Archive for the peppers Category

Jammed Onions

Posted in condiments, leftovers, peppers, preserve, sauce, side dish with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2014 by oskila

It’s finally time for a proper post about food again! This time it’s about a cold sauce that goes well with pâté rustique and similar dishes. The need for such a sauce arose when we got some pâté (and other awesome food) left over from my brother’s 30th birthday party, which me and mrs NerdCuisine missed on account of being busy fussing over NerdCuisine jr. (also known as Olivia) in a maternity ward.

Now, the pâtés I’ve eaten have usually been accompanied by Cumberland sauce, which consists mainly of red wine, black currant jelly and orange rind. I possessed neither and had to improvise something of a similar sweetness and acidity. Also, there’s an unprecedented amount of pictures, just because. These things happen.

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This was the first batch of ingredients I decided on – red onion, tomatoes, raspberry syrup, lime, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and red bell pepper. Since this is a highly improvised affair, more stuff will be added along the way.

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A bit of chopping later, the vegetables are sizzling in a pot, along with some unannounced red currants I realized were in the freezer. A small pinch of salt gets the sweating going.

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With the liquids added, a slow simmer for as long as one can stand waiting is in order.

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Another late addition; a squeeze of pomegranate juice (and probably quite a few seeds)

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Adding some lime zest. The whole thing has started to thicken somewhat and it’s also probably time to add what else in the way of spices one would like to have.

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Acidity was a tad high, so a bit of palm sugar was  added to balance it out (and make the ingredient list complicated)

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And now it’s time to squeeze the whole thing through a sieve. Mainly because we’re still attempting to mimic some aspects of real cumberland, which means a smooth texture without any bits.

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That taken care of, we put the pot to a simmer again, with some gelling sugar and very thinly sliced red onions added in. I used raw onions, but I’d hazard that onions with a bit of sear on them would render the result sweeter and less sharp.

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Simmer just long enough for the gelling agent to kick in. A couple of juniper berries also found their way in, and since I overdid it slightly with the sugar, I compensated with a couple of splashes raspberry-flavored balsamico. As the title suggests, the end result is something ranging from rather sweet and sour sauce to comparatively tart jam.

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And so – cold, red, sweet sauce accompanying pâté, like nature intended. Long time readers might wonder what the deal is with me and making sweet condiments out of onions around NYE, but it’s pure coincidence actually.

It’s great to be back in business! Next time I think we’ll look into a bit of Swedish and Finnish Christmas food, only some 50 weeks in advance. Take care until then!

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Smoked Salmon Hash

Posted in peppers, potato, scandinavian, smoked salmon, vegetarian with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 16, 2013 by oskila

There’s been quite a long silence, for quite good reasons if I might say so myself. I got married on June 1st (which was preceded by a lot of nervousness and preparations) and then went honeymooning in New York for a bit over a week. The trip will be elaborated upon once I’ve sorted through the 900+ pictures.

Swedish hash, or pyttipanna, is made by frying neatly diced potatoes and leftover meats along with chopped onions. We were a bit short in the leftover meats department but had some smoked salmon that we got from my wife’s aunt, who was clearing out her fridge.

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In one pan, onions, fried over medium heat until brown. I added some garlic and red peppers to keep the salmon more company.

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In a second pan, potatoes, along with a sprig of thyme.

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Once everything is more or less cooked, the salmon can be added. It really doesn’t need a lot of pan time, already being smoked.

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Potatoes tipped in too. Time to season and stir.

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Pyttipanna is traditionally served with fried eggs and pickled beets (and in recent times often with ketchup and similar) but I decided to manage without.

Clearance Stew: Gumbo-inspired Muck

Posted in american, cabbage, cajun, crossover, discount, ground beef, leftovers, mushroom, okra, peppers, sausage, stew, stock with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2013 by oskila

It was one of those days when the leftovers and odds and ends reached critical mass. A number of loose food ends that are at risk of going bad unless they’re chucked out (which is very unfashionable these days) or made into a clearance stew (a.k.a. fridge stew). Such stews can take any number of directions, depending on what it is that you’ve forgotten behind the eggs and the jam. The deciding factor for me was probably the bag of okra pods in the freezer. I bought them just because I could, with only a vague idea that they’re used for thickening in Cajun cooking. As per usual, I knew very little about the dish I was going to get inspired by, in this case gumbo. Apart from okra I seemed to recall that onions, celery and green peppers were important, and that it was supposed to be fairly spicy. From there it was touch and go.

