Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Russian Thanksgiving Recipe - Garrett Williamson

Herring Under Fur Coat (Herring Salad)
June 27th, 2009 in Salad Recipes by Julia Volhina
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Total cooking time: 3hr  
Herring Under Fur Coat (Herring Salad) Recipe
Herring Under Fur Coat (Herring Salad) Recipe
To prepare Russian herring salad, “Herring Under Fur Coat”, you need to have whole salted herring. And of course you need to know how to fillet it, so read this post if you don’t.
Herring Under Fur Coat is a word-to-word translation of russian name of this salad: “Seledka pod Shuboj”, which represents salted herring under a “coat” of boiled vegetables. So, as you’ve probably guessed, you will also need boiled vegetables (potatoes, carrots and beats) and green onions. In the rest, this is 5-layers salad with a lot of mayonnaise.
This salad requires some time and agility to assemble it, also it needs at least 12 hours for layers to soak after it is assembled. So make sure you have enough time before you plan to serve it.
  • 1 big or 2 small whole herrings (pickled with a salt)
  • 1 big potato
  • 3-4 middle size carrots
  • 3 medium size beets
  • Bunch of green onions
  • Mayonnaise
How to make, step-by-step:
     1. Prepare ingredients: boil carrots, potatoes and beets for salad, let them cool till room temperature and skin; fillet salted herrings:

Herring Under Fur Coat (Herring Salad) Recipe: Step 1
Herring Under Fur Coat (Herring Salad) Recipe: Step 1
     2. Take big flat plate, grate boiled potato on big slots of grater and form round layer in the middle of the plate (make sure you have about 2 inches left till the edges of the plate):
Herring Under Fur Coat (Herring Salad) Recipe: Step 2
Herring Under Fur Coat (Herring Salad) Recipe: Step 2
     3. Dress layer of grated potato with mayonnaise (yes, you need liquid mayo which is easy to pour):
Herring Under Fur Coat (Herring Salad) Recipe: Step 3
Herring Under Fur Coat (Herring Salad) Recipe: Step 3
     4. Dice herring fillets (and pick bones if you see any) and layer it above potato:
Herring Under Fur Coat (Herring Salad) Recipe: Step 4
Herring Under Fur Coat (Herring Salad) Recipe: Step 4
     5. Add chopped green onions as third layer and dress with mayonnaise:
Herring Under Fur Coat (Herring Salad) Recipe: Step 5
Herring Under Fur Coat (Herring Salad) Recipe: Step 5
     6. Cover whole thing with an even layer of boiled carrots grated on big slots, use your hands to form the shape:
Herring Under Fur Coat (Herring Salad) Recipe: Step 6
Herring Under Fur Coat (Herring Salad) Recipe: Step 6
     7. Spread mayonnaise on the surface:
Herring Under Fur Coat (Herring Salad) Recipe: Step 7
Herring Under Fur Coat (Herring Salad) Recipe: Step 7
     8. Cover whole thing with an even layer of boiled beets grated on big slots:
Herring Under Fur Coat (Herring Salad) Recipe: Step 8
Herring Under Fur Coat (Herring Salad) Recipe: Step 8
     9. And again cover it with mayonnaise:
Herring Under Fur Coat (Herring Salad) Recipe: Step 9
Herring Under Fur Coat (Herring Salad) Recipe: Step 9
     10. Let salad to rest at room temperature for 2 hours, after put it to the fridge. Prepare this salad in advance, it needs at least several hours of “rest” after assembled so layers can soak juices of each other and mayonnaise. I usually prepare this salad night before I am planning to serve it:
Herring Under Fur Coat (Herring Salad) Recipe: Step 10
Herring Under Fur Coat (Herring Salad) Recipe: Step 10
     11. Herring Under Fur Coat or Seledka pod Shuboj (how it is called in Russian) is ready to be served:
Herring Under Fur Coat (Herring Salad) Recipe
Herring Under Fur Coat (Herring Salad) Recipe
Bon Appetit!


Mgic in Russia

Magic the Gathering is a card game that is highly popular here in the united states and, what may come as a surprise,  Russia. the table top battle game that uses strategy and luck is printed in many languages, one of them being Russian. The face of the card containing the card's info is printed in full and eloquent Russian.

