Sunday, September 20, 2015

Swedish cardamom rolls - Kardemummabullar


Well, cardamom won a special place in my hart with its weird spicy taste that gives a kick to all my buns lately.
I even updated my Hungarian bun recipes, even though, yunno, we have the best food in the world :D. A little upgrade here and there won't hurt, tho'.

I stumbled upon these pictures on Pinterest,  and at first I only saw a new way of folding my buns, but at a second glance I saw a chance to try a new recipe.
Replacing the cinnamon with cardamom in the filling?? SURE!
That's gonna be an expensive upgrade given the price of the cardamom compared to that of the cinnamon (something like $50 a pound.. *sigh*)... but hey, we live once! Right?

After having my first bite at midnight just as they were straight out of the oven I was ... oooooo... what was I baking during the past 3 years? These were the MOST delicious pulla-s I've eaten so far, and accompanied with a chai latte was the perfect Fika in the morning.. or at least some sort of Fika..
I was so sorry I didn't bake the whole batch with cardamom only, but I was worried how it would taste..

I'll be honest, I didn't check the dough recipe in the original post, just because I love mine. If you want to try the original please pay a visit to the website and try it out.
I used the filling, and the topping recipe though, as for the though again, you decide.

Ingredients
1/2 portion pulla dough

Filling

60 g brown sugar (2 heap-full or 3 kinda humpy tsp sugar)
60 gr butter, room temperature, but firm still (1/2 stick)
1 1/2 tsp cardamom

Brushing the top for extra shine (the original recipe doesn't ask for it, but that's how I like it :))
1 egg (not necessary, just skip this step to save some time)

Topping
50 ml water
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp cardamom seeds (the best would be whole seeds, but here is difficult to find so I used minced)

Prepare the dough. Let it rise for 1 hour. As I never make the half portion but rather the full, next I divide the dough into two parts and let it sit for an additional 20-30 minutes. So, maybe you can just refold your half dough portion and leave it rise back again.

Line two larger trays with parchment paper.
Beat 1 egg with a fork, not to make it foamy but to make it smooth for brushing the buns.

Preparing the filling
Mix the butter, sugar and cardamom seeds with a spoon into a small bowl until well combined.

Next with a rolling pin roll it out thin, roughly about 50x30 cm (the recipe calls for 13” x 21”).

Next, we will fold the dough in three, just as we do with the puff pastry.
Divide the dough VISUALLY in three parts, and you can even make small marks to help you fold.
Spread the filling on the dough evenly.

Fold in the left third over the middle third, and the next the right part over the middle.
With a rolling pin flatten the dough further out, until the width reaches about 30 cm, and the length about 40.

Cut about 2 cm thick stripes, and next make a sort of knod... well, until I put a video out (when I actually master the technique) please visit the original website for reference.

Place the buns in the trays, about 10/tray.
Leave plenty of space between them, imho they grow so much nicer.
Brush the top with the lightly beaten egg and leave them until the egg dries, just a bit, about 5 minutes.

Bake them on the middle/upper rack at 400 F (200 C) for 10-12 minutes, depends what colour you prefer. We like them baked longer, hence the color is not so nice, but well, we just like it that way. :)

Preparing the glaze
While the buns are baking heat the water for the glaze, add the brown sugar and let it boil for half a minute, minute, and remove from the heat.
Mix the granulated sugar with the cardamom seeds.

As soon as you get the buns out of the oven, brush them well with the glaze using a brush. Sprinkle a pinch of the granulated sugar/cardamom mix on top.

Bonn appetite!
They are brilliant paired with tea or coffee.. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Spaghetti squash - beef patties


The picture is not the best, and I didn't check the quality before khhmmm I ate all of the leftovers from yesterday, so no chance to quickly snap another one, but the patties were delicious!
They were born from the necessity to bring some food over to our neighbor's chili party, and due to many reasons I'm not a Mexican food fun, and haven't tried to make any special chili.

I still wanted to fit somehow in the theme.
Mexican = squash and beans :D, right?
The creative process was kicked out, and thinking that the chili will have enough beans, I opted one of my favorite ingredients: squash!

Not any squash though, I picked the spaghetti squash.. It is a variety that is not known in the Hungarian kitchen, so this was the perfect occasion to give it a try.

