It’s that time of the year again! Happy holidays! Over the past twelve months, I’ve published a lot of recipes from Russia (especially the Russian Far North), and Croatia / Montenegro. Here’s a selection of the best ones for a festive holiday meal:
- Start with a cocktail! I have a few to choose from: The Post Office, a Cocktail from the Great Russian North, or several Maraschino Cocktails.
- For a seafood menu, try my Scallop Tartare from the Russian Far North followed by the Pomor Cod Sous-Vide, Cod-Potato Fritters, Cod Roe Hollandaise. If you prefer a more Mediterranean dish, though, I strongly recommend a whole Roasted Turbot with Dalmatian Stew.
- While we’re on the Croatian theme, for those of you living in warm climates, a Croatian Peka / Veal under the Bell is certain to wow your guests. But if it’s too cold to light the grill outside, try a Dalmatian Rabbit and Makaruni na Iglu instead.
- Should you opt for a Russian recipe, both my Grouse à la Moscovite with Braised Lettuce à la Russe and my Elk Steak with Salmon Roe Cream Sauce are fantastic main dishes.
- For dessert, my Russian Blackcurrant Rye Cake with Chocolate Balsam Glaze has holiday flavors — chocolate! berries! spices! I didn’t get to make any Croatian dessert this year, but you can always count on my Dalmatian Fritters, published eight years ago!
As usual, the end of the year also gives me an opportunity to look at 2020’s most popular posts. Here are the top 5, in descending order:
- Bosnian Ćevapi with Kajmak, Ajvar, and Lepinja takes the top spot this year, with a comfortable lead over the second.
- Kajmak, the Clotted Cream of the Balkans became an instant hit. It probably helps that there aren’t many recipes for real homemade kajmak on the web.
- Qurutob, Tajikistan’s National Dish is third, thus switching places with the ćevapi compared to last year. It’s still the top result returned by Google when you search for qurutob. At this point I think we can say that Food Perestroika is the blog that introduced the Internet to qurutob.
- My Tarkhun, Tarragon Soda is back on the list! Maybe I should consider more beverages and work on a kvass recipe someday…
- Plombir, Russian Ice Cream is back too. Should you make a batch, don’t forget to also try my Caucasian Plombir-Apricot-Baklava Sundae!
Except for newcomer kajmak, the other 4 posts are also my 4 most popular posts of all time (albeit in a slightly different order). This kind of highlights the somewhat skewed nature of search engines when it comes to food: the website or blog to first publish a given recipe gains a durable and considerable advantage over its competitors. I could publish the best borscht recipe ever (and sooner or later I will), but my chances of it getting noticed at this point are pretty slim.
(Photo credit for featured picture of Vlad: Putin Drinks Vodka to Russian Soldiers in North Caucasus. 09/13/2019. kremlin.ru)