Weekly Menu: week of December 12

Here is my menu for this week: I like giving myself more than would need, so I have room to play.

Weekly menu:

  • chicken marsala
  • meat patties with cabbage (“kotleti” and sautéed cabbage)
  • grape leaves stuffed with meat (“dolma”)
  • oven roasted bronzini 
  • meatloaf (modern delicious) 

Pelmeni – Russian version of Tortelini

There is nothing more cozy on a cold December day than a bowl of hot soup. To me, even cozier is a bowl of Pelmeni (or Dushbere in Azerbaijan, except back home we serve it as a soup, with the water). These are pieces of heaven (ok fine, dough) stuffed with a delicious meat mixture, boiled in hot water, served with butta (ha ha), sour cream or yogurt and just a tad of herbs. If you can get past the annoying process of making the dough and stuffing each little circle and wrapping it, then you are in for a delicious meal. Sadly, I cannot get over it so I only make it once in a blue moon. Like today. I should have bene studying for my law school finals, but alas, cooking seemed like a better way to spend my day (don’t you worry, I will pay for this).

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Pelmeni

This recipe makes about 50-70 pelmenis

For the filling:

  • 1-1.5 lbs of ground beef
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Handful of Parsley (you can add Dill also, I didn’t have any)
  • Salt, pepper
  1. Peel and cut the onion into quarters
  2. Peel the garlic
  3. Wash the parsley/dill
  4. Add everything into a food processor or blender and blend until becomes mushy.
  5. Add everything to the ground meat and mix; the mixture should become soft and watery
  6. Set aside

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Herb and onion mixture

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Meat mixture ready to go

For the dough:

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 cup of cold water
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt
  1. Add the flour and salt to a food processor and mix
  2. Add the egg and the water and process some more
  3. if the mixture is too watery, add more flour little bit at a time; be careful not to over-flour
  4. Alternatively, dump everything on a board or counter covered with flour and knead until the dough comes together and is soft. Be careful not to add too much flour, the dough will become hard.
  5. Let the dough rest for 20-30 minutes.

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This is what the dough should look like

Assembling Pelmeni:

  1. Divide the dough into 4 parts
  2. Take each part and roll out as much as you can, not too thin, you don’t want the Pelmeni to rip
  3. Take a class or anything else you have at home that can cut out small circles and press it into the rolled out dough over and over again.
  4. Take the circles, roll it out again (just run a rolling pin over it once) and put about a teaspoon or so of meat filling into it.
  5. Now close the circle, pinch the corners very well
  6. You should now end up with a half moon shape; now take the ends and pinch them together.

At the end your Pelmeni should look like this:

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Finished pelmeni

 

Cooking Pelmeni:

  1. Bring a pot of water to boil; salt it, add a little bit of olive oil to it
  2. Slowly submerge Pelmeni into the water.
  3. As soon as they come up to the top of the pot, they are read. If you are hesitant, wait about 5 minutes and take out with a slotted spoon carefully or drain the whole pot.
  4. Once in your plate, top the Pelmeni with butter, sour cream or yogurt and any herbs you wish (dill, parsley, garlic).
  5. As always, enjoy!

pelmeni-with-yogurt

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See how the dough is not too thin or thick, it cooked through and held the meat in. If you made too much and feel that you won’t eat it all in one sitting, don’t boil it all at once. Put it in the freezer and save it for next time. No such luck for me, my husband devours food so I had to play it safe and cook it all -_-

Here is two ways to eat it: with butter and herbs, or butter and yogurt. You can go crazy and do all three: butter, herbs and yogurt. I promise you can’t go wrong!

B.F.T (a cousin of B.L.T)

I was at a restaurant the other day for lunch and saw something extremely interesting on the menu: Bacon Feta and Tomato sandwich (B.F.T). Now come one, I had to try it. I mean, I love bacon. I love sandwiches. I love love love Feta. Done deal. And so it was probably one of the best sandwiches I have ever tried. The bacon was smoky beyond belief, the bread was sourdough and toasted and the tomato honestly just got lost in the mix, but added a good palate cleanser. So of course, after having an almost orgasmic sandwich experience, I had to try one at home. I was pleasantly surprised. It’s easy to make. All you need to cook is the bacon. And since I love bacon, I piled it on high. It ended up being more of an open faced sandwich with lotsa bacon, but still worth it.

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Yum

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and Yum

Beautiful right. I know. I suppose you could also put some Arugula on their for even more freshness. Oh and those are heirloom tomatoes from Trader Joe’s. Not sure how I lived this long without them in my life.

BFT

  • Print

  • Bacon
  • Mayo
  • Bread (sourdough, ciabatta)
  • Tomatoes
  • Feta Cheese (any hard white salty cheese will do; also the best feta cheese (and white cheese) comes from Turkish stores-like the one pictured)
  • Arugula (optional)
  1. Cook the bacon. I don’t like mine to be super crunchy, makes it harder to eat.
  2. Toast the bread (i did not, but if I wasn’t so lazy, I would spread just a little bit of butter on it and toast it in a pan)
  3. Cut the tomato into circles
  4. Mayo the toast/bread; add tomato circles; then the bacon strips; and finally crumbles some feta on top (or a lot); and add arugula if desired.
  5. Now eat. All of it.