Enjoy Not Knowing

Just another American living in Sweden


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portobello mushrooms with balsamic and thyme

If you like mushrooms keep reading. Even if you don’t like mushrooms you should probably know this recipe anyway. Just in case. You never know. These portobello mushrooms are to die for, so it’s a good recipe to have in your arsenal.

Prior to this fated evening I had only ever grilled portobello mushrooms. Yes, I’m new here, despite this the recipe was easy to follow and resulted in delightfully scrumptious mushrooms. Find the original Eggton recipe/description here.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. + 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 3 large cloves garlic, passed through a garlic press (Eggton says chopped is fine, but I hate chopping garlic)
  • 12 oz. portobello mushroom caps, cut into 1/2″ strips
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp. fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

Ingredients assembled! (Ignore the eggs, those are for something else)

Directions:

  1. In a medium or large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. When it’s hot, add the garlic. Sautée for a minute. Make sure the garlic isn’t browning or frying up. 
  2. Add the mushrooms, salt and thyme. At first, the skillet will be dry except for the oil. 10-15 minutes into cooking, they will be dark and will have released their water content into the skillet. 
  3. At this point, add the sugar and the vinegar. Cook, stirring occasionally, at least 5 minutes more, until most of the liquid in the skillet has evaporated.

Since I had only ever grilled portobello mushrooms, I had no idea what Eggton meant by a dry skillet. This is what she meant.

Aaaand wet.


Eggton recommends that one spoons the mushrooms over goat cheese on toasted bread and drizzle with olive oil and coarse salt. (Sounds ridiculously fantastic). Or toss on salads, put in omelets, incorporate into pasta sauces, what have you. 

Now, I do like Eggton’s serving suggestions, but let’s be real. These mushrooms are so good you’ll just end up slurping them all up while standing over the still hot frying pan like I did. Be real. Be like me.

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chilled honey oats

In keeping with my 30 before 30 list I’ve made one of Eggtons recipes, this time chilled honey oats. For a while now I’ve wanted to try out refrigerating oats, there are a ton of recipes and tasty looking pictures these days on social media that have enticed me to finally do it.

Though I really have no idea how so many people can take such nice pictures of oats. Seriously. It’s ridiculously difficult.

As per the usual I followed Eggtons recipe essentially to a T.

  
Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c. rolled oats
  • 1 c. whole milk (or cream)
  • 1/2 c. of your favorite yogurt
  • 2 tsp. honey (can substitute agave nectar – though I don’t know what this actually is)
  • 1 tsp. chopped orange peel (from 1 orange)
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 c. orange juice
  • 2 tart apples (such as granny smith or pink ladies)
  • other fruits or berries (optional)
  • nuts (optional)

  

  

Directions:

  1. Combine the first 8 ingredients in a container with a lid and refrigerate for at least 5 hours or overnight (I chose over night, because I wanted to eat the oats for breakfast).
  2. Prior to serving, peel the apples and shred them down to the core using the side of a cheese grater that you’d use to shred cheese for a pizza. Do this directly prior to eating so your apples don’t turn brown.
  3. Toss the apple into the mix and stir to combine.  Taste it.  Adjust the consistency and flavors as desired–you can add more orange juice for acidity, milk or cream to thin it out, and honey to pick up the sweetness.
  4. Serve with berries, other fresh fruit, and your favorite nuts.

  
The mixture can be refrigerated again and eaten again the next day. Which is, of course, what I chose to do.

  
Definitely don’t forget to check out Eggton’s page for much prettier pictures. I think I need more sunshine, that’s how to get my oats to look better…

 


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black bean soup

Eggton does it again with a vegetarian (or vegan if desired) black bean soup. Now that fall is on its way a nice hot soup is a go to meal to keep toasty warm. Original recipe found here.

Once again I didn’t stray much from Eggton’s instructions. I’ve found that’s the best way for me to have success in the kitchen. It unfortunately doesn’t guarantee I don’t get burned.

