Thursday, February 23, 2012

Oven baked ribs with potatoes

I didn't expect it to be so good!!!!!!
The meat is very tender and the potatoes melt in your mouth...Yumm!
What you need -
2 racks of pork ribs
5 medium potatoes
1 large onion, sliced

For marinade
2 tbs lemon juice
4 tbs mayonnaise
1 tbs Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 tbs black pepper
1 teaspoon mixed herbs (any)

Wash the ribs and remove the white coating on the bottom side of the ribs, cut them the way you like.
 In a large skillet heat 2 tbs olive oil and fry the ribs on both sides 1-2 minutes on hight heat. Place the ribs in a big bowl and  add onion slices.
In a small bowl combine all the ingredients for the marinade and brush the ribs, then mix everything with your hands to make sure that onions and marinade cover the ribs.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it for 30-50 min
Now, peel the potatoes and cut them into thin slices.  Don’t worry, if they are a little too thick.
Grease a deep baking dish and arrange a layer of potato slices.
Then put the layer of marinated ribs and onins on top and wrap it tight with foil.
Bake 2 hours at 400F.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Julia Child's Lobster Thermidor

Lobsters have to be live!
After watching Julie and Julia again, I had to cook lobsters...
This recipe takes a lot of time and labour but it tastes like heaven!!!
So, let's begin...
  • 3 cups dry white wine or 2 cups dry white vermouth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 large onion , thinly sliced
  • 1 medium carrot , thinly sliced
  • 1 stalk celery , thinly sliced
  • 6 sprigs parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh or dried tarragon
  • 3 live lobsters , 2 pounds each
  • 1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 5 Tbsp. butter
  • 6 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 Tbsp. cream
  • 1 Tbsp. dry mustard
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 4 to 6 Tbsp. more whipping cream
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/3 cup cognac
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Swiss cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. butter , cut into bits
Steaming the lobsters: Simmer wine, water, vegetables, herbs, and seasonings in the kettle for 15 minutes. Then bring to a rolling
boil and add the live lobsters. Cover and boil for about 20 minutes. The lobsters are done when they are bright red and the long head-feelers can be pulled from the sockets fairly easily.

While the lobsters are steaming, stew the mushrooms slowly in the covered saucepan with the butter, lemon juice, and salt for 10 minutes.

The sauce: When the lobsters are done, remove them from the kettle. Pour the mushroom cooking juices into the lobster steaming juices in the kettle and boil down rapidly until liquid has reduced to about 2 1/4 cups. Strain into the 4-cup enameled or stainless steel saucepan and bring to the simmer.

Cook the butter and flour slowly together in the 1 1/2-quart saucepan for 2 minutes without browning. Off heat, beat in the simmering lobster-cooking liquid. Boil, stirring, for 1 minute. Set aside. Film top of sauce with the cream.

Split the lobsters in half lengthwise, keeping the shell halves intact. Discard sand sacks in the heads, and the intestinal tubes. Rub lobster coral and green matter through a fine sieve into the mixing bowl, and blend into it the mustard, egg yolks, cream, and pepper. Beat the sauce into this mixture by driblets.

Return the sauce to the pan, and stirring with a wooden spoon, bring it to the boil and boil slowly for 2 minutes. Thin out with tablespoons of cream. Sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon fairly heavily. Taste carefully for seasoning. Set aside, top filmed with a spoonful of cream.

Sautéing the lobster meat: Remove the meat from the lobster tails and claws, and cut it into 3/8-inch cubes. Set the skillet with the butter over moderate heat. When the butter foam begins to subside, stir in the lobster meat and sauté, stirring slowly, for about 5 minutes until the meat has turned a rosy color. Pour in the cognac and boil for a minute or two, shaking the skillet, until the liquid has reduced by half.

Final assembly: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Fold the cooked mushrooms and two thirds of the sauce into the skillet with the lobster meat. Arrange the split lobster shells in the roasting pan. Heap the lobster mixture into the shells; cover with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with cheese and dot with butter. The recipe may be prepared ahead up to this point and refrigerated.

Place in upper third of 425-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until lobster is bubbling and the top of the sauce is nicely browned. Serve immediately on a platter or serving plates.

recipe is from


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Maslenitsa (Russian pancake week)