Ingredients (serves 4-6 as aperitif)
1 medium spaghetti squash, boiled or microwaved
0.5 pound ground beef meet
2 large eggs
2 flat tbsp flour
large pinch of Mexican smoked medium or spicy paprika powder
1 tsp salt (small)
large pinch of black pepper
1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
1 tsp fresh chopped dill
3 cloves of garlic, smashed or chopped into very-very small pieces

I chose to microwave my squash.
I like it a bit crunchy, so I cut the squash in two, placed the two halves upside down on a larger plate and microwaved for 10 minutes.
Scooped the inside, squeezed the extra juice, and in a small/medium bowl I mixed the squash with the spices, and I added the two eggs.
You can also chop the squash stripes into smaller bits (especially if you have picky eaters who will complain about the squash stripes.
I let them long as is.
Combined all ingredients well.
Let it sit for just few minutes.
Meanwhile added few tbsp of sunflower oil in a frying pan and heated it up.
Scooped small, walnut sized portions into the pan and flattened them with the back of the spoon.
Fried each side on higher medium heat until golden brown, maybe 1-2 minutes / side. (The nice ones were taken to our neighbor's party, these were the ones that were tiny bit browner than ideal, but it's also the light that makes them look browner than they should be).
By the time the egg is fried, the meat reaches the consistency of a medium done steak, juicy and soft.

Serve immediately on it's own as small bites (does not SHOUT for bread), or if you are not a diet person eat them with fresh whole wheat, home made bread (white is great, too) or with a rice side dish of your choice.
Well, the beef patties were
Bonn appetite!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Orange - coconut cake



Smelly problem arose in the house. I picked the oranges from one of our trees to let the new harvest enjoy the nutrients, but I had too many.
One full bag, and not so many enthusiasts to eat it. Luckily I stumbled upon this recipe on one of the Finnish blogs I check every now and then, and it looked like it should become a family favorite as hubby likes coconut and everybody likes a savory orange kick.

Ingredients
1 cup, (2 ½ dl) pastry or all purpose flour (NOT bread flower)
1 cup (2 ½ dl) grits
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup sugar
1 cup oil (any oil that is tasteless, and light)
1 cup orange juice
10 gr, 2 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
orange zest, from 2 oranges
1 tsp vanilla extract
coconut for decoration


Juice for moisturizing 
1 cup apple juice 
1 tbsp lemon juice 
130 gr sugar (1/2 cup). I tried. If you ask me CUT the sugar at least in half, and I might not add any sugar if it is served without the unsweetened whipped cream. If you plan to serve it with the whipped cream, try with the full amount of sugar. You decide. There will be a second try, trust me :).

Serving
unsweetened whipped cream (optional), decorated with few mint or basil leaves

Line the bread pans with baking sheets. In my case the old fashioned brean pan worked better than the silicon, the cake came out higher and less burned on the surface.

Preheat the oven to 350 F, 180 C.
Mix eggs with the sugar, and add the oil, orange zest, orange juice, until well combined. Add the tsp of vanilla, and pinch of salt (optional, but whenever I add vanilla to a batter, especially with grits, salt comes automatically).
Mix in the dry ingredients lightly, aiming for an even batter. No need to overmix.
Place the batter in two bread forms,  and bake for 40-50 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. I turned the heat a bit higher at the beginning, hence the little bit burned top, and in my oven 40 minutes would have been enough, so keep an eye on it.

While the cake is baking, bring the orange juice with the sugar to boiling point, and boil it for couple of minutes until sugar is properly dissolved. Let it cool slightly.

When the cake is ready pour the juice on top of the cake as it comes out of the oven.
Let it cool slightly, then cool for at least 2 hour in the fridge before serving.

Enjoy by itself or with whipped cream if desired.
Bonn appetite!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Black sandwich / burger buns


This time just the buns... So I can think ahead if for some burgers for Labor day and have something special.
It is my very first trial, so you can expect to see variations of these, but they look sooooo funny, it will surely be on my "school lunch made fun" list or even some Halloween Party Monster Bun Party :D.

I prepared my usual no knead bread dough, (45o gr flour, 350 ml water, 1 tsp salt and 1 pinch yeast) and let it sit for a day. I thought this would add a bit of sourdough kick to the buns, and sure it did!!

The next day, I added the following ingredients to the mixture.

Ingredients
200 ml lukewarm water (5/6 cup)
2 tsp dry yeast
1 tsp/tbsp sugar
450 g bread flour (roughly 1 pound)
1 tsp salt
1 1/5 tsp cattlefish ink (squid ink)
100 ml vegetable oil, and business as usual, it was sunflower oil

Proof the yeast in the milk with the sugar sprinkled and lightly mixed in. It takes only 5 minutes.
Mix it together, and add it to the bread dough from the previous day.
Add about 2/3 of the flour and salt, and knead it into a smooth dough.
Gradually pour in the oil, adding the flour spoon by spoon to make it mix well.
Let it rise to at least double, it will take about 1 hour in nice warm house.
Divide the dough in two and let is sit for another 15 minutes.
Meanwhile line a tray with parchment paper.
Divide the dough into 10-11 pieces, each, form nice round rolls, and let them sit under a table cloth for additional 10 minutes.
Meanwhile heat up the oven to 400F, 200C.
Place the buns on the upper middle shelf and bake for 12-15 minutes. As they are dark like hell :D is going to be more difficult to see if they are baked, but slightly light brown spots will appear on the top.
Remove from the oven, sprinkle with little water, cover with a tablecloth and let the cool down.

