Archive for cooking

Mushroom Season

Posted in mushroom, preserve, scandinavian, vegan, vegetarian with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 5, 2017 by oskila

Not to dwell on the scarcity of posts because of diverted interest (haven’t had time to brew beer since before Christmas either) I think it’s time to drop a line or two about recent mushroom hunting adventures. 

I enjoy mushroom hunting very much and view it as upholding a tradition inherited from my grandmother. With kids and school and work and whatnot there hasn’t always been time lately though. For example, 2014 was a legendary year for King Bolete here, but I didn’t manage to pick a single one. 

This year I forced action by buying a dehydrator and introducing a mushroom theme in my teaching. Also, NC junior, at three and a half, is big enough to move around on her own in the forest. 

At my parents’ cabin we’ve walked some distance to get to good mushroom grounds, but it turns out the forest just behind the house was even better. Only took 13 years to find out…

From the new forest we got our first batch of dehydrator material. Yellowfoot, king bolete, bay bolete and orange birch bolete. Golden chanterelles don’t dehydrate well. 


Sunday took us closer to home, to an area we tried last year, resulting in three chanterelles and five lingonberries. A well visited neck of the woods, we correctly assumed most boletes and chanterelles would have been picked off already. Luckily, less widely known tasty mushrooms, like orange milk-cap and slimy spike-cap were still available, as well as a few bay boletes and spruce bolete. 


That’s picking and drying done. So, what about cooking? The dried ones were of course saved for later as dried mushrooms keep indefinitely. The milk-caps, spike-caps and a bare-toothed russula (apparently also known as The Flirt) went in the pot instead since they don’t dry well. Terminology is unclear, but I’d call what I did parboiling. Simply put chopped mushrooms in a pot, add some salt and heat. The mushrooms will start sweating and the juices will eventually boil off, leaving well cooked mushrooms, greatly reduced in bulk and ideal for freezing. No fat added. 


We’re planning more mushroom gathering trips in the near future, so watch this space for updates! Here are a few more mushroom photographs for fun. Might add names later, but I’m posting from phone and it’s a bit cumbersome to flip back and forth between apps. 

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When In Doubt; Ramen

Posted in asian, eggs, japanese, noodles, pork, soup, stock with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2016 by oskila

I think I might have triggered myself with the last post… Here’s an actual dish.

Went to seldom visited grocery store. Found soft ramen noodles and big bottle of inexpensive fish sauce. Cogs started turning again.

Fast forward a few days and found myself without dinner late at night after struggling considerably with putting the child to bed (and falling asleep myself)

A vision of Tonkotsu Ramen noodle soup appeared for my inner vision. Problem is, while it’s street food in Japan, the broth alone takes over 12 hours to prepare and the eggs at least four. So I had to wing it and cheat.


In a pot I combined finely sliced onion, carrot and ramsons (aka wild garlic), a handful of edamame beans and a small amount of ground up dried mushrooms. A cup of chicken stock followed, seasoned with soy sauce, mirin and fish sauce.

Broth brought to a simmer I added paper thin slices of brined pork neck that I had set aside while making pulled pork the night before.

In another pot an egg was boiled for six minutes and then fished out and peeled while the noodles cooked in the same water for two minutes.

Noodles transferred to bowl, broth poured over, egg sliced and plopped on top (without marinating for four hours), various condiments sprinkled.


While obviously a weak, adulterated shadow of the real thing, I found this bowl of food incredibly tasty. Further attempts to home in on the original are in pipeline.

Hokkaido Pumpkin Soup

Posted in bread, pumpkin, soup, vegan, vegetables with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2015 by oskila

Today I’ll just post a dish and ignore that I’ve been off the grid since New Years. The local store offered Hokkaido pumpkins – a small pumpkin variety originating in Japan as the name suggests. One somehow followed me home.

1 Hokkaido pumpkin

1 onion

1 carrot

1 pint stock


Dig out the seeds, rinse and prepare for toasting. Chop aforementioned veggies and fry until nice. Add stock and simmer until soft. Blend until purée. Season until awesome (I used garlic, thyme, pink peppercorn and allspice). Eat until satisfied, with toasted seeds sprinkled on top. A dollop of something is probably nice too, as well as bread and cheese.

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I hollowed out my pumpkin with a melon baller just for fun and used it as a serving bowl. The sandwich is grilled Camembert on sourdough batarde.

If anything in the post layout is odd it’s because I’m writing this entire post on my phone. A NerdCuisine first I think.

Addendum re Lentil Soup and Umami

Posted in cheese, condiments, lentils, soup, vegan, vegetarian with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2014 by oskila

Yesterday I hurried to get my first post in months done and forgot to include lots of things in the text. Rather than editing the post I decided to do a new one with some explanation and deeper analysis. Before writing the post on lentil soup I had planned to give suggestions about what else to add and elaborate on veggie umami stuff a bit more.

Lentils, even beluga lentils, aren’t that rich in umami stuff themselves, and may need a helping hand. Stock usually gets the task done, but people are often wary of MSG these days (mostly without reason, since it doesn’t cause migraine, ADD or cancer at all, at least not when used sensibly. Read up on ‘Chinese Food Syndrome’ for more fun facts).

My soup didn’t contain lots of tomato, but it’s high in glutamic acid, another umami agent. Especially sizzled tomato paste or ‘sun dried’ tomatoes are handy tools in this aspect. Even a dollop of ketchup in the right place can enhance many a bland dish.

