Ingur Bridge

Georgian Adventures, Part 7

The last leg of our Georgian Adventures took us to the controversial Republic of Abkhazia, the self-proclaimed independent region at the Northeastern tip of the country. Let me start with some practical information (dating from July 2010) for prospective travelers. Getting there isn’t trivial. The airport is closed, and its reconstruction is being delayed for […]

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Blueberry Jam

Blueberries are mostly found in North America, but their cousins, bilberries, are found all across Europe and are highly praised in berry-gathering, preserve-loving Russia. The Russian Wikipedia informs us that in 1964, Soviet Union issued a stamp representing bilberries, and the Great Soviet Encyclopedia mentions that bilberry juice can be used for the dubious purpose […]

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Wild Pheasant Rillettes

Rillettes are a spread made of salted meat slowly cooked in fat, first mentioned in 15th century cookbooks and more famously in Rabelais’ Pantagruel in the 16th century. Although they were originally made from pork, duck and goose have also become fairly common, and many other meats can be used. I chose wild pheasant today […]

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Veal Dubrovnik

This dish is inspired by a recipe called “Veal Escalops Dubrovnik Style” that I found in All Along the Danube, by Marina Polvay — someone who has managed to both present a food show called Cooking with Elegance and pen The Dracula Cookbook. Her veal recipe distinguishes itself by an unusual technique: after preparing a sort of mushroom risotto, […]

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Restaurant Review: Russian Samovar

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! On 52nd Street and Broadway, Russian Samovar spares you the endless trips out to Brighton Beach […]

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Peach-Raspberry Preserves

I’ve already posted peach preserves inspired by my trip to Kakheti, but I feel compelled to share the recipe for this peach and raspberry combination that I jarred months ago and opened last weekend. It is just delicious, and would probably make a great pie filling, too. The raspberry purée can either be purchased or made […]

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Wild Boar Filet Mignon and Smoked Lentils

Wild boar is eaten all across Eastern Europe, from eastern Germany to Russia. It is a common charge in heraldry, displayed on the coat of arms of Ebersbach in Saxony. Boar hunting was also one of Brezhnev’s favorite pastimes. Filet mignon, the tenderloin, is one of the only cuts of wild boar that is best enjoyed rare or […]

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Georgian Adventures, Part 6

In our last Georgian adventures, we were being jolted about on the roads of Svaneti.  One flat tire and many overflowing streams later, we reached the coveted Zagar Pass.  From there, it wasn’t long until we got to Ushguli, the climax of our trip. At 2,200 meters (7,200 feet), this is the highest permanently inhabited settlement […]

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Deruny, Ukrainian Potato Pancakes

Deruny, Ukrainian Potato Pancakes

Most Eastern European countries have their version of potato pancakes, with small variations in the way you grate and bind the potatoes. In Ukraine, they’re called deruny, and in Belarus, it’s draniki, but the two are very similar. And they’re serious business! A Minsk native once explained to me that potatoes are the national specialty, and Belarusian cookbooks typically […]

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