Do it your way – Spearmint and lime gravlax on labneh and chives

Gravlac on labneh and chives

You know how people are always telling you how you’ve gotta do things your way and live your own life and be your own man (woman!!) and then down the road you’ll be horribly succesful and get absolutely all that you desire and the world will bow at your feet? Well I’ve been trying to do that all my life and I have yet to see even my very spoiled dog do any bowing. Not even a curtsy, seriously. But I have been doing all the things that I enjoy and bring me peace and satisfaction, and even if its hard at times in the end it’s always rewarding. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it twice; DO WHAT YOU LOVE. I don’t mean to be preachy, but seriously, I think it’s the most important thing in the world! I can only imagine being 70 and looking back…I wonder what I’ll want to tell myself? I’m glad I have all this money in the bank or…I’m glad I ate gravlax and spent my bucks in riding and cooking and gardening and buying oil paints every time I felt like it? Ok I’ll be frank, I’ll probably want to tell myself both. But I’m sure I’ll get there! Everyone says so right? And we all know that if everyone says so then it must be true. And plus, even Frank Sinatra sang about it. So that’s what I tell myself every time I go to the market and I see a huge salmon fillet, just waiting to be played with. And I did play my way; I put a little twist on the classic Nordic dish. I made my gravlax with loads and loads of spearmint (’cause its so much milder than dill) and lime rinds, because those three together even when non-gravlaxed make a great combo, imho. And when you put it over pumpernickel and a deliciously creamy labneh sauce, (also called jocoque, aka strained yoghurt) rich in chives and a drop of lime on top…..well you’ll certainly be glad you’re doing it your way. Don’t lie, you want to read more for the recipe, right?

(Note: you could also substitute the labneh for homemade cheese!)

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Sour Cream Rosemary Potatoes

Rosemary and sour cream baked potatoes

There are some things in life that are always good; finding unexpected money in one of your drawers, receiving a call from someone you miss, having warm feet….it’s a long list. And on that list (at least mine), potatoes will always have a place. I think I can say, with certainty, that I’ve never declined a good potato dish. In any of it’s variants. They’re just so good and go with everything…and there are so many ways you can cook them. They make any ingredient shine. But there’s a few  ingredients that will always be glory to me when baked alongside this lovely tubers: cream, butter, rosemary, and cheese. So here goes a version using a couple of those; rosemary and sour cream. It’s an incredibly fast and easy dish, and it’s also clean. You’ll only need the chopping board, knife, and dish where you’ll be baking. And the result is so good you’ll hardly believe it was that simple. Read more for the recipe.

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Onion’s sweet cousin – Caramelised Shallots in red wine

Caramelised shallots in red wine

This is a dish I first tried when I was living in Paris (I know, insane to think I went all those years before that without knowing the heaven-in-your-mouth that these are!) and they are constantly lurking in the back of my mind as something I want to cook, but whenever I go to the supermarket the shallot box is always so pitifully hidden away in a corner with only a few sad, small, shrivelling shallots scattered in it. And so I lose my inspiration. It’s strange, because as far as I know Mexico does produce a fair amount of shallots….apparently my supermarket seems to think it’s okay to sell only what’s leftover in the crates. Granted, I’ve never seen big, round, beautiful shallots as they have in France around here, and I can’t even imagine the ones they have in Asia, but I did find a few decent sized bulbs on my last trip there. And paired with a couple of rib-eye thin steaks I had in my freezer and green bean crocant salad, I finally got around to having these in the comfort of my own home. They can be served as a side dish, on top of meat or chicken, on rice, or whatever else you fancy. They could probably also be a main dish if you can find big enough shallots and are a vegetarian, I would just reduce the sugar amount a bit. And, if you find that your local supermarket is imitating mine, you can do this recipe with only very small shallots, and make a delicious sauce, which would go superbly over a few slices of turkey. (In fact…I’ll probably come back and post that sometime soon). But no more rambling, on to the recipe!

Shallots in shellShallots without skins

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When baked potatoes reach their true potential – Hasselback Potatoes

Hasselback potatoes with thyme

Imagine if we were all an ingredient; wouldn’t reaching our potential be so much easier?? I guess it would depend on which chef’s hands you found yourself in though… But all modesty apart, I think I helped these slightly old potatoes sitting in my vegetable drawer along their way to stardom. And I know, nothing, absolutely nothing, beats some good old gratin dauphinois, especially my mother’s on christmas eve, (because there really is nothing in the world that can compare to cream, cheese and soft warm potatoes all together next to a tender slice of turkey)  but this kind of baked potatoes, which are originally known as hasselback potatoes and are of swedish origin, are really high up there in the ladder of potatoes reaching for the stars. And that’s not only because they’re insanely delicious, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, but because they’re also healthy (as far as healthy and potatoes can go together) and quick to make. The original version has breadcrumbs, tons of butter, and if I’m not mistaken, paprika. This version, however, is far simpler; thyme, teeny tiny bits of butter and garlic. That’s all you need. Really. Oh, and a sharp knife.

Garlic, potatoes, thyme

On to the recipe? Yes, of course you want to eat this! Keep reading ->

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Blue cheese and onion souffle – Homemade Crackers

Today I spent most of the morning sitting in traffic. This is not a remarkable thing in Mexico City, I know. But it doesn’t happen all that often to me, I try to stay away from known problem areas and rush hours. And yet today…the reason was so crazy that I shall let the pictures speak for themselves:

See that bus? It’s driver chose to go, all the way from the leftmost lane, to that side street. Which is under construction. Meaning about 1 car per hour goes through it. And so we waited, me thouroughly amused by the fact that these things actually happen in this city, for about 20 minutes (I am not exaggerating) until there was enough space on the side street for the bus to let us pass. But don’t think that was it! See that white building? That’s the way home. But as I pass the Oh-I-So-Not-Care bus and approach that glorious traffic-free path homeward…behold:

Oh yes. It’s stuck. And I’m behind it. This truck took about 10 minutes to get itself out of the jam it was in. And meanwhile, I have a huge line of cars behind me, honking, of course, because that apparently helps the truck slim down and fit better wherever it’s attempting to get itself into. Sigh. But all this chaos just gave me a horrible urge to get the groceries home and make something to eat with the homemade crackers I’d prepared yesterday. (Recipe in the next post, promise). So here it is; Red onion and blue cheese souffle!

Which together with a simple green and tomato salad totally made me forget I live in Mexico City.

On to the recipe?

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