Russian Food & Cooking

Russia is mainly a northern country with long-lasting cold winter. The food should give us much energy and warmth to survive during the winter time. So, the essential components of Russian cuisine are the ones, which provide more carbohydrates and fat rather than proteins. Fresh fruits and vegetables are rarely used in food. So, the top five components of a Russian meal are:

Potato (boiled, fried, baked, potato chops, potato pancakes, potato soup, smashed potato)
Bread (bread, toasts, bread-crumbs)
Eggs (boiled, fried)
Meat (pork and beef – chops, stakes)
Butter (usually added in all meals and spread on bread)

Also popular: cabbage, milk, sour cream, curds, mushrooms, lard, cucumbers, tomatoes, apples, berries, honey, sugar, salt, garlic, onions.
To cook, you will need vegetable oil, salt, and petter.

Traditional russian dishes:

1. Russian Borstch recipe
Ingredients : 3/1/2c. canned tomatoes , 5or6 med.size potatoes cut in halves ,1 large carrot cut fine, 1 small peeled beet , salt to taste , 1 small onion chopped, butter, 4c. shredded cabbage , 3/4c. sweet cream ,1/2c. fresh green pepper chopped , 2tbs. fresh or dried dill, 1 celery chopped fine , 2/1/2 qts. water, 1/1/2c. diced potatoes, black pepper .

Put water to boil in large kettle.Add 1/2 c. canned tomatoes. When water is boiling drop in 5 or 6 med. size potatoes,chopped carrot and the beet. While this is cooking add 3 tbs butter in frying pan. When melted add chopped onion,cook tender but do not brown. Add 3c. canned tomatoes and let simmer with onion and butter until a thick sauce. Set to back of stove.
Into a separate frying pan put 2-3 tbs. butter to melt. Add 2c. shredded cabbage and fry.Cook tender but do not brown.Shred another 2c. to add later to the borstch.
When potatoes are tender remove them to a bowl.Add 2tbs. butter, mash well,then add 3/4c. sweet cream and mix well and set aside.
Add 1/1/2c. diced potatoes to the stock and the remainder of the shredded cabbage. When diced potatoes are tender, add the onion-tomato- sauce, then add the cooked cabbage,and the potato-cream mixture. Add 3 tbs. butter to the borstch. Stir well.
Add fresh chopped fine green pepper. Add 3tbs fresh or dried dill. The more fresh dill the better the flavor..Remove beet, one hour later after borstch is ready.
Borstch is ready to serve.Serve hot.Serve with chopped garlic in your soup bowl and a fresh piece of bread and butter... Yummy, enjoy...

2. Potato vareniki recipe:
Ingredients : 2 pounds potatoes, cooked (save water from cooked potatoes) , 2 onions chopped , 1 stick margarine , Salt and pepper , 2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt
Cook potatoes in simmering water until soft and put them through a potato ricer. Saute onion in margarine until very soft, add 1/2 of the onions to the potatoes and season with salt and pepper.
Sift flour and salt into a bowl. Add vegetable oil and enough water to make a soft dough and mix until the dough no longer sticks to the hands. Cover dough and let rest for about 15 minutes. Roll out dough on a floured board to a 1/4-inch thickness. Cut dough into small squares and place a dollop of potato mixture in the center of each square. Fold dough, pinch ends to form a triangle. When all are made, put into boiling water and boil for about 10 minutes.
When all are cooked, drain and serve with the remaining sauteed onions on top.

