Wine Wednesday: Pasta

I like cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.

A deciliter or two of red wine makes tomato sauce so much better. I always add some when I make tomato sauce for pasta or pizza, if I have a bottle at home.


Tomato and Vegetable Sauce

1 onion
2 garlic cloves
1 celery stalk
1 carrot
½ bell pepper
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp thyme
1 can crushed tomatoes (or 500 g fresh, chopped tomatoes)
1,5 dl red wine
1 tsp sugar
salt, pepper
fresh or dried herbs (basil, oregano)

optional additions:
fried mushrooms
1 dl red lentils
1 can beans

Chop the onion and garlic. Dice celery, carrot and bell pepper. Heat the oil in a sauce pan and sauté the onion with thyme about 5 minutes on low-medium heat. Add other vegetables and sauté another 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, red wine and sugar. If you’re using lentils add them at this point too, and some water. Simmer 30 minutes or longer, add some water if it looks like your sauce is getting too thick. If you’re using mushrooms or beans add them in the end of simmering. Season with salt, pepper and herbs and serve with pasta.



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.


Cabbage Balls

If you like cabbage, you’ll like these balls.

Cabbage Balls

750 g cabbage
water for boiling
4 tbsp oat or soy milk
2 tbsp wheat flour
2 tbsp potato flour
6 tbsp dry breadcrumbs
3 tbsp oil
1,5 tbsp salt (or to taste)
pinch of white pepper
oil or margarine for frying

2 tbsp margarine
2 tbsp wheat flour
1 dl oat or soy milk
water (from cabbage boiling)

Boil the cabbage until soft. Chop finely or grind with a meat grinder. Mix all the ingredients together, shape into balls and fry.

Sauce: melt the margarine in a pan. Add flour and fry about a minute. Stir in the milk and enough water to get desired thickness. Simmer 5-10 minutes and season with salt.

Simple Carrot Sauce

In the 1920’s the vegetable selection here in the north was very narrow, especially in the winter. Root vegetables and cabbage kept good in the cellar even in the winter, but cauliflower, green beans etc. were summer food. And people probably hadn’t even heard about sweet potatoes, eggplant, mangos or other exotic things. That’s why the recipes in the books include a lot of carrots, rutabaga, cabbage, potatoes and parsnip. Today’s recipe is made with carrots. We had the sauce with mashed potatoes and browned cabbage, but it goes well with patties too.

Carrot Sauce

5 dl diced (or sliced) carrots
2,5 dl water
pinch of salt and sugar
1 tbsp margarine
1 tbsp wheat flour
1 tsp dried parsley OR 1 tbsp fresh

Boil the carrots with salt and sugar until tender. Add margarine and dried parsley. Mix the wheat flour with small amount of water and stir in to the sauce. Bring to boil and simmer 10 minutes. Add fresh parsley and serve.

Peas, man

Everyone should love peas. Seriously. They’re healthy, they’re very cheap and very versatile. Here’s one take on pea patties from our old cookbook. You can optionally serve them also with brussel sprouts, like we did.

Pea patties with creamy onion sauce

4dl dried green peas
1l water
1 tsp liquid smoke
1,5dl dry breadcrumbs
1,5dl oat or soy milk
0,5dl wheat flour
2 tbsp oil
onion half, chopped and fried until golden
1 tbsp salt
oil for frying

one onion

Rinsed peas are coocked soft and crushed with the liquid smoke. Combine with breadcrumbs, milk, wheat flour, fried onion half and salt. Make patties and fry them in oil. The mentioned one whole onion is sliced and fried in the same oil, and can be placed on top of the patties for a decorative effect . The patties are served with boiled potatoes and the following sauce:

2 tbsp vegan margarine
2 onions
2 tbsp wheat flour
0,75 dl oat cream
2-4dl vegetable broth

Fry chopped onions in margarine until golden with the wheat flour. Add cream and enough broth to get desired thicknes and let simmer for a while. Add salt for taste.

Sweet Lentil Stew

I was surprised when I found a lentil recipe from Kokbok. I had no idea, that lentils were available in Finnish stores in 1920’s. We had the Lentil Stew with boiled potatoes, radish relish and salad.

Lentil Stew

200 g lentils
1-2 l water
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp margarine (or oil)
1,5 tbsp wheat flour
1 tbsp salt (or to taste)
1 tsp distilled vinegar (optional)

Rinse the lentils and put them in a pot with sugar and 1l cold water. Bring to boil and simmer until lentils are tender, add more water if needed. Stir in margarine. Mix the flour with small amount of cold water and pour to the pot. Simmer 10 minutes, season with salt (and distilled vinegar) and serve.

Beet Stems

Usually people eat only the beet roots and discard the stems, but they really shouldn’t. Beet stems and leaves can be used for example in salads or tomato based sauces. The book “Kansan kotiruoka ja kotitalous” had this recipe for a bechamel sauce with beet stems. We reduced the amount of salt and substituted the dairy products with non-dairy alternatives. The book recommends this sauce with meat dishes, but we had potatoes and lentil patties.

Beet Stem Sauce

6 dl coarsely chopped beet stems and leaves
water, salt
2 tbsp margarine
3 tbsp wheat flour
5-8 dl soy or oat milk
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt

Put the chopped beet stems and leaves in a pot with some water and salt, boil until tender and drain. Melt the margarine in a pot and stir in the flour. Add some milk, stir well and add the rest of the milk in several batches. Simmer 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the beet stems and leaves, season with sugar and salt, bring to boil and serve.