Category Archives: condiments

Quick Pickled Cucumber

kindvall-salt-gherkin

In our garden we had an earth cellar that my mother stocked with treats during the outdoor season. The whole family went for weekend walks in the woods to forage for plants, berries and mushrooms. Some of the fruit and vegetables came from our own garden or nearby orchards and neighbor’s vegetable gardens. My mother made strawberry and raspberry jam, cooked apple compote, pickled gherkins and beets. With a steam juicer she made both elderflower cordial and black currant juice. She also made lingonberry jam that is very common as a side for typical Swedish everyday dishes such as meat balls, potato pancakes, kroppkakor and blood pudding. Some Swedes even enjoy this jam with fried herring. My father made different kinds of spirits (blackthorn and figs), that they stored and forgot until it was found (to their happy surprise) several years later.

Some of these wonderful treats I do myself today, but at a much smaller scale as I don’t have the storage or a family of five to feed.

My latest favorite are these quick pickled cucumbers that I created from memory from a restaurant visit to Amsterdam last summer. The original origin is definitely not Dutch or European,  it’s more likely Korean or Japanese.  These pickles can be done just a couple of hours before serving. They are fresh and crunchy and the rice vinegar together with the  sesame oil give them a very pleasant sweet and sour flavor. I love it as a small treat before dinner, just as it is or together with cured fish. Its also excellent as a side for BBQ, stews and sandwiches.

kindvall-pickling

Quick Pickled Cucumber

2- 3 (about 10 ounces, 280 – 300 gram) kirby cucumber
2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil

½ teaspoon chili flakes
1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
black pepper, freshly milled
fresh chopped dill
toasted sesame seeds

Wash the cucumbers and cut them into small bite size pieces.

Place them in a bowl and add the salt. Toss well and let sit for 15-30 minutes.

In the meantime, whisk together rice vinegar, sugar and sesame oil. Whisk or stir until sugar is dissolved. Add the chili flakes, ginger and season with pepper and fresh dill.

Rinse the salted cucumber lightly with fresh water. Squeeze them slightly to remove water and pat them dry with a paper towel. When dry add them to the vinegar mixture. Toss well until all pieces are well coated. Season with more salt if necessary. Let sit for about an hour.

Sprinkle some roasted sesame seeds over before serving.

Please note that these pickles are not meant to be stored for a long time. The pickles should be stored in the refrigerator and I recommend you eat them within a few days.

You can tweak this in many ways. For example you can take out the sesame oil and switch the rice vinegar to distilled white vinegar and use horseradish instead of ginger.

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related recipes

Raw Stirred Cranberries (kokblog recipe)
Orange Cured Carrots by Sofi Meijling
Lemon & Olive Oil Preserved Asparagus by Amy Pennington
Superfast Salt-and-Sugar Pickles by Dave Chang

Red Gooseberry Jam with Thyme

KINDVALL-goosberryjam-02

Every morning my husband walks out and pick handfuls of red & black currants, strawberries, raspberries or red gooseberries. He cooks the berries slightly into a sauce together with cardamon & cinnamon and serves it together with his oatmeal. Unfortunately I’m not a porridge girl so I just simply have it with some Swedish traditional filmjölk.

Gooseberries are one of our favorites. When really deep red and totally soft and ripe they taste a little like grapes. Last week I picked the ones we had left and made some jam.

Red Gooseberry Jam with Thyme

2 cups red gooseberries
a bunch of fresh thyme, cleaned and striped from branches
½ – ¾ cup (100 – 150 grams) natural cane sugar*

Clean the gooseberries and remove the top and tail. Place the gooseberries together with the sugar and thyme in a medium sized pan. Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat until your desired thickness has been reached (between 15 – 30 minutes).

To check the consistency, take a spoonful of jam onto a chilled saucer, leave to cool for a minute or so before run your finger through it. It’s ready if the jam wrinkles up. If not, let it cook for another few minutes before testing again.

When ready, remove the jam from the heat and pour into a clean sterilized jar. Screw on the lid and turn the jar upside down to create a vacuum. Let cool completely.

Store the jam in the refrigerator for up to a month. If you want to store it longer, place the jam in the freezer.

The jam is nice on top of aged cheese and toast.

* I recommend to start with the lower amount and add more sugar if you want a sweeter jam.

