Crackerin’ up

I got re-united with my beloved donutrator ( I don’t dehydrate donuts, the shape of my dehydrator is like a donut) last Sunday, and since I have been hydrating my obsessive needs to dehydrate stuff. The toilet has been smelling of delicious food for the past 3 days, because that is the only place where I am allowed to use the donutrator, since there the constant humming is the least disturbing. It’s no Excalibur, but my dear Rommersbacher which I bought for a fair price from the flea market few years ago, definitely can get stuff dry, crispy and tasty!

 

Dry basics: apples, bananas and rutabaga chips
Dried basics: apples, bananas and rutabaga chips

Besides fruits, I have been experimenting with different crackers. Sadly enough, I am rather bad at taking measurements for recipes. Whats even more sad, is that my appetite is like of an obese weight watcher’s on a cheat day; therefore I often forget to take pictures of the fruits of my labour and the loving care of the donutrator (sounds like a weird diet, right?). However, I do have one or few recipe-ish for you.

Making crackers is fairly simple: just blend some nuts/seed combo, maybe add some vegetables and definitely spices, put the dough in your dehydrator or donutrator or even conventional oven, smell the nice smells and be patient. I prefer making the crackers in the evening, so I’ll have more to look forward to when waking up the next day!

 

O-mega! Chia, hemp, pea protein, veggies - good for more than your bones
O-mega! Chia, hemp, pea protein, veggies – good for more than your bones

Few notes on making crackers:

– Flax and chia seeds (grind to flour) work well as binding agent.
– If you blend for example sunflower/pumpkin seeds, leave some whole ones for extra texture. Chopped sun dried tomatoes give nice crunch, too.
– Vegetable pulp/grated veggies i.e carrots bring lightness to the dough. Remember to squeeze excess liquid out (in a nutbag, for example).
– Use nut pulp from making nut milk! Also sprouted quinoa and/or buckwheat are great for crackers, they make it more like hard bread.

Sweet!

Easy apple chocolate carob cookies:
– 1 dl nut pulp
– 1 medium peeled apple, blended / 0,5 dl applesauce
– few drops of vanilla/toffee stevia and some honey for sweetness
– 2-4 tsp each of cacao and carob powder or as much as you like (or be athletic and use chocolate protein powder!)
– cacao nibs and other nibbles (pieces of nuts, mulberries, gojis) for crunch,
– cinnamon, nutmeg and such for extra flavor

Mix everything together and form a dough that sticks enough (some coconut oil can help with this), and get creative with forming whatever shapes you want and your dehydrator allows. Leave overnight, but do turn them around if you happen to go pee (or snack) during the night. Depending on how moist you want your cookies, keep and eye on them for the perfect consistency.

I will have a picture of these babies tomorrow morning unless I eat them before remembering that I could be an almost proper food blogger if I was a bit more patient. But they smell so good, you’ll understand how hard it is!

 

Vegetables. Shrunk in size yet not in flavor!
Vegetables. Shrunk in size yet not in flavor!

There’s more! If you want to swap your Doritos, Lays (or Taffel here in Finland) or whatever other chips you munch, to something way more interesting, enter the root veggies!

Vegetable chips
– Big carrot (if it is small, it will become tiny. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s less fancy and visual treat)
– Rutabaga
– Sweet potato
– Any other veggies (except for beets. I am traumatized from beets and just cannot handle them, except for the dumplings in Restaurant Day, krhm.)

sauce:
– a nice splash of (apple) cider vinegar
– salt
– cayenne pepper/chili
– powdered onion/garlic
– any other spices you fancy, take your pick
– for possibly desired sweetness, some honey, agave or other sweetener (really not necessary)
– for possibly desired fatness, some coconut oil (chips without fat? Ooooooh, diet food!)

Yep, you guessed it: mix ’em all together, lay on the donutrator (nope, I can’t get enough of that word) and be patient. This stuff crispens out and shrinks pretty fast compared to the crackers, so you might want to watch out for these babies and snack a few samples every few hours. They will keep in airtight container for fairly long, unless you have a good movie to watch. They can also be used in soups or other dishes, for example in salads.

 

Kale chips and friends
Kale chips and friends

 

Who said raw food is just about slurping wheatgrass shots and green smoothies?

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More Carnivals and few tips for Helsinki

Apparently my time in Helsinki was all about good people, cakes and other (gourmet) food! NB: This post includes links to recommended places in Helsinki, most of them are in Finnish. However, I bet you get the idea and I do recommend you to visit even though you don’t understand much of the interwebs info. Reality is so much better, anyways. And they do speak English.

If you ever go to Helsinki and you care about what you eat and drink, I highly recommend Johan & Nyström in Katajanokka. I have posted pictures before, this time around I went for some serious cake tasting. The place has a good selection on different raw cakes and pastries, and you can also get different kinds of quality coffees and teas. However, there are better places to get your caffeine fix: Caffi, Kaffa Roastery, Gruppo Coffee Lab just to name a few better than average places…Helsinki has much more brewing on than in Tampere, and I still have more places to check out!

