Friday, November 29, 2013
A warm and sweet and spicy soup perfect for slightly cold days. And a delicious way to catch up on your vitamin and veggie intake.
The combination between carrot and ginger is such a well-matched and balanced spicy-sweet favorite of mine. I've tried it previously in a lovely and addictive salad dressing/dip and in a thick caramel marmalade. It was only a matter of time I guess until it made its way into a soup. And it couldn't be more perfumed and flavorful than this. Enjoy :)
Recipe adapted from here.
Last year: Banana-hazelnut-honey smoothie (vegan).
Two years ago: Sticky sweet and sour chicken wings.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
A nice winter salad very usual at everyday meals in Latvia. Kind of similar to the German Apple and Leek winter salad we also like :). If you're looking to keep the menu theme intact and as authentic as possible, try it as company to Karbonāde (Pork Cutlets With Chanterelle Cream Sauce) and Kartupeli ar Dillēm (Boiled Potatoes With Dill Cream).
Of course, it's also good on its own or with a bit of country-style bread or as company to other dishes, but I like to go full ethnic every now and then. Cheers to the full Riga bistro experience! :)
Recipe source: Saveur.
Last year: Broccoli and coconut stir-fry (vegan).
Two years ago: Hummus (Middle Eastern).
Monday, November 25, 2013
This is a simple dish from Latvia, very common in everyday life, both in home cooking and in cafeteria menus. Thin pork steaks are dredged through a bit of flour and beaten egg, then shallow fried in a pan. In the same pan, the left-over juices from after the meat frying will receive some butter and chopped onion, then some chopped chanterelle mushrooms, and then some cream and herbs. The sauce thus formed will be served on top of the steaks in a lovely, lovely, casual and homey dish.
If you happen to visit Riga, don't miss out on a chance to try this thing directly from its source. But in the meantime, it's also ridiculously easy to make at home. Enjoy :).
P.S: The whole thing is meant to be served with a side of Kartupeli ar Dillēm (meaning those jewel-like potatoes you can notice above, tossed with a bit of sour cream and dill).
Recipe source: Saveur.
Last year: Butternut squash soup with chili and cream.
Two years ago: Middle Eastern pita bread (tutorial) (vegan).
Saturday, November 23, 2013
This way of preparing small new potatoes, by boiling and then tossing them with butter, cream, fresh dill, salt and pepper, couldn't be simpler or more delicious. A dish that really illustrates that the best flavors and combinations come in simple forms. When in doubt, always go back to the basics. Especially Eastern European basics :)
The recipe is traditional in Latvia and it's meant as a side-dish to a meat course called Karbonāde (Pork Cutlets With Chanterelle Cream Sauce), like this:
That doesn't mean, obviously, that the potatoes are not also delicious on their own, you know :).
The combination of the two is universally known and prepared throughout Latvia, from funerals and memorials to traditional weddings or everyday buffets in street cafeterias. If you happen to visit Riga don't miss out on a chance to try it. :)
For me (us), the meal was even better because the overall tastes struck a chord close to home. Although I couldn't claim that we have something similar per se in the Romanian cuisine, the taste of almost anything from Eastern Europe in general still tastes pretty much like home :).
Recipe source: Saveur.
Last year: Khoresht-e-Fesenjan (Iranian chicken, walnut and pomegranate molasses stew).
Two years ago: Amaretto chocolate milk pudding (German).
Thursday, November 21, 2013
This was truly a special and elegant treat. The Nashi pears are slowly baked in a wine, vanilla and walnut syrup that creates a delicate glaze and an explosion of flavor. The whole walnuts get the same treatment. And the walnut and mascarpone cream that accompanies them is heavenly. Make it when you have special guests over :) (we had my folks over for the winter holidays).
Recipe adapted from Jamie via Catalina.
Last year: Artichoke and cous cous stuffed mushrooms (vegan).
Two years ago: Red lentil ragu with basil and ajvar.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
A traditional Spanish soup that we love (we generally enjoy chickpeas in everything and I seem to have made a habit of making soups out of them), not to mention the rest of the flavors this soup has to offer.
We served this soul-warming goodness with the awesome rosemary flat-breads, freshly out of the oven, like this:
We strongly recommend the same combination (the bread is ready very fast, don't worry).
P.S: We made another similar soup, Spanish-inspired but not-quite traditional here.
Recipe source: recreated from various sources on the internet, and resembling this the most.
Last year: Chocolate chip cookies with salted butter (American).
Two years ago: Irish soda bread (buns) with mixed seeds.
Monday, November 18, 2013
To be honest I was in love with this idea before I actually started learning how to cook. It was one of the first things I planned to make as soon as I built up the courage... but somehow postponed it and / or forgot about all the way until now :).
When we finally made these little flat-breads (way easier and faster than you might think) we enjoyed it all the way up to the expectations I had about them.
