Sometimes the most simple things are the best ideas.
I am not one of those people who does everything self, from the scratch, just because I can. I am a believer that there is some great quality, ready-made products today that can and should be used. It saves not only time and money, but also energy and the resources we have.
That being said - you knew there was a 'but' coming - this simple, easy to make crackers or flatbread, that only takes a couple of ingredients and is ready in minutes might be something you want to try to make at home.
The recipe is just so simple - two parts flour to one part of water + salt. To make four flatbreads I use 2 dl of flour with 1 dl of water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt adding 1/2 teaspoon of spices for more flavor. If you have a gluten intolerance, just use gluten-free flour and you are set.
Mix the ingredients in a bowl until they form a smooth dough.
Divide the dough into equal parts, and roll them into thin circles.
Set the circles on a hot pan (one at the time) and let them cook for a minute or two before flipping over to cook the other side.
There will be black spots on the flatbread, and it might puff up if the dough is not very thin.
The flatbread will be crispy on the outside, soft and warm on the inside. They are meant to be eaten directly after cooking them.
A cup of tea, some cinnamon flatbread with applesauce, and a good book - just some of my favorite things on an autumn evening... I hope you enjoy it as well.
Till next time
As the temperatures are cooling off, it is lovely to start planning one dish meals that can be set in the lower temperature oven for hours to simmer, or in the slow cooker for the day.
A couple of weeks ago I took a trip to a specialty grocery store, where I got a variety of dry beans for the winter months to cook with. I felt like I was a pioneer gathering food for the winter, kind of funny but true!
I had had this piece of beef in my freezer for a bit too long, so I decided to use it for this dish, even though I wouldn't normally, with a prime piece like that, use it in a slow cooked dish. But I promise you, at the end, it was so tender, it melted in the mouth.
I soaked a cup of black eyed beans and a cup of alubia beans overnight, so they would be ready to cook the next day. Alubia is a small white European-style bean, you can use them in all kinds of cooking from soups, baked beans, salads, bean dips, pot beans etc. You can substitute it with, for example, navy beans.
At the bottom of the dish, put the soaked beans and poured over hot vegetable stock, twice the volume of the rehydrated beans.
Sear the salt and pepper seasoned meat quickly on a very hot pan on all the sides and set it on the top of the beans in the dish.
Toss the washed chanterelle mushrooms and champion mushrooms on the hot pan fast after the meat and set them on the oven dish around the meat. Little springs of rosemary with the rest of the ingredients complete the dish nicely.
Set it in the oven on 125-150C/250F and let it cook until the beans are done and tender. For me, this was a little over 3 hours. Remember to check the liquid while it cooks in the oven, and add as/if needed.
The dish is lovely just as it is, or you can serve it with rutabaga and carrot purée or mashed potatoes if you want a milder taste for the side dish.
I have to say, this dish was a hit. The beans were so full of deep flavors, the meat melted in my mouth, and aromas from the dish that filled the kitchen were mouth watering.
I hope you will enjoy this dish and the change of seasons, taking advantage of the harvest time surrounding us.
Till next time
I loved this salmon recipe with Thai inspired flavors. It had a great little kick to it without being spicy hot. If you season the salmon with pepper, please be careful with it, because the seasoning mix does have a little heat to it already.
This is another one of those recipes that greatly transfers to another meal the day after. I used the leftovers in a salad for a lunch and enjoyed it immensely.
I hope you enjoy it!
Till next time
BAKED SALMON THAI STYLE
After the muffins, pasta, casseroles, woks/stir fries, etc. here is one delicious way to enjoy it! It is a great snack, an appetizer, or even a light meal if you so choose. It does not require much skill, but the results are amazing.
All you need are the washed zucchini, ground pepper (salt), dry cured ham - like Prosciutto or Jamón serrano, or a local variation if you have one - and cheese. I used a mixture of shredded mozzarella, cheddar, and parmesan and it worked well.
I made sure there was an ample space for the ham and that it actually stayed in place. I grind some black pepper on the zucchini, adding salt was not necessary since both the ham and the cheese are salty. Last I put the cheese on top of the zucchini, and then into the oven for 45 minutes at 350F / 180C.
If the around measurement to your zucchini is very large, I would cut it in half length wise and make two of the ham and cheese logs, just so that the flavors are evenly distributed to each bite of the delicious thing!
I hope you enjoy the ham and cheese zucchini log, the cooling evenings, the football season, and the pumpkin spice everything...
