Blini and Oladi, Russian Pancakes

Blini and Oladi, Russian Pancakes

There are literally hundreds of Russian pancake recipes. The Bolshaya Kniga Domashney Kukhni by Svetlana and Lidia Lagutina alone counts more than 70! These recipes distinguish themselves by the type of flour or starch used (wheat, buckwheat, rye, semolina, potato), the raising agents or aerators present in the batter (yeast, baking soda, beaten egg whites, […]

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Restaurant Review: Apsheron

A note about my restaurant reviews: New York City counts many Eastern European restaurants scattered across the five boroughs, most of them ignored by restaurant critics and diners alike. I intend to visit as many as I can and report! In the inland part of the Sheepshead Bay area of Brooklyn, Apsheron is an Azeri restaurant […]

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Kippered Salmon

The food markets of Russia, Ukraine and the Baltic states are filled with smoked fish of all kinds. Here’s a sample of the selection of hot-smoked items at the Riga Central Market, Europe’s largest, with salmon front and center: Kippered salmon is traditionally prepared using a hot-smoking process, resulting in a flaky, juicy piece of […]

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Partridge Breast and Dumplings in Tokaji Sauce

Up until the first world war, Hungary and Bohemia boasted several great estates for partridge shooting. Thousand of gray partridges were then exported to North America, making them one of the principal game birds here to this day. Although the only American partridges you will find in stores are farmed, a curious loophole allows the […]

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Catskills Mountains - Deer Hunting

Roasted Rack of Venison in Cider Sauce… and the Failed Deer Hunt

As I reported in a previous post, I went deer hunting earlier this month. While somebody who actually knows what he’s doing was driving the hunt, I was hiding in tree stands or blinds like this one, observing my little patch of forest. Believe me, after 4 hours spent sitting in a tent without moving, […]

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Georgian Adventures, Part 4

Our next trip in the Georgian Caucasus took us to the small province of Racha, known for its traditional culture, honey and wine. A quick look at the roadside food stalls reveals plums, figs and lady apples, but also chanterelles: And here is some of the famous Racha honey. Dozens of beekeepers are set up […]

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Goose Confit, Sausages, and More

In Hungary, raising geese is a centuries-old tradition, its secrets handed down from generation to generation. A whole bird is used to prepare all kinds of dishes: roasts, soups, and even fat that will be spread on bread. Similarly, I wanted to explore a variety of ways to prepare all the parts of a goose, […]

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Brynza, Eastern European Feta

Brynza, Eastern European Feta

Brynza, a cheese similar to feta, is made throughout Central and Eastern Europe. The word comes from brînză, Romanian for cheese. It’s an important component of Ukrainian, Moldovan, Romanian and Balkan cuisine, and there’s even an annual Brynza Festival every fall in the town of Rakhiv, in Transcarpathian Ukraine. The cheese is usually made from sheep’s […]

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