Sunday, September 26, 2010

Blackfish Cafe's Coleslaw

I recently spent three wonderful days on the Oregon Coast in a quaint little town called Manzanita.  Our family friend Connie loaned us her cozy beach house and supplied us with the ingredients to one of the best coleslaw recipes.  Ever.  I love Connie for many reasons, and now I have one more to add to the list.

The recipe was clipped from The Sunday Oregonian and hails from the popular coastal restaurant Blackfish Cafe in Lincoln City, Oregon. 

If you haven't experimented with Napa cabbage, now is the time.  It's crunchy, light, and much milder in flavor than its cabbage relatives.  What makes this salad for me is the cilantro, ginger, and sesame oil.  Plus, the radishes and toasted almonds make it really pleasing to the eye.  Bottom line: a mouthful of happiness.

If you would like to make this dish lighter, use half mayonnaise and half plain or Greek yogurt (and experiment with adding a little dressing at a time).

Blackfish Cafe's Famous Coleslaw
Makes 8-10 servings

3T granulated sugar
3T white wine vinegar
1T soy sauce
1/2 t grated fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
1/4 t sesame oil and/or a pinch of cayenne pepper
1c mayonnaise

6c shredded Napa cabbage (1 medium to large head)
1c thinly sliced radishes
1c thinly sliced green onions, white and some green parts
4-6 oz. snow pea pods, julienned
1c fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2c slivered almonds, toasted

To make dressing:  In a small bowl, dissolve sugar in the vinegar.  Stir in the soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and sesame oil and/or cayenne.  Gradually stir the vinegar mix into the mayonnaise until blended.  Cover and chill, preferably overnight.  Makes approximately 1 1/4 cups.

To make salad:  In a bowl, toss together the cabbage, radishes, onions, pea pods, cilantro, and almonds.  Toss with half the dressing and taste, adding more dressing as desired.  Serve immediately, or cabbage will wilt and lose its crispness and texture.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Mamacita's Caviar

What a name for a recipe, right?  My mom's friend Susan makes this most amazing bean concoction, and it truly does deserve to be called caviar.  Just for the record, I'm not a caviar fan, but most of us recognize it's one of those foods that's synonymous with special elegance.

Mamacita's Caviar is just as sophisticated and, in my humble opinion, a thousand times tastier.  A spectacular treat with chips, it's also terrific as a salad atop greens...or simply by itself.  My mom has made two batches since we've been here in Oregon, and I just can't get enough of the stuff.  It's the perfect food:  tons of texture, loaded with flavor, and healthy to boot. 

Mamacita's Caviar
Recipe courtesy of Susan Gilbert

1 16-oz. can black-eyed peas
1 16-oz. can black beans
2 fresh ears of corn (decobbed) or 1 16-oz. can corn
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow pepper, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion or Walla Walla Sweet Onion, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
Optional add-ins:  1 small can sliced black olives, 1 small can chopped green chilies, chopped avocado, chopped tomato, garlic

Drain all canned items. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and add dressing of choice.  Susan and my mom like Paul Newman's Balsamic Vinegar dressing.  Add to taste (approximately 1/2 cup).

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Love Books

At the moment I am in Oregon visiting my family.  Thanks to an online order executed in Denmark a few weeks prior to my trip, look what was waiting for me when I arrived.  I know this is the age of the Kindle, but I seriously never want to experience a world without books...with pages I can feel and turn with my fingers.





Friday, September 10, 2010

Basque Strawberry Cake

Let me start by saying that making this cake was the most fun I've had in the kitchen in a long time.  When we were in France I picked up the July/August issue of Elle à Table, which I referred to recently in my carrot cake post.  I love this magazine.  Yes, it's in French and No, I do not understand everything, but I know enough to get started with virtually any recipe...then I bug my husband for translation help.

My mouth literally dropped open when I saw the photos for the Basque Strawberry Cake, called Gateau Basque Aux Fraises in French.  I will let you know up front:  this is not a quick, hurry-and-throw-it-together-while-making-dinner dessert.  You need a good hour to put this together, but it is not difficult and sooo worth the time and effort.  Trust me.

Gateau Basque Aux Fraises (Basque Strawberry Cake)
Translated from Elle à Table, Juillet-Aout, 2010

Strawberry Pasty Cream
150g/1c fresh strawberries, mashed
75g/2/3c milk
35g/3T sugar
25g/scant 1/4c cornstarch
25g/2T unsalted butter, soft

1.  Add strawberries to a saucepan and cook over medium heat 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.  In a bowl combine the sugar, cornstarch, and milk and beat with a hand mixer until well blended, 2-3 minutes. Slowly incorporate mix into the saucepan with strawberries and cook, stirring constantly, 5-8 minutes until mixture thickens (you want a consistently that's slightly thicker than pudding).

2.  Remove from heat and, little by little, incorporate the butter.  Scrape cream onto a plate or shallow dish, cover with plastic (so that the plastic is touching the surface), and set aside to cool.

Pastry Crust
260g/1c unsalted butter, soft
185g/3/4c sugar
zest of 1/2 lemon
325g/2.5c flour
125g/1c almond flour (or ground almonds)
1 egg and 1 yolk
1t salt

1.  Mix the butter and sugar together and stir in the lemon zest, almond flour, eggs.  Stir just until the mixture is well combined.  Add directly to another bowl that contains the flour and salt.  Mix well and form into a ball.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate while you make the jam.

