Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Estonia in an RV

 Last night was our Estonian meal. On the menu: Hakklihakotlet, Estonian Cabbage and Estonian Barley Skillet Bread. Before I say anything else about this meal, I have to say that both Bob and I have found our new favorite country, to date! This food was so simple and, yet, utterly delicious.
 You'll notice that the recipe title for this says "skillet" bread. It is supposed to be baked in a cast iron skillet. I have cast iron, but it is lost somewhere in the depths of what I call a storage unit. I have no idea where it is. I have several pieces of cast iron. I miss them! This recipe worked just fine in my small casserole dish. It reminded me of a sweetish type rye bread with the caraway seeds. Luckily, caraway is something that I always have on hand anymore because it is perfect with several cabbage dishes that I like to cook.

 Since there were only the two of us last night, I really tweaked this recipe to fit our needs. The original recipe says to cook this on the grill. We had some pretty good winds clipping along yesterday and fir limbs and fir cones falling everywhere, so I decided I'd just put this in the oven when the bread came out. I baked it for two hours at 300 degrees. I only used half of a slightly over one pound cabbage. I like cabbage. I like cabbage a lot. I like cabbage in many, many different ways. This is my new favorite way to enjoy cabbage. I'm glad I still have half a head because I'm making this again tonight...there is not one bit of leftovers for us.
 I can't believe you take just 5 little ingredients: cabbage, heavy cream, butter, salt and pepper and wrap it in foil and pop it in the oven for a couple of hours on really low heat and...(to be continued)
 Estonia is located in the Baltic Region of Northern Europe. It borders the Gulf of Finland to the north, the Baltic Sea to the west, Latvia to the south and Lake Peipus and Russia to the east. Across the Baltic Sea lies Sweden to the west and Finland to the north.
The total land area is 17,462 square miles. The official language is Estonian, which is closely related to Finnish.
The capital and largest city is Tallinn and the population is around 1.3 million.
Evidence has been uncovered that hunting and fishing villages existed around 6500 BC in Northern Estonia near the town of Kunda. This evidence dates back to the Middle Stone Age.
The highest point in all of Estonia is Suur Munamagi at 1043 feet.
Estonia has 2357 miles of coastline which is marked by numerous bays, straits and inlets. There are around 1500 islands and islets which are in Estonia. There are two islands which are big enough to be considered separate counties: Saaremaa and Hiiumaa. Saaremaa has a small and recent cluster of meteorite craters and the largest crater is called Kaali.
There are over 1400 lakes located within the country. Most of the lakes are small, but, the largest one is Lake Peipus at 1373 square miles. There are, also, many rivers in Estonia. The longest is the Vohandu at 101 miles in length, followed by the Parnu at 89 miles in length and the Poltsamaa at 84 miles in length. Estonia has numerous bogs and fens. Much of the country is covered by forest. 61% is forested mainly by pine, spruce and birch.
Skype was written by Estonian-based developers Ahti Heinla, Priit Kasesalu and Jaan Tallinn, who originally developed Kazaa.

I have to admit that I didn't know what to expect with this cabbage dish. It did make the whole trailer stink for a while as it cooked down. It's perfectly fine, though. I'll take the stink for this...

 The last dish that I cooked is called Hakklihakotlet or Ground Meat Patties. This recipe contains ground beef, ground pork and ground veal. I scaled it back and used a half-pound of each. It still made 4 huge patties. I brushed two with oil, like the recipe said and just breaded the other two. If you pat the crumbs onto the meat, the oil is just not necessary. There are 2 of these leftover for our repeat dinner tonight...YUM!
 I fried these up in my grill pan.

Estonian cuisine, historically, is seasonally dependent and simple, peasant fare. Typical Estonian foods are black bread, pork, potatoes and dairy products. Being seasonally dependent, in the spring and summer, Estonians enjoy fresh-berries, herbs, vegetables and anything else from their gardens. In the winter, jams, preserves and pickles are often brought to the table. Gathering and preserving fruits, vegetables and mushrooms for the winter months has always been popular. With cars and vehicles being so readily available, it's starting to fall to the wayside, though. Estonia, with its extensive coastline, also enjoys a fair amount of fish. It can be said that Estonia belongs firmly in the beer, vodka, rye bread and pork "belt" of Europe.

Those patties browned up beautifully!
 Here is the Estonian Barley Skillet Bread with a smear of butter. Not margarine. Butter.
 This wonderful, delicious, tasty, OMG holy cow good Estonian Cabbage recipe.
 The Hakklihakotlet...
And, as they say in Estonia: Jatkuleiba (May your bread last)!
Well, I know my bread is going to last...all the way to dinnertime tonight. We are, quite happily, having this exact same meal and we're going to enjoy each and every bite of it...just as we did last night. We love Estonian food!
Estonia has been my 95th country in my Around the World in an RV series. Up next, Country/Territory #96...Hong Kong!
I've added a new poll to pick the 98th country...please scroll up and right under the big volcano picture to the left, that is where YOU get to vote. I don't pick these countries...YOU do! So, make sure to do that!
Until we meet up in Hong Kong...PEACE!


  1. My grandmother used to make these patties. And to this day I love cabbage. Glad you are enjoying Estonia. I lived there from 1990-2008 and plan on returning. In the summer of 1991 I drove all over Estonia with hardly a vehicle on the road. In Aug. the USSR was gone. It was quite a trip.

    1. I would love to visit Estonia one of these days. Unfortunately, for right now, my trip is a culinary one. Thanks so much for stopping by Baked Lava, Viviann!

  2. I love cabbage as well. My wife, not so much. But I could always get myself a small head and prepare this for lunches for a few days.
    So... Hakklihakotlet is basically a hamburger?

    1. Yeah, it is...with a twist. It's 3 types of meat and it's breaded and it's fantastically delish!!


I love hearing what you have to say!