Posts in Russia
Russian Black Bread
Russian Black Bread

“If you’d like to be like the Russkies, you’d slather this with butter, top it with caviar, throw it back with some ice cold vodka and then head to work on a Monday morning.” Deb Perelman

Russian Black Bread
From Smitten Kitchen

Makes 2 loaves

2 packages (1 1/2 tablespoons) active dry yeast
Pinch of sugar
1/2 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
2 cups water
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
3 cups medium rye flour
3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 cup bran
2 tablespoons caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon minced shallots

topping (optional)

1/4 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

1. In a small bowl, combine yeast and sugar with warm water. Stir to dissolve and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.

2. Heat two cups water, molasses, vinegar, butter and chocolate until the butter and chocolate are melted. Set aside and let cool to lukewarm.

3. Combine flours in a large bowl. Set aside.

Note for the next step: If you don’t like whole seeds in your bread, grinding them in a spice grinder, coffee grinder or mortar and pestle allows their flavor to come through without the texture. I always make my black bread this way.

4. In bowl of a heavy mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine two cups mixed flours, bran, 2 tablespoons caraway seeds, fennel seeds, salt, espresso, and shallots. At low speed, add yeast and chocolate mixtures. Mix until smooth and beat at medium speed for three minutes.

5. At low speed, add half cup of remaining mixed flours at a time, until dough clears sides of bowl and begins to work its way up paddle. You might not use all of the flour mixture. It will be very sticky but firm.

6. Scrape dough off paddle, flour counter well, and knead to make a springy yet dense dough.

7. Form into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Turn once to grease top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm area until doubled, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Combine cornmeal, flour and remaining caraway seeds, if using, and set aside.

8. Gently deflate dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into two portions and form into two rounds or loaves. Loaves should be placed in a loaf pan sprayed with nonstick spray, while rounds should be placed seam down on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle loaves with cornmeal mixture, if using. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled and puffy, about 45 minutes to one hour. Slash an X into the top of a round before baking it; no such slashing is needed for bread in a loaf pan.

9. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until loaves are well-browned, or register an internal temperature of 200 to 210°F on an instant-read thermometer. Baking time in your oven may vary — check on the bread when it is 2/3 to 3/4 of the way through. Remove from baking sheet to cool completely on a rack.

 

Russia GP 2018: Lamb and Barley Stew (Tyshyonaya Baraninaz Gribami I Yachmenyom)
Russian stew

The most exciting thing about this race was… this stew. Not a phrase I would usually say, but the Russian track is indeed boring, and this stew is indeed delicious.

Although this recipe takes a good amount of time, it is not a whole lot of work, for what turns out to be a great flavor and a hearty meal. We served it with Russian Black Bread and enjoyed it all week.

Stew and Black Bread

Lamb and Mushroom Stew

Adapted from Russian Regional Recipes by Susan Ward

2 ½ pounds of lamb shank or neck of lamb, cut into large pieces
7 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 long red medium hot peppers, seeded and chopped
½ pound white or cremini mushrooms, cleaned and chopped in half, or whole if small
1 tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard
2 ½ cups chicken stock
6 tablespoons white wine vinegar
4-6 ounces pearl barley
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 whole cloves
salt and freshly ground pepper
8 ounces sour cream or yoghurt
handful flat leaf parsley finely chopped (optional)

1. In a dutch oven or heavy pan over medium heat brown the lamb pieces in 3 ½ tablespoons of the oil. Remove and set aside. Add the onion to the pan, and cook until it is soft, about 6 minutes.

2. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside with the lamb. Add the rest of the oil and sauté the red peppers and mushrooms for about 5 minutes until softened. Remove and set aside in a separate bowl.

3. Preheat oven to 325 F. Stir the onions and lamb back into the pan along with the mustard, chicken stock, and white wine vinegar. Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer to the preheated oven. Bake for 1 ½ hours until the lamb is very tender and falling off the bone.

4. Remove the lamb from the pan and using tongs or your hands pull the meat off the bones and shred or chop into smaller pieces. Return to the pan and stir into the stock along with the barley, cumin seeds, cloves, and seasoning to taste. Simmer for about an hour until the barley is tender and the stock has been absorbed.

5. Stir the red pepper and mushrooms into the stew, along with the sour cream or yoghurt. If you want more of a stew, add additional chicken stock (up to 4 cups). Heat through for 10-12 minutes, take off the heat, stir in the chopped parsley (optional).

Russian GP - Kartofelnaya Zapekanka & Vatrushka

Russian dinner party anyone? I think beyond making entrees and desserts for friends, we should really think about stepping up our game and introducing costumes and decorations. I'll keep you posted!  

