I prefer slowly cooked beef shanks for plain khashlama and leg of lamb for festive version. A slow cooker/crock pot is the most convenient device to make this dish. Otherwise, assemble vegetables and meat layers in an iron pot, start on the stove to bring water to boiling and finish in the 300F oven by slowly cooking for another 3-4 hours. There is also a version when meat is cooked first; then it is layered with vegetables in small ceramic or clay pots and cooked in the oven to serve khashlama individually portioned. In this case, it only takes 1-1.5 hours in the oven — just to cook vegetables.
Chimmichurri is a sauce originally from Argentina and Uruguay. Its main ingredients are oil, water and/or vinegar, parsley, garlic, and other herbs, spices, and vegetables. It’s perfect for grilled meats, but it is also good with so many other foods, including vegetarian — grilled vegetables, fresh goat cheese, mozzarella and burrata, toasted bread, etc. Someone said that when you add chimmichurri to the dish, it fills like you are dining in the middle of the herb garden. So true!
Allium tricoccum — commonly known as ramp, ramps, spring onion, ramson, wild leek, wood leek, and wild garlic — is a North American species of wild onion widespread across eastern Canada and the eastern United States. It is similar to better known in Texas chives, but with more delicate and intriguing flavor profile. I often use ramps as a flavoring ingredient for my tasting events and catering. French omelets with ramps are admired and remembered by everybody who tasted them. Green ramps paste adorns fresh pasta, risotto, soups, beans — they become unforgettable. Ramps compound butter is another hit, as well as pickled ramps served with roasted or grilled meats and poultry.
Edamame has a slightly sweet, mild, fresh herbal flavor and nutty texture, with only traces of beany taste. Three years ago edamame “hummus” has been served in every restaurant I visited on Big Island. Healthy and refreshing snack, it was a hit for a reason. Why hummus? Hawaiian chefs created their signature variations playing with additional ingredients and ways to serve it, but based them on the same culinary idea — cooked beans are ground into a thick paste and mixed with vegetable oil, lime juice, and seasoning. Sounds like “hummus,” but with different beans, doesn’t it?
This recipe/variation is based on Zhengyalov Hats, a specialty of Karabakh region in Armenia. “The main purpose of its preparation is to unite once again to make a family meal together, to talk about all pressing matters, to exchange news.” To make Zhengyalov Hats, unleavened dough is rolled as thin as paper, stuffed with a mixture of 10-20 different varieties of wild and garden chopped greens, and cooked on hot saj. It is very important to create a well-balanced mix of greens and herbs. Cheese and fried onions are sometimes added.
Holubtsi are part of my Ukrainian tasting menu Bud’mo!. This recipe is adjusted to local ingredients and I jokingly describe it as UkrTexMex.
There are many Cullen Skink online recipes and articles about it. Some recipes are elaborate, other — quick and simple. Cullen Skink can be thicker and thinner, with higher and lower calorie count. No matter what recipe you trust, it is amazingly satisfying soup for cold weather. If you are in the U.S. and crave for true Cullen Skink — because you know what it is! — order Finnan Haddie online. If you are in Texas, have never tasted authentic Cullen Skink before, and not ready to invest too much money and efforts into its perfect taste — try my recipe below. I use easily available in Central Texas White Smoked fish found in Whole Foods, Central Market, and some HEBs. After you read about Nuclear Penguin below, you’ll start laughing ironically “Oh, yeah! Very easily available!” It’s my secret and teasing WOW-ingredient for coming Scottish Beer Tasting Party. It’s optional for this recipe.
For English-speaking people it might sound like “cow Ann.” So, there. It’s meat, it tastes good. If tasting blind, I wouldn’t be able to say what kind, but I’d suspect slow-cooked tough lean beef muscles or some kind of beef offal.
I was going for thick and rich Creole turtle stew. A cup of sauce left over and cooked Angus beef meatballs in it. You don’t need exotic for Texas turtle meat to enjoy this Creole creation! Cook this stew with easily available beef shanks or cheeks. This dish is perfect for cold weather.
Okroshka is one of the most popular cold summer soup in Slavic culture. The name suggests that ingredients are diced or chopped. Some of them are fresh and crunchy (cucumbers, radishes, scallions, herbs), some are cooked and soft (lean meat/poultry/fish, eggs, neutral tasting vegetables), all of them are lean. To make Okroshka, these ingredients are traditionally mixed with kvass and sometimes dressed with a dollop of sour cream just before serving. It’s a salad-like soup, light, refreshing, and filling at the same time. Every spoon of Okroshka is an entertainment for those who have an appreciation for diverse flavors and textures!