Vegetable Moussaka

Vegetable Moussaka

This casserole is a celebration of vegetables! Look at the list of ingredients. Their variety is stunning! That’s why the complexity of this dish flavors conquers the taste buds of vegetarians and carnivores alike. Just like any other layered dish, benefits from being cooked in advance, set in a refrigerator for a few hours and reheated portioned right before serving. It helps to develop flavors and keep colorful layers presentable.

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Eggplant Spread, Odessa Style

Eggplant Caviar Odessa Style

Nothing compares to our childhood food. Our mind recognizes it immediately no matter how old we are and brings back our sweetest memories. This recipe is Elena’s family recipe, from Odessa region. At first, I felt frustrated I don’t know English better to translate her story properly. But then, is it really possible not to loose in translation the beauty of Odessa flavorful way of storytelling?

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Erroneous Terrine

Erroneous Terrine: Eggplants, Tomatoes, and Herbed Yogurt

My first mistake was to buy these tomatoes. I keep assuming everything on Farmers Market should taste good. They looked so beautiful, but the taste had nothing to do with their looks — watery and diluted. The only way to make them more or less enjoyable was to concentrate their flavor by partial dehydration, by making something similar to sun-dried tomatoes. Then I’ve made another mistake — left them in the oven for too long, and they turned into completely dry chips. Using plain Noosa yogurt to reconstitute some of their moisture became a brilliant idea! Alternated layers of dry tomatoes and yogurt created an equilibrium of texture and flavors the next day. It could’ve been mistaken for salami with unusually layered “meat” and “fat”… Or could it?

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My Hawaii: Lomi Lomi

Lomi Lomi Salmon Salad

The name of this salad comes from its cooking method. Lomi lomi today is a term for “massage therapist” or “Hawaiian massage.” In Hawaiian, the word lomi traditionally used to describe an action of kneading, rubbing, or soothing, just like happy or content cats do. It is documented that for ages Hawaiians have beed preparing fresh fish salads by mixing diced ingredients — fish, sweet Maui onions, tomatoes, and salt — and gently massaging them with hands, letting fish to get cured by salt and vegetable juices.

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You Say Tomayto, I Say Tomahto

Roasted Tomato and Burrata Salad

Do you prefer fresh or roasted tomatoes with burrata? Why? For a long time I was sure fresh tomatoes are the best. Until today. Roasted tomatoes concentrate their flavor and change their texture. They become tender soft, just like burrata. Add basil leaves and flowers, chives flowers, thyme, EV olive oil, and fresh crusty baguette. That’s it.

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“Howdy!” Salad

I always think about it as a transitional flavor combination for people who are not familiar with Mexican, Tex-Mex, or Southern cuisines, as an introduction to our local specialties. It tastes wonderful with or without hot chilies. It is beautiful! It is perfect as a light summer meal, or as a side dish. It works well with grilled meats and poultry, with seafood, different tacos and enchiladas, or just corn chips or tortillas.

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My Borsch

Borsch

Rich, thick and dense, bright red, piping hot, always served with a dollop of a sour cream on top. My father and brother would say: “There is a borsch and there is red soup with beetroots and tomatoes. These are two very different things.”

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LOVE YOUR COOKING

Culinary coach and personal chef with extensive knowledge of cuisines from cultures around the world. I invite you into my cooking lab to share my discoveries.
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