Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ukrainian Ramson Salad

This is renovated recipe of traditional Ukrainian ramson salad. First greenery, super delicious spring eggs, what can be better for the first signs of spring warmth…

3 hard boiled eggs
2 cucumbersA bunch of ramson leaves 100-150 g
2 tbsp of sour cream
2 tbsp of mayonnaise
Salt and pepper

Chop eggs, ramson leaves and slice cucumbers. Add sour cream and mayonnaise. Mix everything in the bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve as a starter or as a side dish for meat or fish. I prefer mine with fine medium done beef steaks.

Ramson soup

Ramsons or ‘wild garlic’, sometimes called ‘bear’ garlic’, one of the first wild plants we can enjoy in early spring. Full of vitamins and micro elements, it is said to be the first food the bear eats after waking up in spring to refill body with vitamins after long winter sleeping.

1 onion
1 leek
3 average potatoes
A dash of vegetable oil
1 tbsp of butter
1 bay leaf
150 ml cream
50 ml white wine
100 -150 g of ramson leaves
Salt and white pepper
Serves 6

1) Slice onion, leek and dice potatoes. The size doesn’t matter because it will be blended in the end. Chop the ramson leaves.
2) Sweat onion and leek in oil and butter mixture in the pot. Add potatoes, bay leaf and hot stock. Keep cooking at moderate heat.

3) When potatoes are cooked and soft, add cream, wine and ramson. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to gentle boil, turn down the heat and blend everything in blender.
4) Serve hot with toasted white bread or baguette.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Eggs Benedict in the rays of morning sun

Spring revives everything. Every day, we can see more and more green leaves outside. And more and more new fresh produce at the markets. As for eggs, they are available year round, but if You think of the organically grown chickens and their eggs, and the food they have after winter, spring eggs are definitely more attractive for organic eaters.

If You think of eggs it’s hard to imagine the dish more exquisite, gracious and delicious, at the same time, than Eggs Benedict. Soft creamy texture of an egg, crispy flavourful ham or bacon, whatever You prefer, fresh bun and slightly sour delicate Hollandaise sauce. This is the favourite breakfast of my husband and the easiest way to please him:-)

For 2 poached eggs You’ll need:

2 eggs
1 Tbsp of white wine vinegar
2 halves of a fresh bun
2 slices of ham or bacon, whatever You like

For the sauce Hollandaise:
1/2 Tbsp of white wine vinegar
1/2 Tbsp of water
2 egg yolks
125 g of butter
Lemon juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

To poach eggs:

Break an egg into a small bowl. One egg at a time. Using a shallow pot, fill 2/3 full with water, bring to the boil. Add vinegar and pinch of salt to the water and turn down the heat that the water just simmers, without bubbles, than bring the bowl with an egg close to the water and delicately slide down the egg into pot. Let it simmer for about 2 min.

TIP: Vinegar helps the egg to coagulate better.

Carefully take the egg out and do the same with the second egg.
In the mean time toast the buns’ halves and fry the bacon or ham until crispy.
Smear toasted buns’ halves with butter, put a piece of ham or bacon on each. Mount an egg on each bun’s half and keep them warm.

For Hollandaise sauce:

In the shallow bowl beat the egg yolks with vinegar, lemon juice, water and salt till foamy and well mixed.
Melt butter in separate pot. Keep it warm.
Place the bowl over water bath. You may use the same pot You were cooking eggs in. Just keep the water simmering, not fully boiling. It’s important that the bowl doesn’t touch water directly. Once You’ve mounted Your mixture over water bath, whisk it vigorously until the yolks become dense.
Start adding warm butter bits by bits and beating it with yolks, whisk constantly until the sauce is thick and glossy. If You add butter too soon and too much at a time the egg yolks will curdle. Remove from the water bath.

If it seems that all lost and Your sauce will curdle any minute, take it off from the water bath and whisk as vigorously as You can, until the critical moment is over.

Try Your sauce, season it well with salt and pepper, and some more lemon juice if desired.

IDEA: You also may use lime juice instead of lemon juice, so the sauce gains more subtle flavour. Also some chopped herbs like tarragon, parsley or even cilantro, if You use lime juice as a sour agent, will revive it.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Family Style Squids

Squids are kind of produce that gives unforgettable sensation to Your palates if cooked right, and if not, You don’t want to try it again. Try to cook them this way and You’ll want to make it again. This recipe I’ve learned from my mother and I’ll give this recipe to my daughter, so it becomes our family born recipe of delicious squids that everybody in my family likes.

You will need:

500 g of fresh squids without heads
A dash of vegetable oil
100 g of butter
2 middle sized onions
3 cloves of garlic
Pinch of freshly grounded white pepper
Serves 2

  1. Blanche squids in boiling salted water for about 2 min. Then shock them in ice water bath for a minute.
  2. Peel Your squids gently rubbing against the skin. Pink curdled skin should be easily removed. Slit open them on one side with a knife. Remove the spine and the inside of the squids. Rinse thoroughly.
  3. Cut squids into stripes about 5x1 cm size. Peel and dice onions.
  4. Preheat the pan with oil in over medium heat. When the frying pan is hot add 50 g of butter and let it melt.
  5. Add squids and sauté them until light browning, tossing them regularly. Do not cover with the lid, but be careful, because squids may sizzle and shoot up. Then add another 25g of butter and the onions. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Let the onions soften and cover with the lid. Let it cook for another 5 min.
  7. Add pressed garlic and the rest of butter. Cook another 2 min without lid stirring regularly.
Serve hot, accompanied with some steamed rice with cheese and parsley or baked potatoes, or another siding to Your taste.
Bon Appétit!

IDEA: In the end of cooking add 3 table spoons of sour cream and handful chopped parsley and You will have perfect comfort food.

Smoked mackerel paste

This recipe is a great thing to have in fridge. Nutritious and piquant hunger fighter. The consistence of the paste allows to smear it over bread straight away from the fridge.

You will need:
1 pack of any cream cheese available1 average sized hot-smoked mackerel
1 Tblsp. of sour cream
Juice of a lemon half
1 tsp. of chili powder

Remove skin from the fish and debone it thoroughly. The soft texture of the hot-smoked wish allows to do it easily.
Place the flavoured deboned flesh in a medium sized bowl. Add cream cheese, sour cream, juice from the lemon half and chili powder.
Now take a fork and mash the paste until all the ingredients mix together and the texture of the paste is even and smooth but You still can feel small bits of fish. Do not do it in the food processor. It will not be the same!
Cover the bowl with the foil and place in fridge for 2 hours before serving for the ingredients to mix their flavours.
Serve on toasted rye bread or You can even eat it with a spoonJ Decorate with parsley or dill. Help Yourself!:-)

: You may add a pinch of Spanish smoked paprika for enriching the taste.