I have them. I’m ready to jump into spring, maybe that’s why it’s call “spring forward.” Russians experience the cold climate in some places all year-round. You can find Russia along the 51st latitude. If you forgot – latitude is the measurement  in degrees of a place’s distance north or south of the equator. Russia is 51 degrees north of the equator and there are only 90 degrees on either side of the poles. Put simply RUSSIA IS COLD!
Cooking for Russians is an art of preservation. During the winter months, Russians have developed recipes for making hearty dishes with few locally available ingredients. One of my memories of Russia is the long bread lines shown on news media outlets years ago. It is true that Russia experienced a time of famine due to not only the weather, but also the social conflict in the Soviet era. It was hard to buy ingredients. Russians relied heavily on tradition and creativity that has brought us what has become today’s Russian cuisine.

One can trace generations of recipe learning and cooking  all the way back to the babushka- grandmother. Most Russian families develop their own versions of typical Russian recipes. Some of the national dishes like Chicken Kiev from Ukraine, Pilaf from Uzbekistan, and Pelmeni (little pasta rolls filled with meat) from Siberia have all contributed to the different cuisines that the former Soviet Union had to offer. Common table menus include Beef Stoganov and Borscht. Sturgeon is found in one of the oldest, largest, and deepest lakes – the Caspian Sea, located south of Moscow. Sturgeon is the fish that gives Russians their famous caviar that goes great with blinis (Russian Pancakes) and vodka. Speaking of fish, many of the nomadic hunters  and fisherman made use of the rivers and seas in Russia, and there are many seafood dishes that have graced the table. Iran and its surrounding areas, located south of Russia, offer wheat, vegetables, herbs. In warmer months there are vineyards and olive groves which give Russians a little more agricultural diversity. South of the Arctic Tundra, there are only a couple months of summer – it is hard for anything to grow – think Siberia and Siberian huskies.

To me, there is no better time than to cook Russia right now, when there is still a chill in the air in NC. The food has been warm and filling. If you read my last post about my baking (Confessions of…) well see below for more baking attempts and challenges! My family and I have also welcomed some friends over for Russian cuisine who were awesome enough to bring some Russian desserts!! They win the best friend awards!! This week, I am going to lighten things up a bit. Less meat and more vegetables. Here are some foods and pics of the food we have been eating.

Bef Stroganov-created by Count Alexander Stroganov, during the time of Catherine the Great
Russian Spring Salad (Russian Restaurants never serve this, Russians make this at home)
Vegetable Ragout-root veggies-Yum-parsnips, turnips, carrots. potatoes, and onions
One of Sophia Tolstoy's (Leo's wife) recipes-Apple Compote. She transcribed most of her husband, Leo's, writing and ran the household.

Baked Apples, Almonds and Cinnamon
Russian Apple Cake

Upcoming this week: BLINIS!!, Puff Pastry Cabbage Pie, Salted Cucumbers, Georgian Soup, Babushkas Chicken Soup.

Do vstrechi- see you later!


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Denise Baker says:

    Yes, David they were very good. We had them with vanilla ice cream and tea, which is a common way to end a Russian meal, oh and Vodka is good too.
    Thanks, Denise

  2. David says:

    how were the baked apples? They look mighty tasty!

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