Eeva Kilpi, “March”

butter cookies

MAALISKUU

Kun olen kuollut
palata kerran vielä
kenenkään huomaamatta tänne mun suo

omalle paikalle
keittiön pöydän ääreen
äitini vanhan keittokirjan luo.

Tahtoisin vielä viimeiset hyvästit heittää
rakkaille resepteille joita en enää nää,
lehteillä sivuja joita siirappitahrat peittää
ja joilta muskotintuoksua leviää.

Tahtoisin vielä hiljaa lukea läpi
kaikki ne reseptit joita
en koskaan toteuttaneeksi tullut
kun turhat ja hullut
toiveet ja päähänpistot
minulta veivät
ajan ja voimat,

ne eivät.

(Lauri Pohjanpäätä kiittäen.)

pohjanpaa
Lauri Pohjanpään runon “Kun olen kuollut”, oli äitini kirjoittanut vuoden 1998 kalenterin loppuun. Mitähän hän silloin oli ajatellut? [“Lauri Pohjanpää’s poem “When I Am Dead” was written by my mother at the end of the 1998 calendar. I wonder what she was thinking at the time.”] Image borrowed from Uunikkopellossa

MARCH

When I am dead
I’d like to return once more,
noticed by no one, here to my bog

to my own place
at the kitchen table
to my mother’s old cookbook.

To beloved recipes I never see again,
I’d like to say one last goodbye
to peruse the pages, covered in syrup stains
and smelling of nutmeg.

I’d like to read through silently
all those recipes
I never managed to make
since useless and crazy
wishes and whims
took away my
time and energy,

they aren’t.

(With acknowledgements to Lauri Pohjanpää.)

Source: Eeva Kilpi, Kuolinsiivous (WSOY, 2012). Translated by Living in FIN. This translation is dedicated to my own beloved mother on Mother’s Day, which, in a happy coincidence, is celebrated the same day in Finland and my own country. Image of cookbook borrowed from Mina Walli, Finnish-American Cookbook

Egg Sauce

egg sauce

Egg Sauce for New Potatoes
Kati Pohja
Meillä kotona

Egg sauce is the best friend of summertime’s new potatoes. And it is super easy to make!

Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tbsp margarine
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 7 dl milk
  • 1–2 green onions
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • ½ dl chives

Directions

Cooking time: 25 min

  1. Boil the eggs hard.
  2. Melt the margarine in a pot. Add the flour while stirring. Bring the mixture to a boil. Add the milk, constantly stirring. Bring to a boil and simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes.
  3. Dice the boiled eggs. Dice the green onions, including the stems.
  4. Add the salt, white pepper, diced eggs, and diced onions. Heat the egg sauce for a while. Dice the chives and add to the sauce. Serve the egg sauce with new potatoes.

Photo by Joonas Vuorinen. Translated by Living in FIN. Dedicated to Karelia native Leokadia Frenkel on her fiftieth birthday

Blueberry Tarte Tatin

Timjami (thyme) is my favorite word in Finnish, which is just as well because thyme is one of my favorite herbs. I have cooked it fresh countless times in traditional (apple) tarte tatin and various other dishes. I am sure it will not be out of place in this summertime pie, in which mustikka (blueberry), found throughout Finland’s extensive woodlands, replaces the apples (omenoita) usefully found in the famous French upside-down pie. {LIF}

mk0518_mika_mustikka2_preview_pSe99

Blueberry Tarte Tatin: The Summer’s Most Wonderful Pie Does a Somersault
Text: Mika Rampa • Photo: Satu Nyström
meillakotona.fi

The secret to the taste of the upside-down pie known as blueberry tarte tatin tarte is thyme, which deepens the blueberry’s woodsy flavor. Bake the little pies in blini pans (or other small ovenproof frying pans), so everyone gets his or her own individual serving.

