A couple of weeks ago I was asked to do some recipe articles for EcoSalon. As the site belongs to one of my favorite sites I was beyond thrilled. EcoSalon has several interesting food columns, such as Foodie Underground by Anna Brones and The Green Plate by Vanessa Barrington. (BTW Anna Brones is also the woman behind the guest post Semlor for Fat Tuesday Tuesday that was posted earlier this year here on Kokblog). The site also has articles on fashion, culture, design and sex. EcoSalon, as the name shows, is about ecology and green.
My first article is about Apples in New York City followed by the recipe: Caramelized Apple Tart (see below). Read the whole story here.
Caramelized Apple Tart
1 ¼ cup (about 300 ml) regular flour
3.5 ounces (about 100 grams) butter
3 tablespoons sucanat*
1½ teaspoons finely crushed cardamom
splash of water
4 apples (preferably apples that are sour + firm inside, ex. Granny Smith)
4-5 tablespoons sucanat* (depending on how sour the apples are)
juice from one lemon
2½ ounces (70 grams) butter
½ cup (100 ml ) almonds, toasted and chopped
heavy cream, whipped with a little sugar
Start by mixing together butter, flour, cardamom and sucanat. When the butter is well divided add a splash of water. Work the dough together and let it rest in the fridge for at least one hour. Line a greased 9 inch (about 23 cm) spring form. Pre-bake at 400°F (200°C) the pie shell for about 10-15 minutes until it has got some color. Let cool.
Wash and peel the apples. Cut in half, take out the seeds and slice the rest of the apple in thin slices. Sprinkle the slices with sucanat and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat in a frying pan until they start to get juicy. Add ½ of the butter. Keep cooking the apples until they starts to caramelize. If you think the apples need more sugar you may add some now and let cook for a little bit more. The color should be golden and have some brown spots. Remove from heat and add the rest of the butter and toasted almonds. Let cool a little before arranging the apples inside the baked pie shell. Bake at 450°F (230C) for about 15 minutes until the apples have gotten some nice color. Serve with whipped cream.
*Sucanat is a brown sugar extracted from sugar cane. It’s perfect to bake with and gives cakes and cookies a richer taste. In the U.S. you can often find Sucanat in organic shops. If you can’t find sucanat you may use muscovado sugar or even regular brown sugar instead. When I’m in Sweden I use Farin sugar which works really well too.
In the old days they used to add different kinds of herbs to vodka. Back then it was often for healing purposes but also as a way, I think, to take out some of the sharp taste in pure spirits. Wormwood was used to cure loss of appetite, both Caraway seeds and Fennel was used to treat digestive problems and St John’s wort was supposed to heal angst and depression.
Whether these cures are true or not my husband and I enjoy flavoring pure vodka with different kinds of herbs and plants. Some of the herbs we find during the summer in the woods (St John’s wort and Bog Myrtle) or in our own garden (black currant, wormwood and coriander). My husband has even engaged one of our friends, who has a backyard garden in Brooklyn, to grow wormwood (for Swedish Bäsk) and sweetgrass (to make Polish Zubrówka).
To make aquavit you don’t really have to go to the woods, you just need three simple spices that you may already have in your pantry: (one table spoon) coriander seeds, (one table spoon) fennel seeds and (one and half tablespoon) whole caraway seeds. Crush them roughly with a mortar and pestle and soak them in 200 ml pure vodka for a day or so. Let it soak longer for a stronger essence or less if you want a lighter taste. Strain and dilute with more vodka to the taste that you like. I recommend using the lightest pure vodka that you can find. For example, outside of Sweden I suggest Swedka or triple-distilled Smirnoff and in Sweden I recommend Renat.
Enjoy Snaps with different kinds of cured herrings, crayfish (Swedish style), caviar and oysters.
This recipe was first published on Honest Cooking, 28 April 2011.
Just want to announce that I was the winner of the Foodie Underground competition over at Ecosalon last week. It was part of the one year celebration of Anna Brones’s column Foodie Underground. Happy Birthday! This was the winning entry (I’m deeply flattered)!
What can be more foodie underground than making potato pancakes while house squatting in London? The fact is that next door to the Rolling Stones in Chelsea my husband M learned how to make Potato Pancakes. It was during the punk era and M had just been thrown out from home. House squatting was just one way to survive while struggling with his studies at AA.
The recipe is simple: (for two people) Peel two potatoes. Cut them in smaller pieces and mash them in a blender. If the potatoes are to watery you need to squeeze out some of the liquid before adding two small eggs. When the mixture are well blended add some flour and season with salt. Pour about five – six small amounts of batter into a standard frying pan on medium heat. Fry them with some olive oil or butter until they are golden brown, turning once only.
The pancakes can be served with many different things. Back in Chelsea M ate them with just butter and sugar. Today we serve them with a variety of small sides, for example lingonberry jam, freshly grated carrots, sautéed bacon pieces, goat cheese mixed with sour cream and caviar.
For Mushroom Risotto I take whatever mushrooms I have at hand, fresh or dried.
Fresh mushrooms I cook as follows: Chop the mushrooms into smaller pieces. Heat up a pan without any oil or butter. Place the mushrooms into the pan and let their own liquid slowly cook into the mushrooms. When dry add plenty of butter. Cook until mushrooms have got some color and season with salt, thyme and just a touch of pepper.
Dried Mushrooms: Soak dried mushrooms for at least 30 minutes until soft. Drain and reserve the mushroom water for the stock. Sauté the soaked mushrooms in butter on medium heat until done. Season w/ salt, thyme and just a touch of pepper.
To make Risotto you will need plenty of stock, I suggest you make your own vegetable or chicken stock. For rice I use arborio rice or a brown, short grain rice (excellent but takes longer time to cook).
Above you can see a flowchart of two of my favorite feeding options for Mushroom Risotto. I serve it w/ extra Parmesan and toasted walnuts… Enjoy!
If you never done a risotto I suggest you check out a basic recipe such as this one before you start.
As its impossible for me to write down a recipe on how I make a ragu sauce, I decided instead to make a flowchart with two feed options. For the minced meat I often use beef, lamb or wild boar. Sometimes I use a mix of minced beef and minced pork (common in Sweden). Lamb works especially well with the anchovy version and the beef with the ancho flavor. Sometimes I add one or two vegetables to the sauce, such as eggplant, carrot, parsnip, celery etc. For both options I add some stock, either my own or the vegetable base from “better than bouillon” (organic). If the sauce at the end needs a touch of ‘bite’ or sweetness, you can season with some paprika powder or/and brown sugar.
Serve with your favorite pasta and top with fresh grated Parmesan.