Posts Tagged ‘dill’

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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I found a zucchini recipe that Stas likes!

It wasn’t a huge surprise, though – this dish contains dill and sour cream (the 2 components of what I call ‘Russian crack’). If I haven’t mentioned this before in my blog, I have a theory that no Russian can resist dill or sour cream. This irresistableness (is that a word?) increases tenfold when the two are combined.

Anyway, on to the recipe…

Dilled Zucchini

equivalent of 6 small zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch slices
3 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
1/2 cup sour cream (I used a combo of 1/4 cup fat free and 1/4 cup regular)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, sliced and separated into rings
2 tablespoons olive oil

1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini, garlic, and onion and cook for 8-10 minutes (or until zucchini is light brown), stirring occasionally.


zucchini and onions, before going into the pan

zucchini and onions: before

zucchini and onions: before

zucchini and onions: after

zucchini and onions: after

2. Season to taste with salt and pepper; remove from heat.

3. Mix the sour cream and dill; stir into the zucchini mixture.

sour cream and dill mixture

sour cream and dill mixture


the finished side dish

4. Serve warm or at room temperature.

serves 6

(Weight Watchers points will depend on the type and amount of sour cream you use – adjust accordingly)

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Stas is home from Ukraine!!! 🙂

Tuesday night, I planned on making a recipe from the new Cooking Light magazine – a chicken recipe. But then I realized that I needed to marinate the chicken for 8 hours… I didn’t have 8 hours. On to plan B!

I went onto the Cooking Light website and searched for a quick chicken recipe. This one immediately caught my eye – the ingredients sounded so strange together! Mustard, maple syrup, orange rind, onions, and dill?! Even though I knew it was risky, I had to try it!

I ended up buying turkey breasts for the recipe because they were cheaper than chicken breasts.

The verdict? Yummy! Even Stas liked it… and he normally doesn’t like sauces much. Or onions. Or sweet stuff 🙂

The best part was that it was quick – and I got to use up some of the maple syrup I had in the fridge from a Thanksgiving recipe! 🙂


Turkey Breast Cutlets with Maple-Mustard Dill Sauce
adapted from Cooking Light, November 2006

4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless turkey breast halves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
cooking spray
2 tablespoons chopped onion
6 tablespoons real maple syrup
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
1 teaspoon grated orange rind

1. Place each turkey breast half between 2 sheets of plastic wrap; pound each to 1/4-inch thickness with a meat mallet. Sprinkle turkey evenly with salt and pepper. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat with cooking spray. Add turkey to pan and cook about 4 minutes on each side, or until done. Transfer turkey to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

2. Add onion to pan; cook for 1 minute. Add syrup, mustard, water, dill, and orange rind; cook for 1 minute, or until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently. Serve sauce over turkey.

serves 4.

adding onions to pan

adding onions to pan

stirring the sauce

stirring the sauce

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One of my favorite blogs, Sassy Radish posted a recipe for “Spicy Tomato Soup with Cilantro Stems” on Tuesday. It was the picture that immediately caught my eye – it looked soooo yummy.

But then I read the title of the post and I was heartbroken…

There are two types of people: those who hate cilantro and those who love cilantro. I am in that first group – I can’t stand even the smell of that stuff! I try to avoid it at all costs. But there has been more than one occasion where I have – in a hurry- picked up a bunch of cilantro instead of parsley at the grocery store. Oh the disgust!!!

But enough of that…

The picture on Radish’s blog looked way too good to write off all-together. PLUS, the recipe was adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe… and I love Martha! So I immediately thought of trying basil or dill instead. Radish’s declaration of the dill being “compelling” was all the encouragement I needed…


Spicy Tomato Soup with Dill
adapted from Sassy Radish, who adapted from Martha Stewart

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red onion (about 8 ounces), diced
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup fresh dill, roughly chopped
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 can (28 ounces) plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon lime juice
sour cream to garnish

Step 1: Heat olive oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sautee until onions are soft and translucent (5 to 7 minutes). Add salt, pepper, dill and jalapeno.

Step 2: Place a sieve or mesh strainer over the saucepan and pour the can of tomatoes into it. Remove the whole tomatoes, seed them, and chop coarsely. Press the juice and any remaining tomato pieces through the sieve. Add 2 cups of water and stir to combine. Simmer for about 30 minutes.

Step 3: Add lime juice and adjust seasoning. Add a dollop of sour cream to each bowl when serving.

Serves 4.



Stas’ first question when he saw the soup was “is that borscht?” (note to self: make some borscht soon!)

He’ll eat just about anything – but that doesn’t mean he enjoys everything. And he’s actually pretty picky when it comes to his soups. But it was a huge hit with him, and he went back for a 2nd serving 🙂

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Tonight’s main dish was leftover beef stew from Saturday’s big batch. Stas had been asking for it for awile, and I had been promising it for awhile.

I normally use McCormick’s Beef Stew packets and just add my own vegetables and pre-cut “beef stew cuts”. But this time, I wanted to challenge myself. (Plus, Market Basket didn’t have any of the beef stew packages!)

I used a recipe for “Hearty Beef Stew” from Cook’s Illustrated. Now I’ve never liked beef stew – whenever my mom made it growing up, she’d always cook a separate meal for me. But I tried some of Stas’ on Sunday and LOVED it – so I was actually really excited to have some tonight:

But that’s not what this post is about. (I’ll blog about the stew and how to make it the next time I make it.)

This post is about the side dish. I’m a big fan of vegetables, so I wanted something extra to eat with my beef stew. I normally just heat up some frozen broccoli in the microwave, but I wanted a change.

I normally make a variation of this salad for Stas, using full-fat sour cream and I add in tomatoes or radishes. Stas looooooves this salad. Why? Because it combines the 2 types of “Russian crack”: dill and sour cream!

Sour cream is something else that I didn’t think I liked until this past weekend. I used to love it on my baked potatoes as a kid, but over the years I’ve acquired an aversion to most full-fat dairy. A couple of weeks ago, I bought a tub of the fat-free variety to use in a recipe (which I never did). Not wanting it to go to waste, I opened it last night and mixed some in with my sauteed mushrooms… and it was yummy!

So tonight, I wanted to enjoy more of it! Hence, my salad…

Step 1: Gather all ingredients:

  • seedless cucumbers (I like the mini seedless cukes, but European cukes work just as well)
  • dill
  • salt
  • sour cream (fat-free or regular)
  • optional: tomatoes or radishes

Step 2: Cut cucumbers into tiny quarter-sized slices:

Step 3: Sprinkle with salt and chopped dill (amounts will vary by taste):

Step 4: Add a dollop or two (or the whole tub if you’re Russian) of sour cream:

Step 5: Mix and enjoy!

It was a strange side to go with the beef stew, but oddly enough I was craving both of them, and they were extremely satisfying 🙂

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