Quick Strawberry Jam
150g/1c frozen strawberries
40g/3.5T sugar

1.  In a saucepan over medium heat, cook the strawberries and sugar for 2 minutes.  Using a colander or sieve, drain the fruit, collecting the juice in another saucepan (or bowl) and reserving the berries.  Cook juice over high heat until reduce by half. Add reserved berries and cook an additional 20 minutes until mix thickens slightly.  Remove from heat and cool.

Assembling the cake

Preheat oven to 170c or 340F
Butter a small square pan, 6", 7," or 8"

1.  Take the ball of dough and cut into three pieces.  The first should be 180g or about 3/4c.  The second should be 80g or about 1/3c.  The third piece is the remaining dough for the top and should be the largest piece. Since I am not an expert on translating grams to cups--especially when it comes to something like dough--you will need to eyeball this part.

2.  Press the first piece of dough into the bottom of the pan.  It should be approximately 1/4" thick.

3.  Using the second, smaller bit of dough, cut into four equal pieces and roll each into a rope shape to fit each side of the pan.  Place ropes on top of bottom layer of dough, lightly pressing each into the dough.

4.  Add pastry cream and spread to reach all corners of the dough ropes.  Top with jam mix--it is not necessary to spread it out entirely, just a little bit.

5.  Roll out the remaining dough to fit the top of the pan (approx. 1/2" thick) and carefully lay it over the pastry cream and jam filling.  The dough should fit the pan evenly on all side, no gaps.

6.  Using a pastry brush, coat the top with one beaten egg yolk.  Using a sharp knife, slice two-inch swirl marks on the dough (see my photo below) in different directions.

7.  Bake 40 minutes.  After 40 minutes, cover with foil or parchment and bake an additional 15 minutes until golden brown.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Lollypop Beets

Imagine my delight when I sliced open my bag of beets to find this, this gorgeousness, hiding inside.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

At Last: Danish Æblekage

Æblekage, or Apple Cake, is a Danish specialty that I've wanted to make for a long time.  Recently I stumbled upon a quick and easy recipe that looked delicious.  I rounded up our little harvest of apples from a teeny tiny tree that we have in our front garden.  Aside from what had fallen on the ground, I picked seven small apples, most of which had been invaded by worms.  But still, even with the spots cut out, I had enough for my apple cake.

I find it odd that the Danes call this recipe Æblekage, because to me it's not a cake at all.  It's a cross between a trifle and a crumble.  But I suppose it's a matter of semantics, because the Danes refer to many desserts as "cake."  What's more, the Danes have many versions of æblekage, but this layered one seems to be the most popular.

I absolutely love that the apple and whipped cream layers of this dessert contain no sugar and truly, why bother?  The crunchy oat mix is sweet enough so that when your spoon is loaded with a bit of apple, oats, and whipped cream, you have the perfect mouth-pleasing dessert.  Having said that, if you'd like an extra bit of sweetness, add a tablespoon of sugar to the apples during the cooking process, and/or a splash of maple syrup to the whipped cream during the beating stage.

Translated from the Danish women's magazine Alt for Damerne

3-4 apples (preferably a somewhat sour variety)
1/2c sugar
2T butter
1 1/2c oats
a handful of roasted, chopped nuts, such as almonds or hazelnuts
1c heavy whipping cream

1.  Peel and core apples and chop in thin slices.

2.  Place apples in a saucepan with a few tablespoons of water, cover, and cook over medium-low heat for 20-25 minutes.  Do not boil.  When apples are tender, remove from the heat and cool.

3.  In another saucepan, combine the sugar and butter and melt over medium-low heat, stirring often.  Add oatmeal and nuts and stir until the sugar and butter mix completely coats the oatmeal and nuts.  Cook carefully until the mix is golden brown, stirring every couple of minutes. Watch this part closely because you don't want the mix to burn.  Remove from heat and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes to cool.

4.  In a smallish, clear glass dish, spoon in half of apple mix.  Cover with half of oat mix.  Repeat.  For the size of dish that I used I had two layers of apples and two of the oatmeal mix, but if you use a smaller dish, you will obviously have more layers.  The recipe does not make a lot, so steer clear of a large dish.

5.  In a mixing bowl, beat whipping cream until stiff.  Spread on top of the cake, sprinkle with a little cinnamon, and serve.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Livø Island, Denmark

A few weekends ago we visited one of the most delightful places we've seen in Denmark.  A little island called Livø where no cars or dogs are allowed and only nine people reside year round, four of whom are school children.  We took a passenger ferry over (just people on foot and bike, no cars) and spent a wonderful afternoon exploring the island's beauty.  Livø is here, only 50 or so kilometers from our house in Hobro:

On the ferry and nearing the island

Our first view of the island

Typical Danish picnic food:  grilled hotdogs

Mirabelle Plum Trees

More mirabelles


State Controlled Organic (Økologisk) Symbol

An old cattle barn

Striped mane

All the hike markers are engraved stones

We found two lookout towers on opposite ends of the island