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!!
On to this dish… This was a really quick appetizer I made for a party today. It’s got the tang of tahini, nuttiness of the hazelnuts and the brightness of lemon (the hazelnuts add a bit of texture too). I served it with pita chips but fresh veggies would be great as well. I think everyone enjoyed it.
- 1 cup hazelnuts
- 3/4 cup tahini
- 2 garlic cloves
- juice of 2 large lemons
- 1/2 cup water
- salt and pepper, to taste
1. Roast hazelnuts at 350* for about 7 minutes, until fragrant. Don’t burn them! 😆
I know, I know… kind of hard to see. But they were toasty!
2. Rub the hazelnuts with a clean kitchen towel to remove the skins.
They may not completely come off. Don’t worry if some skin remains in tact.
3. Grind the hazelnuts in the food processor.
4. Add the rest of the ingredients and process for another 30 seconds or so (add more water if needed, 1/2 cup was sufficient for me).
Add salt and pepper to taste.
… taste one more time 😉
… then remind yourself that you really need to leave some for the party.
All ready to go!