Wednesday, August 25, 2010

24-hour cucumbers

We, estonians, eat a lot of cucumbers - fresh, in salad, pickled or marinated. In summer, we love to make a really quick and delicious snack - 24 hour cucumbers. We use the little fresh cucumbers, make a tasty marinade and after 24 hours they are ready to be eaten. I guarantee, you will love the crispyness and freshness of this tasty summer snack. It´s also wonderful to accompany your grilled meat!
You need:
As many cucumbers as you like (those little rough ones, not the long and smooth ones)
Enough marinade to cover the cucumbers
For the marinade:
per 1 l boiled water, you need
1,5 tbsp strong vinegar
4 tbsp coarse salt
0,5 tbsp sugar
Handful of fresh dill
Handful of black currant leaves
3 cloves of garlic, halved
3 peppercorns

Boil the water. Add vinegar, salt, sugar and pepper. Mix until sugar and salt are dissolved.
Put dill, black currant leaves and garlic to a big pot. Add washed cucumbers. Pour over the marinade, while it´s still hot. Cover with a heavy plate or something that presses down the cucumbers, but lets in the air. After 24 hours, you have wonderful, fresh, aromatic and crunchy sour cucumbers!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cheese and fresh garlic spread

Huge fresh bulbs of pinkish garlic are on the market now. I love garlic in every season, but those new ones are especially tasty. This salad or spread, made of grated cow cheese, garlic and mayonnaise, is a very common estonian party-dish. Sometimes we have it on fresh or grilled white bread and sometimes we roll it inside thin slices of good ham. It takes just some minutes to make, so it´s all good, if you´re a garlic-addict, like me. You need:

100 gr of cow cheese (you can use edam, emmentaler, gouda, cheddar or any other you like)

2-4 gloves of garlic

100 ml of mayonnaise

black pepper and salt for seasoning

Grate the cheese. Chop the garlic as thin as possible. Mix cheese, garlic and mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with fresh bread or roll inside a thin slice of ham.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Cold and creamy summer soup with herring

After a few days, when it was actually possible to breath, the heat is back again. And the time for cold soups is back as well. This one, with light sour cream and herring, is another childhood favourites of mine.

You´ll need:
50-70 gr herring filet
300 gr light sour cream (10% fat for example)
1 tomato
1 small cucumber
1 small onion
salt and pepper
boiled potatoes to serve
Cut the herring, cucumber, tomato and onion to small pieces. Mix in the sour cream. Season with salt and pepper. Let the soup stay in fridge for 15 minutes. Boil some potatoes, sprinkle with fresh dill and serve with the cold herring soup!

Külm hapukoore-heeringasupp

50-70 gr heeringafileed
300 gr 10% hapukoort
1 tomat
1 väiksem kurk
1 väiksem sibul
soola ja pipart maitsestamiseks
kõrvale keedetud kartulit värske tilliga

Haki heeringas, kurk, tomat ja sibul. Sega kokku hapukoorega. Maitsesta soola ja pipraga. Lase vähemalt 15 minutit külmkapis maitsestuda. Serveeri koos keedetud kartulitega, millele puista värsket tilli.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fresh field beans - soft and salty

No, I haven´t got a heart attack in this summer heat. Although I have to admit, I have the feeling of having one almost every day for the last month or so. Nobody here in Estonia remembers having this kind of heat for so many days in a row. Even my husbands great grandmother, who is already 80. So no, this is not the reason of my long absense from here, the Berries and the Blue Sky. I can assure that the pause has been nothing else than culinary and if everything goes as expected, I will write you about it more soon.
This extreme summer that has speeded up the growth of every summer berry and vegetable is now so far that the big field beans are ready. And my favourite thing to do with them is really easy. All you need is some fresh beans, a lot of salt and some water. Oh, and do not forget a cold bere to enjoy the beautiful snack after it´s ready!
So, take a lot of beans, with the pods. Cover them with water and add a little bit more water. Add a lot of salt. And I really do mean A LOT. The water should be too salty. Boil until the beans inside the pods are almost ready. Then turn off the heat and let the beans stay inside the salted water for half an hour. And then you´re ready to have them, with some cold beer, on your terrace, after the heat has gone to sleep and the grasshoppers are singing!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Estonian milk soup with fresh veggies

