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Classic Tiramisu, with Blackberries

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Oh, who has not heard of Tiramisu, the modern Cesar of Italian desserts? It has conquered its native country in a storm, taken over the rest of Europe, made its way into the US. Indeed, Tiramisu has an empire of its own, though the recipe itself is at most 35 years old. Once, when I made this at a party, a coworker of mine said staring into space with dreamy eyes: "I think I am in love". Indeed, that about sums up the charms of this indulgence.

There are countless variations of tiramisu, but this one has never failed me even when I was a novice in the kitchen. There is no baking involved, and it takes about 1-1.5 hours to prepare (but ideally you'd want to keep it in the fridge for 4-5 hours more). It is summer, so I add berries. Blackberries, the most luscious of berries, are the best addition in my opinion, but you can go without if you like.

Is your mouth watering yet?

Prague Food Adventure

Friday, June 24, 2011

At the end of May we took a mother-daughter trip to Prague, where Nadia had visited at the time when she was pregnant with the other chef of this blog. Of course, she couldn't have any famous Czech beer then, so we had to correct the situation, half her lifetime later.

Czech Cucumbers Stuffed with Meat

Sunday, June 19, 2011

This is the final, and probably the most peculiar dish in our Czech series: thoroughly cooked stuffed cucumbers. I found this in several cookbooks on Czech cuisine, so it most likely is traditionally Czech. As usual, I make a few additions to the recipe, but nothing drastic to detract much from its classic taste.
Attempt this only if you are adventurous, and do not own a conservative palate. The taste of cooked cucumber is quite bland, and my 2 "guinea pigs" did not like it for that reason. However, I find that the neutral taste of the cucumber and its incredible juiciness complement the strong flavor of seasoned veal and bacon very well.
Dare to try?...

Kolache - Czech Pastries

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Funny enough, we couldn't find kolache, one of traditional Czech pastries, in any Prague bakeries that were on our way. Maybe we just didn't know the right place... or maybe they became one of those things people make at home. Anyway, I decided to bake them on return from our trip, armed by a recipe shared by Stania (our guide, remember?). Stania's husband is a great home chef (what a nice hobby for a man!), and the recipe she gave us is probably what she saw her husband cooking. I changed the recipe a bit, but the result was a tasty, delicate and heart-warming creation.

Knedliky - Czech Dumplings

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What could be more Czech than knedliky! They are often served as a side dish to meat with gravy, but there is also a sweet fruity variation that was introduced to us by Stania, one of our guides in Prague. Sweet Knedliky can make a nice breakfast, lunch or even dinner, they are very nutritious and rather heavy, but despite of this they make your stomach happy. Today's recipe is a compilation of a few, including a Czech cookbook that Masha mentioned in a previous post. Want some hearty Czech food? Follow me...

Czech Meat and Cabbage Loaf

Monday, June 6, 2011

The recipe for this meatloaf, sekaná in Czech, is adapted from the Czech cookbook (Česká domácí kuchařka díl 1.) mom and I bought while in Prague. To a Russian speaker, translating the ingredients from Czech is rather trivial, and the combination of cabbage, bread and milk in a meatloaf immediately struck me as original and interesting. The union of cabbage and meat reminds me of mom's Golubtsy, traditional Russian cabbage rolls, but by contrast the taste of cabbage in this meatloaf recipe is much less pronounced. Cabbage mostly makes the texture of the meat tender, but does not assert itself. Translating instructions from Czech is a much more involved matter... so I am not entirely sure what I have done differently. Be that as it may, the result is an unusually tender meatloaf that is flavorful, fulfilling and almost, if not quite, traditionally Czech.

Hard to get wrong, tasty, satisfying... ready to try it yourself?