Мысли о еде

Никогда не бойся делать то, что не умеешь. Помни: ковчег был построен любителями. Профессионалы построили «Титаник».
Десерт без сыра - это все равно что красавица без одного глаза - Жан-Антельм Брилья-Саварен
Ловите момент. Вспомните о всех тех женщинах с "Титаника," которые отказались от десерта.- Эрма Бомбек
Мои слабости - это еда и мужчины. Именно в таком порядке. - Долли Партон
Если вы пошли в магазин за хлебом, вероятность того, что вы выйдете оттуда только с буханкой хлеба - один к трем миллиардам. - Эрма Бомбек
Все что нам нужно - это любовь, но немного шоколада там и сям тоже не повредит. - Чарльз Шульц
Не откладывай до ужина того, что можешь съесть за обедом. - А.С. Пушкин
Я боюсь от "Хеннесси" изжоги или аллергии на икру, что в большой квартире на Рублевке потеряюсь ночью и умру. - КВН-овская песня
Всё, что мне в жизни нравится, – либо безнравственно, либо от этого полнеют. - Франсуа де Ларошфуко
В процессе приготовления еды я использую вино. Иногда я даже добавляю его в блюда. - В.С. Филдс.
Как можно управлять страной, в которой существует 246 сортов сыра?" - Шарль де Голль
Какая гадость, какая гадость эта ваша заливная рыба! - Ипполит в фильме "Ирония судьбы"
Икру я есть просто не могу, но приходится себя заставлять. - Героиня Одри Тоту в фильме «Роковая красотка»
При крупных неприятностях я отказываю себе во всём, кроме еды и питья. Оскар Уайльд
Чем отличается муж от бойфренда? Тридцатью фунтами! - Синди Гарнер
Камамбер… это ещё один друг человека в трудный момент.- Жорж Клемансо
Ты что, с ума сошел? Дорогой друг издалека прилетает на минуточку - а у вас нет торта! - Карлсон, который живет на крыше.
На нашей улице есть пекарня под названием "Бонжур, круассан!" Так и тянет поехать в Париж и открыть пекарню "Хэлло, тост!" - Фрэн Лебовиц.
А я в Вашингтоне открою пекарню "ЗдорОво, блин! - Марина Р.
Еда здесь совершенно ужасная, а порции слишком маленькие. - Вуди Аллен
Робот никогда не заменит человека! - Людоед
Хочешь меня узнать, поешь со мной. - Джеймс Джойс
Э-э-э, дорогой! Какой такой павлин-мавлин? Не видишь - мы кушяем... - Джинн из М-ф 'Приключения Мюнхаузена'
Если в стране нет по меньшей мере пятидесяти сортов сыра и хорошего вина, значит, страна дошла до ручки. Сальвадор Дали
Тщательно пережёвывая пищу, ты помогаешь обществу. - Илья Ильф и Евгений Петров, «12 стульев»
Ничто так не красит стол, как петарда в оливье! - Народная мудрость.
Если к вам неожиданно пришли гости, а в доме ничего нет, спуститесь в погреб и возьмите баранью ногу. - Елена Молоховец
А мёд... я никак не пойму, в чём секрет... Мёд если есть... то его сразу нет! - Винни-пух
Меня сегодня будут фотографировать для журнала "Искусный кулинар". Мне нужно срочно помыться и купить новые стельки! - Фрекен Бок
Я уже три дня не ел лобстеров. - Зажравшийся чиновник (КВН-овская шутка)
Голод не тетка - в лес не убежит. - Народная мудрость
Ничто так не улучшает вкуса домашних блюд, как изучение цен в ресторане. - Народная мудрость

3.3.11

Basic bliny (Russian pancakes)

 
[On the request of my students, I am reposting one of my popular bliny recipes in English.]
Over the years I have cooked many Russian dishes for my English-speaking students and friends. Some of them are always received enthusiastically, others breed more suspicious looks. But one dish is always a big hit with the American audience, and that is bliny! 
Bliny (Rus. "блины") is the Russian version of pancakes. English language cookbooks and food blogs usually say that bliny are "small, fluffy, made of buckwheat flour, and served with caviar." This stereotype probably has roots in Russian-French first wave emigree cuisine, but it is not accurate. Archetypal Russian bliny are usually large and very thin. Buckwheat bliny do exist (they are actually more ancient, more historic, and now a lot of Russian cooks are starting to make them again), but white wheat ones are still way more common. As for caviar, it is a fairly typical topping, but again, not the only one and not the most popular one.
Good bliny are supposed to be very thin, not too "doughy", tender, delicate, but not too fragile. Lots of people like them "lacy", i.e., with a lot of tiny little holes. Recipes vary, and the batter may be yeast-based, kefir-based, milk-based, or water-based, with or without eggs, with or without baking soda, with or without melted butter or vegetable oil. Every cook and every family has a favorite recipe! My late Granny always made the most basic, economical ones: just flour, yeast, water, a bit of salt and sugar, no eggs or oil at all, and my, were they delicious! My Mom favors kefir-based ones - extremely delicate and soft, with a slightly tart shade of taste. They are also excellent. I make various types depending on my mood and the fillings/toppings I plan to use. I prefer to put savory fillings like ground meat, chicken, or fried cabbage into "sturdier" and slightly thicker yeast-based bliny, and farmer cheese, in my opinion, goes really well with kefir-based ones. But, if I just want to make a stack of plain bliny to eat with jams, honey, or sour cream, my go-to batter recipe is milk-based.
The milk-based bliny are especially thin and closely resemble French crêpes. If you are new to bliny-making, this is the safest choice: they are least tricky and the easiest to make. Milk-based batter spreads really nicely on the pan, does not stick, and they are very easy to flip. These bliny are delicate and tender, yet not prone to tears or lumps. I really do recommend this recipe, and, when you master it, you can venture further out into the dangerous territory of yeast, buckwheat flour, and fermented milk :)
This recipe is truly "tested and trusted": I have been using it for about 5 years now, making bliny very often, and the original Russian version of this post has had about 25 000 views!
Ingredients:
3/4 cup (120 g) all-purpose flour
large pinch of salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 2/3 cup (400 ml) milk 
2 large eggs
1/2 stick (60 g) butter 
Sift the flour into a big bowl. 
Mix in salt and sugar with a whisk.
Gradually pour in the milk, whisking constantly.

