December 10, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Mr. E decided on doing special dinners with a color theme this year. When Mr. E was little, he associated months with a combination of two colors (much like his colors for weekdays). His aim is to make dinner with ingredients that are naturally as close to each month’s colors as possible; food dyes are right out for this project. November colors are silver and grey.
…and impossible! There is no way to make a meal with naturally silvery-colored and grey foods! (Unless you want to eat charcoal, maybe.)
Mr. E cooked two small rainbow trouts for the main course – we each got one – with mashed potatoes, grilled mushrooms and milk. We skipped the starter this time, but had white chocolate pudding as dessert. The meal was unassuming, but very tasty. The rainbow trout, especially, was so good we had repeats: in the evening, Mr. E picked the leftovers and made fishcakes.
Creating the table was easier than the food, although I ended up fudging it a bit, too. Besides a grey piece of cotton duck from my fabric stash, I used a lot of glass for its reflective qualities. To include more silver, I put out a bowl of our silvery Christmas tree ornaments with a white candle on a gleaming silvery candlestick. Our white napkins were unintrusive enough to accompany the glass.
Because there’s not much light at this time of the year, we’ve moved our special dinners to midday. It was so nice to eat a sit-down meal with Mr. E in the sunlight. I also think Mr. E did a wonderful job with this particular color challenge, all things considered. I’ve racked my brain since, but just can’t think of appetizing food options for silver or grey. Any ideas, anyone?
December 6, 2013 § Leave a Comment
December 4, 2013 § Leave a Comment
My WordPress account wouldn’t let me post!
Fortunately, the problem is now solved by your friendly WordPress admins. Thanks! Regular posts will resume shortly. I just need to do all the stuff I postponed to troubleshoot the tech.
November 28, 2013 § Leave a Comment
November 21, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Finns eat a lot of bread. A lot. I’ve cut down since moving to the U.S., but I still enjoy my bread very much. Bread and cheese is the basic form of a Finnish sandwich, and still my go-to breakfast. When I want to go fancy, I slice some veggies on top, like the other day:
A traditional type of meal in Eastern Finland is a stuffed / filled loaf of bread called kukko. Typically it’s made with a fish filling (kalakukko), but sometimes you see other foodstuffs used like rutabaga (lanttukukko), potato (perunakukko) or chopped meat (lihakukko). The crust is made with rye flour – none of your half rye, half wheat, or cumin (or caraway) infested rye, but pure rye.
Last week, Mr. E made a fish kukko with fresh whitefish:
Some types of Finnish breads have cumin in them, but the cumin-free tends to dominate where I grew up, hence I’m strictly prejudiced. Also, when a Finn talks about rye bread, it’s mostly sourdough and 100% rye. If other flours are used as well, we call it a mix bread (sekaleipä). It’s tough to find “proper” rye bread in the States, so I end up eating a lot of Wasa sourdough crispbread (with cheese, naturally) to get my rye fix.
Mr. E’s kukko was really good! I’m so thankful that we found each other and that he’s interested in trying all these weird foreign things as well as teaching me his strange foreign things. We’ve had plenty of sharing flops, but a good amount of keepers, too. Luckily, our food shares tend to work well.
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November 18, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Random fact of the day: it’s the 95th anniversary of the Latvian proclamation of independence. In celebration, there is a Google doodle on the Latvian search site:
I really like it. It looks based on Latvian folk art. (I can see similarities with Finnish folk art, especially those two circular designs in the middle. If I remember right, my grandmother had two spinning wheel parts* decorated in a very similar manner.) And the instrument looks related to the Finnish kantele. It’s also neat how the doodle subtly invokes the Latvian red-white-red flag. A great piece of graphic design, all in all.
*) The parts are called rukinlapa. I couldn’t find a good translation. Here’s a picture from the Museum of Central Finland with three rukinlapa. My grandmother’s were closest to the leftmost one, but less fancy.
November 15, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Gosh, this is exciting: my two poinsettias from last Christmas(!) not only survived, they’re starting to turn red again!
Previous years they’ve just died on me. I don’t have a very good green thumb to begin with, but I just don’t seem to get poinsettias. Nowadays I don’t even bother trying anything fancy besides watering them, and I buy them from the supermarket. Needless to say, I’ve been close to incredulous that these two survived through the winter, then through the spring and summer. And they’re still going. And turning red!
I’ve kept them in our living room throughout the year. That means whatever the room temperature happens to be: variable without air conditioning in the summer; in the winter, daytime mid-60s (18-20 celcius) and nights 57-58 Fahrenheit (15-ish). They live next to the west windows, so there’s plenty of light in the summer. I do try to draw the shades after noon, so that the glare won’t overwhelm the plants. We tend to spend our evenings at the opposite end of the house, so they don’t get artificial light at night. (That may be what triggered the blush, in connection with the cool fall weather, now that I think about it.) Besides watering every 10 days or so, or every week if they seem dry, that’s all I’ve done. (Note to self: try to replicate these conditions next year, too!) And they’re turning red – did I mention that already!
In other plant-related news, at the end of October, before the night temps dropped below freezing, we picked the last cherry tomatoes off our vines and brought them in. They hadn’t had enough time to ripen, though. Mr. E’s mother ripens her green tomatoes underneath a towel in a bowl with some apples, so that’s what we tried.
It works well, although not fast. I’m glad we were able to save the last of the tomato harvest – there was quite a bit, as you can see from the photo. Yay for (very, very, very) basic chemistry!