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Gunnar Damström
18-05-13, 09:48
Landskapsrätter

I greatly enjoy good food and I like preparing food. I cherish the cultural aspect of food. Preparing a dish representing a special region fills the kitchen with aromas and flavors that bring out happy memories from far away places. A good friend, Kristina Roslin recently gave me several pages of recipes she had obtained when participating in cooking classes at the “Arbetarinstitutet” or Arbis (The Swedish Adult Education Center) in Helsingfors in the mid 1980’s. The teacher had collected these recipes with the theme “bjudmat-landskapsrätter”, or (Finnish) “invite food- provincial dishes”. I have not had the time to try out these recipes and would appreciate feedback, should you venture to try them.

“Juniper drink from Tavastland.”

To make 1 USG you need:

1 USG water
3 small sprigs of juniper
1 cup of malt
1 cup of granular sugar
1 ½ tsp fresh yeast or an equivalent amount of dry yeast

Add the juniper to the boiling water. Place the malt and sugar in a suitable jar. Strain the juniper water over the malt and sugar. Let the brew cool until it is “finger warm”. Add the yeast. Let the brew ferment until the next day. Transfer the brew to clean bottles and store in a cool place. After a day the brew is ready to be served.

“Reindeer Stew with oven baked turnips from Lapland”

For this dish you need reindeer meat trimmings, “renskav” in Swedish, poronkäristys in Finnish. The word lacks an appropriate English translation. Butcher reindeer scrap meat, maybe. It is readily available in Finnish grocery stores, mostly frozen in ½ kg (1 Lb.) bags. To serve four you need:

½ Lb renskav
2 Tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
2/3 Lbs yellow onions
Freshly ground white pepper
1 cup mixed forest mushrooms
1 cup beer or beef stock
1 clove of garlic, pressed
1-2 tsp crushed juniper berries
Dijon mustard (sugarfree)
4 medium size turnips
Some dark molasses or honey

If you use frozen “renskav”, take it out of the freezer and place it in the refrigerator the previous day. Finely chop the onion and sauté it in some oil over a moderate heat until soft and transparent. Set aside. Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a saucepan and when the foaming subsides, sauté the mushroom for 5 minutes. Set aside. Heat two Tbsp of olive oil in a heavy cast iron pot, and when the oil fumes, brown the meat. Add the onion, mushrooms, juniper berries, and salt and dust the flour over the stew. Add the beer (beef stock) and simmer over a low heat for 1 hr. Season with garlic and mustard. Adjust with salt and pepper.

Wash and peel the turnips and cut off the stem end. Cleave them and hollow out the halves slightly. Place some butter and a little molasses or honey in the hollow and reconstitute the turnip. Place ½ inch of coarse salt at the bottom of an ovenproof dish and place the turnips in the salt so that the butter stays. Cook in the oven at 350 degrees F for 1 hr or until the turnips are soft.

Gravad sik (lightly salted white fish) from Åbo region.

Lighly salted white fish (Sw. sik) is a delicacy, as cherished as “gravlax”- lighty salted raw salmon. White fish is caught also in the Big Lakes in North America, for instance Lake Superior.

1 Lb. white fish fillets (two fillets)
1 Tbsp coarse sea salt
1 tsp sugar
5 white pepper corns
½ cup finely chopped baby dill

Crush the white pepper corns in a mortar. Blend with the salt and the sugar. Place the first fillet, skin side down on parchment paper. Spread the mixture and the chopped dill over the fillet. Place the other fillet on top, skin side up. Wrap the parchment around the fillets, use some rubber bands to tie the package together. Place on a plate in the refrigerator. The next day, turn the package over. The second day the “gravad sik” is ready to be enjoyed.

“Dumpling Soup (Klimpsoppa) from Ostrobothnia”

You need:

3 Lbs. of beef- neck or shoulder with bone
1 Tbsp salt
1 ½ quarts of water
1 medium turnip
1 carrot
¼ Lbs celery root
1 leek
3 potatoes
10 all spice corns
½ cup chopped parsley

Dumplings:

½ quart of whole milk
1 previously boiled, cold potato
1 egg or tow egg yolks
1 ½ cup of flour
Optionally: ground muscat, cardamom, raisins, salt

Place the meat in a pot with the salt and bring to a boil. Carefully remove any scum when the pot comes to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes. Clean, peel and dice the roots and add to the simmering soup.

