Borscht with a tomato twist

Summer heat is gone, and it’s time to enjoy the last few dinners on the patio. I love to make some hearty soup at this time of year, and since I’m a huge fan of beats, the traditional borscht is a natural choice to make. This time though, I thought I should include some of our enormous tomato harvest in it, and what would fit better than some tomatoes of the variety “Black russians”.

Here’s what I put in the soup:

  • Pulp from ~20 black russian tomatoes
  • 2 large beets
  • 2 onions
  • 2 carrots
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • a chunk of red cabbage
  • two spoons of vegetable stock mix
  • 2 bayleafs
  • ground black pepper
  • hungarian paprika powder
  • fresh cilantro (parsley works good too)
  • olive oil
  • 500 ml water
  • sour cream

I started by chopping onions, carrots and garlic finely and frying them in some olive oil in a large pot. To avoid getting the tomato peels in the soup, I grilled them in the oven for about 10 min and then pressed them through a sieve into the pot and threw out the peels. To make the beets cook faster, I peeled and grated them before putting them into the soup. Depending on how much juice you got out of the tomatoes, add water (I added another 500 ml). Add spices and let simmer until the beets and carrots are soft. Add some chopped cabbage and cilantro last to keep some crunch in the cabbage and the flavour of the cilantro.

Serve with a spoon of sour cream, some fresh ciabatta and fried chantarelles (if you have some :).

My own little red lentil lasagna

When it’s really hot outside, warm meals can feel a little too much, but I feel a good pasta dish still tastes great under the gazing sun, and here’s my recipe for a lighter version of lasagna  – without any meat!

All you need is:

Filling

  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbs vegetable stock
  • ~ 200 ml red lentils
  • corn kernels from a fresh corn cob
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • A handfull of kalamata olives.
  • fresh oregano
  • fresh basil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tsp sambal oelek

Fry the onions in some oil and then add the chopped tomatoes, lentils and stock. Let simmer until the lentils are soft, then add the rest of the vegetables and spices.

Bechamèl sauce

  • 100 g butter
  • 500 ml milk
  • 3 tbs flour
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tsp nutmeg

Melt the butter in a pot with a thick bottom, stir in the flour little by little. Then add the milk and wait for it to come to a boil while stirring continuously. Be creful so it doesn’t burn. Keep it at a low heat and once the sauce has thickened, take it off the element.

Once you have the filling and the sauce, layer it in a glass pan with lasagna plates. Finish with a layer of bechamèl sauce and some grated cheese.

Bake in the oven at 200°C for about 20-30 min. Take out when the lasagna has a nice colour and the plates are softened.

Fantastic foraging

Two weeks ago I had to go out on a field trip to collect some seeds for my experiments, and on our way, we found some delicious treats: Aspen boletes (mushrooms) and wild red gooseberries which turned into a delicious meal :)

With the boletes, I made a nice quiche. First I fried the mushrooms in some butter and then I used this recipie to make the quiche dough and egg-filling. I stuffed the quiche with onion, zucchini and mushrooms and used regular cheddar cheese.

 

With the gooseberries I decided to make a crumble, and since the harvest wasn’t quite enough for the glass baking pan, I added some frozen blueberries. For the crumble I mixed:

  • 125 g butter
  • 200 ml sugar (pour half on the berries and use half for the crumbles)
  • flour (add until the butter forms non-sticky crumbles
  • cinnamon
  • cardamom

Then I poured the crumbles on top of the berries and baked in the oven (200°C) for about 30 min (until it turns golden on top). Here’s the result:

Chili glazed salmon with sunchokes and guacamole

Some days even a simple meal can feel festive. Baking some fish in the oven very seldom goes wrong, and it always looks really nice. Adding some boiled sunchokes and guacamole doesn’t hurt either :).

