Russian Season

Icon

Russian, Eastern European and international cuisine brought to you by a mother and a daughter

Cream Cheese and Banana French Toasts

Cream Cheese Banana French Toast
I’ve always loved long relaxed weekend mornings when I could sit back with a cup of tea and savour my breakfast. With a newborn around (and no more weekends for me), I reappraised the freedom of morning hours. The little one gets quite fussy during night and then sleeps deeply and serenely through the morning. Which gives me a chance to not only get done with the housework in the kitchen and bathroom, but also cook something simple for breakfast. These stuffed French toasts were inspired by a gorgeous Strawberry and Mascarpone French Toast recipe I’ve once seen online and cannot find any longer - I’ve googled for it today, but to no avail. If I ever find it (I should have it somewhere in my bookmarks), I will certainly add a link to it here. Anyway, I had a pack of “Creme Bonjour”, a cream cheese similar to Philadelphia in the fridge, plus some bananas (probably the only fruit I’m allowed to eat uncooked), so I thought I’d try to use these for some stuffed toasts, based on that recipe. And I loved the result! Cream cheese worked even better than mascarpone here, thanks to a hint of saltiness, which balanced out the perfumy sweetness of bananas. That was also very quick and easy to make. So, here is the recipe: Read the rest of this entry »

Sour Cream and Summer Berry Jelly for RS’s 1st Anniversary

the Piglet

Meet the Piglet – he’s a part of our team as well. He really supports me when I’m upset or tired. He loves wild strawberries, thick cream, and cottage cheese

 

Today RussianSeason turned 1.

A year ago, on a hot and sunny summer day, my Mom and I took the plunge and started a blog on foods that we were grown with and that were hardly well-known abroad: Russian, Soviet and Eastern European. We felt like we had to tell the world more about Blinis, Kulichi, Ukha and other basic dishes of traditional Russian cuisine. We also needed to share some good old Soviet recipes such as Vinegret, Anchovy Stuffed Eggs, and Custard with Kisel. We thought you’d be surprised to hear that one of the most delicious Latvian desserts is made with rye breadcrumbs and cranberries, that Filini pasta can be eaten with milk and sugar, and that you can make jam-filled buns in a steamer.

Our first post was about a mushroom soup. Why mushroom soup? Maybe because I love chanterelles and could have them every day. Or maybe because mushrooms are an essential ingredient of Russian cuisine. Later, Stano (my husband-to-be, hehe) joined us and translated his favourite recipes into Slovak, so we have a Slovak version too (okay it’s a little bit out-of-date but that’s because the Chief Translator is currently very busy).

As we moved on, we couldn’t resist the temptation to cook and write about foods from other corners of the world, so the blog became more “international”. And the more we cook, the longer our huge to-do and to-try list grows. In fact we still haven’t even made very basic Eastern European foods such as Pelmeni and Vareniki, but I’m sure we will. It’s just Foodgawker, Tastespotting, and our blogroll that are too distracting! :) We discovered hundreds of inspiring blogs and made a lot of wonderful virtual friends. I never knew that foodie world was *that* huge and friendly.

To celebrate out first anniversary, we made a festive jelly/panna cotta type of thing. We’ve already made this with yogurt, grapes, and canned peaches before and it looked (and tasted) very pretty. This time, we tried to stick to the most natural, seasonal ingredients: thick sour cream and local strawberries, wild blueberries, and raspberries. I really liked the sour cream jelly for its very milky taste and its soft, silky texture (I’m not sure if Panna Cotta can be made with sour cream, so in order not to hurt anybody’s feelings, I’ll call this just sour cream jelly). And the assorted fresh berries scattered in the jelly just scream summer, don’t they? It’s such a shame strawberry season is almost over though; it was untypically short this year, perhaps due to the heat. But, there’re still blueberries, currants, plums, and all the gorgeous summer recipes we’ve yet to try.

