A Semla for Fat Tuesday

It’s Fat Tuesday (12 February 2013) and Scandinavians celebrating this day by eating Semlor (Fastlagsbullar or Fettisbullar). This semi-sweet cardamom rich bun is filled with almond paste and heavy whipped cream. My Finish grandfather used to eat this bun soaked in hot milk, which is still a common way to enjoy this bun. However my absolute favorite way, is to use the hat of the bun to scoop a mixture of cream and almond paste into my mouth, before biting into the rest of it’s loveliness. Happy Fat Tuesday everyone!

Recipe by Anna Brones
Recipe by Ibán Yarza
Article about Semlor at Foodie Underground.

Duck Egg Raviolo – A Review of a Dinner

This Autumn I finally got everything right and managed to sit down and eat at Vinegar Hill House. I loved that place long before I had ever set foot there. Why? Its the whole setting. Even if the Vinegar Hill neighborhood is well known it feels like a hidden treasure that can be easily missed if you don’t know where it is. It makes me feel like I have found something for the first time even if I haven’t.

On my first visit at Vinegar Hill House one of the dishes was Duck Egg Raviolo with chantarelles. I learned later that Raviolo is singular for ravioli. I also came across the amusing dish Uova da Raviolo, which is a raviolo that holds a whole egg yolk inside. I’m impressed as that is probably something my shaky hands can’t do.

The raviolo at Vinegar Hill House was nothing like the above. The filling, chanterelles and a fried duck egg had been cooked separately from the pasta and put together in layers as in the illustrated diagram above. The dish was topped with buttered bread crumbs. The duck egg was perfectly cooked with a white just set and a gorgeous looking egg yolk that burst when I poked my fork into it. The runny yolk blended well with the butter-rich chanterelles. I think this dish was wonderful. I could easily have it again and again, as a main course, for lunch or brunch.

 

The Culinary Cyclist (A Book Announcement)

One of my 1st projects for 2013 will be to illustrate the book The Culinary Cyclist, written by Anna Brones and published by Elly Blue and her independent publishing company, Taking the Lane Media. If you know Anna and I its easy to understand that this project is super exciting for both of us. First of all we do like working together, as many of you have already have seen proof of, on top of that we share a great passion for food and bikes.

The Culinary Cyclist is a guidebook to good living, based around two loves: bikes and food.

The guiding principles are simple: Eat local. Mostly plants. Ride your bike. Even on rainy days. Say yes to dinner invitations. Always bring your signature dessert. Invite people on picnics. Bike in the sunshine. Follow a morning ride with a strong French press.

Just like you once mastered two wheels, this book is about mastering food, making it easy, fun and as sustainable as humanly possible. It’s a vehicle for thinking about what you eat, but also for enjoying it and finding pleasure in the smallest culinary tasks. This is your guide to ensuring that you can master any situation, and are well on your way to living the good life.”
Anna Brones

The Culinary Cyclist is planned to be published before the summer 2013. The book will be available for sale in different shops including mine. So keep an eye open for the release.

Please also read Anna’s announcement over at Foodie Underground.

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Read more about the book here.

Lussebullar (Lucia Buns)

The 13th of December is the day when Swedes celebrate Saint Lucia by lighting up the darkness with candles and crowns on their heads. The Swedes also sing songs and eat funny shaped buns they call Lussebullar (Lussekatter, Saffron Buns). Even if Lucia’s day has already passed, anytime is ok to bake and enjoy these saffron rich buns. Below is Anna Brones’ recipe. Please read her Lucia article over at Foodie Underground (with more illustrations by me).

Saffransbullar – Saffron Buns
recipe by Anna Brones

1/8 teaspoon saffron
1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
7 cups flour
1/4 cup currants
One egg + Currants for decoration

Crush saffron in a small bowl with a little bit of sugar. Melt butter in a small pot and add milk. Heat until warm (you should still be able to stick your finger in). Measure out yeast in a large bowl and mix in a couple tablespoons of the butter and milk mixture until the yeast dissolves. Mix in the rest of the milk and butter. Add in sugar and salt.
Add in almost all of the flour (you want to reserve some for rolling later) and mix and knead it together for about 10 minutes. Knead until the dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. Dust a little flour on top of the dough, cover and let rise for 30-45 minutes.
Knead dough on floured surface. Roll into classic saffransbullar shapes. The most common is the “S” shape, but get creative. Place on a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Cover with and let rise for 30 minutes. Decorate with currants (they traditionally go in the center of where the bun is rolled) and glaze with a beaten egg. Bake at 400 F for 8-10 minutes.

 

Pide (by Jeremy Shapiro)

Let me present my next guest blogger here on kokblog: Jeremy Shapiro, a professional chef and incredible baker. For over 20 years Jeremy has been cooking in top kitchens in New York City and beyond. Today he is the head chef  in a super secret private club in New York where he lures customers with endless sweets and savory treats.

Jeremy is also creator and editor of  Stir the Pot, a food blog that he started in 2005. If you visit his site you will soon discover that bread is a major subject. Jeremy explores different kinds of baking methods as well as flour and grain types. He bakes both sweet and savory, including croissants, fruit tarts, rustic rye breads, pizza, baguettes, bagels, loaves and breads with airy crumbs & crispy crusts. This summer Jeremy started a Micro Bakery in his apartment kitchen (just bigger than a bread box according to him). I’m impressed by his energy; he seems to be active, baking and cooking 24 hours per day.

Jeremy also interviews people in the food world that he finds interesting, from professional chefs to home cooks like myself (ahem), including Ibán Yarza who has previously appeared here on kokblog as a guest blogger. He has also connected with Sandor Ellix KatzAnthony BourdainDan Lepard and many many more. I really recommend listening to his interviews, or just reading through the list of names. It’s a great and unusual recourse of inspiration.

Pide
by Jeremy Shapiro

While on my visits in Istanbul cooking for my friend in her restaurant, I would daily pass a pide restaurant. Though I never tried from this specific place, I was able to try some from a young knowledgeable baker employed by my friend. He’d show his amazing hand skills with dough’s supple and see through like durum, not the flour of the same name, but the roll up wrap style sandwich bread a common street food in Turkey. When I returned to NYC, I’d often yearn a good pide with suçuk or sujuk, a spicy sausage that can be ground or sliced to accompany a canoe shaped pide, filled with cheese, tomatoes, eggs. When I finally sourced an amazing Montenegro butchers suçuk I was in business. As well as playing with this dough for different guises, like a lamacjun or a Ramadan flat bread.

It’s a bit tricky to make pide with sourdough, so an easy and quick yeast dough is just as good.

Pide Recipe

500 grams flour (all purpose is fine)
15grams salt
12 grams yeast
25 grams sugar
300grams water

You could approach this basically like any straight dough, mix all the ingredients and bulk ferment till doubled. Then divide and shape according to your desired need. For a pide, or pizza you could take say 80g-100g of dough, roll it out with a rolling pin, or press your hands to flatten the dough oblong about 10 to 12 inches long. Keeping the ends pointy and the sides about 6 inches wide.

The choice of fillings can be anything, think local if you can, and seasonal… Though I love cheese, onion, tomatoes and egg, and yes, suçuk, that may not be a possibility to find those items. Some nice choices, beet tops and feta, or chorizo with pumpkin?

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more about Jeremy:
Bread Inspiration from a Master Baker
– zen can cook meeting Jeremy Shapiro
You can also follow Jeremy and his work on twitter, @stirthepots