Russia (Europe) 6 December 2020

Russia is located in the continent of Europe. It has the Arctic Ocean to the north, the United States to the very far east, Korea, Japan and the Pacific Ocean to the southeast, Mongolia and Kazakhstan to the south, Ukraine, Belfast, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland to the west.

The capital is Moscow.

The official language is Russian.

The climate is extreme with forbidding winters. The staples are vegetable oils, sour cream, mayo, grains, roots, vegetables, fish, mushrooms and berries (https://www.travelallrussia.com/russian-food).

https://www.britannica.com/place/Russia

BORSCHT (Суп)(https://girlandthekitchen.com/classic-russian-borscht-recipe-%D0%BA%D1%80%D0%B0%D1%81%D0%BD%D1%8B%D0%B9-%D0%B1%D0%BE%D1%80%D1%89/):

  • 2-3 lbs of chuck plus 1 lb of bones
  • 1 small head of cabbage, shredded
  • 2 large beets, shredded
  • 5 carrots, shredded
  • 1 large onion, shredded
  • ¾ C Tomato Puree
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 large potatoes (or 6 small ones), peeled and cut into chunks
  1. A good start to any soup is the meat.  In this case we are using a good piece of chuck ON the bone.  The bones give the borscht a ton of flavor and I actually like to get some bones without any meat on it.
  2. You want to cut it up into slightly larger than bite size pieces.  And place it into a heavy bottomed large pot.
  3. Cover the meat with cold water and bring up to a boil.  Leave about 4 C of room at the top.
  4. While your meat is coming to a boil, get your veggies ready.  Peel the carrots, onions, and beets.
  5. Throw your veggies in a Vitamix…cover with water and pulse, pulse, pulse.  This gives the soup a ton of texture.
  6. Set aside.  Cut up your potatoes slightly larger than bite size.  Otherwise they will fall apart in the soup.  I also really like to use Yukon Gold potatoes.  I love how soft they get and they remind me of the potatoes we used to use back in the old country.
  7.  All the scum has come to the top of the soup.  DO NOT LET THIS BOIL. Otherwise the scum will just spread throughout the soup.  You want to carefully remove it with a slotted spoon.  Your other option is to strain it like I do with my chicken soup.  Strain the soup and then start fresh with clean meat, bones and water.  It does take a bit longer, but if you are anal like me and like a super clean soup….it may be a better option.
  8. Once you have a clean soup, (regardless of which method you use).  Here is the reason why you left some room at the top.  You are going to pour in your entire Vitamix of veggies WITH the water into the soup along with the potatoes.
  9. Add in your tomato puree as well.
  10. Add in a nice helping of red flakes.  Add I salt, pepper, sugar and the juice of half a lemon.  Allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
  11. In the meantime, slice up your cabbage.  First you cut the head of cabbage in half.  And remove the core.
  12. Then you slice it thinly with a nice sharp knife.  Again, feel free to do this in a food processor.  I do however like the texture it gets if you do it in a Vitamix.
  13. Add it into your soup.  Also add in 3 TBSP of chopped dill, and the garlic.  Allow to simmer for about 15 more minutes.
  14. Once the cabbage is nice and soft, taste the soup for flavor.  We like it sweet and a bit sour.  Feel free to add I more lemon juice, pepper, sugar, salt, whatever your heart desires.
  15. This soup actually tastes better the very next day.  If you decide to serve it the next day, you can also remove any extra fat that had solidified on the top after being refrigerated.
  16. Serve with a nice dollop of sour cream, nice sourdough bread and with a sweet red onion on the side.
Here is my Borscht. I have to admit it turned out really good!!

PELMENI (Пельмени)(https://momsdish.com/recipe/76/pelmeni):

DOUGH:

  • 3 C flour
  • 2/3 C lukewarm water
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Sift the flour with salt into a mixing bowl.
  • Add eggs, mix dough for a short bit, then add water to the dough.
  • Combine everything into a smooth texture by hand or using a Kitchen Aid mixer. 
  • Flour the working surface.

FILLING:

  • 2 lbs ground meat (chicken, turkey and mixing in ground beef) (or roughly ½ lb + each)
  • 1 large onion
  • ½ TBSP salt to taste
  • 1 tsp pepper to taste
  • Combine together ground meat, grated onion, salt and pepper.

ASSEMBLY:

  1. To save time use a mold to make Pelmeni.  Roll out a flat piece of dough and place it on a floured mold that is covered with flour. 
  2. Fill each hole with meat.
  3. Make one more flat, round piece of dough and place it on top.
  4. Sprinkle with flour and roll over it with a roller until each piece is separated.
  5. Flip the mold over and shake out the Pelmeni.
  6. Dust them with flour, either freeze for later or boil them to cook.
  7. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add Pelmeni.
  8. You’ll know they are ready once you see them float to the top.
  9. Take the Pelmeni out using a strainer.
  10. Drizzle them with butter and serve with a side of sour cream.
My Pelmeni could have turned out better, but they were still really good!!

BLINI (Блины) (https://bellyfull.net/blini-russian-crepes-recipe/):

  • 4 medium eggs
  • 1 C whole milk, room temperature
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ TBSP granulated sugar
  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 4 TBSP unsalted butter, divided, for pan
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk.  Whisk in the salt, sugar, and flour until well combined and no lumps remain; set batter aside to rest for 15 minutes.  Whisk once more before cooking.
  2. Warm up a nonstick 10” pan over medium heat.  Melt about 1 tsp of butter; when it starts to foam, ladle in ¼ C of batter in the center of the pan.
  3. Immediately lift the pan from the burner and swirl it so the butter coats the bottom of the pan. Replace the pan on the burner and cook the crepe until the batter is jost set and the underside is lightly golden, about 1 minute.
  4. Using a spatula or your fingers, loosen the sides of the crepe and gently flip in the pan, cook for another 45 seconds.
  5. Transfer crepes to a plate.  Repeat until all batter is gone.
  6. Roll up or fold into quarters.

Serve immediately with a few tsps. Of jam or honey, and fresh berries!

Here are the Blini’s. They also turned out really good!

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