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Bridgestone

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  1. Bridgestone

    Prosciutto Shank

    I buy these all the time and, "Yes", authentic prosciutto can be really, really cheap. I'm willing to bet that the ham is boneless and that is has been sliced on a rotary slicer. Eventually, it gets small enough that either the personnel get worried about slicing their fingertips or the customers don't want such small-diameter slices. Either way, it's better to sell, say 3 pounds for five bucks then it is to throw 3 pounds away. If I find a fatty one I'll remove as much fat as possible and use it by itself. It makes a wonderful fat for use in risotto. I frequently end up grinding a good chunk or two to when making ground beef for meatballs or bolognese sauce. It makes an excellent, subtle addition.
  2. Bridgestone

    Sauce Raifort

    Could the vinegar you soaked the horseradish in be the culprit? I've read that horseradish "heat" comes from an enzyme reaction that begins when the cells are crushed. Vinegar stops this reaction. So, soak your grated horseradish in vinegar immediately after grating to preserve a mild flavor. Or, let it sit for a few minutes before adding the vinegar to let it get more pungent.
  3. Horse meat is available at one of the butchers I frequent in Stockholm. It turns out that Swedes eat a decent amount of horse but normally only (salted, smoked and thinly sliced) on sandwiches and/or mixed into sausages. I was curious to try horse in steak form. I picked up this steak: I'm not sure how much it weighed but it was probably somewhere around 250 grams. At 28 kronor (or, about 3 dollars), it was absurdly cheap. For perspective, the parking fees and tolls I paid while buying this steak cost more than the steak itself... I simply salted the meat and put it in a hot pan with plenty of butter. I like rare beef. I knew I wanted this steak to be rare and had the various preparations of raw horse meat I've seen in my mind as I cooked this steak. In the end, I took it off of the heat about one minute too early. I was also rushed to eat so I didn't let the meat rest enough before I sliced it. Here's a shot of some slices from the half I let rest properly: All in all, it was very tasty although disappointingly similar to wet-aged beef. The steak was extremely tender and I was able to taste a hint of sweetness and/or game every now and then. I'm glad to have finally tried horse meat but, as steaks for me are only an occasional splurge, will probably stick to dry-aged beef in the future.
  4. Bridgestone

    Dinner! 2008

    No mystery, really. I used fingerling potatoes and cut the edges off to make roughly squared cylinders. I then peeled the edges to remove any non cut-off peel and sliced into discs. Thanks everyone for the kind words regarding anything I had to do with the steak! I'll pass on your admiration next time I stop by the butcher.
  5. Bridgestone

    Dinner! 2008

    Speaking of good butchers... Here's the selection of dry-aged beef at my favorite butcher in Stockholm, Sweden: Starting at 12-o'clock is the 4-week Cote de Bouef. The 4-week "T-bones" (2-o'clock and porterhouses, really) were amazing (especially the one in back) but I'd had one not too long ago. At 3-o'clock, the "Gold"-level, 8-week strips are awesome... And, at 7-o'clock-ish, the true dry-aged tenderloin (they accomplish a true dry-age on the tenderloins by dipping them in tallow prior to aging) look incredible even if they aren't really my cut of beef... I ended up with the Cote de Bouef that was hidden under the one above. It was magnificently marbled and looked like it had been sitting around a bit extra (a good thing in this case...). At home: Grilled and served with pan-fried fingerling potatoes and green/wax beans: About as "well-done" as I'm willing to grill one of these incredible steaks.
  6. Bridgestone

    Wild Rabbit

    Some pictures from a hare I cooked about a year ago. Marinate overnight: Ingredients for final dish: Brown the hare and braise in the chopped vegetables and reserved marinade: When tender, remove bones (while reducing the braising liquid) and chop the meat. Add to the reduced braising liquid. Boil some pasta and serve: Gamey, tasty and not too dry.
  7. Bridgestone

    Capers

    Not too sure, either, prasantrin... It may not be too apparent in the pictures above but I normally try to keep at least some of the capers whole or in large pieces. This way you'll get a bite every now or then with a caper kick. I can see how finely diced capers would disappear easily in a ground beef mixture. I used non-rinsed, brined capers. Better luck next time!
  8. Yes, Adam, fresh burbot is very slimey.
  9. Bridgestone