I bet this soup brings back many childhood memories to all estonians. Both, good and bad. Some people, like me, just love it! Some people hate it as it was often served in school canteens during the Soviet times and was usually not made with the freshest ingrediences of the market. But this is a soup where the freshest of the fresh is a must. If all you got is frozen veggies of an unknown origin, then skip it. But when the little new potatoes, thin crunchy carrots and tiny green peas have just arrived, then I strongly recommend to cook this summer soup, that is really easy to make!

You need:
about 0,5 litres of water
6-7 little potatoes
100 gr fresh peas
4-5 little carrots (mine are beautifully dark red this year)
0,7 litres of milk
1 tbs butter
salt for seasoning
fresh dill to serve

Wash the vegetables. Cut the potatoes to quarters and carrots to about 1,5 cm pieces. Boil in salted water until cooked. Pour in milk and butter. Bring to boil. Serve with fresh dill.

umbes 0,5 l vett
6-7 väikest värsket kartulit
100 gr herneid
4-5 pisikest porgandit
0,7 l piima
1 spl võid
soola maitsestamiseks
värsket tilli serveerimiseks
Puhasta köögivili ja lõika parajateks tükkideks. Keeda soolaga maitsestatud vees pehmeks. Lisa piim ja või. Aja keema, tõsta tulelt. Serveeri värske tilliga.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Rhubarb and strawberry crumble

Crumble is not exactly an estonian dessert, to be honest. But we have a similar cake, called Purukook, that has a crumbly top. Plus, strawberries and rhubarbs are the most common cake material during the summers here. This must be one of the last cakes I make from the rhubarbs of my garden this year. Strawberry season is still going on. I am planning to eat as much as I can until I don´t want to see them anymore :). For the crumble you need:

100 ml of oats
100 ml flour
100 ml brown sugar
30 ml almond flakes
pintch of salt
6 tbs butter
200 ml strawberries (quartered)
200 ml rhubarbs (cut in pieces)
150 ml sugar
1 tsp grated lemon peel
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbs flour
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
Mix together the oats, flour, almond flakes, brown sugar and salt. Add butter, rub it in the dry mix until small clumps form.
Fore the filling, mix all the ingrediences together and let it stay until juices start to form.
Preheat the oven to 190 degreees. Butter six ramekins. Divide rhubarbs and strawberries to ramekins. Cover every ramekin with crumb mixture. Bake until the crumble is golden and the filling is bubbling out, about 30-40 minutes. Serve with whipped cream!
The inspiration for this crumble came from Pittsburgh Hot Plate blog! Thank you!
Maasika-rabarberi krõbedik

100 ml kaerahelbeid
100 ml jahu
100 ml pruuni suhkrut
30 ml mandlilaaste
suts soola
6 spl võid

200 ml maasikaid
200 ml rabarbereid
150 ml suhkrut
1 tl sidrunikoort
1/2 sidruni mahl
1 spl jahu
1/2 tl jahvatatud kardemoni

Sega jahu, kaerahelbed, mandlilaastud ja pruun suhkur. Lisa või ja näpi ta kuivainete sisse.
Täidise tegemiseks sega kõik koostisained kokku, lase seista kuni tekib mahl.
Määri kuus ramekini võiga kokku ja jaga täidis nende vahel ära. Kata iga vorm puruga ja küpseta eelkuumutatud ahjus 190 kraadi juures, kuni pealt on kuldpruun ja täidis äärtest välja mullitab. See võtab umbes 30-40 minutit. Serveeri vahukoorega!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Kefir jelly with oh-so-sweet wild strawberries

2010 is an exceptional year, everything is ready too early. For example, the first autumn mushrooms came out already a few weeks ago. And some days ago we found ripe blueberries near our gate. The peas are a few weeks ahead of their time. Well, it is normal, that the wild strawberries are ready, but they are so abundant and this surprises me! And, of course, makes me really happy! My theory is, that the summer dishes shoul be really quick and easy, as you do not want to stay in the hot kitchen for a long time. You want to sit outside in the sun, drink a glass of cold wine and eat something light and tasty. This dessert is perfect in that sense, it is so easy that it´s hard to believe :). You need (for 4-5):

