Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dumpster Diving

A friend and fellow blogger I know has been doing some pretty successful dumpster diving in this town, and I asked if I could join. We met this week on an extremely cold night, and after unsuccessfully going one place, we hit a small jackpot in another. I got a couple of perfectly fine cauliflowers, some nice apples, asparagus, some beetroot salad and some flatbread. There were also some wok veggies, though I haven't used them, so they're going in the compost, and someone even got some vacuum packed smoked trout! A lot of the wares that are thrown out aren't past their actual usage limit, but there's is a date on them that shops have to adhere to, and some things are thrown out merely to make room for the new. I'm looking forward to relieving more dumpsters of unneccessary trash in the future.

This was my first dumpster dived meal. And it was great!

Spelt in lieu of rice.
Fried cauliflower with mild curry and nigella seeds in a tomato/soy cream sauce.
Asparagus fried in turmeric and mustard seeds.

Sorry no recipe, it was made in a frenzy since I had some hungry boys waiting for grub! But it was delicious, and the boys ate their fair share.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fast and Easy Whole Grain scones

Sorry no picture, the omputer ate it!

These scones are a recipe that I've had lying around for ages, and never got around to baking. I used whole grain spelt flour, but I imagine regular spelt, or wheat flour will make them a bit moister. These were a bit dry and flaky, but nothing that can't be remedied by butter, jam and a mug of tea on the side. Delicious!

220 g. flour (again, I used whole grain spelt)
2 heaping tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla sugar
dash nutmeg
60 g. sugar (I use organic raw cane)
60 g. of soft butter (I used half butter, half canola)

Mix these in a bowl together. Then add:
1 egg, beaten. Now, put the egg in a measuring cup, and fill up with yogurt naturelle (or soy cream, like I did) until you hit the 1 dl mark. Set aside a few drops for later. Then add to the other ingredients.

Mix everything well, and then roll it out until it's roughly one inch thick. Using a cup about 3 inches in diameter, stamp out your scones. Anywhere between 8-12 scones is the goal, depending on the size of your cup.

Place them on a baking sheet, brush the tops with the remaider of the egg mixture, and bake at 200 degrees for about 12 minutes. If you're using convection oven, lower the temp a little!

Enjoy! This was a nice change from our usual Saturday pancakes ritual, faster too!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Vegan Hokkaido Heavy Fajitas

So I'm in this co-op. And I love it. But practically every single week includes a hokkaido pumpkin. I like a good hokkaido once in a while, but you know...pumpkins and versatility...not so much. Usually they get thrown into soups, puréed and used in cakes and pies. It's all good. But it's just not enough. They're still milling around my kitchen, piling up in a sort of gourdish/kitchen traffic jam. I was loathe to make a soup out of one. Again. So I ate myself to one less hokkaido the other day, and I was quite pleased with my creativity in doing so. I present: fajitas with beans, hokkaido guacamole and hokkaido/tomato salsa.

- Admittedly, the beans are canned chili beans. I warm them on the stove with a bit of ground cumin and garlic. Still good, nonetheless.
- Peel the hokkaido with a good potato peeler. Cut in half, scoop out the seeds.
- Now, dice half of the hokkaido into smallish cubes, and blanche in a bowl for a few minutes. Drain, and leave to cool. When cool, mix them with diced tomato, diced onion, cilantro/coriander and a dash of vinegar. Tastes best when the flavors are allowed to mesh and mellow a bit. I also added canned corn to the mix, because the kids and I like to play with them at the table (!).
- Cut the other half of the hokkaido into chunks, and steam or boil them in just a tiny bit of water until soft. Let cool. When cool, mash them up with your regular old guacamole ingredients, you might want to go heavy on the avocado and lemon so the guac isn't too orange-y and pumpkin-y. Nothing wrong with it, but I know my kids would get suspicious!

Warm up some nice whole wheat tortillas, and you've got yourself a meal. The guac is extra creamy, and the pumpkin bits in the salsa have a lovely bite that's really satisfying. Because of the pure vegan aspect of this meal, it's nice and light, and doesn't seem to bog you down with that really full feeling, even after you've had your share. Yummy!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sweet Potato Pizza with Chèvre and Caramellized Onions

This was such a fluke. I just happened to have all the makings of this pizza in leftover form: two wrinkling sweet potatos, one little lump of week old chèvre, three pre-mold stage red onions. I made my pizza crust as I always do:

Pizza crust:
250 g. flour
3 tsp yeast
sprinkling of salt
1.5 dl warm water
olive oil
corn flour

In a large bowl, add crumble the yeast and salt into the flour. Add the water, and mix well, thereafter kneading the dough on a sprinkling of corn flour. Keep adding corn flour as needed. It adds a needed texture to the dough, I find. When you're through kneading, let the dough rest in the olive oil drizzled bowl, until it's risen.

