Seeing as my last post was September’s Recipe Swap, my blogging frequency is clearly suffering. I’ve been busy blah blah blah…I’ve still been cooking blah blah blah…I’m done making excuses. More on that later.
Christianna dished out a doozy of a recipe for everyone, as usual. On my first read, I didn’t catch the veal or herring part of the Russian Salad. Potatoes, apples, beets, eggs, good vinegar – everything sounded good to me! I’ve never made a raw egg dressing before but considered giving it a try. According to Wikipedia, the dressing recipe for the original Russian Salad was closely guarded by its creator, chef Lucien Olivier, back in 1860’s Moscow.
Lee, Doc (the dog), and I have been on vacation for the past week. We drove the 15 or so hours (I’m a Californian, I measure distance in hours, not miles) to Jackson Hole, Wyoming over the course of a day and a half. Then we spent one glorious week alternately relaxing, and, as Lee says, “power hiking” the trails of Teton National Park. To say it was beautiful would be an understatement. Between the fall-colored Aspens and Cottonwoods and the spectacular peaks I was barely paying enough attention to see all the wildlife. There were bears, moose, elk, deer, and bison. Until last week, I’d never seen a moose or a bear in the wild! Now I can say that my 15 pound dog has chased a bear (Don’t worry, the bear was oblivious and Doc just wanted to play!). The only downside to all this wildlife was watching people do stupid things to get a closer look. People disappoint me.
I missed good food on our trip. We had some nice meals in Jackson and I got to cook with my mom in the condo, so that was nice. Driving through northern Nevada and Idaho, though, was rather trying for a non meat-eater. There were lots of potatoes, mostly in french-fried or mashed with butter in a 1-1 ratio. We ate breakfast at a roadside restaurant whose special was the “Giant Chicken Fried Steak Breakfast”. It was large enough to startle the (relative) locals next to us even when split between two plates.
As you might guess, I was in serious need of some vegetables by the time we got home on Saturday. Thankfully there was a bag of Red Norland Potatoes left in the fridge from our last CSA box. A thawed block of tofu and bag of Brussels sprouts later, I had exactly what I needed: a plate full of good food. That’s how I imagine the original Russian Salad: a heap of good food that works well together, especially in this transition to comforting Fall dishes full of root vegetables and apples. I may just start calling all my potato-based, weirdly delicious, concoctions Russian Salads.
A Simple Plate of Good Food
10-12 small red potatoes, halved or quartered
1 block extra firm tofu, frozen and thawed if you like it extra crispy
Lots of Brussels sprouts
olive oil, S&P, dill
Roast the potatoes and tofu with olive oil and seasonings for 20-25 minutes at 375 F, stirring half way through. With 15 minutes left, add the Brussels sprouts to the oven, halved with cut side down on a separate baking sheet. Once everything is done, toss a little of everything on your plate. Don’t forget the hot sauce and ketchup, if you’re into that kind of thing.
I apologize for this sad excuse for a recipe. I’m sure my fellow Recipe Swappers have much, much more polished interpretations of Russian Salad for you.