300 ml kefir
3 gelatine leaves
6 tsp of sugar
seeds of 1/2 vanillapod
1/2 tsp of grated lemon peel
150 gr of wild strawberries
Add sugar, vanilla seeds and lemon peel to kefir, mix through. Soak te gelatine leaves in cold water for a few minutes. Squeeze out the excess water and melt the gelatine, stirring continuously, on low heat. Pour in the kefir, still stirring until even. Add some wild strawberries to every ramekin you are going to use. Pour the kefir on top of them. Cover with cling film and put to fridge for a few hours. Serve with some more strawberries!

Keefiritarretid metsmaasikatega (4-5-le)

Vaja läheb:
300 ml keefiri
3 lehte želatiini
6 tl suhkrut
1/2 tl sidrunikoort
1/2 vanillikauna seemned
150 gr metsmaasikaid

Sega keefir, suhkur, vanilliseemned ja riivitud sidrunikoor. Lase želatiinil mõned minutid külmas vees seista, pigista üleliigne vesi välja. Kuumuta pidevalt segades, kuni kogu želatiin on sulanud. Vala keefir peene joana želatiini sisse, ise pidevalt segades. Pane igasse ramekinvormi mõned metsmaasikad ja vala peale keefirisegu. Kata toidukilega ja pane mõneks tunniks külmkappi. Serveerimisel lisa veel maasikaid!

Friday, June 25, 2010

The best days of the summer - time for chanterelles

The best time of the summer has arrived. The markets are full of fresh produce - sweet peas, new potatoes, strawberries from garden and forest, fresh herbs, delicious tomatoes and... of course, my favourites, the little cute chanterelles. Now I am a happy foodie :). Although you can do all kinds of things with those beautiful yellow things, the best is to fry them slightly in butter, maybe add a bit of onion, sprinkle on some fresh dill and parsley and serve with new potatoes. Oh yes, and do not forget the salad that suites just perfectly - chopped green onion with thick sour cream. There´s a country-gourmet - ready in a few minutes!

By the way, 2 days ago we had the most important celebration of the summer - Jaanipäev. We make big big fire for this occasion, eat a lot of good food and search for glowing warms in the middle of the night from the forest. It is the shortest night of the year, it almost doesn´t go dark at all during the night. Usually estonians eat a lot of traditional shashlik during the Jaanipäev party. You can find out more about this in a beautiful estonian foodblog Nami-Nami (in english). Take a look!

You need:

Fresh little chanterelles (the more the better)
some fresh dill
some fresh parsley
a few new potatoes (the smaller the better, I think)
some green onion
some thick sour cream
a bit of chopped onion
a few tablespoons of good butter for frying
salt and pepper to season

Boil and drain the potatoes. Do not waist your time trying to peel the new potatoes - they are more tasty with the skin on. Fry the chopped onion in butter a bit, add the chanterelles and fry until fragnant. Season with salt and black pepper and add the chopped parsley. Mix together the green onion and sour cream. Add some salt, if you like. Serve immediately, adding some extra dill on top od everything!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Really rich knights

Remember the sweet eggy fried breads that are called "poor knoghts"? If we believe Wikipedia, then it is eaten in almost all the countries of the world, with slight variations and under different names. Well, we eat it here in estonia, too. But if you add a thick yoghurt with roasted strawberries and vanilla flavoured whipped cream and sprinkle over some chopped hazelnuts, then it would be very unfair to name them "poor". I would say, they are very rich, tasy and glamorous!

You need:
8 thick slices of good white bread
2 eggs
200 ml milk
2 tbs sugar

Mix the eggs, sugar and milk well. Dip the slices of bread in the mixture, hold for a few seconds and fry in hot butter on a pan until they are golden on both side.
200 ml thick natural yoghurt (or buy the usual natural yoghurt and drain it)
150 ml fresh strawberries
3 tbs brown sugar
a few drops of balsamico
1 ts grated lemon zest

Halve the strawberries, put them on a baking tray, sprinkle over with brown sugar, lemon zest and a few drops of balsamico. Cover with foil and bake in the oven of 180 degrees for about 20 minutes until they are soft. Strain away the liquid (makes a delicious drink with water and lemon). Push the strawbrries a bit with a fork and mix with the yoghurt.

