Russian Easter Chez Kaleberg
Every year Russian Easter comes to the Kaleberg household, and that
means butter, and more butter, and even more butter. That's right,
Russian Easter means butter, and fish eggs, and buckwheat pancakes and
a sink full of champagne. Every year we make buckwheat pancakes, blini,
and we make our own pork sausage with carroway seeds, and we drink
quarts of champagne.
This year, we wanted to try something different, so we broke open
our Kaleberg Russian Kookbook [sic] and found a few more authentic
Russian recipes. They were all delicious, so consider holding your own
Russian Easter and trying out some:
of the Czar
How did the Czar maintain his iron grip on the Russian Empire?
How did the Czar defeat those who would destroy him and his dynasty?
The answer is simple. He ate them. That's right, the Czar ate his
enemies, and we Kalebergs celebrate Russian Easter by having a chow
down of our own. We too eat the Enemies of the Czar.
RECIPE: Enemies of the Czar
- four slices of rye bread - use the best you can get
- four slices of good emmenthaler swiss cheese
- four slices of good delicatessan corned beef
- two ounces of sauerkraut - from a jar
- real Russian dressing: 1/4 cup mayonaisse, 1-2 tbsp
ketchup, 1 tbsp prepared horseradish (not creamy), 1 tsp worcester
sauce, 1 tbsp finely chopped onion
- a panini maker - we like the Cuisinart Griddler
- Mix up the dressing. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Don't
even bother with any of the Russian dressings you'd find in a jar. They
are wretched. Make the real thing. (The quantities listed above are
approximate, so feel free to experiment).
- Heat up the panini maker with the scalloped or waffled
plates, if you have them.
- Lay out the four slices of bread.
- Cover each of the four slices of bread with the cheese.
- Coat two of the slices of bread with
- Squeeze the sauerkraut by the fistful to drain it. Cover the dressing with sauerkraut.
- Lay out the corned beef on the
- Close the sandwiches and put them on
the panini maker. Press and hold the handle down for a minute. Then
let them cook another two to four minutes, until
the cheese is melted and the bread is toasted.
- Cut finished sandwiches in half.
- Eat to the health of the Czar. (Yes, we know that this
didn't work too well in that the Czar was overthrown by his enemies,
but you will get a satisfying feeling as you chow down on these
enemies, just as the Czar did in his day).
Yes, we realize that the Enemies of the Czar are basically
panini grilled corned beef Reuben sandwiches, but this is as one would
expect given that the Czar was a notorious anti-semite.
We all know that Trotsky died in Mexico City
after being assaulted by one of Stalin's goons on August 20th, 1940,
but as best we can tell the wound was superficial. Trotsky was already
in ill health from eating a diet of this delightful dish which is now
known as Trotsky's Bane. Homesick for Russia, Trotsky tried to make do
with Japanese fish eggs and in lieu of gentle vodka, cucumber cups full
of nasty tequila. While Trotsky has long since been discredited and is
without honor in his homeland, we can still enjoy a taste of the treat
that led to his downfall.
RECIPE: Trotsky's Bane
- two European style cucumbers
- 2 ounces good silver tequila
- 2 ounces flying fish roe, aka tabikka, in as many colors as
you choose (Trotsky was fond of the green as it contains fiery wasabi)
- a medium size melon baller for scooping out the cucumber
- an attractive illuminating dish for glow in the dark
display (see here and here).
- Peel the cucumbers. Cut off an end and gouge out a cavity
with the melon baller. Slice off the end so that you form a little cup.
Repeat until the end of the cucumber. Repeat this with the next
cucumber. We get around 7 or 8 cups per cucumber.
- Put a teaspoon of tequila in each cup.
- Put a teaspoon of tabikka in each cup.
- Array the cups attractively on an illuminated dish if you
have one so that they glow eerily. Play some theremin music to really
set the mood.
We are no fans of Trotsky, so we drink to his ill
health with this delightful and refreshing dish.
While only the oldest among us remember the
depradations of the monster Napolean, who laid waste to much of Europe,
and France in particular, only the oldest and hardiest of us remember
the brilliant defense of Moscow that stopped the little emperor cold.