The Ruble

As we all know, Russians use the Ruble as their form of currency. A number of other Eastern European countries use the Ruble as well as Russia, however they are mainly comprised of former members of the Soviet Union.  The name Ruble derives from either piece chopped off of a silver ingot or the seam created when the silver is cast into a coin.  The Ruble has existed since 1710, at which time a currency reform was undertaken and resulted in the development of the Kopek as a lesser coin than a Rubel.  The Kopek is a 100 Rubels.  1 Russian Rubel = 0.021 US Dollars.

Recipe for a Cold Day - Winter Borscht with Brisket by Anya Von Bremzen

In Dr. Fowler's Empire! Power! Culture! Introduction to Russian, E. European, and Eurasian Studies class, we read Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing by renowned food blogger and chef Anya Von Bremzen.

My mother is coming to town all the way from Reno, NV on December 2 and staying until the 17. I'm the cook in my family and my mom is looking forward to spending a lot of time in the kitchen with me while she's staying with us. I want to introduce her to some Russian cuisine and I'm already planning on making pel'meni.

My mom is hoping for warm weather but if we have more freezing days like we've had this week, I'm also going to employ this recipe by Anya Von Bremzen, from Food & Wine:

Winter Borscht with Brisket

  • ACTIVE: 1 HR
  • SERVINGS: 10

  1. 3 pounds lean beef brisket, trimmed of any fat
  2. 4 quarts plus 2 cups water
  3. 3 onions, 2 halved, 1 finely chopped
  4. 3 carrots, 2 halved, 1 coarsely shredded
  5. 1 parsnip, halved
  6. 1 bay leaf
  7. 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  8. Kosher salt
  9. 2 large beets (1 1/2 pounds), scrubbed
  10. 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  11. 1 thick slice of meaty bacon
  12. 1 large green bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  13. 2 cups chopped green cabbage
  14. 3 all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  15. 1 cup chopped canned tomatoes
  16. 1 medium Granny Smith apple—peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  17. Freshly ground pepper
  18. 3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  19. Pinch of sugar
  20. 3 garlic cloves, minced
  21. 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  22. Reduced-fat sour cream, chopped dill and sliced scallions, for serving
  1. Cut the brisket into 4 pieces and put them in a large soup pot. Add the water and bring to a boil over high heat, skimming. Add the halved onions, halved carrots, parsnip, bay leaf, peppercorns and a generous pinch of salt. Reduce the heat to low, cover partially and simmer until the meat is just tender, about 3 hours. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the brisket to a cutting board and cut it into 1-inch pieces. Strain the broth into a bowl and discard the vegetables. Let the broth cool and skim off any fat.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°. Wrap the beets individually in foil and bake for 1 hour, or until tender. Let cool slightly, then peel and coarsely grate them.
  3. Wipe out the soup pot, add the vegetable oil and heat. Add the bacon and cook over moderate heat until crisp. Remove the bacon and reserve for another use. Add the chopped onion, shredded carrot and green pepper and cook over moderate heat until just softened, about 7 minutes. Add the cabbage and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes longer. Add the reserved broth, the potatoes, tomatoes, apple and brisket and season with salt and pepper. Cover partially and simmer until the potatoes are barely tender, 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to moderately low, add the beets and cook until the potatoes are very tender, about 30 minutes longer. Stir in the vinegar and sugar and season with salt.
  4. In a mortar, pound the garlic, parsley and 1 teaspoon of pepper to a paste; stir into the soup. Ladle the borscht into deep bowls and serve, passing the sour cream, dill and scallions at the table.

Law & Order Special Victims Unit Russian Adaptation

In 2007, a Russian adaption of the popular American TV show Law & Order Special Victims Unit was created. The show's title is Закон и порядок: отдел оперативных расследований. The series is set in Moscow. Many of the episodes can be found on YouTube. Here are some of the episodes I found on YouTube.

