How to Finnish Your Meal: Finnish Pea Soup, Mushroom Salad, and Rustic Karelian Pasties

I love puns.  Please endure them for my sake.

Last night, we “Finnished” our meal completely.  Ah, Nordic countries.  Someday, I will go on a great Nordic bicycle trip.  Someday.  But until then, I’ll keep making delicious pasties.

I’ve got to say, I am partial to the cuisine of the eastern side of the country, as they rely more on vegetables and mushrooms, compared to the more meat- and fish-centric western side.  Rye breads and crusts are common in Finland, and soups are common as well.  Also, because of the cold weather in these countries, many recipes are focused on dairy products and starches, as they are available on a year-round basis.

If anyone is curious about the actual recipes used, feel free to e-mail me and I’ll send along, but the Pea Soup and Mushroom salad recipes are so simple that I feel like it’s maybe a stretch to call them recipes.

For my mushroom salad, I used oyster mushrooms.  I had never seen eaten these before…or apparently smelled them.  The instant I opened the package, I was afraid that we wouldn’t enjoy them.  After some rehydrating, I was a little less anxious trying them, though.  The smell subsided a bit.

To these, you just add heavy cream, the juice of one lemon, and salt and pepper.  No recipe, just use what you need to cover the mushrooms.  Certainly, with a cream and lemon juice combination, the mushrooms tasted good.  Jordan even said that he really enjoyed this dish (which was a relief after the initial olfactory shock the oyster mushrooms gave us).

Most of the prep time for this meal was spent on the Karelian pasties (karjalanpiirakka). They have a rye flour base, which I loved.  I think I’ll definitely use the crust to make some galettes in the future.  So easy, but look like a lot of work.

The filling for these is cooked rice with almond milk added to make the mixture creamy.  I also added some sprinkles of sea salt.

I did make an egg butter to brush on the top of the Karelian pasties, but honestly I wasn’t really in the mood for egg so I didn’t push the issue by spreading it on too thick.  They are cute, yeah?

I really had fun experimenting with the sides in this meal.  I’m not sure why, but I was most anxious about this meal for this week, and I was happy to see it pan out (is that accepted as pun #2 for the post??).  These two sides also went really well with the basic split-pea soup.  The overall meal had a lot of different flavors, although I admit that it was a bit low in the leafy greens department.

I’m not sure I’ll have too many posts this weekend with recipes.  But you cannot blame me, because you would find it hard to devote your weekend to menu planning when you’ve got computer training curriculum to complete and especially hard when you’ve got these two fellas visiting you:

That’s right, we’ll have a full house apartment here this week.  Jordan’s brother and sister-in-law and the two aforementioned fellas will be exploring much of what Knox (and probably Sevier) County have to offer throughout the next six days.  (By the way, I would definitely wish the least little guy a happy 2nd birthday via blog if I was convinced he was a subscriber).  I wonder if the boys will like Algerian food?

Help!  Anyone have any suggestions on what countries’ dishes I should prepare for the house guests this weekend?

Categories: Baking, European Food, Food, Soups, Vegetarian | 1 Comment

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One thought on “How to Finnish Your Meal: Finnish Pea Soup, Mushroom Salad, and Rustic Karelian Pasties

  1. I lived in Finlad for a year and you’re right on with the Karelian pies…they are a very popular snack. Alhtough most home cooks don’t attempt to make them, they just buy frozen from the supermarket. So and extra big high five for making them from start to finish!
    I like the the concept of your blog. I look forward to checking back and seeing what else you’re up to.

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