    Dinner! 2008

    (Go for it, monavano! You deserve it...)
  10. Bridgestone

    Dinner! 2008

    Thanks you two! Peter the eater - that's a bunch of tarragon you see in the first picture. I used dried tarragon (plus the fresh stems) in the bernaise reduction and added plenty of chopped leaves to the finished sauce. Otherwise, this steak was seasoned with salt and a little ground pepper. Susan in FL - the butter flares a lot but closing the grill's lid and air vents keeps things from getting too sooty. Don't forget a little extra butter while the steak rests, either: Most of the butter, of course, simply runs off. But, the little bit that clings on certainly tastes delicious!
  11. Bridgestone

    Capers

    Biff Lindström - great idea, TheSwede! Here's one recipe. The ingredients (left to right, top to bottom): a couple tablespoons of capers (chopped), two anchovies (chopped), three egg yolks, a tablespoon of HP sauce (perhaps A-1 steak sauce or even a few drops of Worchestershire sauce would work?), three tablespoons pickled beets (chopped), a few tablespoons ground pork, about a pound of ground beef, an onion (chopped), a cooked potato (chopped) and a tablespoon dijon mustard. Start by mixing everything up. Of this mixture, make four large patties. I suggest serving this dish with pan-fried potatoes. So, after making your patties, peel as many potatoes as four people will eat and cut into uniform pieces. Fry in plenty of oil (I used a combination of canola and home-rendered lard as all of my duck fat is currently preserving a batch of confit) at a moderate heat until golden. Here's the potates as well as a few patties (one adult, two kiddie) frying: Serve with a vegetable of choice and with a fried egg on top.
  12. Bridgestone

