My husband LOVES chocolate! It was a treat to find this last night at our dinner table alongside the prepared Russian meal. It was a treat because a friend of ours whose father recently took a trip to Russia, brought this back for her and consequently, we got to share in what at one time was only available for the Tzars/Tsars (Russian ruler or emperor-think Ivan the Terrible) of Imperial Russia. Today, St. Petersburg and Moscow produce the now highly consumed chocolate for all of Russia and for my “husband the grand.”
I started cooking Russian this week. What this means in our household is that our kitchen, music, culture, and the family will morph into becoming “Russian” for a month. Remember, my goal is to cook 5 meals a week of whatever country we want to learn about- this month it is Russia. I found a cookbook online that I liked (I had least 7 to choose from). My criteria is still the same: PICTURES, otherwise, I might be lost on what to expect. Elena Makhonko, author of this cookbook, brings a rich cooking tradition handed down from her grandmother, who read cookbooks to her as a young girl.
The menu this week began with a Svegii Stjii–fresh cabbage soup. Okay, common enough, but what is very cool and different is an important ingredient to Russian cuisine – smetana-a sharp thick sour cream, which is frequently added as a thickener to soups and sauces or as a topping for all sorts of Russian meals. This cabbage soup is chock full of potatoes, cabbage and the thick cream. Baby, when it’s cold outside (like it was the other day) this is pretty sustainable, and for Russians who often experience long and harsh winters, this soup provides lots of warmth.
Last night, we made Kotlety Pojarskie s Gribnym Sousom – Chicken Burgers with Mushroom sauce. Mushrooms are found in the forests and woods of the Russian countryside and the more popular ones are the porcini. After a heavy rainfall, families will go searching for mushrooms and bring back basketfuls to dry or marinate for later use. Mushrooms are used in many of the appetizers, fillings for pies and pastries and in the mushroom gravy that I made.
Here is what’s for dinner the rest of the week:
Sudak s Gribnym Sousom – Fish with Mushroom and dill sauce and rice
Borstj – Beetroot soup!!!
Pashtet iz Kurinoj Pecheni – Chicken Liver Pate
Kotlety pa Kievski s – Chicken Kiev
Bef Stroganov- Beef Stroganoff
Blini – Russian Pancakes
Scharlotka s Jablokami – Bread and Apple Bake
I will leave you with something sweet, a Russian quote by Ivan Panin, a Russian mathematician –
“For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it. For every truth there is an ear somewhere to hear it. For every love there is a heart somewhere to receive it.”
Do vstrechi– see you later and I’ll eat some chocolate for you!