Venison and Beet Sausages

I’ve already posted recipes for goose sausages, lake trout sausages, salmon sausages (with beef fat). With two deer in the freezer, venison sausages were the natural thing to do next, and I might very well come up with more than one version. Today’s venison sausages are made with beets. Beets contain a flavor compound called geosmin that’s responsible for their […]

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Abkhazian Venison Loin with Blackberry Sauce and Cheese Polenta

Back when I wrote of my adventures in wild Abkhazia, I talked about shashlyk, spices, cheese, honey, and wine. And of course lodochka (aka Adjaran khachapuri). But there can be more to Abkhazian cuisine. Some time ago, I published a recipe for Honey Cake Gagra with Mandarin and Black Tea. Here is another original recipe that combines […]

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Vepřo-Knedlo-Zelo, a Czech Classic with a Twist

Vepřo-knedlo-zelo — literally “pork-dumpling-cabbage” — is Czech Republic’s national dish, but you’ve probably never heard of it. Maybe because the dish name contains one of the most difficult to pronounce letters known to mankind (the ř, affectionately called a raised alveolar non-sonorant trill in linguistics circles, is apparently shared only with the Kobon language of Papua New Guinea).  Or it could […]

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Buuzy, Buryat Meat Dumplings

Buuzy, Buryat Meat Dumplings

On my way to Moldova this past summer, I decided to brave the Russian bureaucracy (the eternal visa schemes) and traffic jams (2 hours from Sheremetyevo Airport) to spend one evening in Moscow. To make it count, I looked for restaurants serving cuisine that I was unlikely to eat anywhere else in the foreseeable future — […]

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Dushanbe - Shaftoluzor Restaurant - Qurtob

Qurutob, Tajikistan’s National Dish

Tajikistan claims mainly two national dishes: plov (aka osh), and qurutob. While plov is more famous and is also the national dish of neighboring Uzbekistan, qurutob, a mix of bread and onions in a yogurt sauce (with the occasional extra meat and vegetables), is specifically Tajik. Tajik culinary literature is pretty scarce. Pan-Soviet cookbooks typically […]

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Shashlyk Po-Karski

Shashlyk Po-Karski, Döner Kebab, and Gyro

Shashlyk po-karski (Kars-style shashlyk) is a rather mysterious dish. Every time I’ve ordered it in restaurants, I’ve been served either a rack of lamb or individual grilled lamb chops. What made either version specifically from Kars, a Turkish town that once belonged to medieval Armenia? Why not call it chalakhach, another dish of mysterious origins that […]

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Skirt Steak and Eggplant Shashlyk

Labor Day’s already over, a week behind us, and you probably think you’re done with barbecues until next year. You’ve spent the past two (three?) months reluctantly pigging out with wrinkled beef franks and shoe-sole patties prepared by self-proclaimed Grill Masters who swear by their kerosene-soaked charcoal briquettes. You’ve hung out in 100+ temperatures next to a […]

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