Sour Cream and Summer Berry Jelly
Read the rest of this entry »

Blackcurrant Cherry Sorbet

Blackcurrant Cherry Sorbet

As I’ve already mentioned, blackcurrants are not just a fount of vitamin C; they are supposed to improve heat tolerance. So in hot weather, it’s a good idea to include blackcurrants in your daily menu. Of course it’s a yet better idea to bake a delicious pie with them, but I chose the easiest way: pureed some fresh blackcurrants and sour cherries and made a sorbet. And it came out so good, I’ve got to say! As you know, I still don’t have an ice cream maker (I’m not ready to invest around $100 in a device I’d use 2 months in a year) and I’m always on the quest for ice cream maker-free frozen desserts. The pectin in blackcurrants helps the sorbet mix gel as it freezes, which results in a nice smooth texture. The ice particles in blackcurrant/cherry sorbet are so tiny that you can hardly feel them. It also melts gracefully, turning into a sort of smooth cold berry sauce. In a word, I’m quite excited about my new discovery! Oh and just to mention, I made it from scratch without any reference to existing recipes – so it’s totally the way I like it: sharp, tangy, concentrated, rich in colour and flavour.

Blackcurrant Cherry Sorbet

Read the rest of this entry »

Zephyr Strawberry/Cherry Mousse

Easy Zephyr Strawberry/Cherry Mousse

Strawberry season is in full swing here; soon Mom will be making her delicious strawberry jam. The freshest, local strawberries are finally here since last week, and we’ve been sampling different varieties almost every day. My favourite is called Zephyr. It’s a kind of strawberry that tastes much better than it looks. A real gem among strawberries, it’s so delicate and fragile that you’d better buy it in small batches (we usually take a kilo or two) and eat it on the same day. The small berries of irregular shape are immensely tender and have a brightly pronounced flavour of wild strawberries. They have no chewy core at all, and after you rinse them in water (with the most care of course), they will probably lose their shape completely, turning into luscious, sweet, fragrant morsels suffused with June sunshine. That’s why I love them. They are absolute summer.

With these Zephyr strawberries and with some cherries that arrived from Hungary I made a few glasses of light mousse. Unless you’re opposed to raw eggs, it’s a foolproof and quick recipe which might come in handy when you have unexpected guests. I believe it’s also a good way to have your daily protein, together with your vitamins. I just pick the freshest eggs of a trusted brand and wash them with a sponge and dishwashing liquid. As for the remaining egg yolks, why not use them in eggnog, omelette, or cookies?

It’s interesting how the texture of this mousse varies slightly depending on the type of berries. My cherry mousse came out very smooth, glossy and thick like a cake icing; after taking the photos I found out it was quite impossible to sip it through a straw, so sorry for misleading you. The strawberry mousse, however, was kind of airier, lighter, and runnier. I can’t wait to try this with blueberries and raspberries and see what the texture will be like.

UPD A cherry/raspberry mix works out particularly well!

Zephyr Strawberries
Read the rest of this entry »

Italian Style Haddock with Zucchini and Tomatoes

Italian Style Haddock with Zucchini and Tomatoes

Perhaps cooking will someday become just a part of the boring daily routine for me, but right now there’s nothing more relaxing than spending a couple of hours tinkering with a fascinating recipe, taking photos, and tasting the result of our culinary adventures. I couldn’t go to the seaside today because I had to work on a website design (it started to rain in the afternoon anyway), but the time I spent cooking dinner with my Mom was a perfect break from work. We tried Italian-style fish from a book titled “Fast, Fresh and Delicious: 150 Quick and Healthy Family Favorites”. The directions given in the book were very straightforward and correct – we just substituted fresh basil leaves for dried and added one extra tomato for a “tomatier” version. If you use haddock fillets, this flavourful, rich dinner can be made in no time – the slices of zucchini turn tender in 10 minutes and the small pieces of fish cook in another 10-15 minutes. I loved the strong and bold smell of basil leaves and garlic in the sauce, and of course the mild taste and texture of haddock. Haddock is definitely a type of fish where quality exceeds price; I can’t wait to try it in a Russian Ukha!