    Dinner! 2008

    30-day dry-aged porterhouse: Grilled over hardwood coals... ... sliced... ... and served with duck fat-fried potatoes, local asparagus and homemade bernaise: Incredible and satisfying enough to not desire beef for the rest of the week!
  13. Good to see this wonderful post again! Adam mentioned burbot way back in post #118 but didn't actually have one. I bought and prepared one myself this past spring and thought I could add a little to this thread. Winter is the best time of the year to eat "lake", or burbot. Burbot are related to cod and live in the cold, dark, freshwater lakes of northern Sweden. They can, of course, be eaten year round. However, burbot spawn midwinter and therefore are full of roe between December and February. Burbot isn’t very popular in Sweden anymore. I bought this fish at giveaway prices and the fishmonger seemed surprised that I’d want it. He seemed downright suspicious when he noticed my accent but quickly warmed up when I mentioned that burbot, due to its slimy coating (the slime insulates them) and general low status amongst fishermen, are also known as “lawyers” in the Northern U.S. He even offered to inspect his four burbots to find the one with the most roe. Alas*, it seems I was a few weeks late in my searches as none of the burbots he had contained any roe. Back in its day, burbot was a pretty popular fish. Burbot can be caught by any number of means but one method was especially popular for generations of poorer Swedes. In midwinter, burbot swim from their deep lairs to spawn in shallow, shoreline waters. And, with the right conditions (i.e., clear, snow-free ice), burbot can be stunned by smaking the ice with a sledge. Apparently, one does not want to hammer through the ice but instead simply crack a “rose” in it. This stuns the burbot. One then may make a hole in the “rose” and retrieve the fish. And, finally, there is one aspect of the burbot that makes it especially appropriate for survival food: its liver. Burbot liver is both huge (up to 10% of its body weight) and packed full of vitamin D. The burbot: its liver: Start by filleting the burbot and setting aside the fillets along with the liver (and roe, if your burbot hasn’t spawned yet). With the scraps, bones and trimmings, make a quick stock. I simply rinsed the scraps in cold water and simmered them for about 45 minutes with ½ carrot, a little leek, 1 stalk of celery, a bay leaf and some thyme. The ingredients for the final dish: An onion, 1 stalk of celery, 1 small carrot, ½ of a leek, about 20 haricot verts (or, say 10 green beans), 1 tablespoon lemon juice, the burbot fillets and liver (about 1 ½ pounds – cod would make a fine substitute), one whole mace “flower” (maybe ½ tsp ground?), one bay leaf, ½ tablespoon instant-blending flour, ¾ cup white wine, 2 ½ cups of the burbot stock, 1 cup heavy cream or half & half, 2 egg yolks, about ½ cup broccoli florets (or peas or other green vegetable). Not pictured: 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar Start by adding the wine, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, mace and bay leaf to the stock and bringing it to a simmer. Add the fillets and the liver and simmer for 10-15 minutes. While the fish is simmering, finely chop the onion, carrot, celery and leek and haricot verts: Remove the fish (keep warm) and strain the stock. Bring the stock back to a boil and reduce by half. When reduced, add the cream… … and chopped vegetables: Simmer for about 5 minutes. Next, thicken the sauce. Start by adding the instant-blending flour: Whisk in the flour and let the sauce thicken for a few minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and add (while whisking) the two egg yolks. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Place a serving of fish and liver on a plate, coat with sauce and vegetables, garnish and serve: All in all, an excellent dish. The burbot (both the liver and the fillets) is mild tasting and, apart from its firmness, could easily be substituted with any type of cod or firm whitefish. The sauce was very rich and I’d probably recommend using half-and-half for anyone even a little sensitive to rich dishes. Finally, the mace makes for an interesting spice. I’m normally not wild about mace by itself (too much of it makes everything taste like ketchup to me) and was concerned after tasting the poaching liquid. However, once thickened and full of fresh-tasting vegetables, the mace flavor had kindly retreated to the background. * I use “alas” lightly here. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I’ve become more and more squeamish about eating fish roe as report after report of collapsing fish stocks hits the newsstands.
  14. Thanks! I used veal shoulder. By the looks of things, Operakällarens bakfika was an excellent choice! Many Swedish restaurants serving lunch will generally have a few daily choices of traditional Swedish fare or "Husmanskost". This particular dish would probably show up from time to time - especially now (in the winter). Although it's getting tougher and tougher to find places that actually make this fare from scratch...
