7-Herb Green Sauce

Frankfurter Gruene Sause | Frankfotter grie Soß

I remember how difficult it was for me to recreate Grüne Sosse in Texas 6 years ago. Two herbs with fresh cucumbery aroma — borage and burnet — were impossible to find. Since they were not available at any local stores or farmers markets, and I tried to grow them, unsuccessfully. Finally, I gave up and replaced them with finely diced cucumber. Who knew a few years later I would find both of them grown by Livin’ Organics farm right here in Spicewood, available almost regularly! This season, Frankfurt-style green sauce is a delicacy I can enjoy more than once during the season.

One of my German friends says Grüne Sosse is a higher-calorie modification of Italian salsa verde. As if herbs, vinegar, and olive oil were not enough for Germans to survive in a colder climate, and they added eggs and fatty cream. Per about 5 oz of chopped herbs, a typical recipe includes 1) 3.5 oz of Schmandt (24% milk fat) and 2) 3 eggs + 3.5 oz vegetable oil + 3 tbsp white wine vinegar + 2 tsp mustard. Does the second part remind you something? Exactly! It’s mayonnaise.

It’s hot and sunny in Texas most of the year, and the ratio of herbs to the mix of sour cream and mayo is different in my recipe. I go for more herbs and less fat. I also skip making mayo and use my favorite Kewpie. In my opinion, this sauce is the best served with soft-boiled eggs and boiled Yukon Gold potatoes. If you want to add proteins, consider seafood — fried or roasted fish, smoked salmon, seared sea scallops, etc.

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Spicewood Salad with Edible Flowers

Greens Salad with Watermelon Vinaigrette, Blueberries, and Edible Flowers

I think I’ll remember my parents’ and my in-laws’ gardens forever and for many reasons. They provided us with most of the food during difficult times in the 90s. They became the source of our memories about the best tasting fruits and vegetables. They gave us the knowledge of how much hard work, patience, and passion goes into gardening.

I still see something magical in being able to walk to the garden, harvest whatever looks good at the moment, and quickly fix a meal, fresh and satisfying, and undoubtedly healthy. The next best thing for me is going to the local farmers market. The closest, Pedernales farmers market is slowly growing on me. Things changed when I started talking to farmers, asking questions, talking about ingredients, food, eating experiences. It became a pleasure to see them almost every week and to notice their ever-changing assortment of fresh vegetables. The more we talk, the more I realize how passionate they are about their lifestyle. I have to mention two farmers and farms that became special for me — April @LivinOrganics and Neal @food_forest_tx — my major organic vegetables, greens, and herbs suppliers for the last month. These farms are the reason my family eats much more plant-based food recently, and not so much for health reasons, but mostly for the pleasure of true, real, natural flavors of food as we remember it from the past.

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Salsa de Pina y Mango | Fresh Pineapple and Mango Salsa

Pineapple and Mango Salsa

This salsa is one of my favorite. I like seafood, and it’s perfect with many seafood dishes as a side. It’s beautiful! Bright, sunny colors of fresh tropical fruit. It tastes like vacation in Hawaii, if, of course, you come across excellent ripe golden pineapples and Ataulfo mango. This salsa is easy to make — all its ingredients are raw, but you have to know smart ways to cut, slice, and dice pineapple and mango to enjoy the process of making it. When you do, you can make this salsa quickly and impress your guests with a presentation.

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Huazontle Salad

Huazontle Salad

Think broccoli with thinner and more fibrous stalks and stems. That’s huazontle, just with more tiny green buds and fewer stems and leaves. Huazontle bud clusters are simmered in salty water for 5-15 minutes (different sources give different timing) first. Then they are cooked as tortas (patties), which are formed by pressing huazontle clusters around a portion of queso fresco, dipped in flour then into an egg foam, and deep-fried. This recipe is sort of the same, but deconstructed.

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Soviet Korean-Style Carrot Salad

Korean-Style Spiced Carrot Salad

Korean-Style carrot salad is another phenomenon of Soviet cuisine nad my favorite way of eating carrots. Julienned carrots are seasoned with salt (and sugar if needed) and quickly marinated with spices, chili peppers, vinegar, and vegetable oil. Due to its popularity all over former Soviet republics and now internationally, there are variations for spices, the level of heat from chili peppers, for kinds of vinegar and oils to use, and where oil should be cold or hot. This recipe is my family version adapted to local, not very sweet carrots.

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Winter Salads: Sunshine and Frost

Black Radish and Apple Salad

…It’s so cold outside and so warm and cozy in our tiny kitchen. We can’t wait for lunch! I peel the radishes and one big apple. My Mom grates them. We season and toss them with a touch of salt, honey, apple cider vinegar, and homemade sunflower oil, and sit down for a little snack. This salad is white like snow and fresh and sharp like cold air. Every time black radish becomes available, I make this salad for the pleasure to experience white Winter sensations again…

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Gourmet Duck Salad | aka Landaise Salad

Duck Salad

This salad is about duck. In France, if it is made of duck from Landes region (south of Bordeaux), its name is Landaise. My version features duck gizzards confit, cured and lightly smoked duck breast, and foie gras torchon or duck liver pate (depends on budget) slices on French baguette toasts. For greens I prefer a mix of sweet leafy vegetables and arugula, lightly dressed with classic French vinaigrette (EVOO, honey, Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar). I tried different additional elements like tomatoes, asparagus, and hard-boils eggs, but the only one I really liked was cucumber. This salad is part of my Mosel & Alsace Menu.

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My Hawaii: Poke-tini

Poke/Poketini

Poke-tini is a popular appetizer in eclectic/modern Polynesian/Japanese restaurants. It’s a salad made of fresh raw fish (mostly ahi tuna) cut into 1/4″ cubes and mixed with diced onion, and seaweed. It is usually seasoned with soy sauce, fresh ginger, vinegar (rice, black rice, or balsamic) or lime/key lime juice, and sesame oil. Sometimes avocado and sesame seeds are added. It is served cold in martini glasses. Tiny peaces of perfectly seasoned fish will melt in your mouth!

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