Chocolate Salami – Шоколадная Колбаса and Trubochki – Cream Filled Pizzelles (Трубочки с Кремом)

My brother came home from school this week, he has been taking Russian as a foreign language and that inspired me to try and make Russian food. Now it has come to my realization that it is common in Russia to take food and shape it into various other objects. One of these things that I found to sound the most interesting was chocolate salami. When I first heard the name I thought, “What the heck, why would anyone in their right mind combine salami and chocolate, that’s just disgusting.” Upon further research I discovered that there is no real salami in the dessert, I was relieved that that monstrosity was not a real thing.  Beyond this delicious sounding dessert, I stumbled upon a dessert that reminded me much of an Italian dessert, it is Trubochki called and is a pizzelle filled with cream.

I began my journey to Russia by making the chocolate salami. The recipe wanted you to crush the vanilla wafers and it stated that you could use your hands or with a rolling pin. Being the young child that I am at heart I thought it would be fun to crush them with my hands. Let me be the first to tell you, crushing that many vanilla wafers kill your hands. I am pretty sure my hands were sore the next day if that is any indicator. But I went on to mixing the chocolate and all that sweet stuff and combined it. I got to the point where I needed to shape the mixture into sausage and I struggled with getting it to stick to the parchment paper. This stuff would stick to just about everything much like gum on a hot day.

Now at this point, I was tired but… you can’t give up on making cookies! Everything was going exactly as planned in the cookie making department until I went to make the cream filling. I went to open the can of sweetened condensed milk when I felt a pain go up my arm and I realized that I had cut my finger. Being the good cook that I am I immediately put the can down and went and cleaned my wound, I even dressed it with a nice star wars band aid. One piece of advice that I would give for this recipe is instead of using a marker, use something like a handle of a whisk. You run less chance of somehow getting ink in the pizzelle.

I would give both of these recipes a 10/10 because they had such great flavor and I wasn’t able to stop eating them. I ate an entire roll of the chocolate salami by myself as a snack one day. If you are looking for a quick dessert to bring to a family gathering I would definitely recommend the chocolate salami. The pizzelle took a bit longer but they are well worth the wait

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Chocolate Salami

1 1/2 packages (about 11 oz each) of vanilla wafers

2 sticks of butter, melted

3 Tablespoons cocoa

1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk


Most boxes of vanilla wafers are approximately 11 oz each. For this recipe, you’ll need to use 1 and 1/2 packages of vanilla wafers.

Crush the cookies so you have some coarse pieces and smaller. You can use your hands, or use a rolling pin or a mallet to crush the cookies right in the bag that they are packaged in.
In a large bowl, mix the melted butter, cocoa and a can of condensed milk.
Add the crushed cookies to the bowl and mix to combine
Scoop out part of the mixture onto parchment paper or aluminum
Shape the cookie mixture into the shape of a log and wrap it tightly inside the parchment paper or aluminum foil. You should have 4-5 chocolate salamis.
Chill in the refrigerator or the freezer. When you’re ready to serve, sift some powdered sugar over the Chocolate Salami and slice into pieces.

Trubochki

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 1½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup butter melted, (2 sticks)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2½ cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese softened
  • ½ – ¾ can condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 oz container Cool Whip or 8 oz of whipped cream

Instructions

  1. Whisk the eggs and the sugar until pale yellow, thick and frothy.
  2. Add the melted and cooled butter and vanilla. Mix to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour and baking powder together. Add to the batter. Mix to combine.
  4. Heat the pizzelle press until it’s hot. Using two small spoons, place about a Tablespoon of batter slightly behind the center of each pizzelle design. The batter will spread forward as it bakes. Bake for a few minutes, just until the pizzelles are slightly golden.
  5. Working quickly, wrap the hot pizzelles around a clean marker. You won’t be able to shape them into a cylinder if they cool even a little bit, so work really fast. You don’t need to use a marker, but it’s easier for me that way. Repeat will all the batter.
  6. Meanwhile, to make the filling, using a paddle attachment on a standing mixer or using a hand mixer, cream the cream cheese and condensed milk until the mixture is smooth.
  7. Add the vanilla. Fold in the Cool Whip or whip up some cream in a separate bowl and fold into the cream cheese.
  8. Fill a piping bag with the filling and fill the pizzelles.

