2007: During the year I made a home in Finland, I found much to love. But the food -- the food! was a definite highlight. I have a notebook of recipes - too bad, many written in Finnish 'to help retain the language', ha! though food words mostly remain familiar. And I often turn to the classic Finnish cookbook, The Finnish Cookbook by Beatrice Ojakangas. I remember carrot and rice casserole -- 'porkkanalaatikko' in Finnish, since you asked -- as a specialty on Christmas Eve. By today's standards, it's plain fare. But its very simplicity lets the carrots shine and the rice melt into the light custard. It hit just the right note with slices of ham on a cool fall evening and the next day, warmed up, tasted even better.
2010: I 'updated' the recipe just a bit, by using the more healthful brown rice and omitting the bread-crumb topping. I actually like this served cold, too, in fact for a party supper, might cut it into squares or triangles, sprinkled with fresh dill, then serve as a 'salad' or side dish. In fact, I'll mention that a little fresh dill moves this casserole from good plain fare to something quite delicious.
FINNISH CARROT CASSEROLE
Time to table: 1 hour
Makes about 4 cups
1 cup cooked rice (white rice or brown rice like Foolproof Oven-Baked Brown Rice)
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups whole milk
1 pound carrots, grated with a hand grater or a food processor
1 slice whole grain bread, made into crumbs by whizzing in small food processor a few times
1 tablespoon olive oil (or butter)
Preheat oven to 375F. Whisk the eggs, then whisk in the brown sugar, salt and then a few tablespoons at a time, the milk. Stir in the rice and carrots. Transfer to a baking dish. Mix the topping ingredients and sprinkle on top. Don't cover - you want the topping to brown and crust up a bit. Bake for about 40 minutes for a shallow baking dish and another 30 - 40 if a deep baking dish.
2007: The specified baking time was 40 minutes, mine took double that to get hot clear through. Since I cooked this in a deep Corning casserole dish, next time I'll use something shallow like a quiche dish. 2010: A shallow quiche dish worked like a charm, this finished in exactly 40 minutes.
2010: I was short on milk so substituted 1/2 cup of cottage cheese, creating a nice change in texture.
2010: I served the leftovers, cold, sprinkled with fresh dill and it was so good, so very good, that now I want to remake this again and experiment with how/when to add fresh dill. My instinct says to sprinkle it over the hot casserole, rather than to mix in. This solves the 'blank top' issue too, since I'd rather skip the fuss and calories of a bread crumb topping.
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~ more Finnish recipes ~
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TOURING FINLAND with FOOD BLOGS & OTHER BLOGS
For more Finnish recipes, check out these favorite blogs:
Nami Nami - Pille lives in Estonia, just across the Gulf of Finland. Because Estonia and Finland are so close geographically and linguistically, there is much back and forth between the two countries, especially since the Soviet Union broke up.
Cloudberry Quark - Mostly posts in English (don't be turned off by the posts currently on her home page) with beautiful photography
Daydream Delicious ~ Bonnie was also a Rotary exchange student in Finland and occasionally blogs about Finnish recipes, like rieska, a savory bread and täytekakku, a fruity cream cake that I remember well.
A Wee Bit of Cooking ~ Wendy also lived in Finland for a few years and occasionally posts Finnish recipes, like this omenakakku, that would be apple cake
Axis of Aevil ~ An American married to a Finn and another mom who gave up blog for baby, but the archives of Finnish pastries and classical dishes -- amazing
Life of Jalo ~ Not a food site, but I visit these four very happy dogs who live in the east of Finland every day, just to smile. Wonderful dog photography, many glimpses of the Finnish countryside
Taivasalla ~ Not a food site, gorgeous photographs mostly in and around Helsinki
Are there other Finnish food blogs? I'd love to know!
Eat more vegetables! A Veggie Venture is the home of Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg and is the award-winning source of free vegetable recipes, quick, easy, and yes, delicious. Start with the Alphabet of Vegetables or dive into all the Weight Watchers vegetable recipes or all the low carb vegetable recipes. © Copyright 2007