For the fish:

  • Chop vegetables to fill the bottom of a glass pan with, creating a bed for the fish filet. I used fennel, red pepper, garlic and onions, but you can use pretty much any vegetable you feel like. Add some olive oil to keep the veggies from sticking to the bottom.
  • Put the fish on top of the veggies and rub fresh chopped ginger, sweet chili sauce, salt and pepper onto the fish.
  • Bake in the oven (200°C) for about 30 min (check in on it to make sure it is baked through and not burnt. The cooking time is gonna depend on how thick your slice of fish is.

For the guacamole:

  • Mash 2 ripe avocados
  • Add juice from ½ a lemon, salt, pepper, 2 chopped cloves of garlic, coriander, paprika, a teaspoon of sambal oelek, some cumin and some fresh chopped cilantro.
  • Stir it all together to a smooth/chunky paste depending on how you like it.

Boil sunchokes in salted water with their peels on (the will peel off really easily once they ar boiled.

Serve it all together and enjoy!

Banana pancakes with chestnut paste

It’s so easy to forget bananas and it doesn’t take long before they start being covered in little brown spots. This is a great recipie to use up some of them – it is quick and easy and

tastes delicious!

This is what you need:

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 150 ml flour
  • 150 ml milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • a pinch of salt
  • butter to fry them in

Mash the bananas and stir together with the other ingredients. Use a 1/3 (or 1dl) cup to pour the mixture into the pan. I could fit 3 little pancakes in our large frying pan. Fry them until they catch some colour on both sides.

Serve with chestnut paste! So yummy and filling for a weekend breakfast or afternoon treat.

Tomatillo salsa

David and I inherited a few pounds of frozen tomatillos from our friend Elaine when she moved up north and what better way to use it but to make some homemade salsa?! David found a recipe in the grocery store and it was very easy to make.

This is what you need:

  • 1 lb tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 3-4 serrano chili
  • 1 jalapeno chili
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
This is how to make it:
  • Grill tomatillos and peppers in the oven until their peels blacken a bit, then take them out, flip them over and do the same on the other side of them.
  • Peel off the black parts of the tomatillos and peppers. Seed and devein chiles. Transfer to food processor.
  • Mix all the flesh of the tomatillos and peppers together with the lime juice until it is a smooth paste (unless you prefer your salsa chunkey).
  • Spice the salsa with salt, paprika and fresh cilantro
  • Your salsa is now ready to be eaten. If you are not going to eat all the salsa straight away, bring the salsa to a boil before canning it.

Pannkakor for breakfast!

I’ve adapted the North American tradition of eating pancakes for breakfast, but I still don’t think that the thick pancakes really measures up to the Swedish ones that are usually slightly thicker than the french crèpes, but thinner than the dutch ones.

Here’s how I make them (enough for 2 people):

  • 2 eggs
  • 200 ml flour
  • 400 ml milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • a chunk of butter to fry them in.

Whisk eggs, flour and a little bit of the milk into a smooth paste without lumps, then add the rest of the milk and the salt.

Add a piece of butter to the frying pan, and when it’s melted and sizzling in the pan, pour a thin layer of the paste into the pan. I normally start off frying the first pancake on the highest heat and then turn it down a bit. Flip the pancake once it has dried out on the surface and once it’s caught some colour on the other side, it’s ready to be served :).

In Sweden we normally serve our “pannkakor” with jam or sugar, but if you have access to some french chestnut paste, that’s also a favourite!

Springtime veggies with couscous sallad

After some digging and planting in the garden this weekend, we enjoyed this little treat and the sunshine on our patio :). The lime juice and cumin gives it an extra zing!

This is what you need for the springtime veggies:

  • baby eggplants (approx. 6)
  • A handfull of asparagus
  • ½ a leek
  • juice from 1/4 of a lime
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • ground cumin (I used quite a lot)
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper

For the couscous sallad you need:

  • 200 ml couscous
  • 200 ml water
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • italian herbs
  • chickpeas
  • fresh cilantro
  • salt