Potato Evaluation

by Lars. The Nordic Food Lab conducted a sensory analysis of underutilized varieties of Nordic potatoes to evaluate their respective gastronomic potential and desirability. We initially received forty individual varieties grown from Nordgen seed stock in their test farm. We processed these in a manner most consistent with average consumer cooking methods,(boiled) and selected ten that most interesting. The Nordic Genetic Research Center cultivated approximately five kilos of each variety for further testing.  The specimens evaluated were: SWE 3007 Sparrispotatis DNK 3054 Æggeblomme SWE 3062 Rödbrokig Svensk DNK 3198 Kiva NOR 3212 Fjellfinn FIN   3223 Tammiston Aikainen SWE 3230 Blå Mandel DNK 3259 Minea FIN   3267 Lemin Punanen ISL    3304 Blaar Islenskar These varieties were subjugated to the following processes: baking, boiling, sous vide, French fries, crisps, pureed, confit. The tastings were conducted with a minimum of three trained chefs, although typically six persons participated. The tastings were conducted using … Read more

Kombucha

  by Lars. Kombucha is basically a fermented tea. It begins with a sweet tea, traditionally of a black variety, which is then transformed by the “mushroom”, which is actually a Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeasts (SCOBY). This may sound somewhat risque, but this happy marriage is robust and protects itself from outside contamination by producing a decent amount of acetic acid. The result (after five days or so) is a slightly tart, but balanced beverage that becomes slightly effervescent after it is decanted and left for a day in the fridge. We began to run our little zoogleal mat through the paces, first through herb teas that we had dried in house (verbena, woodruff, etc.) and then to vegetable and fruit juices. Some tests All the teas and fruit juices were delicious, but nothing ground breaking until we fermented carrot juice- Really a pleasant surprise. The carrot kombucha … Read more

Søl Feta

  by Lars. We have been collaborating with Arla on several projects, but this is probably the one we are most excited about. Just concerning søl, the good people people there have done several cheeses, all quite good, but none with that “wow, that’s….amazing” quality we were all hoping for. Until this feta here. We agreed it was important to have an extremely good quality product to launch for the consumers, and this cheese is at this level. The feta style really suits the søl, the slight saltiness emphasizing the best parts of the flavor profile. The hard working lads at Arla found the søl worked best when incorporated into a very high fat content, and then through a rather clever process is returned to a milk proper for feta production. We just finished a final taste tweak and are both excited to have a product that will be available … Read more

Serious Ferment

  by Lars. Ferments are some of the most rewarding products to work with, whether cheese, bread, vinegars, etc. There is something particularly rewarding in nurturing, collaborating with another living creature. We were looking into ways of releasing more umami in our Nordic cuisine, especially after some of the research that we did in our seaweed project. A perusal of DTU’s excellent website www.foodcomp.dk  lead us to a Scandinavian classic: yellow peas. The peas were quite high in glutamic acid, and the question became how to convert the bound amino acids to unbound. Fermentation. We used a mold called Apergillus oryzae to inoculate steamed barley. This took a few attempts to perfect as it requires rather precise control over temperature and humidity, but we could use it to perform a slow, controlled fermentation of the cooked yellow peas. We decanted at a month to check progress- success. The resulting paste … Read more

Kelp Crisps

by Lars. We were experimenting with bouillons from different seaweeds, reducing them, and then, epiphany. Why not dehydrate the bouillon?  We set it at 60 degrees overnight. The result was these amazing crisps (I suppose we will have to find more adequate nomenclature). They have a brilliant, meaty taste, but with green tones, and are a fantastic accent to a variety of foods, both meat and vegetable. The process only works with certain seaweeds- those with significant careegeanen (søl) or sugars (mannitol in sugar kelp) seem to have trouble drying out fully enough. Instead of beautiful “crisps” that melt in your mouth, they reduce to a rather sticky mess. We are looking into whether there is a way to adjust this. For now we are just putting our real “sea salt” on just about everything we can.

Fermentation Trials

  by Lars. This is the rig we set up to inoculate grains for the later fermentation. The polysci circulator controls the temperature (there is a lid) and provides enough moisture to develop the ferment properly. After our initial success, we wanted to see how different grains affect the flavor. We will see in a month.