Winter Salad

Cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce etc. aren’t at they’re best in the winter, so prefer cabbage, root vegetables or preserved vegetables as salad ingredients. This is an easy beet salad, but boiling and cooling the beets takes some time. Quicker version: use pickled beets, but omit the vinegar.

Beet Salad

500 g beets
water for boiling

1 big apple
2 small pickles
4 tbsp vegan mayonnaise
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper

Boil the beets and allow to cool. Peel and coarsely grate beets and apple. Chop the pickles. Mix everything together and preferably allow to sit in the fridge before serving.

You can also add (red) onion or parsley to the salad.

The Holidays

We spent couple of days visiting relatives and eating. We do love traditional Finnish holiday food, but eating it four days in a row is more than enough. So kidney bean enchiladas for dinner today was a great idea.

Seeing relatives we haven’t seen for a long time was very nice, and we gave and received some presents too. Some of the gifts we got were cooking related. We got a cast iron pot that can be used both on stove and in oven. I think it’ll be very handy. We also got a cat shaped serving bowl (designed by Ylva Olsson) and two cookbooks.

Härkäpapua sarvista is filled with ecological vegan recipes that use ingredients that grow up here in Northern Europe. I’ve already found some interesting recipes: sauerkraut croissants, mushroom roll and hemp and carrot patties sound delicious and I’ll try the recipes in near future. The other book (Jere Nieminen’s Vegaanin kotiruokakirja) concentrates on fake meats, tofu and burgers. I believe the recipes would also please omnivores. I had borrowed a copy of it from local library and have tried  couple of recipes, which were great. Both books are available only in Finnish.

Did you have nice holidays?

Thursday Stir-Fry

I haven’t cooked much with tempeh, because it’s rather hard to find here in Finland. Last week I was visiting my sister in Helsinki and brought home two packaged of tempeh. One is in the freezer for later use and one was used for noodle stir-fry today with vegetables we had in fridge and freezer.

Tempeh and Noodle Stir-fry

3 tbsp oil
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 habanero
400 g tempeh (1 package)
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp oil
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
2 tsp ginger powder
1-2 onions
3 garlic cloves
2 carrots
piece of rutabaga
florets of 1 broccoli
1 bell pepper
2-3 handfuls snow peas (frozen)

100-150 g whole wheat noodles

soy sauce and/or hot sauce for serving (optional)

You can first boil your tempeh 10-20 minutes to remove bitterness. Cube the tempeh and mince the habanero. Slice the onion and garlic. Cut carrots, rutabaga and bell pepper into sticks.

Heat 3 tbsp oil in a wok and fry cumin, paprika and habanero about 30 seconds. Add tempeh and stir to cover with spicy oil. Add soy sauce and rice wine vinegar and stir again. Fry, stirring often, until tempeh is nicely browned. Remove from the wok.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in the wok and fry ginger and mustard seeds about a minute. Add onion and garlic. Fry couple of minutes, add carrot and rutabaga, then bell pepper and broccoli. Boil the noodles 2-3 minutes or according the instructions on the package while you stir-fry the veggies. When the vegetables are almost done, add snow peas. When they’ve thawed, add noodles and tempeh.

Where west and east meet

Today is independence day in Finland. It’s quite common for families to eat someting fancy in celebration of this, and even though any level of nationalism is far removed from us, we decided to make something nice today as well. To celebrate the history of modern Finland, we took a bit from Sweden, a bit from Russia and added something indigenous to Finland. Sums the story of our nation quite nicely and makes a wonderful meal.

The main dish is from Sweden, it’s called pitepalt, a filled dumpling. The recipe was borrowed from our western friends, the great Cooking vegan food up north blog. We ate the pitepalt with Italian salad, which is actually a Russian salad, and lingonberries.

The dessert was more Finnish. Bilberry kukko is like a bilberry pie, but it has crust on top and berries under it. It’s originally from Savo, but nowadays it’s eaten all over Finland.

Bilberry Kukko

2-2,5 l bilberries or blueberries
0,75 dl sugar
2 tbsp potato flour

250 g margarine
1,75 dl sugar
5,25 dl rye flour
2 tsp baking powder

vegan vanilla ice cream for serving

Mix the filling ingredients together. Grease an oven proof dish and put the filling in it. Beat the margarine and sugar in a bowl. Add the flour and baking powder and mix together. Cover the dish with the crust. I use my hands to make it flat, but you can also roll it on the table and then put on top of the dish. Bake in 200 Celsius degrees 40 minutes or until it’s nicely browned. Serve with vanilla ice cream.