Archive for scandinavian

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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Venison à la Nelson?

Posted in mushroom, potato, scandinavian, stew, vegetables, venison with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2015 by oskila

Already a new post? It never rains but it pours…

Venison again? Yes. The grocery store offered venison at a discount again, this time cuts best suited for boiling.

À la Nelson? Why? Well, it’s slightly complicated. There’s a classic Swedish dish, the name of which translates to ‘sailor’s beef’. It’s sliced beef, onions and potatoes, stewed in beer. The sailor connection is supposedly that it’s practical to cook everything in one pot on a ship and fresh water isn’t always readily available, hence beer. A bit of googling indicates that there’s an English (or Polish) version that adds mushrooms and trades beer for stock. It’s called Steak à la Nelson. Yes, after lord Nelson, of Trafalgar fame.

I bastardized my recipe further by not only using venison instead of beef, but also wine and stock instead of beer and adding mushrooms and parsnip.

svamp
Frying a chopped portabello mushroom.

kött
Searing the meat for a more flavoursome stock.

pot
Thinly sliced potatoes, onions, browned venison and parsnip in a pot, together with mushrooms, various herbs, black pepper, a hint of garlic and a few juniper berries.

stock
Deglaced pan with wine, stock and bayleaf.

stew
After simmering everything for 45-60 minutes it’s not the prettiest of sights, but it’s how it’s supposed to look.

dish
Finished dish along with a dollop of crème fraîche and pickled Hokkaido pumpkin (Many slow-cooked meat dishes in Swedish cuisine are traditionally served with pickled beets. Pumpkin was the least sweet pickle I had in the house. And it’s halloween soon…)

Throwback Thursday Battle of the Gratins

Posted in dairy, pickled sprats, potato, scandinavian, side dish, swede, vegetarian with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 26, 2014 by oskila

Merry Christmas readers! The posting has been sparse this year and I don’t think I can promise lots of improvement with Nerdcuisine jr entering her second year in life rather soon.

When I started this post it was still Thursday so it counts. It’s a post I’ve been meaning to do for a whole year. It’s like this you see; last year mrs Nerdcuisine’s water broke on December 22nd. No baby came though, so we had to go in for check-ups the following three mornings. On the morning of Christmas Eve we decided to get some work done before having to go to the hospital, so we prepared some Christmas gratins. A classic Swedish one and a probably even more classic Finnish one. I usually have lot of photos in my posts, but this session was done very early in the morning, so most of the pics were mostly pointless. We’ll have to make do with just the finished products.

Gratin 1: Janssons Frestelse
Janssons frestelse (en: Jansson’s temptation) is a gratin of julienned potatoes, onions and cream, flavored with ‘anchovies’, which is, for some reason, a trade name for pickled sprats seasoned in a specific way. There are a few explanations for the name. The one I’m going with claims that an opera singer named Janzon often served the dish at his afterparties in the late 19th century. It’s been an important part of smorgasbords and late night snacks for a long time.

It’s also easy to make. Layer matchstick-cut potatoes, onion slices and ‘anchovies’ in a suitable vessel. season with salt and pepper. Smother the whole thing in double cream mixed with the brine from the anchovies tin and cover with breadcrumbs. Cook for an hour in 200 degrees C. Some people use machinery or graters for the potatoes these days (I’ve even encountered a TV chef using frozen french fries) but I consider the hand-cutting a point of honour.

Gratin 2: Lanttulaatikko
Lanttulaatikko (en: Turnip box) is a traditional Finnish Christmas dish. Since the main ingredient is mashed swede it’s a bit more like a pudding than a gratin perhaps, but Christmas is no time to be picky. The mashed swede is mixed with treacle, breadcrumbs, eggs and cream, seasoned with white pepper, ginger and nutmeg, plopped in a dish and generously sprinkled with breadcrumbs and baked at 175 degrees or so for 2-4 hours.

To ensure a nice crust on both varieties we usually put a generous helping of butter on top. Some people are content with a few dollops, but I like to slice most of a stick of butter with a cheese cutter and arrange the slices in a nice tile pattern.

These two dishes have several ingredients in common but are very different in most other aspects. One is a standalone dish or part of a buffet, the other more of a side order. And thus ends the battle of the Christmas gratins, Sweden vs. Finland. It’s probably a draw. I had a sceptical attitude towards Jansson’s well into my twenties but after being assigned to make it for student association Christmas parties I warmed to it and it is now my favourite Christmas food, along with pickled herring. My first encounter with lanttulaatikko was an anecdote dad brought home from a work-related Christmas party in Finland in the 90s. It has since entered the list of must-haves by way of my wife’s Finnish ancestry. I like it not only for flavor, but also because it’s an excuse not to boil any potatoes, since I consider eating potatoes at Christmas a waste of stomach room.

lådor
Lanttulaatikko on the left, Janssons frestelse on the right.

That’s what we did the morning of December 24th (which is the day for Christmas celebration in Sweden). Terribly early on the morning of Christmas Day we went to the hospital again, this time to induce labor. About 48 hours and a C-section later, NC jr was safe in my arms and stuff like blogs pushed down several notches on the priority list.

Merry Christmas and other holidays again dear readers. Hopefully I can squeeze another post in before the year ends. There seem to be a lot of grandmothers around this time of year…

Guest Post

Posted in herring, scandinavian with tags , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2013 by oskila

A couple of weeks before Christmas I had the opportunity to write a guest post for the rather awesome food blog rantingchef.com. Since Christmas was just around the bend at the time, I chose a Swedish Christmas classic – pickled herring. Due to the immense amount of bloggers who wanted to contribute, my post missed Christmas by more than a month, but one could use the time left until the next one to hunt down a supplier of herring and experiment with the recipes.

And after you’ve read my wall of text on curing, soaking and pickling herring, be sure to check out the rest of the blog. As I said before; it’s rather awesome!

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