150 ml whipping cream
2 tbs of sugar
seeds from one vanillapod

Mix the sugar, vanilla seeds and the cream. Whip until firm.

Serve the fried bread, putting a tablespoon of strawberry yoghurt and another of vanilla cream on them. Sprinkle over with a tablespoon of chopped hazelnuts. Makes a beautiful weekend breakfast for strawberry season!

Tõeliselt rikkad rüütlid
Vaja läheb:
8 lõiku head saia
2 muna
200 ml piima
2 spl suhkrut

Sega munad, piim ja suhkur. Kasta saiaviilud segusse ja hoia mõned sekundid. Prae kuumas võis mõlemalt poolt kuldseks.
200 ml paksemat maitsestamata jogurtit (või nõruta tavalisest liigne vedelik välja)
150 ml värskeid maasikaid
3 spl pruuni suhkrut
1 tl riivitud sidrunikoort
mõned tilgad balsamico äädikat

Poolita maasikad. Pane ahjupannile, raputa peale pruun suhkur, sidrunikoor ja mõned tilgad balsamicot.
Kata vorm fooliumiga ja küpseta 180 kraadi juures ca 20 minutit kuni maasikad on pehmed. Suru maasikaid kahvliga pisut puruks, nõruta välja vedelik ja sega maasikad jogurtisse.
150 ml vahukoort
2 spl suhkrut
vanilliseemned ühest vanillikaunast
Sega vahukoor suhkru ja vanilliseemnetega. Klopi korralikult vahule.
Serveeri praetud saiad, tõstes neile peale lusikatäis maasikajogurtit ja teine vanilli-vahukoort ning raputa peale veidi haitud metspähkleid. Suurepärane nädalalõpuhommikusöök suviseks maasikahooajaks!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Strawberry-semolina mousse with cold milk

Semolina mousse is an estonian dessert, that can be made with whatever you find in your cupboard or cellar - juice, jam, compote, fresh berries... So, it´s not exactly seasonal. But when you use the first strawberries of the summer, it suddenly becomes something else, it tastes so special. And you can feel the real unprocessed taste of the berries, when you eat the mild mousse. Perfect for a sunny summer day, especially if eaten with some cold fresh milk.

You need:
enough fresh strawberries to make about 300-400 ml when pureed
100-200 ml sugar (according to your taste)
about 500 ml water, to make 1 l when you add the pureed berries and sugar
1,5 dl semolina
fresh cold milk and a few extra strawberries for serving

Puree the strawberries, mix in the sugar and taste, if it´s sweet enough. Add water and mix through. Bring the mixture to boil, add quickly semolina, stirring continuously. Simmer in low heat for about 15 minutes until the mousse is porridge-like (not too thick). Remove from heat and let it cool down for a couple of minutes. Then use a mixer to whip it until the porridge turns to a beautiful mousse. Serve with some more berries and cold milk!

Mannavaht värsketest maasikatest

piisavalt maasikaid, et saada neist peale purustamist umbes 300-400 ml püreed

ca 100-200 ml suhkrut

ca 500 ml vett (kokku, koos püreestatud marjade ja suhkruga, peaks tulema umbes 1 l vedelikku)

150 ml mannat

serveerimiseks värsket külma piima ja mõned maasikad

Püreeri saumikseriga maasikad. Lisa suhkur ning maitse, kas toormoos on piisavalt magus. Lisa vesi, sega läbi ja lase keema tõusta. Lisa kiiresti manna, ise pidevalt segades. Keeda madalal kuumusel umbes 15 minutit, kuni manna paisub millekski pudrulaadseks. Tõsta tulelt ja lase mõned minutid jahtuda. Kasuta mikserit, et muuta puder ilusaks vahuks. Serveeri külma piima ja värskete maasikatega!