Turkey with Apricots, Tomatoes and Cinnamon in Moldovan Style !

O, soare balcanic, revărsat peste văile şi dealurile moldave, o, acele iubiriscurte, scînteietoare, istovitoare, cît de mult aduceţi voi în scurta noastră trecere pe acest pămînt, şi cît de mult luaţi cu voi pentru a nu le mai întoarce niciodată…

Ion Druță, Frunze de dor
Turkey with Apricots, Tomato and Cinnamon in Moldovan Style

Ingredients (4 servings):
– 750g turkey breast
– 12 apricots
– 6 tomatoes
– 2 red onions
– 1 tsp paprika
– 0.5 tsp cinnamon
– 1 tsp sugar
– 1 tsp vinegar
– 0.5 cup water
– 2 tbsp water
– 250g golden millet

Method:
1 Cut turkey in 1-2cm cubes
2 Peel and chop onion
3 Wash and slice tomatoes and apricots
3 Preheat two skillets and melt 1 tbsp butter in each: put turkey cubes on one skillet and chopped onion on another, cook for 5 minutes
4 Add to onion: chopped tomatoes, sugar, paprika and cinnamon – stew for 5 minutes at medium heat slightly stirring
5 Add to turkey: onion-tomatoes-spices mixture – stew for 10 minutes at medium heat
6 Add to turkey & Co: apricot slices, vinegar, water and salt: stew for 10 minutes at medium heat – done!
7 Serve turkey with cooked golden millet and enjoy!

Cabbage Rolls with Minced Beef: tasty and healthy lunch

…nothing could be more pleasant than to live in solitude, enjoy the spectacle of nature, and occasionally read some book…

Nikolai Gogol

Ingredients (for 12 cabbage rolls):
– 1 pointed head cabbage (it is more tender for this recipe than white cabbage)
– 4oog minced beef
– 120g rice
– 1 red onion
– 250g mashed tomatoes (tomato passata) 🍅
– 1.5 tsp salt
– 0.5 tsp black pepper
– 200g sour cream for serving

Directions:

1 Boil rice until ready
2 Carefully separate cabbage leaves and boil them for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a plate to cool down
3 Chop onion
4 Mix minced beef with boiled rice, chopped onion, salt and black pepper
5 Put 1-2 tbsp beef mixture on one cabbage leave and pack into a roll 🙂
6 Put cabbage rolls side to side in the saucepan and cover with water 1-2 cm above, then add mashed tomatoes: I cooked in 2 saucepans with 125g mashed tomatoes in each
7 Boil cabbage rolls for 30-35 minutes covered with a lid
8 Serve cabbage rolls with cooking broth, sour cream and chopped parsley!

Chicken Strips with Polenta Crust !

Youth is happy because it has the capacity to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.

F. Kafka
Chicken strips with polenta crust

Ingredients (2-3 portions):
– 2 chicken breasts
– 100ml yoghurt
– 100g cornmeal
– olive oil (if frying on the skillet)
– 1tsp salt & 1/2tsp black pepper

Serving ingredients:
– 4 lemon slices
– 200g sour cream
– a few sprigs of scallion

Method:

1 Wash chicken breasts and cut in 1cm width and 0.5cm height stripes
2 Marinate chicken stripes in yoghurt for 2 hours with some salt & pepper
3 Preheat non-sticking skillet with some olive oil or pre-heat the oven at 190C
4 Dip each chicken strip in cornmeal and put on the skillet
5 Fry chicken strips for 5-8 minutes each side until golden or, for a more healthy option, bake the chicken stripes without oil for 20 minutes at 190C
6 Serve with lemon, sour cream and chopped scallion! 🙂

Potato Zrazy with Minced Beef !

When the heart speaks, the mind finds it indecent to object.

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Potato Zrazy with minced beef

Dough ingredients (3-4 servings):
– 1kg (weight unpeeled) potatoes
– 2 eggs
– 6-8tbsp flour
– 1 bunch scallion
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1 tbsp olive oil for frying

Filling ingredients:
– 300g minced beef
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1/2 tsp black pepper

Sauce ingredients:
– 200g sour cream
– a few sprigs chopped scallion

Method:

