Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sautéed Swiss chard aka warm mangold salad recipe

Sauteéd swiss chard. Lehtpeet.

We had a looong winter this year, and for a while it seemed that Spring has decided not to pay us a visit this year. It did, if a bit late. And then, suddenly, the summer arrived. Surprisingly, my vegetable garden seems to like this long winter/late spring/sudden summer a lot. My salad leaves and leafy greens (kale, Swiss chard/mangold, sprouting broccoli) are really thriving, the radishes gave us a bumper crop. The tomatoes, beets, carrots - you name it - all seem to be having a great time! And we'll surely be eating lots of Swiss chard this summer!

Here's my latest Swiss chard crop:

Mangold. Swiss chard. Lehtpeet.

My first mangold dish of the season? This Swiss chard, ricotta and tomato bake, of course. However, then I was a bit lost again, as I couldn't decide which one to pick from those 20 recipes on my Estonian site. I turned my (well, Nami-Nami's) Facebook fans (all 17 000 + of them!) for their favourite Swiss chard/mangold recipes, and one of them, Nelli, recommended this salad recipe on Shelly's QuickQuickYumYum blog.

Thank you, Nelli - and Shelly!

Warm mangold salad
(Soe lehtpeedisalat)
Serves 4 as a side dish

Soe lehtpeedisalat. Warm mangold salad. Swiss chard with spices.

a large bunch of Swiss chard/mangold

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp sweet paprika powder
1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and slightly crushed
half a lemon, juiced

Rinse the mangold leaves, leave to soak in cold water for 5-10 minutes. Drain and cut into strips about 1 cm wide (just under half an inch).
Heat a large wok or frying pan, add the mangold, a few spoonfuls of water and heat for 5 minutes. Stir every now and then.
Mix the dressing ingredients (except lemon juice). Pour over the mangold leaves and continue sautéing for another 5-7 minutes, until chard is soft. Remove from the heat, drizzle with lemon juice, taste for seasoning (add more salt, if necessary).
Serve hot or cold.

More Swiss chard recipes:
Dalmatian chard with garlic and olive oil @ Maninas: Food Matters
Kartul lehtmangoldiga @ Elust siin ja seal (recipe in Estonian)
Hautatud lehtpeet @ Pisike ja Pisut Segi (recipe in Estonian)
Swiss chard recipes @ Simply Recipes
Swiss chard recipes @ Kalyn's Kitchen

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A summery dish of chicken with bacon

Recipe originally posted in August 2006, fully revised and updated with a new photo in June 2013.

The first time I cooked this delicious dish was in August 2006 in Edinburgh. I had some Estonian visitors from Cambridge. Trying to stay close to our Nordic roots, I had boiled some potatoes (the staple back home) and scoured the Swedish Arla site for recipes. This recipe for klassisk sommarkyckling aka Classic Summer Chicken caught my eye and, with small adaptations, was served to my friends. They liked it, as did I. The creamy-mustardy sauce was especially delicious, and dill added a very summery touch indeed (the original recipe used chives, which also sounds lovely).

That was seven years ago - and I still cook this to my family every now and then. I'm especially fond of the crispy bacon garnish, which complements the mild chicken and the creamy mustard sauce beautifully.

Chicken with creamy mustard and dill sauce and crispy bacon
(Suvine kanaroog koore-sinepikastmega)
Serves 4

about 500 g chicken thigh fillets or chicken breast escalopes*
butter for frying
200 ml whipping or double cream
2 tsp Dijon mustard or 1 heaped Tbsp mild MEIRA mustard
2-3 cloves of young garlic, skins off and slightly crushed
100 grams of smoked bacon rashers, chopped
3-4 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped

To serve:
500-750 grams of new potatoes, boiled
sliced cucumbers or this wonderful shaken Estonian cucumber salad

Heat the butter in a heavy-bottomed frying pan. Add chicken fillets and brown on both sides (7-8 minutes in total).
Pour over the cream, add garlic cloves and mustard. Cover the pan and simmer on a medium heat for about 10 minutes.
Add the chopped dill, season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, fry chopped bacon on a dry non-stick pan until golden brown and crispy. Transfer onto a sheet of kitchen paper to drain off excess fat.

To serve, place chicken fillets on heated plates, pour some sauce on top and sprinkle with crispy bacon.

* A chicken escalope (also called 'scallop') is a thin piece of chicken breast meat that's been pounded to make it thinner. If you cannot find them at your butcher or local supermarket, then it is really easy to make them yourself. 
Place a large chicken breast on your chopping board and cut it horizontally into two. If your chicken breasts are on the small side, then cover with clingfilm/plastic wrap and simply pound them with a rolling pin until about 3-4 mm thick.