The first four seasons can be found here: Seasons 1-4

Interesting Book

Russian themes:
So when studying Russian history prior to the revolutions in the early 1900s, there are there main themes to keep in mind.
1) Autocracy
2) Empire
3) East or West

When reading the novella Fathers and Sons, by Turgenev it is important to keep these themes in mind to understand the roles and differences between the two generations. Additionally, this book takes place during the timeframe where many new generation Russians were turning against the traditions of the old empire.
I would recommend this book to anyone as a fun read, or as a book for better understanding Russian culture.
Borscht is a type of soup that was originally developed in Ukraine, and has made it's way throughout the surrounding regions. It is now a common food item in Russia. Borscht is generally made from the beetroot, but is sometimes made using tomato as the main ingredient. It can be served hot or cold, and the preparation and consumption experience will differ depending on what temperature you choose. Below is a recipe for hot borscht from ""

  • 2 large or 3 medium beets, thoroughly washed
  • 2 large or 3 medium potatoes, sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 Tbsp of cooking oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • ½ head of cabbage, thinly chopped (see picture)
  • 1 can kidney beans with their juice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10 cups water and 6 cups broth to get 16 cups liquid total
  • 5 Tbsp ketchup
  • 4 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Tbsp chopped dill
  1. Fill a large soup pot with 10 cups of water. Add 2 - 3 beets. Cover and boil for about 1 hour. Once you can smoothly pierce the beets with a butter knife, remove from the water and set aside to cool. Keep the water.
  2. Slice 3 potatoes, add into the same water and boil 15-20 minutes.
  3. Grate both carrots and dice one onion. Add 4 Tbsp of cooking oil to the skillet and saute vegetables until they are soft (7-10 minutes). Stir in ketchup when they are almost done cooking.
  4. Thinly shred ½ a cabbage and add it to the pot when potatoes are half way done.
  5. Next, peal and slice the beets into match sticks and add them back to the pot.
  6. Add 6 cups chicken broth, lemon juice, pepper, bay leaves and can of kidney beans (with their juice) to the pot.
  7. Add sauteed carrots and onion to the pot along with chopped dill.
  8. Cook another 5-10 minutes, until the cabbage is done.


Servings: 36
Categories: Cookies / Desserts / Gingerbread
1  c  Honey
2  ea  Egg
4  tb  Butter
1/2  ts  Baking soda
4  c  Flour
4  tb  Slivered almonds
1  c  Jam <plum, strawberry,
    -blackberry, or peach
1/2  ts  Ginger ground
1/2  ts  Mace ground
1/2  ts  Cinnamon ground
1/2  ts  Cardamom ground
1  c  Confectioner's sugar
4  tb  Lemon juice fresh
Cream butter & honey then beat in the eggs. Stir in the spices & almonds slivers being sure to mix well. Add enough flour to make a soft dough. Wrap dpough in waxed paper & chill for 1-2 hours. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Ona floured board roll out the dough to 1/8" thickness. Use the edge of a glass to cut rounds approx. 2 - 2 1/2" in diameter. Spoon the jam over the center of 1/2 of the rounds, cover with a plain round, seal the edges with a fork or your fingers, place on a greased cooky sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, reduce the heat ro 325 degrees F and bake for 10 minutes more. remoev from oven, cool on a rack, then paint with the glaze. To prepare the glaze mix the sugar & lemon juice. Spoon over the rounds, allow to cool, then...EAT! ORIGIN: Inna Nanchomkov, Tula, Russia, circa 1996

Russian Alcohol Abuse

After all of the fun class discussion about Russia’s relationship with водка, it is interesting to look at this common pastime’s impact on the nation’s health. According to the Central Intelligence Agency, as of 2014, Russian men are expected to live to the ripe old age of about 64, being surpassed by women who are expected to live until their mid-70’s. This death-age gap is found in the United States as well, with women living about 82 years and men only 77. The important thing to note, though, is that men in the United States are, on average, living more than ten years longer than Russian men. Many attribute this drastic difference to the prevalence of alcohol abuse in Russia. It is well known that one of the leading causes of liver disease is alcohol abuse and binge drinking; partnered with the fact that the mortality rate due to alcohol (in 2010) was 20 times higher than in other European countries, it can be seen that Russia has a serious alcohol problem. 

We could use a warm stew in coms today//

In Dr. Fowler's Empire, Power, and Culture class (I highly recommend it!!) we had to create a dish that symbolized Russia, Eastern Europe and Eurasia for our midterm. This is my "quintessential" REES recipe.

