Jan 16, 2010

chicken soup & ham quiche

for a change, a soup... what can i say, we like soup, and eat a lot of it. this time i had a vision (how grand!) of a clear chicken soup with lots of veggies. as usual, i used what i had in the fridge. except for the chicken (4 breast fillets) which i got specifically soup in mind.

started by poaching the fillets in 4 cups of water, 2 bayleaves, one shallot (quartered) and some peppercorns, this took approx 10 min. then took the chicken out and strained the poaching liquid into a clean pot

veggies then, i used what was left of the napa cabbage, one carrot, one parsnip, one mild spanish chilli, 100 gr piece of celeriac, green onions, ginger and a few celery stalks, and fresh coriander (cilantro) as garnish

the wrist isn't too happy about me chopping this and that here and there (although i do find the chopping quite meditative...) anyways, i do have gadgets to do all kinds of motorized actions with various food items. took out my bamix that came with a small army of accessories, like a grater

1 minute and the carrot, parsnip and celeriac were done (why do i even bother with the knife...)

this soup is so good for you, almost zero fat ('cause i trimmed whatever was on the fillets) and uber low-sodium ('cause i didn't add any salt). brought the poaching liquid to a boil, added 2 cups of boiling water, the carrot, parsnip, celeriac, ginger (that i minced with knife), celery stalks (sliced quite thinly), hard parts of cabbage (chopped to 1 cm pieces), simmered that for 10 mins before adding the chicken and cooking for 5 more minutes. then poured in all the rest (green onions sliced, coriander and cabbage leaves chopped, chilli minced), turned off the heat and left the pot on stove for 5 more mins.

sure, no salt is an aquired taste, but with the ginger, coriander and green onions going on, i did not miss salt

as usual, there was plenty to take to work, and for certain someone to feed himself (though, i'm not sure he always bothers to heat his food...) while i'm gone

the soup happened yesterday. i had decided to bake scones this morning, but felt kinda lazy... scones became ham quiche instead, go figure.

i have no idea how this happens, but there seems to be an endless supply of frozen pie doughs in the freezer. i've told myself not buy any but they keep showing up. so that's what i used as crust

thought that i still had some leeks in the fridge, but no, so instead used one shallot, minced and sauteed. that's another spanish chilli in the background, minced. (bear with me, there are still 3 more chillies in the fridge)

this quiche is another "what i had in the fidge" thing happening. forgot why i got the ham in the first place (another soup maybe?) but it made it's way into the oven on a pie crust

hmm, the dog then. he seems to have a nose for items dropping onto the floor... he came to the kitchen the second i opened the package of ham. as i was chopping it away, a piece fell from cutting board, the dog had it in his mouth before the piece hit the floor

after the ham incident i paid more attention to the cheeses ('cause the dog loves cheese). had some gouda and gruyere hiding in the fridge, grated them (don't you just love the microplane graters!)

ham, sauteed shallot and chilli with black pepper, plenty of black pepper

for the filling went 2 eggs, 3 tbsp sour cream ('cause i had some left) and 2 dl of cooking cream (so not diet food)

cheeses went on before the whole beauty went into the lower part of 225 C oven for 30 mins

slightly cooled, this made lunch with cherry tomatoes. we ate half of the quiche right away, but will take some to work tomorrow

when will i get to the scones!?

Jan 14, 2010

shrimp dumplings

i have had dumplings four times in my life, and that includes today. i love dumplings almost i like i love sushi. the first time was at rickshaw in nyc, love at first bite. then i had them twice in the restaurant of a downtown helsinki department store, not quite the same as in nyc... because they were not even close and i don't know a restaurant in helsinki that serves dumplings, i decided to have a go at making dumplings myself.

fortunately there are a few well stocked asian stores in helsinki, i got the wrappers already couple of weeks ago and had them waiting in the freezer. i kept searching for a recipe but could not decide on any one particular. i had, at first, decided to used minced pork but my store didn't have that yesterday. as i had shrimp in the freezer... i ended up using that and free falling on everything else.

this is what i ended up using, among other things

everything minced, from right: shrimp, carrot, ginger, napa cabbage, in the cup soya sauce, sesame oil and corn starch.

i had been wondering what this napa cabbage was, almost all dumpling recipes mentioned that or regular cabbage. while shopping, as i didn't know what napa was, i got something we call chinese cabbage. turns out i got the right stuff! but, i have to tell you that i was very hesitant to get it as there was a time in the past when every salad where ever and anywhere offered was made of this cabbage and pineapple. could be that i have said "never again" about that cabbage...