Related recipes

Sofi’s Caramelized Rhubarb Jam
Pear Marmalade (and the boy who poisoned a whole scout camp)
Canning How To – Prepping & Sealing Jars – by Amy Pennington
Rosemary Flavored Plum Jam – by Ilva Beretta
Orange Blossom Jam – by Anissa Helou
Cherry compotê – by Rachel Alice Roddy

 

 

Guest Post: Mushroom Confit by Andrew Janjigian

I think the first time I talked with Andrew Janjigian (on twitter) was when he suggested an excellent trade: homemade sujuc (spicy sausage from the Middle East) for an illustrated Pide t-shirt!

Andrew is an associate editor at Cooks Illustrated Magazine, a passionate baker and a mycologist! It’s no wonder we connected on twitter, as you know, baking and mushrooms (especially foraging) are two of my favorite things (besides drawing of course). However, compared to me, Andrew is a master, in fact he teaches classes in both subjects in Cambridge, MA where he lives. He is also an organic chemist, professional cook and as a pizza enthusiast (he used to be a regular contributor at Slice & Serious Eats), he recently he built his own pizza oven. Impressive!

As if the above weren’t enough I just recently discovered he is, on top of everything, an excellent photographer. He has a great eye for detail, but most of all he can really capture the characters of people, women and men. His photos can be staged or captured in the moment, they can be funny or very serious and intimate. At the moment, a selection of his photos are showing at Gallery 263, in Cambridge.

Its a great pleasure to have Andrew as a guest here on koblog and I can reveal that there will be more by us soon.

Mushroom Confit
by Andrew Janjigian

This confit is one of my favorite ways to preserve mushrooms of nearly any kind. Delicately flavored mushrooms such as chanterelles or morels are best used by themselves, or paired with milder ones such as oysters or—as seen in Johanna’s lovely illustration—beech mushrooms. Other varieties may be combined however you like.
As for the confit’s uses, they are nearly endless. As a sublime topping for pizza, of course. Added to sautéed greens. Mixed into an omelet or scrambled eggs. Spooned over crusty bread or crackers, perhaps along with a funky cheese. Or just eaten with a spoon, right from the jar. Once you taste it, I’m sure you’ll think of plenty more.

Mushroom Confit Recipe
makes about 4 cups

2 pounds fresh mushrooms of any kind, cleaned, woody stems removed
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
2 cups extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed

1. Adjust rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 275°F (135°C). Slice or tear mushrooms into bite-sized pieces (smaller ones may be left whole). Place in colander set into large bowl, toss with kosher salt, and let stand for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Discard any water collected in bowl. (Mushrooms can be further dried of excess moisture in a salad spinner, if available.)

2. Transfer mushrooms to Dutch oven, along with garlic cloves, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, and black pepper, and toss to combine. Add oil, stir to combine, and transfer to oven.

3. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender, 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Allow to cool. Discard herb stems and bay leaves. Pack mushrooms in jars, along with enough oil to cover. (Excess oil may be reused or repurposed.) Seal and refrigerate for up to 10 days, or freeze for up to 2 months. (For long-term shelf stability, jars can be pressure canned for 2 hours at 15 psi.)


More with and about Andrew

Cooks Illustrated’s Thin-Crust Pizza: Works Like a Charm
post by Adam Kuban at Serious Eats

How editor Andrew Janjigian took the fear factor out of souffle, Cooks Illustrated

Follow Andrew on
Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.

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Just want to say mushroom confit is one of my favorite recipes here on kokblog. Most of the time I serve it as starter together with home made bread and a spread of dishes like paté, pickles, dried sausage and chickpea & almond salad. I also like it with pasta. It’s such a great treat.

Sofi’s Caramelized Rhubarb Jam

Currently I’m in Sweden taking care of an old house in the countryside. It’s as beautiful and lovely as its sounds. In the garden there is rhubarb, stinging nettles and leeks. The strawberries are flowering which shows that there will be delicious and fresh treats to pick in a couple of weeks . The deep red poppies are surrounded by bumblebees and the fish are jumping in the pond.

This weekend I had some dear friends over for dinner. I had successfully baked sourdough bread which we enjoyed with dried sausage, aged goat cheese and olives while my friend Johan Kohnke prepared the rooks that was one of the sensations of the evening. The rooks are a delicacy similar to quail. In this part of Sweden there is an old tradition for farmers to hunt them as the birds often collect the seeds from the new seeded fields. Instead of just feeding them to the pigs, my friends and I had the pleasure to enjoy them with a creamy porcini mushroom sauce spiced with plenty of wine and herbs from the garden.

For dessert my Sofi Meijling made a Cardamom Panna Cotta with a jam she cooked with freshly picked rhubarbs from my vegetable plot. The panna cotta was made with both heavy cream and Greek yogurt (about 50/50) which gave the pannacotta a slight sour flavor (see example of other panna cotta recipes below). Sofi used about one teaspoon crushed cardamom to flavor this evening’s final dish.

