Kefir Cheese Easter Bread

Since the kefir culture started living in my kitchen, I have fresh kefir products (drinking, strained, and soft cheese) in my fridge all the time. When they are handy, I find more amazing culinary uses for them all the time. The moment I saw a kulich recipe where farmer’s cheese was an ingredient to add to the dough, I knew I have to try it with my kefir cheese. I also wanted to try an idea I saw a few time online (don’t know who the author is) for forming this Easter bread as a flower, sunflower or daisy. The result is amazing! There is a faint hint of cheese. The texture is so creamy, a comparison to Japanese Souflee Cheesecake came to my mind. It is still a sponge, but the sensation of crumb melting in your mouth is incredible.

April 10, 2017
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Pizza with Gulf Brown Shrimp | Pizza con gamberi

It’s officially summer in my backyard, y’all! Let me tease you with some homemade pizza. I opened the Salamangrill season today!

April 5, 2017
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Italian Antipasti: Artichokes with Seafood and Mozzarella

Antipasti, or little cold and hot appetizers used to be served before the main course with the intention to whet an appetite. Modern eating habits have changed. A variety of small plates often replaces a complete meal. This warm artichoke and seafood salad with melted cheese is an example of how versatile this traditional combination of ingredients is. Slight preparation modifications and you can serve it as a warm salad or appetizer, or with pasta, or on pizza. No herbs, spices, or other strongly aromatic ingredients overpower the delicate flavors of artichokes and seafood. Moderate seasoning and good extra virgin olive oil are all we need to make this dish shine.

April 3, 2017
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Healthy Diet: Kefir Cheese Pancakes | Syrniki

Made with relatively low-moist fresh cheese, traditional syrniki don’t need a lot of flour. Less flour helps to maintain low-carb diet and appreciate the natural taste of cheese in cooked pancakes. Syrniki are light textured, soft and fluffy, with only a hint of sweetness and vanilla. Serve them hot or warm, simply with a dollop of sour or whipped cream. The more elements you add, the more exciting this dessert becomes. You can add fresh seasonal or preserved berries and fruits. On top of the cream, sprinkle syrniki with sliced and toasted nuts, or cocoa nibs, or any other crunchy crumbs to add more texture and flavor variety to the dessert.

March 28, 2017
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Shangri-La Scones

Chef Patterson’s recipe has three unusual features. First, he uses high-gluten bread flour instead of all-purpose one. Second, the amount of baking powder is three times more than average. Why? Bread flour is capable holding more moister. It is strong enough to let scones rise and not to explode because of the amount of baking powder. It results in a fantastic, unforgettable texture of the scones.

January 24, 2017
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Cachucha Peppers Stuffed with Green Mexican Chorizo

To compare cachucha peppers to other green chili peppers I know, I’d say they are close to Spanish padron or Japanese shishito peppers in terms of texture. They are not meaty and slightly crunchy when cooked. To my taste, cachucha peppers are very flavorful and complex with clean and fresh grassy note. There is no heat in them at all. Thus their other name is sweet chili, Ají dulce, though there is no sweetness in them at all, at least when they are green.

January 18, 2017
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Rumbledethumps | Potato and Cabbage Casserole

Rumbledethumps is a traditional dish from the Scottish Borders. The main ingredients are potato, cabbage, and onion. Mashed potatoes are mixed with lightly sautéed shredded onions and cabbage, seasoned, topped with grated cheddar, and baked until the cheese is melted and golden brown.

November 27, 2016
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Chicken and Portobello Mushrooms Julienne

While the rest of the world used this word to describe a matchstick knife cut, for Russian-speaking culinary community julienne has always been a chicken and mushroom casserole en cocotte. This legendary dish was extremely popular during the Soviet era in high-end restaurants as well as at home. Naturally, the assumption was that the recipe is a result of French influence on pre-revolution Russian cuisine. All stories I know about this dish are mostly anecdotes. Many different recipes claim to be original. Some insist on using mushrooms, preferably porchini. Other include cooked chicken and other vegetables. Restaurant versions often add bechamel or mornay sauces, while home cooks prefer sour cream. Everybody makes this dish adjusted to their personal taste, keeping the same only basic ingredients and the way it is served. Russian julienne has to be cooked individually portioned in mini casseroles and covered with a generous amount of cheese to melt on top. It is simple and delicious!

April 16, 2016
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Flat Bread Stuffed with Greens and Feta

This recipe/variation is based on Zhengyalov Hats, a specialty of Karabakh region in Armenia. “The main purpose of its preparation is to unite once again to make a family meal together, to talk about all pressing matters, to exchange news.” To make Zhengyalov Hats, unleavened dough is rolled as thin as paper, stuffed with a mixture of 10-20 different varieties of wild and garden chopped ​​greens, and cooked on hot saj. It is very important to create a well-balanced mix of greens and herbs. Cheese and fried onions are sometimes added.

March 13, 2016
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