mai 24 2009

AWESOME pasta salad

I’ve always thought of pasta salads as a kinda cheesy, 90ties dish with too much mayo and too much starch for my liking. I prefer all-greens salads, but this other day I need to find something to serve as a side to hamburgers. So I googles «hamburger side dish» and I got a lot of suggestions for pasta salad. Scouting around in the food blog world I picked up tips here and there, and combined lots of different recipes to make this one, specially tweaked for my preferences and to what I had in my fridge and pantry. No pictures this time, but I’m sure I’ll make it over and over again during the summer time so you’ll see pictures of it eventually..soo easy, so flavourful, and full of crunchy delicious vegetables. It’s quite healthy too, since you don’t use a heavy dairy-based dressing, the proteinshare is covered by legumes, lots of colorful vegetables (which contain the most antioxidants, as you may know) and wholegrain pasta to lower the GI-value/less carbohydrates. I love dishes that keep well in the fridge and are good for bringing to lunch the next day, and bringing home made lunch versus buying in the cantina is a good way to save some money too.

Here goes:
1. Heat up generously salted water for your pasta; I used about 250 grams whole wheat elbow macaroni, you use whatever you want.

2. Make vinaigrette: Whisk 42 tb Dijonmustard with 3-4 tb white wine vinegar, then add extra virgin olive oil in a thin drizzle while stirring, until it emulsifies and reaches the consistency you prefer. Season with salt and pepper, and something sweet – sugar, honey, agave nectar or sweet chili sauce, like I did. I loved the little sting of heat from the chilis. Add fresh herbs if have them on hand, I didn’t, but herbs always add something to a salad, I think. Parsley, or maybe basil would’ve been nice. Add in a couple of tablespoons (or rather 1/2 cup) of finely diced onions (I think red would be good, but the yellow ones I used worked well too) and some salty capers.

3. Start chopping your vegetables :
- peel and finely slice one big carrot
- chop one red and one green bell pepper/capsicum
- cube 2 ripe tomatoes
- open a can of corn and one can of beans of your choice (I used a mix of kidney beans, brown beans and pinto beans)

4. Cook the pasta until just al dente. Drain it, run it quickly under cold water to stop the cooking process, then mix thoroughly with the vinaigrette dressing. Let soak for a bit if you have the time, or add the vegetables immediately, and serve. I loved this salad the same day I made it, but the day after it was wonderful, with that great savoury, tangy dressing soaked up by the pasta and vegetables. Tomorrow I’ll bring the leftovers for lunch. Can’t wait to have more of it!

 

Wonderful cherry tomatoes

- Gloooriooouuss cherry tomatoes from last autumn, too bad I didn’t get any of this quality for the salad.

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mar 31 2009

Panang Curry Paste Soup – Thai delight!

Published by under oppskrifter

Coming home  after spending two weeks in the Arctic, with temperatures down to – 22 ° C, I managed to catch some kind of cold on the flight home. My head and my throat hurts and my cough sounds like the one of a lung cancer patient. So I decided to cure myself with my current favourite food; thai! I made a mild coconut-curry-chicken soup that just took away all of the throat pains and almost completely cleared up my lungs. I didn’t take a picture, or take any measurements, but here’s how I did it (approximately) :
Panang Curry Paste Soup
First I took out 4 chicken fillets from the freezer for defrosting. I boiled up some water (about 1 liter) with 2 chickenstock cubes and let the frozen fillets sit in the hot bouillon until they just were soft enough to be cut into pieces (but not cooked through).
Then I chopped up vegetables:
  • 2 carrots, into nice carrot flower slices
  • 1 big onion into wedges
  • 1 red and 1 yellow capsicum into big bits
  • 1/4 of a small cabbage head

-> Threw all the veggies and the chicken in a big pot with 1 can of coconutmilk, 1/2 – 1 tablespoons of Panang Curry Paste (I wanted a mild flavour this time, normally I go for much more curry paste) and added enough of the chicken stock to cover the vegetables by an inch/couple of centimeters. I let it simmer until the vegetables were through and the chicken done, it could probably have been added at a later time and been even moister but I think it was good enough. I used 1-2 tablespoons of fish sauce, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and half a lime to season the soup. The next time I might add 2 cans coconut milk instead of one, I just love the flavour of  coconutmilk.

