Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Blini (Bliny)

No Babushka! Those are for dinner.

These are the yeast-raised kind. Mr. ETB called it, "Russian Injera", which I can kind of see, given the similarities of teff and buckwheat, along with the spongy texture. I'd say it is impossible to ruin blini, but the memory of the ones Mr. ETB made a decade ago keep me from doing so-oh god, were they awful. He tried grinding up kasha groats and using that as flour with yoghurt and some baking soda (as I recall-it is all a suppressed memory at this point). That was the last time anyone in this household made blini, so I thought we were due to try again. I was comforted in the knowledge that even if they weren't wonderful, they couldn't possibly come close to the last attempt. As it turns out, they were wonderful-in a Russian Injera kind of way. The boys ate the entire batch between them. Now they keep muttering about getting the, "moose and squirrel."

These are a great way to bake bread without heating up the house as we head into the yearly heatwave. When they start talking about heat indices of 110, you can forget heating the oven. Tomorrow night they're getting a similar dinner with the addition of some herring and picked beets.

I served these with a few salads I will give basic recipes for at the end.

For The Blini:
This is a recipe from About.Com. Probably not the most traditional recipe, but it worked and no one spat it out on the plate.

2/3 cup AP flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon yeast (not the rapid rise)
1 cup warm milk
2 tablespoons melted and cooled butter
1 egg, separated

In a large mixing bowl mix the flours, salt and yeast. Heat the milk to lukewarm and blend into the flours. Mix well, and cover. Let rise until doubled-about 1 hour.

Stir in melted, cooled butter, and egg yolk. In another bowl, beat the white until it is stiff but not dry. Fold it into the batter. Cover and let stand 20 minutes.

Over medium heat in a non-stick pan (I used a well-seasoned cast iron pan without any trouble sticking) drop quarter sized dollops onto hot pan and spread gently. Cook until bubbles have broken on top and turn. Cook about 30 seconds longer on second side. Keep warm until serving time (I made a pouch out of foil). Serve with plenty of sour cream, and perhaps one of the side dishes offered below.

Warm cabbage:

1/2 head shredded green cabbage
2 carrots, grated
1 apple, peeled and grated
4 tablespoons butter
3 juniper berries
Thyme to taste
A splash of dry vermouth

Heat butter in a heavy pot over medium heat. When melted, add cabbage and carrots. Add juniper, thyme, and salt and pepper. Cook until cabbage begins to wilt. Turn up heat and splash on a generous glug of vermouth. Cook until it burns off. Serve hot with blini.

Mushrooms with sage:

1 lb. mushrooms trimmed and finely chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon crumbled sage

Cook over medium heat until mushrooms have thrown off their mositure and onions are soft. Serve with blini.

Cucumber Salad (cold)

1 large cucumber, sliced as thinly as possible
1 heaping tablespoon coarse salt
1 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon mixed pickling spice
2 teaspoons dried dill weed
1 bay leaf
4 cloves chopped garlic
1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds

Slice cucumber and place in a shallow dish. Sprinkle with salt and let stand 1 hour. Rinse and pat dry. Meanwhile combine everything else in a non-reactive pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

Strain liquid through cheesecloth lined colander. Pour liquid over cucumbers to cover, and chill several hours before serving. After the first day you can transfer them to a jar-lasts about a week, but they will disappear pretty fast.

For the Potato salad:

2 cups peeled and diced new potatoes, boiled until tender but not mushy
1/3 cup salad oil (I used sunflower seed oil)
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
A generous grind of black pepper
Chopped parsley to garnish

Combine all and chill well before serving.


Raymond said...

Blini, herring and pickled beets?! