Seared Chops and Braised Shanks of Venison in Bautzen Sour Cherry Mustard Sauce with Perfect Fries

This recipe combines some rather eclectic culinary impressions from my recent trip to Eastern Germany: the sour-cherry mustard from Bautzen, Erich Honecker and his passion for hunting, the mulled wine of the Christmas markets, and potatoes in various forms — from rubbery dumplings to the fries served with currywurst. Let’s talk a bit more about each of them…

Bautzen Mustard

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Berlin Restaurant Report: DDR-Restaurant Domklause

In addition to my New York restaurant reviews, I’d like to share with you my thoughts on random Eastern European restaurants I visit during my various trips. These posts may not always have the depth of my traditional reviews, so I won’t provide any ratings. I’m also unlikely to write about a place if it’s not noteworthy in some capacity.

Berlin - DDR-Restaurant Domklause

DDR-Restaurant Domklause is located next to the DDR Museum in Berlin (to clarify the acronym: DDR = Deutsche Demokratische Republik. / GDR = German Democratic Republic). This also happens to be the former block of the infamous Palasthotel, the hard-currency-only, Stasi-filled hotel where Party dignitaries once received their distinguished foreign guests. As a matter of fact, the current restaurant recreates the hotel’s original recipes from the glorious days of communism, when ersatz meat was king.

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Blueberry Preserves

I’ve already posted a blueberry jam here a while back, but this recipe, adapted from Blue Ribbon Preserves, is also worth your time. And if you like picking your own berries, this is a great way to showcase the result of your efforts. (I picked mine at Fishkill Farms last summer.)

Although I’m usually against the American obsession of putting cinnamon in nearly every dessert, the spice happens to pair very well with blueberries, as long as the dosage remains very subtle: you should barely be able to taste that something’s been added.

The same applies to the amount of vodka. We’re not making blueberry liqueur; the goal is just to make the end result taste more complex, without being able to taste the alcohol.

Blueberry Preserves

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The Food Perestroika Manifesto

When I started this blog over two years ago, I never took the time to write a mission statement. So I’ll kick off 2013 by fixing this. Here is the Food Perestroika manifesto! I’m also adding it to my About page.

The word perestroika may be forever associated with Mikhail Gorbachev’s reformation movement in the late eighties, but in Russian, it simply means reconstruction. To understand what it is that needs to be rebuilt, I suggest we start with a brief look at culinary history in the former Eastern Bloc.

Food Perestroika Manifesto

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Kremlin Menu Watch, Part 2

You may not be a man like Putin, but you can try to eat like him. Here are some excerpts from the news on his presidential feasts in the Kremlin and in other parts of the Empire.

ITAR-TASS 151: MOSCOW, RUSSIA. DECEMBER 2, 2007. President of Russia Vladimir Putin and his wife Lyudmila dine at Siberian cuisine restaurant "Yermak" in Moscow's Krylatskoye district after voting in elections to the Fifth State Duma. (Photo ITAR-TASS / Dmitry Astakhov)

MOSCOW, RUSSIA. DECEMBER 2, 2007. President of Russia Vladimir Putin and his wife Lyudmila dine at Siberian cuisine restaurant “Yermak” in Moscow’s Krylatskoye district after voting in elections to the Fifth State Duma. (Photo ITAR-TASS / Dmitry Astakhov)

You may have missed Part 1 of my Kremlin Menu Watch: it’s right here. Since that original post, I realized that keeping track of Vlad’s culinary adventures could be a source of inspiration for my own recipes, and there seems to be enough new material for an update.

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