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Red Snapper Ceviche & Ota Ika

The summer is coming. It’s time to update our menus with easy-made refreshing dishes as good for light dinner for two as for a big pool party. Cocktails, beer, and all that jazz.

Why is a Latin American fish salad next to a French Polynesian one combined in one recipe?

Ceviche is made with cubed raw fish marinated in citrus juice, strained, combined with sliced and chopped vegetables (most commonly avocado, tomato, onion, green onion, cilantro, chili peppers), and served cold.

Ota Ika is made the same way, but with the addition of coconut milk or creme. Some of the vegetables mixed with fish are the same, and some are different (most commonly cucumber, tomato, onion, green onion, and spicy peppers). Coconut milk softens the acidity of the initial marinade and makes the dish somewhat tropical holiday dreamy and elegant.

May 26, 2021
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Taro Pastry

They look like peony buds. They taste like childhood. Very delicate, barely sweet. The dough is laminated, but the proportions and the method are somewhat unusual and make the dough very light. But it is the taro stuffing that makes these pastries so desirable. If you are yet to discover the flavor of cooked Taro Areca — the one with pink fibers and the flavor of pastry cream — stick around while taro is being steamed! I bet you’ll be amused with its aroma.

May 20, 2021
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Oysters Bienville

Oysters Bienville is a NOLA cuisine appetizer — baked oysters covered with creamy shrimp sauce. Pairs well with white, rose, or sparkling wines.

February 22, 2021
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Tasso | Traeger Grill

Tasso is a specialty of Nola cuisine and used to flavor many dishes. Sounds like Mexican chorizo for Mexican and TexMex, right? But it is not a sausage, and it’s smoked. Traditionally, it is made with pork butt that was sliced across the grain 3″ thick. What if we use the same rub and smoke a pork tenderloin using Traeger Grill?

February 9, 2021
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Taro Dumplings | Wu Gok

Лохматый пирожок из таро! Так я прозвала этот dumpling, when saw it for the first time in the picture 10 years ago. I became obsessed — needed to find the recipe and try making it. If I remember correctly (the original is not available anymore), I found a Chinese recipe and had somebody help me translate it. It was challenging and fun!

February 8, 2021
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Panforte Margherita

This recipe became my ultimate Christmas treat. Just like my other seasonal favorites — Medieval British Fruitcake and German Spiced Christmas Cookies — panforte Margherita is made with a lot of dry fruit and nuts. It also gets better with time when properly stored. But it seems easier and faster to make because there are no time-consuming steps. The original recipe comes from a collection of traditional Tuscan recipes. 

January 22, 2021
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Moroccan Eggplant Salad

I came across this warm eggplant salad 10 years ago, when discovered harissa. Unfortunately, this salad is less know than zaalook, another Moroccan eggplant salad — with tomatoes. Or, let’s say there are fewer references to it available out there in English. 

It is sweet and sour, refreshing and citrusy, mildly spicy, with very pronounced Middle Eastern flavors. Pairs well with crispy grilled flatbread.

January 21, 2021
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Smoked Blood Sausage | Кров’янка | Traeger Grill

It’s my third serious attempt to master Ukrainian blood sausage using local ingredients. Every time I slightly change the approach with a better understanding of what and why I am doing with every step.

January 19, 2021
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Smoked Lamb | Traeger Grill

Traeger Grill was THE 2020 cooking device for me. And the best tasting smoked meat I made with it was the rack of lamb.

January 12, 2021
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Smoked Christmas Goose | Traeger Grill

Roasted young goose became my favorite Thanksgiving and Christmas dish only a few years ago. And I wrote a very long text about it. This year, I gave my heart to another version of cooking goose — smoke-roasting with Traeger Grill. I tried it once out of curiosity and will never go back to oven-roasting for as long as I have my little Traeger.

January 5, 2021
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