Archive for vegetarian

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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NYE 2014 Soup

Posted in cod, dairy, leeks, parsnip, potato, shellfish, soup, stock, vegetarian with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2015 by oskila

It says soup, but the concoction in question has a few similarities to a stew, a casserole, a chowder, a bisque or a bouillabaisse. Anyway, it’s a soup I made for the NYE dinner main course at my mother in law’s. Since it turned out rather excellent I feel like sharing.

The most important ingredient of all is good stock. I had two pints of lobster stock that I forgot to blog when I made it, so we’ll deal with that first.

Lobster stock (serves: you right)

1. Have your mother or similar invite you for a lobster party.
2. Nab the shells.
buljong1
3. Lug a bucket of lobster peel home.
4. Cut up some good stock vegetables such as onions, carrots, leeks, garlic, parsnips (fennel, celery and celeriac are good too) and give them a sizzle in a large pot.
5. Cram the lobster remains in. Be as violent as you need. (I used a potato masher). If the shells refuse to be properly seared, oven roasting them first is a good idea.
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6. Top up with water, wine and perhaps a bit of sherry.
7. Simmer for as long as you like I’d say, skimming frequently and seasoning to taste.
8. Strain the solids. I ended up using a pillowcase.
9. Simmer down to a more manageable volume
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10. Use soon or freeze in a suitable container, for example a milk jug.

Freezing it in a milk jug will likely mean you end up using all of it in one go rather than a little here and there, since you’d have to defrost it to get anything out (apart from the bit with all the salt in it sloshing around the bottom unless the freezer is very very cold.

Since I’m a bit of a cheapskate I didn’t want to use this luxurious stock on just any soup and was at risk of waiting for too long when the opportunity of New Year’s dinner came along just in the nick of time. Also, wanting to defrost the stock well in advance of NYE to see if it was OK I took it out a couple of days early and discovered that we accidentally had turned the freezer off some time around Christmas eve and the temp inside was hovering around zero. Without the stock we’d probably gone for another day or two without checking the freezer, spoiling everything in it.

Aaanyway – for this soup you’ll need:

1 tbsp tomato paste
1 onion, finely chopped
4 carrots, cut to matchsticks
3 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
3 inches leek, julienned
1 kilo almond potatoes (or other mealy fingerling) cut to pieces or large dice

1 quart stock, for example lobster (see above)
1-2 glasses white wine
½-1 pint double cream
crème fraîche
water (optional)

400 grams fish fillet, diced
100 grams smoked mussels
peeled shrimp

In a pot suitable for soup-making, start by sizzling the tomato paste and onions, then add potatoes and garlic. I left the potato skin on since almond potatoes are very mushy when cooked and will be held together a bit better by the skin. The reason for the comparatively large amount of potatoes is that they absorb salt and the stock was very very salty. Add water as needed.

Deglace pot with a small amount of wine, then add the stock and wine to taste. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are nearly done, then add leeks, fish, mussels and cream to taste and cook until everything is nice.

Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche and a few shrimp as garnish. Garlic bread or croutons are nice on the side.

The above recipe was cooked up for five adults as main course, but turned out to be enough for seconds for three and thirds for two and also leftovers for lunch for two a few days later, which should add up to 12 servings, but not the largest ones.

2014soup

Preserve Parade

Posted in eggplant, mango, preserve, tomato, vegetables, vegetarian with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2014 by oskila

Again, very erratic posting patterns. I’ve been planning for this post for about a week now and will try to type like the wind while baby’s asleep.

For some reason the project with the citrus marmalade set something off and I’ve been boiling stuff with sugar like crazy for some time now. These three were the main events so to speak.

Mango Chutney
Mango chutney is of course a classic. I just happened to have about 0.3 mangos in the fridge and couldn’t figure out what to do with it. Added onions, mustard seeds, vinegar, chili, cumin, cinnamon, ginger and sumac. Boiled for a bit. Certainly looks like chutney to me.

chutney

Eggplant Marmalade
Eggplant may not be the most intuitive marmalade material, but I’m certainly not the first to do it – in fact, I’m quite sure I’ve eaten industrially produced eggplant marmalade. It may have been from Libanon. Mine contains finely diced unpeeled eggplant, a dash of vinegar (would have preferred lemon) and half the amount, by weight, of gelling sugar. Ordinary sugar is fine too, but the gelling sugar has some pectine added to it and thus gives better texture.

eggplant
Tomato Marmalade
After a burger night we found ourselves in possession of surplus tomatoes (mrs Nerdcuisine is allergic) so I made marmalade and gave most of it away. Once again I didn’t bother with any peeling. I don’t mind a bit of tomato peel and I think it adds flavor and probably pectin. Classic marmalade recipes usually use equal amounts of fruit and sugar, but that can be quite sweet, so in the eggplant recipe above I used only half as much. Even that proved too sweet with the tomatoes so I would have liked an emergency lemon to turn to, but we didn’t have any. This time I attempted to remedy the sweetness with a generous dose of vitamin C which is quite tart. For added excitement (and to go better with cheeses) I seasoned with black pepper and a sprinkle of chili flakes.

tomato

Well, that’s it for today. Make marmalade from anything, and remember that baby food jars are excellent for small batches of preserve.