Ingredients (4 servings)

Pastry Crust
75 grams butter (at room temperature)
1 deciliter sugar
1 egg
2 deciliters flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2–1 teaspoon cardamom

Filling
75 grams butter
1 deciliter brown sugar
8 sprigs thyme
3 tablespoons citrus liqueur*
3 deciliters blueberries

Serving
2 deciliters whipping cream (whipped)

Cooking time: 55 min {active–35 min; passive–20 min}

Bake blueberry tarte tatin as follows:

  1. Mix the butter and sugar in a bowl. Add the egg. Combine the flour, baking powder, and cardamom in another bowl. Add the flour mixture to the first bowl and mix until you have a smooth dough. Place it in the refrigerator.
  2. Add the butter, brown sugar, and thyme sprigs to a frying pan. Let simmer until the sugar has melted. Add the citrus liqueur and blueberries. Remove the pan from the stove.
  3. Press the dough on the pan or pans with a rolling pin. Make sure the pastry crust fits the pan exactly and it is on top of the blueberries.
  4. Bake the tarte tatin in an oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 20 to 30 minutes depending on the pan’s size.
  5. Put a plate over the baked pie and swiftly turn it upside down to serve.

* You can easily substitute lemon juice for the citrus liqueur.

Translated by Living in FIN

The Imatra Sling

imatra sling.JPGThe Imatra Sling. Photo by Living in FIN

“Supreme Court rules in favor of baker who would not make wedding cake for gay couple.”

That is why they call it the Supreme Court, because, historically and episodically, it has reinforced racial, class, gender and sexual supremacy in the so-called United States.

Incidentally, I would never eat a cake made by a baker who would not make a wedding cake for a gay couple, not for political reasons, but because a cook or baker who has so much hatred in his soul inevitably infuses his dishes, cakes, pies, and cupcakes with the same hatred.

So, I have never understood the appeal of televised cooking competition programs in which hatred, anger, jealousy, and the spirit of cutthroat rivalry prevail. Having watched Gordon Ramsay in his calmer moments, I realize he actually is a terrific cook, but the atmosphere he cultivates in most of the TV programs he presents seems bound to produce tasteless, even harmful food.

I just made the first chicken mole in my life. I cannot even remember how exactly I made it and what I put in the mole sauce. I was winging it. But it turned out tasty, because I enjoyed making it, and I always enjoy improvising.

It was improvisation that led me to invent the cocktail I have dubbed the Imatra Sling, which consists of lots of ice in a tumbler glass, a heaping helping of ginger beer poured over the ice, whatever garnishes come to hand (tonight, it was a fresh basil leaf and an orange slice), and three-star Finnish jaloviina, a so-called cut brandy that has its own peculiar history, dating back to the two wars Finland fought against the Soviet Union in the 1940s.

Since I have tested the Imatra Sling on actual people who like alcoholic cocktails, I know it is a winner, but for the time being I won’t be going public with my profoundly random chicken mole sauce.

The happiest place I have ever been in my life was the café next to the flat where my longtime friend K. lived in the Castro after graduating from college and moving to San Francisco. Every morning, the cafe was chockablock with beautiful, happy gay men living in a community where it would have been unthinkable to hate them. In fact, it was easy to love so many handsome, happy men.

This post is going in way too many directions, just like my mole sauce, but I wanted to say the so-called United States will not have much of a future if its highest court reverts to the low road of defending the New Jim Crow, segregation, and homophobia. I thought we had been through all that pure evil before, at great cost to our country and a great loss of life, but, apparently, we will have to go through it all over again. // LIF

Pasha

In Finland, both Lutherans and Greek Catholics celebrate Easter on the same day, and this year that day was this past Sunday, April 1. But Russian Orthodox Easter will be celebrated this coming Sunday, April 8.

No Orthodox Easter meal, whether in Finland or Russia, would be complete without pasha (in Russian, пасха; the same word also denotes the holiday itself). To my mind, it is the most delicious sweet treat I have ever tasted, and it is all the better that purists, like my boon companion, make it only once a year for serving on Easter Day itself and finishing off in the days following Christianity’s most important feast day.

My sweetheart makes pasha the old-fashioned Russian way, which takes a few days. First, she makes Russian творог (quark, curd, cottage cheese, farmer cheese) from fresh milk before mixing the homemade curd with the other ingredients and pouring the thick liquidy mixture thus produced into traditional wooden molds, lined with gauze.

