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Foodbysophie

Min mat, min trädgård, mitt hotellprojekt

Month

March 2014

Addictive Ramps butter, Miami and quack quack nachos

 

Back from Miami and the Keys to the never ending winter in this area.  An extended week with a lot of and good food, nice wines, even if we rarely go beyond the Pinot bottles. (Need to spend time with our favorite “wine couple”, M & C in Stockholm I think….) Lunches that starts with the thought of “OK I will just have a salad” – Ending with a starter, a bottle of rose, the salad and at least two or three shared desserts. A couple of hours later the same again, with the exception that desserts are not shared. For me a week like this is heaven – Food, family, old friends, newer friends, sunshine, and everything else around it is pure delight!

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Ramps butter

Back in my own kitchen and after laying hand on a bunch of ramps/ramson (Finally they are here!) I decided to just do a simple dinner with ramp butter as the main excitement.

Rinse a handful of ramps and chop them up roughly. Blend with maybe 1/8 (1/4 dl) of a cup of your nicest olive oil, ½ a tsp. of sugar and a squeeze of lemon until smooth.

Beat butter (6 oz. /150 g should be good for an ad on for four persons) until fluffy and white. Add the blended ramps. Start with a large tbsp. and ad more if you like.

This butter is addictive! The beautiful color, the light smell of green spring and garlic….  (I used it on top of a newly fried “Wallenbergare” (The juicy Swedish ground beef of veal “burger” blended with eggs and cream to a very creamy batter. Fried in butter on medium heat) and just served it with some spinach/arugula salad on the side

This will be mine go to butter for this spring! It is so delicious and can be used for so much on any grilled meat, chicken or fish. On just newly boiled small potatoes, as a spread on bruschetta’s… Or just the ramp base blended with pasta and some Parmesan on top. Again, the simple things are the bestJ

 

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Back to Miami and restaurants to remember if you go there (and I happily go to again)

Cecconis

Casa Tua

Juvia (can’t beat the view, sit outside if you can, the noise level inside is too high for me)

Florida Kitchen for lunch

Betsy for lunch or a quite cocktail after dinner

Ice box cafe, (if you are into all kinds of huge American cakes) Books on Books, (not for the food but the actual book store is super)

And when you have had enough of the buzz, the crowds on Lincoln, fluttering white fabrics in white hotels with dark entrances, the tattoo studios, pool side cabanas (again fluttering white fabrics)  enjoy a slow ride along Overseas Highway ( And if any road trip was made to do in a cab this is the one!)

Take the first stop at Henriettes, Key Largo for breakfast. That place is truly special and genuine.

Morada Bay Beach cafe, Islamorada, Not for the food but for the setting and for buying the cover ups you need for poolside lunches to come.

Blue Haven, Key West. Dining in a garden with roosters and kittens everywhere, beans and rice and the best Key Lime pie I have ever had (And I don’t even like Key Lime Pie)

2 cent’s Key West, a gastro pub in a quiet alley with some fun and good food, like the “quack quack nachos” (Duck confit and black beans with cheddar and salsa over nachos) Perfect finger food!

 

Just remember, when in Key West, avoid Duval Street! That must be the touristic street from hell!

 

Enjoy the ramps

S

 

Cravings for a veg dinner – Finding an eggplant

 

The craving for eating green and light came over me after a long weekend filled with good food, a beloved sister, long longed for, friends and wine.

( And I like that feeling – i love all kinds of food and eat and cook everything but as a base I prefer vegetarian and no gluten. I believe it is good for all of us to cut down on red meat, sugar, gluten and alcohol and treat our bodies as the amazing machine it is)

 After a “food weekend”  (Or Maybe because it was an uninspiring Tuesday?)  I usually feel totally empty on any creativity what so ever.. .

Staring into the fridge, open the pantry ,looking in the freezer.  This time I end up having one eggplant/aubergine (love the look of them) 2 yellow onions, some fresh tomatoes and one can of diced and some aged Parmesan cheese from Cavaniolas in Sag Harbour.  Actually not bad at all. 

I would say this is enough for 3 persons as a main, as  side, of course for more:

Start by slicing the eggplant ( either long slices or round,  ¼ of an inch thick)  Put them  on a plate and have pour some salt on them . This will make them loose some of its liquid and will keep them from getting soggy.  Wipe the salt off after 10 minutes and fry them until golden in some olive on medium heat a few at the time.  Put aside.  Slice a big onion and fry in olive oil until slightly golden and ad some salt.

Tomato sauce:

Chop a small onion and 2 cloves of garlic and let simmer in some olive oil in a saucepan. Add 2-3 finely chopped tomatoes and leave to simmer for 15 minutes. Add one can if diced tomatoes or the canned small cocktail tomatoes.  Continue to so simmer for a while.  It will taste even better if you are patient.

