sour cream

Food Friday: Beef Stroganoff


















While living in Moscow, I coordinated, edited, and produced a cookbook for the American Women’s Organization.  I put in a section with Russian recipes and here is my entry for Beef Stroganoff:















Beef Stroganoff

The story goes that Count Pavel Stroganov came from one of the oldest noble families of Russia.  He was a popular figure in French society at the turn of the century and, of course, he had a French chef.  This chef came up with the idea of adding sour cream to his mustard sauce and named it after his employer.  Not very romantic but quite tasty.



1 1/2 lbs. tenderloin of beef, cut into strips 2 inches long and 1/2 inch thick

2 Tbsps. butter

1 small onion, sliced paper thin

salt, black pepper

2 Tbsps. butter

2 Tbsps. four

1 Tbsp. mustard (the spicier the better)

1 cup beef bouillon

1/4 cup sour cream

Parsley for garnish

French fries or Egg noodles

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

In a heavy frying pan melt the 2 Tbsps. butter and sauté the onion until soft. Add the meat all at once and cook over high heat for just a few minutes, until it is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside, but keep warm.












In a small saucepan melt the remaining 2 Tbsps. butter. Mix the flour and mustard and whisk into the butter.










Cook for a minute, then gradually add the bouillon, stirring constantly, until a fairly thick sauce has been formed.















Stir in the sour cream, mixing well. Pour the sauce over the meat, check for seasoning and heat through, but do not boil.

I obviously don’t follow directions very well.  I did not use a small saucepan and I put the sour cream in last but it turned out okay anyway.

Spoon the meat and sauce onto a large platter (not a bowl) and garnish with parsley. Serve with french fries, or egg noodles.

Some recipes call for mushrooms or tomato sauce. Although they are tasty apparently they are not the original, authentic version.


Food Friday: Zucchini






Potato pancakes were a family favorite in Russia when I lived there.  Russians love their potatoes.  They eat them cold in salads, boiled with meat, and fried.  I made up this recipe to make it a little more interesting.  This can be an entire meal or a side dish.












Zucchini – Potato- Feta Pancakes

1 large zuccini (or two small to medium)  Grated

3 medium potatoes (any kind you happen to have around)  Grated

1 small red onion (I cut a big one in half)  Grated

3/4 cup Feta cheese – You can use either soft or crumbled

2 Eggs

4 Tbsp flour

Salt and Pepper

Sour Cream or Plain Yogurt












You can grate everything by hand but it is much quicker and easier if you have a food processor.  Takes about a minute.














Mix in the eggs, flour, cheese, salt and pepper

Salt would depend on how salty the Feta is, I would taste it first.  I use about 7 turns of black pepper.























Put some oil in a non-stick pan and get it good an hot.  Then put a generous spoonful in the pan and flatten it out.  It will take a while to cook.  Probably about 5 minutes on each side.  Then I put them in a glass place in the oven at 350 degrees F to keep them warm and let them cook a bit more.

Serve with sour cream or plain yogurt.

Enjoy!  За здоровье! (Za zdarov’e!)

Victory Day

Red Square, Moscow

May 9th is  Victory Day or VE Day, it marked the end of World War II in Europe.  The Russians celebrate this occasion in a big way.  They have military parades on Red Square, civilian parades down city streets, they run old war movies all day on TV, and they gather with family and friends to eat and make many toasts.

The USSR suffered the most casualties of any country during World War II, estimated at 27 million.  China comes in a distant second with 10 million.

Indeed they have reason to celebrate.

Any gathering in Russia starts with Zakuski.  These are the warm ups, the small plates, the appetizers.  They can include beet salads, potato salads, cabbage salads, pickled mushrooms, pickled herring, dried fish, caviar, or any other thing you can think of.  Just so there is lots of it.  For the toasts, vodka is the staple, followed by cognac for desert.  Sometimes champagne precedes the vodka.

Here are a couple of my favorite Zakuski (they are easy to make):

Julienne (Mushrooms in Sour Cream)

1 lb mushrooms

3 Tbsp butter

1 ½ Tbsp flour

1 cup sour cream

½ tsp lemon juice

salt and pepper

Slice the mushrooms.  Sauté in butter for 10 minutes.  Sprinkle in the flour and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, stirring.  Add sour cream and lemon juice.  Keep the heat low and cook for 15 minutes more.  If the sauce seems too thin, sprinkle in a little flour or if too thick add water.  The sauce should be like thick cream.  Season with salt and pepper.This can be served in individual cups or all together in a large dish.
Cucumbers in Smetana (Sour cream)

2 large cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced

3 Tbsps chopped fresh parsley

2 Tbsps chopped fresh dill

1 ½ cups sour cream

2-3 Tbsps fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp olive oil

3 large cloves garlic, pressed

½ tsp black pepper (or to taste)

¾ tsp salt (or to taste)

Toss and chill