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35th Dinner Club – Russia

31-Mar-2008
 
 
 

 
 
I know I say this often but every time I type out or say the number of the current dinner club gathering I am just amazed at how long we’ve been doing this!  For a long time I posted about every gathering and I’m sorry to say that over the years I have had to skip over a few.  If you look back at past posts you’ll see they are often pretty detailed.  But I’m hoping to pick up and do them on a more regular basis this year.  We’ll see how that goes…. 
 
But, last Friday we had our 35th gathering; the second one for 2008 our sixth year of gatherings.  The theme was "Russia" and she specified that dishes should reflect more of the czarist mentality not the peasant food.  This was our first foray into that country and I have to say that when R announced the theme I wasn’t too excited.  Her main dish sounded great!  But I was assigned salad and didn’t feel too inspired.  And, in general, I don’t think of culinary greatness when I think of Russia. 
 
I am happy to say that Friday’s dinner was wonderful!!  I’m not sure if I have a skewed opinion of Russian food, which very well could be and one of the reasons I love this club, or if we are all just getting really skilled at ferreting out good recipes.  Most likely it was a little of both.
 
 
 
 
 
We started the night with one of my favorite things:  caviar and vodka.  I was actually jealous that M2 got the appetizer as making the little buckwheat blini is one of my favorite things.  With the ecological troubles with imported caviar she chose to serve all domestic caviar – which is finally getting recognition due to the issues with Russian and Iranian varieties.  She served three kinds of caviar so that we could sample the different flavors:  Ikura, which is salmon roe is beautiful with its large orange beads and definite salmon flavor; Paddlefish, a fish found in the Yellowstone and Mississippi rivers, has a beautiful small, grey bead that resembles Sevruga; and Golden Whitefish from Montana, which has a beautiful small golden bead.  I liked them all and had a hard time choosing a favorite.  
 
 

 
 
For the main course, R made Coulibiac which is poached salmon wrapped in pastry.  What I thought was very cool about this dish was that not only was it delicious but she used the recipe her mom had developed for Ladies Home Journal back in the 70s!  Along with the Coulibiac, K made a earthy Kasha and Wild Mushroom casserole, that I think would actually be great as a main dish, too. 
 
It took me awhile to find a salad that I thought sounded good, interesting and would complement the main dish but I managed to do it!  I was really happy with the result.  I made a carrot salad that is actually nearly as much apple as carrot.  It’s fresh and light and was the perfect complement to the richer fare on the menu.  I used this recipe and the only thing I did different was that I used double the amount of dressing ingredients and even then the salad was only lightly dressed.  The horseradish in the dressing is a really nice and unexpected flavor.    
 
 
 
 
For dessert M prepared a traditional Easter dessert, Pashka, which is a sort of cheesecake.   It was really light and tasty.  The lemon flavor was especially refreshing!  
 
All in all another very successful dinner – not only was it tasty but we all learned a little something.  And there are recipes we’d use again.  Perfect!
 
 

 
 
     
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