Put the oven on 385 F  (200 C) Grate the Parmesan you will need around 1 cup (2,3 dl)

I like to add two teaspoons of white wine vinegar, one teaspoon of sugar as well as some black pepper and sea salt in the end.

When you are happy with the taste of it just take a ovenproof dish and layer eggplant, onions and the Parmesan. End with your  tomato sauce and some more cheese.  Bake for 15-20 minutes. Serve as is or with just a small green salad.

 

Enjoy!

S

 

 

 

Enjoy 

The Chicken soup you didn’t know you longed for

The other day I was goggling on menus at a various restaurants in the US as well as in Sweden. It is a fun way to see what’s going on, to see the seasonal changes and to get ideas for our own cooking and also to bombard M with different ideas (not always appreciated I think)

What struck me was that I saw David Chang’s steamed buns (Soft Buns) at several places. This old “common table” “bread” from China and other Asian countries got to be even more world famous through his Momofuku. I actually can’t think about one “item dish” that recently have had such a big impact on menus in US and Sweden. Of course there has been certain produce or certain ways of cooking that have had the same impact but this is special. (At least I think so)

I am going to stay in Asia today. I have some chicken breasts from Iacono chicken farm in East Hampton that I bought yesterday.(Well worth to skip the regular food store for) After thinking a while – This is what I am putting on the table tonight:

Cured chicken breast in bouillon with Bok Choi, lime, spring onions and poached egg

For 4 persons you will need: 3 big chicken breast that you will cure yourself. 6 cups (1,4 l) of chicken stock, ½ (1 dl) cup of Japanese soy, 1 inch of roughly grated fresh ginger, small bunch of sliced oyster mushrooms, 3 finely chopped garlic cloves, dried chili flakes or fresh chili, 1 big sliced yellow onion, 3 small Bok Choi’s each divided in 4 pieces. Dried chili flakes. 4 eggs, lime, roughly chopped cilantro and spring onions.

Start by curing the chicken breast in a solution of 4.5 cups of water and .2 cups of salt for 1 hour.

Take a sauce pan in right size. Heat some vegetable oil and let the onions, garlic, ginger and oyster mushrooms sweat until soft. Ad some chili or chili flakes (not much, this is not a spicy soup) and the chicken stock and soy as well as 1 tsp. of salt (go easy here since the chicken have had a salt bath!)

Take up the chicken breast and slice in .5 inch slices (1,25 cm) and add them to the pot. After 5 minutes you add the Bok Choi. Let simmer until chicken is ready (around 5 minutes more) Taste the soup and ad some salt if needed as well as the juice from of 1-2 lime fruits. (Start with one and taste before adding number two) Keep the heat on but on low.

When you think it tastes like heaven you just slide down 4 eggs into the pot and wait just until the egg white has turned a bit white. (Around a minute)

Plate in soup bowls with one egg on top of each and finally sprinkle cilantro and spring onions over it all.

Enjoy
S

A good website to use when in the US is localharvest.org. Here you will find the best organic food grown close to you, like Iacona.

Meat alarm, green Friday, wine dinner and thougths on ramson

It seems that we got a new “food alarm” The last couple of days the media in US, Sweden and probably the rest of the world, has been pumping out headlines like “Eating meat is just as dangerous as smoking” or “Meat kills” When reading about it you soon understand that it is a lot of questions to be asked around this and how this “scientific” survey was done – As usual it is about balance. To cut down on red meat, keep the carbs low and get enough of fat seem to be the thing that scientists are pretty much on the same page about.

I started my day with the green juice and had thoughts on a complete green day while the morning went by. A nice morning with a very nice Swedish couple celebrating a birthday with a stay in the Hamptons. Off we sent them to Montauk with a basket of a beer and ½ a bottle of white as a birthday gift from us.

Our Hampton tip for them today was to first stop at Jacks Coffee in Amagansett and then head to Montauk light house. Take the walk on the big rocks surrounding it, look out for the seals and finally grab a lobster roll. Then back to the hotel for tea and scones before take part in the wine dinner we are throwing tonight: Char, oyster mushrooms, fennel, blackened local halibut, oysters……

So what green dinner am I cooking? Fridays is hard, always late home, not in the mood for cooking but even so, want a nice dinner, lit candles, fresh flowers and a glass of wine.
The plan was to simply do gnocchi with brown butter and fresh ramson. When the ramson coems up in my garden in Sweden I know it is spring. (Go pick some if you are nearby:)) It is a shame to miss this very seasonal green! (If you never seen it – it looks a bit like lily of the Valley with a garlic smell. Very common in Skåne and on Gotland) I have never seen it wild here but you can buy it locally from for example Satur Farm

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Gnocchi with browned butter and ramson

For this dish you will need ramson, butter, fresh gnocchi, parmesan, olive oil and salt. If you have time, do the gnocchi yourself, it is fun but, the taste beats anything you can buy, but it will take you some time)
Put the gnocchi in salter boiling water and let boil until they float up to the surface, (takes about 1 ½ minute) Rinse quickly in cold water and set aside.
Melt butter and let it turn brown but not burned, keep warm
Heat up olive oil and a tbsp. of butter in a frying pan. Add the gnocchi, fry then until they are golden and a bit crispy. (Move them around, they have a tendency to stick) Right before serving add the ramson, (if the leaves are big, cut them up, otherwise as is) stir around.
Plate, pour over the brown butter, add some freshly grated Parmesan and eventually some sea salt.