Monsoon Black-Eyed Pea Curry

After last week, I felt like I needed a little something to spice things up. Indian food is well known for having plenty of flavor and spice in their cuisine. So why not make Indian food when I am getting a little chili (pun intended). I decided I would give this type of food a whirl by making a coconut-based curry.

The recipe that I used, which I will attach below, called for about a cup of diced onions. Normally I would whip out my good old friends, called my glasses, for a job like this; this time was different, I felt like I could take on the world I was so excited. I was chopping away at what seemed like an unusually large amount of onion and then bam–it hit me, tears were streaming down my face, I was jumping up and down, and ultimately I ended up on the floor groveling in pain (this may be an over-exaggeration). painfeelslike

In an attempt to not feel as rushed as I did last week, I made sure that I had chopped up all the ingredients that were needed before I began. This proved to be an enormous relief in the long run, as I was not rushing around like a lost puppy trying to find food. Now the difficult part for me was that once everything started cooking there was a point when things got a little out of control. There were spices flying left and right and I was just hoping they would make it into the pan. It didn’t stop there, I could only allow the spices to cook without liquid for thirty seconds or they would burn! I felt like I was trying to diffuse a bomb and the slightest error was going to blow the whole thing up. It was a cool relief when I added the coconut milk, I was finally able to catch a break and curry on to the next step.

Now, the moment you have been waiting for, what I actually thought of this exquisite meal. I am a huge fan of spicy foods like I said earlier, I was looking for something that would have a little kick. After all the spices I dumped into this dish I was expecting it to be tear jerking, and leave me reaching for a glass of milk. I was genuinely surprised with how the flavor turned out, it began with a dull sweet taste that morphed into a slight kick that made you keep coming back for more. In the end, I would give this dish a 9.5/10 with it only losing points because it could have been a little bit spicier. Now I will say, this could have been due to the fact that I could not find curry leaves anywhere. Aarti said that if you couldn’t find them it would be better to just leave them out, so that’s what I did

I took this recipe from the cookbook, Aarti Paartiwhich you can buy by following the link.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons sunflower oil

1/2 medium yellow onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)

Kosher salt

1 sprig curry leaves (about 16)

2 tablesooins minced garlic (from about 5 cloves)

1 teaspoon grated peeled freshh ginger

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (leave out if you don’t like spicy things)

1/2 cup canned diced fire-roasted tomatoes

2(15.5-ounce) cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed

1 cup hot water

3/4 teaspoon dark brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon tamarind concentrate, or 2 teaspoons lime juice

3/4 cup canned coconut milk

Small handful finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and soft stems (about 1/4 cup)

Recipe:

In a large, preferably nonstick wok or pot, combine the oil, onion and a pinch of salt. set the wok over medium heat and cook until you hear the onions sizzling. Give them a stir, and cook until deep golden brown and sweet-smelling, 10 to 12 minutes. Make sure you stir them (nearly continuously!) in the last minute to keep them from burning, and add a splash of water (carefully!) if they start to stick.

Add the curry leaves, garlic and ginger, and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant.

Now to add the spice mix. In a small bowl, combine the coriander, cumin, paprika, turmeric, and pepper. If you’re using a nonstick pan, sprinkle away. If not, then dissolve the spice mix in a little water, then add it to the pan. Either way, stir continuously for 30 seconds.

Careully add the tomatoes (they will sputter), and stir well. Cook for a couple of minutes, smashing the tomatoes with your spoon, until thickened and nearly dry.

Add the black-eyed peas, hot water, sugar and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Stir until well combined, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Stir in the tamarind concentrate and–my favorite part– that luxurious, creamy coconut milk. Simmer very gently, uncovered, for 8 to 10 minutes, just to thicken it up a bit. Taste for salt and finish with the cilantro.

