will be a lot of shells left over which can be used to make stock, so I pilfered them. Lets get to it! Remember that making stock is a process that can’t really be hurried, so cancel your meetings.

First the shells are given a quick  sizzle in some oil while cracking and crushing them a bit with a potato masher or similar, in order to release more flavour.  This is about a pound and a half of shells – the shells of six large Norway lobsters and an unknown number of shrimp.

Add some onions, carrots, leeks, parsnip and fennel.

Next we add four liters of water and as much white wine as one can spare. Bring to boil and let it simmer.

This is what it looks like after simmering for an hour. If one needs something to do, skimming excess oil off is a good idea, but I didn’t bother.

Now it’s been simmering for a total of three hours and the flavors have developed quite nicely. It’s time to get ride of all the bits and pieces.

Straining the stock. I cut a piece from  an old pillowcase which worked quite nice. Next step is reducing the stock to a more manageable volume.

Half an hour of fairly gentle simmering later and the stock has been reduced by a third or so. Now a bit of seasoning might be a good idea, but go easy on the salt if the plan is to reduce further.

Here’s the final result, cooling off in a cold water bath. I decided to call it a day when the stock had reduced to a little over half a liter which is a volume that fits easily in the freezer.

Four to five hours of work for a pint of lobster/shrimp stock is an average time frame I’d say. I’m stowing it away for use in some kind of soup or stew later on, which is why this post was designated ‘part 1’.

The Rest of the Roast

Posted in asian, cabbage, leftovers, mushroom, noodles, pork with tags on April 2, 2012 by oskila

So, yesterday we had a Sunday roast and did of course not gobble up over two pounds of pork and a bushel of roast potatoes. As I was thinking about how to use the leftovers for lunch I was overcome with the jones for instant noodles. While I reject the perceived cheapness of instant noodles – the price per kilo is far higher than the price for pasta, eggs etc. (not to mention that they’re full of saturated fat on account of being deep fried) – I do enjoy the taste. Providence ensured that I had already bought spring onions, savoy cabbage, carrots and mushrooms the day before, so I only needed to pick up a bag of ramen.

A few slices of leftover roast, mushrooms, carrot, spring onion (minus bulb, eaten the day before), savoy cabbage and a good old block of instant ramen. This particular one was manufactured by Nissin, which is the company founded by the inventor of instant noodles – Momofuku Ando (1910-2007)

As always when I go down the Asian culinary trail, it’s time for some hack and slash

Carrots are sliced razor thin, onions not so much, savoy cabbage cut to strips, mushrooms sliced and pork neck more or less julienned. The plan behind these different cuts is to fry everything together and still get everything done at the same time. Ramen is also boiled at the same time. (but separately)

When all the stuff in the pan begins to look fairly done, tip the ramen in, water and all, and add the included seasoning. My specimen was beef flavored, but the pork didn’t seem to mind. If you already, like me, have cooked meat on hand, or leave meat out altogether, this dish can be made in less than ten minutes, chopping included. And it’s so much tastier than just microwaving the ramen with noodle soup in mind. In fact, this dish was quite similar to a bowl of ramen I once had in Kuala Lumpur (only they used bok choi instead of savoy cabbage), so I’d say I’m doing something right…


Sunday Roast

Posted in pork, roast with tags on April 1, 2012 by oskila

The Sunday roasts of my childhood weren’t a weekly affair but more irregular. They were always tasty though, apart from the always present brussel sprouts that I didn’t exactly fancy. One of the more typical Swedish roasts is the roast pork neck, served with boiled potatoes, boiled carrots, boiled brussel sprouts, gravy and apple sauce. I’ve always felt that it’s unnecessary to boil your veggies when they can be roasted.

I was in a bit of a hurry, so there wasn’t time for fancy marinades or anything like that, just salt, pepper, barbecue seasoning and a friendly pat to rub it in. I’ve never tied a roast before, but I’ve gathered that it’s beneficial in many ways, so I did. While I waited for my new fancy roast thermometer to sound the alarm for 60 degrees C I parboiled some carrots and potatoes (no brussel sprouts). When 60 was reached, the potatoes and carrots went in the dish along with some spring onions and fresh garlic. Back in the oven until inner temperature had risen to 80 degrees (175 degrees Fahrenheit) to make sure that it was cooked through. It’s not a cut that gets dry or tough when roasted anyway. From tying the roast to eating it in less than an hour. Pretty efficient sunday roast!


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