August 9th, 2015
Paloma and I made it back home after our nearly two month stay Russia. We spent some quality time with family and friends in my home town, where Paloma took a few classes and got a chance to polish up her swimming, gymnastics and piano skills. The teaching style in Russia is quite different than back home – a lot is asked from the children, and the teachers are quite serious. Paloma didn’t seem to mind and actually had a few important breakthroughs. After all that hard work we thoroughly enjoyed our time in Sochi, swimming in the beautiful waters of the Black Sea (more on Sochi in the next post), hiking in the Caucasus Mountains and wandering around the Moscow center.
Back home in Florida, we still have a bit of time before school begins, to look at the hundreds of pictures we took and share the adventures with our friends over here. I keep a little dish of multicolored glass, polished by the sea, speckled pebbles and shells close by on the counter, to keep reminding myself of the most magical moments of this summer.
Below are a few favorite photos from our travels, starting with the said pebbles.
Caucasus Mountains in the summer.
One of the dozens of the ornate subway stations in Moscow.
Perlov Tea House, a beautiful tea shop and a historic building in Moscow.
One of Stalin’s high rises captured from the Moscow River.
It always takes me some time to adjust to the food here when coming back from the other side of the Atlantic. After eating all the juicy berries, wild mushrooms and my mother’s delicious Russian cooking, it’s hard to find things to be flavorful here, at least for the first couple of weeks. I do crave lots of vegetables and big salads.
This simple daikon pasta was the first dish I cooked back home, satisfying my veggie cravings. In two months without many eastern flavors, I forgot how delicious ginger and coconut milk are. The corn is also sweeter here in my opinion. This was my first attempt at cooking vegetable noodles like pasta – boiled in a pot of salted water – a method I’ve been curious about for a while. I loved the resulting neutral flavor and the noodle texture did resemble very delicate angel hair.
Daikon Radish Pasta with Corn and Tomatoes in Creamy Coconut Sauce
1 medium to large daikon radish
2 ears of corn
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 teaspoons sriracha
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons tamari
1 tablespoon smooth almond butter
1-2 handfulls heirloom cherry tomatoes – quartered
handful of basil leaves – torn
microgreens to garnish – optional
1. Cut kernels off the corn ears and set aside.
1. Set a medium pot with salted water over high heat. Peel and cut daikon into noodles, using a juliene peeler, veggie peeler or mandoline. When the water begins to boil, add daikon noodles and cook for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. Warm coconut and sesame oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add ginger, sriracha, lime juice, pinch of salt and corn, saute for 3-5 minutes.
3. Add coconut milk, tamari and almond butter, stirring to incorporate until creamy and hot. Add daikon pasta, cook for another 3 minutes, letting all the flavors combine.
4. Turn the heat off, add tomatoes and basil. Serve immediately.
July 20th, 2015
Cooking with edible flowers has been one of my greatest pleasures in the kitchen. Floral infusions provide amazing flavor and can add beneficial, healing properties to any dish or drink. My favorite was the Rose Ice Cream and Rose Petal Mille Feuille I made a few years ago with organic rose petals and the purest essential rose oil from my perfume maker friend. The oil was so concentrated that a tiny drop turned a portion of ice cream into a magical bowl of aromatherapy.
Here are two refreshing drinks we’ve been enjoying this summer, featuring some of the most loved, calming culinary flowers – lavender and chamomile.
Chamomile is an amazing little flower, and its oils are anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal and antiallergenic. It has long been used as a sleep aid all over the world. Having a cup of chamomile tea before bed has become one of my daily rituals – it really does the job of getting me ready for some wholesome rest.
Lately, I’ve been loving this creamy chamomile latte. My favorite way to enjoy it this summer is cold, but it also makes for a comforting warm drink for the cooler parts of the year.
Lavender, with its own share of antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, is king of the aromatherapy world – even the smallest whiff sends a relaxation signal to the mind. This milkshake combines lavender and blueberries, as the two are a match made in heaven. Drink it as a refreshing mid-afternoon snack after some time in the sun or even as dessert after dinner.