Flip the dough out onto a sheet lined with baking paper, and starting in the middle, massage the dough, spiralling outwards from the center. Should almost fill the sheet. Your dough is done. Now for the toppings. Turn your oven on to 230 C. (less if you're using convection)

2 sweet potatos, sliced thinly (actually I use a potato/carrot peeler for the thinnest slicest possible - I don't have a mandolin)
3 small red onions, thinly sliced.
Chèvre cheese
grated mozzarella
balsamic glaze vinegar
olive oil

First things first, sprinkle the mozzarella on the dough, liberally. Pop in into the oven for ten-fifteen minutes, until the cheese is barely golden. Take the pizza out of the oven, add the thinly sliced sweet potatos. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and pop back into the oven. While that's happening (another ten minutes), fry the onions in butter/oil until soft. Add a sprinkling of sugar and a drizzle og the balsamic glaze until they are sweet and caramellized. When the sweet potatos are soft, take the pizza out, add the onions and chévre to the pizza. You might want to warm it just a few minutes now, but if the chévre is otherwise room temperature, you're ready to serve! Delicious pizza, really really good. It was an accident I will gladly make again.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Chanterelle Pasta: A Seasonal Favorite

My mom comes to visit twice a year. Once in September, once in February/March. For this very reason, I always end up making the same dishes while she's here, because of the produce that's available. She luckily doesn't seem to mind!

One of the best and quickest dishes of this season, ready in half an hour is a yummy, creamy plate of chanterelle pasta with a side of steamed artichoke. I usually fry the mushrooms up in butter, but we're downsizing our butter intake at home, so olive oil did just fine. I fry them at medium high heat, until they sweat their own juice out, and absorb the oil. Instead of cream this time, I used coconut milk which did the trick just fine. It does have a coconutty taste to it (surprise, surprise) but I found that adding a spoonful of Herbamare (vegetable broth cube) did a good job of balancing it out. Mix it with your freshly boiled al dente pasta, and you're all set. A sprinkle of parmesan doesn't hurt.

As for the artichoke - I usually boil them, but tried steaming them first this time, with an excellent result! I halve them to start off with, using a paring knife to scrape out the "choke". Steam until the leaves pull of easily. Enjoy with melted butter or a bit of Hellman's mayo, the only thing that kept this meal from being entirely vegan!

A simple meal, but so, so good and fulfilling. The artichoke is practically a dessert, so sweet and satisfying.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Kale. Chips. Kale Chips

Meet your new favorite snack. Or rather, meet mine.

The past month or so, I've noticed a couple of new kilos on my chops that while not overtly voluminous, are still an unwelcome addition to my wardrobe. Admittedly, I've been slacking on the exercise, but that usually doesn't throw the scale this much out of whack! I started charting my daily eating habits with a Calorie Counter application on my smart phone. Things were looking pretty good there, so I was really starting to wonder if I had a glandular problem or what. Then I noticed something. Something that I was eating, but not adding to my daily calorie counter. Because I didn't really consider it a meal or snack in itself.

See, my kids have gotten pickier lately. And they leave a lot of food on their plate. Food that goes uneaten. Rising food prices. Africa. See my logic? Yeah, I clean their plates for them. A direct connection between my childrens' pickiness and the scale. I will start serving them smaller portions, and subsequently refuse to eat their leftovers from now on - the worms in the compost bin will just have that much more to mulch from now on!

To get back to the point of this blog post (ie Jennie's fat!), I have nothing but praise for the kale. Kale, I love you. Usually, I just fry the hell out of it with some oil and garlic, reducing it to a spinach substitute that I gladly put in lasagne or on pizza. But kale is a lovely snack in its own right. And while I may need to watch what I eat a bit more closely, to be able to fit into those pants again, i will gladly have my kale chips, and eat them too, no guilt attached. They are absolutely delectably crispy, salty, yummy with just the tiniest bit of olive oil and some salt. And nothing else.

Just take 1 kale, removing the stems, and tearing the leaves up into smaller bits. Arrange on a baking tray, drizzle with oil and salt. Bake at 200 C (180 convection oven) for 10-15 minutes until they are crispy, and just slightly browned at the edges. The ones that were excessively browned still tasted fab, actually reminding me of fried okra, but the green ones were prettier. Still looking fresh from the farm. But packing a great flavor and a perfect crunch!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Danish Food Blogger Symposium - Recap

This past weekend has been all about food. Two energetic Danish food bloggers put together a great, non-profit event that brought all varieties of Danish food bloggers together under one roof. It was smashing!

I was pleasantly surprised at the high level of, well, everything. There were wine tastings, chocolate tastings, numerous speeches on everything from blogging, the marketing of such, New Nordic Cuisine, journalistic tips and tricks, and much much more. Best of all, seeing old faces and new, and once again feeling as though I'm part of a budding community that might just change how the average Dane eats. It will take time, but it would appear that it's an inevitable road we must take, for several different reasons, planetary and human health just to name a few. I digress.

I will no doubt be taking part in next year's symposium as well. I look forward to seeing what they'll have put on the program for us then!

For now, I leave you with a photo of an extraordinary lunch served us on Saturday. Mads Nybro at Beta Beta gave us directions on what exactly to do with it via Skype, and it was the most imaginative meal I've eaten to date!

Top: 2 yummy sourdough bread rolls
Left-Right: 1 can of noodle soup, warmed with everybody elses can in a huge tub of hot water. 1 tube of foie gras to be eaten with the sourdough. 1 styrofoam bowl of lettuce leaves, upon which we sprayed a really nice smoked cheese dressing. Last but not least, 1 stick of white chocolate coated raspberry marzipan followed by a smattering of vanilla flavored popcorn dust.

Delicious, inventive, and all the containers went into their own recycling bin afterwards, so no unnecessary waste there.

Sunday was yet another lovely meal a grønch (greens + brunch = grunch) with fellow food blogers, before checking out the food fair downtown, and heading home, head spinning from all the new impressions.

