Those of you who follow my posts probably remember my origins, roots, if you like, are from Eastern Europe. Generally speaking, Russian, I would say, but being more specific, I was born in Bessarabia, a relatively small piece of land in between Moldova, Ukraine and the Black Sea. Throughout its whole history Bessarabia was a very desired trophy – it’s been conquered by Turks, Romanians, Russians and a handful of others who ruled the land for shorter periods of time… Such a mixture of cultures created a very interesting culinary fusion as well, and Bessarabia’ cooking is heavily influenced by that of the conquerors – Turkey and Romania mainly, but also Russia and Ukraine. So, today I want to show you my take on a traditional Romanian “mititei” – grilled ground meat rolls, as I remember them from my childhood.
So, the chicken breasts… One of the cheapest cuts you can get, and one might think, quite simple to cook. But here’s the catch – this cut is one of the leanest ones as well, so, to keep it succulent and tender, you will find all kinds of marinating, brining and wrapping techniques suggested in the recipes. No, I am not saying these methods won’t work… On a contrary, they will, and you’ll most probably love the results, but… what if I told you there’s a way to grill an ultimately juicy and tender chicken breast completely fuss-free and ridiculously simple? Do I have your attention now? Good! Let’s go!
Today I want to share something very special. Usually, buckwheat is found in the organic foods sections of the supermarkets and not really popular among those who are not after pure organic and healthy food lifestyle. However for me, born and raised in the long gone Soviet Union, buckwheat is a taste of childhood, no less than that. Back then, unlike many other foods, buckwheat was freely available in the stores, and that made it one of the pillars of russian cuisine. The dish I am about to show you had no name other than “buckwheat with meat”… But I’ve taken it a bit further, upgraded it to the next level, if you like, and took the liberty to compare it with another dish I really like – persian pilaf, as, mind you, the preparation steps are almost identical. Hence, here I am, giving you the “buckwheat pilaf”, a dish which is about to change all you’ve known about buckwheat till now!
Smoking has always been one of my all times favorite ways to serve fish. I’ve smoked salmon, hot and cold, also tried smoking grouper and mackerel… So today I am smoking rainbow trout on cherry wood, the classic way. So… here we go!
To the most of us grilling is directly associated with meat… Fish, in the best case. But hey, here’s one proud carnivore who loves grilling veggies! And I must admit, I have a confession to make – I love grilling veggies. Be it an eggplant, a capiscum or asparagus – flame charred they all taste much better. Mushrooms, however, are a story of its own. Just grilled they are more of a meaty texture, but you can really take it any way your imagination goes. So here’s what I called “pizza without a dough”, and trust me, this does taste like a pizza with mushrooms.
During the past few years I’ve been experimenting with different kinds of smoking and grilling – I was using mangal (a mediterranean version of the charcoal grill), grill, gas grill, water smoker, brazilian style parija… One thing I didn’t get into was the cold smoking. But now, when I did – wow, I love that! So today I will be showing my new UFO Cold Smoke generator and making a homemade cold smoked salmon and cold smoked cheese.
When it comes to sweets and desserts, cheesecakes have special place in my top ten list. Yeah, I do love them, be it frozen, baked, New York style or anything else involving cheese. So this time here’s a recipe for a cheesecake which is super easy, but tasty as anything. It’s the Philadelphia cheese that makes it so different.