Archive | April, 2011

Report from a workshop. NYC (not so)Swedish Saturday.

14 Apr

The morning pancake experiment session was followed by a more savory workshop in the evening. Just like the other workshop it was set up in my small Brooklyn kitchen. Four people attended this workshop (two of them came all the way from Sweden) and the focus was on, just as usual, how to prepare a big meal in a small kitchen. Before cooking and prepping started, we went to the super market where I showed them around and offered a little guided tour in order for the participants to get a deeper understanding of how to cook the kind of food that was on the menu. The menu comprised almost the same items as at the dinner workshop at Harvard last weekend; “Norwasian” – but with small changes and variation. In stead of making sesame-seared shrimp and add in the curry, we decided to go for red snapper and slow cook it together with the curry. The curry in itself was more Malaysian inspired than last time; I had travelled a little bit East culinary-wise when creating the menu, more saffron and orange was added together with some coconut milk to make it more creamy. The red cabbage slaw accompanying this taste-explosion was as fragrant and pleasing as usual. So was the Indian yellow rice, now with brown basmati rice in stead of regular white jasmine rice. I will surely go for this in the future ; it has a lovely texture, some kind of resistance that reminds you of what rice is.

In general, this workshop was as wonderful as usual. We shared experiences and stories, recipes and ideas and we all realized, like my friend said in the end of the evening:

“wow. what a wonderfully sociable experience cooking is. Three days ago I was in Stockholm, Sweden, cooking with my mom, and now I am here, in a cozy apartment in New York, doing the same thing with you”

Completely right. A year ago I was in high school in Sweden holding cookery workshops for young boys, but very uncertain about what I wanted to do with my life. No I am here, in the city of dreams, where I have met the most inspiring people ever, creating and doing things I never could imagine.

This year has been the best year in my life.

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Report from a workshop. Adding some flavor to Connecticut.

14 Apr

Following the previous workshops on Saturday on the safe ground of NYC, was a workshop in the totally alien state of Connecticut. Not only the location was different – so was the age group I was going to hold the workshop for. As  you all might know, I hold workshops for young people, but this day the group was one of older ladies. One of them said “We all know how to cook – we have had to cook our entire lives – and have received the complains”… And I had to compose the menu in line with this. I decided to go for the “norwasian” them I am really in to right now – I wanted to add some new flavors and techniques, but not too new,  to what I imagined as very American homes. As a result, I chose Norwasian. Classic Scandinavian, recognizable techniques and recipes with an Asian touch.

Before it started, I got a private little tour around Fairfield and the surrounding cities. We went to farmer’s markets and fish markets and I was surprised by how pretty “the most boring state in the U.S” was… But, it could definitely need some flavors, some new exotic influences.

Five people attended this workshop and it was a perfect amount; I could devote a lot of teaching time to each participant and have good control of how the recipes evolved. Everything started with the creamy coconut ginger/green curry/ carrot potato soup, followed by the saffron/orange Punjabi vegetable curry with sesame-seared shrimps and sesame-seared sea bass, served with the wonderful mango/avocado red cabbage slaw with citrus-soy dressing (this one just gets better and better for each workshop) and the Indian yellow rice (Brown basmati rice, following yesterday’s successful example). Ending this wonderful meal was the mango/mint infused fruit salad with the on-the minute raspberry ice cream.

Food-wise, this was one of the best workshops in a while. The salad was better than ever. Partly because we used more sesame seeds than before and partly because we decided to add some grated green apple to it. It is hard to describe how good it was… How the crispy, tender cabbage and onion is the first thing you taste, followed by the tangy mango and smooth avocado… Then the incredible taste combination of first cilantro, then citrus-soy dressing, green apple. And last, but not least, the incredible sesame seeds. Actually I had forgot to buy the sesame seeds for this workshop… So we had to have someone go and get them for us. they make the dish. they make the menu.

Also, I loved the soup. It was more acidic than before and featured a vast array of flavors. you could taste the slightly burned green curry paste together with the cumin, the Connecticut farm carrots and potatoes and the lime.

This was a great workshop with great participants. I loved to hear their stories about food and their experience (they had a lot to share!) Looking forward to doing it again.

