Silly gadgets and Russian hash browns (kugelis)

*I am consolidating Russian Bites will Healthy and Sane. Russian Bites will stay alive as a (hopefully) great resource for Russian recipes so this post is reposted from Healthy and Sane to keep the database of recipes up-to-date. Thanks for being loyal readers!*

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So let’s get back to food, shall we? Actually I sort of wanted to talk about kitchen gadgets. Gimmicky kitchen gadgets. Do you own any? I’m talking about silly things like Slap Chops (I own one! It’s collecting dust.), avocado slicersmango splitters and the like. Basically anything that a good ol’ knife would do FASTER. And then there is a whole new level of ridiculousness with the likes of egg poacher + english muffin toaster combo, andmarinade express tabletop unit(it’s $300!!). The good news is that some gadgets are AWESOME… even if you can in fact use something simpler to get the job done.

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You are

Borscht

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I’ve been busy. Busy working, socializing, blogging at Healthy and Sane; busy watching tv (waaaay too much tv – I’m a true tv addict; I stopped discriminating at this point. I’ve pretty much lost this past weekend to Ugly Betty on Netflix streaming. Yes, it’s been ugly for sure). And when I get busy I look for kitchen shortcuts or enjoy fine meals out that someone else cooks for me. Smile I’ve even blogged on many occasions (like here, here and here) about quick meals when life gets hectic and in every post, the most frequent suggestion by my readers has been SOUP. Soup made on Sunday night that can be enjoyed for lunch for the rest of the week or can even be frozen for future nights a few months away.

But you see, I didn’t really get it. I don’t think of soup as something too filling. And if I’m honest, I generally think: soup is SO BORING. Mature, I know! Winking smile Well, I’ve been meaning to

Azu (Turkic meat and potato stew)

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This is my dad’s specialty – a meat and potato stew-like dish of Turkic origin. He has like 2 things in his repertoire (this Azu and a seafood stew) so it’s always a treat. The meat cooks for 6+ hours until it melts in your mouth. The pickles add a nice sour fresh bite and the raisins round it out with some sweetness. A perfect dish on a cold winter day! Open-mouthed smile

Ingredients (makes 6-8 servings)

1.75 lbs stew meat, cut into 2” chunks 2-2.5 lbs potatoes 1/2 lb pickles 3 oz tomato paste 1/2 can crushed tomatoes (approx. 7 oz) 1/2 cup raisins salt, pepper, sugar to taste oil for frying

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1. Quickly brown beef over medium-high heat. Do not cook through.

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