1 Beef filling
1.1 Cook minced beef for 40 minutes in salted water
1.2 Drain the broth in another pan
1.3 Mix boil beef with black pepper and salt
2 Potato dough
2.1 Wash and peel potatoes
2.2 Cut potatoes into 2cm cubes
2.3 Boil potato cubes for 20-25 minutes in salted water
2.4 Drain water and mash potatoes
2.5 Combine mashed potatoes+2eggs+6-8tbsp flour+1/2tsp salt+chopped scallion: mix until smooth
3 Zrazy (Potato Cutlets)
3.1 Preheat the non-sticking skillet with some olive oil
3.2 Shape a flat round out of potato dough and put beef filling in the middle: enclose with a second potato round 🙂
3.3 Fry each potato dumpling 3-4 minutes each side
3.4 Absorb extra oil with paper towels
4 Serve Zrazy (Potato Cutlets) with sour cream mixed with chopped scallion
5 Enjoy !

Simple Pilaf with Chicken cooked in oven !

One kind word can warm three winter months

Japanese proverb
Pilaf with Chicken in the oven

Ingredients (4 servings):
250g rice
– 400g chicken breast
– 5 (~390g unpeeled) medium carrots
– 2 small red onions
– 3 tbsp sunflower oil
– 1.5 tsp salt
– 0.5 tsp black pepper
– a few parsley sprigs for serving

Method:

1 Wash rice and soak in water for 30 minutes
2 Grate carrots and chop onions
3 Wash chicken breasts and absorb extra water with paper towels
4 Cut chicken breast into 0.5-1 cm pieces and fry
5 Fry chicken pieces with sunflower oil for 10 minutes at medium heat
6 Add carrots, onion, salt, pepper to the chicken: stew for another 15 minutes
7 Preheat the oven to 200C
8 Drain water from the rice
9 Boil 1.5l water in the teapot
10 Put in the four ceramic pots (I have 0.5l pots):
10.1 Chicken with vegetables
10.2 Rice ~2-3 tbsp per pot
10.3 Pour boiled water in each ceramic pot to cover the rice ~1cm
11 Cook the Pilaf in the oven for 40 minutes with covered lids
12 Serve with chopped parsley and enjoy ! 🙂

Chicken baked with Quince !

Without you I wouldn’t have moved this way, to speak the language of flowers.

Vladimir Nabokov
Chicken Baked with Quince

Ingredients (2 servings):
– 2 chicken breasts
– 1 large quince
– salt and pepper

Serving ingredients:
– small bunch of fresh rucola
– 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Method:

1 Preheat the oven to 180C
2 Wash well and de-seed quince. Then cut into 0.3-0.5cm width slices
3 Wash chicken breasts and dry with paper towel
4 Put the chicken breasts in the baking form and make wide cross cuts to fit in the quince slices
5 Pepper and salt the chicken
6 Put the quince slices into the cuts
7 Bake for 30 minutes at 180C
8 Serve with fresh rucola and do not forget to sprinkle with balsamic vinegar 😉
9 Have a wonderful day !

Pelmeni: Dumplings with Beef and Pork !

Patsuk opened his mouth, stared at the vareniki, and opened his mouth wider still. At that moment, a varenik jumped out of the bowl, splashed into the cream, flipped over and leapt straight up into his mouth. Patsuk opened his mouth again, and another varenik went through the same performance. The only trouble he took was to munch it up and swallow it.

Nikolai Gogol, Christmas Eve
Pelmeni

Dough ingredients (~70 Pelmeni = 4-6 portions):
– 3 cups (1 cup = 250ml) wheat flour
– 170ml warm water
– 1 tablespoon 9% vinegar
– 2 and 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
– 1/2 teaspoon salt

Filling ingredients (~70 Pelmeni = 4-6 portions):
– 250g minced beef
– 250g minced pork
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
– 1 onion or 1 bunch of chopped chives

Serving ingredients (for 2 portions):
– 200g sour cream
– 2 teaspoons butter
– 1/2 bunch dill or 1/2 bunch parsley

Method:

1 Knead a dough from dough ingredients and transfer it to the fridge in a covered bowl for 30 minutes
2 Combine minced meat (no extra water!) + salt + black pepper + finely chopped onion or chives: mix everything well with a fork
3 Separate dough into 6 equal pieces: form a 1.5cm diameter sausage from each piece
4 Cut each sausage into 1cm width pieces and roll out each piece into a 5cm diameter round 🙂
5 Put 1 teaspoon filling into each round, fold the round into a half-moon and pinch all the edges together strongly with fingers, do it two times. Then pull together two corners and pinch strongly with fingers again. 🙂
6 Boil Pelmeni for 5 minutes in boiling water (at least 3 minutes after Pelmeni are floating on the top) and serve with sour cream, butter and fresh chopped parsley or dill
7 Enjoy !

