Monday, September 26, 2011

The lazy foodie strikes again - a KISS salad

My husband very rarely has any requests about food, the only thing he occasionally asks for is to make less food or not to make 'anything special' this week (for waistline purposes). So whenever he actually asks for something I get all excited (apart from when he moans about the overall lack of cake in our house on Sundays, then I skillfully ignore him).

I've mentioned that a friend has an organic goat-farm, right? Well, I buy goat cheese and halloumi from him, among other things, and S really loves that cheese. And one day he asked for a salad with the goat cheese: 'you know, with tomatoes and stuff'.

And instead of going all culinary maniac on him, I let the lazy foodie out to play and made him a Keep It Simple, Stupid type of a salad. You know, with tomatoes and stuff.

Also with goat cheese, Sicilian green olives, frillice lettuce, baby basil, onion, extraordinarily good Ladron de Guevara extra virgin olive oil and freshly ground black pepper and salt, of course.

I was asked to KISS it again later that day and the entire 250 g chunk of cheese was gone by the evening.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Best restaurant of the summer

Yes ... I am aware that it is no longer summer. Sadly. But I've been lazy and cooked some stuff I've wanted to post, so this wonderful food has been kind of left behind.
There were a couple of nice new restaurants that opened their doors this summer in Tallinn, but Leib Resto & Aed (Leib Restaurand and Garden) seems to be the overall favorite, especially in the foodie / foodblogger community.
And I have no choice but to join the choir. I think it's all about the produce (now here's an original statement), theirs just seems so ... so ... fresh. And, although I have no evidence to back up my claims, I do think that this is one of those restaurants who make their own 'basics'. For example they have this finger-licking-good red wine mayonnaise and I swear they make it from scratch. They just have to.

So yes, long story short. I had grilled lamb liver with red wine mayo and almost had a 'special moment' right there at the table. It was unforgettable. S had salmon and loved it. He also made the wise choice as far as desserts go, picking the rye bread creme brulee whereas I went for the kindergarten classic - caramel pudding - and it was ... well, quite like it was in the kindergarten ... slimy and not too impressive. But the lamb liver, the liver, the liver *fade out*

Yes... good. Go there.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Beer ... now there's a temporary solution! (Homer Simpson)

It's been a while since I've roasted a whole chicken and I am fairly certain that I've never held one as big as the one my organic-farm-keeping-freerange-hapy-chiken-and-goat-keeping friend sent me. It was over 2.5 kg ( 5.5 lb) and all meat, almost no fat. Giant, strong legs, fed and bred on potato mash, as I've heard.
Anyway, yes, large chicken.
And of course I decided it was time to try something new, so I decided to stick it on a beer bottle, was unable to remove it's neck, so all in all I was lucky it fit in the oven.

Whole roasted chicken with dark beer and sage butter:

1 whole chicken
a large knob of butter (25 - 50 g)
a glug of vegetable oil (1-2 tbsp)
a generous bunch of fresh sage
salt and black pepper
a bottle of dark beer ( I used Latvian Zelta, because for some, very unpatriotic reason, that's what I had in my fridge)

Wash the chicken inside and out, pat dry, rub with salt and pepper (also inside and out).
Preheat the oven to 200 (400 F) C.
Pour the oil into a skillet placed over medium heat, add the butter and when it's melted the sage leaves. Lightly brown the sage leaves and set aside to cool a bit.
When the butter has cooled enough rub it and the sage leaves all over the chicken. If you feel like it, make small cuts into the skin and get some of the butter and the leaves under the skin.
Wash the beer bottle and remove the lables.
Pour out about 1/3 of the beer (don't drink it).
Set the beer bottle on an oven tray and the chicken upright on the bottle so it stands on it's feet and the bottle like on a tripod.
Cover with tinfoil and roast for about 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to about 180 C (375 F) and roast for an hour.
Pour the beer your saved before into the bottom of the oven tray (makes good sauce).
Remove the foil and turn on the top grill and the fan and let it roast for 10 more minutes. Stick a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken's thigh, it should be at around 70 C (165 F), if you don't have a meat thermometer, stab the chicken and see if the juices that run out are clear. If they are you should be good.

Let it rest for 2o minutes. Carve and serve.

Oh and ... would you have loved me less if I had used that other good Homer Simpson beer quote for the title, you know the 'I like my beer cold, my tv loud and my homosexuals flaming?' :D But since I'm fine with flaming or not, I thought it would be just wrong. Or was it because this is, after all, merely a food blog.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Spicy pickled carrots, from Texas, with love

I have a lovely new friend from Texas and she sent me a recipe for spicy, pickled carrots. A recipe of her aunts, but she assured me (or herself) that it's not an exclusive recipe of hers, or even if it is - 'in the nebulousness of Southern family relationships, she's not even actually biologically related to me'.


I told you she is lovely. So here it is, with some minor adjustments. She said they just cool and then refrigerate it, but I thought it should work as a preserve just as well (I'm having a bit of a manic episode in terms of preserves and pickles this year, I blame it on the increased storage space).

J's spicy, pickled carrots:

~ 200 ml water
~ 100-150 ml. vegetable oil
3 tbsp of sugar
2 tbsp of salt
4 tbsp of 30% vinegar
3-4 arbol chiles- cleaned (remove the seeds)
~ 15 medium sized carrots (sliced into medallions)
3-4 sliced onions
1tsp. oregano
1tsp. cumin
1tsp. basil
1tsp. black pepper
a jar (215 g) jalapenos

Bring water, oil, and vinegar to a boil in a large saucepan. Add chiles, heat 5 minutes, add herbs. Heat 5 more minutes, then add carrots and onion. Cook 10 more minutes or to desired texture. Add jalapenos, simmer 5 minutes. Cool, then refrigerate if you want to eat them at once. I sterilized and heated glass jars and transferred the hot mixture into the jars. Sealed, placed under a blanket and dragged into my treasure trove (garage)the next day.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, September 3, 2011

They're everywhere!

It's chanterelle season and it seems that this year has been a good one in terms of mushrooms. I haven't made it to the forest myself yet (the plan is to go tomorrow) but luckily the farmer's markets are well stocked in terms of chanterelles.
A friend of mine came over for dinner and since my kid decided to fall into the creek by our supermarket about an hour before he was to arrive (and we were on a scooter-bike! Can you imagine scootering your dripping, muddy, lollipop sucking kid through the park under the disapproving gazes of the little old ladies?) I needed something quick and easy(ish).

Good thing I follow such nice food blogs, a quick search landed me on Pille's Chantarelle Pie recipe and that's what I went for. I substituted the cheese in the crust for sour cream - creamed cheese combo. I don't know if because of that, or just because I may or may not somewhat suck at pie crusts (I will deny everything) it was a little chewy. Otherwise it was pure heaven. Sublimely tender. I had made some cheese-garlic-mayo salad the day before so I used that in the topping instead of just regular cheese, but other than that, followed the recipe to a T.
Since Pille's is in Estonian, here's the translation:

100 g butter
50 g grated cheese (I used a big tbsp of cour cream and a big tbsp of creamed cheese)
2 dl flour
0.5 dl cold water

400 g chanterelles
1 chopped onion
a knob of butter
2 dl fresh cream
3 eggs
100 g grated cheese (I used a cheese-garlic salad)
salt and pepper

Crumble the butter, cheese and flour, add the water bit by bit (you might not need everything), press the dough into a pie-tin, pierce with a fork and pre-bake for about 10 minutes at 200C.
Clean and chop the mushrooms, heat on a dry pan until the moisture has vaporized. Add the butter and onion, sautee until the onion is glassy. Pour the mixture onto the baked crust.
Whisk the eggs, cream and cheese, season with salt and pepper and pour the mixture over the mushrooms. Bake at 200C for about 20 minutes, until the pie is golden and the filling has set.