The dessert shown on the left weighs 8 million tons, only a bit less
than the actual city of Moscow during that bitter winter of 1812 when
the Corsican sent his hordes east. Who could stand before him? Who
could stand after eating this dessert? Read the recipe and discover the
truth about The Defense of Moscow.
If you are an American, you may be familiar with this dish as a
variant of Baked Alaska, but where do you think the Alaskans got the
RECIPE: The Defense of Moscow
- five or six 9" baking pans worth of brownies - 18 ounces of
baking chocolate, 1 lb butter, 1 dozen eggs, 5 cups of sugar, 3 tbsp
vanilla extract, 3/4 cup bourbon, 3 1/2 cups of flour, 3 tsp baking
powder, 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 6 pounds of good coffee ice cream - We go for Coldstone
- three Silpat sheets of meringue - 3/4 cup dried egg whites,
water, 1 tsp cream of tartar, 3 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp salt, 2 1/4 cups
- lemon icing from four ounces of confectioner's powdered
sugar and half a lemon for flavor
- Rosie's chocolate nibs - optional
- 1/2 - 1 cup of fine French brandy for the defense
- 9" square baking pan(s)
- a Silpat sheet for the meringues
- a metal pot and a small blowtorch
- some toothpicks
You can make this whole thing up in advance and freeze it,
meringues and all, then bring it out for the big event. That's what we
INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE BROWNIES - DO THIS SIX
TIMES (More if you eat the brownies as you make them).
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Rig up a double boiler and melt 5 tbsp of butter and 3
ounces of baking chocolate in it.
- Mix 3/4 cup of sugar and two eggs in a big bowl.
- Whisk the melted butter and chocolate into the sugar and
- Add 1 tablespoon bourbon and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.
- Dump in 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and 1/4
teaspoon of salt and whisk the whole batter together.
- Butter a 9 inch square baking pan and dust it with flour.
- Fill the pan with batter and bake for about 20 minutes.
- The cake is done when a knife inserted comes out dry rather
than coated with cake goo. Let the cake cool and then flip the brownie
out of the baking pan.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE MERINGUES - DO THIS
- Preheat the oven to 225°F.
- In a large bowl, mix 1/4 cup egg white powder and 3/4 cup
- Add 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
- Beat until the mixture is foamy, but not quite to the soft
peak stage. It should have big bubbles, not fine ones.
- Add 3/4 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
- Beat until it forms stiff peaks.
- Spread the mixture out on a Silpat pad and put it in the
oven to bake for about an hour.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR ASSEMBLY
- To build the city of Moscow, lay out about one and a half
again brownies on a serving tray.
- Cut two to three inch high walls from the remaining
brownies to build the city ramparts.
- Cram the entire thing full of coffee ice cream. Work
quickly so that you don't eat all of it before you have it assembled.
- Lay out the three layers of meringue across the top.
- Put the city in the freezer so it stays cold, just like
Moscow in the winter.
- Cut out onion domes (not minarets, sheesh) from the
remaining brownies. It works best if you start with the pointed tops,
then do the rounded sides.
- Make up a mix of confectioner's powdered sugar, a few
squeezes of lemon, and enough water to make a thick icing. Paint the
tops of the onion domes with this. Prop these up so the icing dries
INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE DEFENSE
- For the final assembly, stick toothpicks in the base of the
onion domes and shove them into the top of the city so it looks like
St. Basil's at the Kremlin.
- Heat up a metal pot.
- Tell everyone about the perfidy and vile ambitions of the
evil monster Napolean and describe his assault on Moscow.
- "But the Russians had a plan to hoist the Frenchies on
their own petard".
- They let the French take the city of Moscow.
- Pour a whomp of cognac, French brandy, into the pot. Let it
warm for a few seconds, then blast it into flames with the blowtorch or
- "Scorched earth", the Russians cried, though who could
really tell. This was Russia in the winter.
- Pour the flaming brandy on the city of Moscow.
- Even the French weren't that keen on starving to death in a
city destroyed by the flames of French brandy, so they hightailed it
back to Paris.
- We Kalebergs, of course, know what happened next. The
victorious Russians returned to Moscow and ate the city. The French
might not think much of Baked Alaska, but true Russians think the
Kremlin is scrumptious.
© Copyright 2006 - Kaleberg Symbionts - All rights reserved.