  15. Yup - you ate it! (Sorry for being smart...) What you had is called "Pepparrotskött" or "horseradish meat" and is a classic dish pulled out of Sweden's culinary roots. Pepparrotskött is really a cousin dish to a dish I've got some photos of. The only difference between these two really is the choice of meat (veal, lamb or beef are all acceptable) and the seasoning (dill or horseradish). Initial ingredients: Veal stock, veal, spices (thyme, allspice, black peppar, bay leaves), leeks, onions, carrots and parsley. Place all of these ingredients in a pot and simmer until tender (about 1 hour). After: (Save everything except the spices!) Next, make the sauce. Ingredients: The reserved stock, two egg yolks, sugar, concentrated distilled vinager, flour, dill, cream, butter. Bring the stock to a boil and add the flour (I made a slurry by adding a few tbls water): Add the cream and the sugar. Remove from the heat and add the egg yolks, the vinegar and a few knobs of butter. Add the dill: Finally, add the boiled meat and the reserved vegetables: Serve with a vegetable and boiled potatoes (and a Swedish ale if you've got one sitting around!). So, the preparation is, well, probably worldwide. However, the flavors (sweet, tangy and dill or horseradish) are very scandinavian!
  16. Swedish-style stuffed cabbage rolls (aka "Kåldomer") Thought I'd add a slightly different approach to most of the cabbage rolls I've seen here so far. Ingredients: About 1/3 cup short-grained rice, 1 1/2 pounds gound beef/pork mix (70/30), one cup water, about 1 1/2 cups whole milk, two onions, an egg, a knob of butter, a few tablespoons of golden syrup (light corn syrup would work fine), about 1 1/2 cups stock (veal here), one head of winter cabbage. Start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil and dumping the cored head of cabbage in. You want to boil it enough until the outer leaves loosen. Peel them off and wait for the next layer. Drain the leaves well. Meanwhile, get your rice started. Bring your water to a boil, add rice, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Add the milk after the water has been absorbed (ca 10 minutes). Let simmer gently for another 15 minutes or so. You want a rice pudding-like consistency. As the rice is finishing, melt the butter in a pan and add the finely diced onion. Leave the heat on medium as you only want to soften the onions. Put the cooked rice, onion, ground meats, egg, salt and peppar (to taste) in a bowl... ... and mix (Go ahead and fry up a taste of this mixture to check for seasoning - you don't want to go through all of this trouble only to end up with bland kåldomer!) Next, stuff your leaves. Brown the rolls in butter. I like to wait for a heavy-ish brown as I feel it improves the flavor. Place in a deep skillet that will fit all of the rolls and add the syrup and the stock (looks like I added a few tsps of caraway seeds, too). Simmer slightly covered for 30-45 minutes. When the rolls are finished, remove them from the skillet and place in a serving dish. Reduce the cooking liquids and adjust seasonings (the sauce should be slightly sweet). Add a little cream if you've got some on hand. Pour the finished sauce over the rolls and serve. Served here with a green salad and boiled potatoes. Teamed with a cold, tall glass of lager, cabbage has never been so lucky!
  17. Thanks for the post, Sea Urchin Ragout. I've already posted my report on another site and was trying to avoid a double posting. However, as I posed my initial question here, I suppose I should follow it up... Had an excellent meal at a Stockholm restaurant that is slowly gaining an excellent reputation after a major rebirth approximately one year ago: Leijontornet. Leijontornet is located in Stockholm’s Old Town – an area thick with tourist traps and inflated prices. The room is below ground-level and contains a substantial piece of Stockholm’s original city wall. Leijontornet’s rebirth has consisted of a developing menus and an identity focusing on cutting edge and old Swedish dishes and tastes. As much of a cliché as this sounds (and frankly is!), the combinations worked wonderfully and I (being an American residing in Sweden for 10 years) really appreciated what they were doing. I splurged in regards to my wine menu but enjoyed some wines I honestly would never have been able to sample otherwise. I’ll spare you all any detailed impressions of the wines but they were all magnificent. I've taken the course descriptions directly from the menu so an occasional "(sic)" perhaps should have been included... Served after ordering and refilled through the first course: 2004 Grüner Veltliner Honivogl Smaragd Two tastes: one cold, one warm: one dish with bleakfish roe, pickled herring and mousse of jerusalem artichoke and one dish consisting of a layers of pureed cranberries, truffle mousse thick veal reduction topped with small bits of fried lardo. Fennel baked cod with horseradish, raw shrimps in brown butter, oyster creme and quail egg The cod had been taken from a large piece of loin or, what they call over here, back and was simply four or five, silver-dollar sized flakes. The “horseradish” was 3 or 4 cubes made of horseradish, milk