Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving!

Thank you for letting me be a part of your life!


Crispy Sautéed Green Beans with Pumpkin Seeds, Hemp Seeds & Lemon

These green beans are crispy on the outside and tender, but still have a bit crunch on the inside. Another idea for Thanksgiving dinner side dish.


Russian Monday: Carrot Salad with Walnuts & Garlic

I would like to present you a simple salad recipe from my own childhood times. There has not ever been a complete holiday table in our house without this salad. I recall myself a little girl helping my mom to peel garlic and chop walnuts, and later, it has become my own dish I cooked preparing for the arrival of guests.


Roasted Cauliflower Bites with Spices, Garlic & Lemon

Roasted Cauliflower Bites are so simple to make, yet your quests will always be impressed by them. They have a wonderful flavor and can be given quite a "kick" too by including the cayenne. The spicy bites are great snack at any time of the day, so don't just make them for parties.


Roasted Rolled Turkey Breast with Garlic & Herbs

We have four people in our family and for us to cook the whole turkey for Thanksgiving is never "too much". But if you would like to cook something different or have decided not to cook the whole bird, here is a time saving substitute. Roasting the breast on its own will ensure moist, tender meat. This recipe gives it a lot of flavor using lemon juice, garlic and fresh herbs.


Russian Monday: "Shokoladnaya Kalbaska" - Chocolate Biscuit "Salami" with Walnuts & Rum (no bake)

Taste of childhood time treats is something we remember all our lives and taste of “chocolate salami” is one of those “old time favorites”. While back during Soviet Union times, with all kinds of shortages and deficits of many common items and foods, having full plate of sliced meat sausage on the dinner table was a sign of a material well-being of a family. Such table looked happy and respectable and hosts – welcoming and attentive. However, sometimes guests could stay only for a cup of tea. So how tea table could be without sausage? Name of “chocolate salami” inventor we will probably never know, but the recipe has taken its own rightful place in notebooks and cookbooks: cookies, butter or margarine, cocoa powder, sugar.


Black Beluga Lentils Salad with Roasted Pumpkin

Looking for a rustic salad/side to round out your Thanksgiving menu? Black Beluga lentils have a nutty, peppery flavor and a firm texture that holds up well to cooking. Delicate in taste and size, Black Beluga lentils are named for their caviar-like appearance. This flavorful salad can make a delicious accompaniment to a simple roasted turkey. Black Beluga lentils with roasted pumpkin salad shows off bold tastes, textures and colors.


Red Peppers Melted with Fig Balsamic Vinegar Crostini

I would like to share with you my recent work made for the owners of “The Ancient Olive” stores in Florida, Jeffrey Schrader & Bryan Behling - still life composition with olive oils, vinegar, olives, exotic fruits and Italian vegetables. This was very exiting project and I had a great time shooting for “The Ancient Olive”. Here is one of the versions of my composition which I feel passes the true spirit of these exquisite stores.


Russian Monday: Buttery Potatoes with Garlic & Fresh Herbs

Potato is a relative newcomer in Russian cuisine. It has started to occupy a regular spot on the dining table from the early 19th century, while prior to that turnips have been used in the same capacity, served boiled, mashed with butter or sour cream, fried, baked and used as side to various dishes.

Start of potato growing in Russia is usually attributed to Peter the Great. Unconfirmed historical myth mentions Peter the Great tasting potatoes for the first time while in Holland during one of this European travels. Impressed by the value of the new food item, he sends a sack of potatoes back to St. Petersburg, addressed to Count Sheremetev. However, proof of such royal parcel existence is lacking, but nevertheless, even if it was true, this would have been only one of the potato pathways into Russia.


Braised Artichokes with Onions & Bacon

Artichoke 4

Artichokes make a delicious addition to vegetable dinners and company lunches. Globe Artichokes - sometimes called the French Artichokes is in reality the bud of a thistle-like flower which is as decorative as the bud is palatable. A choice artichoke should have bright green leaves rather closely packed. Rusty spots or widely separated leaves indicate age or injury. The very small artichokes may be trimmed for artichoke hearts or used as small cups to hold hors d'oeuvres or hot food.


Traditional Tourtière - Canadian Meat Pie

Tourtière Canadian Meat Pie 2

Tourtiere is the creme de la creme of pies. Lightly spiced and herbed, this meat pie is especially anticipated for Christmas Eve celebrations, but it's equally tasty for the Thanksgiving dinner and any winter chilly evenings.


Dragon Fruit - What is it and how to eat it

Dragon fruit (Pitaya) is part of the cactus family, and has sweet, kiwi-like flesh. Dragon fruit is quite exotic for our latitudes and if your grocery store does not carry it, usually you can find this bright red skinned fruit, very rich in vitamins B and C as well as fiber, at your nearest Asian market. You can easily check if fruit is ripe by pressing on it, just like you’d choose ripe avocado, kiwi or peach. If it’s too soft that means it is overripe and the texture will not be as good. If it is too hard, you can still buy your dragon fruit but let it stay in cool dry place for few days to fully ripen. Any dry brown spots or dry spines on dragon fruit leathery skin are a sign to avoid it.


Russian Monday: Mushrooms with Sour Cream Sauce - "Gribi v Smetane"

Mushrooms are traditional ingredient of Russian cuisine. For centuries, our ancestors used bounty of forest to diversify their menu. And even today with enormous variety of options, ingredients, recipes from around the world available to us true gourmets love tasty and fragrant mushrooms in sour cream.

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