Black bean soup ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp. butter or olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery diced (did you guys know they’re called ribs?!)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 c. vegetable broth
  • 1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
  • 2 410g cans black beans, drained but not rinsed
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. ketchup (use a vegan ketchup if you’re vegan)
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce (omit if vegan)
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. cumin

Cooking black bean soup

Directions:

  • In a large pot or a big skillet with raised sides, melt the olive oil or butter over medium heat.
  • Add the chopped onion and celery and carrot.  Sauté until the onion is tender and translucent but not browned, lowering the heat if necessary.  Add the garlic and cook another couple of minutes.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.  Raise the heat to bring it to a boil and then lower it so that the soup simmers for 20 minutes (or less – but if you cook it really fast your veggies might still be a little crunchy – I seriously recommend cooking the veggies fast, so good!).
  • Purée half or all of the soup with a hand mixer (Eggton recommends a blender or food processor, we don’t have that and the hand mixer worked great) then stir it back into the pot.
  • Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning as desired.  If it’s too thick for your taste, add more broth and reheat. Serve with sour cream and cheese if you like (provided you’re not vegan).

black bean soup

This soup was so good I could honestly eat it every week this fall. I won’t because then I may turn into a black bean. As the old adage goes: you are what you eat.

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crumb cake

Eggton’s grandmother apparently makes some unreal crumb cake.

IMG_6271

I don’t pretend to do it better than she, so here’s Eggton’s recipe (originally found here):

Ingredients:

For the cake–

  • 2 1/4 c. flour
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 12 Tbsp. butter (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 2 eggs

For the crumb topping–

  • 1 1/4 c. flour
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 3 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 8 Tbsp. (1 stick) butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Directions:

First, make the cake.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the dry ingredients for the cake (flour, sugar, baking powder and salt).  Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the dry ingredients.  Mix until the chunks of butter are gone and it looks like cornmeal.

Side bar: the mixing is very important, mix the extra mile
– it’s worth it in the end.

In a separate small bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together with a fork.  Add to the batter and mix for about 1 minute, until fully incorporated.  Pour into a buttered 13 x 9 x 2″ baking dish.  (Don’t bake yet because you still have to add the crumbs!)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Then, make the crumbs.

In a medium-large bowl, combine the dry ingredients for the crumbs (flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt).  Melt the butter and add the vanilla to it.  Pour most of the butter mixture into the flour mixture slowly, using a fork to make crumbs as you go.  **Note**  You don’t want to smash the mixture into one big, super-wet crumb.  Rather, you want a lot of little clumps and barely any left-over flour.  So fluff the flour mixture with a fork as you dribble in the butter, and stop adding the butter when the flour is almost totally gone.   If you don’t use all the butter, that’s okay.  You want to add enough butter so that the crumbs aren’t floury, but not so much butter that the crumbs all melt together.

Side bar: make sure you put in the appropriate amount of baking powder or
your crumbs will taste a little weird, and you’ll spend 15 minutes trying to
remove baking powder from a bowl that already contains other ingredients.

Using your hands, sprinkle the crumbs evenly over the batter.  **Note** Hold your hands close to the batter; don’t drop the crumbs from high in the air or they’ll sink into the cake and they won’t be crumbly and crunchy.  If your crumb mixture is too wet and sticks together instead of forming crumbs naturally, hold a handful of topping right over the cake and rub between your fingers to make the crumbs by hand.

Side bar: note the note

Bake 30-35 minutes until a tester comes our clean and the crumbs have baked through.  If you used a glass pan, you’ll be able to see that the sides of the cake are a light golden brown.  Let the cake cool before you cut into it.

IMG_6272

I hope this awesome recipe, along with my side bar tips will help you make a great crumb cake. I recommend inviting lots of people over to share it with. Or bring it to work and feed your co-workers like I did. Trying to eat this much crumb cake alone will give you a stomach ache.

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30 before 30 update

I’d like to draw your attention to the fact that I’ve actually posted all seven “upcoming” posts I enticed you with this past summer. Now, this isn’t fully a completion of number 14 on my 30 before 30 list, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction!

