Feb 6, 2010

lahey's pizza

originally i had decided to bake monika's rosemary garlic and sundried tomato bread this weekend, but then certain someone asked for pizza... sorry monika, will try your bread later.

i have tried quite a many pizza dough recipes, so far anna olson's has been the best. i did, however, buy jim lahey's my bread not too long ago and decided to give his basic pizza dough recipe a try. after reading so many bread "bibles" and all of those stressing the importance of weighing the ingredients...

i did something i've never done in my life, weight the flour. it would have been asking too much to follow the recipe to a tee, so i used bread flour instead of all purpose

mixed the dry first, then added room temp water. will not give the recipe since i couldn't find it anywhere on the internet. it might be, and if you search for it, this is not lahey's no-knead recipe that comes up first

tried my best to get the mixing done with just wooden spoon...

... but had to get my hand dirty...

... before i got this smooth ball...

... that was proofing in there for a couple of hours

meanwhile, and this is lahey's idea as well, i was slicing button mushrooms extra thin with my mandoline. lahey's mushroom pizza calls for, obviously, mushrooms and onions, both very thinly sliced, thyme and olive oil. didn't have fresh thyme so i used dried basil instead

see, very thin

after proofing the dough was surprisingly easy to handle. i had almost forgotten that i have these pizza pans. with the pans and the oven cranked as hot as it would get...

... i got pretty decent pizzas. pepperoni, mozzarella and tomaron on the left, mushrooms, onion and olives on the right...

... pepperoni, mozzarella, olives, tomato and prociutto crudo

i was especially happy about how the crust turned out, crisp and chewy

any bets as to how long my camera will last in the kitchen with me?

ps. i double checked to find lahey's recipe, it's there but not by him. it's on someone's blog and as i'm not sure lahey has published it on the internet...i'm not going to share it here, i feel it's not fair

Feb 3, 2010

winter, slippery roads?

i realized that i like snow. now that enough years have passed since my janitor days. back then snow was the enemy that made get up at 4.30 just to see if any had fallen during the night. oh, how i hated those mornings, especially if the bar tour had ended only an hour before... on the other hand, i've never been more fit in my life so that's in a kinda roundabout way why i like snow today. so i'm happy we have lots of snow this winter. you're supposed to have snow in the winter, right?

on sunday, while the roast was in the oven, i cooked up this lentil dish. as it was already 3 days i can't remember exactly what went in, sorry. i did soak the green lentils for about 2 hrs before cooking them with 2 gloves of minced garlic, some garam masala, turmeric and jeera. when the lentils were starting to get soft (approx 30 mins), i added 1 peeled and cubed potato and 2 dl coconut milk. simmered for another 15 mins and added 150 gr frozen spinach, mixed well and squirted in 1 tsp of sriracha (tabasco would work as well), turned of the heat and let the pot sit on warm stove.

certain someone isn't a big fan of lentils (especially chickpeas) but he did taste some of this. his verdict was "tastes like chickpeas", which i guess was his polite version of saying he didn't like it. i did and this was my lunch on tuesday

neighbour's dog is very old, i mean old, deaf and on heat. the dog is neutered but seemingly has some prehistoric instincts on what should be done with a bitch (is there a nicer word?) on heat... i'll spare you the details. here they are just playing...

ouch! someone obviously forgot what snow and freezing temps do to road surfaces...

drive safe!

Feb 1, 2010

sweet chili pork

i had a cookathon at the cottage, nothing major... a root veggie soup with sausage (check any of my previous soups and you pretty much get the idea), meatballs with mushrooms and onions and this sweet chili pork. oh, the runeberg's tarts, baked those as well.

the pork was marinated overnight in sweet chili sauce and soya sauce, then cooked in 200C oven, in a roasting bag, for about an hour

mom had bought this pork roast but there was no way we were able to eat all that i cooked, so my brother's family got this for dinner when i returned the littlest niece. as a reward i got smashed potatoes with it...

sunday roast with oven veggies

certain someone hunts himself but this roast came from one his friends whose feezer is fuller than ours... we'll get back to the meat later on.

here is what went into the oven with an eggplant that didn't make the picture

give your garlic good whack

on hindsight, a bigger dish might have worked better

but there they are, all in a merry mix, seasoned with 2 tbsp of vegetable oil and 1 tsp dried thyme

60 mins in 200C oven. the meat was done approx 15 mins before the veggies. as i wasn't making any sauce, poured the meat juices into the veggie mix

the roast of white-tailed deer got dried thyme and a rare spray of salt on top and 4 shallots and 2 carrots under. cooked it in 200C oven until meat thermometer showed 75C, for about 40 mins and let rest covered in foil for 20 mins

cream sauce with lots of black pepper from the pan juices would have worked well, though we didn't miss it

my portion plated, the meat is equally good, dare i say even better, cold on rye bread

didn't use a roasting bag, will definitely remember it next time, i so do not enjoy scrubbing the oven. i haven't found a decent oven cleaner in over 10 yrs. i used to get some from a neighbour who used to get it from her work, it was great and got rid of everything with minimal scrubbing. but then i moved and run out of the stuff in no time. on the other hand, had i known what was in it... would i have used it... not sure...