The molds are turned upside down and drained for 24 hours before being placed in the refrigerator to set up. On Easter Day, the molds and gauze lining their insides are carefully removed, revealing tiny pyramid-like mounds of pasha in all their delectable glory, impressed with the Cyrillic letters ХВ (standing for Христов воскрес! or “Christ has risen!”) on one side, and the Orthodox cross on the opposite side.

The recipe I have translated, below, is a quick, easy Finnish variation on its hardcore, time-consuming Russian cousin.

One year, my true love and I found ourselves celebrating Easter in Finland. We brought our wooden molds along with us, but we used a Finnish recipe much like this one, whose mainstay is the Finnish variety of quark/farmer cheese/curd/tvorog, known as rakha. Rakha can be bought readymade and packaged in any grocery store. As we discovered, it makes an excellent pasha, and is generally less watery than tvorog, homemade or bought at the market, meaning it drains and sets up more quickly, and is thus much less of a hassle to work with.

Make sure to watch the video, below the recipe, for a great tip on how to turn your pasha into a pyramid without using the Russian wooden molds.

Pasha

Ingredients

    • 100 g creamery butter
    • dl sugar
    • 2 packages (250 g each) quark
    • dl whipping cream (double cream)
    • egg
    • fresh-squeezed juice of half an orange
    • tsp vanilla sugar
    • 1/2 dl chopped almonds
    • 1/2 dl raisins
    • 1/2 dl succade (chopped bits of candied fruit)
Directions
  1. Whip the cream. Whip the butter and sugar until frothy. Add the quark, eggs, flavorings, and whipped cream. Pour the quark mixture into a gauze-lined pasha mold or colander to drain. You can also used a coffee filter lined with filter paper. Let the mixture drain in a cool place (i.e., a refrigerator) overnight.
  2. Flip the pasha over the next day onto a serving dish and garnish with slices of fresh fruit if desired. Serve as a dessert or at coffee time with other Easter goodies.

Source: K-ruoka.fi. Translated by Living in FIN

 

Aperol Spritz Cheesecake

This dessert combines cheesecake and my favorite cocktail, Aperol Spritz. The cheesecake contains alcohol, so you should be careful to whom you serve it. Alternately, the ingredients containing alcohol can be boiled, whereupon the alcohol evaporates.

The cheesecake’s bottom crust consists of minced Jaffa Orange Biscuits, which are perfect for it. The combination of the biscuit’s pastry crust, orange marmelade, and chocolate form a solid, tasty base for the cheesecake. The cheesecake itself is fashioned from orange-flavored cream cheese and orange juice, so you are in for a rather orangey treat.

The top layer is a refreshing mixture of Aperol and mineral water. I think it produces a gorgeous color and constitues the core of the entire cheesecake tastewise. It is topped with “ice cubes” made from chilled Prosecco mixed with gelatin sheets: a pretty fun imitation that looks like real ice.

This cheesecake can be recommended to all lovers of Aperol Spritz and anyone else who wants to try something new. Aperol Spritz Cheesecake can also be made in a springform pan, in which case the recipe should be doubled. A pan twenty centimeters in diameter should probably do for this purpose.

aperol-0288-1

Aperol Spritz Cheesecake

Ingredients (two servings)

Crust
100 g Jaffa Orange Biscuits

Cream Cheese Filling
2 gelatin sheets
200 g orange-flavored cream cheese
1/2 dl orange juice

Aperol Jello
1 dl Aperol
1/2 dl mineral water
1 tbsp sugar
2 gelatin sheets

“Ice Cubes”
2 dl sparkling wine (Prosecco)
3 gelatin sheets

Prep time: 1 h 30 min

Cooking Directions

Chop the Jaffa Orange Biscuits into tiny bits with a knife and place at the bottom of the serving dishes. Press the crust down a bit into the dishes.

Place seven gelatin sheets in cold water and soak for at least five minutes.

Prepare the cream cheese filling by mixing the orange-flavored cream cheese and orange juice. Melt two gelatin sheets in the microwave for approximately ten seconds (remove the sheets from the water and place in a small bowl without squeezing out the excess water) and stir into the cream cheese mixture. Divide the mixture evenly among the serving dishes. Refrigerate until jelled.

