Archive for the italian Category

Moose Peposo

Posted in cabbage, discount, italian, moose, stew with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2015 by oskila

For some reason our local shop has started offering comparatively cheap game meat relatively regularly. This time they sold stewing bits of moose cheaper than beef.

Foodstuffs I don’t normally buy, like game, come with enough sense of occasion to also provoke a blog post, which is why this is the third installment of game meat in a short amount of time. Also, game is a bit more friendly to the environment (if not to the individual moose) than domesticated and factory-farmed meats.

I’ve had my eyes on the classic Tuscan dish Peposo for a few years now, but never actually cooked it. Legend has it the dish was invented by furnace workers who made terra-cotta tiles for the Florence cathedral. Cheap beef cooked in local Chianti wine in terra-cotta pots for hours on end. In other words, high foodie fashion some 500 years later.

It’s always fun when there’s a schism regarding original recipes. Modern recipes contain lots of tomatoes, but the dish would have originated in pre-columbian times, when tomatoes were only found in South America. I decided for something in between – adding a small spoon of tomato paste for deeper umami flavor.

Personally I also wonder about the amount of pepper. As far as I know pepper was very very expensive during the renaissance. Would labourers (albeit skilled) really be able to afford that amount of pepper just for an everyday stew with cheap cuts of beef? Will have to look into that…

peposoingredienser

The ingredient list is very short: Meat, Chianti, black pepper, garlic (and tomato paste). Peposo isn’t a subtle dish. For a pound of moose I used half a head of garlic, a pint of wine and ten grams of pepper (substituting half the amount for long pepper which has more spicy notes that go well with game). In an embarrassing fit of illiteracy I ground the pepper up instead of using it whole like the recipe I used for reference said. The result was quite hot, but still enjoyable.

peposotimelapse

Top-left image: Everything combined in cast iron pot and brought to a boil while the oven heats to 150° C. Top-right: Pot after an hour in the oven. Bottom-left: the two hour mark. Bottom-right: Decided to declare dinner after three and a half hours.

peposokål

According to the interwebs common side dishes for peposo are sautéed spinach and beans. I decided on a slightly more Swedish option and creamed some savoy cabbage. Grilled bread is also an important part of the peposo experience.

pepososerved.jpg
Moose peposo smeared on bread, with creamed savoy cabbage and what was left of the wine.

Final thoughts on this moose peposo: The meat was very lean. A fattier cut would probably have done favours for the flavours. To accompany the moose I went for a quite robust type of Chianti. A lighter wine would probably have been better. Even though there seems to be quite a lot of garlic in this dish, it disappeared completely. (might not have done so if the pepper wasn’t ground)

Three year celebration

Posted in dairy, eggs, italian with tags , , , , , , , on October 22, 2014 by oskila

The little wordpress notification gnome just told me it’s three years since I registered nerdcuisine.wordpress.com! How time flies… Regular readers (if any are left) have noticed a decline in activity over the last year or so. Baby Olivia says hi :)

There’s an obvious need for some kind of celebratory action, but I don’t have any material for a proper recipe post, so here’s just a pretty nice picture from last week of panna cotta with home made strawberry jam.

045
The picture is also available from my all new instagram page

That’s it for this time. Hopefully the next year will have more regular posting. Thanks for hanging around!

Pea-sto

Posted in cheese, condiments, italian, mediterranean, pasta, peas, vegetarian with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 12, 2014 by oskila

ärtpesto

 

Funny punny title, yes. What it means is that today’s food is pesto made with peas instead of basil. And it’s real easy too.

2 parts green peas (fresh or defrosted)
1 part oil
1 part whatever kind of nuts or seeds you like
1 part grated parmesan cheese or similar.
garlic
salt
pepper

Mix all the stuff and blend it to desired texture. Adjust thickness with oil and cheese or more peas. I use a hand blender and get it ready in almost no time at all. The pesto in the picture has more cheese and peas instead of nuts since the pine nuts were way too expensive and my wife dislike sunflower seeds and is allergic to most proper nuts. It works beautifully with for example pasta anyway.

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.

001 2

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.

002 2

Dry frying the mushrooms for a bit before adding fat.

006 2

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

007 2

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.

008 2

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.

009 2

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.

Using harvested stuff – Pistou

Posted in cheese, condiments, french, herbs, italian, mediterranean, vegetarian with tags , on July 31, 2012 by oskila

Today it’s not about pak choi again, but about basil. Claiming that I’d be using freshly harvested homegrown basil would, however, be a slight lie. The basil wasn’t really harvested – more a matter of thinning out the leaves that looked a bit sad. And I didn’t really grow it; I bought a pot at the grocery store, split the root clump in four and repotted it. I did get it to grow quite a bit though, so it’s not all smoke and mirrors.

Pistou is what it sounds like – a French pesto (or, more correctly, a pesto from Provence) differing from its Italian counterpart by not containing nuts or seeds and that the cheese is optional. I opted cheese in, since one of the reasons I had for making this was to use up the Grana Padano in the fridge so we can start on the Parmigiano reggiano. Basil, cheese, garlic, salt, oil. All you need, but more salt and less oil than you will actually need.

Just as the names pistou and pesto indicate, it’s traditionally made using a mortar and pestle. Sometimes ‘traditional’ only means ‘the hand blender wasn’t yet invented’. If I was making a larger batch and in possession of a better mortar and pestle, I’d probably think differently.

Three minutes or so later, a small bowl of pistou. The bowl holds about three tablespoons.