Panang Curry Paste must be one of my absolute favourite food items when it comes to fixing up dinner quickly, and the fact that it’s sooo good is a huge bonus. I buy it at the local turkish supermarket, but you could make the curry paste yourself. The list of  ingredients as it’s written on the box:

  • Dried red chili
  • Shallot
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Lemon grass
  • Galangal
  • Cumin powder
  • Kaffir lime’s skin
  • Coriander seeds 

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mar 31 2009

Lentil craze!

Published by under oppskrifter,Ukategorisert

Lentils are a great ! I never ate them during childhood, except maybe once or twice while visiting my grandmother, but my mother would never make them for dinner. Not until I moved into my own place and I started cooking – I mean really COOKING things from scratch, reading food blogs, try to learn everything there is about good food – I stumbled over the wonderfully diverse group of legumes called lentils. They are cheap, you can always have them in your pantry since they’re dried, they’re full of stuff thats good for you, they’re a healthy alternative to potatoes/pasta/bread and other starchy food, and they don’t take a long time to cook!  – They contain dieatry fiber, lots of different aminoacids (proteins), minerals and folate – need I say more?  The only thing you have to do is to rince them in cold water a couple of times, and pick out un-purities like small pebbles before you start cooking.

There’s a huuge variety of lentils out there, but I especially like the green puy lentils, the small red ones, and the yellow split lentils.

File:3 types of lentil.jpg

Read more about lentils on Wikipedia

I especially like to use lentils in Indian curries, but I’ve also mashed them up for use in veggie burgers, in soups, in salads with a nice vinaigrette or in a stew, like this one: It started out like a soup, but then I just added all the lentils I had in my pantry since I had like three different kinds of jars that were getting empty, and the soup got thick, mushy and stewey. The following days I would alternate between reheating the leftovers for a warm lunch, or eating it cold, like a spread on thick slices of bread, with some extra roasted onions on top – yummy! Lentils keep well in the fridge for at least a couple of days in a thight container.

Multi-purpose lentil stew/soup/spread

Approximately:

- 1-2 tbs of red curry paste

- 1-2 tsp hot madras curry powder

- 2 big carrots, peeled and sliced into half-moons

- 2 big yellow onions, diced into small pieces

- 1 big sweet potato, peeled and diced into small cubes

- 2 medium big potatoes, peeled and diced into small cubes

- 1/4 of a medium-small cabbage head, sliced into strips, then squares

- 1 – 2 cups of brown  lentils (also called puy lentils)

- 1/2 cup yellow lentils

-1 big red capsicum

- 2 cans of chopped tomatoes

- 1 can of coconutcream (I would’ve used 2, but forgot to buy more)

- enough chicken-/vegetable stock to cover the vegetables and lentils after you’ve added the tomatoes and coconutmilk.

I had to divide the stuff among two casserolles and ended up with huge amounts of food, so about half of this would be enough for 4 people, I think. I let everything simmer and bubble for at least an hour, adjusting with some water to avoid the stew from getting too dry.

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sept 26 2008

Mac ‘n cheese, my way

Published by under oppskrifter

My take on mac 'n cheese
I’m just going to slot this recipe down before I forget how I did it: None of the measurements are precice, since I didn’t follow any recipe myself, you’ll just have to eyeball it, like I did. 
  • 3-4 cups cooked whole wheat semolina Cellentani pasta (a fancy  tripple-twisted macaroni)
Cellentani whole wheat semolina pasta
  • half an onion, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2-3 tb butter
  • 2-3 tb flour
  • 1-2 cups of frozen spinach
  • 2-3 cups of milk
  • half a can of ham (Spam!) with 10 % fat
  • 2 tb cream cheese (with spices)
  • as much grated cheese you want to, I added 1/2 cup to the sauce and 1 cup of Jarlsberg on top
  • 1 cup of breadcrumbs
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • nutmeg
  • celeriac salt, if you want to

