Archive for October, 2013

Miraculously Noodle-Free Quick Dish (and 2-year anniversary)

Posted in beans, chicken, potato, scallion, vegetarian with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2013 by oskila

I’ve noticed that I most often go for the noodles when in a hurry these days. That is especially bad considering the fact that I often preach about the evils of instant noodles. (Not only are they made ‘instant’ by deep frying, they’re deep fried in palm oil, one of the least environment-friendly food products of today)

We’ll be having potatoes instead.

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Sliced potatoes go in the microwave oven for five or so minutes, just in order to soften them a bit. Much quicker than frying raw potatoes and uses less fat.

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Frying potatoes after nuking

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Added chopped scallion, some sort of ‘chicken’ ‘kebab’ and frozen green beans (fun fact: their french name, haricots verts, sounds a lot like the Swedish words for ‘Mister Envelope’. I’d say lots of Swedish children grow up believing that’s what they’re actually called.)

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Done! While those chicken kebabs aren’t all that appetizing to begin with, I think they can be spiced up to be more palatable. Also, isn’t it good in a way that they actually make use those small bits of chicken left on the carcasses after taking away the nicer parts? Thirdly, since they’re a prefab product that’s slightly odd, why not make it a vegetarian dish by using Quorn or similar instead?

Checking the archives, this post marks the 2nd anniversary of the wordpress incarnation of the Nerd Cuisine blog. (It was actually yesterday, but don’t tell anyone). I started the celebrations early by taking away the (in my opinion) least compelling header image and replaced it with a new nicer one. Thanks to all my followers and occasional passers-by. I couldn’t fathom two years ago that I’d still be at it by now. Let’s hope the next year gets just as good. Now I’ve better take care of that bucket of lobster shells on thhe balcony…

Feral Fall Food

Posted in cabbage, chestnut, discount, leftovers, mushroom, parsnip, pork, potato, sauce, scandinavian with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2013 by oskila

Autumn is truly upon us and almost automatically, the food gets stouter and earthier, at least in my kitchen (well not ALWAYS, but what few salads we had during summer have definitely given way to soups, stews and casseroles). One of the returning, short-seasoned ingredients that tend to sneak in is chestnuts. For many years, I bought a few out of interest, then saved them for a more festive meal, until they dried up unsalvageably and had to be thrown out. Over time I’ve learned to get my chestnuts early in the season and use them the same day.

The post title refers to the mix of domesticated and ‘wild’ ingredients of today’s dish, which is a bit of a stretch really, since only the mushrooms are actually harvested in the actual wild.

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These chestnuts (already roasted in the picture) were picked up at a grocery store closer to work than home, which I visit only occasionally, mainly for the differences in product range (such as early chestnuts). A short walk down the vegetable aisle also resulted in good looking parsnips, fresh brussel sprouts and some yellowfoot mushrooms.

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Mushrooms, having been fried in a dry pan with some salt beforehand, sizzling away with onion and garlic.

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Diced potatoes, parsnips and carrots added. The different dice-size was decided upon in order to cook them fairly evenly as they were nuked in the microwave for five minutes before frying.

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It’s also time to fry up some salt pork. I had originally decided to use pork loin in this dish, but as I went shopping at the local store for hand soap, potatoes and an apple, I came by short date salt pork at 50% off. I sprinkled some of my dry rub on it, but I think most of the rub stuck to the pan, on account of containing lots of sugar.

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To the vegetable pan, add finely diced apple (I use Granny Smith), chopped roasted chestnuts and brussel sprout leaves. (Separating them is a tedious task, but a lot more elegant than chucking whole or chopped sprouts in)

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For the plating I made use of the bottle of red wine sauce my brother left last week. It goes rather well with the pork and the apple and the parsnip and so on.

Pulled Some More Pork

Posted in american, condiments, leftovers, pork, potato with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2013 by oskila

My brother came over the other day and since he hadn’t had dinner he went to the store for food to cook at our place. He returned with a piece of pork shoulder, shaped like a fillet, and marinated in orange and ginger and also some potatoes and a bottle of ready made red wine sauce. He only cooked and ate half of it, so I had the rest for lunch the next day.

Since both my previous attempts mainly involved an oven and nearly whole days of cooking, I knew I had to change method or have something else for lunch. The choice fell on the cast iron pot that’s been heavily featured recently. I tipped the rest of the red wine sauce in, along with a bit of water, pork stock, sugar and half an onion in slices. Simmered the meat, which wasn’t as large as the big chunks of pork neck I’ve used before, for about two hours

Both this step and the next would have had really nice pictures, if the camera hadn’t messed the files up. (My trusty DSLR does become a bit iffy from time to time.  It’s about 10 years old.)

Next step was to rub the cooked meat with a new batch of dust, basicall same as the old one but with muscovado sugar instead of regular and some Sichuan pepper and English mustard powder added to spice things up a bit. Then half an hour in the oven at 150 C (300 F) to get a bit of bark going.

