Category Archives: green

Quick Pickled Cucumber


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.


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.


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

Chickpea Salad with Rosemary & Almonds

© Johanna Kindvall

One of my favorite starters is Jules Clancy’s warm chickpea salad with rosemary & garlic. It’s a wonderful dish that is super easy to put together. It always seems to be a welcoming treat for my guests. I serve it warm or cold as a starter together with fresh homemade bread. This dish is also nice together with olives, mushroom confit, feta and thinly sliced dried sausage.

I have tried different variations of this recipe; thyme instead of rosemary and sunflower seeds instead of almonds. They are all good, however the original combination of chickpeas, chili, rosemary and almonds is just perfect so I mostly stick to that. The recipe below is almost identical to Jules, but my method is slightly different. For example, I prefer to add the garlic at the end, as I easily burn the garlic otherwise. And in this way I minimize the risk of bitter and overcooked garlic.

Thanks Jules for this lovely recipe.

Chickpea Salad with Rosemary & Almonds
adapted from a recipe by Jules Clancy

400 g cooked chickpeas, drained (about one regular can)
chili flakes
one sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves chopped fine or kept whole
one garlic clove, minced
flaky sea salt
¼ cup (60 ml) almonds, toasted

In a separate frying pan, heat up some olive oil. When the oil is hot, lower the heat to medium and add the rosemary with a pinch of chili flakes, fry for about a minute before adding the chickpeas. Stir occasionally. Just when the chickpeas start to brown, clear a spot in the pan and add the minced garlic. Let cook for just a little bit before stirring in the rest. Lastly, add the toasted almonds and season with sea salt and some more olive oil (if it feels too dry).


As you may know already, Jules is the creator of Stonesoup where she share recipes and teach minimal healthy cooking. In 2011 she was a guest here on kokblog. I have also done several illustrations for her websites, for e.g. the beets in the header of stonesoup, the yellow bench and header of her Virtual Cookery School.


Can’t get enough of chickpeas? I suggest you check out these links:

Feed the Hommous – Chickpeas, the Versatile Bean by Fouad Kassab
Fabrizia’s Panelle by Nicky at Delicious Days  (I love Fabrizia‘s Panelle)
Black Chickpea and Broccoli Soup by Elizabeth Minchilli
Smoky Fried Chickpeas by Aliwaks at Food 52
Easiest Way to Skin Chickpeas for Super Smooth Hummus [VIDEO] by Andrew Janjigian at America’s Test Kitchen


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.


Pssst just want to say that this summer (2014) I have been making endless amount of mushroom confit. Most of the time I have served it as starter together with home made bread and for e.g. paté, pickles, dried sausage or my chickpea & almond salad. It’s such a treat. And everyone wants the recipe.

Pernod & Herb Risotto

Now, in the beginning of summer, there is not much I can harvest in the garden. But there are a few things like rhubarb, mint, black currant leaves, thyme, sage, oregano, tarragon and parsley etc. The sage and the tarragon are  doing well, so the other day they were successfully used in a simple risotto together with some Pernod that I found in my liquor cabinet. The risotto was served with just an apple and carrot salad, however I can imagine it will work as a side dish with  many other things.

This is pretty much how I put it together: Start by sauteing some chopped onion at low heat with a generous amount of butter until soft and golden in color. Raise the heat and brown the rice for a bit before adding a little Pernod. When it starts to caramelize pour in enough vegetable stock (homemade) to cover the rice. Add fresh sage and thyme. Stir and feed with more stock whenever you need to until the rice is tender but still a little al dente. The risotto should feel thick and creamy. Add a lump of butter and freshly grated Parmesan. Stir carefully. Remove from heat and let the risotto rest covered for a couple of minutes. Decorate with fresh tarragon before serving.

Later on I will have lettuce, mustard greens, kale, spinach,beans, zucchini, carrots, beets, coriander, dill, strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, elderflower, black & red currants and many other things in my garden. Down the road there will be wild apples and black cherries. But until then I’m pleased with what I have already.

More Risotto links

My Mushroom Risotto
Squid Ink Risotto by Hank Shaw
Spring Lemon Risotto with Asparagus and Fiddlehead Ferns from theKitchn
Cheddar Risotto Cakes from Vintage Kitchen

A Recipe Diagram for Yellow Beet Salad

A couple of weeks ago David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl at Green Kitchen Stories asked me to illustrate a recipe for them. As I always enjoy visiting their site the answer was easy. The recipe is a beautiful Yellow Beet Salad with green lentils, sheep cheese, pea sprouts and apricots. The salad has a simple mustard dressing flavored with poppy seeds. I’m already in love with the combination of beets, lentils and sheep cheese. But with the addition of pea shoots, apricots and poppy seeds this dish becomes much richer in flavor and texture. Very inspiring! Read the whole article and get the recipe here.

David and Luise lives in Stockholm, Sweden together with their daughter Elsa. This Spring (in April) their first book, The Green Kitchen will be released in both UK, Australia and US. In the US the book will have the name Vegetarian Every Day. The recipes in the book (and the recipes on their website) are all creations of their own everyday vegetarian cooking.

Some of my favorites from their sites are their Lemon & Coconut Bars and this Spinach Kale Soup with Tahini Dressed Chickpeas.