Posts Tagged ‘carrots’

Olivier (pronounded o-liv-ee-ay) is a staple of any Russian New Year table. The original recipe was invented in the 1860’s by Lucien Olivier, the French chef of the Hermitage restaurant in Moscow. The exact original recipe is unknown, but it’s said to have contained grouse (a type of bird), veal tongue, caviar, lettuce, crayfish tails, capers, pickles, cucumbers, hard-boiled eggs and possibly soy beans.

One of the Hermitage sous-chefs, Ivan Ivanov, secretly attempted to learn the recipe by observing Olivier. Soon after, Ivanov left to work for a rival restaurant called Moskva. There, he began to serve a suspiciously similar salad called “The Capital Salad” – although it was reported that the recipe was of a lower quality than Olivier’s and that it was missing something.

Ivanov eventually sold the recipe to various publishers. In 1905, the Hermitage restaurant closed and Chef Olivier left Russia. From then on, the salad could be referred to as “Olivier”.

One of the first printed recipes for the Olivier salad (1894) called for half a hazel grouse, two potatoes, one small cucumber (or a large cornichon), 3-4 lettuce leaves, 3 large crawfish tails, 1/4 cup cubed aspic, 1 teaspoon of capers and 3-5 olives and 1 1/2 tablespoon provencal dressing (mayonnaise).

Because many of the salad’s ingredients were rare, expensive, or seasonal, they were gradually replaced with cheaper and more common foods, until it evolved into today’s version.

If you try to Google “Olivier recipe”, you’ll notice that no two recipes are alike – everyone seems to have their own version. Meat or no meat… if there is meat, it may be either tongue, chicken or bologna… white onion, red onion, or green onion… straight mayonnaise or a mixture of mayonnaise and sour cream… etc.

This was my first attempt at making the salad. Beware that my recipe makes A LOT! I started with a medium-sized bowl and quickly had to upgrade to a larger bowl.

Olivier (Russian Salad)
serves a lot!

1/2 lb. – 1lb. bologna
1 (15 oz.) can of sweet peas
3 medium-sized potatoes
4-5 medium-sized carrots
5 eggs
1 bunch of green onions
1 bunch of fresh dill
4-5 pickled dill cucumbers (pickled with salt, not vinegar)
ground black pepper

1. Boil the carrots and potatoes ahead of time and hard-boil the eggs; make sure they are cooled to room temperature before making the salad.

(A trick to boiling the potatoes is to quarter them and boil them with the skin ON – this will prevent them from turning to mush)

2.  Skin the boiled potatoes and dice them into small cubes. Add to a large bowl:

cubed boiled potatoes

3. Skin and dice the carrots into small cubes (about the same size as the potatoes); add them to the bowl. The goal is to keep everything to about the same size:

diced boiled carrots

4. Drain the can of peas and add the peas to the bowl:

canned sweet peas

5. Dice the eggs into small cubes and add them to the bowl:

diced hard-boiled eggs

6. Dice the pickles into small cubes and add them to the bowl:

cubed dill pickles

7. Dice the bologna into small cubes and add them to the bowl:

cubed bologna

8. Slice the green onions (tops and whites) and add them to the bowl:

sliced green onions

9. Chop the dill and add it to the bowl:

chopped dill

10. Season with salt and pepper and add the mayonnaise – no specific amounts here – just add them all to taste. Mix everything well.

finished salad

Enjoy – and Happy New Year 🙂

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Another soup, and another Martha recipe 🙂

I found this recipe a little over a month ago, and I’ve made it twice since then – that should give you an idea of how simple and tasty it is. Start to finish, it takes about 30 minutes – unheard of for soup!

The first thing that makes this recipe so quick is that it uses already-cooked turkey. Ideally, you’d use leftovers from Thanksgiving or Christmas. I did not, so I used Butterball Oven Roasted Turkey Breast Strips.

The second thing that makes the recipe quick is that it uses already-made stock. The original recipe calls for stock that you made yourself ahead of time (it is a Martha Stewart recipe, afterall). But I’ve never had great luck with homemade stocks – they take forever and they never seem to taste as good as the store-bought stuff! So I used “Better Than Bullion” Turkey Base.  It was my first time using it, and I’m a big big fan!

(I modified the recipe a bit – I added a potato and omitted a sprig of rosemary.)

Turkey Noodle Soup
adapted from Everyday Food, (month unknown) 2009

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 celery stalks, diced medium
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
1 medium white onion, diced medium
coarse salt and ground pepper
8 cups turkey stock (if using Better Than Bullion: 3 tablespoons turkey base + 8 cups water)
1 large potato, cut into dice-sized pieces
2 cups wide egg noodles
3/4 pound shredded cooked turkey

1. In a 6-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add celery, carrots, onion, 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until onion softens and slightly browns, about 3-5 minutes.

2. Add stock and bring to a rapid simmer. Add potatoes and cook 5 minutes. Add noodles, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and simmer until noodles are tender, 10-12 minutes. Turn off heat and add turkey to heat through.

Serves 6

winter is soup season

1 serving = 5 Weight Watchers points

calories: 257
fat: 6.8g (2.3g saturated)
carbs: 24.6g (fiber: 3.0g)

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one of the chicken breasts plated

I love the May issue of Cooking Light- so many good recipes to try! I made this recipe earlier in the week, one one of our non-gym nights. It took awhile, but it was worth it. The wine added a delicious stew-like flavor, and the little pearl onions were so yummy!