In keeping with the title of this post I’d also like to draw your attention to a few more semi-recent posts off my 30 before 30 list. Evelina and I got married, and then traveled to Iceland to celebrate. I finally found the perfect lasagna recipe that Evelina enjoys as much as I do, and while in the kitchen I cooked up a couple things off of Eggton’s blog. I’ve watched a number of movies in continuing to top off my 25 before 25 list. Pintrest has even inspired me to do it myself.

30 before 30 Update

Stay tuned for more, there’s a lot left to go before the big 3-0!

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roasted vegetable salad with kale & kamut

As per the usual Eggton delivers again. I found this recipe here, and made a few modifications I will be sure to tell you all about.

Yesterday I went shopping to purchase the following ingredients for this scrumptious dish.

Ingredients:

For the vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1-2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary

For the salad:

  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 6 c. finely shredded kale leaves (remove the stems first)
  • 1 c. uncooked kamut
  • 3 c. mixed roasted vegetables, such as carrots, peppers, eggplant, zucchini or mushrooms, in bite-sized pieces

In advance I, of course, read this list. Lovely! I thought to myself, as we had many of the items already at home. I was in the store to buy the fresh herbs, cherry tomatoes, kamut, parsnip, & zucchini. I’m the only zucchini eater in the house, so we don’t usually have it around. I also love parsnip, so I just had to roast it up and add to the salad.

Eggton’s recipe actually calls for farro. I don’t know what farro is. Sweden does not know what farro is. I tried asking for it in the store, even had my smartphone out with a picture and everything. That guy still thinks I’m crazy. On second thought, he may not have been an employee.

I decided to go with kamut for two reasons, one it’s PN approved. (Curious about my Precision Nutrition experience, click the PN tab above!) Two, it exists in Sweden.

With my spoils in hand, I biked on home. Whipping out the trusty smartphone once again, I examined Eggton’s directions.

Directions:

  • If you don’t have left-over roasted vegetables, roast some.
  • In the meantime, put all the ingredients for the vinaigrette into a jar, close the lid, and shake until combined.  If you taste it, don’t worry: the balsamic flavor will be stronger than in most dressings, but it will be fine when tossed with the salad.
  • Cook the kamut according to the package directions, adding a little salt to the cooking water.
  • In the meantime, put the kale and the tomatoes into a bowl.  When the kamut is done, drain it and immediately add it to the kale and tomatoes.  (You want it to still be warm so that it wilts the kale a little.)  Mix in the grilled vegetables and toss with most of the dressing.
  • Let the salad sit on the counter for a few hours so that the flavors meld.  Taste it and add the remaining salad dressing if desired, and season with salt and pepper if necessary.  Serve the salad at room temperature and then store it in the fridge.

I did my best to follow the directions as directed. I did not have left over roasted vegetables, so I chopped up carrots, parsnip, zucchini and peppers in relatively large pieces. On foil I carefully spaced the carrots and parsnip onto the baking pan, adding a light cover of olive oil and chopped garlic and a sprig of rosemary to the mix for flavor. I allowed the carrots and parsnip to roast for about 15 minutes before I added the zucchini and peppers. These vegetables are much softer and waterier, so they will roast faster. (Waterier is a word – right?) I popped everything back in the oven for 30-40 more minutes.

Then it was time for the dressing. Remember how “lovely” I thought it was that we had most of the ingredients already at home? Turns out we had exactly 1/4 a cup of olive oil and exactly 1/4 a cup of balsamic vinaigrette. We have an oil & viniager salad sprayer, and I actually had to sprits out approximately 1/8 of a cup of vinaigrette. I don’t recommend that. It did work out in the end though. Also, a good to know tidbit is that the size of the jar does not need to be large. A smarter woman than I would consider that 1/2 a cup of liquid with one teaspoon of mustard plus a bit of herbs will not make much dressing. Instead, this is what I did:

dressing

Left: The jar size I used. Right: The jar size I should have used.

