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Archive for September, 2007

I wanted to make baked burritos oringinally which would have fit the box better on account of being rolled up and sealed by lovely melted cheese. But my kitchen was a mess and I kicked myself to clean it up instead, so I didn’t have time for that… so wraps it was!
They are filled with red kidney beans, onions and corn in tomato sauce (what I had originally planned to put in the burritos), and salad leaves. Sprinkled on top is grated cheese, bell pepper pieces (for color) and a dab of avocado-yoghurt dip. On the side we have roasted veggies from last night’s tortilla dinner, a kitty with more avocado dip and grapes.

I think that this recipe is even mostly glutenfree, since I used corn tortillas for the wraps. But I’m not entirely familiar with glutenfree – what do you think?

You think that big thing can’t actually really fit the box? Well, I managed to fit it all in actually! But it wasn’t as cute lying down anymore, which is why I took the nice arranged picture. I guess I cheated a little there… the wraps are actually wrapped rather loosely, and toothpicks helped me hold them together in the box and for easier eating. (You can see that one wrap is already falling apart by the time the picture was taken…)
See here how it looked after lying them down in the box:

The kitty had to move outside the box though, it was mainly there to support the wrap for the photo.

All wrapped up!

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Bento #100!

And it only took me a full year… *mumble*
Bento #100 and what should I choose as a main attraction but… *drumroll* a sandwich. I don’t think I’ve ever made a sandwich the main attraction of a bento before!
But to my defense, it’s a sandwich topped with a lettuce leaf and One Hot Stove’s Eggplant Caponata. It tasted fantastic even cold!
The letters are cheese and there’s a sprig of thyme and some basil leaves.
Then we have a were rabbit made out of a hardboiled egg (which *cough* had a minor slicer incident before I stuck it in there and tried to repair it with clever cutouts), mayo, nori and carrots, black olives, a plum tomato, sugarpeas and a carrot “100”, and in the upper compartment another mini creamcheese tart with veggies and a silicone cup of assorted sweets and some grapes.
The creamcheese ended up tasting too weird for me (pineapple? Whoever puts pineapple in creamcheese?) and wasn’t eaten, though.

Yay for a year of 100 bentos!

\o/

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OK, that was lame.
I was hoping to get to #100 this week but unexpected seminars and other disasters kept me from it. Or maybe I’ll manage to make #100 a picknick bento this weekend, but I doubt it.

Today’s bento is in the “male” box that I bought last time I was at the Japanese store. That box is seriously huge but it does allow me to pack a lot less tight and allows for more delicious vegetables and fruit on the mealplan! (Side note: OK, a muffin cup of spaghetti was still too little. I was hungry when I came out of work!)

Starting in the upper left corner: Carrot and bell pepper strips, a tiny packet of creamcheese covered in black pepper (the packets were so cute I had to buy them for bento!), sugarpeas, some rye bread and an olive on salad on one side of the divider, more carrot and bell pepper, rolls cut from a sweet ricecake in a banana leaf, grapes, and spaghetti with pesto, parmesan and basil leaves in a silicon muffin cup on the other side.

I’ll shoot a picture of the little cheese packets later. I have two left, one with nuts and one with chives! Mmm.

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I can’t wait to see Ratatouille! It’s not out in here Sweden yet, sadly. But it has rats AND cooking so it’s already a hit with me!

The thermos container holds homemade ratatouille with eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper and champignon mushrooms, and the side container has grapes, wholewheat toast with cheese and a toast crust, bell pepper, nori and carrot Remy. (Dang. I missed his tail. >.<;)

The recipe for the ratatouille is here.

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Ratatouille!

There are probably as many ratatouille recipes as there are cooks, but this one is my favourite. It can be stretched and varied depending on what’s in the house, but is always nummy!
I am of the opinion that my secret is the Dijon mustard, but try for yourself.

Basic ingredients:
1-2Tsp. Olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
1-2 bell peppers (I prefer yellow, or hungarian white), sliced
1 medium-sized zucchini, diced
1 medium-sized eggplant, diced and salted
1-2 cloves of garlic, roughly diced
1 can/pack of peeled crushed tomatoes
French herbs (or at least pizza spices)
Salt, pepper, Dijon mustard, reduced tomato paste

Everything else is optional. I add mushrooms if I have them, or roast some potatoes with the onions and cook them in the broth. Or beans, or pasta… I also usually add a bit of chili to the oil to add spice. As liquid I normally just use very little water, but if you have vegetable broth or wine (red or white doesn’t matter… really!) feel free to add it for even more taste.