After Eight (the winner), Raspberry licorice, and lingonberry cake (skip this one) at Johan & Nyström
After Eight (the winner of the tasting), Raspberry licorice, and lingonberry cake (skip this one) at Johan & Nyström

Last Thursday was The Night of the Arts in Helsinki, which included loads of cultural events around the city. Since I was busy with the Raw Food course, I couldn’t attend anything, I just had time to visit Teurastamo, an old slaughterhouse nowadays a culture space and a restaurant, which hosted a night market carnival event. Too bad Evira didn’t allow crickets to be served for some ridiculous reasons, such as not all species are edible (not all mushrooms are edible, but some are still eaten! Why are the Asians eating crickets and still alive?), I would have liked to try those. In stead, we had some delicious summer rolls from Rulla, and my dad enjoyed some frog legs as well. This was my first visit to Teurastamo area, which also hosts a solar-powered kitchen. Pretty cool atmosphere and area!

Carnival in a slaughterhouse
Carnival feeling
Creative rulla-combos served with a smile
Creative rulla-combos served with a smile
Hammocks, frog legs and graffitis in a slaughterhouse
Hammocks, frog legs and graffitis in a slaughterhouse

I am back in Tampere now, but can’t wait to go back to Helsinki to try out few other places. I already had a terrific lunch for a fairly reasonable price (9,7€ for mediterranean appetizer buffet, main course and fruits+coffee) in Krog Madame, which besides the delicious food and good looking staff also has a nice patio. Another place with a nice atmosphere: Cafe Köket (the Swedish name is a bit misleading) near the big church. Nice service and good breakfast in Finnish designer environment.

Take your pick and move to the buffet table
Take your pick and move to the buffet table

Since I seem to have so many new favorites around town I might have to dedicate a separate post to them all. But while I’m at it (or not really), check out Costo, the coolest hats I know and own. I might have bought 2 new ones this past week.

Something was going on in Tampere this weekend and upcoming week: DesignOn Tampere and Design market.

Finnish hats, jewelry, clothes and artisan stuff
Hats, jewelry, clothes and artisan stuff from Finland

I love happenings!

How I Roll

Sushi, probably the best-known definition of Japan and the Japanese cuisine, is definitely one of my favorite things to eat and make myself. Rather than the conventional white rice rolls and balls topped with all sorts of sea creatures, I prefer to jazz things up a bit. By “a bit” I mean skipping the rice, which technically makes these rolls not sushi, since sushi is based on su-meshi rice. Sushi or not, these rolls are as modifiable as far as your imagination goes, and my results have always been rather pleasing.

Here’s few ideas on What and How to Roll.
If you want your rolls raw, opt for ingredients that require no cooking (duh). If heating is not a problem, then you have more options to choose from. Since there is no need for washing, soaking, boiling and waiting for the rice to cool, the rolls are ready to be devoured quite quickly. Fast food at its’ best, specially if you don’t cut them!

Step 1: “Rice”
First of all, the base of the roll doesn’t need to be rice-like. You can opt for quinoa in stead of rice, or puree or chop some cauliflower into tiny bits to make it resemble rice (add some cashews for extra creaminess). Sprouts, salad or chopped cabbage work as well – the result just won’t be so conventional sushi-like. If you use cabbage, sprinkle it with some salt and squeeze excess liquid out. Mixing some chia seeds in gives more texture, but also helps to bind the moisture. If the base is too moist, it might be hard to roll and the nori might break.

Chopped veggies for filling
Chopped veggies for filling

Step 2. Veggies
Go crazy. Anything works – the more color, the prettier! Avocado gives creaminess, carrots and bell peppers are nice and crunchy, mushrooms are always good…try your favorites, but don’t over-stuff the roll – you’re supposed to be able to actually roll it (or then just eat it like a temaki handroll, but still it shouldn’t be too fat). If you wish, season the fillings with wasabi, pepper or which ever spices you wish.

Few favorite combos:
Sprouts, avocado, fresh mint and mango
Cauliflower “rice”, avocado, cucumber, red bell pepper
Salad, strawberries, cucumber, fresh basil

Cabbage-chia (mushroom powder) base with veggies, ready to be rolled
Cabbage-chia (and mushroom powder) base with veggies, ready to be rolled

Step 3: Ready to Roll
Place a nori sheet on a dry cutting board (or use sushi bamboo rolling mat). Spread your “rice” evenly, leave about 1/3 of the top of the nori without filling. Top the “rice” evenly with veggies, and hope for the best. Moisten the top edge with water, fold the front edge over the fillings. Keep rolling until the end, making a firm tube. Place the seam on the cutting board, and use your best knife to cut even pieces.

Quality nori and knife are essential in cutting the rolls
Quality nori and sharp knife are essential in cutting the rolls!

 

The rolls are best served with tamari/shoyu soy sauce, with gari (pickled ginger). And what’s sushi without misoshiru (soup)? Oh, and edamame (soy beans) would make a perfect appetizer to this. All to be enjoyed with a nice pot of sake and a cup of green tea, of course.

Itadakimasu!
Itadakimasu!

Have you tried making sushi yourself? What is your favorite kind of sushi – conventional, fusion or other?