Lazy Rabbit

Lazy Rabbit

…I closed my French cookbook and made a lazy version, the one that requires the least amount of work and time in the kitchen. It was served with a glass of good brut only (lazy!), but of course, there are many choices for side dishes including spaetzle, pasta, vegetables, etc.

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Lamb Kabobs: Making Shashlik in Texas

Lamb Cabobs | Shashlyks

How authentic is this shashlyk? Well, let’s see. Instead of traditional mangal, I use shichirin and instead of grapevine — binchotan charcoals from Japan. While true Georgian shashlik is made of non-aged lamb, I choose conditioned lamb from New Zeland. Finally, the marinade is based on local herbs, vegetables, and spices. I couldn’t even find a good substitute for young Georgian wine and decided to use sake for its cleaner taste.

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Swedish Meatballs: Köttbullar

Swedish Meatballs

Yes, they exist in all cuisines of the world, in some of them — forever. Different names, kinds of meat, sauces, and seasonings depend on what is available in the region. Last night, during the class we made classic Italian meatballs with tomato sauce to serve them with fresh pasta, and I remembered how much more I like Swedish meatballs. It’s time to add my favorite school recipe to this website collection.

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Cachucha Peppers Stuffed with Green Mexican Chorizo

Cachucha Peppers Stuffed with Green  Chorizo

To compare cachucha peppers to other green chili peppers I know, I’d say they are close to Spanish padron or Japanese shishito peppers in terms of texture. They are not meaty and slightly crunchy when cooked. To my taste, cachucha peppers are very flavorful and complex with clean and fresh grassy note. There is no heat in them at all. Thus their other name is sweet chili, Ají dulce, though there is no sweetness in them at all, at least when they are green.

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Aam Kasundi | Green Mango, Green Chiles, and Mustard Sauce

Aam Kasundi, Mustard and Green Mango Sauce

I’ve been always curious about differences and similarities of neighboring countries cuisines. Differences are interesting in particular. I also know how dangerous it is to make any assumptions after just a peek inside an unknown cuisine. Yet, I dare to say the use of mustard stands out for me in traditional Bangladeshi cuisine more than anything else. Shorsher tel (mustard oil) is one of the primary cooking mediums. Mustard pastes are often an essential part of food preparation. Mustard seeds are part of Bangladeshi 5-spice mix panch phoron (equal parts of whole seeds: fenugreek, nigella, cumin, black mustard, fennel), and most of dishes are started with tempering it in mustard oil or ghee. One of the most popular dishes in Bangladesh is Shorshe Ilish, Hilsa fish in mustard sauce. All that mustard affair got me thinking. Are those of us, who are not mustard fans, missing something?

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Chimmichurri

Chimmichurri

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!

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Basting Sauce for Japanese Grill

Pseudo Tare for Yakitori

Tare (垂れ?, “tar-eh”) is a general term in Japanese cuisine for basting sauces used for grilling. Mannen Tare (10,000 year old sauce) is and old school tare created by continuous use in traditional yakitori joints, where skewers are partially grilled, dipped into the tare, and then grilled to doneness. Every dipped skewer brings some drippings of dissolved proteins and fats into the sauce, which makes its flavor more complex and concentrated. At home, we can make a pseudo version of tare adjusted to our taste.

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Chicken and Portobello Mushrooms Julienne

Portioned Chicken amd Mushroom Julienne

While the rest of the world used this word to describe a matchstick knife cut, for Russian-speaking culinary community julienne has always been a chicken and mushroom casserole en cocotte. This legendary dish was extremely popular during the Soviet era in high-end restaurants as well as at home. Naturally, the assumption was that the recipe is a result of French influence on pre-revolution Russian cuisine. All stories I know about this dish are mostly anecdotes. Many different recipes claim to be original. Some insist on using mushrooms, preferably porchini. Other include cooked chicken and other vegetables. Restaurant versions often add bechamel or mornay sauces, while home cooks prefer sour cream. Everybody makes this dish adjusted to their personal taste, keeping the same only basic ingredients and the way it is served. Russian julienne has to be cooked individually portioned in mini casseroles and covered with a generous amount of cheese to melt on top. It is simple and delicious!

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