and gelatin (or some modern, low-temp equivalent) and provided an initial burst of clean milk flavor followed after several seconds with the nasal sting of the horseradish. All in all, a wonderful dish with a surprising number of contrasting flavors and textures. Langoustine on pearl barley* risotto with warm shellfish jelly and juniper smoked parsnip 2000 Chardonnay “Les Noisetiers”, Kistler Once again, a dish affecting many senses. The shellfish jelly was based on an intense reduction made form the langoustine shells, I believe. The effect of the smoked parsnip on the langoustine-heavy dish managed, for me, to bring up associations with the smoked, fresh, shell-on shrimp many Swedes love. *I believe the English menu has a wrong translation as the Swedish menu called this “sago risotto” and this wasn’t pearly barley. It had an agreeably chewy texture and the flavor of the sago (or whatever it was cooked with) was reminiscent of sushi rice. Preserved rabbit and brisket with hazelnut, raisins and juniper, served with cream of truffles from Gotland and burnt apple tree vinegar. 2004 Scharzhofberger Riesling Spätlese Gotland is an island off the Southeast coast of Sweden. The preserved rabbit and brisket was a rillette-like preparation, topped with the truffle cream and slices of fresh truffle, all encased in a gel infused with the vinager. The smokiness of the vinager worked very well with the fatty meats and, despite the aggressive components, the dish was wonderfully balanced. Crayfish glazed pikeperch with mousseline of scallops, squid from Kattegatt with burned leek and unripe elderberries 1998 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc The pikeperch had been glazed with a syrupy reduction based on crayfish shells. The unripe elderberries had been processed/preserved in the same manner as capers. As amused and enamored as I was with the elderberries, this was easily the weakest dish of the evening as the pikeperch had a tough, cured texture. Taste: braised pork cheek (that’s all I managed to scribble…) Organic veal in three textures with lingonberries, Jersusalem artichokes and estragon 1991 Grange The three textures were raw (fillet), braised (brisket) and ? (sorry!). It’s not included in the English description but this was served with an incredible square of homemade blood-pudding that had been seared on the outside but was meltingly fresh and nearly liquid on the inside. The lingonberries had been preserved in an old-fashioned manner from northern Sweden (called "vattlingon", they are simply “preserved” in water) that amplifies their sourness and bitterness while removing much of their (already restrained) sweetness. Truly wonderful! Savoury cheesecake of goats cheese with caraway seeds, meadowsweet braised beetroot and french toast of almond biscuit Actually two cheeses on this plate, both from a small farm about 50 miles West of Stockholm, one goat and one nearly liquid, white-mold cow’s. The “French toast” actually combines two, classic Swedish sweets: “Fattiga riddare” (very similar to American French toast) and “mandelkubb” (a dry, crumbly teacake leavened with ammonium carbonate and flavored with bitter almonds). Served now and with a healthy pause to enjoy by itself: 1990 Château d'Yquem Taste: gooseberry soup, homemade granola w/dried currents, gooseberries, natural milk The breakfast of (Nordic) gods! Wonderful gooseberry puree topped with the granola and exquisite, rich unpasteurized and unhomogenized (and ice-cold!) milk. Chocolate with arrack, semolina porridge and rosehip, bitter almond mousse and frozen buttermilk The semolina porridge (called “klappgröt” in Swedish) is another old-fashioned dessert made from heavily whisking cream-of-wheat until it gets very light and fluffy. The buttermilk was truly buttermilk (i.e., the byproduct of making butter) and not the cultured product. Served with espresso: Oatmeal wafers w/hazelnut créme, liquorice caramel, elderberry jellies I had seen an impressive (for Sweden/Europe) boubon list and asked about a recommendation. What I got was a tasting of: I.W. Harper 12-year old, Old Charter Proprieter’s Reserve, Blanton’s, and some horrible mesquite-infused whiskey served as a “joke” (McKendrick’s?). Service was formal yet relaxed. The sommelier was obviously enjoying himself and the wines he was serving. Truly a wonderful evening with excellent food and wine. Leijontornet is well worth searching out for any visitors to Stockholm that perhaps have tried the city's traditional top 5.
