Saturday, December 5, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
I thought about sharing with you two very simple side dishes that are sure to be found on many tables this holiday seasons in Russia.
I am talking about GRATED BEETS and GRATED CARROTS.
You need to cook BEETS first. Scrub them good, trim the stem but not too close to the bulb and leave the root untouched. Then boil like you would potato- until the knife inserted goes in smoothly. I would think 3 medium beets should be fine here. Once they are cooked you need to peel them ( the skin will come right off) and grate.
Add one clove of garlic crushed, couple of spoons of mayonnaise and a handful of crushed walnuts.
The CARROTS do not need cooking. For this dish you will grate 2 large carrots then simply add 1 crushed garlic clove and mayo. The day I cooked it for myself and took picture I did not feel like adding anything else in it. But crushed walnuts or even raisins would work great in here.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
It was a day long wedding with lots of interesting details so I will try to share with you what I saw.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Fall is time for soups. And while its still not too cold outside yogurt soup seems to be the perfect choice. It has this nice velvety texture that is very warming right now and at the same time lots of mint brings back aromas of summer. What can be better!
So let me start by saying a few words about the type of yogurt you need for this soup. Please look for a full fat or at least 2% variety of Greek yogurt. It has to be almost sour cream consistency and not one of these light-textured breakfast yogurts. I buy large container of FAGE or CHOBANI brands in here.
To cook the soup you will want to mix yogurt and broth in ratio of 1 to 3. So if later you want to cook a smaller portion of this soup please keep that number in mind .
Another trick with this soup is that you have to make sure you do not bring it to boil too fast and you steer it as often as possible otherwise your yogurt with curdle. Basically with this soup you have to keep an eye on it at all times. Good thing is it doesn't take long to cook. So here is what you will need
Without starting your stove put all the ingredients except red pepper into a pan and mix it well. Now start your stove on medium heat. Keep mixing the soup every once in a while so that it heats evenly. Your task is to bring it to a boil slowly. Go ahead and increase the heat later if neede it. Once you are there lower the heat again and cook the soup still steering occasionally until rice is done.
To serve sprinkle with some more mint and red pepper.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin spice mix
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon milk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 F (175C)
Hope you willl enjoy them as much as we did.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Don't miss the Grocery Store musical or any other Improv Everywhere posts. I just wish there were more people like her. Imagine, in one of her post she was describing how after missing the flight and being stuck at the airport she was making those lovely notes for people to find around the airport. How many of us would have come up with something so genuinely sweet and caring. I probably would have been rather upset and would have spent time reading , chatting with people or drinking coffee with croissants somewhere.
From now on I will follow her blog and I am sure if one day I would wake up feeling sad and uninspired all I will have to do is to check her blog.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
I remember my grandmother cooking a rich beef stock first and then building her borsch from there. She would always make it with cabbage and potatoes. And then she would make sure everyone would get a piece of juicy meet from the pot on their plate. My mom would always make it vegetarian and would sweat the beets in butter rather than in lard. As for me I like playing with it even more. One day I would do it vegetarian and the other day would add meet. I may substitute potato with white beans and have it with Brussels sprouts since they tend to be sweeter than regular cabbage. But I never omit the step where you sweat your beets in little butter and tomato paste on a separate pan with a squeeze of lemon. This is the only way you can achieve this beautiful red color and bring out all the sweetness of beets.
If you choose to go with meet based borsch start by enhancing your beef broth. You will need to brown the meat in the pot, then add 1 onion halved and 1 coarsely diced carrot and then pour 6 cups of beef stock and cook on low for about 20 minutes.
6 cups of broth (vegetarian, chicken or beef)
2 tbs butter
1 tbs of corn oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stick, diced
3 Tbs of tomato paste
2-3 beets, diced
1 tsp vinegar or a squeeze of lemon
2 medium potatoes, pilled (or a can of white beans)
1 red pepper, diced
half a head of small cabbage , julienned
(or 0,5 lb of Brussels sprouts)
2 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
For serving: sour cream, chopped parsley and/or dill, , pilled garlic, bread and 1tbsp of salt
In a big pot heat 1 tbs of butter with oil and cook onion until translucent. Add carrots and celery and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add 1 spoon of tomato paste and caramelize it by stirring for a minute. Then pour the broth of your choice and bring it to a boil.
