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Jun 12, 2009 09:03 AM

War and Peace Menu

After an epic journey have reached the epilogue of this epic novel and, in anticipation of finishing, am starting to plan to an epic feast to celebrate. Some pescaterians some omnivores in attendance. On top of Russian food thinking it will be fun to mix in some thematics from book. ie, Napoleons. Perhaps a number of small dishes to express epic-ness of novel. Know very little about Russian food -- so if you have an obscure specialty please explain.

Thoughts so far (but open to suggestions):
- Caviar (feel like I've earned it) -- poss with baby potatos and sour cream
- Vodka.
- Borsch
- Some form of big sturgeon if I can track one down.
- potatos with mushrooms
- honeyed walnuts on yogurt
- Napoleons

Don't have anything for greens yet...

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  1. Spanokopita?
    For greens, how about a raw version of the good old Macedonian Salad (no, its not Russian, but it is colourful and good and you don't see it so much anymore).

    Refreshed Macedonian Salad:

    So instead of cooking the ___ out of diced carrots, corn-fresh-off-the-cob and fresh peas from the pod (and diced potato and lima beans, too, if you want to got that far) just merely boil and blanch. While still luke-warm toss in mayo diluted with lemon juice and dill and chill.

    Or you could just toss chilled beets with sour cream or creme fraice and dill and serve on butter lettuce leaves.

    1 Reply
    1. re: LJS

      as far as I remember, though delicious, Spanikopita are Greek... no?

    2. Cabbage rolls (Golubtsy)
      Black radish salad
      String beans in sour cream sauce (Loby)

      1. A salad that is popular in that part of the world around this time of year (my husband is from Romania) is tomato-cucumber salad. My mother-in-law just makes it with sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, a generous splash of vinegar (a cider or wine vinegar), sunflower oil (a staple in Eastern Europe) and some salt and pepper. I found a recipe on a Russian recipe site that is a slight variation of this with sour cream and dill.

        Also, smoked fish is huge in Eastern Europe as well. There are so many kinds sold in the markets, along with all different types of caviar and roe. They make this spread out of carp roe that is amazing. It's basically sunflower oil drizzled into a bowl of carp roe that has been mixed with a piece of white bread soaked in seltzer water and then squeezed. You use a hand blender while you drizzle in the oil to whip it all together into a sort of fluffy, light mayonaisse type spread. Stir in a drizzle of lemon juice at the end. I've never been able to replicate this outside of Romania, so I buy a Greek jarred version that is remarkably similar called Taramosalata. In Romania it's called Salata de icre. I'm pretty sure there is something similar in Russian cooking as we bought a jar of it at a local Russian market. It was sweet though, like it had sugar in it. We didn't like it as much.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Jen76

          A classic Russian salad:
          Chicken breast roasted and diced
          Potato boiled and diced
          Egg boiled and diced
          One pickle diced
          Quarter small onion diced
          Red radishes say 7-8 sliced
          Small can of peas drained
          All bound together with mayonnaise
          Even Queen Elizabeth serves this, only they call it Royal Russian Salad ( and uses ham not chicken).

          1. re: meinNYC

            Ha! How could I have forgotten. We just finished up a big batch of this. The Romanian version is a tad different (no radish, no peas, onion optional, add boiled/diced parsnip and celery root).

        2. And if your guests are especially brave there is black radish salad: (quite smelly)
          Drain a can of canneloni beans and mush
          Add some diced onion
          Add some sliced fresh cukes
          Peel some black radish and shred on large grater holes
          Add salt, olive oil and mix
          If black radish unavailable use daikon.
          This is peasant food, not War and Peace Russian royalty food.
          Russian princes ate French food in that period and only spoke French as Russian was considered the language of the lower classes.

          1 Reply
          1. re: meinNYC

            Good point re French food -- major recurring theme in W&P.

          2. I would make pelmeni for a starter...dumpings filled with meat. I packed away my russian cookbook or else Id share a recipe. Ive always had them topped with sour cream. Golubtsy would be delicious :) Maybe a beet salad with pickled cucumbers, garlic and mayonaise? Cabbage should definately be on your menu. My teacher was from Moscow and said she ate cabbage everyday. And my BF says they put sour cream on everything :) Try this maybe:

            2 Replies
            1. re: jenwee

              I like pelmeni too. I make them with ground chicken, garlic and dill, wrap them up in wonton skins, and cook them in lemony chicken broth, to be served with sour cream. Mmm, now I'm hungry!

              1. re: mnosyne

                o how i love pelmeni... that's the first thing i thought of.
                i want some now.