When I took my first bite, I started to think. I looked through the window. Fairly grey, monotone environment. But as the flavors pleased my taste buds, the surroundings changed. In my mouth was a fragrant dish with a exquisite plethora of flavors, cuisines and stories. The outside felt much livelier now. Something had happened. I had added some flavor to Connecticut. We had added some flavor to Connecticut.

I looked at my watch. We had been cooking for four hours.

Thanks

Vayu

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Report from a workshop. Pancake experimenting.

14 Apr

The weekend was very hectic – a total of three workshops were scheduled to fit in to two days. Two on Saturday in NYC (held in my small Brooklyn kitchen) and one in Fairfield, Connecticut on Sunday.

The first workshop was set up as a brunch workshop “power-style”; a quick lesson in how to make a specific recipe. The dish of the day was pancakes. The pancake might be as ubiquitous as the Pizza slice in New York, but in my kitchen it has enjoyed a real renaissance.

We were five people that gathered in my kitchen and tried to develop the perfect pancake/crepe. Only using organic ingredients from local farms, we added a little this and a little of that and slowly redefined the ostensibly humble creation of a pancake. In stead making recognizable versions such as oatmeal pancakes, apple pancakes or regular crepes, out creativity came to life in some wonderful coconut/lemon pancakes with key ingredients of  coconut milk, shredded coconut and served with slow-roasted hazelnuts, belgian home made hazelnut chocolate cream and three twins organic natural vanilla ice cream.

I could not believe it when I tasted them. They were beyond comprehension. Or at least, that was my visceral reaction. But slowly I realized how the flavors interacted. The creamy taste of tropical coconut milk, the texture of the shredded coconut meat, the organic butter, the tangy peel of the lemon… all coming together in a perfectly thin pancake served with the slow-roasted hazelnuts, the chocolate cream and the ice cream.

This was one hell of a workshop!

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Delicious pear/ginger/soy steamed cod

9 Apr

Take a look at this wonderful dish I made the other day!

Make a broth with soy, slices of pear, ginger, sugar(1tsp) and lemon. Chop some scallion and add some water… Taste!

Let it cook on low heat for 20 minutes. Taste again and then add cod as in picture. Cook on low heat until cod meat is loose; easy to break

Serve with Asian Slaw and Indian yellow rice!

Report from a workshop. Brunch – brunchin’ around the world

8 Apr

Saturday’s dinner workshop at Harvard was followed by a brunch workshop on Sunday. Not as many people could make it to this class, but the food turned out amazing and there was a lot more to eat :)… For this workshop, I had developed a menu that featured very easy, exotic and interesting brunch recipes – recipes that can make the first meal of the day the easiest best one. The meal was served “family style”, meaning that everything was put on the table so the participants could pick and choose between the dishes and hence  discover totally new combinations of tastes. For example, pairing up the sweet yet sourly fresh melon salsa with the salty garlic and basil feta cheese cream, created a fragrant all-inclusive taste experience pleasuring your taste buds, taking this brunch to a whole new level of enjoyment. The menu also comprised a lovely almond/feta cheese basil pesto, bruschetta on sour dough bread, balsamico-caramelized roasted eggplant, honeydew melon salsa w cilantro, spring onion and lemon, wonderful kiwi-banana-orange smoothie with ginger, coconut and cinnamon. And last, but not least, “gino” – Swedish dessert; banana,kiwi, strawberries in halves of oranges with grated white chocolate in the oven … served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.. And the LEGENDARY Grandma Olaug’s coconut crepes with nutella and roasted hazelnuts. These pancakes were my favorite item on the menu; I loved the texture of the shredded coconut, the taste of the coconut milk and, since they were made in a cast iron skillet, the surface and texture of the pancakes in whole. Good job, Lauren!

As usual: a wonderful workshop with wonderful people. I am always surprised – although I should be used to it now – of what an amazingly social event cooking is. Great way to meet, a reason to start a conversation … Or even ask someone out for a date? Haha.

How Russian bread is made

7 Apr

Found a really interesting site with a photo story of how bread is baked (somewhere in a small city outside of Moscow.)

Check it out:


http://englishrussia.com/index.php/2010/03/18/how-russian-bread-is-being-baked/

Inspiration.