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In case you missed the race, here is a news headline to sum it up "FIA reports just one overtaking pass during F1 Russian Grand Prix at Sochi". Yeah, it was a hoot.

The Guardian, however, dug a little deeper to at least consider some takeaways; including the fact that Bottas' win makes it at least a three-way fight at the top, much to Hamilton's chagrin. So much for #2 driver, way to go Bottas!

Even if the race was boring, at least the food was good. We made Kartofelnaya Zapekanka (Beef and Potato Casserole) and Vatrushka (Cheese Pastries). Enjoy!

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"Kortofelnaya Zapekanka" - Beef & Potato Сasserole

from Cooking Melangery Russian Mondays

2 lb. russet or gold potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
salt and pepper, to taste
3/4 cup milk, heated
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp. butter

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, diced or shredded
1 lb. ground beef
1 tsp smoked paprika
salt and pepper, to taste
parmesan cheese

  1. Boil potatoes, with generous pinch of salt, until tender, approximately 15 minutes. Drain well.
  2. Mash the cooked potatoes in a large bowl. Add hot milk, egg, and butter, and beat with potato masher or with a handheld mixer on medium speed until smooth and fluffy. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the ground beef and bring to a simmer. Add the salt and spices. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cook through, about 15 minutes.
  4. Preheat broiler to high.
  5. Spread half the mashed potatoes evenly into a shallow baking dish. Spoon the beef mixture over mashed potatoes. Spread remaining half of mashed potatoes on top of the beef mixture to completely cover. (To make the alternating wave pattern pull a spoon across the potatoes making divots every 1/2 inch in alternating directions across the top.) Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and place under the broiler. Broil the potato pie until the potatoes are tinged with brown, about 3-5 minutes. Serve directly from the baking dish.
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(Spot the toddler treats in the background? Turned out he preferred the potatoes!)

And for dessert...

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Vatrushka (Ватрушка)

From Russian Recipe Book

Dough:

1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 packet active dry yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/3 tsp. salt
2 tsp. unsalted butter

Filling:

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 lb. fresh unsalted cheese (cottage cheese or ricotta cheese) note: if using cottage cheese use a cheese cloth and strainer to squeeze out excess water before using in the recipe
1 egg
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt

  1. Prepare the dough:
  2. Heat the water to 110°F; add 1 Tbsp. of sugar, yeast, and ½ cup of sifted flour. Stir well, cover, and leave in a warm place for about an hour. The mix should develop a lot of bubbles and rise.
  3. Separate the egg white from the yolk. Save the yolk for later in the recipe.
  4. Heat milk to 110°F and add to the mix. Stir in the egg white, salt, and the remaining 1 Tbsp sugar. Gradually add sifted flour while stirring in one direction (a wooden spatula is preferred). When the dough becomes too dense to stir with the spatula, start kneading it by hand while adding small amounts of flour at a time. You will want to work the dough until you get a ball of dough with a smooth surface that has just enough flour to prevent it from sticking to your hands. Don’t use more flour than necessary!
  5. Cover the dough and let it rise in a warm place until it doubles in size. After that, press it down and let it rise one more time.
  6. Prepare the filling:
  7. Melt the butter without making it hot, and then mix all the ingredients. (Make sure to have strained the cottage cheese, if using.)
  8. Assemble vatrushkas:
  9. Dust your work surface with flour and roll out the dough into a sheet about ¼ inch thick. Cut out circles about 5 inches in diameter (you can use a tea saucer for that).
  10. Place 1/2 – 1 Tbsp. of filling in the middle of each circle (the exact amount depends on your vatrushka size and your personal preferences). Do not overfill! Carefully roll up the edges making neat, smooth, and even walls about 2/3 inches in height. Even make them a bit higher if you are afraid you are overfilling. Carefully smooth the surface of the filling making sure it is even and fills the entire space.
  11. Turn on the oven to preheat it to 425°F – 450°F.
  12. Lightly grease a baking sheet or pan. Arrange vatrushkas on the baking sheet some distance apart so they don’t stick together when they expand. Let your vatrushkas stand for about 15 minutes in a warm place.
  13. Meanwhile, melt the butter without making it hot, and mix it with the saved egg yolk. Stir very well and remove any clumps.
  14. After vatrushkas have been rising for 15 minutes, carefully brush a thin layer of the egg yolk/butter mix on the top and most importantly, the dough portion of each pie.
  15. Let vatrushkas stand for another 10 minutes and carefully puncture the top in 2-3 places with a fork without puncturing all the way to the bottom. Place them in the oven.
  16. Baking time will vary but it usually takes 15-25 minutes to obtain a smooth brown crust.
  17. After the baking is finished, immediately place vatrushkas on a wooden board or wire mesh for cooling.
  18. Let the vatrushkas cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. This is important for full flavor development.
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"Carefully roll up the edges making neat, smooth, and even walls" I think not! Baking did wonders to smooth things out, but I would not say my pastry walls were anywhere near neat, smooth, or even :)

In the end this recipe was fine but a bit finicky, and I found that the dough did not rise like it should have. I think I should have gone with my initial instinct and made the recipe from Yelena at Cooking Melangery, so here is a link to that recipe! Melangery Vatrushka. Maybe I’ll try that one next year!

