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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle. Please leave any comments there.


Well, it was actually 8 kilos of undried fruit leather, which is probably only a kilo once it’s been through the dehydrator. But since it takes a day per batch and I was making the stuff on a deadline, I ended up just freezing most of the mush to be processed at a later date. Anyway, ...

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden. Please leave any comments there.

This post is dedicated to Keva, who hates eggs. She made a fuss about my previous post regarding fake (seaweed-based) caviar a while back, so I thought it was only fair that I share with her the real stuff :-) It showed up in my local grocer’s fish refrigerator last month and I had to get a jar. This isn’t my first run-in with salmon roe this side of the Atlantic, but they were probably the largest ones I’ve seen so far. Still not as generously sized as the ones I got back in Cali but I’ve come to accept that most things in Europe are on a different scale. Mussels, oysters, salmon, lobsters — maybe it’s the colder water or maybe there’s just more for sea creatures to eat in the Pacific, I don’t know. It’s totally noticeable, though.

So anyways, here you go, Keva:

  
I’m so used to freshly-made ikura in the Japanese grocer’s deli that it took a while to get used to stuff that’d been sitting in a jar for a few weeks. Still, not bad and an improvement over the pinhead-sized eggs that were being sold in the deli of our market. I tried making sushi with those my first couple of months here and spent a couple days just trying to plump them up through repeated brining/debrining sessions. It helped a little, but I think those were probably eggs gathered immaturely from farmed fish heading for the dinner table, rather than ones specifically harvested for the purpose from breeder fish.

So yes, I fully plan to have a shellfish and roe buffet night when I’m back in Cali next summer, to get as much of things that I can’t get here as possible before flying home. It’s a small thing to miss, but that’s usually how it goes.


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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden. Please leave any comments there.

Today’s Mystery Meat comes to us courtesy of the specialty foods store in Stockholm Arlanda airport.

Yeah, I know I won’t win any points for classy presentation with these photos, but these were just quick snacks that I snapped pictures of on the way to the table. Were I serving this for guests, I’dve probably chosen a nicer plate, prettier crackers, and encased the pâté in a pastry skin or something. But that wouldn’t have looked as much like a mystery meat, would it? These tasty chunks of pâté were a fine example of native Scandinavian wildlife. That ought to be more than enough hint for most of you. Anybody still wondering what mammals they were made from can peek behind the cut…

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden. Please leave any comments there.

I mentioned in my last post how I’ve been craving non-fish seafood lately. Since the fresh stuff isn’t so common, I’ve lately been resorting to frozen and the occasional canned product. I’ve only bought cans of stuff that I’ve trusted in the past, however, like mussels and crab. Last week, I thought I’d be a bit more adventurous and expand my tinned seafood horizons. Unfortunately, I decided to begin with this:

Can’t tell what it is? That’s okay, I read the label, saw the picture, ate all of it, and STILL can’t quite figure out what it was supposed to be. It looks suspiciously like something we’d normally feed to the cats, to be honest, but both of the felines were smart enough to stay far away when I cracked this thing open. Want to find out what it was supposed to be? Step behind the cut with me…

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden. Please leave any comments there.

I was first introduced to juustoleipä (juusto = cheese, leipä = bread) a little over three years ago, my first summer out here. It had been cut into ordinary-looking cubes, so I thought it was mozzarella at first glance. Then I was instructed to eat the cubes with jam, which was a bit different, but not too far departed from the more familiar cheese and fruit pairings. Then the cheese started making sounds while I was chewing, and I figured it might be good to ask what exactly it was that we were eating.

Like many Finnish foods, juustoleipä is a result of the Nordic love affair with long-term food preservation. Going by various names including bread cheese (because it could be dried and toasted like bread), squeaky cheese (because it makes a distinctive sound when it rubs against your teeth) and frying cheese (alluding to its ability to not turn into a puddle when subjected to relatively high heat), juustoleipä is a firm fresh cheese made from milk (originally of a reindeer, but now more common in cow flavor) that is curdled then baked in a large round pan. It could then be dried out until it was quite hard and stored for years to come, a very important quality when you have to stock up for long, harsh winters. To soften it up for eating, all you had to do was spear it with a stick and toast it over the fire until it started to smell nice.

We regularly buy freshly-made half-rounds at the store and eat them with sandwiches, either warm or cold as suits the weather. It has a very mild, almost sweet flavor when cold, and develops a bit more of a nutty mozzarella scent when toasted. The version we get is lactose-free, as are many dairy products here. <3 Although there are apparently many ways to eat it (with jam and in coffee being the most mentioned), we usually just snack on it plain. For those who are wary about the coffee idea because they assume this stuff is like regular cheese, you can chill — freshly made bread cheese is so mild that it’s probably closer to putting in a dollop of chewy cream than anything else.