Enjoy (one of the simple things in life)

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Well Well, I did’t get to do it yesterday. After kitchen hoods not working properly, a gas fire place suddenly starting to pump out burnt rubbery smelling smoke in the dining room, we ended up in the kitchen at the window. Tasting everything on the 5 courses wine dinner menu in bits and pieces.

Also enjoyable but not very green……

S

Lamb tacos, Tv dinner and the Oscars

So what do you do when you have the Oscars from 5.30 – 11.30 pm? Well I just gave up anything but to do a TV dinner (I love those anyway and I admit – It is fun to watch the Oscars, and the most fun part is the Red Carpet. So many beautiful dresses and so many horrible. Faces I haven’t seen for years, like a Liza Minelli not looking like Liza Minelli..

You know I had some lamb shanks at home. I also have a 9 year old who loves tacos. Every time he gets to wish for dinner he says “ I want tacos” (And all he wants in them is ground beef and sour creme) This is not the child of mine with the most refined taste….

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To do Lamb Tacos for 5-6 persons you will need three lamb (Lammlägg) shanks. You will also need: 2 cups, (4.5 dl) white wine, ½ cup (0.5 dl) of balsamic vinegar, 3-4 cups (7-10 dl) of beef stock, 4 cloves of garlic, fresh rosemary and some bay leaves if you have. (It isn’t that picky, cooking should be fun. Have another spice you like? Put it in.) Fresh spinach leaves, 2 yellow onions, blue cheese, some sugar and white wine vinegar. Taco shells and eventually sour cream.

Put the lamb in a cast iron pot or anything with a lid that takes oven heat. Add beef stock and white wine so it covers the lamb. Add garlic cloves, bay leaves, balsamic vinegar and a tbsp. of salt and put the lid on. (Or foil, just make sure it is firmly pressed around the pots edges so it is completely sealed) Put the pot in the oven and set the heat to 260 F (125 C) and forget about it for 5 hours. Ok, you only have 4 hours or 3? Put the pot to a boil before putting it in the oven
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When you have like an hour left to dinner slice 2 yellow onions in no to thin slices. Melt butter in a sauce pan, add a tsp. of sugar and a dash of vinegar. Let simmer on medium heat for a while. Lower the temperature and when beautiful golden and all the liquid is gone turn off and keep warm. Taste – More salt? Vinegar? You will need to get it a bit “stringy sweet & sour” There has to be a balance to the very tender and kind meat to be, otherwise it will be like “jolmigt” when put together. (Strange Swedish word, maybe best described as insipid)

Rinse some baby spinach leaves. Crumble blue cheese in ate able sizes and put a side. Take out the lamb from the oven and lift up the shanks on a cutting board. Put taco shells in oven for a quick warm up. (This time I used tacos on oat meal to get away from the corn taste)
Assembly the tacos, onions first followed by spinach leaves, meat, a teaspoon of lamb broth from the pan, some blue cheese on top and enjoy. Hate blue cheese? Take some sour cream or sauerkraut instead or eat as is

Enjoy

(My son took out the meat, took out the onions and the spinach and finally added sour crème – You can’t win them all….)

Restaurant open, team work and matjes herring

So, finally we opened the restaurant again. As always when doing things like this you hit some walls…. Like the new fridge benches never arriving, the stove was unevenly lit and went on and off, the compressor for the walk in suddenly died and the new Rational oven never arrived… but we had a deadline and by 5.30 we were open. The first orders came in and at the same time all of us got to taste the new dishes that saw daylight for the first time. One plate for staff and one for guests until the menu was gone through. Usually we do a tasting before service or even the day before a big menu change but the motto of the day was simply “you do what you got to do.”
When the restaurant is finally open you realize how boring it was with it closed, there has simply been no “life” in the hotel, no guests having afternoon tea by the couches in front of the fire place, no people hanging round the bar or in the lounge, it has just been empty , an empty dining room, used as storage for pots and pans.
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The evenings most talked about dish was the Matjes Herring with shallots, Västerbotten cheese, Potato, anis cream and pumpernickel dust. (Served on ceramic saucers in different colors) Followed by the Löjroms “taco” (The taco is made of oat bread) with classic condiments.
But the winner of the night was the Crispy Long Island duck breast with green pepper, pickled salsify and sage, served as an entré which I will be giving you the recipe of next week.
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Now I am going to start preparing my lamb shanks for tomorrow and think about what a great team I have and how grateful I am.

S

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