Russian Food - Babushka Café

Restaurant Review: Babushka Café

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! Culinary gransploitation is trendy, this we know. With Babushka Café in Greenwich Village, the phenomenon is brought […]

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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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Russian Food - Kefir

Kefir, the Probiotic Miracle from the Caucasus

Over the past decade or so, kefir, a kind of cultured milk sometimes described as a “tangy milk smoothie,” has gained popularity and conquered the shelves of American supermarkets. “Probiotic,” the labels proudly proclaim, as if that word — that word you’d never heard until that moment — should become your new mantra. After all, […]

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Blueberry-Chocolate Roll, Apple Sorbet, and Buckwheat Crème Anglaise

Blueberry-Chocolate Roll, Apple Sorbet, and Buckwheat Crème Anglaise

It all started with Irina Chadeyeva’s Vypechka po GOSTu, a compilation of Soviet era baking hits, from the Kiev cake to the kartoshka (each of which I’ve encountered here and here, respectively). Chadeyeva’s recipes, often named after cities from the four corners of the Empire, for reasons unknown, are backed up with nostalgic pictures of the […]

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Signature Russian Amuse-Bouche: Potato Chip, King Crab, Brains, and Caviar

Signature Russian Amuse-Bouche: Potato Chip, King Crab, Brains, and Caviar

Here’s a bite-sized dish to kick-off the holiday season in style! This very Russian combination seamlessly mixes poor and rich man’s ingredients, with potato and brains on one hand, and king crab and sturgeon caviar on the other. It’s not the first time I’ve paired crab and caviar (see here), and I’ve also posted recipes for pork brains […]

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Grilling with Peat, Russian Pork Shashlyks and Potato Lyulya-Kebabs

I’ve been using natural wood for grilling shashlyks and other kebabs for quite a while now (I explained the process in my lyulya-kebab recipe post). The wood smoke certainly imparts some flavor, but the relatively short cooking time of a kebab means that the exposure, especially on an open grill, isn’t sufficient to achieve the same results as, say, […]

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Russian Waste-Not Burger

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably seen some recent tweets about my upcoming talk on the Future of Food at TED@IBM. One of themes I’ll be discussing is food waste, and how recipe-generating Chef Watson can help. About 1/3 of the food produced worldwide is wasted, and consumers have their share of responsibility. According […]

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Plombir, Russian Ice Cream

You might remember seeing plombir ice cream in some of my restaurant reviews, such as Mari Vanna and Ariana, and wondering what makes it different. Plombir takes its name from the French glace Plombières, a vanilla ice cream mixed with bits of candied fruits marinated in kirsch. However, it bears little resemblance to the original. As explained in Russian standard ГОСТ 31457-2012, […]

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Chef Watson and the Russian Sour Cherry Barbecue Sauce

Back in February, I wrote about Cognitive Cooking, a project that I work on at IBM wherein computers help humans create flavorful, never-seen before recipes, such as this Baltic apple pie or this Russian beet salad. We’ve been quite busy since then, and our prototype, renamed Chef Watson, is getting ready for prime time. We […]

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Venison Steak, Red Beet-Cranberry Purée, and Country Fried Potatoes

As we’ve eaten our way through the deer I killed last fall, I’ve started cooking some of the backstraps, those beautiful 20+-inch-long pieces of loin. I’m thrilled to say that this is without a doubt the best venison steak I’ve ever eaten, and it has totally justified spending three days in a tree strand. The meat […]

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