UPDATE 12.8.2006
Kalyn has included this recipe in her weekly round-up of South Beach Diet friendly recipes. Thank you, Kalyn!
Amsterdam-based Swedish foodblogger Henrik made this dish and liked it

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Smoked salmon and spinach quiche

Spinati-suitsulõhepirukas / Spinach and smoked salmon quiche

Some seven years ago, when my dear K. and I met for a long weekend date in Paris. One morning we had a late breakfast at Bread & Roses, a lovely deli-cafe near the Luxemburg gardens. I cannot recall exactly what else we had, but we definitely had a really lovely smoked salmon and spinach quiche. I even wrote about it back in 2006, after baking it in Edinburgh (yes, back then I was still living in the beautiful capital of Scotland, and K. and I were having a long-distance relationship. We had no idea what life had in store for us, and definitely didn't think we'd be happy parents to three little kids in 2013 :))

The quiche is still a favourite with us, always bringing back nice memories of those promising spring days in Paris. I've modified the recipe a little over the years, and here's the adapted recipe for you, my dear readers.

Smoked salmon and spinach quiche
Serves six

NOTE that an American cup is 240 ml, an ounce is about 28 grams and 100 grams of butter is 7 Tbsp - in case you need to convert the measurements! 


All-butter crust:
180 g all-purpose flour (300 ml)
100 g cold butter, cubed
a pinch of salt
2-3 Tbsp cold water

(Or use your favourite pâte brisée/shortcrust pastry recipe; you'll need about 300 grams).

150 g cold-smoked salmon or trout, chopped
300 to 450 g frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
300 to 400 ml double cream/whipping cream/heavy cream
3 large eggs
100 g cheese, shredded
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Start by making the pie crustIf using your hands, then rub the butter into the flour (with salt added) until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. If using a food processor, then place flour and salt into a food processor and pulse until combined. Add the cold butter and pulse until you have a mixture that resembles a coarse meal.

Add a spoonful or two of cold water and pulse again, until the mixture just clumps together. Mix until the the dough forms a ball. Press the dough into a greased or non-stick springform pan, 24 cm (9'') or 26 cm (10'') in diameter, going slightly higher up on the sides when using the smaller cake pan.

Place the pan into fridge or freezer for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200 C (400 F). 

Bake the pie shell in the middle of the oven for about 15-20 minutes, until golden and beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan. 

For the filling, whisk together the cream, eggs, salt and pepper. Add the chopped fish, spinach and shredded cheese. Spoon the filling into the partially baked tart shell and continue baking for about 30-40 minutes, until the filling is set and golden brown. 

Cut into wedges and serve either hot, at room temperature or cold. A nice green salad on the side would be nice. 

Smoked salmon and spinach quiche. Suitsulõhe-spinatipirukas.

Friday, June 07, 2013

A great starter recipe: Shrimp and cucumber salad with mint vinaigrette

Photo by Juta Kübarsepp for the May 2013 issue of Kodu ja Aed ("Home and Garden", an Estonian monthly)

Back in early April, when I was trying to decide what starter would suit my Mother's Day menu spread in the next magazine, a FB-friend mentioned Jamie Oliver's shrimp and cucumber salad in a totally different context. I'm not a huge fan of shrimps - although I'm getting there, slowly - and I never figured out which Jamie's recipe my FB-friend was talking about. However, I came across this shrimp and cucumber salad recipe by Ellie Krieger, which sounded pretty good. After some minor tweaking I settled for this extremely light and healthy - and beautifully elegant, don't you think? - salad that works brilliantly as a starter.

Highly recommended. And let me warn you - I've witnessed people with impecable table manners drinking the minty-cucumber-shrimp "juice"from the bottom of the glass - it's so good :)

Shrimp salad with cucumber and mint
(Kurgi-krevetisalat mündiga)
Serves 4 to 6 as a starter
Adapted from Ellie Krieger

   Photo by Juta Kübarsepp for the May 2013 issue of Kodu ja Aed ("Home and Garden", an Estonian monthly)

400 g cooked shrimps (peeled weight)
1 long cucumber
a large handful of fresh mint
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Drain the shrimps thoroughly. (If using frozen shrimps/prawns, then defrost them slowly overnight in the fridge).
Rinse the cucumber, then peel and cut into small cubes. If the seeds are rather large, then scoop the soft seeded part out first.
Chop the fresh mint leaves finely.
In a bowl, mix the shrimps, cucumber and mint. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice, sprinkle with lemon zest and season with salt and pepper. Toss everything gently together.
Serve at once or macerate in the fridge for a few hours.

Similar recipes:
Kalyn added Sriracha sauce to Ellie's version and got Spicy shrimp and cucumber salad with lemon, mint and cumin
Burmese shrimp and cucumber salad @ Girl Cooks World
Shrimp salad on cucumber slices @ Gina's Skinny Recipes
Shrimp and cucumber salad with dill vinaigrette @ Epicurious
Shrimp and cucumber salad with horseradish mayonnaise @ Bon Appetit
Seared shrimp with cucumber salad @ Martha Stewart