Friday, April 13, 2018

Revel In Russian Food...

Exploring different cultural supermarkets is my favourite pastime, especially if I can browse through each aisle leisurely, without interruption and no where fast to go. I was in the neighbourhood of East European store Yummy Market specializing in Russian foods, and I knew immediately I am having them over for dinner :D. Recently, I discovered a bunch of delicious Romanian specialties and I want to make exploring new cuisines and trying new foods with my family a regular thing.

Russian cuisine derives its varied character from the vast and multi-cultural expanse of the country and is a collection of the different cooking traditions of the Russian people. Zakouski (little Russian dishes) is popular and can be served hot or cold, elaborate or simple. They can be served to guests any time of day, usually with an ice-cold glass of vodka. Classic dishes include pies, perogies, salads, pickled vegetables, smoked fish, caviar and blini (thin pancakes), and most of all, herrings, in a sour cream or a salad with potatoes. This kind of small dishes and tapas entertainment is my kind of party, however for this particular weeknight evening meal, it was a medley of sorts from Yummys fresh bakery, deli counter, freezer and hot table.

My happy place at any European market-- the vast and mouthwatering deli counter!

Those are super slim and extra long pepperettes. Must try next time...

I always had a thing for pate (I use to develop them so I have an internal pate radar).

My fave goes to duck or goose foie gras... pate block or fresh lobe- pan-seared.

The prepared food section was varied and appetizing! From salads, pan-fried items...

to hot table favourites like rice, potatoes, cabbage rolls and stuffed peppers.

Smoked fish is uber popular... so many kinds from whole smoked to pickled to layered mousse.

Beluga is the largest and rarest of all the Sturgeons. The flavour can only be described as a perfect balance of salt and butter undertones. The fish harvested for caviar can reach up to 2,000 pounds (900 kg). The eggs themselves are the largest among the Sturgeon family, and range in colour from dark gray (almost black) to light gray. It is also known to be the best tasting caviar in the world.

At this visit, I picked up a variety of sausages, Siberian pork and beef pierogies, boiled then pan-fried in olive oil, served with sour cream or mayo, pan-fried potatoes with mushrooms and dill, BBQ chicken legs, chicken schnitzel and bread pretzels dipped in German mustard. Must eat with full sour pickles!!! Oh, and I HaPpiLY discovered another cabbage roll other than my favourite Polish-kind that I like-- Golubtsy stuffed with mixed meat, veg and rice in tomato sauce.

Traditional Russian salami, Hungarian sausages and this beautiful mahogany cherrywood smoked pork sausage, perfectly served dipped in German medium-hot mustard.

On a previous occasion from Yummy's, as an inspiration for Sunday brunch, I picked up some Atlantic smoked salmon and gravlax, a sesame bread ring, a selection of sausages- three kinds: Ukrainian, Debrecyna BBQ and Goralska, pickled herring with onions, a jar of black mullet and herring caviar (it's no sturgeon caviar but...) served with sourdough rye crisp bread.

The pickled herring was nicely pickled, slightly creamy and tasted great with onions.

Loaded gravlax open-faced sesame seed bagel.

I heard Russian dark chocolate is really good and gave these two brands a try. I cracked open the Arok C brand with 56% cocoa- very smooth, medium chocolate richness but a tad too sweet. So many chocolate varieties and confections lining the shelves at the store. You must see the massive spread for yourself.

Expand your taste horizons by shopping at other cultural grocery stores and gain a new appreciation of foods from all around the world!  Oh and while you're at it-- dive deeper in the culture by listening to their music, watching films with subtitles, attending public community events and festivals, take a walk through their neighbourhoods or trying your hands in their arts and crafts... Happy exploring and discovery!

Girl's Day Out-- Painting popular Russian Matryoshka nesting dolls.

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