My Recipe: Melting Pot Stew
Russia, Eastern Europe, Eurasia, whatever you want to call it. Its a melting pot of ethnic diversity, culture, and ideologies. What better way to combine all these ingredients than in a stew? It makes sense, stews are an easy way to combine your rations. Depending on where in the region you are, you will need to alter the recipe in accordance with what you have on hand. That depends on the seasons, the harvest, who happens to be ruling.. and rationing. Luckily the basics of a stew are pretty simple. The general ingredient base is as follows: meat, vegetable (I am told that Russians like their vegetables VERY soft), and a starch (potatoes ,pasta, rice or widely popular in Romania, polenta)
Here I’ll try to take traditional stews from the whole region, and combine them in a way that would be reminiscent of a “melting pot”. This undefinable region is made of hundreds of different ancient ethnic groups, different environments, different governments, and different traditions. It is not much different than America. Dishes originate when cultures meet. In my opinion, those dishes are the most love-labored and delicious. Point and case: Creole food.  
As much oxtail as you can afford/ are supplied   
Root vegetables (carrots, beets, turnip, parsnip)
For our starch we will use the quintessential dumpling, because anywhere you go will have them.
Sauerkraut after the meal *for good digestion*
Red wine and broth derived from oxtail

  1. Employ your eldest children to chop your root vegetables

  1. Brown the oxtail in a pan with onions and oil or butter  

  1. Add wine to pan with oxtail and onions to create a stock. season to your liking

  1. Add root vegetables to the stock

  1. Add several cups of water

  1. Pan sear the cheese filled dumplings

  1. After some time, pull the oxtails out of the stock

           cut into pieces, reseason, return to stock

  1. Add flour to the stock to thicken if needed

Do not put the dumpling in the pot, instead, pour your stew over them so they do not get too tender and break apart.
Served in big bowls over the dumplings and sauerkraut at the end of the meal for digestion.
Because the dumplings can be pre-made and frozen, this dish is relatively easy. I created this dish thinking of cold winters at home in Massachusetts and the bone-defrosting warmth of my Mom's beef stew. I thought since a large part of this region has cold winters also, this is a cheap, "throw in a pot and cook" kind of dish that represented many different states with the ingredients chosen. Some are more Russian ingredients, some more widely loved in places like Poland or even Hungary. Some, like the dumpling, are universal through the region or even the world.

This is a family meal, a weeknight meal. Eaten at the table with good helpings of daily gossip and anecdotes

Russian Literature Week 2014

"Hemingway acknowledged that he would not have known Leo Tolstoy and Fedor Dostoevsky if not for the translations of Constance Garnett.  How could we learn about other cultures and civilizations without reading their literature?  And how could we do that without translation, the most vital and underappreciated art?"--Antonia W. Bouis, Read Russia Anthology

Chekhov poster image

Russian Literature Week is held annually from December 1st to December 5th in New York, with some online events. It is described as “a celebration of Russian literature in translation featuring distinguished authors, translators, editors, publishers, journalists, filmmakers, broadcasters, & arts, education, and cultural institutions." This year they are celebrating new translations from a large variety of publishers and producers.

The group that organizes this annual event is known as Read Russia. They were founded in 2012 and they have locations in Moscow, New York, and London. They support English translation and publication of Russian works. In addition, they provide international audiences with opportunities to interact with Russia's literary leaders and heritage.


FIFA World Cup 2018

On the 2nd of December in 2010, the FIFA Committee voted on the location for the 2018 World cup.  There were four bids for the World Cup: England, Russia, Belgium/Netherlands and Spain/Portugal. Russia received the majority of votes and will therefore be the host of the 2018 games. As of right now, there are 11 host cities. The most famous ones are Moscow, St. Petersburg and Sochi. Many were concerned that the distances in between the different host cities were too big, but as the World Cup in Brazil worked out perfectly fine, the worries decreased. The host of the World Cup, the world’s second largest sport event, gives Russia ones more the opportunity to show the world that they are an industrialized and modern country.  Let’s hope that until 2018, the tension in between Russia and the Ukraine calmed down and everything works peacefully and without any interruptions.  

"2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™." Web. 19 Nov. 2014. <>