Tomato Thursday: Zucchini and Tomato Bake

Zucchini is popular plant in gardens, because it’s quite easy to grow and it easily produces lots of squashes. Sometimes it produces them too much. Here’s a tip for those who grow zucchini in their backyard and don’t know what to do with all of them. And of course for everyone else who loves zucchini.

The recipe is enough for 2-3 people, but it’s easy to make a bigger batch. Just take a bigger dish and use more zucchini and tomatoes.


Zucchini and Tomato Bake

1 zucchini
2-3 tomatoes
salt, pepper
herbs (we used basil and oregano)
1 tbsp olive oil

Slice zucchini and tomatoes. Grease an oven proof dish and put a layer of zucchini on the bottom. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbs. Add a layer of tomatoes. Continue until all zucchini and tomato slices are in the dish. Drizzle the oil on top. Cover and bake in 200 Celsius degrees 30-45 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Remove the lid in the end of the baking if it looks like there’s too much liquid in the dish.


Wine Wednesday: Sauce

I went to forest to pick mushrooms and I was already thinking of making a creamy porcini sauce with white wine. Something little fancier than a regular mushroom sauce. I was a little disappointed, because I found only few porcinis and not many other boletes either. But combination of porcini and pine boletes was enough for a sauce, and we enjoyed it with mashed potatoes and seitan roast. Seitan was made with juniper berries and rosemary, and we’ll post a recipe for that on Saturday.

If you don’t have porcini available (or if they’re too expensive) you can use button mushrooms or other mushrooms that stay light coloured when cooked. Don’t use mushrooms that get dark or black when cooked, such as orange birch boletes or slimy spike-caps.


Porcini Sauce

5 dl chopped porcini or other mushrooms
1 shallot
2 tbsp margarine or oil
1 tbsp wheat flour
1 dl white wine
2 dl oat (or soy) cream
salt, white pepper
1 tbsp fresh parsley or 1 tsp dried

Heat the mushrooms until the water comes out. Discard the water or sauté until it has evaporated. Add margarine and chopped shallot and sauté on medium-low heat until shallot is soft and translucent. Stir in wheat flour and after a minute add white wine. Stir well and add cream. Slowly boil 10-15 minutes or until the sauce has reached the desired thickness. Season with salt and pepper and add parsley.


Tofu Tuesday: Salad

Salad doesn’t have to be a boring mixture of lettuce, cucumber and tomato. You can make endless variations with different vegetables, they can be fresh, cooked or canned. A bowl of salad can be a filling meal with protein source such as beans, lentils, tofu, soy curls, nuts or seitan, and even more filling with some pasta or boiled potatoes. Besides, salad is a perfect lunch: it doesn’t take long to prepare it and you can take it to work or picnic or wherever, because you don’t have to worry about reheating it.

This tofu and rice vermicelli salad is Asian inspired, even though I didn’t have any particular Asian country in my mind while I made it. My favourite dressing for this kind of salads is peanut dressing: I blend 3 tbsp peanut butter, 1 medium hot chili pepper, garlic clove, some lemon juice or vinegar together and season with salt and pepper.


Tofu Salad with Vermicelli and Black Beans

250 g tofu (frozen and thawed)

juice of a half grape fruit
0,6 dl white wine
1 garlic clove

oil for frying

1 l cabbage
2 carrots, grated
3 dl black beans
3 tbsp tofu marinade
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp mirin
pinch of salt
50 g rice vermicelli (1 portion)
1 small red onion
piece of red bell pepper

Combine marinade ingredients and marinade diced tofu overnight.

Heat some oil on a frying pan and fry tofu until golden.

Put the cabbage in a bowl and squeeze it with your hands until soft. Peel and grate carrot and put it to the bowl. Add beans, 3 tbsp marinade, olive oil, mirin and salt and stir. Prepare rice vermicelli according to instructions on the package. Slice the onion thinly and cut the bell pepper in strips. Divide the cabbage mixture into bowls and arrange the other ingredients on top of it. Serve with your favourite dressing, or drizzle 1 tbsp marinade on each bowl.



Moroccan Monday: Salad

Another recipe from Roderick Dixon’s Afrikkalainen keittokirja (African Cookbook). I’m not 100% sure, but I think it has been only available in Finnish and now it’s sold out. Lentils make this salad a protein rich side dish, and tomatoes, lemon juice and cilantro bring nice freshness to the salad. You can make this salad several hours in advance, because it just gets better if you let it sit in the fridge.


Moroccan Lentil Salad

2 dl lentils
2-3 tomatoes, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp paprika
3 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp chopped cilantro

Boil the lentils until soft. Drain. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and serve.


