1.25.2009

Egg Salad

Yet another breakfast dish we enjoyed as I continue to clean out the refrigerator. An egg salad of sorts that tastes a lot more substantial and interesting with avocado, radishes, hot sweet peppers, and red onion.

  • 4 eggs, sliced with an egg slicer
  • 2 tbsp finely minced red onion
  • 5 radishes, quartered and sliced
  • 1 avocado, sliced with an egg slicer
  • 5 piquant peppers sliced
  • salt
  • 1 tbsp real mayo
  • whole wheat toasts, cut into circles

Mix eggs, onion, radishes, avocado and peppers. Add mayo. Season with salt. Serve on whole wheat toasts.



1.24.2009

Choux chooooooo...



I spent about 10 minutes listening to a friend describe how good her first try of the choux pastry was when she was testing some recipes. It got me thinking how excited I was when I discovered it first and how surprisingly easy it was to create the perfect cooked cream container. Well, isn't that really what they are? Honestly, the first time I tried to make cream puffs about ten years ago I didn't account for the "puff" of the cream puff. They came out about the size of small fists, but that's exactly what made me so excited about them --- you can stuff them with salad. That's right, I made chicken salad puffs. I have since figured out the growth ratio but am continuously in awe at this dough.
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 6 tbsp of butter (unsalted)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup of flour

Bring water, butter and salt mixture to a boil in a non-stick pot. Remove from stove and quickly add all the flour. Beat with a wooden spoon. Return to heat for enough time for the mixture to start coming together (30 seconds or so). Remove from heat and beat in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the sugar. The mixture should be consistent. Place the prepared dough into a pastry bag and pipe onto a greased cookie sheet. For cream puffs, it should be about one and half inches in diameter and about 3/4 of an inch in height. Place into a preheated 425F degree oven for 20 minutes and then lower the temp to 350F for another 20-30 minutes. The first cooking time helps them rise, the second helps them slowly dry without burning. Cool and fill with your favorite cream, I like vanilla pudding whipped with some heavy cream.

Sirniki (сырники)

I am on a pan cake binge. Or so it seems. I really wanted something comforting and sweet for breakfast and making these farmer's cheese pancakes seemed like just the thing. I used to have these all the time as a kid in my mom's attempt to up my dairy intake. I can finally appreciate them for their taste, rather then nutrition, however I am sure when the little one gets older I'll think otherwise.

Sirniki
  • 1 cup farmer's cheese with 2 tbsp of sour cream (recipe follows)
  • 4 tbsp flour (depending on the moisture content of the cheese you may need less or more)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • dash of salt
  • vanilla
  • vegetable oil (for frying)

In a bowl, mash farmer's cheese and sour cream. Add in the other ingredients. Mix well. The consistency of the finished batter should be a bit like an oatmeal. Heat vegetable oil in a pan on medium-high heat and carefully add tablespoonfuls of batter. Allow to reach a caramel/brown color before flipping. (Unlike a pancake the color is not going to be even across the pan cake). After flipping and reaching desired color on the other side, place on a paper towel or a brown paper bag to drain off some of the frying oil. Serve with fresh berries and sour cream. Some enjoy these with powdered sugar on top - call me a purist.


Note: the pictured pan cake has a bit more sour cream that is listed in this recipe because I had little of the farmer's cheese remaining, thus your pan cakes will actually appear thicker then pictured here.

Farmer's Cheese
  • 1 gallon of whole milk
  • 1 quart of butter milk
  • cheese cloth

In a large pot, combine the milk and buttermilk. Let stand in a warm place until the mixture looks like yogurt. Place the pot on the stove and let the mixture scald (just enough for it to start bubbling a bit on the sides, not boil). Remove from oven and let cool. Line a colander with cheesecloth (2 layers). Strain the mixture. Tie off the ends of the cheesecloth and hang (I usually tie it to the kitchen faucet), to continue to strain out any remaining liquid. After the mixture looks like a soft cheese and keeps well in a ball shape, remove the cheesecloth and place the cheese into the refrigerator. This is usually good up to a week.

1.04.2009

Blini with caviar

Yes, writing that title just made me feel a bit like royalty. In reality, I had to use the remaining caviar from the New Year dinner and thought it would be a great breakfast. Blini are really "pan cakes" since I am not really sure what defines a "real" blini.

Blini (makes about 20)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 tbsp sugar (I like the contrast of sweet and salty with caviar)
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • a touch of vanilla sugar

Whisk eggs and add the remaining ingredients. The consistency should be about that of a pancake batter. Heat vegetable oil in a pan and drop tablespoonfuls into hot oil, on medium-high heat. Flip when desired color is reached. (This is very quick!) When the other side is browned, place on a plate with a paper towel to absorb some of the oil. Serve hot with a bit of sour cream, caviar and dill or chives, whatever you fancy. Or eat with your favorite jam.

1.01.2009

Duck and parsnip puree omelet with mushroom sauce



...or leftover omelet.





  • shredded duck (about 1 cup)
  • parsnip puree with caramelized onion (about 1 cup)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp heavy cream
  • salt

Whisk ingredients together. Fry in a pan omelet style. Add leftover mushroom julienne and fold over.

Happy New Year!

Ambitious menu. Exhausting day. Even more exhausting evening. But what an enjoyable feat to still be able to turn out the food you want, no matter what.


The menu

  • Strawberry gazpacho soup with a caraway seed crouton
  • Truffled egg custard with truffle ragu
  • Peppadew marinated mango and crab salad
  • Potato pirozki with a wild mushroom julienne
  • Duck L'Orange with caramelized onion parsnip puree
  • Black forest dessert

(recipes coming when I recover)