Onions are another useful umami vegetable as long as you let them cook properly to give off maximum flavor. In the soup I used fried onions because it’s a rather odd thing to do, but also because they’re more thoroughly fried than one would ever bother to do at home and packed with flavor, both from natural umami compounds and from maillard reactions associated with frying. The batter also acts as thickening – it’s funny how things work out sometimes.

Mushrooms are also a classic umami ingredient, but the combination with lentils in soup felt a bit out of place.

Ssamjang, Korean chili paste with garlic and soy beans, has been a trusty companion in the kitchen for several years. The umami content is largely due to fermentation, one of the common methods for getting more umami.

Enough about umami. The other thing I forgot to write at the end of the last post was the suggestion of adding a splash of wine, either red or white, to deepen the flavors in general. Those of a less vegan persuasion can add for example grated cheese, a splash of cream or fish sauce, especially if you’ve made a large batch and are having it for lunch for the fifth day in a row…

I’ve had the images for the next post ready for publication since just after Christmas, but other things got in the way. Hopefully that post will be up soon.

Chowder-like Smoky Salvage Soup

Posted in alaska pollock, american, bacon, beans, discount, leeks, potato, shellfish, soup with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2013 by oskila

An awful lot of time has gone by since the last post. I’m very sorry for that, and I have a big backlog of meals to blog about. Today’s dish, however, is hot from the stove. (not really, since it’s probably three-four hours since I actually ate it for dinner)

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When my wife’s aunt and uncle moved to Copenhagen they gave away quite a lot of food that wouldn’t keep for the trip over to Denmark anyway. Among the things we were given were a tin of smoked mussels, something I felt we’d probably never use. Until I read some stuff about clam chowder. The soup I’m making today is probably breaking all kinds of clam chowder rules, but that’s never bothered me in the past. I didn’t feel like a big round of shopping, so I used up stuff I found. Ye olde crustacean stock, frozen alaska pollock up the seaworthy proteins a bit, bacon, cos at least it’s never made a dish worse, ever, creme fraiche with herbs instead of cream, because it was expires-tomorrow-cheap, some old frozen fries and some leek.

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Bacon, leeks and diced fries are the first to go in my new nice cast iron pot, along with some white pepper and powdered garlic. Any chowder purists among the regular readers have probably un-followed by now, but in hindsight I couldn’t tell if the potatoes in the soup was hand-peeled and diced, or simply chopped up fries. It’s not cheaper at all, but handy if you’re in a pinch.

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As I added the still frozen stock, the diced fish and the mussels (it’s damn silly, by the way, that the same Swedish company that used to can 1500 tons of locally sourced mussels annually now ships them from Chile instead. Not very sustainable I’d think) second thought struck, and I also added a handful of green beans and a pinch of paprika.

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Good food, but crappy photo. Added water, a bit of milk to counter the rather high saltiness, a dash of lemon juice in lieu of white wine and, after bringing the pot to a boil, the creme fraiche.

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The final result is a soup with quite a few chowder-like qualities, that I hope at least a quite hungry Mainer would agree to eat. And it feels great to be back in the food blog business.

2 Courgette 4 Egg Omelet

Posted in cheese, discount, eggs, mediterranean, squash, vegetarian, zucchini with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2013 by oskila

According to Wikipedia, zucchini is the most common used name in Scandinavia for the vegetable in other places more commonly known by its french name courgette. I might have old data, but I think the most widespread name in Sweden at least, is simply squash (probably since we didn’t know about any other squashes for very long and until fairly recently)

I’m only bringing this up since I’m using them in food today. The common green zucchini and the slightly less common golden zucchini. Both were bought fairly cheap and then sort of forgotten in the fridge. Since it’s very unnecessary to let food go bad I needed to make use of them quickly and decided on a Spanish tortilla-like apparition, but with zucchini instead of potatoes.

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Grated zucchinis in a pan, with some oil and salt. A chopped onion was added some time later. Since zucchini is mostly water, it tends to get soggy with cooking, and unless some of the moisture is removed, that sogginess is democratically spread through the whole dish. Leave them in the pan for quite some time to get a proper sear and allow some water to steam away.

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Once that was done I added some seasoning (white pepper, garlic, chili flakes, thyme) and then four lightly beaten eggs and a cup of grated Raclette cheese that happened to be lying around (and at least texture-wise, it’s not entirely unlike the Spanish Manchego). Once that’s taken care of one can choose either to fry fairly quick and flip the whole thing over, or fry it on lower heat and on only one side.

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I decided on a one-sided fry and then a bit of salad.

Spicy Chicken 2 (Murgh Korma, more or less)

Posted in asian, chicken, condiments, indian, rice, sauce, stew, yogurt with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 10, 2013 by oskila

Chicken has only recently been allowed in the kitchen as the significant other softened the bird-eating veto. In combination with the increased comfort in the blending of various spicy spices, this opens up a whole new chapter of cooking, previously unseen in the Nerd Cuisine kitchens.

Not bothering with checking any recipes before cooking, this dish might differ significantly from what other people perceive as proper chicken korma. The spice blend consists mainly of cumin, coriander, turmeric and chili, with smaller amounts of cinnamon, allspice, cloves, sumac, cardamom, nutmeg and ginger.

Ingredients beside chicken include onions, carrots, tomato paste, broccoli (which is a bit out of place I admit, but needed eating) and thick yogurt. Deducing from the recipes I looked at afterwards, it’s far more common to base the sauce on cream.

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Somewhat disorganized photo of the described korma dish with rice, naan and kheere ka raita.

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