A great weekend, action packed, inspiring and delicious!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A bag of veggies and inspiration

There are a number of services around the globe now that roughly translate to paying a bit of money in exchange for a box of locally grown and/or organic produce, or others of that ilk. For a few years I've been receiving box from Aarstiderne, sometimes just Danish veggies, sometimes a mix of veggies and fruit from far and wide, though all organic. I thought the price was reasonable enough, we'd get a box a week which pretty much saved me from lugging heavy fruits and veg from the store and to the 4th floor, and then we were set for the next week's menu. I then heard of Københavns Fødevarefællesskab which is kind of the same idea, though you collect the bag/box yourself once a week from their fairly central location, it's all organic, and it's all from the island we live on. It happens to be cheaper though. When I brought home my first bag, opened it and spied the choice offerings, I was floored by what I could get for 100 Danish kroner. I can't afford not to buy this weekly bag of produce.

From the top: palm kale, fennel bulbs, red/yellow onions
Middle l-r: beet leaves, orange and purple carrots, tomatoes, beets, seleriac
Bottom: yellow and green squash, spring onions

And can I just add that the carrots were fabulous and the squash amazing! I seriously hadn't tasted squash like that for at least ten years. I'm pretty adept at using veggies like this so a week later, and we've only got onions and seleriac left, which are no biggy since I've got a hankering for some French onion soup soon, and celeriac schnitzels have been on my mind for a while as well.

The other day, we ate dinner that I can only describe as café food. You know, at home sometimes all that gets put on the table is a bit pot of pasta and that's it, but at cafés there's always a few small dishes that make a meal. It's appealing to the eye and the taste buds. So I whipped up my own little trio of dishes, and all proved popular with the lot of us.

First off, a simple chickpea and green bean salad.

I'm not even going to bother writing out a recipe. Steam the beans, boil the chickpeas, chop some red onion, and swirl it all around in a zesty vinaigrette.

Next up, an oven roasted 'salad' with bite sized pieces of beet, fennel bulb and squash.

Chop the aforementioned ingredients into the size you like them. Either wedges, or smaller cubed bits. Add olive oil, salt, thyme and big chunks of feta (I used goat), and bake until the veggies are al dente. Really nice flavors coming together there.

To top of the medley, I made some goat's cheese toasties. I sliced some of my husband's homemade baguette, rubbed it with olive oil, added a nice slice of hard goat's cheese, drizzled more oil on top, sprinkled some thyme, and put it in the oven until the cheese visibly went soft. Took them out, drizzled them with honey, and served them together with the 'salads'.

We ate it all up!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Hi again!

Just to comfort you, we haven't stopped eating, even though posts have been few and far between! On vacation in Finland some weeks ago, I had the oppotunity to eat some old Finnish favorites, but fool I am, didn't get around to taking pictures of the goodies to share. Another time, alas.

Upon re-entry to Denmark, the weather's been pretty shifty. Sun, rain, torrents, baking hot. Every other day. Schizo-weather! I embraced a cold weather day, and also a cheap head of cauliflower, and concocted this soup. I've made cauliflower soup before, though by putting raw cauliflower into broth, cooking, puréeing, and that's it. It's ok, in a jiff, but if you have more time, pre-roasting the cauliflower imprives the flavor of the following soup roughly 80%!

1 head of cauliflower, sliced into half inch thick pieces
1 small onion, sliced/diced
1 small can of coconut milk
Herbamare broth, or other vegetable broth
a pinch of ground ginger and/or mild curry (optional)

I fried up the cauloflower sliced in olive oil, in two batches. You want to make sure that the cauliflower gets browned evenly on both sides, this gives the soup a darker and more characteristic color, not to mention flavor! Keep a lid over it, so the heat stays in, softening the cauliflower as much as possible. When the last batch of cauliflower is on the pan and about half done, add the onion to the mix, you just want it softened, not seared through. Add the spices here, if you like.

Transfer the fried cauliflower and onions to a pot covered with the coconut milk, and water/broth until completely covered. Simmer until it's soft enough to blend through with a hand mixer. Serve with bread.

It's creamy, yummy, and the flavor is addictive in a warm and nutty way, that non-fried cauliflower soup isn't!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Danish Food Blogger Symposium

Hey you guys! (Remember The Electric Company?)

August 28th is the date for the Danish Food Blogger Symposium. I'm not especially well read in the Danish Food Blog circles, but figured, what the hell - can't hurt to mingle a bit, share some tips, might even learn something!

There aren't many spots left, so if you're interested, check out this link for details on how to get yourself on the invite list. It's FREE, and I have just sent an admission mail so I should be there too, along with Zarah Maria, and my friend Kristina.

Get on the bandwagon guys, tally ho!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Quick Strawberry Fix

Getting older, I am starting to be every bit the sour cream fiend that my dear old Dad was. He put sour cream on everything. His cornflakes, his t-bone steak, his fruit. You name it, he sour creamed it. Sometimes he just ate it straight from the container. I, in turn, have done all those things myself. Tentatively at first, but now unabashedly. Sour cream is tha BOMB!