They go wonderfully with any combination of cheese and white wine and are also great with soups. We had them with a Spanish tomato, chickpea and chorizo soup and also on their own, plain. Both manners of serving them were delicious. :)
The recipe yields three flat-breads, studded with rosemary and sea salt, that are then broken into pieces and devoured:
Recipe source(s): Gourmet and Smitten Kitchen. (I saw it first at Deb's but then stumbled upon it in the Gourmet archives, and also noticed that Deb adapted it from them so I thought it would be proper to point out both sources). :)
Last year: Pork steaks with sage sauce and caramelized apples.
Two years ago: Winter tabbouleh with roasted eggplant and feta.
Saturday, November 16, 2013
The quiche is a savory French pie. The Quiche Lorraine is the original, but there are a lot of classic variations of it. For instance, when it contains spinach it's called florentine, when it contains tomatoes it's called provencal and so on (according to the history of quiches).
The one we made here, I'm sure you've guessed it, is with fresh tomatoes. And it's also with trout because we love smokiness and wanted to try a healthier version apart from the regular bacon. And also because fish pies are so deeply rooted in European peasant tradition it would be a shame not to feature at least one here. What kind of an anthropologist would I be then? :)
But besides all these abstract motivations, the truth is it just tastes good. The tomatoes and smoked fish match each other perfectly, and the fact that the fish is not salmon, the usual smoked fish we use (which has a chewier texture), but instead is trout makes it flakier and more spread out through the pie. And the rest of the ingredients.. well, as you'll see, they create the perfect hearty vessel for the two main flavors.
Last year: Cream of wild mushroom soup (American).
Two years ago: White chocolate and blueberry cupcakes.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
A traditional British stew pairing the smoked taste of sausages with a flavor-absorbing red lentil stew.
We have a similar combination in Romanian cuisine, pairing smoked meats with beans, resulting in a very similar tasting dish.
Until I get a chance to document that one as well, try this British dish with its lovely sweet lentil mass infused with the slightly smoked and salty flavor of sausages.
Last year: Savory hazelnut bread (vegan).
Two years ago: Fettuccine Alfredo (Italian).
Thursday, November 7, 2013
Traditional Italian meringue cookies, super-easy to make, very similar in concept to the Romanian pricomigdale, but topped with pine nuts. Also a great way to use up the extra egg-whites that keep piling up if your dessert-making life is as busy as mine :). They tasted sweet, crunchy, with a delicate nutty flavor and they retained their shape remarkably well in the oven. I would definitely recommend them to become one of your go-to cookie recipes. I made them sometime during the Christmas baking mania and they sure were a nice addition to the cookie collection that resulted ;).
Recipe source: Saveur.
P.S: I'm submitting this to November's Sweet Romania challenge, hosted by Transylvanian kitchen.
Last year: Arancini carbonara (Fried risotto balls in carbonara style) (Italian).
Two years ago: Chicken liver parfait with sage and red wine.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
This is exactly the salad my mom used to make for me during my entire childhood. I always liked to stay with her and help out by peeling the boiled and warm potatoes or the eggs or by cutting things in slices. In Romanian it's called "Salată orientală", which means "oriental salad", but it's traditionally Romanian. :)
When she stayed with me and my Mira during her first months of life I asked my mother to make it and I documented it here, not that the instructions would have been too complicated to follow but because I wanted to have pictures of this salad actually made by her hands, now when we're three generations of girls instead of just two :). It may be very simple and not really worth sharing given how wide-spread it is, but I love this salad and the memories it brings back and I intend to "save" it exactly the way my mom makes it.
Last year: Risotto carbonara (Italian).
Two years ago: Plăcintă cu dovleac (My mom's pumpkin pie, with puff pastry) (Romanian-Moldavian).
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Delicious, delicious, delicious. One of our two most loved culinary ingredients (bacon and artichokes) into one elegant, simple and lovely starter. Seasoned with a little grated Parmesan and freshly ground pepper (as if it really needed more seasoning). Seared for a minute or so into a flavorful and well-bound little piece of perfection. Here you go. (And also because the Italian cuisine is not all about pizzas and pastas - not that there's anything wrong with those).
Recipe source: Saveur.
Last year: Coconut, carrot and brown sugar cake slices.
Two years ago: Chickpea, avocado and pesto salad.
Sunday, November 3, 2013
A lovely, lovely drink if you're into tea and warm milk and spices and the Indian flavors in general. This tea is one of the most known traditional beverages in the Kashmir region and every cup comes with a special and meaningful brewing and serving ceremony.
The good news is that there's a way for us to enjoy the same taste at home, in our Western-equipped kitchens, with minimal effort. The drink tastes unique and it's ready in just a couple of minutes. And if you're a cardamom junkie, like I confess to be, you just can't say no to this. Hello cold season and many many cups of this chai to come :).
Recipe source: here.
Last year: Zucchini, bean and cheese quesadillas.
Two years ago: Baked Camembert with rum raisins (French).