Slovak Food - Bryndzové Halušky

Bryndzové Halušky, Slovakia’s National Dish

Bryndzové halušky can be called Slovakia’s national dish without too much debate. This dish of potato spaetzle/gnocchi topped with a sheep’s milk cheese sauce and fried bacon is available in every other Slovak restaurant, if not more. Halušky have their own songs (I’ll let you google them) and their very own festival, Halušky Fest in Turecká. The latter starts in […]

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Russian Food - Trout Broth with Pirozhki

Triple Steelhead Trout Broth with Gravlax and Pirozhki

I’ve said in the past that if you want to avoid crowds, the Monday after Thanksgiving is a good day to fish on the Salmon River. Well, here’s another quiet day to go fishing in the area: Mother’s Day. Real sentimental, those fishermen! Come the second Sunday of May, they leave their fishing rods in the […]

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Duck Breast And Meatballs, Potato Croquettes, Caramelized Onions. and Red Cabbage Purée

Central European Wild Duck, with its Potatoes and Red Cabbage

There are few places where duck is as ubiquitous a culinary staple as in Central Europe, in particular Germany, Hungary, Czech Republic, and Slovakia (the other places would be France, China, and Southeast Asia). Roast duck, served with potatoes and red cabbage, seems to be on the menu of every other restaurant, prepared this or […]

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Latvian Cuisine - Pirags

Piragi, Latvia’s National Dish

The last entry in my series of national dishes was Kazakhstan’s beshbarmak. This time, we’re hopping to the Baltic to try Latvian piragi. Naming a single national dish for a whole country is a very artificial exercise. For Latvia, Wikipedia suggests latke, and sure, Latvians eat potato pancakes, probably tons of them, but… so does the rest […]

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Baklava

Signature Dish: Food Perestroika’s Baklava

I love baklava. The thin, nutty layers saturated with fragrant syrup take me back to a warm night in a caravanserai in Baku’s Old City, drinking herbal tea and dark Azerbaijani cognac. Or to the mountains of northern Azerbaijan, where locals make their unique Quban baklava, paper-thin latticed layers finished with in bright red. Or to […]

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Croatian Cuisine - Brodet

Brodet, Croatian Fish Stew

In most people’s consciousness, Eastern Europe does not evoke delicious seafood dishes. Apart from caviar or smoked fish (which most people actually eat rarely), the images that come to mind tend to be of thick brown meat stews and starchy dishes, or perhaps of various grilled meats and greasy sausages, washed down with a profusion of beer and other alcoholic beverages. And yet, […]

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Kazakh Cuisine - Almaty-Style Horse Steak, with Markovka and Khychin

Almaty-Style Horse Steak, with Khychin and Morkovka

While there are many countries where horse meat is available and consumed occasionally (sometimes unbeknownst to the consumers), Kazakhstan is one of the few places where it’s one of the major meats in the butcher’s display. Its use goes beyond the traditional kazy and beshbarmak, and at some restaurants in the larger cities, you can enjoy a […]

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Buckwheat Blini with Trout, Cabbage Sauce and Honey-Glazed Turnips

Buckwheat Blini with Trout and Chanterelles, Cabbage Sauce and Honey-Glazed Turnips

Steelhead season on the Salmon River was rather slow this year. A little bit like deer season, come to think of it, a consequence of two consecutive cold winters. Considering that I grouped my hunting and fishing outings into a single trip around Thanksgiving, it made for an uneventful and often frustrating ten days (except for the […]

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Kazakh Lamb's Head

Kazakh Boiled Sheep’s Head

When I published my beshbarmak recipe, I promised that I would soon write another post about its indispensable complement on any successful Kazakh festive dinner table: a boiled sheep’s head, to be served to the most honored guest. Well, even after several attempts at perfecting the unlikely delicacy, I must say that I still find this to be a […]

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