Cheesy profiteroles (korzinochki s sirom)

Apparently I’m a liar. I promised a post last week and well, clearly that hasn’t happened. Embarrassing… and sort of mean to hold out on you like that! I’m sorry. Let’s be friends again. I come with fancy finger food with cheese. : )

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I made these cheesy profiteroles for my dad’s birthday dinner last month. They were the perfect little starter…and incredibly fun to make! This recipe originally came from a Russian magazine my mom found about 20 years ago… and we’ve been infatuated with these little guys ever since. Fun fact: “korzinochki s sirom” translates as “little baskets with cheese” but these aren’t baskets, are they? Silly Russians Smile

Now that I know what profiteroles are, I realize this recipe is basically French (there is a lot of French influence in Russian cuisine actually)… except the garlicky tvorog filling puts a Russian spin on them. Wikipedia also tells me that savory profiteroles are actually called gougere. I kind of think of

Baked Russian hand pies (pechionii pirojki)

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This little intro is going to (a little prematurely) excite my parents (and probably grandmas once my parents decide to share this little nugget with everyone they encounter)… but hell, I might as well say it… I’ve been thinking about my future kids lately. A lot. At some point a few months ago, out of nowhere, the idea of being a mother stopped being uncool, completely hypothetical and something I probably “had to do” and became a lot more real and sort of exciting (could it be because I’m getting that much closer to the big 3-0?). Before you-know-who gets a little too excited, let’s be clear. I am not pregnant and I don’t plan on being pregnant for at least a year and a half (or longer, depending on where I am in my career, house plans, etc.). But like I said, I have started thinking about it and actually imagining what it would be like.

Of course being the food-obsessed self, after wondering whether I’d be the good cop or the bad cop (actually that one is easy, Adam will be caving with one look at

Vatrushki (Ukranian cheese pastries)

A few months ago I saw a post on Russian Seasons on vatrushki, which are tvorog filled pastries. Her sweet version is reminiscent of a Russian (actually, Ukranian) version of danishes. Vatrushki for me, though, should be savory. So inspired by Alina (btw, how weird is it that the only other Russian food blogger I know is named Alinaand I’m Elina. crazy!) I decided to try my own hand at vatrushki with a touch of salt and dill instead of sugar. That’s how you can eat pastries for dinner and call it good. You’re welcome! haha

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Recipe modified from Please to the Table cookbook

Ingredients:

Dough

1 package instant yeast 3/4 warm water 2T canola oil 2.5 cups flour 1/2 salt

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1. Dissolve yeast in water

Hazelnut tahini lemon dip (fundukli tahin)

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As I’m cooking through the Please to the Table cookbook, I’m realizing that this blog is a bit of a misnomer. It was always my intent to cook Soviet food rather than just Russian (I’m technically Moldovian after all) but cooking through the book I realize how diverse each country’s food in the region really is.

For example, this recipe is for the hazelnut tahini dip, which is an Azerbaijani dish. I am realizing that tahini is quite a common ingredient in Azerbaijani cuisine, which appears to be much closer to a blend between Mediterranean and Middle Eastern, rather than “Russian.” [I’ve never had tahini during my childhood… until I moved to Israel!] Since Sovian Bites doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as Russian Bites, I’ll keep the blog name as is. But I just wanted to let you know why this dish may not be exactly what you expected “Russian” food to be. Because it’s not! 😉 I love how discovering all the tastes the former Soviet Union cuisine has to offer!!

Beet salad with walnuts and prunes (svyokla s orehami i chernoslivom)

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I’m constantly inspired by the Please to the Table cookbook. It has amazing sounding recipes that feature many of the ingredients I fell in love with as a child. Like beets. I know that so many Americans hate beets with a passion but we had them quite often served in many different ways when I was a child so now they’re comfort food. The other day when I professed my love for beets and credited my childhood for it, my dad seemed surprised. “We didn’t have that many beets.” Maybe it wasn’t in everything that was served (like pickles… mmm, pickles) – maybe it was just enough that left me wanting more. Truly, though, I think this ingredients snuck into more dishes than my dad remembers… I can think of 4 off hand (and we had a pretty steady rotation of recipes so this is not 4 among hundreds) like borcht, okroshka, red cabbage and this beet salad with walnuts and prunes. This recipe is from the Please to the Table cookbook – I didn’t

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