But that’s not the end of the story! Now, as luck would have it, Trader Joe’s started carrying juustoleipä in their stores in 2009. Carr Valley also seems to be distributing a version of it in many stores as well. Imagine our surprise when we saw little slabs of bread cheese sitting next to the brie when we went to do our grocery shopping in Southern California one day. Naturally, we bought a piece to try it out.

The first thing I noticed was that the TJ version was much firmer than the stuff we got in Finland — probably because it had been dried out more and was further along in the preservation process. I tossed some slices on a hot pan to see what happened next. It started leaking grease in a manner more consistent with mozzarella than with the Finnish stuff, which just tends to bubble out some milky (yes, it probably is milk…) liquid as it softens. Upon sampling the slice, I found it to much MUCH saltier than the Finnish stuff. This could either be because of the preservation process used or because marketing thought it would be more attractive to American audiences if it was seasoned like fried mozzarella sticks.

My final opinion? Well, we continued buying the TJ cheese up until we moved out the States, so obviously we liked it. Was it the same stuff? No, but it was made in the spirit of the original and was a decent enough substitute since we didn’t feel like making our own. I was not able to eat the TJ stuff in the same quantities that we eat the Finnish stuff, because it is just so salty and greasy, but it was still nice for a quick snack. It was also relatively pricey for such a small package — a 6″ square package could go for between $4-5, about the same price we pay for an entire half-round (16″ diameter) of it here. If you do get a chance to sample some, though, please do because it’s definitely a unique experience.

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden. Please leave any comments there.

I think every pet owner, at some point or another, marvels over how much food their little furballs manage to pack away over the course of a month. I’ve never done a real tally of the grocery bill because I’m sure we’d just be appalled. I think we were going through about $1.20 in canned per day, plus a medium sized bag of kibble every few weeks. I’m currently trying out a few different Finnish brands, but it’s looking like daily canned food consumption will fall around the €1 mark here, too. This is why homemade cat food is probably something I’ll get around to addressing in the near future. But today’s post is about treats.

Treats! We have bags of them lying around everywhere, and you probably do too. Why? Because cats love bribes. Need to clip their nails? Bribe them. Want them to stop hiding under the bed so grandma can pet them? Bribe them. Want them to be quiet so you can get a few more minutes of sleep? You get the picture. But if you consider how much those treats cost and how little you get per bag, you’re probably paying between $20-30 per pound in treats. So I decided to take matters into my own oven mitts.

Here is Coco, our resident feline taste tester, approving the latest batch of tuna cookies to come off the production line. Full of fishy goodness, she thinks!

And here they are cooling off in a giant pile, which ended up being divided into three ziploc bags to be distributed to three households’ worth of hungry kitties (and a couple of opportunistic dogs, too). All for the price of one can of tuna, some flour, and a half hour of your time! I looked through a bunch of recipes online, but in the end just decided to go by the seat of my pants with what was available. Want to make some? Read on…

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pierydys: (Default)

Mirrored from Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden.

I think every pet owner, at some point or another, marvels over how much food their little furballs manage to pack away over the course of a month. I’ve never done a real tally of the grocery bill because I’m sure we’d just be appalled. I think we were going through about $1.20 in canned per day, plus a medium sized bag of kibble every few weeks. I’m currently trying out a few different Finnish brands, but it’s looking like daily canned food consumption will fall around the €1 mark here, too. This is why homemade cat food is probably something I’ll get around to addressing in the near future. But today’s post is about treats.

Treats! We have bags of them lying around everywhere, and you probably do too. Why? Because cats love bribes. Need to clip their nails? Bribe them. Want them to stop hiding under the bed so grandma can pet them? Bribe them. Want them to be quiet so you can get a few more minutes of sleep? You get the picture. But if you consider how much those treats cost and how little you get per bag, you’re probably paying between $20-30 per pound in treats. So I decided to take matters into my own oven mitts.

Here is Coco, our resident feline taste tester, approving the latest batch of tuna cookies to come off the production line. Full of fishy goodness, she thinks!

And here they are cooling off in a giant pile, which ended up being divided into three ziploc bags to be distributed to three households’ worth of hungry kitties (and a couple of opportunistic dogs, too). All for the price of one can of tuna, some flour, and a half hour of your time! I looked through a bunch of recipes online, but in the end just decided to go by the seat of my pants with what was available. Want to make some? Read on…

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