While the pasta was cooking away in salted water until al’ dente, the oven was heating up to 200 degrees Celcius, and I started to sauté the onion and the garlic to a shiny, translucent state. The blocks of frozen spinach were added to the golden mix, and were left to melt under a lid. Then I drizzled two tablespoons of flour into the green mix, stirred it all together, and started to add the milk gradually while stirring meticoulously, until I had a beautiful, green sauce, not to thick, not to thin. I seasoned it with some celeriac salt, regular salt, freshly ground black pepper, and some grated nutmeg (my favourite!). The only remaining thing to do then was to add the diced ham and cream cheese (which I’ll substitute for another kind of cheese the next time since it didn’t add very much flavour) and some of the grated Jarlsberg, and stir until the cheese had melted. In the meanwhile the pasta was done, so I drained it and rinsed it with cold water to stop it from getting all mushy because we don’t want mushy pasta, do we? (I know an italian guy who throws out freshly cooked spagetthi if it’s just a tad more on the mushy side than on the al’ dente side, but I’m not that extreme. His roommate on the other side, who ate the freshly cooked pasta from the sink, while muttering about the shame of throwing away food, is extreme (but I agree more with him than with the food-wasting guy).- Better to take extra care to not overcook the pasta!).

Ahnywhay (phew!), I folded the pasta into the spinachy Bechamel sauce, poured it into a buttered, ovenproof dish, put cheese and breadcrumbs on top and showed the lot into the oven.  I don’t know how long it stayed there, I took it out when the top started to brown and look nice and crunchy (and indeed it was). Maybe 10-15 minutes? I think my crappy student housing oven should not be trusted to behave how ovens from more «furnished homes» do (I’m sorry Mr. Crap Y. Oven, but it’s true).

Some Dijon mustard would’ve been good I think, and some time in the future I’ll try a version with blue cheese. But for now, I’m very pleased with how my first mac ‘n cheese turned out. Yay!

My mac 'n cheese  My mac 'n cheese

Making this dish reminded me of my all time favourite dinner from my childhood, my mothers german «Nudel auflauf». Its just cooked pasta, with bits of cured ham, sausage (whatever you have on hand), mixed up with beaten eggs and cream, salt and pepper, and then cooked in the oven for about an hour until the egg-mix is starting to set, and the top getting brown and crusty, served with a thick tomato sauce..my mouth is watering from just thinking about it! I need to make it as soon as I’ve recovered from the mac ‘n cheese..mmmmhh!

Oh, and one more thing. Does anyone know why Spam is called Spam? And why are those annoying e-mails, that are offering me pills that will enlarge parts that I don’t even possess, called spam mail? Please enlighten me, someone.

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sept 07 2008

Good goat cheese lasagna

Published by under oppskrifter

I have fed on this baby lasagna for at least three days, so it should be enough food for 4 people as one meal.

Ingredients

For the tomato-vegetable-meat sauce (a Bolognese with an overload of vegetables):

  • Lots of vegetables, chopped in fairly small pieces :
  • - 1/2 squash (zucchini)
  • - 2-3 carrots, grated
  • - 1/2 aubergine (eggplant)
  • - 1/2 red pepper/capsicum
  • - 1 small onion
  • - 1/4 leek
  • - 5-6 small champignons
  • - 500 gr tinned crushed tomatoes
  • 400 gr minced pork
  • 2-3 tb herbs, I used dried oregano, basil, thyme, parsley, and bay leaves
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic ( I didn’t add any this time, since I’m going out tonight!)
  • 1 tb sweet chili sauce
  • 1 ts Worchestersauce (It’s pronounced «Woostah», did you know ?)
  • salt, freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 dl red wine (I wish! I didn’t have any, but if I had, I would’ve added it)

For the white, cheesy Bechamel sauce:

  • 4-5 dl goat milk
  • 1-2 tb butter (or margarine)
  • 2-3 tb flour
  • as much white, stored goat cheese as you want, I guess I used 8 slices, of the brand Balsfjord
  • nutmeg, pepper and salt for seasoning

How I did it:

I started with the mushrooms, since I like to fry them in a non-stick pan without any oil until they’ve lost most of their water, and then just add a few drops of oil in the last few minutes of frying. I seasoned them with salt and pepper and put them aside on some kitchen paper to dry off excess fat and water.