Maslenitsa (Russian: Ма́сленица, Ukrainian: Масниця, also known as Butter Week, Pancake week or Cheesefare Week, is a Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian religious and folk holiday. It is celebrated during the last week before Great Lent—that is, the seventh week before Pascha (Easter). Maslenitsa corresponds to the Western Christian Carnival, except that Orthodox Lent begins on a Monday instead of a Wednesday. The Orthodox date of Easter can differ greatly from the Western Christian date. In 2008, for example, Maslenitsa was celebrated from March 2 to March 8 and in 2012 it is celebrated from February 20 to February 26.
Maslenitsa has its origins in both pagan and Christian traditions. In Slavic mythology, Maslenitsa is a sun festival, celebrating the imminent end of the winter.
On the Christian side, Maslenitsa is the last week before the onset of Great Lent. During Maslenitsa week, meat is already forbidden to Orthodox Christians, making it a myasopustnaya nedelya (Russian: мясопустная неделя, English "meat-empty week" or "meat-fast week"). It is the last week during which milk, cheese and other dairy products are permitted, leading to its other name of "Cheese-fare week" or 'Pancake week. During Lent, meat, fish, dairy products and eggs are forbidden. Furthermore, Lent also excludes parties, secular music, dancing and other distractions from the spiritual life. Thus, Maslenitsa represents the last chance to partake of dairy products and those social activities that are not appropriate during the more prayerful, sober and introspective Lenten season.
The most characteristic food of Maslenitsa is bliny (pancakes), popularly taken to symbolize the sun. Round and golden, they are made from the rich foods still allowed by the Orthodox tradition: butter, eggs and milk.
Maslenitsa also includes snowball fights, sledding, riding on swings and plenty of sleigh rides. In some regions, each day of Maslenitsa had its traditional activity: one day for sleigh-riding, another for the sons-in-law to visit their parents-in-law, another day for visiting the godparents, etc. The mascot of the celebration is usually a brightly dressed straw effigy of Lady Maslenitsa, formerly known as Kostroma.
As the culmination of the celebration, on Sunday evening, Lady Maslenitsa is stripped of her finery and put to the flames of a bonfire. Any remaining blintzes are also thrown on the fire and Lady Maslenitsa's ashes are buried in the snow (to "fertilize the crops").
Religiously, the beginning of Great Lent is traditionally tied to the beginning of Spring, an association found in the Greek Triodion (containing hymns for the Lenten season), going back to at least a century before the Baptism of Rus—thus having no connection with pagan customs. The ancient hymns refer to the "Lenten Spring," a natural link because of the time of year during which Lent always occurs in the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. The church services during this week are very similar to those served during Great Lent itself, though they are shorter. This is also the first time the Prayer of Saint Ephrem is said and the Divine Liturgy is forbidden on Wednesday and Friday (as it is on every weekday of Great Lent).

 Sunday of Forgiveness

The last day of Cheesefare Week is called "Forgiveness Sunday", indicating the desire for God's forgiveness that lies at the heart of Great Lent. At Vespers on Sunday evening, all the people make a poklon (prostration) before one another and ask forgiveness, and thus Great Lent begins in the spirit of reconciliation and Christian love. Another name for Forgiveness Sunday is "Cheesefare Sunday," because for devout Orthodox Christians, it is the last day on which dairy products may be consumed until Pascha. Fish, wine and olive oil will also be forbidden on most days of Great Lent.

Focaccia (Italian bread)

2 cups warm water, about 90°F

1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)4 cups unbleached flour, preferably bread flour

2 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt

Toppings, such as tomatoes ( I used 1 tbs tomato paste), mozzarella, 2 cloves garlic, pitted olives,

2 tbs parmesan

Olive oil

Fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt (for the top of the bread)

Measure the water into a large bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top. Stir well to dissolve.

Add 2 cups of the flour and 2 1/2 teaspoons salt and stir until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Add the remaining two cups of flour and stir until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl, about another 2 minutes. If the dough seems too sticky and wet, add up to another 1/3 cup of flour.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to rise for 30 to 40 minutes. The plastic wrap keeps in the moisture and warmth.

Preheat the oven to 475°F. Oil a large, heavy baking sheet.

Carefully scrape the dough onto the oiled pan. Pour a small amount of oil onto the dough and begin stretching and pulling the dough to cover the surface.

Gently pull and coax it out to the edges of the pan

Poke through the dough to the pan, stretching holes into it

Sprinkle the dough with rosemary leaves and the additional 1 teaspoon salt.

Then I mixed the tomato paste with crushed garlic and brushed the dough with it.

Place mozarella, olives and sprinkle with parmesan.

Place the focaccia in the preheated 475°F oven and immediately reduce the heat to 450°F. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the bread is nicely browned on top.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Smoked salmon layer cake

Sounds weird? well...It's a Russian dish. all I can say is make it, slice it up like a cake and serve... It is very good!!!
Let's start with crepes, in Russian it is called Blini

To make Blini you need:
1 cup flour
3 cups milk
2 eggs
salt and sugar to taste
2tbsp butter or veg oil
1/2 tsp soda
1.Mix eggs with the milk.
2.Add the flour ,sugar and salt and mix thoroughly so that no lumps remain.
3.Grease a hot pan (non stick) with oil or butter.Use a half onion stuck with a fork for greasing.
4.Pour and spread a thin layer of batter evenly.
5.Cook until light brown,about 2 mins on each side.

Now all the layers -
6 oz (150 gr) cream cheese
3 oz (100gr) sour cream
 16 ounces Smoked Salmon, thinly sliced
3 oz (100 gr) red caviar

Whisk together sour cream and cream cheese, then start making layers - Blin (crepe), cheese mix, smoked salmon and then another crepe.
Garnish the top crepe with caviar.
Put your cake to the fridge for 1-2 hours, slice and serve.
One of the best vodka chasers!!!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Frittata Italiana

Sorry for my Italian :-)
All I want to say - this is yummy!
1/2 pound (225 g) mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons (30 ml) oil
1/2 red pepper, sliced thinly
1 cup (250 ml) feta cheese, crumbled
1 tomato, diced or 12 grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/3 cup (75 ml) fresh basil, chopped finely
10 eggs, beaten
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) salt
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) pepper

In a large skillet heat the oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms and red peppers and saute for 10 minutes over medium to medium low heat, until they are softened and the moisture from the mushrooms is evaporated. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

In a large bowl, combine mushrooms, red pepper, cheese, tomato, basil, eggs, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.

Pour the mixture into lightly greased 8x8 inch (20.5 x 20.5 cm) or large round pie plate baking dish and bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until frittata is cooked through.

It should be golden brown around the edges and a knife inserted in the middle should come out clean.

Serves 6

Sunday bacon puffs

Lay 1 bacon slice in each bread cup

Mix the batter -
1 1/3 all purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 egg
3/4 ts baking powder
1 ts oregano
1 ts rosemary
1ts thyme
1 ts paprika
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1/2 ts salt

Spoon the batter into the bacon
 Bake 30 mins at 350 F.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Italian cheese bread

  • 2 (1/4 oz.) pkg. dry yeast

  • 1 cup margarine

  • 6 large eggs

  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour -- sifted

  • 1 tsp. salt

  • 2 tsp. sugar

  • 1/4 lb. Swiss cheese

  • 1/4 lb. sharp cheddar cheese

  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese – grated

  • Dissolve yeast in 1 cup of warm water
    In a large mixing bowl, beat margarine until fluffy. Beat eggs in another bowl until light. Add eggs to margarine, blending well. Stir in dissolved yeast water.
    Sift flour, salt and sugar together. Gradually add to egg mixture, continue to beat until satiny.
    Cut Swiss and Cheddar cheese into 1/4 inch cubes. Stir cubed cheese and Parmesan cheese into mixture.
    Place dough in a 4 quart greased glass mixing bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled in volume. With spoon, and stir gently. Cover bowl and let rise until doubled, again.
    Grease a 10-inch tube pan. Gently stir dough down. Pour into pan. Let rise again until doubled.
    Bake in a preheated 400 degrees oven for 35 - 40 minutes. Cool 10 minutes out of oven. Lift bread out by tube and cool 20 more minutes. Eat while warm!! :)

    Baked Mussels

    Great appetizer!

  • 1 Lb Mussels

  • 1/2 Cup Pecorino cheese

  • 1/4 Bread crumbs

  • 2 Eggs

  • 2 Tbs EV olive oil

  • 4 Cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 1 Tbs Fresh parsley, finely chopped

  • Fresh black pepper

  • Wash the mussels under fresh water.
    With a knife, open each mussel and leave the fruit on one half of the shell.
    In a bowl, mix all the ingredients for the batter... the batter will be rather soft.
    Place all the mussels on a baking sheet and with a teaspon put some batter on each mussel to completely cover the meat/fruit.
    Bake for about 15-20 mins at 400F on the top shelf of the oven or until the batter turns golden/light brown.
    Serve hot.

    Wednesday, February 8, 2012

    Napoleon cake (Russian-French recipe)

    Every russian knows this cake from their childhood...most popular in Russia and absolutely delicious!

    For pastry:
    2 eggs
    1 cup sour cream (regular or light)                                                 
    2 sticks unsalted butter
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/3 tsp baking soda
    1 tbsp white vinegar
    all-purpose flour enough to make soft dough                                                 
    For cream:                                                                                                  
    1 1/2 quarts of whole milk
    1 cup of milk (this is not a mistake)                                                 
    1 1/2 cups white sugar
    4 egg yolks
    4 very full tbsp flour
    Pinch of salt
    1 shot of vodka, brandy, or rum
    (Amaretto or Bailey's are also good)
    1 lemon (zest only)                                                 
    vanilla essence or vanilla powder to taste                                                 
    1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

    Mix eggs, soft butter and sour cream together till they blend well.
    Add salt.
    In a table spoon, dissolve baking soda in vinegar - you will see "bubbles". When bubbling stops, add soda+vinegar to your mixture. Stir well.
    Start adding flour, cup-by-cup, make soft smooth dough. Don't knead it too much, just enough to make it smooth and "un-sticky".
    Split dough into 16 pieces, form little balls.
    Cover the dough with plastic, and put in the fridge to chill.
    While it's chilling, prepare cream.