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Leftover spanish chorizo, beef stock cubes, ground beef (bought just before Christmas, frozen and forgotten) green bell pepper, the last bit of savoy cabbage, shallots, carrots, cured sausages of some kind, red chili pepper, mushrooms, garlic, onion, celery and okra. Since the main protein is ground beef, this dish can at most be Cajun-inspired or have a hint of Louisiana, but my intention wasn’t to make actual gumbo, but rather to make a stew that’d last all week.

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Chopped onions, carrots, garlic, celery, peppers and chili. Whole shallots.

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Beef, mushrooms, cabbage, cured sausage and chorizo added

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Stock and okra go in, along with some herbs and a bit of tomato paste

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A couple of hours of slow simmering produces half a gallon of swamp-like stew. Way tastier than it looks.

 

Exploring Udon and Dashi

Posted in asian, condiments, crossover, japanese, lotus root, mushroom, noodles, peppers, soup, stock, vegetarian with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 3, 2013 by oskila

Raided the recently mentioned Asian grocery store again, and came home with five different kinds of noodles, frozen okra, some instant dashi granules and ssamjang. Since noodles obviously are one of my favorite kinds of food I thought I’d make some.

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Leek, dashi, mushrooms, red chili pepper, carrot, garlic sprouts, ssamjang, udon noodles and lotus roots. Since udon noodles are commonly served in soup that’s what I’m going to do. Ingredient-wise this dish has roots in Japan, Korea and probably China too, so I’m ending up with a general Asian concoction again. This doesn’t really bother me, since the main objective is to simply make tasty food.

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Noodles boiling away. I put them in a sauté pan only in order to be able to put them in whole. Most of my other pots except the really huge ones aren’t wide enough to do that. Save a pint or so of the water after the noodles are cooked, in order to save time and power when making the broth.

For some reason I forgot to take pictures of the broth, but on the other hand it wasn’t very visually enticing. Simply put the hot liquid back in the pan on the hob and sprinkle instant dashi in it to taste. Season with soy and vinegar (ideally rice vinegar, but I used white wine vinegar and a hint of sugar.)

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Meanwhile, the vegetables are jumbled together in another sauté pan. I only used a bit of the green part of the leek and sliced the carrot with the help of a vegetable peeler. Since the lotus root slices were still frozen I simply microwaved them along with a spoonful of water for some time instead and then chopped them up a bit.

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To assemble dish, simply scoop noodles into bowl with vegetables on top and then pour dashi broth over the whole thing. I topped with a dollop of ssamjang and black and white sesame seeds for additional tastiness.

Rounding Up the Leftovers: The Almost Tortilla

Posted in cheese, eggs, leftovers, mushroom, peppers, potato, vegetarian with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 13, 2013 by oskila

Came home late. Needed something to eat. Noted the accumulated leftovers from recent cooking adventures. Sprung into action. A proper spanish tortilla, is, from what I’ve gathered, an omelet with maybe more potato than egg in it. I only had half a potato, which makes it an almost tortilla.

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Sautéed some onions and garlic, along with leftover green chili and enoki

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Next, adding sliced potatoes – the blue ones from yesterday. Only had half a very large one, but it added some color and carbs. For a proper tortilla one would fry a much larger amount of sliced potatoes for much longer, instead of a bit of old and boiled. Also sprinkled a bit of smoked paprika and French herbs.

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Adding lightly beaten eggs. I’ve always been taught that it’s best to use a fork, yet when Gordon Ramsay asks some chef to make an omelet to get an estimate on his skill level, they almost infallibly bring out the whisks – which, according to what I’ve learned, increases the risk of a crumbly texture.