Prepare the top layer by mixing the Aperol, mineral water, and sugar. Melt two gelatin sheets in the microwave for approximately ten seconds (remove the sheets from the water and place in a small bowl without squeezing out the excess water) and stir into the Aperol mixture. Pour the mixture on top of the cheesecake mixture. Refrigerate.

Prepare the “ice cubes” by melting three gelatin sheets in the microwave for approximately ten seconds. (Remove the sheets from the water and place in a small bowl without squeezing out the excess water.) Stir the melted gelatin sheets into the sparkling wine. Pour the mixture into a container, approximately fifteen centimeters square, in which clingwrap has been placed on the bottom. Refrigerate until set, approximately one hour.

Cut the sparkling wine jello into cubes and top the serving dishes with them. Garnish with a slice of orange at your discretion.

Source: Meillakotona.fi. Translated by Living in FIN

Sweet Potato Curry

 

9246

Sweet Potato Curry

Ingredients

4 servings

    • (600 g) sweet potato
    • (100 g) onion
    • cloves garlic
    • tbsp oil
    • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
    • tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper
    • dl water
    • tin (approx. 230 g) chickpeas
    • 1 bag (approx. 65 g) baby leaf spinach
    • 2 tbsp tandoori curry paste
    • carton (2.5 dlcoconut cream
    • tsp lemon juice

Cooking Directions

Prep time: 30–60 minutes

  • Peel and cube the sweet potato. Chop the onion and garlic finely.
  • Sauté the sweet potato, onion, and garlic in oil in a saucepan for about five minutes. Season with the cumin, salt, and pepper. Add the water to the saucepan and simmer with the lid on another ten minutes.
  • Use a colander to rinse and drain the chickpeas. Add the chickpeas, spinch, and tandoori curry paste to the saucepan. Add the coconut cream and bring to a boil. Finally, season with the lemon juice. Check the taste. Serve the sweet potato curry with basmatic rice and naan bread.

Source: k-ruoka.fi. Translated by Living in FIN

Mignon Chocolate Egg Cake

mignonkakku

Mignon Chocolate Egg Cake

Source: Meillä Kotona (Maku)
Text: Anni Pitkänen
Photos: Kreetta Järvenpää

Ingredients (16 servings)

Filling

  • 2 gelatin sheets
  • 2 ½ dl whipping cream
  • 200 g dark chocolate
  • 2 Fazer Mignon chocolate eggs (52 g each)
  • 200 g unflavored cream cheese (do not use light cream cheese)
  • ½ dl water
  • 2 tbsp dark cocoa powder

Crust

  • 100 g digestive biscuits
  • 1 ½ dl ground hazelnuts
  • 1 ½ dl ground almonds
  • 100 g water

Topping

  • 150 g white chocolate

Cooking Directions

Total prep time: 6 hours and 45 minutes (active prep time: 45 minutes)

Soak the gelatin sheets in cold water for at least 5 minutes. Whip the cream.

Chop the chocolate into bits and peel the Mignon eggs. Melt them carefully in a microwave a few seconds at a time. Mix the chocolate bits while melting them. Mix the chocolate mixture with the whipped cream.

Whisk the cream cheese in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the chocolate-whipped cream mixture to the whisked cream cheese.

Heat the water in a saucepan. Remove the pan from the stove and add the cocoa powder.  Squeeze the excess water from the gelatin sheets and add them to the saucepan with the water-cocoa mixture. Pour the gelatin mixture into the filling in thin ribbons. Whisk the mixture quickly, just until the ingredients are are blended.

Pour the filling into a 1.5-liter round-bottomed bowl lined with cling wrap. Level off the surface. Put the filling in the refrigerator.

Crush the biscuits and measure the powdered hazelnuts and almonds into the mixture. Brown butter in a saucepan.  Heat the butter until it takes on a scorched brown color. Pour the browned butter into the mixture of crushed biscuits and powdered nut. Mix until smooth.

Once the mixture has cooled, use a spoon to pat it on top of the filling to form a bottom crust.  Let the cake cool in the fridge for at least 6 hours, preferrably overnight.

crust

Melt the white chocolate in the microwave a few seconds at a time. Mix the chocolate while melting it.

Spread the white chocolate on a piece of baking paper. Let it solidify in the refrigerator. Using a knife, cut the chocolate into differently shaped pieces and set them randomly around the edge of the cake.