 

Kritharaki Me Manitaria (Mushroom Risotto)

Recently I have picked up a love for cooking as well as foreign cuisine, I thought “Hey let’s put these things together and see what you can do”, from there my journey to becoming the sous’ chef of the house began. I am a firm believer that everything deserves a chance to show you its true potential, in this case, its flavor. I have never been a huge fan of mushrooms; however, I have recently begun trying to open myself up to the world of fungi. When I came across this dish with a name way too difficult for me to even begin to try and pronounce, I knew it was the perfect dish for me to try and recreate.

Originally when I found this recipe I didn’t think that it would be too hard to recreate, the name was definitely not going to scare me off. I started chopping, slicing and grating and I slowly began to feel overwhelmed. This recipe listed in the ingredient list that the vegetables and other items to be already chopped, being the intelligent person I am, I didn’t do that. So I cut the onion and tossed it in to my big ole skillet and let them caramelize while I got the mushrooms prepared. In the many years of my life, 18.28 years to be exact, I have never seen so many mushrooms as I had at that moment. It felt like I had been cutting those little suckers for a solid eternity and then my onions were starting to burn, not caramelize like they were supposed to be. My advice would be to cut all the ingredients before you begin cooking because this recipe goes fast, as fast as Usain Bolt.

After smelling the lovely juices of my creation cooking, I finally got to enjoy its deliciousness. I was thinking, as I am sure many of you are, any recipe that includes wine as a flavoring agent must be good. This is wrong but right on so many levels, the wine gave this recipe a subtle fruit flavor that made everyone in my family’s taste buds dance with multitude of joy.

Overall, I feel like this recipe was a success. I would say that a novice chef would be able to pull this off while barely breaking a sweat and it will still taste just as amazing. Taste wise I would give this recipe an 8.5/10 stars. This is because although the wine does give the recipe a unique spin on it and delicious at that, I was disappointed at the lack of any cinnamon sticking through since I had let a stick of cinnamon simmer in all of the liquids for about 20 minutes. As well, I did not feel like the mushrooms held any flavor and they felt almost as if they had just been there for nutritional reasons. My family however, let me know that they greatly enjoyed this meal and that they would rate it 10/10 and then they asked me to make them more.

Below I have attached a copy of the recipe. You can find this recipe and more here

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SERVINGS: 8 to 10

1 onion, very finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 c grated tomato (grated on the large holes of a box grater)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 lb white button mushrooms, stemmed and cleaned, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1 c red wine
2 c vegetable stock or water
1-lb package Loi Kritharaki Orzo Pasta (or other whole-grain pasta)
Freshly grated pecorino cheese, for garnish
Fresh basil leaves, for garnish

1. COOK the onion until golden and caramelized, 8 to 10 minutes, in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat, sprinkling it lightly with salt as it cooks. Add the tomato and garlic and continue to cook until well combined.
2. ADD the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are nicely browned, about 10 minutes. The liquid they release as they cook will be used later to coat the pasta. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper, and add the cinnamon stick and bay leaf.
3. POUR in the wine and add 2 cups of stock. Continue to cook over medium heat until the liquid is reduced by one-third. There should be enough liquid in the skillet to comfortably hold all the orzo, about 1 cup. If not, add a little extra water or stock as needed.
4. PREHEAT a small sauté pan over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the orzo and cook, stirring, until it turns golden brown and develops a nutty aroma, less than 5 minutes.
5. ADD the orzo to the skillet with the mushroom mixture and allow it to cook, stirring occasionally, until it softens, about 5 to 10 minutes. If the orzo has absorbed all of the liquid but isn’t quite done, add another ¼ or ½ cup of stock to the skillet. Taste the sauce, and add salt and pepper as needed.
6. REMOVE the cinnamon stick and bay leaf. To serve, ladle the pasta into large bowls, sprinkle with pecorino and garnish with fresh basil leaves.