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Monk’s Lake House Savory Cake

The idea for this cake was born as a result of a challenge — what would a savory version of the Monk’s Hut cake be. Monk’s Lake House is a combination of Rye Galette with Fish and 7-Herb Green Sauce. Because they were born to complement each other!

January 23, 2020
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Monk’s Hut Cake | Торт “Монастырская изба”

Монастырская изба is one of the most popular cakes in post-Soviet countries. И за что его не любить? Кислые вишни, песочное тесто, крем из подслащенной густой сметаны — простые и хорошо сочетающиеся ингредиенты. Sour cherries are rolled into a thin layer of dough and baked to look like cilindrical pies. The pies are layered with thick sweetened sour cream to represent a log cabin, то бишь дровяную избу.

January 22, 2020
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Savory Brioche

Some time ago, my Russian speaking friends were praising Hans Ovando’s brioche with camembert, olives, and bacon. I’ve been thinking about trying this idea with my favorite brioche recipe and local ingredients for a few years. I couldn’t fit it into my schedule until the last December request for brioche class. I suggested making a Sweet Snowflake brioche, for it’s the season. My guests suggested making a savory aka “соленую” salted brioche as it is known in Russian. We made both. The savory brioche turned out to be so good, all of us made it several times after the class for family meals and to gift our friends!

January 3, 2020
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Bird’s Milk Cake with Mascarpone

Bird’s Milk is a confectionary and a cake known and loved all over Eastern Europe. There are different versions and different recipes in every country. As a cake, it’s mostly a white, rich souffle between a thin layer of delicate sponge on the bottom (or two thin layers of sponge) and a chocolate glaze on top. One generation passes recipes to the next for decades now. As the name suggests, it’s a delicacy compared to something from a fairy tale.

January 2, 2020
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Georgian Style Stuffed and Roasted Trout

Those who are familiar with Georgian and Azerbaijani cuisines can easily identify the origins of this recipe. In Georgia, kefalia, a small trout from the mountains of Adjara is stuffed with walnut paste seasoned and adorned with aromatics and herbs and roasted in a clay pot ketsi. A similar way of stuffing and roasting fish (and also poultry and eggplants) is known as Lavangi — a popular festive dish of Azerbaijani cuisine.

November 25, 2019
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Chocolate Japanese Sponge Cake

There are no secret ingredients that make this sponge different. They are the same as for many other cake sponges — flour, sugar, milk, butter, sugar. It’s the method — how and in what order you combine these simple ingredients together. That’s why it is essential to follow the steps and recommendations. It is also important to bake the sponge gently at a lower temperature. For the best results, Japanese sponge should be baked it a hot bath, but in some cases, it’s impossible (e.g., when the largest available baking dish for the bath doesn’t fit the cake mold you need to use). The next best temperature for a sponge 1″ thick is 325F for 25 minutes, with the bottom of the cake mold wrapped with a wet kitchen towel. Enjoy the recipe!

November 5, 2019
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Panna Cotta with Wild Blueberry and Lavender

My amazing frozen wild blueberries were forgotten in the heat of my garage to melt. What was the best way to save them? Make a blueberry jam! What kind of blueberry jam every food blogger and their mom made recently? The one with lavender! So be it. Since too much sugar and long-simmering would kill the natural flavor of blueberries, I decided to use pectin NH and make the process as gentle as possible. Born by accident, the divine purple blueberries and lavender potion surprised me!

September 22, 2019
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Smoked Cherry-Grape Tomatoes

Delicately dehydrated (aka sun-dried) tomatoes are extremely popular as a vegetarian snack, appetizer, or a dish element for many reasons. First of all, they add a concentrated flavor of fully ripe tomato to the dishes. They are sweet and tangy, light in calories and with an intense aroma. Now, imagine adding some campfire-like tasting notes to sun-dried tomatoes! It takes 10 minutes using Cameron’s stovetop smoker. Keep smoked tomatoes refrigerated in a jar and serve them on grilled bread rubbed with garlic, or on top of pasta and rice dishes, or add them to your favorite sauces and salsas. Enjoy the summer!

June 17, 2019
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Gently Pickled Summer Squash

Today, canning vegetables at home is mostly reasonable for farmers, I guess, who grow vegetables and need to preserve their harvest. Pickling, on the other hand, is a simple and quick cooking method for summer vegetables. Unlike many overwhelmingly spicy, salty, and vinegary store-bought pickles (they have to be that way for shelf life), homemade pickles can be forgivingly gentle. We can protect their natural flavors, texture, and most importantly, keep their nutrients! Make a few jars at a time, keep them refrigerated, and enjoy your cold, crunchy, refreshing, healthy, comforting vegetables — a great snack to survive Texas summer.

June 10, 2019
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Summer Squash Stuffed with Fish

I am not sure how common a combination of seafood and summer squash flavors is in cooking, but in my mind, it is genius. Mildly flavored seasonal squashes have hints of floral and nutty notes. We recognize the natural sweetness and enjoy their lush and silky texture in fully cooked summer squashes. Would any fish compliment summer squashes? Probably not. We should consider a saltwater fish for umami and complex flavors and give the preference to fatty fish for a tender and moist stuffing. Salmon and halibut come to mind as good candidates that can do the job well.

June 8, 2019
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