Slow Food Sunday: Root Vegetable Pie

Remember Rutabaga Kukko we blogged about couple of years ago? Here’s another version of kukko, this time it’s filled with mixed root vegetables. You can have fresh kukko for breakfast if you bake it the night before and simmer it wrapped in towel overnight.


Rutabaga Kukko

200 g rutabaga
200 g parsnip
5 carrots
about 2 dl water
1 tbsp uncooked rice

4 dl rye flour
4 dl wheat flour
1 tsp salt
3 dl water

Peel the root vegetables and slice thinly. Put them, water and some salt to a pot and simmer until half done. Drain

Mix the dough ingredients in a bowl. Roll into a circle or oval, edges can be thinner. Sprinkle the rice in the center of the circle/oval, it will absorb all the extra moisture. Put some root vegeatble slices on the dough, sprinkle with salt and put few dollops of margarine on top. Continue until you have all the root vegetables on the dough. Put more margarine dollops on top. Fold the edges of the dough on top of the pie. Close tightly, water and gentle rubbing will help.

Bake in 200 Celsius degrees 1-1,5 hours. Brush with mixture of melted margarine and water. Wrap in greaseproof paper and then wrap in a towel. You can then either wrap it in a blanket or put back to oven if it has cooled to 100 or less degrees. Keep wrapped at least couple of hours, but over night is better. This simmering part is important, it makes the crust softer and enhances the flavours of the filling.

Serve with margarine.


Seitan Saturday: Stroganoff

New vegan fraiche by Oatly is available in shops, at least in Finland and Sweden, maybe somewhere else too. It’s oat based and a bit slimy compared to soy based products, but it’s not as slimy as Yosa yogurts. The taste is more sour than plain soy yogurt and can be used in hot and cold dishes. We bought a tub and used half of it to make this Stroganoff. We’ve previously used oat cream and oat fraiche didn’t taste different in this recipe. But I think a spoonful of it on a bowl of borscht or pureed vegetable soup would be great. I bet it also works great in dips etc.


Seitan Stroganoff

2 balls seitan
1 onion
5 dl chopped forest mushrooms or handful of dried funnel chanterelles
2-4 tbsp oil
2 tbsp margarine
3 tbsp wheat flour
water or vegetable broth
2 tsp mustard
salt, pepper
1 dl oat or soy cream or fraiche
dill or parsley (optional)

Dice the seitan. Peel and chop onion. If you use dried mushrooms, soak them in hot water until soft. If you use fresh mushrooms, heat them on a dry pan until the water comes out of them. Discard the water or continue heating until water is evaporated. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan and sauté onion and mushrooms until onion is soft and translucent. Transfer to a sauce pan. Add more oil if needed and fry seitan until browned. Transfer to the saucepan.

Melt the margarine on the pan and add flour. Fry until brown. Add some water (hot water is easier to stir with the flour) and stir well, add more water and stir well etc. until you get the desired thickness for the sauce. Add to the sauce pan, stir well and simmer 5-10 minutes. Add cream (and herbs if using) and season with salt and pepper, simmer couple of minutes more and serve with potatoes or other side dishes.


Flour Friday: Archipelago Bread

The southwestern Finland is rather famous of its sweet and very dark breads. There’s no definitive way how to make them, there are quite likely as many recipes as there are bakers. I picked up this recipe from some magazine, substituted the sour milk with a mixture of soy milk and yogurt and off to baking I went. The result was a truly wonderful bread, which is why we want to share it with you.



Archipelago Bread

The “sour milk”:

3,5 dl plain soy yoghurt
3 dl soy milk

Rest of the ingredients:

A package of yeast (50g)
2 dl molasses
2 tsp salt

2 dl wheat bran
2 dl rye flour
2 dl beer malts
6,5 – 7 dl wheat flour

Mix together yoghurt and milk to create the faux sour milk. Warm it up to 37 Celsius degrees and add the yeast, salt and molasses. Combine with wheat bran, rye flour and beer malt. Add wheat flour. Don’t worry if the dough seems worryingly loose or fluid at this point. Let rise under a towel for an hour.

Take two baking casseroles and line them with parchment paper. The bins should be big enough for the dough to half fill them. Cover with a blanket and let raise for another hour.

The dough should have risen now to more or less fill the casseroles (or maybe even a bit over the edges.) Bake in the oven at 175C for 1 hour and 20-50 minutes. When the top looks ready and your kitchen smells wonderful, they’re ready.

If you want a deluxe bread, brush the breads with a mixture of molasses and water after you have removed them from the oven and taken out of the bins.

Let cool and enjoy.