August 12, 2011

Piroshki - A Russian/Kazakh Dish

This is my daughter's absolute favorite dish! So here she demonstrates how to make these delicious little pockets. They are a simple dough filled with ground meat and several different herbs. This is actually a Kazakh peasant food made with lots of love, and I have to say that Gracie is a natural at putting these little pockets together!!!


For Meat Filling
1 lb of ground meat, any kind
2-3 cloves of garlic minced
1 medium onion, chopped
Fresh dill chopped, or 1 T dried
1 T dried marjoram
1 T dried mint
1 T dried Thyme
Salt and pepper
1 T butter for sauteing

For Dough
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 egg
Approximately1/2-3/4 cup milk
2-3 more T. butter for sauteing
Melt butter in a frying pan and then add the garlic and onion, sauteing until onion is transparent, be careful not to burn the garlic. Add the ground meat and brown. Add the next 4 ingredients plus the salt and pepper. Let the meat mixture cool completely before assembling the piroshki.

Next, in a large bowl, add the flour, egg, milk and salt and mix together. You may need to add more flour to the dough to prevent it from becoming too sticky. You don't want the dough sticky or you will not be able to work with it properly.

Roll out the dough on a clean floured surface, again you may want to add more flour to prevent dough from sticking. Your dough should be about 1/4 of an inch thick. Then using a round cutter or a glass, press into the dough and pull out the circular shapes. Cover them with more flour and roll them out into and oblong shape.

Then add 2-3 tsp. of the meat mixture to the center of your dough.

Now using your finger with a little bit of water, trace the outer perimeter of the dough with the water. This is to ensure a good seal on the pocket.

Then carefully fold the dough in half, pulling one side over the meat, and press edges to seal. Place on a well floured surface and repeat the process until all the meat is used.

Melt butter in frying pan and add the doughy pockets to the pan.

Fry in pan until the dough becomes golden in color. Carefully remove and serve or keep in a warm oven until ready to serve.

These are great alone or served with a dollop of sour cream. The dough recipe here can also be used to make the Eastern European pirogi.


August 8, 2011

Restaraunt Review

Calhoun's Restaurant
1004 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738-3102
(865) 436-4100

While on vacation in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, my family dined at a local restaurant by the name of Calhoun's. Calhoun's was a recommendation by one of the locals and how could we possibly go wrong with that?
The restaurant is a large establishment and upon first entering the atmosphere resembles that of an upscale diner, complete with booth seating. Our waitress was very pleasant and took our drink orders along with an order of fried green tomatoes. I was a little skeptical of the tomatoes but when they hit the table they were gone in a flash. They were served with the most amazing mustard sauce, delicious. When my drink came it was brought over by the bartender himself. He wanted to make sure the cucumber martini I ordered was to my liking…and wow was it!! I have to say that it was the best martini I had ever tasted.

My husband and I ordered the House Ale steak which is a 10 oz sirloin steak marinated in olive oil, mustard, garlic, Calhoun's own Cherokee Red Ale and topped with Worcestershire butter. When it was brought to the table our waitress waited until we cut into our meat to make sure the meat was cooked properly and again to our liking. Both of our steaks were grilled to perfection.  The meat melted in our mouths and the flavor was unbelievable. One of my side orders was Spinach Maria which is creamed spinach made with 5 different cheeses, again another triumph for Calhoun's.

As for the kids’ meals, Michael’s macaroni and cheese was devoured by the old king of mac and cheese and Grace had the kid’s meal of ribs which was a very generous portion.
We all left very pleased with our meals and very full. And the best part was that our bill came to a grand total of $86.53. That also included the kids’ drinks and my husband’s handcrafted brew of Cherokee Red Ale.

It was a very family friendly dining experience and I would strongly recommend Calhoun's if you are in Gatlinburg Tennessee. The service, price and food are all worthy of all 5 stars from me, and I am not very easily impressed!
My Rating ***** out of 5

August 7, 2011

Fresh Cucumber Martini

I tried this for the first time while on vacation last week and fell in love with the flavor of this martini. It is very light and refreshing and much to my surprise, I was able to find the Cucumber Lime vodka at my local liquor store!


1/3 cucumber peeled and with seeds removed
3 T Sugar syrup*
2 shots of Rain's Organic Cucumber Lime Vodka
The Juice of one lime
2 basil leaves, chopped
3 - 4 mint leaves, chopped

In blender combine all ingredients. Pour liquid through strainer into cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and pour into martini glass. Garnish with cucumber slices and a little of the chopped mint and basil.

* Sugar syrup is simply granulated sugar mixed with a small amount of water and then heated through. This is so the sugar is already dissolved and in a liquid form.


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