Category Archives: Side Dish

Buckwheat…Can you tell I am Russian?

“What’s with the bag of gravel?” Sean asked me when I pulled buckwheat out of the kitchen cupboard.”Buckwheat,” I answered hesitantly. “You are so Russian,” was the reply I got back. Do I have to even mention that Sean would not be convinced to even try it?

Russian or not, buckwheat is delicious. It can be found in many international and organic stores and it can be used in a variety of ways. In Russia, we typically have buckwheat either for breakfast (instead of porridge or oatmeal) or as a side dish to go with a main course.

The first time I made buckwheat for Sean, I had to heavily disguise it with mushrooms, onions and creamy mustard sauce as he refused to try it otherwise. Well after the first few spoonfuls, I could not get him to share some with me.

Ingredients: 1 cup buckwheat, 8 oz mushrooms, 1/2 onion, 1/2-1 cup of light cream, 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper to season

To a boiling pot of water, add 1 cup (or 1 bag like in the picture) of buckwheat

Meanwhile the buckwheat is cooking, chop up the mushrooms and onion

Throw the onion and the mushrooms on a pan, with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, on medium heat and saute until the onions become golden.

Next drain the buckwheat and add to the onions and mushrooms. Add the cream.

Add 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to season. Cook for 5-7 minutes and serve.

And it doesn’t even look like gravel


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Filed under Russian, Side Dish

When the onion soup is gone, the bread is left

So the Onion Soup is over, and all that is left in our kitchen is stone hard half of french baguette. But for hungry students, ‘a rock hard throw at someone’s head to kill loaf’ hardly seems like an obstacle to a satisfied tummy. Let’s make garlic bread!

Ingredients: 1/2 French Baguette, 6-7 cloves of garlic, 1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan, 2 tablespoons softened butter, ground herbs (I use mixed French Herbs), salt and pepper to season.

Preheat the oven to 350. Sprinkle water on the baguette and throw in the microwave for a minute.

Spread softened (not melted) on the French Baguette.

Chop garlic cloves and add on top of the butter.

Add ground herbs, salt and pepper. Grate fresh parmesan and add to the bread.

Throw in the oven for 10-12 minutes.

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Filed under Appetizer, Side Dish

Mushroom “Julien” and a few updates

So recently I have been looking at a lot of blogs for my internship. This gave me a fabulous opportunity to find some pretty incredible blogs. The two things that I have noticed is that most good blogs are updated daily and have a certain style to them. The blogs that I really liked had a very rustic and vintage feel to them but since the style of my cooking food is quite modern I have realized that I will need to think of something else. With the help of my fabulous interior designer aka my roommate, in the next few weeks I will be trying to change a few things on my blog. I am hoping to buy some new fun dinnerware and just put more time and effort into the photos I take. Also I will be trying to update my blog at least three times a week (daily just seems a little too of an unrealistic promise for me). So come back to see some changes and hopefully a significant improvement.

As for the recipe, today I made a Mushroom “Julien”. This is a dish that I used to ask my mum to do all the time.I don’t know where this name came from or how to describe it another way (maybe mushroom casserole?Not really sure) but it is absolutely delicious. This can be served as either an appetizer or as a side dish.

Ingredients: 8 oz mushrooms,1/2 medium white onion,1 cup heavy cream,2 tablespoons butter,1/2 cup grated cheese (I use Gouda),1/2 tablespoon flour, salt and pepper to season.

In a skillet,on medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Chop the onion and add to the pan.Saute for 5 minutes. Next chop the mushrooms and also add to the pan.

Saute for about 10 minutes or until the mushrooms are nicely browned. Next add 1/2 tablespoon of flour. Stir everything together.

Next add 1 cup of heavy cream and stir.

Add salt and pepper. Let all cook for 5 minutes or until cream begins to boil. Next pour the mixture into ovenproof ramekins (I had 5).

Sprinkle with grated cheese the top of each.

Place the ramekins into the oven and let stand until the cheese melts. Enjoy!


Filed under Appetizer, Russian, Side Dish, Vegetarian

Baby Potatoes with Sour Cream Garlic Sauce and Smoked Salmon

This dish is also delicious without the smoked salmon if you don’t eat fish or if you are vegetarian. It is a slightly more expanded version of baby potatoes with butter and dill.

Ingredients: 24 oz Yukon Gold Baby Potatoes, 1 package of smoked salmon,1/2 cup fresh dill(half for the potatoes and half for sauce), 2 garlic cloves, 1 cup sour cream, 1/4 stick butter, salt and pepper to season.

Begin by placing washed baby potatoes in a pot.Fill with cold water, cover the pot and boil until the potatoes become tender.

Mince 1/2 cup of fresh dill and set aside.

The potatoes should take around 15 to 20 minutes to cook. Once tender, drain the potatoes. Add the potatoes back to the pot and add 1/4 stick of butter and half the amount of chopped fresh dill. Add salt and pepper to season and mix everything together.

Set the potatoes aside to cool.

Next start working on the souce. To 1/2 cup of sour cream, add the remained chopped fresh dill, 2 cloves of pressed garlic and salt and pepper to season.

Mix everything together. The sauce is ready. Set aside.

Place the cooked potatoes on a place. With a glass or a bottle of olive oil, gently press on each of the potatoes to make them flat.

Add sauce to the slightly flattened potatoes.

Add smoked salmon on top of the potatoes with sauce.


Filed under Fish, Side Dish, Vegetarian

Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes

I am a big fan of mashed potatoes. And it is one of the only things that my mum never made in our house.Don’t get me wrong, my mum is a fantastic cook. She just has for some unknown reason a total distaste for potatoes. We never had any potatoes in our house. Blame it one the times, when she grew up in communist Russia with shortages of food and probably plenty of potatoes or on the high calorie count contained in potatoes, mashed potatoes was the one dish that I did not get much growing up.

I don’t remember how I came to this recipe but this one of my favorites. In fact on Thanksgiving,you did not have to give me the turkey. I couldn’t be happier with just a bowl of this heavenly side dish.

Ingredients: 4 Potatoes (red or golden), 1/2 cream (or milk), 2 tablespoons butter, 4 tablespoons chive and onion cream cheese,1 clove of garlic, fresh dill for garnish

Wash and peel the potatoes. If you enjoy your mashed potatoes with skins, I suggest you use the small red potatoes. I prefer mine with no skins. Next cut each potato in 4 pieces.

Fill a pot with cold water, add the potatoes and set the fire to medium high. Add salt.

Let the potatoes cook until soft. The way I check if my potatoes are ready is with a wooden spoon. If the spoon easily breaks through the potato, then I consider the potatoes ready. I always suggest to give the potatoes time to cook to avoid the chunks of hard and uncooked potato in the mashed potatoes.

When the potatoes are cooked, drain the water. Add 2 tablespoons of butter, a pinch of salt and pepper while the potatoes are still hot.

Next add 1/2 cup of cream. I usually use light cream but on Thanksgiving day I only had heavy cream and so I used that. If you prefer milk, you could use that instead of cream but I personally enjoy them with cream more. If 1/2 cup, does not seem enough, add another 1/4-1/2 cup. Just make sure that it doesn’t become a potato soup.

Next add 4 tablespoons of onion and chive cream cheese. Some people prefer to add herb Boursin cheese but I advise to try it at least once with onion and chive cream cheese. Very good and not as expensive as the French version of cream cheese.

Last but not least, add minced garlic and mash together. Please do not use an electric mixer or any other high tech appliances. It really ruins the traditional taste and texture of mashed potatoes.

After you’re done serve in a bowl and garnish with fresh dill.


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Filed under Side Dish, Vegetarian