So, if you have some strawberries, and want to dress them up a bit for a quick dessert, just halve them, put a nice big dollop of the stuff on top, and sprinkle with brown sugar (baby). Yum. Really! And when the strawberry season is over and done with, do it with green grapes instead. Just don't cheat yourself with the low percent sour cream. 18%, at the very least :)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Elderflower Cordial

*This is copy/pasted* from my regular blog, so apologies if you've seen it before. This is a big part of my summer activities though, so it had to be reposted!*

As I wrote before, finding time to make huge batches of Elderflower Cordial is alpha omega to a good summer for me. I make a fairly strong brew that needs to be heavily diluted with water to make a refreshing drink, so 50 liters of the stuff may seem like a lot. It is. But Mikael drinks it like there's no tomorrow, I obsessively give bottles of it away as gifts, and then I still want some left over to drink as a hot toddy when winter comes. With any luck, there's a bottle or two left in February.

I don't have an exact recipe for this, but the inspiration is an old recipe from the tried and true Den Grønne Syltebog. Their recipe is for approximately 2 liters. I have tweaked the recipe numerous times through the years to find what I like best, and I do it mostly by Gefühl, so the following is really just an estimate of the measurements.

40-50 Elderflower bunches
2 tbsp citric acid powder
juice of 2 organic lemons
1 kilo organic cane sugar
1 liter boiling hot water (or more as needed)
1 tsp Atamon

Put the flowers in a big pot. Add the sugar, citric acid and lemon juice. Add the water and stir to dissolve all the sugar. Add more water if needed to cover the flowers. Add the Atamon, cover the pot and store in a cool place for 4-5 days, stirring daily. Strain through mesh bag, and store in bottles that have been thoroughly rinsed with boiling water and Atamon.

It's really that easy. It can be a bit time consuming, sticky, and not to mention one's kitchen looks like the lab of a mad scientist while bottling, but it's worth it, and once you've got the routine down pat you won't even give it a second thought.

A few notes:

-If possible, go flower picking in the morning, or no later than noon. You want dewy flowers since they have more taste than tired flowers do after a day in the sun.
- The bugs. There will be bugs. I let the flowers sit in the tub for about half an hour, after having shouted "run for your lives" to any critters down there. The ones who stay have a death wish!
-The recipe is pretty sweet, so you can easily cut a quarter of the sugar out and have a lovely end product.
-I use organic lemons, because I have a habit of leaving their squeezed corpses in the mixture for a few days. Not too long though, otherwise the taste becomes too zesty. So, if you don't have organic lemons it's ok, just don't put them in the pot.
-Atamon is an old Danish conserving product. It's liquid, the active ingredient is natrium benzoate, and it inhibits bacterial and fungal growth. So find something close to that description. If you cut it out of the recipe, the whole mixture may go yeasty on you.
-Don't go after my pictures to see if it looks right. I make at least 10 liters at a time, which means I pluck about 300 flowers at a go and use obscene amounts of the other ingredients as well.

The finished cordial should be diluted by 1:5 with cold water or seltzer, but that's really up to your individual taste. A few drops in cool white wine ain't half bad either, and fresh strawberries soaked in it taste divine too. I am, of course, planning on an Elderflower ice cream soon, as well.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

THE Burger

There are two things about today's post. One is, it might just take your taste buds to a whole new culinary arena. The other is, learn how to be a sneaky bastard and get your kids to eat healthier without them knowing it. Welcome!

First off, I usually make burgers using soy patties, but after a week of doing a cleanse by Blessed Herbs I was feeling the need for meat. So be it. But I don't use solid meat patties, partially for health reasons, partially for climate reasons, partially economic reasons (meat is expensive here!) and mostly because I have an alternative that tastes better!

Patties: For 500 grams (1 lb) of ground beef, I add:
1/2 coarsely grated zucchini (squeeze the excess juice out)
1 medium/large carrot finely grated
Small handful of sprouted green lentils.

Mix all these things together with your hands. Perhaps an egg is necessary to help keep things together, but normally I just form smaller patties, do the light chopping with a knife on both sides, make a slight indentation in the middle, and on to the griddle it goes! The resulting patty is healthier, juicier, tastier, and I kid you not, just this week I made burger THREE times with just one package of meat. WIthout all these additions, one package would normally not do the trick!

The Fixin's: This is the exciting part. Throw out your notions of ketchup, pickles and tomatoes this once. You'll need:
1 large onion, sliced finely, and caramelised (Sauté in butter, add sugar, is the basic idea, a smidge of balsamico glaze ain't bad either)
1 package of bacon, fried until crisp, and crumbled. (Alternatively turkey bacon, or soy bacon)
Gruyère or Stilton cheese (or both), melted on top of the patty
Baby spinach
Fresh raspberries
Hellman's mayonnaise
Chipotle sauce

I suggest spinach and bacon on the bottom, then the patty, with the melted cheese, then the caramelised onions, and the ripe, red raspberries as the finishing touch. Don't balk at the raspberries! I know where you're coming from, I usually hate fruit in dinner (pineapple on pizza is a sin) but the raspberry addition is much like the traditional tomato. Fruity, tart and tangy, it goes very well with everything else. The mayo and chipotle is optional, but Hellman's is great on anything, and the chipotle adds a little smokiness to the mix.

This is one great burger. Try it for yourself. Even a vegetarian version can't go wrong with the additions of these slightly different fixin's!

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Berries are Coming!