Add eggs one by one, whisking after each. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let the batter stand for 30-60 minutes at room temperature. This is really important: it allows gluten to develop, so the bliny batter would be easier to pour, the pancakes would be easier to flip, and less prone to tearing.
Add melted butter, cooled to room temperature, whisk again. And now it is time to bake bliny!
[A couple words about pans. Russians, unlike the French, are not huge fans of highly specialized cookware. A typical Russian household usually does not own a "crepe pan" or an "omelette pan." A skilled (and humble) cook like yours truly can make bliny on practically any pan or skillet: cast iron, ceramic, teflon non-stick etc. But, if you are just starting, choose an old, well-seasoned, well-used, "trusted" frying pan that usually does not stick, with a smooth, undamaged surface, and slanting, rounded sides. However, I have had excellent results with a completely new T-fal "red dot" pan as well. The good thing is that this specific batter recipe is very low-maintenance and forgiving.]
Heat the pan well on high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-high. Grease the pan with vegetable oil lightly using a silicone brush. [I usually grease the pan only before the first blin, just to be on the safe side. For further ones, greasing is usually not required. But you can grease the pan after, say, every five bliny, to make things easier.] Drop a tiny amount of batter on the pan. If it sizzles, you are ready to go.
Lift the pan with one hand, and laddle about half a cup of batter onto the middle of the pan. Quickly spread the batter all over the pan by moving the pan in a circular up-and-down motion. Try not to spread the batter on the sides of the pan, use only the bottom. Bake about a minute. When the blin looks dry, loosen it gently from the bottom of the pan with a large spatula (I like the one that is usually used to flip burgers) and flip carefully.
Bake for another minute. Bliny are ready when they turn golden brown.
If a blin dries up/burns too quickly, or if you see large "air pockets" forming under it, reduce the heat to medium.
I usually use two pans simultaneously to speed up the process: you pour batter on one, then on the other, then flip the first one, flip the second one, de-pan the first one, pour new batter on it, de-pan the second one, lather, rinse, repeat. But, if it seems too scary, just stick to one pan for now.
[Troubleshooting tips. If the batter does not spread well on the pan, add a little water to it. If the blin sticks to the pan, let it bake a bit more and become slightly drier. If this does not help, scrape it off, grease the pan well, heat nicely, and try again. You might also want to try another pan. If there is a major stickage problem, add another egg to the batter to improve elasticity. But hopefully, you will not have these issues, since the proportions of ingredients in this batter are really good and time-tested.]
Stack the bliny on a large plate, buttering each one a bit more, if you wish, especially if the edges look dry. I also cover the stack with a lid between adding new bliny to the plate, which helps to keep them soft and slightly moist.
To serve the bliny, we usually put the whole big stack on a plate in the middle of the table, surround it with various toppings, and let the people serve themselves and have fun. Bliny is a very social meal!
It is also worth mentioning that we do not necessarily view bliny as a breakfast dish or as dessert. Sure, they can be  (and often are) made for breakfast, especially on a week-end morning, but very often they are a full meal, be it breakfast, lunch, or dinner, on any day of the week. And you do not eat just one or two! A typical person probably eats between 4 and 10 of them!
Popular toppings and spreads include
  • Black or red caviar (it is expensive, especially the black one, so we use it quite seldom, mostly on special occasions)
  • Smaller fish roe spread (similar to taramasalata)
  • Smoked salmon (or lox), or another type of smoked or brined fish, sometimes homamade
  • Sour cream
  • Honey
  • Various jams and fruit/berry preserves, often homemade
  • Condensed milk (sometimes cooked/caramelized, similar to dolce de leche)
We often make stuffed bliny with various fillings as well. In that case they are rolled into "envelopes" and often pan-fried in butter or oil before serving. Here is the process:
 

 
Typical fillings for stuffed bliny would include
  • Sauteed ground meat with onions
  • Sauteed mushrooms, often with onions and hard-boiled eggs
  • Green onions with hard-boiled eggs
  • Sauteed cabbage, often with onions and hard-boiled eggs
  • Farmer cheese ("tvorog"), usually sweetened
  • Fruit or berries


Enjoy!

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