Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Kitchen Gardener Cook
Great fun was had with exploration from Helsinki & environs. Already we are on our 2nd road trip with more to come and Monday we’ll ferry to Estonia’s capital Tallin…phenomenal with its fascinating walled medieval city.
My Chovis (endearment for Kuchovas)as I call them, have filled the days…almost to overloaded. Niki has taken off from his work in Commerce department although upon landing I was introduced to Ambassador Oreck and his very hip wife, Cody, who has put in a beehive @ Ambassador’s residence (which looks like Annapolis Governor’s house, BTW). She keeps the beehive herself and intends to restore the gardens which include herbs and produce. We talked about the GREEN life as there are sponsors over here to save the Baltic Sea. Finland is a very Green country.
We drive by lots of farms but as of yet…not too many critters save one or two farms with maybe sheep or a few cows. Gorgeous scenery with over 10,000 archipelago where one truly gets to feel the lifestyle. Crafts and farm goods abound and charm reigns with the honor system allowing you to leave your payment in the container next to the milk depot or a fruit stand. The food is fab and I am eating my way through smoked fish and bilberries. We happened upon a fish camp early on where I downed a large portion of homesmoked whitefish.
Finnish Food Highlights
When traveling one of my first stops would be a supermarket to see how the locals cook. It’s also the way to discover clever food packaging. The next stop is an open market, or a farmers market, as we think of it. At these markets you learn about the culture and daily lifestyle. This particular market sits on the south bustling harbor of Helsinki and was swarming- even in the summer heat. The stalls bear local crafts of wood-one of Finland’s most abundant crops, wool products for those long winters and fresh food. We sampled loimulohi (blazed salmon, cooked over an open fire), freshly fried sardines, salmon cakes with lemon and huge glorious Paella showcasing the local seafood along with saffron tinged rice.
A traditional Finnish meal consists of grilled sausage, mashed potatoes, carrots and buttermilk. Lihapullat are excellent Finnish meatballs, while dessert options include Karjalanpiirakka pastry and cinnamon rolls. Culinary adventurers should try sautéed reindeer (a traditional item in Lapland). Reindeer is often used in the famous meatballs.
To my excitement, I learned that Helsinki is the coffee drinking capital of the world! We would often “take a coffee”(as they say) although decaf is not to be found. The Finn’s other favorite drinks include Marjamehu (berry juices), Pommac (a mixed fruit soda) and Glögi (spiced mulled wine with almonds and raisins). Finns love licorice and since so much is available it has become our road trip treat.
Smoked foods, especially fin fish are a specialty. Salmon was the most common but I often saw smoked herring, flounder, whitefish and pike.
1 cup baby greens
- 1/2 cup cantaloupe & honeydew cubes
- 1/4 cup strawberries
- 1/2 inch thick 3-inch round goat cheese, chilled
Heat nonstick skillet over med-high heat. Very quickly brown each side of goat cheese round. Cool slightly.
Place greens on salad plate-sprinkle with fruit around the edges, Crown with goat cheese and drizzle with balsamic reduction.
Kiitos ( means thankyou) which I am saying OFTEN to the lovely people of this amazing country!