In Provence pistou is often served with bread or with vegetable soup. We used it to liven up an otherwise potentially boring dish of pasta and bratwurst.

Tag Team Tortellini

Posted in cheese, italian, pasta, sauce, vegetarian with tags , on July 6, 2012 by oskila

To be honest, there will be more than tortellini today, but the title was too awesome to pass up on. Today’s theme is fresh pasta, and since that’s one of a number of foods that’s much more fun to make in company, I’ve enlisted the help of my better half – hence the tag team.

If I remember correctly, we talked about making our own pasta after watching an episode of MasterChef USA, season 2. I bought a pasta machine at a flea market almost ten years ago and while it’s been used for pasta once or twice, I’ve mostly used it to shred newspapers to use as playing/nesting material for pet rats. The last rats died years ago and the machine has been collecting dust until now.

First, one needs dough of course. Recipes vary concerning whole eggs or yolks, flour mix and other stuff. We used whole eggs and durum wheat flour.

Dough kneaded and one lump wrapped in plastic. As soon as both were wrapped they went in the fridge to rest while we shopped for filling.

Here’s some of the dough, machine-rolled out. I’ve pin-rolled pasta dough once and I hope I’ll never have to do that again. It was no fun at all. We had planned to make two types of pasta, tortellini and ravioli, with different fillings. The little lumps in the bowl in the picture are filling #1, which is a mix of Brie and Grana Padano. A yummy all cheese filling for the tortellini.

Here’s what I did for filling #2 – a slight twist on the very classic spinach/ricotta ravioli filling with fresh spinach, blanched and chopped, together with ricotta and sautéed onions, garlic and mushrooms, seasoned with white pepper, thyme, a hint of nutmeg and a couple of drops of truffle oil. Some of the pictures in this post are rather crappy, because we were really hungry and didn’t quite have time for more shots.

Thanks to the firm filling, the tortellini were produced at a rapid pace

The ravioli required two pieces of dough and had a much looser filling, which made manufacture rather slow.

A bit over half the ravioli and all of the tortellini done and having a rest before cooking.

With the pasta resting, we whipped up a sauce of roux, cream, a splash of balsamic vinegar (white wine would possibly be a better choice, but we didn’t have any), a small amount of very finely chopped and caramelized onions and a bit of grated Grana Padano.

With the sauce simmering, we started boiling the pasta.

Dish completed and plated prettily. Pasta made from a half batch of dough, in turn made from 450 grams of durum wheat flour and six very small eggs, evidently feeds two starving 30-year olds to a near comatose state. The other half of the dough is in the fridge, biding its time.

An Italian Job

Posted in bacon, bread, cheese, italian, leftovers, mushroom, pasta, salad, side dish with tags on June 29, 2012 by oskila

I recently claimed that the cooking gets more laid back in the summer. For some reason, after posting that, I’ve cranked the game up a notch instead. Perhaps it would be more correct to say that the dishes get lighter. Roast and gravy isn’t too compelling when it’s hot and sunny outside I guess.

Today’s dish is pasta based, as opposed to the last post which had som pasta chucked in as a filler. It’s also meant to do away with some leftovers and try out a couple of new things.

As you can see, today’s lineup is filled to the brim with good stuff! Romaine lettuce, Grana Padano cheese, mascarpone, cucumber, half forgotten radishes, mushrooms, fresh garlic, leftover zucchini, balsamic vinegar, leftover lemon, onion, bacon, olive oil, truffle oil and a nice sourdough roll. Again, me and the little cherry red camera haven’t quite agreed on how indoor photography without flash is best carried out. And as usual, I forgot to include the pasta in the lineup, but I believe that since I don’t give much directions anyway, people actually replicating my dishes will be able to figure out how to cook spaghetti anyway.

First, let’s give the zucchini a quick sweat

Once that looks nice, add mushrooms, garlic, onions and bacon to the pan.

Normally, one would use cream, crème fraîche or roux/milk for sauce, but I decided to try mascarpone, which is usually associated with desserts. Since it’s fat fatty fat fat (40%) I’m taking it down a notch with the double amount milk. If you haven’t started boiling pasta and toasting bread it’s time to get that going.


The amount of fluids is intentionally a bit on the low side, since I feared dumping a whole lot of mascarpone in a dinner would make it heavy and greasy. Some herbs and a swig of wine doesn’t hurt, but since I had no wine, I added a splash of balsamic instead.

Simple salad with lettuce, cucumber, radishes and cheese flakes. The intricacy is in the vinaigrette. Oil, vinegar, salt and pepper as usual, but with as much lemon juice as vinegar and a few drops of truffle oil, which takes things to another level entirely.

Assemble dish in spaghetti pot. I usually add considerable amounts of black pepper at this point.

After initial toasting, the roll had a drizzle of oil, a rub of garlic and a short trip to the oven to take some of the raw edge off the garlic. Remove from oven, add salt and call it bruschetta.

Today’s plated dish shot is brought to you by the balcony. This recipe isn’t really complicated enough to warrant nine images, but it can still be simplified further. I’d imagine that it’s very tasty even without bacon for example. Those who really like salad could instead make that part more complicated by adding more stuff, but that’s rather obvious.

To conclude, I’d say the mascarpone works quite well in this dish. Its slight sweetness compliments that of the onions and zucchini, while offering a nice contrast to the salty bacon. Next time, I’m hopefully doing fresh fish.

 

%d bloggers like this: