Kachka: A Return to Russian Cooking

Kachka: A Return to Russian Cooking

by Bonnie Frumkin Morales, Deena Prichep

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Overview

Celebrated Portland chef Bonnie Frumkin Morales brings her acclaimed Portland restaurant Kachka into your home kitchen with a debut cookbook enlivening Russian cuisine with an emphasis on vibrant, locally sourced ingredients.

“With Kachka, Bonnie Morales has done something amazing: thoroughly update and modernize Russian cuisine while steadfastly holding to its traditions and spirit. Thank you comrade!”

Alton Brown

From bright pickles to pillowy dumplings, ingenious vodka infusions to traditional homestyle dishes, and varied zakuski to satisfying sweets, Kachka the cookbook covers the vivid world of Russian cuisine. More than 100 recipes show how easy it is to eat, drink, and open your heart in Soviet-inspired style, from the celebrated restaurant that is changing how America thinks about Russian food.

The recipes in this book set a communal table with nostalgic Eastern European dishes like Caucasus-inspired meatballs, Porcini Barley Soup, and Cauliflower Schnitzel, and give new and exciting twists to current food trends like pickling, fermentation, and bone broths.

Kachka’s recipes and narratives show how Russia’s storied tradition of smoked fish, cultured dairy, and a shot of vodka can be celebratory, elegant, and as easy as meat and potatoes. The food is clear and inviting, rooted in the past yet not at all afraid to play around and wear its punk rock heart on its sleeve.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250087607
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication date: 11/14/2017
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 150,520
Product dimensions: 8.20(w) x 10.00(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

As the first-generation American daughter of Belarusian immigrants, chef Bonnie Frumkin Morales has a unique view on the culture and food of the former Soviet Union. Bonnie honed her skills in several of New York and Chicago’s Michelin starred restaurants. Bonnie and her husband Israel opened Kachka to much critical acclaim in 2014, receiving accolades from publications such as Bon Appétit, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, GQ, Elle, Zagat's, and Food & Wine. Bonnie lives in Portland, Oregon.

Journalist Deena Prichep cut her teeth on pickled green tomatoes in her grandfather's New York deli, and has covered topics ranging from Ramadan recipes to gefilte fish for NPR, PRI's The World, Bon Appetit, and Marketplace.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

INFUSIONS, COCKTAILS, AND OTHER DRINKS

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It's not an accident that beverages are at the front of this book. Drinking and eating are two sides of the same coin in Russia, so to prepare for a proper Russian feast, we must prepare the drinks.

Absolut Vodka first introduced the idea of flavored vodka to the American public in 1986, with their Absolut Peppar. But infusing vodkas (or, in many cases, samogon — moonshine) has been a regular part of life for millions of people all through the "vodka belt" of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Northern Europe for hundreds of years. These started as medicinal tonics, or ways to process and preserve fleeting ingredients (or soften the blow of rough-around-the-edges samogon), but have evolved into complex, balanced libations.

Making a good infusion (marshmallow or cinnamon bun vodka aside) is a serious task, deeply rooted in geography and tradition. Alcohol is the perfect vehicle to both preserve and amplify delicate flavors — especially when done well. My husband, Israel, has taken on the task of creating a thoughtful infusion program at Kachka that gives a nod to this storied Slavic practice — but also reflects our geography and our traditions.

Though well-made infusions require little other than a few bites of zakuski (see "Slava's Guide to Drinking and the Pyanka," here) to accompany them, we also honor modern drinking convention by using them to craft cocktails — because while horseradish-infused vodka is stellar on its own, a horseradish-infused vodka Bloody Mary is not too shabby either.

A few general notes:

FOLLOW THE PRESCRIBED STEEPING TIMES

There is an almost parabolic curve to infusing, and you need to time things out depending on where on that curve you want to land. Sometimes you want to infuse well past the peak of flavor to let time mellow things out, while other ingredients require you to stop infusing before volatile or bitter compounds take over. In other words, longer does not always equal better — follow the infusion times provided.

CHEAP AND NEUTRAL ARE YOUR FRIENDS

Don't reach for that pricey you-can-really-taste-the-hand-harvested-wheat bottle of craft vodka if you're going to toss in a few aromatic heads of flowering dill. Clean, bottom-shelf brands, like Taaka or Gordon's, work best.

CONSIDER SHELF LIFE

No, an infused spirit will not go bad in a make-you-sick sort of way. However, you are introducing volatile compounds into an otherwise inert liquid. This means that the product will change as it sits, and not always in a tasty way. Infusions shouldn't typically hang out on your back bar for more than a few months, collecting dust — so drink up!

VODKA INFUSIONS AND COCKTAILS

*
Tarragon — Laika

Horseradish — Bloody Masha

Chamomile — Baba Yaga

Cacao Nib — Black/White Russian

Hunter's — Chervona Wine

Lime — Moscow Mule

Dill Flower

Sea Buckthorn Berry

Zubrovka — M. Bison

Cranberry — Kosmos-Politan

Strawberry

Rowanberry — Thor's Salvation

INFUSIONS AND COCKTAILS FROM OTHER SPIRITS

*
Orange Vermouth — From Russia with Love

Earl Grey Tea Brandy — Baba Sima's Tonic

Beet Gin — Red Heering

Grapefruit Gin — Pinko Commie Bastard

Lemon Aquavit — Nasha Dama

Caraway Rye Whiskey — Jewish Rye

OTHER DRINKS

*
Summer Kompot (Steeped Fresh Fruit Punch)

Blackberry Nalivka (Liqueur)

Kvas (Lightly Fermented Bread Soda)

Cranberry Mors (Juice)

Tarragon Soda

*
Slava's Guide to Drinking and the Pyanka

Babushka's Remedies

VODKA INFUSIONS AND COCKTAILS

*
TARRAGON VODKA

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When you talk about tarragon in Russian cuisine, you're usually talking soda — bright green Georgian soda. But infuse the clean, anise-y flavor into vodka, and you get an herbaceous complement for fish-focused zakuski — and it also marries beautifully with grapefruit, making for an out-of-this-world greyhound cocktail. We call ours Laika, after the first dog in space (also an out-of-this- world dog).

4 sprigs fresh tarragon

1 750-milliliter bottle of vodka

1 teaspoon simple syrup

Place the tarragon sprigs in a quart-sized mason jar and pour the vodka over them. Reserve the vodka bottle for the finished product. Screw on the lid and let steep for 24 hours in a dark, cool place.

After steeping, carefully pour the simple syrup into the reserved bottle. Strain the vodka from the tarragon into the bottle using a fine-mesh strainer and funnel. Discard the tarragon. Close the bottle and shake to combine. Freeze for at least 1 hour before serving.

LAIKA

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YIELDS 1 DRINK

1½ ounces tarragon vodka

1½ ounces fresh grapefruit juice

1 teaspoon simple syrup (optional — some grapefruits are sweet enough on their own)

Tonic water (we use Fentimans)

Grapefruit twist (use a vegetable peeler to take off one big strip)

Pour the vodka, grapefruit juice, and simple syrup (if using) into an ice-filled shaker, and shake to combine. Strain into an ice-filled double old-fashioned glass, and top off with tonic water. Squeeze the grapefruit twist over the drink to express the oils, and place the twist in the drink.

HORSERADISH VODKA

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So common is horseradish-infused alcohol that it has its own name — khren-a-VOO-kha. But often horseradish vodkas are too harsh, or just plain weak. On a trip to St. Petersburg in 2013, we tasted a horseradish vodka that was head and shoulders above the rest. So my dad charmed some tips out of our server, and when we got home, Israel got to work experimenting. The resulting infusion grew so quickly to cult status at Kachka that we've since started bottling it.

Amazingly, there is no Bloody Mary tradition in Russia — despite a well- demonstrated supply of vodka, hangovers, horseradish, and all sorts of pickled accoutrements. Clearly this was long overdue. In creating this Bloody Mary recipe, I turned to my brother, Simon, who is the king of Bloody Marys (and margaritas, but that's a different book).

1¼ ounces peeled horseradish root, cut into 2-inch chunks

1 750-milliliter bottle of vodka

1½ teaspoons honey

Place the horseradish root in a quart-sized mason jar and pour the vodka over it. Reserve the vodka bottle for the finished product. Screw on the lid and let steep for 1 week in a dark, cool place.

After steeping, carefully pour the honey into the reserved bottle. Strain the vodka from the horseradish into the bottle using a fine-mesh strainer and funnel. Discard the horseradish. Close the bottle and shake to combine. Freeze for at least 1 hour before serving.

BLOODY MASHA

YIELDS 1 PINT

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds

6 ounces Campbell's tomato juice *

2¼ ounces horseradish vodka

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill

¼ teaspoon prepared horseradish

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Garnishes of your choice[dagger]

Heat a small skillet over medium heat, and toast the caraway seeds, black peppercorns, coriander seeds, and mustard seeds, stirring until aromatic (a minute or two). Pulverize in a spice grinder and toss the ground spices into a mixing bowl along with the remaining ingredients. Whisk until combined, and taste to adjust seasonings.

Fill a glass (or two) with ice, and pour in the drink. Top with skewered garnishes of your choice.

* If using a different brand, you may need to add more salt.

[dagger] Pickles (green tomatoes and beets are especially nice), chunks or slices of cured meats, smoked fish, cheese, fresh herbs (dill, celery hearts, etc.)

CHAMOMILE VODKA

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Russian grandmothers will administer chamomile infusions for ulcers, gas, and pretty much any complaint. Unlike chamomile tisane (which I've always found disappointingly one-note), an alcohol extraction pulls out different elements, leaving an infusion with strong honey and floral notes. Those flavors play nicely in the Baba Yaga cocktail.

Baba Yaga is a witchy grandma in Russian folklore, who lives in a house built on chicken legs and might occasionally eat a lost child or two. So what better to name a cocktail inspired by this medicinal grandma potion? Plus we slip in some Strega, a liqueur named for an Italian grandmotherly witch, so we couldn't resist. The resulting cocktail is basically a sour, but with a not-too-sweet floral element from the infusion.

½ cup loose-leaf chamomile tisane (flowers)*

1 750-milliliter bottle of vodka

1 teaspoon simple syrup

Place the chamomile in a quart-sized mason jar and pour the vodka over it. Reserve the vodka bottle for the finished product. Screw on the lid and let steep for 24 hours in a dark, cool place.

After steeping, carefully pour the simple syrup into the reserved bottle. Strain the vodka from the chamomile into the bottle using a fine-mesh strainer and funnel. Discard the chamomile. Close the bottle and shake to combine. Freeze for at least 1 hour before serving.

BABA YAGA

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YIELDS 1 DRINK

2 ounces chamomile vodka

3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice

½ ounce simple syrup

¼ ounce Liquore Strega (if unavailable, substitute Yellow Chartreuse)

Lemon twist (use a vegetable peeler to take off one big strip)

Pour the vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup, and Liquore Strega into an ice-filled shaker, and shake to combine. Double strain into a coupe or martini glass. Squeeze the lemon twist over the drink to express the oils, and discard.

* Available in tea shops or natural-food markets

CACAO NIB VODKA

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When you hear "chocolate vodka," you think sickly sweet kids' stuff. Which is why we initially resisted it. But we worked out a version that manages to be deep, rich, and bittersweetly balanced. Not surprisingly, it makes for a superior Black or White Russian.

2 tablespoons cacao nibs

1 750-milliliter bottle of vodka

1 tablespoon simple syrup

Preheat your oven to 375°F. Place the nibs on a rimmed baking sheet, and toast them for 5 minutes (they'll begin to smell delicious). Remove from the oven and let cool slightly, then place them in a quart-sized mason jar and pour the vodka over them. Reserve the vodka bottle for the finished product. Screw on the lid and let steep for 1 week in a dark, cool place.

After steeping, carefully pour the simple syrup into the reserved bottle. Strain the vodka from the nibs into the bottle using a fine-mesh strainer and funnel. Discard the nibs. Close the bottle and shake to combine. Freeze for at least 1 hour before serving.

BLACK/WHITE RUSSIAN

YIELDS 1 DRINK

1½ ounces cacao nib vodka

3/4 ounce coffee liqueur (we use Portland's New Deal Coffee Liqueur)

5 drops Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters (these are worth seeking out for the full effect)

FOR WHITE RUSSIAN ADD:

1/2 ounce simple syrup

2 ounces half-and-half

For Black Russian: Pour the vodka, coffee liqueur, and bitters into an ice-filled mixing glass, and stir for 5 seconds. Strain into an old-fashioned glass, then add ice. Serve with bar straws for stirring.

For White Russian: Follow directions above for Black Russian, but add the simple syrup to the stirred ingredients. After straining and adding ice, gently top with the half-and-half.

HUNTER'S VODKA

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Although the ingredients in this traditional infusion vary from house to house, you'll always find a mix of hard spices, creating a woodsy, wintery vibe. Which is why it works so well in the Chervona Wine cocktail.

The cocktail is based on a sangaree, basically a cold mulled wine (and a natural friend to these wintery spices). "Chervona" means red in Ukrainian (in addition to being the name of a great Portland band), and this cocktail is a perfect way to use up last night's red wine.

1½ teaspoons whole allspice berries

1½ teaspoons juniper berries

½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns

½ teaspoon whole coriander seeds

½ teaspoon whole fenugreek seeds

1 stick cinnamon

1 slice dried star anise

1 whole clove

1 750-milliliter bottle of vodka

1 tablespoon maple syrup

Heat a small skillet over medium heat, and toast the allspice and juniper berries, black peppercorns, coriander and fenugreek seeds, cinnamon, star anise, and clove, stirring until aromatic (a minute or two). Place the spices in a quart-sized mason jar and pour the vodka over them. Reserve the vodka bottle for the finished product. Screw on the lid and let steep for 4 days in a dark, cool place.