This rhubarb jam was such a great reminder of how much I love having a vegetable garden. You don’t really need mush to make something so simply delicious.

Sofi’s Caramelized Rhubarb Jam
(for about 4 people as topping to pannacotta or ice cream)

About 6 rhubarb stalks
2 tablespoons regular sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar (Sofi used Swedish farin which is a similar sugar type)
1/3 cup water

Melt the sugar in a pan together with the water and let it cook for awhile. Keep an eye on the sugar so it doesn’t burn and stir a little now and again. You may need to lower the heat to medium. Clean the rhubarb and cut them into one inch long pieces. When the sugar is thick and sticky add the rhubarb and let them simmer until soft but not totally mushy. Set aside to cool before serving.

If you think this jam is too simple you can spice it up with either ginger, cardamon or licorice root.

The jam is also great together with aged cheese on bread but then I recommend you make a larger batch (just add more of everything).

Here are some Pannacotta recipes:

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall makes Yoghurt and Vanilla Panna Cotta

Jules Clancy makes Panna Cotta with Mascarpone and serves it with pot roasted pears.

Ilva Beretta spices her Panna Cotta with lavender.

This article was originally published at EcoSalon on 16 June 2012.

Pump up the Carrots! (by Sofi Meijling)

One of the first times I met Sofi Meijling she treated me to a fantastic eel salad. It was Christmas eve and the salad was blended together with apples and dill. Since then we have become really good friends and she is somebody who I really enjoy having around in the kitchen. Sofi is that kind of person who could turn a catastrophic moment in the kitchen into a culinary adventure. She always has a great idea of how to turn a bland stew into something sensational.

Sofi, who used to be a graphic designer, works as a dramaturge (litterary adviser for theater plays) in both Malmö and Copenhagen. She is an excellent translator and is fluent in both Danish and English. She can also get around with some Russian. Impressive!

For some time Sofi lived without a normal kitchen and instead of getting a microwave she cooked her meals with an electric kettle and a soup thermos. She developed methods to steam different kinds of vegetables, boiled soft eggs and, according to Sofi, made the best couscous ever. She mastered the kettle and thermos so well that she once cooked an entire dinner for 4 adults and two kids.

I hope Sofi one day will start her own blog as I really enjoy her cooking and stories. Until then I’m happy to host her here.

Pump up the carrots!
by Sofi Meijling

This time of year I am getting a bit bored with the old swedes, parsnips and carrots. Roasting them in the oven, blending them in a hot lentil soup, mashing them into a golden puree is all nice and comforting, but now’s the time to wake them from the dead of winter and let the sunshine in! This delicious way of enjoying them raw suits any blend of roots, or carrots on their own. They will keep for several days, so you can make a large batch at a time. (Just make sure to use clean tools when you fish out the portion needed.)

Orange Cured Carrots
Fill a glass storage container with thinly sliced carrots. I recommend the use of a mandolin, if you are not particularly fond of slicing.
Use one orange per pound of roots to make the marinade. Choose organic oranges, since you want to use the zest, but tart or sweet variety doesn’t matter, the acidity will have to be balanced to taste anyway. Grate the zest off first, then press the juice from the halved fruits. Add double the amount of sunflower oil, a pinch of salt, a pinch of sucanat, a pinch of Korean chili flakes, a little ground black pepper, and a clove of garlic, cut in half but not crushed. Now add your apple cider vinegar, generously if your brand is full-bodied, a little less if the oranges were tart to begin with; the mix should be fresh and pleasantly sour.
Pour the marinade over the carrots and leave in the fridge overnight. Try it as a side dish with pork, with roman lettuce and rocket in a green salad, gently heated with lots of blue poppy seeds for your vegetarian buffet – or as I did last week: add their glory to a fish soup.

Waiting for spring Fish Soup
Sweat thinly sliced fennel, coarsely cut spring onion (or the green part of a leek) and a little thinly sliced garlic with olive oil. Season generously with salt, black pepper and some lovage. Set portion-cuts of haddock, pollock (saithe) or cod on top of the vegetables and add boiling water until just covered. Simmer gently for a few minutes. Add the oranged carrots when the fish is almost done, let them get warmed through but not softened. Sprinkle each serving with freshly chopped tarragon and/or cilantro.

(kokblog recommend to always check what fish to buy…
Seafood Watch (US) and WWFs fisk guide (Sweden)

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related links

Quick Pickled Cucumber