  18. Maybe I can answer some of the question re: Sweden that have popped up. Yep - it's a pretty good country to live in. I'm an American that's been living in Sweden for 10 years now. Swedes are always amazed that I've decided to settle down here (my wife is Swedish, we met at college in the States) as opposed to the States but I personally think it's normally due to a good case of "grass-is-greener"... Onto the food. Swedish reindeer is from up North and I suppose I'd classify it as "free-range", or so. The Sami (widely known to us Americans by their non-PC name, the Lapps) up North still make much of their living from farming and selling reindeer. There are (at least) 2 subspecies of which the "tame" reindeer is what is found in Sweden as of the beginning of the 1900's. Reindeer meat in Sweden is still inspected for radioactive contamination after the Chernobyl disaster. The reindeer eat a lichen which sucks up large amounts of the radioactive fallout that was blown up to Sweden following the disaster. Obviously, if it's in the store or has been served to you at a restaurant, it's passed the inspection! We've seen two types of caviar thanks to Percyn. The stuff in the tube is actually cod roe. It's been salted and there's a good amount of sugar in there, too (which is why I don't think I've ever developed a real love of the stuff... Swedes love the "sweet/salty" flavor combination and I've learned to like it to. Throw in "fishy", though...). There are a few fancier brands that have been lightly smoked, too. Swedes spread this on toasted bread and/or eat it on hard-boiled eggs. The caviar that Percyn has been served at the restaurants is considered a delicacy and is normally translated as "bleakfish roe". It's good stuff! Not on the level of Russian or Iranian caviar but quite nice in its own way. It's even been mentioned on the Rosengarten Report. See this Rosengarten Report As mentioned in the article, as "Swedish" as Swedes feel this dish is, a large amount of bleakfish roe is imported from the United States! Those were definately cloudberries that we've been seeing. They are also a product from northern Sweden - they grow in the vast bogs up there. I think I remember reading that they are actually related to roses which wouldn't suprise me as the flavor, once one gets past the berry's glaring sweetness, reminds me of rosehips. As far as the strawberry question goes, I agree wholeheartedly that Swedish (and/or Scandinavian) strawberries are outstanding! Now, I can't claim that the ones Percyn was served were especially Swedish (there are patches of snow on the ground up here already!) but believe him when he says that they were tasty. I think the reason why Swedish strawberries are so good is the long, cool growing season and the fact that so many people have been growing them at home for so many generations. This has led to a relatively small market force for commercial strawberry farming and a survival of many of the fragile, delicate and tasty varieties that normally would die out in favor of large, pretty and robust (unfortunatley often tasteless...) varieties. The gooseblood soup is exactly as someone has described their grandmother's version. It's really only served during this holiday and even then normally only to the older generation and/or people born and bred in southern Sweden. Many other people are perhaps a little too squirmish these days... I've been wanting to purchase a goose myself to recreate the entire dinner but we're in the middle of a major house renovation and a fresh goose goes for well over 100 bucks in Stockholm...
  19. Nice to see some updated pictures from Stockholm. I live north of Stockholm (sort of between Stockholm city and the "castle" - Vaxholms kastell - you had rented for you). Are you still up for some tips? Let me know what you are interested in! Two bars that are worth checking out (and they're right next to each other!): Gondolen and Akkurat. They are both located at the Subway station and area known as "Slussen", right between Old Town ("Gamla stan") and the island of Södermalm. Gondolen is located on top of Katarinahissen. Katarinahissen (or the Katarina elevator) was built in 1883 and seems very unusual in today's age of indoor elevators. It's sort-of an ourdoor elevator, standing as it does outdoors and connecting the sea-level area of "Slussen" (the sluices connecting Lake Mälaren with the Baltic) with the built-on-a-cliff edge of Södermalm (Stockholm's southern island). I think it initally served as a tourist attraction and a welcome break from a lot of stairs for Stockholm's upper crust in the 1880's. Now, it's a 10 kronor historic ride up to Gondolen. Gondolen (means "the gondola" and comes from the restaurant's unusual shape) has good enough food - I just don't find it worth the prices. The bar, though, is excellent. Drinks are the way to go as you'll find Stockholm's absolute best bartenders here. Purchase something unusual, pay through the nose for it and enjoy the view! http://www.eriks.se/ Time things right and you could maybe see an outdoor vendor selling freshly pan-fried herring ("strömming") on your way from Gondolen to Akkurat... Akkurat is a nearby bar really only for those hyper-interested in beers and/or whisk(e)y. They've got a selection of Belgians on tap that would blow most non-Belgians away, not to mention what they've got in bottles/in their cellar. Whisk(e)y is sold per centiliter and you can always find some serious rarities. I normally stick to one or more of their handpulled English beers or even some of their Swedish house-brewery's (Jämtland's bryggeri) products. A few secrets: Look for non-labelled/strange-labelled bottles of Chimay, Orval and Westmalle (I think). These run over 15 bucks/bottle but are a special beer that is normally only served at the monestary (said to be for the monks themselves and served to visitors). They also have a few bottles of a special Cloudberry lambic that the bar has had brewed for them by Brasserie Cantillon. They do some decent Belgian-style bar food with emphasis on mussels. http://www.akkurat.se/ P.S. - it's a southern-Swedish holiday tomorrow (not a bank holiday but a traditional one...). It's called Mårtensafton and goose is traditionally served. So, be on the look-out for restaurants with set menus, probably containing: 1) svartsoppa (or, black soup), made with goose blood, stock and the good ol' Swedish gingerbread spices, 2) roast duck, 3) some sort of apple pie/cake dessert. Gondolen Stadsgården 6 Stockholm Telephone: 08-641 70 90 (The herring guy, if he's around, is set up outside the subway station across the street from the foot of Katarinahissen...) Akkurat Hornsgatan 18 Stockholm Telephone: 08-644 00 15
  20. Have an upcoming reservation at Leijontornet in Stockholm but am coming up empty with fresh reviews of any detail. Anyone been lately? Anyone seen any recent reviews (say, since the restructuring/rebirth with the help of the folks from Oaxen awhile back)?
  21. Yup - spring 2007. He's in charge of opening the new restaurant where the Franska Matsal used to be at Stockholm's Grand Hotel.
  22. This post and a recent dinner has convinced me to temporarily shed my “lurker” status and make a post. I live in Stockholm, Sweden and have ready access to raw-milk cheeses. Last weekend, we had a traditional Swedish crayfish party. I, however, broke with tradition slightly when it came to the choice of cheese. Here’s what I picked up at the market: Starting from the bottom, left: a piece of raw-milk Morbier, an oozy bit of very-ripe Époisses, a chunk of Cabrales and a bit of Beaufort. I don’t know how many descriptions are needed but here’s a little information. The Morbier was the mildest of the four with a flavor perhaps similar to a decent Fontina. The layer of ash is largely decorative these days but used to be added to the top of the first layer of milk to protect it while waiting for milk from the next milking. The Époisses was magnificent, if perhaps bordering on over-ripe. Called “the King of Cheeses” by Brillat-Savarin, Époisses is a washed-rind, raw-milk beauty with an extremely powerful flavor and aroma – powerful and funky enough to counter-balance the cheese’s saltiness. Cabrales is Spain’s answer to France’s Roquefort or England’s Stilton and has a boldness and power on the level of the Époisses (although obviously being of an entirely different style). This particular piece was nicely aged, having both dry, crumbly edges (very strongly flavored) and a still-soft center (creamy, milky and milder). Finally, the Beaufort. I was introduced to Beaufort at a gourmet restaurant in Stockholm a few years back. The piece I was served with 2-years old and had been perfectly aged by the affineur Philippe Olivier. This piece could not match that introduction but still firmly lives up to its status as the “Prince of Gruyères” (once again, coined by Brillat-Savarin). It had been aged for one year and retained a milky flavor while still being sharp, dense, buttery and nutty. While not at the level of the Époisses or the Cabrales, it has a powerful, almost spicy finish. We did have one local, Swedish cheese: It’s called “kryddost”, or “spiced cheese” and is made by flavoring the local, “Svecia” cheese with cloves and caraway seeds. It is good enough that it disappeared nearly as quickly as the four imports described above! It was all enough to leave one’s tastebuds spinning if not for an occasional hit of Swedish snap. Swedish snaps? Well, what else does one drink when indulging in these? :
  23. As I sensed how important this is, I'll interrupt the past several days of Chufi's fascinating food-blog evolution and bring us back to the prime area of interest: i think these peanuts are very popular in asian cultures as well. sometimes they have some seaweed strips outside on the crunchy coating, some are seasoned with hot peppers and some are "seafood" flavored...shrimp or squid...very asian. but of course there are plain ones as well. ← I know what you mean, we get those here as well, but the ones I had today are not the same .. Maybe they really are uniquely Dutch? not that they are a thng to be particularly proud of ← Nah - we share your guilty snack pleasures up here in Sweden, Chufi. The name is easier for English-speakers, though: "Chili nuts" or "Hot chili nuts", aka "chilinötter". You can get them at the store (all of the major Swedish chip/crisp producers have their own version) and at practically any bar. Definately my beer snack of choice!
  24. Yeah, but we're talking about Alaskan King crab, right? As good as blue crabs are (and the blue swimmer crab looks to be very similar to the American blue crab), they simply aren't the same thing as Alaskan King crab...
  25. Sorry to make matters worse but isn't halloumi perhaps the only cheese in the world that WON'T get "melty"? I've grilled halloumi and even pan-fried it but haven't succeeded in melting it...
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