*Pardon the missing picture, Blogger ate it!*

This is about as summery a dessert as you can get. It is pink, fluffy, fruity - if Barbie had a flavor, this would be it. (Mattel, please keep your patent off my dessert)

4 egg whites
200 grams sugar
1 tsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. rose water (optional)
few drops of red food coloring (optional)

Assorted berries, red currants, raspberries, blueberries, blakberries, mulberries, boysenberries, cloudberries etc.
Lemon curd (optional)
Whipped cream
Passion fruit

Whisk the whites until peaky. Add the sugar one spooon at a time until stiff. Fold in the other ingredients. Drop tennis ball size meringue on baking sheet, making a little dip in the middle for the topping. Bake for 20 minutes at 160 Celsius.

When completely cool, spread on lemon curd and whipped cream. Top with berries of choice. I added a spoonful of passion fruit for an exotic twist. It's a tad unsightly, so you might want to put it under the fruit instead. The rose water is optional, but it gives the meringue the yummy delicate taste of Turkish Delight.

For some reason, I haven't made these for a couple of summers, this post being one from the archives. Why, I do not know. The weather just went a bit dreary here, but at the first ray of light, I'm hauling berries home, and enjoying these in the yard!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Rhubarb Snaps

One jar is good.

Two is better.

These mason jars are on the largish side, the more, the better. This is a recipe that luckily really can't go wrong. It goes like this:

1 bottle of decent vodka OR Bombay Sapphire gin
app. 200 grams sugar (I use organic cane sugar)
Place the above ingredients in a large jar. Fill the remaining space up with diced rhubarb.
Shake daily for 4-6 weeks, keep in a cool, dark spot.
Enjoy straight up.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Nostalgia, It's What's for Lunch

Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. A classic. Admittedly, the soup was ready made, and just has to be heated and served, but it did the job. The sandwich - so simple. Spread Hellman's Mayonnaise on whatever bread you've got, add a slice of good cheddar, slap 'em together and heat on a buttered pan until they're golden and crispy. It's a winning combo, to be eaten with one hand only, dipping the sandwich into the soup, while reading the paper with other.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Stuffed, no, Buried Mushrooms

This dish is, was, a mess. A Delicious Mess. It's been a week, so the details are fuzzy, but basically it arose out of 4 portobello mushrooms I'd bought, and some black beans that Mikael had soaked and boiled but just not gotten around to using.

4 portobello mushrooms (with the stems cut off and set aside), prebaked with olive oil and spices, for app. 30 minutes.
2 cups of black beans, soaked and boiled.
2 cups of pearl spelt (or barley) boiled in broth
1 bag of fresh spinach, or half a bag frozen, fried in olive oil and garlic with the chopped portobello stems.
1 can of tinned tomatoes
A handful of grated cheese

Arrange the mushrooms in a baking dish that leaves a little space in and around them. Mix the beans, spelt and spinach, add a bit of salt to taste, and dump it all over the mushrooms. Add the tinned tomatoes to the dish and spread it over everything, adding the grated cheese to the top. Bake until bubbly and the cheese is golden, á la lasagne.

Really nice, messy, delicious dish using what I had at the moment!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Crispy Salmon Skins

Yesterday I made a fairly good, but not blogworthy, pasta dish with a nice creamy blue cheese sauce and some salmon. The skins were not really welcome in the dish, kidwise or aesthetically. No reason to let it go to waste though, give them a light rubbing of your favorite oil, a sprinkle of sea salt and under the grill they go. So good! Unbelievably good! And filled with essential fatty acids, hooray!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Rah Rah, Rhubarb!

I'm slowly coming back from my post Lenten lull, as far as food goes. I just haven't felt like cooking for the past few weeks, and leaving Mikael to kitchen tasks has snapped me right back to reality I can tell you! Still not into larger, complicated meals, but a cake, that I can do.

This is my mother's recipe for rhubarb cake. It is perfect! Don't skimp on any of the ingredients, be generous. Fresh rhubarb is preferable, but since I haven't seen any forced rhubard yet I made do with frozen. Thaw it properly, and pat it dry thoroughly with a tea towel before incorporating it. Make it AFTER lunch on Saturday (otherwise it'll be your lunch). It'll be half gone by dinner, but eat the rest for breakfast Sunday in lieu of a muffin.

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups flour
1 1/2-2 cups chopped rhubarb (not too small)

Mix sugars and butter.
Add egg and salt.
Add buttermilk, vanilla, baking powder and flour gradually.
Add rhubarb and pour into buttered dish.
Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
Bake for 35 minutes in a medium warm oven. (That's what it said in my mom's hand written version, but I find it needs longer!)

Enjoy with a glass of leftover bttermilk. This is pure childhood nostalgia for me! Luckily it happens to be a delicious, moist cake, with intermittent hints of the tart and fruity rhubarb. Really delish!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Lent Status Report, Version 2.0

Hey ho folks! Still working on that camera issue. Plan on buying one next week, since I've pretty much close in on and identified the one.

I thought I'd do a little fessin' up about Lent. Well, that sounds like I've broken totally and utterly down and broken all good form here, which happily, isn't the case. But I have veered a bit. Just a smidge.

I'm still keeping myself mentally vegan on a daily basis, and even though I may pop an animal made product in my gob, it doesn't feel like I'm sinning. The main thing here is that I now thoughtfully consider every thing I put in my mouth. It may sound a bit obsessive, and I can totally see that, but it's not. When I was an omnivore, I didn't even consider myself as such, because I didn't think about everything I put in my mouth, despite striving for organic fare for the important stuff (fruit, veggies, meat). As a result, I would mass consume processed foods, candy, snacks, whatever, without really thinking about it. Now, I think. Not obsess. Just think. And it feels REALLY good.