6 Apr

Jamie Oliver; Food revolution

http://abc.go.com/shows/jamie-olivers-food-revolution

NYC vegetarian food festival

http://nycvegfoodfest.com/

Baking for good – delicious treats and 15 percent of every purchase goes to a good cause of your choice!

http://bakingforgood.com/

Marcus Samuelsson. My biggest inspiration and former boss, entrepreneur and think thank.

http://marcussamuelsson.com/

Big girls small kitchen – “quarter-life cooking” easy and inspiring recipes for twenty-something cooks.

http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/

Jamie Oliver’s TED winning speech. Touching. Enough said. Hats’ off, Jamie.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIwrV5e6fMY

Fabian Pfortmuller; “Life is about the people you meet and the things you create with them”. Founder of  Sandbox network – a worldwide network of young entrepeneurs. His blog  contains short and concise posts about inspiring people.

http://pforti.posterous.com/

Report from a dinner workshop. “Norwasian”.

5 Apr

The theme of Saturday’s workshop was “Norwasian” (A crossover between Norway and Asia) and the purpose was to inspire. to open the door to a whole new world of exciting ingredients and cooking. My personal favorite of this workshop was the mango/avocado red cabbage slaw with toasted sesame seeds and citrus/soy dressing. Also, I liked the flavor of the creamy coconut green curry potato/carrot soup; how it tasted very soft and mild at first… and altered to become spicy and full of taste. It was a lovely workshop with lots of lovely people. Below are some pics and a description of the menu! All photos taken by great photographer Larissa Zhou.

“Our culinary adventure begins in Norway, at my family farm where I have spent every summer growing up.
From here we get the ingredients; fish, vegetable, herbs and some of the spices.
From here we get the basic cooking skills, and the knowledge about old techniques.
We are taught old classic Norwegian cooking techniques and by my aunt we are served a potato/carrot soup. It is tasteless just like lot of the Nowegian food. We want to reinvent it, we want to travel the world. We travel to Asia.
Somewhere in Thailand we get the spices and make the soup complete. The journey has started; so has our meal.

As we travel through the menu, we also travel through the world. In our search for an entree, we leave Thailand and on our way eastwards to India, we pick up an interesting recipe of what to do with the cabbage they so often mistreat back home in Norway. It is a salad that reminds us of the freshness of the Norwegian climate; fresh and  fragrant – it is mango avocado cabbage salad with cilantro, toasted sesame seeds and citrus-soy dressing.

In Northern India we meet my Grandma Avinash. We learn how to use the shrimps and vegetables we brought from Norway; we make a wonderful Indian vegetable curry with sesame-seared shrimp. Accompanying this dish is the tasty yellow rice with cumin, chili and lots of spices. The mango-avocado salad, the curry, the shrimps and the rice come together and create an amazing entree. We are far from home now. The rice makes us realize that there are more things to do with rice than rice pudding. It is good, but we miss home. Slowly we start our return trip. With us we have a lot of fruits and spices.

We are close to the final destination in both our meal and our trip. Entering Scandinavia from west, we pass by Sweden and pick up a Swedish recipe of Key Lime pie with which we serve an exotic mango-juice infused fruit salad with the mint from the farm. When we reach the farm my aunt welcomes us with an on-the-minute raspberry ice cream made of her home made sour cream, local honey and the frozen raspberries we hand picked last summer.

It has been an exciting trip and adventure, but as they say: there is no place like home.

Although Norway sometimes has been absent, there is one thing, one part of Norway, we always have carried with us:the freshness of the Norwegian mountain breeze: to imbibe we serve a water infused with apple, ginger, lime, mint and cinnamon.

 

Welcome.”

Menu

Roasted nuts with home-made spice blend

 

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Norwegian seaman’s carrot potato soup with a touch of his voyage to Asia; creamy potato/carrot soup with coconut, ginger and lime

 

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Vegetable curry with sesame/chili seared shrimp

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Indian yellow rice

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Mango/Avocado/cilantro cabbage salad

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Key lime pie goes to Sweden

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Exotic mango/mint infused fruit salad

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On the minute raspberry ice cream

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Norwegian mountain breeze – incredibly fresh mint/ginger/apple/lime water


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Just got back from Harvard

4 Apr

Just got back from Harvard where I held two really successful workshops this weekend. Here are some pics, more info and media will be uploaded soon!

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Raspberry ice cream lookalikes

4 Apr

 

 

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