Oh and guess what we have? Rhubarb! Finally! It’s here! Something tells me we’re going to have a rhubarb dessert tomorrow ;-)

http://www.russianseason.net/index.php/2010/04/redwhite-ukha-russian-fish-soup/

Read the rest of this entry »

Cottage Cheese and Semolina Cherry Cake

Cottage Cheese and Semolina Cherry Cobbler

I have no idea of how this happens, but when I look through my blog archives I see we’ve been baking and cooking a lot of sweet dishes recently. I really have no idea why we’re doing this, because when I eat out, I almost never order a dessert these days. I used to have a super sweet tooth, but lately my food cravings have changed and I have eaten no chocolate bars since my birthday, which was in January. I didn’t try the chocolates my parents brought from Venice. I didn’t eat any truffles offered at birthday parties. The only thing I still like is hot chocolate, especially half-and-half dark and white. In fact, I just don’t see chocolates as something edible any longer. They just bring no emotion to me - I stay impassive even if I feel the smell of my one-time favourite milk chocolate. Strange, isn’t it? Instead, I’ve been enjoying savoury foods like pizza, lasagna, polenta, and huge bowls of fresh salads. Perhaps the organism is running out of vitamins and asking for something healthier than sweets. I drool over your rhubarb and asparagus recipes guys – I’m so impatient for fresh greens and berries.

But, while I day-dream about fresh vegetables, my hands do quite the opposite thing. They leaf through recipe books and magazines, pick sweet dishes and cakes, and cook them. Yeah… they lead a pretty independent life!

Today’s cherry cake was actually Mom’s idea. She found the recipe in her notes, it had been copied from some newspaper, the title of which, unfortunately, we can’t recollect now. The cake is something similar to cobbler or clafoutis; berries are covered with cottage cheese and semolina batter, but you don’t turn the cake upside down when ready. Of course I’d prefer fresh cherries to canned, but welcome to reality girl :) The weird thing about this recipe was that the cake baked for an hour and 20 minutes instead of 25 minutes!! The recipe didn’t mention how hot the oven should be, but we decided to cook it on a low heat so that the cherries wouldn’t burn… as a result the cake was ready in more than an hour!

Before I go to have a slice of this mild-flavoured, moist cake and a glass of milk, I just wanted to ask: what are your spring food cravings? I’m really curious to know!

Cottage Cheese and Semolina Cherry Cake

Read the rest of this entry »

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Are you curious to learn more about Eastern European cuisine?
RussianSeason.net is a food blog run by two Russian-speaking women - a mother (Natalia) and a daughter (Alina) - living in Latvia. Natalia is a professional artist and Alina is the co-owner of a web directory of Russian-speaking businesses in Europe. We both cook and Alina writes posts and takes photos.
In our blog you'll find a range of (mostly tweaked&adapted) recipes from Russia, Eastern Europe, the Baltics, and former USSR. But we can't restrain ourselves from experimenting with other cuisines too :)
Stano is the guy behind the Slovak version of this blog. He is currently living and working in Latvia and is also known as the Man Who Makes Alina Eat A Lot Of Cakes, because he hardly ever eats cakes or pies she bakes. He doesn't have a sweet tooth, you see. Stano also provides us with traditional Slovak recipes - such as Halušky that he's been promising to make for 7 months now :) Just be patient - we're sure he will eventually do it!
Ivanka is the largest cross-cultural project Alina and Stano have been ever involved in:) We hope she will be a foodie too when she grows up!
Our email address is: russianseason@gmail.com

Priyatnovo appetita! (Bon appetit!)

More about RussianSeason.net
Foodbuzz





Follow russianseason on Twitter

bloglovin




Our Flickr Photostream

ChurchkhelaWhite TulipsBaked Millet BarMillet BarsGreen and YellowCottage Cheese Apricot BunCottage Cheese Apricot BunPetushki LollpipopsChocolate Butter

Baking on Foodista