My son stole one right away, spread some butter in it and ate it with some ham.. His opinion: "These are very good!" I think I have the buns for tomorrow's morning and lunch.. Yahh!

Obs: Next I'll add little less cattlefish ink as it seemed MORE than black enough for me, and the ink is unbelievable expensive.
I'll also try to add egg in the dough and/or replace the oil with butter. I would like to make them a bit more fluffy, though the spongeous bread consistency wasn't bad at all!
It would also add to the fanciness if I sprinkled some seeds, like sesame seeds :), to the top.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Húsgombóc leves - meatball soup



Yeah, that's another favorite after the Hungarian gulyas and stuffed cabbage, and it is actually a kinda combination of the two :).
Lots of veggies enriched with meat&rice balls.. 
The apropo of this dish was the organic mince beef I purchased from Costco for the stuffed cabbage. 
Business as usual, it is sold in big quantities, and while I was pulling apart the remaining two packages I teared open one of them. Well, I suppose it would've stored just as well teared, too, but I though I will use it asap instead, I need to cook a lot anyway.
So, off to purchase some carrots, parley root (I usually end up settling with some parsnip instead) and celery roots (another rare find in local shops).

Ingredients (for a 6 quart pot, and it will be VERY thick, or an 8 quart pot nice soup)
1 pound, 500 g minced meat (again, I prefer the 50-50 pork-beef, but I usually get the Costco organic minced beef). For a lighter soup reduce the meat amount
0.5 pound (250g) rice
1 egg
salt, black pepper
1 tsp paprika powder
1 pinch caraway seeds 
8 large carrots
2 large parsnips or better parsley roots
1 medium sized celery root
1 tbs minced red pepper (can be left out if you don't have)
1 large tomato
1/2 green pepper
1 small bunch Italian parsley

Serving
sour cream, Knudsen preferably (this time no Costco product hehe.. Daisy's sour cream is pretty nowhere compared to Knudsen's)
some fresh lemon juice, optional, but I think it makes it so much better! Especially if it comes from your ow tree!

Chop the carrots, parsley (parsnip), celery root into small stripes. Not sure why in this soup the shape is not the usual small cubed or slices, but it's not. So I cut the way I've always had it back home.
The parsnip/parsley should be cut in thinner stripes as the taste is stronger, and you don't wanna scare the kids away with it, plus it tends to be harder.

Chop the onions into small cubes and saute until golden brown. Remove from heat, add the paprika powder, pour in some 1/3 cup water, place it back to the heat and let it simmer until the water is reduced. Base on the end result I could've used a bit more paprika, or a more red one.. Next time ;).
Add the chopped veggies and saute them for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water until the pot is half full and bring to boil. Reduce heat to half. Add the tomato cut in 4, and the pepper pieces. As I mentioned I try not to spoil a whole pepper, I used the pepper stub and whatever meat is left around. It is just for the taste.
Meanwhile mix the meat with the rinsed rice, add 1 tsp salt, large pinch of black pepper, minced red pepper, and at the end add the egg. The egg is MANDATORY to hold the meatballs together.
Mix until combined well with the egg.

Scoop small walnut size pieces of meat form, slightly roll them in you palm into perfect :) balls and drop them in the soup. Add the whole amount of meat and pour in more water until the ingredients are all well covered by water.
EDITED!!!
Sooo, I was told the walnut size balls are too big. :) Next, shape just half walnut size balls, and they'll grow anyway :). Reduce the cooking time too, though, I guess for smaller balls 30 minutes should be enough. Remove one ball and taste to make sure..

Add the parsley (half of it chopped if you like), leaving some leaves for serving. Add another tspof salt, pinch of black pepper and the pinch of caraway seeds.
Bring to boil and at medium/low heat (barely bubbling) let it boil for 45-60 minutes. Taste, and if the meatballs are cooked remove from heat.
Serve with fresh white or whole wheat bread, lemon slices and sour cream (not mandatory).
It would go very well with some extra spiciness, so if you have Erős Pista don't hesitate to use it! :)
Bon appetite!

PS.
1) Caraway seeds: don't worry if you don't have, just leave them out, but don't use the Cumin instead even if in Hungarian the caraway is called kömény, the taste of the two is VERY different.
2) For the half pepper I usually use the leftover ends from breakfast, and prefer the ones that have strong taste not the watery bell pepper). This time I used Poblano peppers, and even though it should be chili, if you leave the stem and seeds out it is not. We have it on sandwich when in season.