As I mentioned before, I lost 2 kilos (5lbs) right off the bat. They're still off, no more, no less. Though I continually feel skinnier, and I think that's down to not feeling as bloated as I previously have. I'd love to lose more, but that's not my main objective at this time.

I have been eating goat's cheese to satisfy that craving, and if I ran out of soy milk, I'd use cow milk. Tastes awful, when you're used to the other stuff! Really bad after taste in fact. I also went to a belated Christmas/early Easter party with some girlfriends, and I did eat tuna salad, pickled herring and eggs, since I didn't want to make an issue out of it. My mom being here added some cow milk cheeses to the menu, plus a little ice cream and again, I didn't sweat it. But just today, at the office, my office mate fried up some bacon. Wow, did that ever smell bad! Death. Fried death. He asked if I wanted some. I declined, politely. Yuck!

So, I haven't been strictly vegan, but my diet has changed. I have fewer craving for either specific foods, or just stuffing my face in general. It's been a relief actually. Although I know it's restrictive, strictly speaking, to eat this's actually liberating.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Rooty Coconut Chowder

I really really wish I had a picture of this. Alas, I have yet to find a replacement for my kaput camera (tips on better versions of the old point and shoot welcome), so an enthusiastic description will have to do.

I had yet another box of seasonal veggies staring me in the face, daring me to make something tasty out of them. Unfortunately, the biggest offering this time was a rutabaga! Wtf. Well, I actually enjoy the challenge of making anything tasty, but when you're pressed for time and have a hungry brood waiting small droplets of sweat form on your brow, and the nagging question of "what exactly am I doing" plagues you. Luckily, it went well. Really well.

1 rutabaga (by nature a large creature), peeled and cubed
.5 - 1 kg sunchokes, peeled and halved
1 large onion
1 tsp dried ginger
1 can coconut milk
sprinkling of cinnammon
1 tsp herbamare

- Start off by boiling the sunchokes and rutabaga together in a pot of salted water until soft. Drain, and set aside for next step.
- Finely chop the onion and fry it up in a little bit of coconut oil with the dried ginger until soft and fragrant. Add the boiled rutabaga and sunchoke, coconut milk, plus the herbamare. Let bubble, maybe adding a bit of water if it's too dry. When the taste is about what you want, take about half of the contents out of the pot, and blend them until nice and creamy. Add to the pot again, adding the dash of cinnamon. Stir well and serve with homemade bread.

Really really lovely chunky, creamy soup here. Enjoy!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Creamy Vegan Potatoes

Dude! It's been a while, huh? Well, between testing this vegan thing and my studies and my trip to Berlin, and now my mother being here for a get the idea. My camera is out of commission, for ever, so until we acquire a new one, I'll make do with old snaps of dishes I just haven't blogged about, and then second hand tales of decadent vegan meals, or something.

I made, actually invented, this warm potato salad as a side to an Indian dish I made recently, and it was good! And easy! And vegan!

I simply boiled some cute small potatoes, with skin, rubbing them gently off after they'd cooled a bit.
Then, I fried a small amount of finely chopped onion with light and dark mustard seeds and nigella seeds. When they'd released some of their flavor, I added the cooked and peeled potatoes again for a quick swirl, before turning the heat off. Then, as the creamy dot over the "i", I added a few bid spoonfuls of the white coconut cream that rises to the top of the canned coconut milk*. It was the perfect touch. And the dish was eaten with great fervor by all, young and older.

* Coconut milk has been a lifesaver in this vegan adventure of mine. Can't imagine not having its creamy goodness on hand.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Lent Status Report

Apart from an inadvertant bite of bread with butter/cheese I've been keeping this Lent thing up with no big problems. Just a few days after I started, I lost one whole kilo (2 lbs) which was quite a great perk if you ask me, and also a good reason to keep it up. I've lost another half kilo since then, and I think it's owing to the lack of butter in my diet. Boy, do we like butter here.

My breakfasts are a pretty standard bowl of oatmeal made on water, with raisins, cinnamon/sugar and flaxseed oil. Filling and quite satisfactory.

Lunches have been mostly bread with a smear of bean paste and beets, misc. vegan cold cuts, and cut up fruit and veg. Seriously, I haven't felt like I've been missing out. I would like to note that the bean paste has 15% protein, as opposed to a smear of Danish leverpostej, which has 24%. The vegan cold cuts have as much protein (wheat protein) as turkey cold cuts.

Dinners have been what they normally are, either vegetarian dishes with veggies and lentils, or dishes using quorn or soy meat substitutes. I made a mean chili sin carne the other night, and you could hardly tell the quorn/meat difference. Honestly.

If I am lacking any protein in this manner, just through regular meals, I put extra protein in my daily routine with lots of nuts for snacks, and peanut butter/hazelnut butter on Wasa crackers.

So far, no cravings for "real" meat, though I do miss cheese, so I'll find a good goat cheese to satiate that. I'll post some recipes I'm collecting soon.

Otherwse, I'm enjoying this little experiment, not in the least because I enjoy eating in a thoughtful manner. It's gratifying. And my body feels great, inside and out. 'Nuff said.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Two Days In

Thank you, Anonymous, for that cheerleading!