runeberg's tarts

some of you might not know who johan ludvig runeberg was, but you can check him here. legend goes that this national poet of finland liked to have something sweet with his morning drink of punsch.

another legend says that he had once asked for something sweet from his wife fredrika who at that time didn't have anything sweet in the house. she then decided to bake something from the ingredients she had.

general opionion agrees that runeberg's tarts have almonds, punsch and are decorated with raspberry jam. the tarts are only available for about a month, from january up until and around february 5th which is runeberg's birthday and one of the flag days in finland.

there are numerous recipes for these tarts, somehow i never quite took to liking them before. certain someone loves them so i've made an effort to make them a couple of times each january. i've narrowed the recipes i'll use again and again down to one. however, this entry will show you two recipes, one for the real stuff and one light version. scroll all the way down for both recipes in english

these were used in the light version, the red silicon mold is by iloleipuri and is especially for these tarts, though can be used for many other things as well

some of the pictures are from a patch of the real stuff i made at the cottage, this one is of the light version made at the shack

for the decorating you need 1 dl of icing sugar and 2 tsbl of raspberry juice. i didn't have any so i used black currant juice instead...

...and got a funky color paste. you can also use water to make this paste which should be thick enough so that it stays where you squirt it

pouring the paste into a mini-size resealable freezer bag

just nip out a corner

and start squirting

these here were made at the cottage. placing raspberry jam inside a ring of icing sugar. i find it easier to first squirt the icing sugar paste and then add the jam. for some strange reason all recipes tell you to do it the other way around

real stuff ready for coffee

light version all done and dressed. this shape is the traditional form and used by professional bakeries, at most homes these tarts are baked in muffin tins. most recipes also call for dipping the tarts in either almond liqueur or punsch when slightly cooled, or moistening them with a teaspoon of sugarwater each. as i'm not a big fan of either of the alcoholic beveridges and think the tarts are sweet enough without the sugarwater, i don't bother with these additions

tastewise i like the real stuff better. the light version tastes ok as such but they are quite bland compared to the other version. the lighter version could maybe dressed up different and not called runerberg's... creamcheese-lime frosting comes to mind first...

recipe for the real stuff by iloleipuri
makes 12

225 gr butter
1½ dl sugar
3 eggs
3 dl all purpose flour
1 dl almond flour
1½ dl breadcrumbs / cookie crumbs
2 tl baking powder
1 dl cream

raspberry jam, icing sugar, water, almond liqueur

1. beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add eggs one by one mixing each in thoroughly

2. mix all the dry ingredients and add them to batter alternating with the cream. fill the pastry forms 2/3 full. (the finnish version calls for squirting a ½ tsp of raspberry jam into the middle of each tart, never done it, but feel free to try it, i just think these are sweet enough with jam just on top)

3. bake in 200C oven for 15-20 mins or until light brown in color

4. dip the bottoms of cooled tarts in almond liqueur

5. place 1 tsp of raspberry jam on top of each tart and pipe the icing sugar paste around it

light version
makes 15

3 eggs
1½ dl sugar
1½ dl all purpose flour
1½ dl breadcrumbs
1 dl sliced almonds or cookie crumbs
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp almond extract or ground cardamom
½ tsp vanilla sugar
1 dl sour cream * (our kermaviili is similar to kiselo vrhnje)
100 gr liquid margarine *

* you can leave out the margarine and use 2 dl of sour cream instead

1. beat the sugar and eggs until light and fluffy
2. mix dry ingredients and and to batter
3. add sourcream and margarine (if using)
4. divide into greased muffin tins, silicone molds, individual muffins forms, etc
5. bake in 200C oven for 15-20 mins until light brown
6. cool and moisten (if preferred) and place 1 tsp raspberry jam on top and pipe icing sugar paste around the jam

to moisten you'll need:
1 dl water, 1 tbsp sugar, or 1 tsp almond extract and punsch or rum, or 2 tbsp of raspberry juice

on top:
icing sugar paste and raspberry jam, the recipe calls for 2 dl of jam, to me that's a lot.

also this recipe calls for inserting jam into the tart, wonder how i haven't heard of this before...

winter scenes at cottage

no food on this entry (not that i didn't cook and bake at the cottage), but i thought i'd share some of the winter scenes with you.

the lake looks so serene at -23C temperature

juniper berries

sun was shining at an angle that made it look like there is a lit candle inside. mom and dad make these lanterns by freezing water in big buckets and pails

had the littlest niece with me at the cottage. despite the below -20C temps we had some winter fun

little niece's idea of fun was to end up in the ditch

mom showed us how it's done

what can i say, she's a little monkey face

got a tripod for my camera at xmas, had to try it out with the lanterns

on our way back to town, on top of the hill on our little road, mom shouts "moose!" from the back seat. stopped the car, dug out my camera and got out. there were 4 of them but by the time i had gone out, some had managed to hide behind the trees

that's moose alright! there was a mention of next hunting season and how there'd actually be something to hunt this year, after which little niece quite firmly said "you shouldn't kill animals". brother, will you please explain this to her?

i do love the frosty scenery we've been having this winter, quite rare for it to last weeks on end