The most important variable when cooking with dried edible flowers is their freshness. If a flower is freshly dried, a little of it will go a long way, while older dried flowers have likely lost their potency. It’s also important to remember that the best way to extract the beneficial oils from herbs such as chamomile and lavender is gently heating them in a double boiler for longer periods of time. Directly pouring boiling water over the herbs is a harsher method, which kills off many of their benefits.
We are off to Sochi for the last stretch of our Russian vacation. Black Sea, here we come.
1 1/2 cups water
4 tablespoons dried German chamomile flowers – make sure to get them from a store with a good rotation
1/2 cup almond milk (I like homemade unsweetened)
honey to taste – optional
Combine water with chamomile in a small, heatproof bowl. Place the bowl into a heavy bottomed pot or pan. Add water to the pan, making sure that water level in the pan is lower than the bowl. Bring water in the pan to a simmer and simmer for 15 minutes. Let cool enough for safe handling. Strain chamomile tea, mix with almond milk and honey, if using. For an extra creamy and foamy consistency, blend the tea and almond milk in a blender. Drink warm or chilled in the fridge. I like it best cold and unsweetened.
1 1/2 cups almond milk or other plant milk (I like homemade unsweetened almond milk)
1 tablespoon edible dried lavender flowers (make sure to get them from a store with a good rotation – flowers should be lavender, rather then grey in color, with a fresh, strong aroma)
6-8 scoops of your favorite vanilla, blueberry or lavender ice-cream
handful of fresh or frozen blueberries – optional, for color
handful of ice cubes – optional, for smoother texture
splash of maple syrup – optional, to taste
seeds of 1 vanilla bean or splash of vanilla extract – optional
Combine almond milk and lavender flowers in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and let cool. Strain and chill in the refrigerator. Combine lavender milk and the rest of ingredients in a blender and blend to a smooth and thick milkshake consistency. If your lavender flowers are very fresh and aromatic, you can skip the infusion step and simply blend almond milk, 1/2 tablespoon (or to taste) lavender and blueberries, in a high speed blender until completely smooth. Then add the rest of ingredients and blend to a smooth and thick milkshake consistency.
June 28th, 2015
Paloma and I made it to my hometown in the Southwest of Russia, where we are thoroughly enjoying our stay at grandma’s house. Because I don’t get to visit here very often, my days are completely packed with family, friends, daily trips to the market, nature walks, and all sorts of leftover business. This time, we added a kitchen renovation to the mix, along with piano and swimming lessons for Paloma. The days fly by, and I’m always caught by surprise when the night falls and it’s time for bed.
As usual, we’re indulging in my mom’s home cooked delicacies and consume the local berry harvest by the kilo. The most abundant crops right now, which we have no access to in Florida, are sour cherries, black, red and white currants, wild strawberries and mulberries. We walk around with berry-stained hands and wouldn’t have it any other way.
I prepared this recipe in Florida, right before we left, where a very hot summer was in full swing, making me want to stay away from the oven as much as possible. I craved crunchy raw vegetables like kohlrabi and jicama, along with chilled watermelon and ripe mango, which often replaced my lunch. I came up with this easy salad – a combination of jicama, mango, avocado and grilled corn with loads of cilantro and lime juice. It’s a quick and refreshing dish on its own and even more filling and delicious when served in a taco shell.
Lastly, I have a bit of housekeeping to discuss. If you haven’t signed up for our newsletter, you can do so here. We recently changed the format to a better looking one, and along with recipe updates, the newsletters will include seasonal ingredient highlights and any other Golubka Kitchen related news.
And for the French readers, the translation for the Rhubarb Raspberry Fizz from Sarah Kieffer’s guest post is up here.
Mango, Jicama and Grilled Corn Tacos
2 ears of corn – grilled
1 medium jicama – sliced into cubes or small matchsticks
2 ripe, sweet mangos – cut into small cubes
ground chipotle – to taste (optional)
1 bunch cilantro
1-2 ripe but firm avocados – cubed
your favorite taco shells
hot sauce of choice
Cut kernels off grilled corn ears. Combine corn kernels, jicama and mango in a large bowl, add chipotle, if using. Squeeze lime juice over. Add cilantro leaves and mix gently. Distrribute the salad between taco shells, top with abocado slices, sprinkle with more lime juice, cilantro leaves and your favorite hot sauce. Serve right away.