Friday, August 26, 2011

Kimchi this

I saw this recipe to kimchi fried rice on someone's Facebook feed a while ago and couldn't get it out of my head.
Now, obviously, this being Estonia, it wasn't as easy as it would be somewhere else, you know a place where the population is more than 10 people and the ethnic diversity exceeds that of one skin color and two nationalities (yes, I'm exaggerating). You can't exactly go to your around the corner Korean grocery to get some kimchi here. So DIY time it was.
I used this recipe and chinsese cabbage to make kimchi. There is a local version of fermented cabbage in Estonia, but it's quite different - ordinary white cabbage and no spices, also I haven't really ever made it myself, so the three days of occasional bubble checking in the glass jar I used for my kimchi and the fact that it was on my kitchen floor was a source of constant excitement. To be totally honest, I was quite sure it would end up bad. I mean, it doesn't look exactly pretty.
But it's oh so good. Really, totally worth the wait and the mild repulsion the process might induce. Such an explosion of flavor.
I scrambled my eggs for the fried rice, just topping the bowl with a fried egg seemed odd. Otherwise I followed the recipe to a T and to rave reviews.
I'm definitely making it again and I now want to kimchi everything. I think I'm starting with carrots.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Some things are better than others

More (and less) famous chefs always go on in length about how the quality and the freshness of the produce is what actually makes or breaks a dish. It would be almost embarrassing to add in my two cents to the Spiel if it weren't for the insane intensity that understanding always comes with. It's literally like a brick in the face. The difference is mind-boggling. And yet we seem to forget, some time passes and we remember that something freshly caught, killed, ripened was so good, but it fades. So in the winter we eat the odd, tasteless fruit sold under the label of tomatoes without gagging.
But I guess it's not surprising, human mind seems extraordinarily fickle when it comes to flavor, if you haven't seen it, watch Heston Blumenthal's Kitchen Chemistry, it's fascinating, I love the experiment he did in some Swiss lab on how quickly the brain got used to a flavor and literally stopped sending signals about it, so it felt like there was no flavor. The results were even more drastic with added sugar.
Anyhow, I digress. Yes, fresh stuff. Is extraordinary. You might remember me mentioning my dear husbands fishing hobby. Well he's getting good at it, one night he got a bunch of breams and perches and my dad smoked them in his barbecue. I think it took about 3 hours. Words fail me at describing how good that fish was. And how incomparable to the store bought smoked bream, for example. Each time that happens I start thinking that foodies perhaps need to set up a hunter / gatherer / cooker natural economic cycle. You know, barter deals all around, those who kill - share, those who grow - share, those who catch - share and those who cook share as well.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

On sex and mushrooms

I love good food writing (surprise, surprise), but it's not as common as one would think. It's too easy to get drawn into the overly detailed geekery that makes most people's eyes gloss over or the Miss Goody-Two-Shoes I'm a Happy Homemaker style cuteness that probably would make you gag if it weren't you writing it.
So I was obviously quite pleased, when I found this article. It pointed to this recipe, and I had some chanterelles that needed to be cooked and we had just recently had the Estonian classic of a creamy sauce and I was looking for something different.

I was fresh out of safran, added two carrots (right in the beginning, when sauteeing the onions and the mushrooms) and I used a lovely invention I had just bought - orange pepper (basically, orange peel, ginger, black pepper and some other stuff). I'm not sure I'd go as far as equating it with sex, but it was pretty damn good, like extra helpings and following soup-coma good. Like delicious.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Mango my Mango

I made ice cream again. I wanted to make something where I could somewhat limit the amount of sugar as mini-me is a fan of ice cream, just like his momma. But plain vanilla seemed boring, so I took a deeper look into my Hobbit-style stash of stuff and found a can of mango-pulp I recently bought.
Mango ice cream it is then.

Mango ice cream with a hint of cinnamon and fresh lavender (makes a quart):

600 ml of fresh cream (10%)
1 can of mango pulp
t tablespoons of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of vanilla sugar
leaves off three stalks of fresh lavender
2 large eggs

It's pretty basic, make sure your ice cream maker is ready to go, whisk the eggs until light and fluffy, add the sugar, whisk until smooth. Add the cream, whisk until combined. Add the mango, cinnamon, vanilla sugar and lavender, whisk until combined.

Transfer to the ice cream maker.

It's really, really lovely. Especially, if you, like me, can never leave an Indian restaurant without a mango lassi. A treat for that inner monkey screaming: 'feed me dessert, more, more', yet not too sweet. The seductive mango flavor is nicely enhanced by the cinnamon and the lavender. I love it. I really do. Even S, who is not as insane about ice cream as I am, said it's very good. And, I've learned that in boy language it means 'wow, this is incredible, please make more.'

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo

High on the hill was the lonely goatherd ... Something really good happened to me, it turned out I know a guy who has an organic farm with his wife, he sent me a small sample of what's available - halloumi, goat milk cheese, local moonshine, wild boar smoked sausage and a chunk of cabrito - young goat's meat.
Now, I've never had nor cooked goat so I did what every self respecting Internet addict does, I googled it, found this really funny article and was quite sure I was going with tacos until I stumbled on this recipe. It just demanded to be made. Demanded me to start the whole cooking process at 9 in the evening as I realized that it wanted to be refrigerated before eating. So I filled the house with delicious cooking smells and only turned the oven off at 1 a.m.
But it is delicious. If you haven't tried goat meat, do try, it is very lean, very tasty. And no weird 'furry flavor' at all.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Random observation of a lazy food blogger - fennel seeds.

I don't make burritos often, but every time I do, I'm surprised as to why that is. I mean they're delicious, super easy to make and everyone loves them. I have a friend who generally (at least according to his own statements) lives off beer, coffee and snus, and although he is generally quite appreciative of most of the stuff I serve him when he comes over, he was totally blissed out after eating it. I kid you not.
Well, part of it was of course, the fact that it's perfect beer food. The other thing was probably something I call the 'boy food' factor. I think there are no boys, who, from age 2 forward, do not thing that minced meat in a tomato sauce is not the bees knees (apart from the vegetarians and vegans obviously).
I also made quite an inspired choice of adding fennel seeds to my sauce, I think they really added a lot. Well and instead of plain let
tuce I used a new cabbage, baby carrot, fresh dill, oil and white vinegar salad.
Anyhow, yes. I'm still lazy, less lazy in terms of cooking, quite lazy in terms of blogging, but here it is.
A burrito.