I didn’t cook the kamut according to packaging instructions either. Coach Ryan in PN instructs us clients to boil grains & beans by using the amount desired covered by 2-3 inches of water. Those of you who don’t have access to Ryan’s awesome videos should know that while boiling, test for readiness by tasting (you’re looking for a tender grain/bean), then drain excess water. That guy knows his stuff, because that’s what I did, and it went swimmingly.

Continuing on to the fresh vegetables I attempted to measure one pint of cherry tomatoes. Actually I got baby plum tomatoes. I don’t know the difference, they seemed similar in size, and the baby plum tomatoes looked much more appetizing (and came from Holland – a short distance from Sweden for the geographically impaired).

Not how to measure tomatoes.

Not how one measures tomatoes.

I think I got about the right amount of tomatoes in the end, so I moved on to the kale. This was another item we already had at home. However, it was not pre-finely shredded. I’m not sure if you can buy kale that is finely shredded for you, but regardless, I did not have that. My first instinct was to take out the cheese grater and grate my kale. This is not possible, so don’t try that. I ended up chopping it. Forgetting that the stems were to be removed, and playing a grown up version of Where’s Waldo as I inspected my chopped kale attempting to remove the stems.

chopped kale

Getting the tomatoes, kale and kamut into one bowl was by far the easiest step of the day. By this time my roasted vegetables had roasted, so I removed them from the oven, cut them into bite sized pieces, and added them to the mix. Eggton suggests adding some of the dressing first only adding more later to taste, I just went all out, and I’m glad I did. It wasn’t that much dressing to begin with, in my humble opinion, so using it all was a good call for me. Then I added salt. I love salt. If you ask me, more salt is more salt. Do it.

Despite the setbacks the salad came out wonderfully.

a finished salad

I hope you can learn from helpful tips (read: embarrassing mistakes) so that you have tremendous success with this super delicious salad.

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a resolutions update: follow up plan

Let’s get this post off and running by first calling attention to the fact that I have yet to share my 2015 New Year’s resolutions. Now that we’ve called attention to it, I’ll get back to that in a minute.

As I left you after my resolutions update in November, I was focusing on making a lasagna that Evelina likes as much as I do, and finishing my painting. I did make a lasagna. I did not paint a lasagna, or anything else for that matter.

First, let me tell you about the lasagna. Step one involved getting Evelina’s favorite meat sauce recipe. Ground beef, crushed tomatoes, yellow onion, salt & pepper. Not complex. I soaked my lasagna noodles in warm water with oil while making my sauce. I carefully layered sauce, noodle, sauce, noodle, sauce, noodle. Finishing with noodles on the top was strategic, as I coated the top layer with cheese. This top layer is then easily removed, because of Evelina’s distaste of cheese. Popped that bad boy in the oven, and waited for the complements.

Latest lasagna

The best I got, was that it wasn’t as bad as the last one. (Y’all remember my pastelon?) Thanks babe. I was then informed that Evelina’s mother’s meat sauce recipe is not in fact her favorite recipe. So the quest continues. I have one final plan, the plan to top all lasagna plans. Garfield would be impressed.

On to the painting:

painting?

This is the current state of my painting. So, yeah, painting is a generous term for this. But this leads me nicely into my New Year’s resolutions for this year. I’ll be continuing my tradition of carrying over my as-of-yet incomplete resolutions on to the upcoming year. Here you have them:

  1. Do a hand stand push up
  2. Paint a painting
  3. Find a lasagna recipe Evelina enjoys as much as I do
  4. Do 5 things off Pintrest successfully
  5. Watch One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Seven Samurai

If you noticed that my “run a marathon” resolution was not carried over, kudos to you. It is still a long-term goal of mine, but in an attempt to be more realistic, I am not including it as a goal for 2015. Maybe 2017, 17 always has been my favorite number.

With one month of 2015 already behind us I’ll have to be sure to be particularly effective this year.

See you out there.

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