3. Pelmeni recipe
Ingredients: 2 c flour, 1 c milk or water, 1/2 ts salt, 1 tb vegetable oil, 3 eggs, 250 g beef, 250 g pork, 1 onion, salt and pepper to taste.
1. Grind beef and pork twice in meat chopper. Then add chopped onion, salt, and pepper. To make mincemeat more tender and juicy, add a bit of milk. Reserve.
2. Mix flour with eggs and milk, salt and oil until a soft dough forms. Knead on floured surface until dough is elastic.
3. Take some dough and make a "sausage" (1 inch in diameter). Divide into pieces (1 inch thick). Roll each piece so that each is 1/16 inch thick.
4. Take a glass or a cup (2 inches in diameter) and make rounds with it's help on the dough. Fill each round with 1 teaspoon of the mincemeat, fold into half-moons.
5. Pinch edges together and connect the opposite sides. Pelmeni can be frozen to be cooked later ( you can keep them in the freezer for a long time), or cooked immediately.
6. To cook pelmeni, boil a large amount of water, as they can stick to each other. Salt water. Carefully drop pelmeni into boiling water. Don't forget to stir them from time to time. Boil for 20 minutes.
5. Served with butter, sour cream or vinegar, and ketchup.

4. Shashlik recipe
Ingredients : 3 lb Lamb, cut from leg , 2 sm Onion, finely-minced , 4 lg Garlic, cloves, fine-minced , 2 lg Shallot, minced , 2 tb Parsley, freshly-chopped , 2 1/2 c Pomegranate juice, unsweet, 4 tb Corn oil , 8 ds Cayenne pepper .
Trim away all fat from meat. Cut into 2" chunks. Place in small bowl together with onion, garlic, shallot, parsley, cayenne pepper and pomegranate juice. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove meat from marinade and pat dry. Skewer the meat, using four substantial skewers. Brush with oil. Broil under very high heat, turning often until done. Some prefer it slightly pink (12 minutes). Well done will take about 20 minutes. Remove from skewers and serve on a heated plate with Kasha. VARIATIONS: Include 2 green peppers cut into 12 chunks, 4 tomatoes cut into quarters, and 4 small, white onions, peeled and cut in half. Skewer alternate chunks of vegetable and meat chunks. Proceed according to recipe.

5. Salad Vinegret recipe
Ingredients : 2 ea average beets boiled, 4 ea potatoes boiled , 3 ea pickled cucumbers , 2 ea carrots boiled , 100 g green peas (optional), vegetable oil , mayonnaise (optional) , salt to taste.
Boil all vegetables. Let them cool down and then peel. Chop beets, potatoes, cucumbers, carrots, cucumbers. Add green peas, if you want. Season with vegetable oil or mayonnaise. Add salt to your taste. Served as an appetizer before main dish.

6. Salad Selyodka pod Shouboy (Dressed Herring) recipe
Ingredients : 2 ea thick salted herrings , 5 ea potatoes , 4 ea carrots , 4 ea beets , 5 ea eggs , 400 gr mayonnaise
Boil vegetables until they are ready ( you can boil vegetables in 1 pan). Boil eggs hard.
Peel skin from herrings, cut them along the spine. Take all bones away. Cut herring meat into very little pieces and always check for bones. Take a large dish. Put herring meat evenly on the bottom. If you like onion, you can put little pieces of onion on the herring. Then spread mayonnaise evenly (thin layer).Grind potatoes and make the next layer of it. Spread mayonnaise. Use a fork to plane the layers. Then goes carrot (grind, put, spread). Then you do the same with 4 eggs and beets. Spread mayonnaise on the beets and grind 1 egg on it to make the dish beautiful. This salad must look like a cake. Put the dish in the fridge for an hour.

7. Salad "Olivier" recipe
Ingredients : 5 potatoes , 3 carrots , 4 eggs, 1 pound boiled meat, 1/2 pound green peas, 2-3 dill pickles (you can use fresh cucumbers), salt to your taste, 1/2 pound mayonnaise
Boil potatoes and carrots in skin (it helps to keep vitamins), then cool them down and peel them. Boil eggs and boil meat. Chop potatoes, carrots, eggs, meat dill pickles into 1/2 inches squares. Add green peas and salt. Trust your own taste, everything must be in proportion. Stir mayonnaise only for the part of salad you are going to eat. It will be kept better without it. Mix the salad and refrigerate for a
while. If you want your salad a little tender, mix a part of mayonnaise with an equal part of sour cream. Bon appetit!


Smoking Russian Women

Number of Smoking Russian Women Doubles After Soviet Decline

A new research has shown that the number of russian women ( click to view single russian women profiles ) who smoke has doubled after the fall of the Soviet Union.