Prepare the duplings: Crush the cold potato in a suitable bowl and blend in the milk and egg (egg yolks). Add salt, spices and flour. Stir the dough until smooth. Let rest for 15 minutes. Dip a table spoon in the hot soup, then scoop a small piece of dough, and carefully add it to the simmering soup. Repeat. Gradually the dumplings will rise to the surface. When the roots are soft and the dumplings have risen, the soup is ready. Remove the meat and cut into bite size chunks. Return to the soup. Adjust the salt and pepper and spread the finely chopped parsley on top. Serve.

“Cranberry Cream from Nyland”

1 pt (1/2 liter) cranberries
5 cups of water
1/3 cup sugar
3 Tbsp potato starch
Double cream

Place the water, cranberries and sugar in a saucepan and cook until the berries disintegrate. Strain the juice back into the saucepan. Place the starch in a small cup, add some water and mix. Mix the starch into the cranberry juice and return to a slow simmer (5 minutes). Pour into a suitable bowl and set aside to cool. Sprinkle some granular sugar on top. Serve with whipped cream.

“Black bread from Åland”

2 ½ qt buttermilk
3 Lbs rye flour
1 ½ cup molasses
1 Lb brown sugar
2 Tbsp salt
1 Lb malts
2 Tbsp live yeast
3 Lbs graham flour

Warm up the butter milk and stir in the rye flour. Place in a warm spot until the next day. Add 1 cup molasses, brown sugar and malts. Let the dough rest 15 minutes. Stir in the yeast and let the dough rise about 10 minutes. Kneed in the graham flour to produce a smooth dough. Let the dough rise for a ½ hour. Roll out to produce round cakes, which are pricked with a fork. Bake the cakes in the oven at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes. Heat up ½ cup water, ½ cup molasses and 2 TBSP butter to boiling. Brush the cakes with the molasses water mixture on all sides. Staple four cakes on a piece of foil and wrap tightly. Bake the packages in the oven at 270 degrees F for 3 hours. Remove the packages from the oven and wrap them in blankets and let them rest for a day or (preferably) two.

“Goat Cheese from Satakunda”

3 quarts of goat milk
1 tsp rennet
1 tsp salt

Warm the goat milk to 90-93 degrees F. Add the rennet (and salt). Let stand 20-30 minutes. By that time the milk should have curdled. Stir carefully as follows: first break the curd in cubes, then stir gently until the curd settles. You may want to warm up the mixture gently to facilitate the precipitation. The process may take 15-20 minutes. Place the curd in a cheese mould and press out the whey. Let the cheese rest in the cheese mould 4-5 hours.

“Wheat bread combs from Lapland (Nisuja)”

2 sticks of soft, unsalted butter (228 g)
½ cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
½ cup sour cream
2 ¼ cups wheat flour

Whip the sugar and butter together until smooth (a mixing rod may be useful). Mix the baking soda in some sour cream and blend it with the rest of the sour cream. Mix I the sour cream-baking soda mixture into the butter froth. Fold in the flour. Roll out the dough on a sheet of parchment paper, about ½ In. thick. Use a knife to cut rectangles about 2” by 4”. Make 3-4 incisions, about 1” deep on one on the long side of the cakes. Without lifting the cakes from the base, bend them to form 90 degree semicircles, forcing the incisions to open. Bake in the oven at 440 degrees F until beautifully tan. Serve warm.

“Viborg pretzels from Karelia”

2 cups of milk
2 Tbsp live, dry yeast
3 eggs
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp maze
2 tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp salt
About 2 Lbs wheat flour
5 oz soft, unsalted butter

Warm up the milk to “fingerwarm” and blend in the yeast. Whip the egg-sugar mixture until baggy (?) and blend it with the milk. Add salt, cardamom and mace. Work in about 2/3 of the flour. Whip the butter to froth and add to the dough. Blend in the rest of the rest of the flour. Set aside the dough in a warm place and let it rise. Work the dough on the bread board and divide it into four sections. Work each section into a cylinder, 3 feet long, thicker in the middle. Form the pretzels. By bending the ends around and back into the center. Make an incision in at the center and insert the ends in the incision. This will prevent the pretzel from opening. Let the pretzels rise. Brush with warm water and bake in the oven at 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes. Brush some more from time to time while baking. Remove the pretzels from the oven, place on a grid and cover with a cloth.