Monday, May 04, 2015

Mjuka pepparkakor and kinuskikaka

Finnish caramel cake
Finally, a couple of recipes from the charming Fika by Anna Brones and Johanna Kindvall that I can’t rave about, though both were still pretty tasty.

1. According to Brones and Kindvall, soft ginger cookies (mjuka pepparkakorare “nice and thick, most often spread with a layer of butter and topped with a slice of cheese.

Spicy cookies with butter and cheese? Weird! Just my kind of thing.

The batter was easy to mix, rich with molasses and vigorously spiked with black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Baked, the cookies are substantial, dry, and extremely spicy. They aren’t too delicious, which is to say, you can eat one with pleasure, feel satisfied, and stop. It’s a feature, not a bug, the built-in stopping mechanism, one we undervalue here in America where foods are salted, sweetened and/or infused with fat to the point of rendering them totally irresistible. Everyone is always trying to engineer the ultimate chocolate chip cookie, the ultimate burger, the ultimate fish taco. I believe this is one reason we’re a chunky people.

There was nothing ultimate about these ginger cookies. They were middling delicious, if that.  I spread them with butter and added some little slices of cheddar cheese, wrapped them up, and took them with me on my errands yesterday. They kept well for a few hours in the glove compartment of the car and were eaten in a San Rafael, California parking lot at two in the afternoon. Hardly ideal lunch/fika conditions, but those ginger cookies made a very satisfactory, enjoyable, and cheap meal.

That said, I won’t tell you this is a culinary experience you absolutely must pursue because it’s so obviously not. 
Diet food? In a way, yes. 
2. The Fika caramel cake (“sweet and decadent and not for the lighthearted”) is made using a Finnish recipe and I served it for Sunday dinner. The cake itself is a dense, delectable, marzipany confection that you’re supposed to blanket with caramel sauce. To make this caramel sauce, the recipe instructs you to simmer cream and brown sugar for 30 to 40 minutes, but I hadn’t simmered the sauce for 15 minutes before it grew alarmingly dark and seemed on the brink of burning. I took it off the stove and let it cool a bit before pouring it over the cake where it hardened into a granitic slab of shiny toffee that couldn’t be cracked neatly with a heavy knife or at all with human teeth.  Everyone ended up with a mangled slice of cake and jagged shards of rock-hard caramel on their plates. I doubt this is how it’s done in Finland; a few adjustments to the caramel sauce recipe might yield better results. Next time, I’d cook the sauce very, very slowly.

Today’s fika was a peanut butter smoothie from Jamba Juice using the gift card they gave me at the oral surgeon’s office. My poor mouth had a gruesome experience this morning, but I did as I’d resolved and requested the nitrous right off the bat rather than waiting until I was about to have a panic attack. I always go in wanting to seem strong, but real strength means asking for what you want and need immediately. With nitrous, it really wasn’t that all that bad. Like something hideous happened to my mouth, not to me.

They told me I can’t exercise for 48 hours. In every cloud, a silver lining.

26 comments:

  1. I love the idea of a spicy cookie with butter and cheese. I want it right now, in fact.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Weirdly crave-inducing. It's not just me!

      Delete
  2. I haven't checked to see, but you must be a big Laurie Colwin fan, right? I love ginger-y cookies; the ones from Bakesale Betty/Alice Medrich are sort of like heroin. Well, like I imagine heroin might be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes, big Laurie Colwin fan. I think often of that cake she made with the Wensleydale (sp?) cheese.

      Delete
    2. I just read this very charming account of a weekend in Wensleydale and was pining for Laurie Colwin earlier today:

      http://attic24.typepad.com

      Delete
  3. This is totally random, but I've been meaning for a while to thank you for posting Elizabeth David's recipe for Smooth Vegetable Soup a while back. It has become a staple in our house - I have some in my refrigerator more often than not. It makes a great, quick lunch or light dinner, and the best part is that I always feel so virtuous eating it! (I am not as good as I should be about preparing, and therefore eating vegetables.) Sometimes I make it pretty much as written, sometimes I add lentils for extra protein. At times, I add a whole variety of other vegetables along with the peas and greens. Always good. So, again, thank you! I have been a devoted reader since happily finding your blog a few years ago.
    Claudia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pureed vegetable soups are one of the easiest ways I know to eat vegetables. I have been trying to make soups like this every week -- sometimes even twice because it's such a convenient lunch. Lately I've been using the River Cottage vegetable stock recipe as the base. I'm going to post about it.

      Delete
  4. Your thoughts about "too delicious" make me think you might enjoy the book "Salt Sugar Fat" by Michael Moss. I really liked it. I know I *should* want food that I can stop eating, but I *actually* want the stuff that I don't stop eating until it's gone. I figure my ancestors must have lived hardscrabble lives of deprivation, so I'm doomed by my DNA to eat until I pass out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I saw it at the library the other day, the audio book. I'll get it.

      Delete
  5. Regarding the nitrous..yes and amen. Also, I need a happy pill for an MRI..do fine with just something to take the edge off, but to be in that enclosed tube with the machine clanking away for 40 minutes..just don't really have it in me to tolerate that anymore without better living through chemistry. Better to go in knowing and admitting to our limitations and just getting on with life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, MRIs!!!! Yikes. What happy pill?

      Delete
  6. Cinco de Mayo reminds me that one of the BEST recipes in your book is for margaritas. I never much cared for them before as the packaged margarita mix ix disgusting. Your recipe is dangerously delicious. Thank you!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know, I read this a week ago and the day after pulled out my book and made a margarita for the first time in at least a year. Maybe two years. It was so good! You are right! I had one giant margarita and a really bad headache the next day.

      Delete
  7. I wonder if those spicy cookies would make a good pie crust?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think so. Too assertive. Too dry and sturdy.

      Delete
  8. I had a gum graft this morning. They didn't offer me nitrous! I want it! I had two valium, but I am apparently unmoved by valium. Now, ten hours and an entire vicodin - although taken in halves four hours apart - I feel sick to my stomach. Some people get high from vicodin, I get nauseated.

    I am going to ask for nitrous next time.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Kannur University Result 2016 for all course
    Kannur University Admit Card 2016
    Kannur University Hall Ticket 2017
    Kannur University Result 2017
    Kannur University Admit Card 2016
    Kannur University Entrance Date 2016
    Kannur University Degree Allotment
    Kannur University Trial Allotment 2016
    Kannur University Admission 2016
    Kannur University Onlie Admission
    Kannur University Distance Education Result 2016
    Kannur University Hall Ticket 2016
    Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University BA Result 2016-2017
    Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University Hall Ticket 2016
    Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University Result 2016 for all course
    Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University Admit Card 2016
    Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University Hall Ticket 2017
    Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University Result 2017
    Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University Admit Card 2016
    Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University Entrance Date 2016
    Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University Degree Allotment
    Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University Trial Allotment 2016
    Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University Admission 2016
    Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University Onlie Admission
    Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University Distance Education Result 2016
    Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University Hall Ticket 2016
    Karnatak State Open University BA Result 2016-2017
    Karnatak State Open University Hall Ticket 2016
    Karnatak State Open University Result 2016 for all course
    Karnatak State Open University Admit Card 2016
    Karnatak State Open University Hall Ticket 2017
    Karnatak State Open University Result 2017
    Karnatak State Open University Admit Card 2016
    Karnatak State Open University Entrance Date 2016
    Karnatak State Open University Degree Allotment
    Karnatak State Open University Trial Allotment 2016

    ReplyDelete