Beef stroganoff, Russian style

It’s summer here in Boston. Finally real summer. Actually we don’t do anything half-assed around these parts – apparently we go from 50’s to 90’s, from rain and slate to heat wave… and well, that’s very me. I’m also either black or white, hot or cold, bored or waaay too busy, stuffed or hungry… most of the time. No, half-assing isn’t in my blood.

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I’m also kind of stubborn. And when it comes to food, the second a craving hits for something it won’t go away until it’s satisfied. It doesn’t matter that the weather turned for the better and this meal is more fit for winter. Nope, I won’t rest until I have it. Preferably immediately but logistics do get in the way. Pssh.

So I was in NY 2 weeks ago. My sister has this awesome loft apartment with floor to ceiling windows (at least 20ft high) which brings so much natural light in, it kind of burns in the morning (it’s in fact difficult to sleep past 6am there

Kotleti (tastes like meatballs?)

Last weekend, Adam (my husband) and I spent a weekend in Maine at my parents in law’s vacation home. The house is in the middle of nowhere, with limited cell service and only dial-up internet, which makes for the perfect getaway spot if all you want is wind down from a hectic city life (I LOVE living in the city by the way, but sometimes I crave the kind of relaxation you can only get when you leave the computer and a mile-long to do list behind). Cold weather with nothing productive on the agenda, left for plenty of time to cook… and that’s just the way I like it!

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My mother in law and I alternated cooking meals and over 4 days away went through dozens of recipes. So much fun! For our last lunch before leaving I wanted to make something Russian – something my mom would possibly make for the family in this kind of situation. Kotleti it was! [Btw, I recall this was one

Gorka (“little hill”) cake

This weekend was the first time I hosted both sets of parents (mine and my husband’s) over for dinner. Adam and I have been talking about this for a while but, until recently, our 4-person dining table limited us to inviting them over one set at a time. Our new-ish large table finally presented the opportunity to make this dinner happen. I created a simple menu of various pre-dinner nibbles, an Italian-inspired main course… and a gorka cake. I was so happy to learn how to make one of our favorite family desserts (the black poodle cake being the other)! This also happens to be the most requested recipe by my Healthy and Sane readers but until this weekend I didn’t actually know it. Finally I’m able to share it with you all!!

A little visual queue to wet your appetite…

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Ok, I’m guessing you’re now ready to read on. Amiright? Winking smile In case this is not clear from the picture, the gorka cake (translated as “little hill”

Cod and scalloped potatoes casserole (zapekanka iz ribi i kartoshki)

It’s well known that potatoes are a staple ingredient in Soviet cooking. I’ve tried to stay away from too many stereotypical meals here on Russian Bites in an attempt to teach both you and me something new about the food in this region of the world. But let’s face it – potatoes are delicious and it’s a bit silly to try to avoid them all together.

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I had some frozen wild cod defrosting in the fridge today and decided to browse my trusty Please to the Table cookbook for some recipes. Somehow (and this never happens!) I had all the ingredients to make this cod and scalloped potatoes dish so I got straight to work. The result was a hearty dish that… sounded better than it tasted. Actually it was “not bad” … but I typically aim higher. Perhaps just a few more generous helpings of salt would have elevated the dish for me. As it was, I thought it was a bit bland.

Braised sour cream cabbage

After using half of my NY cabbage in shchi and another quarter to make the red cabbage salad, I was ready to end its life. I had chicken braising on the stove and I thought, why not also make braised cabbage?

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[No, this is not chicken – this was how the leftover braised cabbage became a play on the Polish sauerkraut and kielbasa dish… more on that below!]

I called my mom to see how she makes it and discovered that after braising the cabbage she finishes it with sour cream. Hey, that sounds like something that my Russian Bites readers may actually enjoy! Smile

So here is what I did with the rest of my cabbage. It came together quickly and was ridiculously delicious. I wanted that slightly sour effect so I added a few pinches of citric acid to the mix but if you don’t have it, just leave it

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