Till next time
When the movie Fried Green Tomatoes came out 1992 I was fascinated by its name and the thought of how that dish would actually taste, and why green tomatoes in the first place. For the young northern European ears and mind, it just sounded like something very exotic.
Well, all these years have passed, and even though I went to college in the States, and lived there for several years, I never ate fried green tomatoes - before this summer! Oh, and I loved them, the taste, the texture, all of it!
We served them on the side of a well-marinated beef, and it was a lovely meal, indeed. The fact that the tomatoes came from the home garden made the meal even more special and tasty, in my opinion.
I hope you are enjoying the last days of summer with some home-grown produce.
Till next time
FRIED GREEN TOMATOES
I swear, food never tastes as good as when the ingredients are straight from a garden and you prepare the meal with your friends then leisurely enjoy it on a hot summer evening while watching a sunset over the water...
Last summer I enjoyed the harvest from my own little cherry tomato plant on my deep kitchen windowsill that was gifting me with eight harvests with the sweetest, sun riped tomatoes I have ever had. This summer I got the opportunity to visit friends who have a vegetable garden and the products were plentiful and so, so tasty!
And as the temperature was going up to the point of being uncomfortable at times, to prepare ice cold Gazpacho using mostly just ingredients from the garden, that was a treat!
The Gazpacho Soup Recipe
I'm back! What a wonderful and inspirational vacation I had, I can't wait to share with you some of the new recipes I tried while vacationing and visiting friends! Such tasty food with great flavors, cooking with friends, and having a lovely time - what could beat that?! Nothing, in my book...
Sometimes the ambiance is what makes the meal to stand out by intensifing the flavors, and puts you in the mood to relax and enjoy the treats about to be served for you.
This meal, as you can see, was served at the perfect spot, on a beautiful summer evening, with dear friends around the table. What fun it was to prep for the cooking and then set to go with everyone around and having a great time.
Usually, when I cook I am alone in the kitchen, in charge of the whole process from food prep to pictures and clean up, yet this time I had @focusbykenneth with his talent and camera for some of the pictures, and I am super thankful for him letting me share his pictures with you! Go check out his Instagram account for pictures around the world with inspiration to see #beautyintheworld
For the meal itself, I made the Parmesan crusted deep fried Brussel sprouts that I have shared with you before. Just click here to get the recipe.
With the Brussel sprouts, my friend grilled this amazing marinated salmon that was the perfect companion to the Brussel sprouts. I am so glad I can share this recipe with you today.
For the desserts, we had a selection of Whole Food's petit fours.
So fun to taste bites of all the different sweet flavors and succulent textures!
It is so good to start the fourth year of Books & Spoons, and Spoons in particular, with such a fun, joy filled, warm memories of this unforgettable evening! Much more to come, so stay tuned through the seasons to come.
Till next time
The chef has taken a vacation and enjoys the summer with sunny days and rainy evenings of reading and relaxing. Spoons will return in August with lots of new ideas, recipes, and inspiration.
I wish you all a sweet, sunny days of leisure!
Till next time
At the spring I found this lovely green soya bean pasta on a market I rarely visit, and now it has come to be a staple on my menu. It is rich in protein and fiber, and gluten free.
I like it because of the taste and how filling it is. It looks great on a plate, and the portion sizes get much smaller because you feel full and satisfied sooner than with a regular pasta.
I have used it just like a regular pasta, something that I use a lot of during the summer heat because it is fast and easy and does not heat up your kitchen.
There are lots of different, good products out there to give us new inspiration and choices. Sometimes they just have to be found or made an effort to get them. Some of the products are actually worth it.
Brussels sprouts are a great source of vitamin C, and good with potassium and fiber.
I enjoy them in many different forms and this side dish with spicy, hot Spanish salami, salchichon, in the oven with brussels sprouts tossed in olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper still makes my mouth water, they were just that good.
I served them with a herb crusted pork loin that was oven roasted on top of kale, shredded beetroot, and carrots. I tossed the kale mixture with olive oil and salt and pepper before setting them on the roasting pan.
The kale mixture gave a robust and deeper flavor to the pork, creating a flavorful combination with the herb mix I rubbed into the pork. The herb mixture had dried thyme, sage, oregano, salt and pepper with just a hint of rosemary all mixed in olive oil.
I set the brussels sprouts and the pork with kale mix into the oven next to each other, as they both require 30-40 minutes in 170C / 350F oven.
A great meal with tasty zest and aroma. I hope you'll enjoy it! Till next time