Meanwhile julienne your cabbage and add it to the soup. Now dice the potato and add them as well. Do the same with the pepper. Bring everything to a boil again. Add the bay leaves then lower the heat, cover with the lid and let it cook.
Now it is the turn for the beets. Heat another 1 tbs of butter on a separate pan. Add the beets, 2 Tbs of tomato paste and squeeze some lemon ( 1 tsp of vinegar). Sautee for about 10-15 minutes or until soft. Now you can add them to the pot together with some crashed garlic and bring everything again to a boil. Lower the heat to a minimum and cook for another 20 minutes.
Serve borsch with some sour cream and plenty of chopped parsley and/or dill.
Even better deep some peeled garlic into salt and rub the crust of your sliced bread. Yumm!
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Thanks to my friend Inna who reminded me about this apple cake. She is so good at it and honestly I miss having a cup of tea with a slice of just-baked-apple-goodness with her! So you would understand if I say that I had to make it today for breakfast.
Friday, October 16, 2009
This pilaf is cooked with liver, pine nuts and little raisins. I know I know what some of you may think about liver. But hey liver is cut in such tiny pieces here that I find this dish to be the perfect way of introducing the flavor of liver to your taste buds. After all you can put as little or as much liver as you wish or just totally omit it. It won't be the same of course but the rice will not disappoint you.
First let me start by telling you that I use chicken liver here. You can find it in almost any grocery store in the chicken aisle. But of course the organic liver of a grass feed chicken from the place like Whole Foods would be the best option . It would be sold in a plastic container and is very very cheap. We are talking about 1-2 dollars per container here. So it won't break your bank. All you need to do at home is to rinse liver and cut it in tiny tiny pieces.
Another thing you might want to do is to soak the rice in boiling hot water before you start cooking. What it does is it quickens the cooking time fore you and you will get nice grains at the end that are not sticking to each other.
So here is the recipe
2 cups of short grain rice
3 cups of chicken stock
2 Tbsp. or more of liver, cut into tiny pieces
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp oil
a handful of pine nuts
a handful of small raisins (*see Note)
salt and pepper to taste
In your pan melt butter and oil . Add liver and pine nuts and sautee for a couple of minutes. Add chicken stock and bring it to a boil. Now add rice ( you want to drain your rice if you soaked it before). Adjust salt and pepper to your liking depending on what kind of broth you are using.
Now lower the heat to simmering and put the cover on your pan. In 5 minute add raisins and give your pilaf a mix. Put the cover back on. Check it in 5 minutes again. If the rice is almost done and you still have too much liquid in your pan increase the heat to evaporate it. Otherwise cook for about 5 more minutes or until rice is ready.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
Having a large bag of assorted apples now in my kitchen I couldn't wait to use them right away. Traditional apple pie had to wait until week-end since we were having a pumpkin ice-cream for desert and it was time to cook dinner. So I had to come up with something quick and simple. It was...
1 tbs olive oil
4 cloves of garlic
1 small apple(*) diced into little pieces
1 tbs of tomato paste
4 cups of chicken broth
1 cup of red lentil
Saute onion in mixture of butter and oil for a few minutes until translucent then stir in crashed garlic and cook for another minute constantly mixing so that garlic doesn't burn. Add tomato paste and apple. Stir to combine then pour chicken broth. Bring it to a boil.
Meanwhile rinse the lentils and add them to the soup. Bring everything to a boil again then lower the heat and cook for about 15-20 minutes until lentil is cooked.
I used blender to break the apple pieces at the end and to make soup smoother but you can leave it as it is for some unexpected bites of sour joy.
(*) Note. Since we've been picking apples from all sorts of trees growing on the farm I am having hard times now identifying the apple I used. It was one of those red-green/sweet-tart apples.