May 5, 2010

nutty slaw, among other things

the manchester pictures are edited and more or less ready to go, but let me get rid of some back-logged items.

first, mac and cheese with very little cheese and lots of other day i realized that i needed to have pasta casserole (that would be makaroonilaatikko in finnish) but i wanted something "healthy" in it as well. this is what went in:

400 gr package of whole wheat pasta, cooked
400 gr lean minced beef, browned on medium-high heat (or go vegetarian and leave meat out)
3 dl cream (as heavy or light as you want), or equal amount of stock
150 gr grated mozzarella (or any other cheese you like)
200 gr frozen peas
200 gr frozen corn
10 cm piece of leek, minced
chilli powder to taste

started by cooking the pasta a little short of al dente. then browned the minced beef, into which added the minced leek and seasoned with generous sprinkling of chilli powder

had some 2% cooking cream in the fridge, and 200 gr pags of frozen peas and corn in the freezer, used those, and went to the shop to get grated mozzarella (felt lazy...)

mixed everything together and poured the mixture into an oiled oven dish, then baked in 200C oven for 30 mins. if your mixture looks a bit dry, add a deciliter or two of stock into it before putting into oven...if cheese is your thing, add more on top before putting into oven

...while the casserole was baking, took coffee outside to my balcony and had catched some rays...

on hindsight, i could have used more chilli powder. as usual, i made more than enough, certain someone got to enjoy it later at the shack, he says he liked it a lot, with ketchup...

then onto potato salad for may day eve's dinner. i used to make a mean potato salad in slavonia many, many years ago. i wanted to re-create that with this version of potato salad. normally i would made martha's warm german potato salad but because of the bacon over-dose in england not too long ago, i opted for something "lighter". here's what went in:

1 kg boiled potatoes, preferably new potatoes with skin on, cut to 2cm cubes
2 sprigs of spring onions, minced
2 pickled cucumbers / gherkins, minced
1 tbsp capers, minced
2 tsp grainy dijon mustard
2 dl turkish yogurt
1 tbsp white vinegar
sugar, white pepper and salt to taste

started by mincing the gherkins...

...and the capers, added the mustard into same bowl and mixed them together first and let sit while...

...took care of the spring onions...

...and the potatoes...

once the potatoes were done, i drained them and let them cool just enough so that i could cube them while still rather hot. see the liquid in the bowl, that's the reason i wanted the potatoes warm, because the warm potatoes will suck up all that juice and its flavor into them. poured the lot in and carefully folded the gherkin mixture into potatoes and let sit while...

...mixed the yogurt, vinegar and spices. in slavonia i used something called kajmak, i was told it was kiselo vrhenje, which would be sour cream which would be kermaviili in finnish. but let me tell you, our kermaviili and kajmak aren't the same...that's why i tried turkish yogurt, not the same either but worked here (you could use sour cream). you'd want the yogurt mixture to be a bit tart and "vinegary" as the taste mellows once mixed and let sit with potatoes

we had some of this with dinner only after a couple of hours in the fridge. i would suggest making this the night before, or at least in the morning if planning to serve in the evening, in order for the taste to balance

then on to the nutty slaw. there really isn't a recipe for this, other than here is what went in:

500 gr spring cabbage, shredded
15 cm piece of leek, pale green and white part, minced
3 medium size carrots, grated
2 dl sour cream
2 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp roasted, salted peanuts (optional)

i used my new knife (that was my souvenir to myself from manchester) to "shredd" the cabbage. i love this knife and the fact that it is very sharp (despite the other fact that i now use a lot more band-aids...)

i used this peanut paste that i originally bought for baking purposes. regular peanut butter, chunky or smooth, works equally well

here the paste is ready to be mixed with sour cream

for some peculiar reason there were roasted, salted peanuts in the pantry at the shack. i have no idea how long they've been hiding there, but they tasted ok and since there was no salt anywhere else, i decided to throw some in for a bit of crunch

ready to be served. now, if the potato salad benefited from over-nighting in the fridge, this absolutely needs it. the peanut taste is rather strong right after mixing all together, it was so much better the next day. not into peanuts? well, leave them out, add some vinegar, white pepper and sugar (&salt) into the sour cream and you'll have a regular cole slaw...

may day eve's dinner, i wasn't so keen on having hot dogs, but these from helsingin makkaratehdas turned out to be great

lastly, another craving from yesterday, eggplant "burger", which really isn't a burger but a sandwich, kinda...

started by sweating the sliced eggplant with salt, let sit for 30 mins, rinsed well, dried and put the slices on oiled baking sheet, placed the sheet under broiler in the oven and baked until brownish on one side, then flipped the slices over and baked a bit more until cooked thru.

took out some sour cream, an avocado, whole wheat bread and chilli powder

toasted two slices of bread, smeared approx 1 tsp of sour cream on each slice, sprinkled with chilli powder...

...placed a couple of eggplant slices on the other and some avocado on the other...

...and closed the, there's been a strike affecting the food industry in finland, therefore the shop across the street from my apt didn't have the really nice bread. however, this works on regular toast as well. don't think so? hmm, could be my craving for eggplant then...

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