My Favorite Blog Recipes

May 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

Our blog’s been around for a little over four months now, during which time we’ve managed to post a little under 70 recipes (some original, some from other sources) and appear in the Chicago Reader (the fact that still blows my mind)! I wanted to reprise a little bit by highlighting the recipes that I find to be my absolute favorites, which can be deduced from my frequent use of the words “perfect” and “heaven” below:

Blue Cheese, Garlic, and Parsley Butter

I whipped this up one night when I was looking for an easy but tasty topping for a steak. The sharpness of garlic marries perfectly the sharpness of blue cheese. This is also when I realized that you can flash-soften your butter by grating it.

Blue-Cheesy Venison Stroganoff

Venison is my #1 choice of meat for stroganoff, lean and assertive that it is, and God knows I love guns and deers. But what makes this special is the addition of blue cheese, which I decided to throw in for a good measure one winter evening. I absolutely love this dish! If you are not into guns/have no access to hunting land, beef makes a fine substitute. I know this picture leaves more to be desired, but try to get past it, just this once.


While this is a traditional Azerbaijani dish, I never had it growing up, instead learning about it just a couple of month ago from a fellow Azerbaijani blogger Farida, the author of a fabulous, gorgeous, highly informative AZ Cookbook website. I modified the recipe slightly.

Salat “Olivier”: The Russian Salad

Every Russian’s favorite salad, Olivier, so named after the chef who invented it, is the favorite food of my childhood. I love it. Crazy about it. But please, no bologna. Bologna is not a food item.

I very slightly adapted this “baked fudge” recipe from my favorite food blogger Ree Drummond – The Pioneer Woman, that I turned up a notch with the addition of dulce de leche-like condensed milk cooked directly in a can (many thanks to Farida from of AZ Cookbook for posting the recipe). To this day I have not tasted a better dessert.

Homemade rough puff pastry from Fine Cooking

One day I wanted to try Beef Wellington re-imagined at tarts (via Martha Stewart Living), but the ingredient list on a box of storebotten puff pastry didn’t include butter. NO BUTTER?!!!!! This was a deal breaker. A short Google search turned up the above recipe, and I was amazed at what a breeze it was to make. There’s no shortage of butter here – a 1-to-1 butter-to-flour ratio will take you to the moon. Which is where I am right now.

Finnish Cloud Pudding

This is a holiday classic from my mother-in-law, Dawn, reflecting her Finnish-Yooper roots. Tart and rich, this raspberry mousse uses farina as an unexpected “filller” ingredient, and is an annual presence at our Christmas table. I learned how to make this so that I could share it with you. Normally made with our own frozen raspberries, it can be made with any fruit that juices nicely.

Venison Pastrami

First made by Dawn, this venison pastrami recipe became our family classic, what with all the deer we shoot every year (every single male in my immediate family (and now also myself) hunts, and we make a big party of butchering as many as 7-10 deer at a time). It came from the fabulous Charcuterie. Whole back-leg muscles, brined and coated with a mixture of ground peppercorns and coriander, are slowly smoked (in my case on a charcoal grill, in Dawn’s case on a gas grill) to perfection. Back leg of a deer is not necessarily incredibly tender, but it was rendered such by a 3-days-long sojourn in a brine.


Best Oven Fries

This recipe from Cooks, Illustrated is perfection itself, and has been my go-to for years.

Mushrooms in Sour Cream

These are heaven. Enough said.

This homemade yogurt changed my life. I never buy the storebotten kind anymore.

My mother’s Russian meatballs, or Tefteli. They are the best.

Maple Snow Taffy

Tremendously popular with my daughter, this pioneer treat was inspired by the Little House in the Big Woods. It also highlights how seasonal our diet is – we never make it on crushed ice (which you can also do) – just fresh, clean snow when it is on the ground during the glorious, 4-months-long Wisconsin winters.

Spaghetti Bolognese


Garlic Vinaigrette

Both are my go-to staples. I’ve never bought bottled dressing in my life, and why would I? This here is heaven. If your heaven includes loads of garlic, that is.

Pizza Toast

This is so perfect, and my kids are crazy about it.


This Azerbaijani classic is my favorite food, ever. When it’s in the house, I will eat it breakfast, lunch and dinner, 4-5 bowls at a time. I love it. I can’t live without it.

Russian Fried Potatoes

I ate this nearly every night when I was growing up, and I would still today.

Frog in the Hole

I eat this for breakfast nearly every day. It’s perfect.

No-Knead Bread

Since I began making this five to six time a week following a friend’s recommendation, I haven’t bought any storebotten bread. Made in a dutch oven, this bread is heaven – chewy crust, glorious interior, none of the mushiness you associate with American bread.


Going back to Jacob’s Yooper roots, these are a sure crowd-pleaser. With the pastry recipe from Jacob’s aunt Sharon (shared with me by her daughter-in-law, Robyn), this has become another one of our mid-winter our staple. Meat, potatoes, and buttery pastry – how can you go wrong? For a divine treat, try it enveloped in puff pastry instead of the regular crust.





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