I just woke up after my second day without eating animal products, and get this, I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed before 7 am, and I hadn't even had my coffee yet! Something good is going down here. I thought I'd post what I'd eaten for the last two days, and I might update every week or so with a Lent update and recipes.

Day 1:
breakfast: 1 cup coffee with soy milk
oatmeal with raisins, cinammon/sugar and flax oil
lunch: apple, pear, orange, high fiber crackers
dinner: Leftover rice, fried, steamed endive, coleslaw w/vinaigrette

Day 2:
breakfast: same as day 1
lunch: rye bread with bean paste/spread and pickled beets, cucumber and vegan coldcuts
dinner: Indian mélange of rice, spinach garam masala dish, carrot curry/coconut dish and potatoes in coconut and mustard

Snacks have included fruit by the bucket, and if that wasn't enough, Wasa crackers with a nice smear of hazelnut butter (better than Nutella!) and maybe a drizzle of honey. And yes I'm still eating honey.

Feeling good, and so far this is easier than I thought it would be.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


For the first time in roughly 20 years, I decided to give something up for the Lenten fast. I don't know what spurred it on, perhaps that Tuesday was Shrove Tuesday/Pancake Day/Mardis Gras, and I seemed to have forgotten why that is celebrated in the first place. Something about Jesus being 40 days in the desert, I believe. And people think Islam and Christianity are nothing remotely like each other. Huh. So, having just read Eating Animals, I've decided to eat adhere as much as possible to the food doctrine behind the book, for 40 days. That would mean mostly sticking to a vegan diet, though I'll allow for dairy from goats/sheep since Safran Foer points out that those animals have not yet been targeted by factory farming. Yet. And I'm going to Berlin in a week's time, and I will allow myself to be touristy enough to enjoy a curry wurst.

I've long wanted to give the vegan diet a try, though having three omnivores in the house has kept me back. I think though, that I'm grown up enough now to endure watching others eat a certain food, without feeling deprived. And there is an ulterior motive a well. The weight issue. My bmi is normal, but I want to see what such a diet can do for my waistline. But ultimately, I want to try the diet of the future, and understand its necessity for myself, without dreading it when it becomes inevitable. I think we can do it!

This blog isn't going on hiatus per se, but I have no idea how this will pan out, as far as yummy recipes go. We shall see.

Anybody else doing Lent?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Ah, my Reuben, I've missed you!

Sorry no pic, it's al Blogger's fault! :)

Hi there! So, we've been eating a lot of celeriac schnitzels lately, and I didn't really feel the need to keep you updated on that!

If you've read my "real" blog then you're up to speed with what I've been reading, and I am starting to look at meat consumption, in a whole new manner of ways. This recipe includes pastrami, which I just happened to have in the freezer. I will not throw perfectly good food away, so that's why I used it. A better way of paying hommage to the animal who got offed that just throwing the meat away. I once tried a version of this recipe with tempe instead of meat, in Boulder, CO, and it was delish, and I'll keep you updated if I find tempe here worth using.

So, the Reuben. The world's most perfect sandwich. Do I sound biased? Well, it's been my absolute favorite for as long as I can remember! The lowdown:

- Sour dough ryebread (NOT Danish rugbrød)
- Swiss cheese (known as Emmenthaler in these parts)
- Sauerkraut
- Pastrami (alternatively tempe)
- Russian sauce

All lovingly fried/grilled in butter. Oh, the joy it gives me. The kids even loved it, and remarked as much. I would suggest placing the ingredients in the order written here. It's important that the meat is thoroughly warmed through, and also that the cheese melts into the sauerkraut. The Russian sauce is a mystery to me, there are so many versions on the net. I use a nice big dollop (or two) of Hellman's mayo, add a splotch of ketchup, and a bit of strong mustard to boot and mix it all up. I enjoy a little extra mustard on my plate for dipping too.

The reason I've missed it? Well, I've not had much luck finding sauerkraut in this town! How did I finally get my hands on some? Our friend Cornelia, who lives on the island of Bornholm of all places, apparently has a steady supply. Go figure. So, if you ever fall over a jar, think of me, and either buy it for me, or go home and make this for yourself!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Fried Okra - A Picture Tutorial

Childhood favorite, what can I say? I think I forgot about it for a while after moving to DK, then had a craving for it. Called my mom to ask how she'd prepared it for me as a kid, and, this is it. Quite easy.

You'll notice that in the first picture the okra appears to be frozen. It is. This is because okra is a slimy thing by nature, so freezing it first helps reduce gooeyness when you're chopping it, and mixing it later on. The cold is also an element that helps make it extra crispy.

Chopped into bite sized bits.

A few tablespoons of flour (cornmeal is good too), and one egg (no need to beat it first) into the bowl, and using a fork, mix it all together. Add salt and pepper, liberally.

Very lumpy in apperance.

Fry up in a good oil, until it's golden brown, a little darker at the edges.

There you have a plate of crispy, delicious Texan childhood.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Celeriac Schnitzel

Admittedly, we haven't sprung out as full blown vegetarians here, but the other day, when someone asked if we had, I couldn't even remember the last time we'd had meat for dinner. Sometimes, I do have to make an effort, since you can't just make a salad, and expect two small kids and one metabolically active husband to be satisfied. We eat burgers, just with soy patties. We enjoy "chicken" fajitas with quorn instead. Someone mentioned making schnitzel out of celeriac once, I gave it a try, just winging it, and wasn't that impressed. I decided to give it another try, and scoured up some tips on teh interwebs. This time, I loved it! Not only that, my boys wolfed it down as well, oblivious to the sneaky veggie hidden inside, just happy to eat something pan fried and crunchy.