Long time no see marmalade

Posted in condiments, fruit with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2014 by oskila

My last post was in March. I’ve got a backlog of stuff that I’ve photographed that would take very long time to get up on the blog, but I’m doing new stuff instead, because making it felt exciting. My daughter takes most of my time these days since I’m on paternity leave, but I’m slowly learning to get stuff done in the window between her and my bedtime.

I’ve never made marmalade with oranges or any other citrus but suddenly felt a need to preserve. (I’ve also discretely been pickling cucumbers. A 7 oz. jar of baby food holds one sliced pickling cucumber). I’ve also seldom followed any recipes (except for the sake of consistency) and didn’t want to this time either, so I read a dozen and then made my own up. The important part is really to use equal amounts of fruit and sugar.

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Pot, sieve, tea-strainers, jam funnel, juicer, fruits, potato peeler, scotch, preservatives, knife, preserving sugar, muscovado sugar, granulated sugar. Who knew marmalade was so equipment-intensive…

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Also, jars. Lots of baby food jars for obvious reasons, but anything with a tight lid is good.

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Take the fruit – in this case five oranges, a red grapefruit, four limes and three lemons – and peel the rind off with a potato peeler or contraption of choice. Some recipes says to take care to get as little pith as possible, while others simply peel the fruit and slice the whole peel, rind, pith and everything. I found some sort of middle ground. The pith contains pectin which is desirable for a good wobbly marmalade and also causes bitterness, which is desirable in my book.

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Next, we slice the rind. It’ll take forever but turn out nice. Or you can make like a barbarian and have at it with a food processor.

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Juice extracted and then strained into the pot with the rind. Collect pits and pulp and put in tea strainers.

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Juice, rind, a dash of whisky, a pint of water and a small heap of dark muscovado sugar combined in a pot. Tea strainers full of pulp, pith and pits (the three Ps of marmalade??). Simpler and more economic recipes for citrus marmalade make use of the pulp in the actual marmalade, but I felt like giving the juice and rind only-path a go, if, perhaps, only for the nice translucent effect. Simmer for some time to get the pectin release going.

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Mixture boiled for some time, then carefully skimmed, then mixed with lots of sugar and boiled for some more time. About half my sugar was preserving sugar, which is a mixture also containing pectin, citric acid and a bit of potassium benzoate. Note the difference in cloudiness and stuff. There’s a million recipes for citrus marmalades out there, so I don’t feel a need to explain the finer points to marmalade making or what the marmalade test is.

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After arriving at an agreeable texture, pour the marmalade into cans that until recently were huddling in the oven at 100 degrees (C) to sterilize. Lids were boiled. Take care not to spill marmalade on your or anyone else’s person since it’s like napalm – it sticks to anything and burns for a long time. Dishing the rind out evenly between the jars can be tricky, but I tried.

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Apparently, if the marmalade is poured when scalding and one manages to get the lid on properly, the container will be vacuum-sealed in the morning (central bit of lid won’t ‘click’) which is good because it means longer shelf-life. Also, baking cups make excellent lid covers. Also, I worked for quite some time on a full color label (complete with table of contents) only to discover that the printer was all out of cyan and yellow.

That’s it for today! It’s good to be back and I hope it won’t be six months until the next installment!

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.

Meat Lover’s Vegan Lentil Soup

Posted in indian, lentils, soup, stew, Uncategorized, vegetarian with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 11, 2014 by oskila

Turns out this parenting thing takes quite a lot of time, which means the blog has been on backburner to say the least. A strike of genius (if I might humbly say so) just yesterday prompted at least an attempt to squeeze a bit of blogging in. Since we have to eat anyway it’s mostly a question of scaling back on photo editing to shorten the amount of time spent on a blog post considerably. Now to business.

I’m far from vegan myself, but unlike a lot of people I meet I don’t obnoxiously defend meat eating as some kind of human right or whine about unappealing veggie food. Although vegetarian/vegan food made by nonvegetarians or the uninspired or untalented can be on the bland side some times. My solution to this is to add more umami. And not in a way that attempts to substitute meat for something almost similar to meat or downright ghastly (hello tofurkey). To celebrate the occasion and compensate for the lack of images I’m going to give a proper list of ingredients.

Lentil soup (serves 2-4)

1 tsp cumin, coriander, Sichuan pepper, mustard seeds (1 spoon in total. Add more if you like)
1 tsp turmeric
1 bayleaf
1 tsp tomato paste
1 tbsp ssamjang or other kind of chili paste
2 cups beluga lentils
6 cups vegetable stock
1 cup crisp fried onion (yes, the store bought crunchy stuff you put on hot dogs)
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup finely grated beetroot
minced garlic to taste
ginger to taste
salt, pepper and vinegar for final adjustments

Toast cumin, coriander, Sichuan pepper and mustard seeds in a dry pan and grind. Sizzle along with turmeric, ssamjang and tomato paste in some oil. Add carrots, beetroot, bay leaf, ginger and garlic and cook for a few minutes. Then add stock, lentils and onions and simmer for about 40 minutes while watching closely since lentils have a reputation of sticking to pots. Add more water if  necessary, especially since the soup gets quite thick and curryish after a while (which is also nice of course). Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and vinegar (or lemon juice) and serve with flatbread or similar.

curry

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.

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