The main principle of a good ratatouille is to judge when to add which vegetable so they are all cooked to perfection when the stew is done.
Start with the onions and garlic (and chili), and cook them in some olive oil until they are starting to become glazed. Then add the bell peppers, then the eggplant. If you have potatoes or something else slow cooking, add it now too. Cook everything in the olive oil, then add water (or wine, or broth, or…) but only so the veggies are just-quite-not covered. Add a spoonful or two of Dijon mustard, some salt and pepper and upend a bottle of french herbs in the stew. Yes, really :) I add several tablespoons now and usually a bit more when more liquid is added.
Boil on medium heat, adding more water only when absolutely necessary.
Add the mushrooms a little after adding the water, etc. etc. When the eggplant looks cooked (check that everything slow cooking is mostly cooked through now), add the crushed tomatoes and the zucchini and bring to a boil again. Taste and add more herbs, salt, pepper, sugar… now. If the sauce is too liquid, bind it with reduced tomato paste from a tube. When the sauce has boiled and reduced a little the zucchini will be perfectly cooked!

Now the stew is technically ready to serve, and if you can’t stand waiting any longer, do that now. However, it will taste even better if you take it off the heat and let it stand for some 10 minutes. Also, then it won’t feel like liquid napalm on your tongue… the stuff retains heat incredibly well!
Serve with fresh herbs and baguette, and a spoon of sourcream if you feel like it.
Enjoy!

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I guess it’s just fair that after poking fun (or at least amazed amusement and amused amazement) at Swedish food I should also take a shot at Austrian food, my home kitchen.
What do you get when you take an empire, let it span from Italy over several slavic states to Hungary, and let them all come together in one capital in the middle that speaks neither of those languages?
Interesting food, of course!
There’s only one hitch, and that is that I’m vegetarian and most Austrian food.. well.. isn’t. But oh well. I’m starting with one vegetarian comfort food that I just have to have sometimes.

Eiernockerln
Eiernockerln or “flour dumplings with egg” is a typical “leftover food” – the Nockerln, flour dumplings, are usually eaten with hungarian Goulash. I guess making a giant batch of them and warming them up with some egg when the goulash was eaten was a way of dealing with not having meat every day in those days. But in my family, it’s a great comfort food and we usually make the dumplings on purpose just to have them with egg!

How to make Nockerln:
For 2 persons (or one person that is very hungry):
1 egg
1/8liter milk
250g flour (that is what the recipe said, but I added more flour when mixing because the consistency was definitely not thick enough with just that)
A pinch of salt or two

Get a big pot of water with a pinch of salt in it boiling.
Meanwhile, put the flour in a bowl, make a depression in the middle and crack the egg into it. Pour the milk on top, add a pinch of salt and start mixing from the depression on out. Or be lazy, don’t care about depressions and use an electric mixer.
Add more flour if it seems too runny. I don’t have a mixer and the rule of thumb is that if your hands don’t hurt while mixing, the dough isn’t thick enough. :) It should be sticky, but get off the side of the bowl easy.
When the water is boiling, take half a spoonful of dough at a time from the bowl, and scrape it into the water with another spoon. It’s not a beauty contest – the dumplings don’t need to be pretty, but half a spoon is about the right size for them. Boil until all dumplings have risen to the top, then pour them out into a sieve or fish out the ones already done with a ladle if you want to be complicated.

Eat with your favourite Goulash or read on below:

Now we add the eggs!
In a big pan melt butter or heat some corn oil (any tasteless oil). Pour in the fresh, steaming Nockerln. In a bowl, mix 3-4 eggs with a pinch of salt and some freshly ground pepper. Pour over the Nockerln and fry, stirring occasionally.
(Now that’s a question of taste – some households serve the stuff with some eggs still runny. For myself, I’m a definite enemy of runny eggs. I fry them good and crispy all the way through.)
Serve on a plate with some sweet hungarian paprika powder, ground pepper and chives on top. The paprika powder is a must for me – my parents brought me that original Hungarian sweet paprika that you see in the bag in the picture from a spa in Hungary and it’s just phantastic! It’s not strong, but has an irresistible taste.
The best side for this is green salad with a vinaigrette, chives and maybe some onion.

My verdict to the dish above? Lovely, but just… not Mom’s!

Next I guess I should try making those things with cheese instead of eggs – that makes them Tyrolean kasnockerln!

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