Press the white chocolate pieces against the cake. When the cake is cut, each person gets a piece of the “eggshell.”

Translated by Thomas H. Campbell

Finnish Almond Date Bread

DSCN2287

This coffee cake or quick bread has been a festive season favorite of my boon companion and me ever since I clipped the recipe from a December issue of the Finnish home design and food magazine Koti ja keittiö several years ago and gave it a try. Since then I have baked it something like a dozen times.

It is incredibly easy to bake and tastes great, especially with a cup of tea or coffee or cocoa amid the now nearly perpetual gloom of the slushy southern Finnish winter.

I am glad I clipped the recipe way back then, because the magazine’s website doesn’t seem to have a recipes archive. Fortunately, a smart looking blog entitled Idealista.fi has preserved the recipe for posterity in Finnish.

I have englished it, below, using standard English measures as well, rather than the metric measures used in Finnish recipes and cookbooks.

Finnish Festive Season Almond Date Bread

Ingredients

Approx. 1 2/3 cups White baking flour
1 ½ tsp Baking powder
6 Tbsp Sugar or fructose
1 tsp Coriander powder
Zest Lemon (one whole)
Approx. 1 ½ cups Dates, fresh, pitted, chopped
Approx. 1 cup Almonds, flaked (NB. This is my substitution.)
½ cup Butter or margarine
½ cup Milk
2 Eggs
2 or 3 pats Butter or margarine, for greasing bread pan

1. Measure the flour, baking powder, and spices, including the lemon zest, into a large mixing bowl and mix them lightly but thoroughly.

2. Chop and pit the dates if you have not already done it. It is up to you to decide how finely you want to chop the dates. I leave the almonds flakes whole, as they come out of the packapge, but you might want to give them a rough chop as well. In any case, set aside a small amount of the chopped dates and almond flakes for sprinkling on top of the bread just before it goes into the oven.

3. Melt the butter or margarine that goes into the bread dough. Add it and the milk to the mixture in the mixing bowl. Finally, add the eggs and mix the whole kit and caboodle until you have a smooth dough.

4. Grease a small rectangular bread pan. Spoon the dough into the pan and spread it around more or less evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle the surface with the dates and almond flakes you set aside earlier.

5. Bake in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for around 45 minutes to an hour. When the bread is done, let it cool for a while before serving.

DSCN2288

Freely translated, tested, and photographed by Living in FIN

Finnish Butternut Squash Casserole

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Finnish Butternut Squash Casserole

No Finnish holiday table would be complete without several casseroles (laatikoita), made from carrots, rutabagas, potatoes, liver, squash, and other gifts of the harsh Finnish soil and dogged agricultural labor.

Ingredients

2 Butternut squash
1 ½ cups Water
1 cup Light cream (10%)
2 tsp Fennel seeds
1 Egg
1 Orange
1 ½ tsp Salt
½ tsp Black pepper (ground)
2/3 cup French baguette (crumbled into tiny croutons)
1-2 tsp Rosemary (fresh, finely chopped)
2 Tablespoons Butter

Directions

1. Cut the squashes in half, removing the seeds and the innards. Remove the outer rind and chop the squashes into smallish cubes. Put the squash cubes and water into a pot. Heat the pot and simmer with lid on for around 30 minutes or until the squash cubes are soft. Stir occasionally. When the squash cubes are soft, remove them from the water with a ladle and put them into a mixing bowl. Puree them with a mixer or potato masher.

2. After the squash puree has a cooled slightly, mix in the cream and egg.

3. After washing the orange thoroughly, grate ½ teaspoon of zest from the rind and squeeze 3 tablespoons of juice. Crush the fennel seeds using a mortar and pestle. Mix the zest, juice, crushed fennel, salt, and pepper into the puree.

4. Pour the puree into a buttered ovenproof casserole or baking dish. Sprinkle the bread crumbs and finely chopped fresh rosemary over the top. Add a few pats of butter.

5. Bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for one to one and a half hours. In the final few minutes of baking, you can raise the temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit if you want the croutons to get more color.

Estimated overall preparation and cooking time: 60 minutes.

Source of text and photo: k-ruoka.fi. Translated and tested by Living in FIN