The lowdown:

- Take 1 whole celeriac, peel or cut the hard skin off. Cut in in half, and take each halve and slice it into finger thick slices.
- Steam/boil the celeriac until a knife easily pierces them, app. 16 minutes. Let them cool off a bit before the next step, and drizzle them with lemon juice while cooling. Don't go easy on the lemon btw.
- Prepare two shallow bowls. One with 1 egg, beaten. The other with bread crumbs. Add a good amount of salt and pepper to the crumbs, to ensure a flavourful crust.
- Melt a knob of butter and a drizzle of your choice of oil in a pan over low heat. Low heat is key here, you want these to fry up delicately and not be darker than golden.
- Dip each slice of steamed celeriac in first egg, then crumbs, and fry 'em up (in butter!), turning after the golden color has been attained.

Serve with a side of salad and/or potatoes like I did. Next time I might do a sauce/gravy to beef it up a bit, but even without this is a mouth watering dish!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fridge Cleaning Eggnoggy Cheesecake

Blogger ate my picture!

So, no, this will not actually clean your fridge, you know, with soap and water....but it just happened to use a few ingredients I had lying around in small amounts so in a way it did! Hubby has a sweet tooth (okay, me too) and this was just what I happened to dream up after a few google searches using my leftover ingredients. It's not the perfect cheesecake, but it fit the bill nicely.

For two years now, I've had two, count 'em, two boxes of gingerbread in the cupboard, ready to be hoisted into little houses and decorated with icing and other goodies. I thought they might be used better otherwise, than standing around in December, slowly going stale. I happened upon the novel idea that they can be used as a substitute for digestives in a cheesecake. Bingo! The Christmassy spices added give this an eggnoggy feel, but it's not Christmassy enough to be annoying. And the crispy, buttery crust is what really takes the cake here. I will say though, that the amount of filling wasn't quite enough to my liking, but I think it'd work beautifully if this recipe were made as individual mini-cheesecakes with a dollop of warm raspberry coulis on top. Just sayin'.

150 grams gingerbread
4 tbsp soft butter
½ cup ricotta
125 grams cream cheese
½ Cup raw cane sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 dash each of cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 180 C.
In a food processor, pulse gingerbread until it's crumbs. Add butter and mix until incorporated.
Grease a springform, and press the crumby mixture into the bottom. Bake for app. 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool.
Mix the remaining ingredients until the mixture is smooth, and pour into the cooled crust. Bake for an additional 30 minutes. Let cool, and refidgerate for as long as you can stand it, before pulling it out and eating it all up.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pimento Cheese Spread

There *was* a picture here, now it's gone forever, thx Blogger!

Okay, so you've guessed the obvious. There is cheese and pimento in the spread I'm presenting to you now. But there is also, the epitomy of buffet lunches in the southern part of the U.S. You'll most likely find the spread between the veggies/dip and the crackers/bread, just behind the devilled eggs. Most people buy it ready made at the supermarket, but it's tastier if you make it at home, not to mention dead easy to make.

1 cup of finely grated cheddar cheese
1 whole pimento, diced (smoked red pepper, from a can or jar)
1/4 cup of mayo (Hellman's preferably)
1 small pickle, finely diced
dash of salt
dash of ground garlic

Mix ingredients well.
Just for kicks, I grated fresh horseradish, and added about 1 tbsp to the mixture. It wasn't too strong, and freshened it up a bit. Very tasty.

Most Americans know pimento cheese from the starchy white sandwich it's usually served in. It's excellent on Wasa too, or used to dip carrot/celery/cucumber sticks in too.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Any Bright Ideas?

The stem is arguably the better tasting bit of the broccoli. Not as easy to use though. Sometimes I'll peel it, and grate it in spaghetti sauce. Or, dice it and use it in soup.

What do you do with it?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

This bears repeating. Black bean and Tortilla Soup.

It all started when I was thinking up dinner tonight. I looked in the cabinets for inspiration. Found an opened packet of tortillas that my husband had thrown back in, after our fajita dinner the other night. The two tortillas left in the pack were dry, stale, inedibe. I was about to get mad in the way that only an anal housewife can, but then I remembered that tortilla soup is pretty popular back in my home state of Texas....voila.

First off, cut your leftover tortillas in strips, and fry them on a pan with a little oil. I used canola. They'll brown and become crispy, and that's just what you want. Set your fried tortillas aside.

- Fry up an onion in some oil.
- Add a tsp. each of turmeric, cumin, garlic powder and paprika.
- When onions are soft, add one can of tinned tomatoes, and one can of black beans. (I used canned, because I wanted to make this quick, and I hadn't any pre-soaked)
- Add a little extra water and a broth cube. (I use Herbamare from the health food store)
- Let it all simmer together, adding salt and pepper and a dash of cayenne to taste.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream, chopped coriander, a few drops of lime juice, and a handful of your fried tortillas. Some of the tortillas will go soft in the soup, but that's ok. Also, for extra nutritional value, I added to finely diced potatoes to this soup, to bulk it up, and so my kids wouldn't only get full on the fried tortillas. A hearty inconspicuous addition! Enjoy.