My only gripe is that the carrots were nasty – but I hate carrots, so I’m biased! I only left them in the recipe because I thought they looked nice and spring-like 🙂

The original recipe also called for 12 baby turnips (to be added with the carrots and onions), but I couldn’t find any at the grocery store.

Braised Chicken with Baby Vegetables and Peas
adapted from Cooking Light, May 2009

2  tablespoons  butter, divided
2  bone-in chicken breast halves, skinned
2  bone-in chicken thighs, skinned
2  chicken drumsticks, skinned
1/2  teaspoon  salt
1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
2  (14-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1  cup  dry white wine
1/2  teaspoon  chopped fresh thyme
12  baby carrots, peeled (about 8 ounces)
12  pearl onions, peeled (about 8 ounces)
6  fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
2  bay leaves
2  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
3/4  cup  fresh green peas
2  tablespoons  chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken evenly with salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan; sauté 5 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove from pan.

browning the chicken

browning the chicken

Add broth to pan; cook 1 minute, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add wine and next 6 ingredients (through bay leaves); stir. Add chicken to pan, nestling into vegetable mixture; bring to a boil.

after adding the liquids

after adding the liquids

Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until chicken is done. Discard bay leaves and parsley sprigs. Remove chicken and vegetables from the pan.

Place a zip-top plastic bag inside a 2-cup glass measure. Pour cooking liquid into bag; let stand 10 minutes (fat will rise to the top).

letting the fat rise to the top

letting the fat rise to the top

(Watch out… this next part is a little tricky and semi-messy!) Seal bag; carefully snip off 1 bottom corner of bag. Drain drippings back into pan, stopping before fat layer reaches opening; discard fat. Return liquid to pan. Bring liquid to a boil; cook until reduced to 1 1/2 cups (about 5 minutes).

Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a small skillet. Add flour, stirring until smooth. Add flour mixture to cooking liquid; cook 2 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Return chicken and vegetable mixture to pan; stir in peas. Cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Garnish with chopped parsley (I forgot to garnish mine!!)

serves 4



a close-up of the finished product

a close-up of the finished product


one of the chicken breasts plated

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Look! A new post!!

I’ve been neglectful again.  I haven’t stopped cooking – I’ve been forgetting to take pictures. And without the pictures, what good is a cooking blog post?

I almost forgot to take pictures of this soup. And then the camera almost died on me (low battery). It’s a miracle that I actually have some material to work with here!

This recipe is from the March issue of Cooking Light, in the “Lunch to go” article. For the past couple of months, I’ve been packing lunch for Stas… sometimes it’s a wrap, sometimes some borscht, sometimes leftovers. I try to switch it up so he doesn’t get bored. (So I really hope he likes this soup!) I chose this recipe simply because I’ve never made a beef & barley soup before…



Barley and Beef Soup
from Cooking Light, March 2009

cooking spray (I used sunflower oil)
2 cups chopped onion (about 1 large)
1 pound chuck steak, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups chopped, peeled carrot (about 4)
1 cup chopped celery (about 4 stalks)
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup uncooked bearl barley
5 cups fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
2 cups water
1/2 cup tomato puree
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 bay leaves

Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat. Coat with cooking spray (or oil). Add chopped onions and beef; cook 10 minutes or until onion is tender and beef is browned, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.


chuck steak fillets


beef & onions in dutch oven

Add chopped carrot and celery to dutch oven; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds. Stir in barley and remaining ingredients, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and summer 40 minutes, or until the barley is done and vegetables are tender. Discard bay leaves.


after adding carrots & celery



Serves 6 (serving size: 1 3/4 cups)

This is the type of recipe that improves with time. So if you can, make it the day before you plan to eat it.



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Yesterday I made a big pot of borscht. I don’t like borscht (I hate beets) but Stas (of course) LOVES it, so he was a very happy man.

Whenever I make borscht, I end up with leftover beets and carrots. They usually just sit in my fridge for awhile, and eventually go bad. In addition to beets, I hate carrots… so I’m never motivated to actually use them – and I don’t know many recipes that call for them (besides borscht).

Until tonight…

I recently subscribed to Eating Well Magazine, through my Delta frequent flier miles. I’m not sure if I actually like the magazine yet, but I did get one good recipe out of this issue. And now I know exactly what to do with leftover beets or carrots!

Shredded Beet and Carrot Pancakes
from Eating Well, November/December 2008

1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup flour
3 tablespoons chopped scallions
1 tablespoon fresh dill (plus more for garnish)
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 cups peeled and shredded beets and/or carrots
oil, for frying (I used sunflower oil)
sour cream, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Combine egg, flour, scallions, dill, horseradish, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Stir in vegetables.

3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook 4 pancakes per batch: place about 1/4 cup beet/carrot mixture into pan and flatten with a spatula (flatten so that they are 2 or 3 inch pancakes). Cook until crispy and golden, 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer them to the prepared baking sheet. Finish the remaining pancakes. When finish pan-frying, transfer them to the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Garnish with sour cream and dill.

Serves 6 (2 pancakes per person)

imgp3675 imgp3671

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