The first hints of autumn are in the air, along with the scents of seasonal treats from a magical culinary crew—the trolls! You might be surprised, but the trolls have a thing or two to teach us about food. As explored in The Troll Cookbook (Dromedary Press, 2016), troll cooks combine fresh local ingredients with a devil-may-care attitude, making irresistible bites that reflect the changing flavors of the year. Please join Troll Cookbook creators Karima Cammell and Clint Marsh for an evening of enchanting autumn nibbles at Standard Fare, West Berkeley’s premier takeout kitchen and pantry. Free and open to the public.
In the Troll Kitchen
Saturday, September 24, 7–9pm
2701 Eighth St #118 (at Carleton), Berkeley
Review by Kristina Sepetys
The Troll Cookbook: A Taste of Something Different:
Simple Foods Any Troll Can Make
by Karima Cammell and Clint Marsh
(Dromedary Press, 2016)
Author and painter Karima Cammell is the founder, owner, and creative force behind Berkeley’s beloved Castle in the Air. This stationery and art supply store on 4th Street specializes in books, paper, and writing and art supplies, along with an array of classes on how to create with their materials. Co-author Clint Marsh uses magic and folklore to help people navigate everyday life and has written several books and other works listed on his website wonderella.org. Together the two have assembled a charming and whimsical cookbook following the seasonal path of the culinary year.
Trolls are folkloric creatures found in many lands. Their world is a place where ancient nourishing practices live on and where time-honored simplicity makes cooking understandable, delicious, and fun. In the authors’ words, writing the book was a way “… to move closer to a life in touch with nature and the people around us, a life we glimpse through the stories of the trolls.” Learn creative ways to prepare and share meals using simple, seasonal foods and classic techniques. The book includes more than 180 recipes for wholesome and tasty dishes that honor and celebrate folklore, food, and the enchantment of the natural world.
Recipes from The Troll Cookbook, by Karima Cammell and Clint Marsh
(Dromedary Press, 2016), ISBN: 978-0978896676, www.trollcookbook.com
Sorrel and Potato Soup
Humans and trolls alike praise the sour-tasting leaves of the hardy sorrel plant for its alleged healing properties. Sorrel thrives from spring to early autumn, and its leaves are a treasured food, adding flavor to soups, salads, drinks, and other dishes. This warming soup is perfect to prepare on brisk days any time of year, and the leaves keep well in the freezer if you’d like to use them through the winter.
8 potatoes (with yellow flesh, if possible)
2 large leeks
2 spoons of butter
6 spoons of olive oil
2 quarts of vegetable stock
½ spoon of ground pepper
2 handfuls of ripped-up sorrel leaves
½ cup of sour cream
Slice the potatoes into ¼-inch thick rounds. Trim off the roots and stiff ends of the leaves from the leeks, cutting the tender remaining parts into ¼-inch rounds as well. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat, stirring in the olive oil. Add the potatoes and leeks, sautéing them until the leeks are translucent and the potatoes have absorbed enough butter and oil that they glisten. Add the vegetable stock and continue cooking for 15 minutes.
As you notice the potatoes beginning to become tender, add the pepper, half of the torn sorrel, and salt to taste. Cook until the potatoes are fully tender but not so long that they become mealy.
Stir in the remaining sorrel leaves and ladle the soup into bowls, topping with sour cream and chives.
Although a meal of raw ones will certainly bring about “troll breath,” these slow-baked onions are completely inoffensive. Don’t let the cheap price of onions fool you—any troll will tell you that they are one of the most valuable ingredients in any dish, especially when caramelized like this to bring out their sweet, mellow flavors. Because trolls love onions so much, they hang great netted sacks full of them from the kitchen ceiling, thinking them decorative as well as practical.
Enough chopped onions to fill a covered baking dish
Chop the onions into medium-sized wedges, removing their tops and tails. Heap the wedges into a baking dish, liberally drizzling oil and vinegar atop them. Bake them covered at 275°F for at least one hour, stirring every so often. The onions will sweat and soften, eventually becoming completely limp and aromatic. Trolls may have a hard time waiting, but the longer the onions are baked, the more flavorful they will become—many trolls like their onions best when they are reduced to a caramelized slurry. Keep the onions in a jar in the refrigerator. Use them as a savory sauce in a variety of foods—they’re great atop pizza or toast, folded into a cheese sandwich, slipped into salads, tacos, or omelets, or stirred into mashed potatoes or, frankly, into just about anything.