 <- My idea of perfectly fried champignons

Then I started with the vegetables; I fried onion, leek and capsicum in rape seed (Canola) oil a few minutes. A few minutes later I added the meat, let it brown a bit, and then I added the rest of the vegetables. Turned down the heat, and let the veggiemix simmer for about 15 minutes to make the vegetables loose some of their water. Then I added the canned tomatoes and the other ingredients, and let the thick sauce (it could almost be called a stew) continue to simmer over medium-low heat for at least additional 15 minutes.

In the meantime I got started on the Bechamel sauce. Well, I’ve checked with my dear friends Google and Wikipedia, and I guess you can call it a Mornay sauce by definition, since I added cheese to the Bechamel sauce. Since I followed the standard prosedure for making the sauce, I will not bother to write it down here when there already are good descriptions on «how to» on the net:

Bechamel Sauce recipe

 

I let about 6-8 slices of this beautiful,  well aged, white goat cheese melt into the finished, hot Bechamel sauce, and then added a few moore slices to the top layer of the lasagna. I layered it like this : First white sauce, then lasagna plates, red meat sauce, half the mushrooms, and then the Mornay sauce again, plates, meat sauce and mushrooms again. The top layer consisted of lasagna plates, Mornay sauce and the cheese on the very top…Into the oven for about 30 minutes, let it rest for 10 minutes, and then..I tried to take some delicious-looking pictures before I dived into it, patting myself on the shoulder whilst munching it down.

 

Oh, and I made a salad to eat on the side! Although good-tasting food is good for you, a fresh salad has never killed anyone either. I used a pre-pepared herb salad dressing-mix and drizzled it over grated carrots, leek in thin rings, tomato-cubes, sunflower seeds and minced red capsicum. Crunchy and delicious! A nice balsamic vinager vinaigrette would have been a great substitute for the dressing-mix.

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sept 01 2008

Pan-fried rice paper rolls with crab

Published by under oppskrifter

 I’ll  add my changes to the original recipe, as it differs quite a lot from the original recipe I found at this site

 Pan-fried crab & vegetable rice paper rolls

 My beautiful rice paper rolls with dipping sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 carrot – grated (or you could cut it with a julienne iron/in a julienne style manually, I think I will try that the next time, the carrot got too mushy for my taste)
  • 1 1/2 cup finely chopped cabbage - I used chinese cabbage, worked out well but I prefer the regular cabbage
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, grated
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger - I just used the same fine grating iron for the carrot, ginger and garlic
  • 6 rice paper sheets - I used the small ones, so to use up all the stuffing I guess I used 12 sheets.
  • 6 crab sticks - I used the frozen ones, as I know that I’ll never eat a whole bucket of crabsticks before they go bad anyway
  • 2 tablespoons of oil - I used rape seed oil, but any oil suitable for high temperatures will do, like peanut oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce - I was all out and didn’t find any in the local supermarket, so I made my  own dipping sauce (turned out ok, but not a favourite):
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon runny forest honey (mmh, tangy and not too sweet)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sweet chili sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • a couple of tablespoons of water, for thinning it out, after taste
  • a whole lotta sesame seeds, by accident

Preparations

I mixed all the vegetables, let the rice paper soak in hot water for 15 seconds and drip off excess water, and placed about 1 tablespoon of filling in one corner of the rice paper sheet. Placed one crabstick on top of the veggie-mix, folded in the sides of the rice paper, and rolled it up carefully. CAREFULLY! I think I ripped three of the sheets; letting them soak too long makes them too fragile to handle, while too short soaking time also makes them un-managable. Heated the soy oil in a normal frying pan at medium-low heat, and fried the rolls until they had a nice light-brown colour on all four sides, about 8 minutes in total frying time. Let them drip off as much excess oil as possible on a kitchen towel (reduce the calories!). I mixed the dipping sauce in between the frying, but I think the next time I will add a clove of garlic and some ginger to the dip (and off course some hoisin-sauce, when I’ve gotten around to buy some at a chinese store). 

If you need a step-by-step instruction on how to handle rice paper rolls you can find a good one here:

How to handle rice paper wrappers

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aug 27 2008

Squash, zucchini, whatever you prefer..