After steeping, carefully pour the maple syrup into the reserved bottle. Strain the vodka from the spices into the bottle using a fine-mesh strainer and funnel. Discard the spices. Close the bottle and shake to combine. Freeze for at least 1 hour before serving.

CHERVONA WINE

YIELDS 1 DRINK

1½ ounces hunter's vodka

1½ ounces dry red wine

½ ounce Dolin Rouge sweet vermouth

½ ounce simple syrup

Orange twist (use a vegetable peeler to take off one big strip)

Whole nutmeg

Pour the vodka, wine, vermouth, and simple syrup into an ice-filled shaker, and shake to combine. Strain into an ice-filled double old-fashioned glass. Squeeze the orange twist over the drink to express the oils, place the twist in the drink, and grate nutmeg over the top to finish.

LIME VODKA

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A Moscow mule is not a Russian cocktail. At all. But everyone expects us to make one — and so we've figured out how to make a pretty mean mule. The difference between ours and the standard bar offering? Lime-infused vodka. Infusing citrus carries deeper, more complex notes of lime than you can get from juice alone — it's got a nice snap on its own, and is strong enough to stand up to a stubborn mule's ginger and vodka.

2 whole limes

1 750-milliliter bottle of vodka

Place the limes in a quart-sized mason jar and pour the vodka over them. Reserve the vodka bottle for the finished product. Screw on the lid and let steep for 24 hours in a dark, cool place.

After steeping, remove and discard the limes. Using a funnel, transfer the vodka to the reserved bottle. Freeze for at least 1 hour before serving.

MOSCOW MULE

YIELDS 1 DRINK

2 ounces lime vodka

3/4 ounce fresh lime juice

¼ ounce ginger syrup (we like Ginger People, or make your own by shaking together equal parts fresh ginger juice and granulated sugar)

Ginger beer (we use Fever-Tree)

Lime wheel

Pour the vodka, lime juice, and ginger syrup into an ice-filled shaker, and shake to combine. Strain into an ice-filled double old-fashioned glass (if you don't have a copper mug, that is), and top off with ginger beer. Garnish with a lime wheel.

DILL FLOWER VODKA

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When you use dill flowers, you get so much more complexity than from the fronds alone. The clean, almost minty flavor is a natural fit for the zakuski table, especially paired with pickled green tomatoes (here).

1 fresh head flowering dill

1 750-milliliter bottle of vodka

1 teaspoon simple syrup

Place the dill in a quart-sized mason jar and pour the vodka over it. Reserve the vodka bottle for the finished product. Screw on the lid and let steep for 24 hours in a dark, cool place.

After steeping, carefully pour the simple syrup into the reserved bottle. Strain the vodka from the dill flowers into the bottle using a fine-mesh strainer and funnel. Discard the dill. Close the bottle and shake to combine. Freeze for at least 1 hour before serving.

SEA BUCKTHORN BERRY VODKA

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Sea buckthorn is one of the common infusions you see steeping on a babushka's kitchen shelf. Usually taken as a get-your-vitamin-C tonic, these tiny Siberian berries are not just good for you — they carry an alluring mix of apricot, peach, and passionfruit flavors.

1 pound (about 3 cups) frozen sea buckthorn berries, thawed

4 ounces simple syrup

1 750-milliliter bottle of vodka

Toss the berries in a mixing bowl, and use a potato masher to smash them. Transfer to a quart-sized mason jar with the simple syrup. Add the vodka. Reserve the vodka bottle for the finished product. Screw on the lid and let steep for 1 month in a dark, cool place.

After steeping, line a fine-mesh strainer with several layers of cheesecloth or a coffee filter, and pour the vodka through the strainer and a funnel into the reserved bottle. Refrigerate before serving. Do not freeze.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Kachka"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Bonnie Frumkin Morales.
Excerpted by permission of Flatiron Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Guide to the Russian Market

Chapter 1: Infusions, Cocktails, and Other Drinks

Chapter 2: Pickles

Chapter 3: Cold Zakuski

Chapter 4: Hot Zakuski

Chapter 5: Dumplings

Chapter 6: Soups

Chapter 7: The Mangal

Chapter 8: Homestyle Dishes

Chapter 9: Showstoppers

Chapter 10: Desserts

Chapter 11: Pantry

Acknowledgments

Index

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