#23: Russia

Na zdorovje!

That’s Russian for “To your health”. Typically, they say this as a toast– and we’d like to extend it to you as we toasted Russian cuisine this weekend with Vodka and much more. Health is something we salute a lot here in the BIG 30h!3. The Brovsky adventures usually include something active and we’re currently enjoying the love of all things fall (like soccer and football). I’m confident that we will be toasting to health for many years to come, so for this week, Russia was along for the ride.

THE DINNER:
We are Russian/Slovak in heritage on my father’s side… hence “Brovsky” for those not paying close attention. Thus, we were looking forward to a “homecoming” of sorts. My mom pointed out that this is the time of year for homecoming, so it seemed to be appropriate. We were positive that it was not the right weather for Borscht- it, after all, is no longer summer. So we went for a fall oriented dish, Stroganoff. That’s traditional. We also wanted to make a side salad type dish, so much like Ukraine in week #3 (which was twenty weeks ago, guys!!! WHOA!) we picked a traditional cucumber salad which was similar but different. We actually liked this one better than the Ukrainian one. We also got to revisit sour-cream-on-everything-syndrome that we loved so much from the Ukraine… those Russian countries are the best at that. Everything was full of creamy, rich goodness. It was lovely. We made some Russian rye bread too! So that’s three foods this week in celebration of our Russian heritage…. not to mention we pregamed with some DazBog coffee and rounded out the meal with some Vodka. Week #23 was phenomenal.

Beef Stroganoff Recipe: http://easteuropeanfood.about.com/od/russianmaincourses/r/Beef-Stroganoff-Recipe.htm
Russian Rye Bread Recipe: http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jan/13/food/la-fo-oldworldbreadsrec4-20110113Russian Cucumber Salad Recipe: http://tanyazouev.com/the-zakouska-table-russian-cucumber-radish-salad/

0195515d405b20b9113b549b176e51075f79be11f6

01b6969d99408117064b799654d4f8cb846bd8dc21

01c4317a682a1e47ab3787d18f880508a6204c989a018e9e62c5fb8d175c495e6d2c0146e7640cc0422d

0160ec650c415f1b6f2e922f21ee2738ab108fb92c01960830a6fb4e2274a91f473e9835f52f8d61cacf

019f868fc37183c1fd655b5062accd827ce6735aca

01f21cfc2a3d33b0907f8f403780fa597ba9c5e909

 

01d671c9016ec87609f7cade0936ecf0439a7cd60a

0147a7ed59c767e2b5189ad5488182a023818a0cbb

01af8a64d929013f4063a8072eb71907286b8f0abb

010306100f68dacc7825426b46de8e77b440c2f09e

01bb5b9a14ae9eedade19ab786fa1b632b2b8cc438

013cd7204a181a75a4632a928ac876c45b3780739f

01fcd5a15c504a35a7c0fc361ba5e35aebf3273fd8

01daeab102b150d52fa02ef40a096da2538bdf294b

012626bfa507ed0df8a7fe30f91e8e2f2c1c891ee8

0115936e970ec33e028210ee127ef54af32041eaee

01e60e9a9133511ae7bec8871bcd9cddb7901965a0

01fc0b4db4eed3b96595fb4b57f4e3a14452b16ea0

 

OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: THREE STARS out of five for this Dinner.
We took three dishes for this country. Overall, that effected the degree of difficulty slightly… but as the running joke at the Olympics has always been: the Russian judge is typically a bit tougher to impress. Luckily, the Russians, are known for their “no nonsense” type of attitude, which translates well into their food culture. The recipes were straightforward and easy to follow. There were no strange meats or cheeses to hunt down. We didn’t have to spend hours babysitting food or prepping vegetables. This one was easy in that respect, but it was a whole lotta food to take on. We made the bread in the bread machine– there was soccer games to be played, so we couldn’t be bothered to knead the dough by hand and let it rise, etc, etc, etc. Boring. We had bigger fish to fry. Metaphorically speaking, of course, since the meat wasn’t fried fish, it was top sirloin. Mmmm, my stomach makes yummy noises when I type that particular cut of meat. The stroganoff was simple, and was served on top of egg noodles as traditionally eaten. Probably a little more complex than our Americanized “stroganoff” versions, but still easy overall and CERTAINLY better tasting. The cucumber/radish salad was ridiculously low maintenance and tasted better than others we’ve encountered. Pretty good picks for the week.

Best dish of all time scale: FIVE STARS out of five for the Dinner
There was much to be said about the meal, but we couldn’t say much of anything because we were too busy stuffing our faces full of all the wonderful things Russian promised us and delivered. Let’s start with the DazBog coffee– we drank this whist preparing the food this week and it was lovely. I usually prefer strong coffee, but the medium roast mom surprised us with was delightful. The noodles and stroganoff were hearty. Exactly what you think of when you think of “the old country”. They were just what one’s sweet little babushka would make to have her “matryoshkas” (russian nest dolls) grown up big and strong. We loved the bread– my dad is a tough critic when it comes down to authentic Russian/Slovak food because he grew up with the real thing, so to have him comment that it was a “five out of five” is saying something. The end of the meal, as with many I’m confident in Russia end, was topped with ice cold Vodka from the freezer. (Though, I learned that my usual favorite vodka comes from France?! WTH, Grey Goose?! I felt a little betrayed) The Vodka didn’t live up to the real stuff my cousin Kaitie brought back from Moscow a few years ago… it was still a nice way to toast “to our health”.

I was able to watch Anna Karinia while I wrote this one up for you, but for next week, we will need to pack a little less warmly as we make our way to the Caribbean, man! The winner of the poll for this week’s country was Turks & Caicos— so Week #24 will bring us The Bahamas! I wonder if we will encounter pirates… a girl can dream, I guess 😉

 

Pleasant eating, comrades,

– L & K

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s