Published by under oppskrifter

Zucchini- suppe

- Dette er oppskriften slik jeg fant den på http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Zucchini-Soup-I/Detail.aspx , jeg inkluderte ikke de tørkede potetflakene og «garnityren», mest fordi jeg ikke gadd å kjøpe det. Men den ble spiselig likevel! Akkurat lett og frisk nok for en sommersuppe, men likevel mettende.


Zucchini soup
INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon margarine
1 onions, chopped
1 potatoes, peeled and diced
4 zucchinis, chopped
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons dry potato flakes
1-1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill weed

In a large frying pan, melt butter or margarine; add onion and saute until translucent. Add diced potato, zucchini, thyme, rosemary, basil, and white pepper, and cook for 5 minutes.
In a medium-sized cooking pot, add broth and bring to boil. Add zucchini/potato mixture; reduce heat and simmer about 15 minutes.
When cooked, puree in food processor or blender in batches. Return to cooking pot, add milk and bring just to boil, but do not boil. Add instant mashed potato flakes and soy sauce and stir well. Adjust seasonings to taste. Garnish with dill weed. Soup may be served hot or chilled.

 

Laurels Moms Zucchini bread

Heat oven to 350 degrees (tilsvarer ca. 175 grader celcius)
grease and flour two loaf pans

3 eggs
3/4 cup oil
mix these together then add:

1 3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda (jeg tok bare litt mer bakepulver)
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
3 tsp vanilla
2 cups flower
Mix well then stir in 2 cups grated zucchini.  The recipe also calls for 1 cup chopped nuts but I don’t ever add those since you don’t like them.

Bake in two loaf pans for 50 to 60 minutes.  Stick toothpick in, if comes out clean then is done.

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jun 17 2008

Svinebaconrull med rødvinssaus, hasselbäckpoteter og aspargesbønner.

Published by under oppskrifter

Ingredienser

En svinekotelett til hver; renskåret. Bankes flat mellom plastikkfolieflak; bruk noe tungt så går det lettere!

Fyll: Kremost, pesto, hakket soltørket tomat i olje, finhakket løk.

En skive bacon per kotelett

Husholdningstråd eller tannpirkere.

Slik gjorde jeg det: Tok en flat kotelett, smørte på en teskje kremost (jeg brukte en med kryddersmak) og så en teskje pesto, drysset over litt hakket soltørket tomat og løk. Rullet koteletten forsiktig sammen, tvinnet baconskiven rundt og surret alt stramt inn med husholdningstråd.

Varmet litt meierismør i en panne, brunet baconrullen på alle sider, bare et par minutter, la den i en ildfast form og satte i ovnen på 225 grader, omtrent 15 minutter.

Hasselbäckpotene: Skar poteten i tynne skiver, men unngikk å skjære helt gjennom ved å legge en treskje ved siden av poteten slik at den stoppet kniven fra å skjære helt gjennom. Krydret med salt og pepper. Under stekingen i ovnen penslet jeg potene regelmessig med smeltet smør, steketid ca. 30 – 40 min, de siste 15 minuttene strødde jeg over ost. 

Aspargesbønnene bare kokte jeg fort opp med godt saltet vann.

 Til slutt; den fantastiske sausen!

Stekte små biter med bacon sprøtt i pannen, tilsatte en hakket løk og et presset hvitløksfedd. Etter at løken myknet hadde jeg over en boks hele tomater, et par skjeer tomatpure, en halv terning med kjøttbuljong og kanskje en desiliter med kokende vann, hadde over en spiseskje med hakket soltørket tomat, slengte i et laurbærblad, salt og pepper etter smak, litt Provenceurter og rørte godt rundt. Når sausen begynte å tykne hadde jeg i litt vin, under en desiliter; bare nok til å gi sausen en mørk, burgunderrød farge. Så skrudde jeg ned varmen til nederste nivå og bare lot sausen sto og putre såvidt til maten var ferdig. Jo lengre den står og putrer jo bedre blir den, min sto sikkert ikke mer enn et kvarter, men smakte fantastisk likevel. Neste gang jeg lager dette tror jeg at jeg vil legge kjøttet i sausen før servering, for å få dekket det helt med den gode smaken.

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