filling ready to go

i found it easier to moisten the edge before putting the filling on, though most recipes tell you to do it after placing the filling

one tsp is all you need. if i'd had any experience with dumplings before, i would have made less filling. i could have easily made twice the amount dumplings if i'd had enough wrappers

this was the part i was dreading... on the first one i just pinched the enges together, but on the second i decided to try crimping, not hard at all! well, i did watch a how-to video on youtube...

quite proud on how this one turned out, not professional, but good enough for a first timer

more of the same

and more

took out my trusted non-stick soup pot, filled it almost to the rim, brought the water to a good boil before placing the dumplings into the boiling water a few at a time, then gave the water a swirl in order to keep the dumplings moving and not sticking to the pot or to each other

approx 8 mins later, by which time all were floating, i took them out with a slotted spoon. i had obviously done a good job of pinching the edges as none leaked any stuffing to the water

the ingredients for my dipping sauce, soya sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and mild spanish chili

used a small jar to mix the dipping sauce in

one package of wrappers yielded to 26 dumplings. we ate all of them at one sitting. aren't they lovely?

what did i do with the left-over stuffing? well, took my frying pan out, drained as much liquid out of the stuffing as possible, put it on a hot pan, poured in one egg and cooked the mixture on high until the egg was done, poured some dipping sauce on top... equally nice on its own. now that i think of it, some noodles might have made it even better!

next time i make dumplings i will not use any carrot (and if i do, i'll remember to squeeze out any moisture as the finely grated carrot gave out quite a lot of moisture to the stuffing)

2 x pancakes

click pancakes on my themes and you'll see that i make them quite often. this time i had some 4% milk (which was meant for rice porrigde during xmas) that was just sitting there. not that you couldn't make pancakes with fat-free milk as well...

i started by mixing the liter of milk, 4 eggs and 5 dl flour into a batter that i then divided in half. into the other half i added a pinch of salt, dash of white pepper and freshly grated nutmed, and 100 gr of fresh spinach (you could use frozen as well)

nutmeg going in here

i usually make the batter first in order for the flour to thicken the batter further, it can sit up to 30 mins.

although the package said these were washed, i rinsed and checked for bad leaves, took some of the thickest stems off, but the ones in good shape were left on. put the spinach into a colander and poured boiling water on to wilt the leaves, left in the colander to drain and cool

once the spinach is cool enough to handle, chop it roughly (or as fine as you like) and add to the seasoned batter

mix well and you should have something that looks like this

i use this very old cast iron silver dollar pancake pan, anything else that you might use for regular pancakes works. you'd want the pan on medium, even medium-low. the spinach pancakes are quite thick and if the pan is too hot you'd need to flip them before the middle part has had enough time to cook. this is not rocket science, so if you've ever made pancakes you're good to go.

when the pan is hot enough to start cooking, i add the tiniest bit of melted butter or liquid fat to the pan. (there is an explanation of this "liquid fat" in this link, look for liquid oivariini).

before you start cooking mix 2tbsps of either melted butter or the liquid fat into the batter and you're good to go. this is all the fat you need to cook them, and if you're using any non-stick pan you really don't have to use any fat at all (your pancakes might end up looking a bit anemic but they'd be fat-free)

i like mine quite light brown and thick

and i always, always eat them with lingon berries (that i have plenty of, thanks to mom who did all the hard work by picking them!)

now the other half of the batter, still remember that? it got 2 tbsp sugar and 2 tbsp liquid fat before i started cooking them. and since i was multitasking and cooking both savory and sweet at the same time, i used the big pan for the sweet ones

i know this may not sound too convincing but i really hardly ever use whipping cream on my pancakes. yesterday i remembered that there was some in the fridge (same xmas story as with the milk) closing in on its expiration date. so, what was i going to do, throw it away? (c'mon, it was perfectly good cream) that's raspberry jam from raspberries that... correct! that my mom picked and made into a jam...

there might be a recipe on my previous posts on the spinach pancakes but i will submit it to tasty kitchen and when that's done i'll update this post with the link.

Jan 10, 2010

pioneer woman's egg in a hole

was what we had for breakfast today. i was browsing her cookbook just before bed, well, in bed, actually. as the recipe is super easy i thought i'd make it for breakfast.

cutting out the holes here. (if i ever have the need to make fancy hors d'oeuvres, this is how i'll cut the bread)

warm up the pan, place the bread on said pan, crack one egg to each hole. how easy is that?

except if you're super-bad in following any recipe... i forgot one important ingredient... namely the butter. you're supposed to melt butter on pan first, then put the bread on the pan.

mine came out looking like this. the bread would have looked (and tasted!) a lot better had i used the butter

i did brown some cooked ham i had in the fridge to top the holes with, sprinkled some chilli powder as garnish. very nice, and easy. just don't forget the butter...

the dog then... he just dozes off in his chair. too cold to be outside, "observing" the world is easier indoors thru the window...