February is a weird month for food. We’re not quite over the relentless January detox, yet it’s still crazy cold so we’re craving something hearty and fulfilling. Feeling a little dumbstruck and uninspired, we caught up with our new favourite food blogger extraordinaire, Mikkel Karstad, to pick his beautiful Danish brains for winning fridge fillers. FYI, if you haven’t already checked out his blog We You They Ate, do it immediately.
What basic seasonings and oils should every guy have in their kitchen?
I think it’s important to have salt and pepper in every kitchen, so basic but still very important that your food is flavored with these two things, otherwise it does not taste of anything.
I always have a really good cold-pressed virgin olive oil for dressings and marinades and also a neutral “cooking oil” which is grape seed, corn or canola oil for frying and cooking.
What seasonal ingredients are worth buying right now?
Right now it’s winter here in Denmark and it is the season for cabbage and root vegetables, so I’m using a lot in my food, both at work and at home. They are super healthy and I am very much into using raw materials that are in season and also, that are locally produced. They are mega cheap too – cabbage and root vegetables cost pennies.
Can you recommend any super quick and easy recipes?
I’m loving a simple salad of Brussels sprouts, carrot, apple and rye kernels that features in my recipe book Eat. It’s one of my favorites right now as it’s the season for Brussels sprouts and carrots. It is so easy to make, and also really beautiful – I always think it is important that there is something for the eye.
To serve 4 people:
400 g brussels sprouts
2 danish apples ( like Ingrid Marie or red aroma that have no acidity and freshness in it )
100 g whole rye kernels
½ cup. olive oil
3-4 tbsp. apple vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tsp. acacia honey
½ bunch mint
1 handful of red sorrel
Put kernels in a pot and rinse through with cold water, drain and add clean water to cover the kernels.
Bring the pot to boil and cook kernels for approx. 50 mins on a low heat.
Take the kernels off the heat and put them into a bowl. Marinate them with a little salt, 1 tbsp. of vinegar and 1 tbsp. of olive oil.
Remove any unsightly outer leaves of Brussels sprouts and cut the root.
Peel the carrots and then, cut Brussels sprouts, carrot and apple into thin slices and put them in a bowl.
Add the kernels and marinade with extra olive oil, vinegar, honey, salt and freshly ground pepper. Pick and chop the mint and sprinkle finally into the salad along with the sorrel. Serve the salad as a dish or as an accompaniment to poultry, white meat or fish.
What are your failsafe dishes for when you have guests?
We often have children’s friends and their parents visiting for dinner and one of the things that always goes down well is pumpkin soup. We serve it with various garnishes, such as croutons, baked pumpkin, bacon, roasted pumpkin etc. so everyone can eat pumpkin soup with whatever garnish they want.
If we have friends over for dinner without the kids, then I make a lot of fish, seafood and vegetables. We have great seafood and vegetables here in Denmark.
In your opinion, what are the superfoods we should be buying right now?
Any variety of cabbage is great. They are healthy, beautiful and cheap. My personal favorites are Brussels sprouts and kale.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Wine, good Wine! I drink 1-3 glasses of wine a day and often it’s really good wine, though it has probably suffered a “workers’ compensation” but I have great interest in wine and love to drink and taste different bottles.
What’s next for Mikkel Karstad?
I have various projects underway, which involve consulting for advertising agencies and restaurants. But, the project I´m going to spend most of my time on in 2015 is my next cookbook. I’m super excited about it. Stay tuned!