And because they are ridiculously amazing, Ferrari's Poster for Sochi:

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Vatrushka
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Vatrushka are a pastry from Eastern Europe commonly filled with a sweet cream cheese mixture or mixed dried fruit. Generally they are made with a sweet yeasted dough, but can be made savory. Lovely with a cup of black coffee for breakfast or dessert. 

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Vatrushka (Ватрушка)

From Russian Recipe Book

Dough:

1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 packet active dry yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/3 tsp. salt
2 tsp. unsalted butter

Filling:

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 lb. fresh unsalted cheese (cottage cheese or ricotta cheese) note: if using cottage cheese use a cheese cloth and strainer to squeeze out excess water before using in the recipe
1 egg
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt

  1. Prepare the dough:
  2. Heat the water to 110°F; add 1 Tbsp. of sugar, yeast, and ½ cup of sifted flour. Stir well, cover, and leave in a warm place for about an hour. The mix should develop a lot of bubbles and rise.
  3. Separate the egg white from the yolk. Save the yolk for later in the recipe.
  4. Heat milk to 110°F and add to the mix. Stir in the egg white, salt, and the remaining 1 Tbsp sugar. Gradually add sifted flour while stirring in one direction (a wooden spatula is preferred). When the dough becomes too dense to stir with the spatula, start kneading it by hand while adding small amounts of flour at a time. You will want to work the dough until you get a ball of dough with a smooth surface that has just enough flour to prevent it from sticking to your hands. Don’t use more flour than necessary!
  5. Cover the dough and let it rise in a warm place until it doubles in size. After that, press it down and let it rise one more time.
  6. Prepare the filling:
  7. Melt the butter without making it hot, and then mix all the ingredients. (Make sure to have strained the cottage cheese, if using.)
  8. Assemble vatrushkas:
  9. Dust your work surface with flour and roll out the dough into a sheet about ¼ inch thick. Cut out circles about 5 inches in diameter (you can use a tea saucer for that).
  10. Place 1/2 – 1 Tbsp. of filling in the middle of each circle (the exact amount depends on your vatrushka size and your personal preferences). Do not overfill! Carefully roll up the edges making neat, smooth, and even walls about 2/3 inches in height. Even make them a bit higher if you are afraid you are overfilling. Carefully smooth the surface of the filling making sure it is even and fills the entire space.
  11. Turn on the oven to preheat it to 425°F – 450°F.
  12. Lightly grease a baking sheet or pan. Arrange vatrushkas on the baking sheet some distance apart so they don’t stick together when they expand. Let your vatrushkas stand for about 15 minutes in a warm place.
  13. Meanwhile, melt the butter without making it hot, and mix it with the saved egg yolk. Stir very well and remove any clumps.
  14. After vatrushkas have been rising for 15 minutes, carefully brush a thin layer of the egg yolk/butter mix on the top and most importantly, the dough portion of each pie.
  15. Let vatrushkas stand for another 10 minutes and carefully puncture the top in 2-3 places with a fork without puncturing all the way to the bottom. Place them in the oven.
  16. Baking time will vary but it usually takes 15-25 minutes to obtain a smooth brown crust.
  17. After the baking is finished, immediately place vatrushkas on a wooden board or wire mesh for cooling.
  18. Let the vatrushkas cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. This is important for full flavor development.
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My dough unfortunately did not rise to the heights I see on most pictures of this recipe, so you may want to consult an expert if you want to make them perfect the first time, I recommend Yelena or The Russian Recipe Book

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I had to laugh at re-reading these directions: "Carefully roll up the edges making neat, smooth, and even walls" I think not! Baking did wonders to smooth things out, but I would not say my pastry walls were anywhere near neat, smooth, or even :)

 

I have been trying my hand at baking bread recently and that has been absolutely magical, maybe I should stick with the savory? Nah. I'm not dissuaded. On to the next challenge! 