    Custard Cream:
    Pour 1 1/2 quarts of milk into thick bottom pot and bring it to boil. Don't use aluminum pots - it will burn !
    While the milk is warming up, prepare the cream mix:
    Separate egg yolks and stir them very well with sugar and a pinch of salt - until mix turns very light yellow.
    Add flour, mix well.
    Add 1 cup cold milk, mix very well. Avoid lumps.
    When your milk starts to boil, reduce the heat immediately to low.
    Pour the cream mixture into boiling milk very slowly, using a whisk to stir the cream.
    Bring the mixture to boil again, constantly stirring it. When it starts boiling, you will see it become thicker. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes, don't forget to stir at all times.
    Remove from the stove, add lemon zest, vanilla, and vodka (rum, brandy, or liquor).
    When you are able to touch the pot, add butter and mix it in as it melts. Set aside.

    Now back to pastry:
    Preheat oven to 420 degrees F.
    Turn off the phone, so no one can distract you for 1 hour.
    Get 1 piece of dough from the fridge, roll it into a very thin crust on well floured surface - as thin as you can, forming a round or a square crust.
    Roll the crust onto rolling pin, and unroll it onto UNGREASED baking sheet.
    .Pierce crust with the fork all over.
    Bake in the oven for 2 minutes or until lightly golden. Don't over bake. It is better when it is not dark.
    Remove the crust from the oven and put aside.
    Repeat steps a-e for all the rest of the dough.
    Never leave the kitchen while the crust is in the oven - check it all the time - it bakes very quickly.
    Bake the last crust a little longer than others, letting it turn brown.
    Put one crust on the cake dish.
    Pour a ladle full of cream onto it.
    Use skimmer to spread the cream evenly on the crust. Repeat for all crusts, except for the brown one.
    Crush the brown crust on the board, using the rolling pin - just roll it over the crust several times - it will make great fine crumbs.
    Pour the crumbs over the top layer of the cake.
    Let the cake soak for 2-3 hours. Cut out the uneven edges, forming your favorite cake shape - square or round, or oval.
    Enjoy! :-)

    Chicken Kiev

    Ukranian recipe!

    1/3 cup butter
    1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1 teaspoon garlic powder
    2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
    2 eggs
    3 tablespoons water
    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
     1 teaspoon dried dill weed
    3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
    2 cups vegetable oil for frying
    1/2 lemon, sliced
    1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

    Combine 1/3 cup butter, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1 teaspoon garlic powder. On a 6x6 inch piece of aluminum foil, spread mixture to about 2x3 inches. Place this mixture in the coldest section of your freezer and freeze until firm. This can be done ahead of time.                Remove all fat from the chicken breast. If using whole chicken breasts, cut them in half. Place each chicken breast half between 2 pieces of waxed paper and using a mallet, pound carefully to about 1/4 inch thickness or less.               
    When butter mixture is firm, remove from freezer and cut into 6 equal pieces. Place one piece of butter on each chicken breast. Fold in edges of chicken and then roll to encase the butter completely. Secure the chicken roll with small skewers or toothpicks.               
    In a mixing bowl, beat eggs with water until fluffy. In a separate bowl, mix together 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, dill weed and flour. Coat the chicken well with the seasoned flour. Dip the floured chicken in the egg mixture and then roll in the bread crumbs. Place coated chicken on a shallow tray and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.                In a medium size deep frying pan, heat vegetable oil to medium-high. Fry chicken for about 5 minutes then turn over and fry for 5 minutes longer or until the chicken is golden brown. To test for doneness, cut into one of the rolled chicken breasts to make sure it doesn't have a pink interior. Serve immediately, garnished with a sliced lemon twist and a sprinkling or parsley.

    Monday, February 6, 2012

    Low fat Leek and potato soup



    • 1 tsp Olive Oil
    • 1 Small Onion, Chopped
    • 450g Leeks, Sliced
    • 450g Potatoes, Diced
    • 500ml Semi Skimmed Milk
    • 500ml Water
    • 1 tsp Herb Cubes
    1. Heat the oil and gently fry the onion leeks and potatoes for 3 minutes
    2. Pour in the milk and 500ml water, add the herbs and season with salt and pepper.
    3. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
    4. Strain the vegetables, reserving the liquid in a jug.
    5. Blend or liquidise the vegetables, then blend in the liquid.
    6. Reheat gently, adjust seasoning and serve.