Sunday, September 23 –
Little known fact (at least that’s what I tell myself) – curd cheese and cheese curds are NOT the same thing. Damn it. So I only made two of the four recipes, but they all sound good so I’m listing them below anyway.
I started with the pork, cutting it into bite sizes. I chopped the onion pretty small and dumped it in with the pork pieces (one onion and one pound of pork shoulder) and the rest of the ingredients. I mixed it together for a minute or two (no, I didn’t massage it for 15 minutes, I was too burned out from my hectic week), covered it, and put it in the fridge to marinate together.
Once I was ready to start cooking I cut the yellow potatoes into wedges and lined them up on the foil-covered pan. I drizzled them with oil, sprinkled them with caraway seeds and sea salt, and put them into a 400* oven. I flipped them once after about 15 minutes and took them out after 35 minutes.
While the potatoes were in the oven I dumped the pork and onion mixture into a hot pan and cooked it until it was done but still tender.
I served the two dishes with a tomato/cucumber side and sour cream for dipping the potatoes. BestestFianceEver and I had a quiet tv show-watching evening together and enjoyed this dinner. It was good, but nothing to write home about. I really liked the crunchy sea salt on the potatoes, but other than that it was all pretty normal. I do wish I could have made the curd patties, but maybe it was better for my diet that I didn’t.
Almost to the end of the E countries and I’m definitely looking forward to this Fall and the F’s and G’s.
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: nami-nami.blogspot.com)
Oven-baked potato wedges with caraway seeds
Take your favorite roasting potato (I use a local variety, Laura, which has a thin pink skin and dark yellow flesh – Estonians like their potatoes to be yellow, not white inside), scrub very clean and cut lengthwise into wedges (four is plenty). Place into an oven tray, preferably large enough to snugly fit the potatoes in one layer. Drizzle generously with oil (and give them a good stir, so they’d be covered with oil), season with sea salt and caraway seeds.
Bake for 35-45 minutes (the timing really depends on the size and variety of your chosen potato) at 200 C/400 F, until the potato wedges are soft inside and crisp & brown outside and a lovely smell of caraway seeds has filled your kitchen. Sprinkle with some extra sea salt, if necessary.
Serve as a side dish with some meat, or simply dip them into some nice sour cream. Mmmmmm….
Estonian Shashlik Recipe (Traditsiooniline šašlõkk)
- 1 kg pork shoulder
- 4 large onions
- 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 Tbsp vinegar (30% proof)
- 2 tsp finely ground salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp caster sugar
Cut the pork shoulder into thick slices (about 1,5-2 cm), then into small chunks, sized about 4×4 cm. Place into a large bowl.
Peel the onions and cut into thin slices. Add to the bowl with crushed garlic, salt, pepper and sugar. Sprinkle the vinegar on top.
Now – wearing a pair of kitchen gloves – massage the meat and onion rings for about 10-15 minutes, so the onion juices are released and the seasonings are firmly massaged into the meat chunks. Instead of dark red (as above), the meat should look much paler now. Cover the bowl and leave to marinate for 24 hours.
Pierce the meat chunks into a skewer and cook over hot coals until fully cooked and dark brown outside. (Sorry, I cannot give more accurate timings here – it all depends on your cooking vehicle).
Traditional side dishes would include freshly boiled new potatoes, a cucumber and tomato salad with some sour cream (but a coleslaw would work as well) and some ketchup. Serves 4 to 6, depending on the amount of side dishes.
Syrniki aka curd cheese patties (Sõrnikud)
- 500 g curd cheese
- 2 egg yolks (or 1 egg, if you wish)
- 60 g plain flour (100 ml), or slightly more, if necessary
- a generous pinch of salt
- 1 Tbsp sugar (for sweet syrniki)
- flour for breading
- oil for frying
Combine curd cheese, egg yolks, salt and sugar, if using.
Sprinkle some flour on the work surface and on your hands. Form small patties from the curd cheese mixture (add a spoonful or two of flour, if the mixture is too loose), flatten them slightly. The curd cheese patties should be about 1 cm thick.
(You could put them into the fridge for about and hour – it helps them to stay in shape).
Heat some oil on a frying pan over moderate heat. Fry the syrniki on both sides for 3-5 minutes, until they’re golden brown. Serve when still warm. Serves 4.
Redcurrant Meringue Pie (Beseekattega punasesõstrakook)
- 130 g plain/all-purpose flour (250 ml/1 cup)
- 30 g oats (100 ml)
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 125 cold butter, cut into cubes
- 2 Tbsp cold water
- 250 g sour cream
- 3 Tbsp caster sugar
- grated zest of half a lemon
- 150 g redcurrants, cleaned (1 cup)
- 1 Tbsp potato starch or cornflour
- 2 large egg whites
- 85 g caster sugar (100 ml)
Pastry: mix the dry ingredients, add cubed butter and pulse couple of times, until the mixture is fine and crumbly. Add the water, pulse again briefly. Press the mixture into a dough, then use your fingers and press the dough into a 26 cm pie dish.
Place to rest in a fridge for 30 minutes, then blind bake at 200 C for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 175 Celsius. Mix sour cream, sugar and grated lemon zest, spread on pre-baked pie base.
Gently mix potato starch/cornflour with the cleaned redcurrants and sprinkle on top of the cream layer.
Whisk egg whites and sugar until thick and white, then spread over the filling (or, for an even prettier effect, use a piping bag).
Bake at 175 C oven for about 15 minutes, until the meringue is light golden brown.