 

Three Wishes Cake
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Three Wishes Cake: Raisin, Nut and Poppyseed Loaf

 from Olga's Flavor Factory

8 tablespoons butter (1 stick), softened
½ - 1 cup sugar
2 eggs
½ cup buttermilk*
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup raisins
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
¼ cup nuts

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan with butter or baking spray.
  2. In a large bowl of a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until pale yellow and fluffy, 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt until evenly mixed. Add half of the dry ingredients to the creamed batter, followed by half of the buttermilk and vanilla and so on until you've added it all to the batter.
  5. Divide the batter into 3 even parts. You will be adding the raisins, poppy seeds and nuts to each part of the batter.
  6. Add the raisins to the first part and spread it out evenly into the bottom of the prepared loaf pan. Add the poppy seeds to the second part of the batter and spread it out evenly over the first layer of batter. Finish by adding the nuts to the third part of batter and spread it out evenly over the poppy seed layer.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  8. Let it stand in the loaf pan for 3-5 minutes and then take it out and set it on a cooling rack.

*If you don’t have buttermilk, add one tablespoon white vinegar to a cup of whole milk and let sit for at least a minute, to make buttermilk substitute.

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Olga also tells a sweet story about this loaf cake and the Three Wishes Keks.

Update note: Since making this cake, I have watched a lot of British Bake Off episodes and whenever I look at a picture of this cake I think -- oh no! the raisins fell to the bottom! Except that with this one, it is on purpose :) In fact if you've read through the recipe you even pour it into the loaf pan in layers to create the effect. 

But... having watched enough of the show, I know that if I wanted "well-distributed" raisins I would just coat them in flour before adding them to the batter, and voila, they would be suspended throughout the dough. 

The things you learn while binging Netflix during cold season! 

 

Russian Grand Prix - Potatoes and Sausage, and cake!
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The Russian track at Sochi has a certain elegance as it winds through the Sochi Olympic 2014 park.

The obvious choices for meals to make for Russia are Beef Strogonaff, Chicken Kiev or Borscht. Though I don't even think Chicken Kiev is actually of Russian origin, or at least the name is Americanized.

I found a great blog this time around: Olga's Flavor Factory , I figured it could be fun to learn about some dishes that don't practically have the name of the country in the title.

I was definitely tempted by the Roasted Duck with Apples and the Pelmeni, who doesn't love dumplings and roasted goodness too.

Simple seemed better for this night though. Roasted Potatoes, Sausage and Peppers turned out to be perfect.

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Roasted Potatoes, Sausage and Peppers

adapted from Olga's Flavor Factory

2 lbs baby red potatoes, 1 - 1½ inch pieces
1 onion, sliced thickly
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
8 oz smoked sausage or kielbasa cut into 1 inch pieces
8 oz fresh mushrooms, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon oregano, parsley, thyme (or Italian seasoning)
salt and pepper
fresh parsley, chopped for garnish

  1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Place baking sheet in oven to heat up in order to sear vegetables.
  2. Par boil potatoes for 5 minutes. Drain the potatoes and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, olive oil, minced garlic cloves, and season with salt, pepper and a mixture of dry herbs.
  4. Gently toss par cooked potatoes with the mushroom and pepper mixture, along with the sausage.
  5. Spread mixture on hot baking sheet.
  6. Roast uncovered, for 20-30 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked through and golden brown, turning everything over halfway through cooking.
  7. Broil the dish during the last few minutes of cooking to give it a slight char.
  8. Garnish with fresh parsley.

 

To top this off we finished the meal with a yummy loaf cake:

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Raisin, Nut and Poppyseed Loaf

barely adapted from Olga's Flavor Factory

8 tablespoons butter (1 stick), softened
½ - 1 cup sugar
2 eggs
½ cup buttermilk*
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup raisins
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
¼ cup nuts

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan with butter or baking spray.
  2. In a large bowl of a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until pale yellow and fluffy, 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt until evenly mixed. Add half of the dry ingredients to the creamed batter, followed by half of the buttermilk and vanilla and so on until you've added it all to the batter.
  5. Divide the batter into 3 even parts. You will be adding the raisins, poppy seeds and nuts to each part of the batter.
  6. Add the raisins to the first part and spread it out evenly into the bottom of the prepared loaf pan. Add the poppy seeds to the second part of the batter and spread it out evenly over the first layer of batter. Finish by adding the nuts to the third part of batter and spread it out evenly over the poppy seed layer.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  8. Let it stand in the loaf pan for 3-5 minutes and then take it out and set it on a cooling rack.

*If you don’t have buttermilk, add one tablespoon white vinegar to a cup of whole milk and let sit for at least a minute, to make buttermilk substitute.

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Olga also tells a sweet story about this loaf cake and the Three Wishes Keks.

Last but not least, the Russian Grand Prix experience would not be complete without a Moscow Mule.

 

Moscow Mule

2 oz Vodka
4 oz Ginger Beer
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
Garnish: Wedge of Lime

Classically served in a copper mug, add ice, vodka, and lime juice. Top with ginger beer and garnish with lime.

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