Tuesday, July 15, 2008

... and the cotton is high

More great summertime food. The cauliflowers are ready in my mom's garden. So I made a small one today and - shame to admit it - ate all of it myself.

Easy cauliflower with garlic and Parmesan. (Lillkapsas küüslaugu ja Parmesaniga).:

1 small organic cauliflower
1 egg
some milk
1 tbsp oil
Parmesan (or any mature cheese) (about a 4 x 3 cm knob)
2 small, fresh garlics (or 3 cloves of the old one)
pine seeds for serving

Cut the cauliflower into florets, wash it and boil with salt until almost tender. Drain. Heat the oil on a frying pan and brown the cauliflower florets. Whisk the egg with some milk, salt and pepper. Add the garlic (pressed through a garlic press or finely chopped) and finally the grated cheese. When the cauliflower is nice and golden brown here and there, pour on the egg mixture and stir. If you like cumin seeds, add some.
Serve with pine-seeds.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Madam, we must have waffles! We must all have waffles forthwith.

I LOVE waffles. But the old-school flat and crispy ones that you roll into a cone. I mean I'm reasonably respectful towards the fat Belgian ones as well, as a breakfast option they're nice. But the REAL waffles, are the thin ones.

Unfortunately it has become almost impossible to make them. See you need a special machine. Every self-respecting Soviet household had one. It was usually called ESTA - a big, clunky, iron thing that heated up both it's upper and lower bit when you plugged it in and wheezed angrily when you put in too much dough.

My mum luckily still has her machine, for a couple of years she claimed, that she had thrown it away - it's lost its handle and it takes up an insane amount of cupboard space - but now she ‘fessed up that she still has it. So I fired it up last weekend.

Crispy sweet waffles. (Kõrbedad vahvlid.):
(The recipe is from a cook-book at least as legendary as the waffle-maker itself - 'Saiad, pirukad, koogid' (Buns, pies and cakes) by Ida Savi)

150 g butter or margarine
150 g sugar
3 eggs
375 g flour
0.75 l milk
oil for cooking

Beat the eggs with the sugar until they're a thick foam. Melt the butter or the margarine and slowly mix it into the eggs. Then add flour and milk (a little bit of one, then a little bit of the other) by gently mixing them in with a whisk. Add some salt. Let the dough sit for a bit before cooking.

Pre-heat your magic waffle-machine, grease it with a bit of oil and brace yourself for about an hour of cooking the waffles and rolling them into cones (you need to do it immediately, when they're still hot and soft).

Traditionally the waffles were stuffed with either ice-cream or whipped cream. Or for birthday parties the ends were sometimes dipped into melted chocolate.
However, they're divine with absolutely nothing as well.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

... and the living is easy

This is my absolute favorite summertime meal. This is what summer tastes like. And how chanterelles should be treated.
They're the rulers of all mushrooms and I've often been bewildered at how they get used in cooking. For example fried whole on a pan that is far too hot, so that they dry up. Or killed by boiling them in a soup.

This is an Estonian summer-staple - A creamy chanterelle sauce over fresh baby-potatoes. (Värksed kartulid kukeseenekastmega). - it literally melts in your mouth.

Chanterelles (however many you managed to pick or buy)
knob of butter
freshly ground salt and pepper
fresh-pickles, for serving
fresh tomato, for serving

Clean the chanterelles (get rid of all the forest and the dirt you brought home with them), wash them and chop them up.
Scrub the baby potatoes and boil them with some salt.
Melt the knob of butter on a medium-hot pan and add the chanterelles. They have a lot of water in them and that'll be coming out. Sautee them in their own water for ~7 minutes, then add the sour cream to make it a sauce. Stir and if necessary add a little bit of water (usually not necessary). Add the salt and pepper in the end.
Serve the sauce over the boiled potatoes with some fresh tomato and some summer-pickles.

I must admit that I just ran out of the fresh-pickles, so on these pics. I'm using the ordinary ones, but honestly, do try the fresh ones-

What are the summer pickles?
They're so called fresh pickles - no vinegar and no natural lagering process yet. They just spend at least a day (to 3) in salt water marinade.

This is how you make them:
a suitable amount of cucumbers
black-currant leaves
dill weed (preferably nearly whole plants, with stalks and flowers and all)
garlic (whole cloves)
some horseradish

per 1 l of water
2 table spoons of sea-salt

Wash the cucumbers in cold water and place them in a big glass jar or an enamel pot with the herbs and spices. If you'er not sure how long ago the cucumbers were picked, leave them submerged in cold water for a couple of hours, this way they'll be crispy.
Dissolve the salt in cold water Boil and pour it over the cucumbers. If you're using a pot, take a big plate and place it on the cucumbers and weigh it down with something heavy (my mom has a special stone for this :), so that all the cucumbers stay submerged.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Weekend in Copenhagen

We just spent a perfect weekend in Copenhagen. Went to see my beloved Leonard Cohen in concert (which was fabulous, by the way) and stayed for the whole weekend of wonderful sunny weather, lazy lounging in the parks, some new cute dresses, a night in Tivoli - in other words - the works.
(I'll upload a video ASAP).

In one end of what they call the longest shopping street in Europe (Stroget) on Kongens Nytorv square they had an international food market. I'm not sure if this is an every weekend thing, but I'm thinking not.
Apart from the Brits, who were represented by some weird pottery products with pigs and / or poppy flowers on them, all sorts of different countries had their stalls up and were selling or making all kinds of food produce.

Spanish sausages,

French cheese,

Dutch cheese

cookies (don't remember where from)

Dutch mini-pankcakes with Nutella,

Nuts and dried fruit

Belgian waffles, a French stall with Tartiflette, French pastry and baguettes, fresh fruit, you name it. So we roamed that, first on Saturday and then again on Sunday, eating dirty nectarines and cherries and tasting everything.

For reasons I will not explain here we ended up having lunch in the same place twice - in a little lounge with a nice outdoor terrace just off the Stroget - called Paparazzi lounge. They served the undoubtedly best French fries I've ever had in my entire life.

Beautiful, sizzling, golden brown fries, with white crystals of salt clinging to them, served with the house chilli-mayo.
The Ceasar's salad wasn't bad either (the sauce was great) and the La Dolce Vita Burger deserved it's name by all means.