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Pork pulled and camera working again.

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The remains of the simmering part.

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Meat reheated in a pan with a dollop of homemade barbecue sauce. It had time to go cold due to slightly poor planning with the garnish and all the fiddling with the camera.

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Comparatively quick pulled pork with refried potatoes and some onions and romaine lettuce

Yellowfoot Lunch

Posted in italian, mushroom, pasta, pork, sauce, stew with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2013 by oskila

It would seem this year doesn’t offer a lot of time to go mushroom hunting. Apart from the stuff happening at home, having to work an actual job five days a week is unexpectedly tiring. In years like this, it’s always nice to know when yellowfoot season starts. That is, store-bought yellowfoot.

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The yellowfoot mushroom is one of my favourites. It’s abundant (if you know where to look), easy to dry, flavorful and texturally pleasing. If bought it’s also usually cheaper than the other non-farmed mushrooms. (We usually get farmed button, portobello, shiitake and oyster mushrooms and golden chanterelle and sometimes yellowfoot and trumpet of death when they’re in season)

The other principal ingredients of today’s dish are pork loin, cut into strips, creme fraiche and chopped onions and leeks.

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Dry frying the mushrooms for a bit before adding fat.

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Sweating onions and leeks together with mushrooms, while the meat sears in a separate vessel.

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Meat and a whiff of flour goes into the pot. Add a liquid of choice if the pot starts to go dry. I added a bit of stock and then some milk.

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With the stew in a more agreeable mood, season and add the creme fraiche. I often use creme fraiche because, while as fat as double cream, its acidity makes it a bit lighter than heavy, cream-based sauces. Simmer for a while, the longer the better. In hindsight a bay leaf would have been nice.

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In the meantime, some friendly friend has prepared pasta and a salad (actually, it was me, but hey). Slightly fancier than the average saturday lunch, but we had a friend (who was also our wedding photographer) over for lunch and were in the mood for a bit of fancy.

Summer Memories: Restaurant Fish

Posted in mushroom, sweetbreads, zander with tags , , , , , , , , on October 4, 2013 by oskila

‘This post title is even odder than usual’ you might think upon reading it. It’s there because today’s post is about restaurant food instead of my own cooking, and that I only very seldom order fish in restaurants.

The post is based on the photo, which I rediscovered while flipping through phone and pad. It was taken during the most expensive lunch I’ve had in my life, eaten while on a road-trip to celebrate my parents’ wedding anniversary.

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Pan-fried zander with chanterelles and breaded veal sweetbreads.

Zander is an awesome fish. Very tasty, and as far as I can tell, it’s quite sustainable for the time being. Sweetbreads aren’t quite for me though.

Bacon and Eggs. And Mushrooms. And Rice Noodles and Ssamjang. And Kimchi?

Posted in asian, bacon, cabbage, condiments, eggs, korean, leeks, mushroom, noodles, preserve, salad, side dish with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2013 by oskila

OK. New food instead of backlog, because I want to, and I can do what I want with my blog. I started out by trying to figure out dinner and found eggs and bacon. Then I found a couple of mushrooms at the back, along with a leek. Reaching for the granulated garlic in the cupboard next to the fridge I saw the new rice noodles. While the kettle was on to make noodle water I checked the fridge again and found the trusty old ssamjang and the spanking new packet of kimchi. Behind the kimchi I found the cabbage I pickled myself some time ago (back in March).

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Fried all the fryable stuff and tossed it together, then put some proper kimchi next to my ko-jaeng-i stuff. I have to say my feeble attempt is rather good considering I hadn’t tried the real stuff before making it. For future reference, this real kimchi is a bit less sour, a lot less sweet and heaps, plenty, lots spicier. I hear Koreans eat kimchi for breakfast and I secretly hope the breakfast variety has a bit less chili in it. On that bombshell we end tonight’s post :)

Summer Memories: Skirt Steak and Halloumi

Posted in beef, cheese, condiments, mushroom with tags , , , , , , , on October 2, 2013 by oskila

Working through the backlog some more. Another dinner which involves barbecue activities, but this time it’s about the (in Sweden) elusive skirt steak or bavette as the french call it. Used to be cheap, but now it’s fashionable and in demand.

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Yours truly, monitoring the skirt steak and mushrooms, in yet another photographic appearance. I normally barbecue stuff with indirect heat and the lid on, but my dear wife whipped out the phone camera when the lid was off.

Meat was bought sligthly brined, but otherwise only seasoned with salt and pepper. Mushrooms were gradually smothered in home made dry rub.

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Mushrooms, skirt steak and halloumi. We were apparently hungry enough to forget to snap a shot of  a plate.  I assume we also had potatoes and sauce bearnaise or similar.

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