Sunday, July 27, 2014


I’ve been waiting for this day since I found these recipes. And it comes after I finally filed for my LLC with the state to start my proofreading and editing business.  Now, I’m just waiting for my debit card in order to get started.  So, its somewhat of a celebratory meal. It’s just that these recipes are perfect for fall weather when it’s 40 degrees and not 82 degrees in July. Maybe it’ll bring on the cooler weather. (Actually, we’re supposed to drop 10-20 degrees by tomorrow, so I believe it’s working.)

Small but mighty.  
The first thing I started with is a rye bread called rieska.  The preparation was rather simple: mixing together rye flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt, then adding in butter and buttermilk.  After I formed it into a ball, I laid it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  I put it in the oven for about 40 minutes. My bread seemed a little small. I suppose I could’ve flattened it out a bit. I wondered if I should’ve made three more since I’m not sure if the rest of my family will get any.  But really, it was surprisingly big enough.

I completely underestimated how good this was. It would go well with a strong cup of coffee. 
After this, I made a Finnish blueberry pie called mustikkapiirakka. First, I cut a ton of butter (like, a stick and a quarter) into caster sugar.  Caster sugar is something new to me, but it’s basically just superfine sugar preferring in baking and in drinks since it dissolves in liquid better. Then I beat in one egg and added in some vanilla extract.  I didn’t realize that I was pretty much out of vanilla, so I threw in what I had and added a little almond extract.  I sifted in some rice flour and baking powder and mixed until it was consistent. And since I forgot to get a pie tin or tart tin, I used a round springform cake pan instead.  I spread the crust dough on the bottom and up the sides as well, smoothing it with my fingers. A pint of fresh blueberries filled the bottom.  In a separate bowl, I mixed sour cream, buttermilk, more caster sugar, an egg, and some more almond extract (or vanilla if I had any). Once I stirred it until it was smooth, I poured this on top of the blueberries and baked it for 30 minutes. At this point, I lowered the heat and kept it in for another 30 minutes. It wasn’t as sweet as I thought it was going to be, but it was more of a natural sweet.  I LOVED it.  I have a feeling there won’t be any left for my breakfast, though.  Maybe I should hide the rest. That’s what I have to do to keep my husband from eating all the chocolate, and I’m moderately successful at that.

Paradise topped with potatoes. 
The main meal for today is merimiespata, or Finnish beef and beer stew. I used a casserole dish for this, and put a layer of sliced and salted potatoes in the bottom. Then I added a layer of browned stew beef (sautéed with salt and pepper), topped with a layer of sautéed and sugared onions, followed by another layer of the potatoes. I poured in a bottle of beer (I couldn’t find any beer from any Nordic or Baltic country, so I used Leffe Blonde from Belgium.) and added enough beef stock to cover the potatoes. After adding a bay leaf, I put it in the oven for two hours.  This, by far, was one of the most awesome dishes I’ve made.  I picked a good beer to make this with; it wasn’t overpowering to the dish.  And it was definitely worth the wait. I’m certainly going to pull this recipe back out when it gets colder. 

All of my favorites together. 
I truly enjoyed writing about Finland. Besides the fact that I think the Finnish language looks kind of hard and their words seem as long as German words, I think I would really like to visit Finland one day.  Maybe in the summer, though.  The food we ate today was delicious, and yet, there weren’t many spices that went into it. Outside of the blueberry pie perhaps, it was generally simple to make but full of flavor.  I think these recipes are good to file as ones using only a few ingredients. For a country that I knew only a little about, Finland is now on my long list of countries I want to visit. 

Up next: France