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Flipped with the assistance of a pot lid. It’s somewhat amorphous in shape, but that’s something one often has to live with when making an omelet in a pan larger than precisely needed.

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A bit of cheese enhances the experience. The most common solution would probably be grating the cheese and mix it in with the eggs, but I decided to add cheese fairly late in the cooking process and went with sliced. Supposedly, the common Scandinavian cheese slicer is viewed with suspicion in many parts of the world. It’s a very handy tool actually – buying sliced cheese is just silly.

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Done!

A Quick Stop to Meddle with Chili.

Posted in american, bacon, beans, condiments, corn, discount, ground beef, peppers, rice, stew, tex-mex with tags , , on September 18, 2012 by oskila

Since I spent a lot of spring and summer writing blog posts instead of school papers, this semester has had a bit of a rough start.  There’s still a lot to do before I can relax, but I felt a need to at least post a little something. Autumn is about to get serious (even took some time this weekend to pick a bit of mushrooms) and one starts to long for big pots of food that has simmered for hours on end and keeps you warm all week. Also the time for economically minded university students like me to start putting boxed lunches in the freezer. I hit the store and started forming a plan when there was good discounts on both bell peppers and minced beef.

I’d like to apologize to an chili purists out there in advance, as this post might be offensive to you, just like what I did to the other national dish of the United States a while back was potentially offensive. Before cooking the dish for this post I had never laid eyes upon a recipe for chili con carne, nor did I until I had started eating, after which I learned that there are lots of interesting dichotomies and conflicts regarding what constitutes proper chili. But we’ll sort that out along the way.

Sweating onions, garlic and bell peppers. Apparently, onions aren’t really allowed (but onion powder is fine) and peppers should at least be red, but preferably hotter than bell.

Browning ground beef. Choosing ground meat over cut seems to be a big faux pas among chili aficionados, according to the internet.

Adding bacon (which is technically diced pork, should be safe) and seasonings, including chili powders (ancho and nameless) cumin, powdered onion, cocoa, dried basil, chili paste (which is probably unheard of and not right at all) and tomato paste. Tomato is another matter of debate within the modern chili paradigm. My excuse for using paste is that my fiancée is allergic to tomatoes in most forms, but can endure cooked paste without discomfort.

A few minutes later, the minced beef has joined the party along with beef stock, beans and sweet corn. In Sweden, chili con carne is strongly associated with beans, especially kidney beans, but I’m given to understand that Texan law enforcers may fire at will upon those about to put beans in chili. I don’t know if anyone but me puts corn in chili con carne, but I’ve always done that for no other reasons than that it’s an American vegetable and it tastes good.

Here it’s been simmering for a hour and a half, which is a bit on the short side, but considering that I’m using ground and not diced meat I saw no reason to keep from eating it any longer.

And the potentially abominable, chili-esque gringo food is done and plated. I added a bit of rice to secure more lunchboxes and crème frâiche and corn chips for awesomeness.

The Treacherous Chili Sauce

Posted in asian, bacon, condiments, noodles, peppers, sauce with tags on August 25, 2012 by oskila

Before going to France, I had bought a small bunch of yellow chili peppers. Fairly mild, but still not something I’d snack on. Just before we left I put them in the freezer, since we’d be away for ten days. Apart from using a small piece for gazpacho I haven’t touched them since and decided it was time to make use what was left.

I decided to do some kind of cold sauce, which could for example be drizzled on top of instant ramen to give it a bit of bite.

Chilies, bereft of their seeds, chopped up and mixed with various spices, vinegar, sugar and a good dollop of mayonnaise (which we all know is good for you). If the combo seems a bit odd, I’ll have you know that the Japanese put mayonnaise on almost anything these days.

I figured this concoction would be a rather docile condiment with a pleasant heat, since the chilies weren’t very strong, but NO, it had somehow become nearly too strong to be amusing. Clearly not something to be had on its own.

So I did what anyone in my position would have done; added ramen and bacon. Clears the sinuses rather well and gives a sense of accomplishment once one has managed to finish eating.

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