In 1992, seven per cent of women smoked, compared to almost 15 per cent by 2003. In the same period, the number of men who smoke has risen from 57 per cent to 63 per cent.

The researchers behind the study, published in the journal Tobacco Control, blame the privatization of the previously state owned tobacco industry and the behavior of the transnational tobacco companies (TTCs) for what they describe as a “very worrying increase”.

Between 1992 and 2000, TTCs such as Philip Morris, British American Tobacco and Japan Tobacco International invested approximately US$1.7 billion to gain a 60 per cent share of the privatized Russian tobacco market.

Tobacco advertising had simply not existed in the Soviet era. Yet as soon as the TTCs were there, it was rampant, say researchers. By the mid 1990s it was estimated that half of all billboards in Moscow and three quarters of plastic bags in Russia carried tobacco advertising.

“There can be no doubt that the marketing tactics of Philip Morris, British American Tobacco and the like directly underpin this massive increase in smoking that spells disaster for health in Russia,” said Dr Anna Gilmore from the School for Health at the University of Bath, who carried out the study with academics from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and University College London, and has been researching tobacco control in the region for over seven years.

“Following privatisation of the tobacco industry, TTCs invested heavily in developing the market, promoting smoking as part of the new ‘western lifestyle’.

“They aggressively targeted women, young people and those living in cities with their marketing and distribution strategies. This is now directly reflected in the smoking patterns we are seeing. Until this point women in Russia had simply not smoked.

“The situation was made worse by aggressive industry lobbying to weaken tobacco control legislation.

“The fact that the TTCs have managed to drive up male smoking rates from already high levels is incredibly alarming because at this stage of the epidemic we would expect male smoking rates to be declining.

“There is already a major demographic crisis in Russia and smoking, which already accounts for nearly half of male deaths, is making this far worse.

“The smoking epidemic in women is at a much earlier stage, but with this rapid increase, is set to catch up fast.

“The Russian government needs to wake up to the fact that cigarettes kill one in every two smokers, and unless it takes action urgently, millions more Russians will die from tobacco.”

The study used data on more than 7,000 individuals collected in 10 rounds between 1992 and 2003 as part of the Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey.

The findings highlighted that the largest increase in smoking rates has been amongst the least educated, markedly so amongst women.

In a signal that the Russian government may finally be taking action on the tobacco epidemic on the 10th January 2008 it adopted a draft law on joining the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The draft law now goes to the State Duma.



Famous Russian Women

Catherine I

Birth: 15 Apr 1689
Death: 17 May 1727 Sankt-Peterburg
Interred: St.Peter & St.Paul Cathedral, Sankt-Peterburg

Father: Samuil Skawronski

Spouse: Peter I The Great, EMPEROR OF RUSSIA (b. 9.6.1672)
Married: 8 Nov 1707, Warszawa (publicly 1 Mar 1712)

Catherine I, real name MARTA SKAVRONSKAYA (1682?-1727), empress of Russia (1725-27). Of peasant origin, she was born in Jakobstadt (now Jekabpils, Latvia) but was orphaned early in life and reared by a pastor in Marienburg (now Malbork, Poland).

When the Russians captured Marienburg in 1702, she was taken prisoner by the Russian commander, who sold her to Prince Aleksandr Menshikov, a close adviser of Peter the Great. She soon became Peter's mistress and most influential counselor.

Peter, who had divorced his first wife in 1699, married Catherine in 1712. After his son Alexis died, Peter issued an ukaz ("imperial order") declaring his right to name his own successor; he died in 1725 without doing so. Catherine, however, had been crowned empress-consort in 1724, and on Peter's death she was proclaimed his successor; the claims of Alexis's son (later Peter III) were bypassed.

Shrewd and courageous, Catherine defended Peter's advisers against his rages, and in her own reign she established, and concentrated power in, the supreme privy council. Two of her eight children by Peter survived, Anna (mother of Peter III) and Elizabeth Petrovna (empress 1741-62).