Russians drink a lot of vodka at their dinners, instead of or in addition to the wine that we usually serve in Western dinners. Here are four simple varieties that I have made. In each case you put the flavoring into a one-pint mason jar of vodka and let it sit 24 hours at room temperature, then store it in the freezer.
You might wonder why I have put a pear-and-honey recipe with the condiments instead of with sweets, but this recipe is a sort of sweet pickle that you serve with grilled meats or hearty fish dishes. The sweetness of the honey and the pears is balanced by the tart cider vinegar in which it marinates for a week.
This Russian fish pie is wonderful made with Atlantic salmon. It's a big recipe, and a festive one, so it's great to prepare a big one for a crowd or you can make four smaller ones for a more intimate dinner (as shown here). Much of it can easily be prepared ahead of time, leaving only the final assembly and baking to be done on the day of the great feast.
This is a great crowd-pleaser recipe, because it's easy to make and it makes you look like a culinary genius!
It's an easy matter of making the crust and then filling it with layers of rice, sauteed mushrooms, hard-cooked egg, and poached fish, all of which can be prepared ahead of time. When you take that into account, the time required to prepare this for a fancy dinner is no more than an hour if you have prepared all the components beforehand.
This recipe looks like a big dinner, but it's not as heavy as it looks, so it works for summer as well as winter. Serve this with a dry New England hard cider, or a crisp rose wine (or chilled vodka, or beer, or whatever you please!).
This Russian pastry is essentially a basic pie crust with a little baking powder, and sour cream and egg yolks instead of water.
This recipe is used in the showstopper Kulebiaka
I made this tart for my Russian-themed birthday dinner and it was a wonderful surprise!
We thought it would be very tart from all the cranberries, but it was perfect.
The pastry is especially good, and unusual in that is uses no water.
The tart is also unusual in that it is turned out of the pan and served upside down!
I got this recipe from the excellent, never-fail Please to the Table Russian cookbook. With some minor adaptations, it has become my standard preparation for mushrooms, with or without the sour cream and dill as needed for other preparations.