Beef with Green Beans: perfect lunch or dinner !

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Lao Tzu
Beef with Green Beans

Side dish ingredients (all ingredients for 2 servings):
– 120g rice
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 400g green beans

Beef & marinade ingredients:
– 350g beef
– 1 onion
– 3 garlic cloves
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1-2 tablespoons vinegar
– 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
– olive oil for frying

Serving ingredients:
– 1/2 bunch parsley
– 1/2 bunch green onions

Directions:
1 Marinated beef:
1.1 Wash beef, remove extra water with paper towels
1.2 Slice beef into 2-4mm width pieces: the thinner the better!
1.3 Mix in a large bowl beef slices, vinegar, salt, black pepper, sliced onion
1.4 Put the bowl in the fridge for 2 hours, then get rid of onion 🙂
2 Cook rice in salted water, keep it warm 🙂
3 Green beans:
3.1 Trim ends of washed green beans
3.2 Boil green beans in salted water for 5 minutes. Then drain extra water.
4 Cooking beef slices:
4.1 Pre-heat frying pan, add some olive oil
4.2 Fry beef slices for 10 minutes at medium heat, stirring occasionally
4.3 Add green beans and cook for another 5 minutes
4.4 Add grated garlic 🧄🧄🧄 and cook for another minute continuously stirring
5 Serve hot with rice and chopped parsley and green onions !

Notes: inspired by Restaurant Style Beef and Broccoli Recipe

Delicious Beef Stuffed Potato Pancakes (Draniki) with a garlic sauce !

For he would be thinking of love
Till the stars had run away,
And the shadows eaten the moon.

W.B. Yeast
Beef Stuffed Potato Pancakes

Pancakes batter ingredients (for 8 pancakes = 2 servings):
– 8-10 large potatoes
– 2 tablespoons potato starch
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Pancakes filling ingredients:
– 100g boiled minced beef
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Serving ingredients:
– 200g sour cream
– 3 garlic cloves
– 1/2 bunch fresh parsley

Directions:
1 Beef filling:
1.1 Boil minced beef until ready, drain broth and let the meat cool down
1.2 Combine meat with salt and black pepper: mix well
2 Potato batter:
2.1 Wash and peel potatoes
2.2 Grate half of potatoes and crush in a blender another half of potatoes
2.3 Combine both parts of potatoes: drain extra liquid through a strainer or cloth
2.4 Mix potatoes with salt, pepper and starch
3 Garlic sauce: mix grated garlic with sour cream and put in a fridge
4 Potato pancakes:
4.1 Preheat a non-sticking frying pan with some olive oil
4.2 Put 1 tablespoon of potato batter on the frying pan for 1 pancake-to-be: make it flat and round with a tablespoon 🙂
4.3 Put 1-2 teaspoons of meat filling uniformly on each pancake-to-be
4.4 Put another tablespoon of potato batter over each pancake with meat: flatten with a tablespoon to make it nice looking 🙂
4.5 Fry pancakes at a medium heat until golden approximately 3-4 minutes each side
4.6 Transfer the pancakes on paper towels to absorb extra oil for a couple of minutes
5 Serve the pancakes hot with garlic sauce and fresh parsley !

Notes: no eggs and no flour in this recipe make the potato pancakes really delicious preserving a potato flavour ! Try them yourself !

Chicken Shashlik with Rhubarb: serving idea !

Ye wilds, that look eternal; and thou cave,
Which seem’st unfathomable; and ye mountains,
So varied and so terrible in beauty;
Here, in your rugged majesty of rocks

Lord Byron about Caucasus mountains in “Heaven and Earth”
Chicken Shashlik with Rhubarb Recipe

Shashlik ingredients (2 servings):
– 300g chicken breast
– 1 rhubarb stalk

Marinade ingredients:
– juice of 1/3 lemon
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1/3 teaspoon black pepper
– 3 cloves grated garlic

Method:
1 Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix them well
2 Chop chicken in 1cm pieces, put them to the marinade & keep in the fridge for 2 hours
3 Preheat the oven to 200C
4 Peel rhubarb and chop into 0.5cm width pieces
5 Put rhubarb and chicken pieces one by one on the tooth sticks
6 Transfer tooth sticks into the baking form: bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 180C
7 Serve with mashed potato and fresh chopped parsley !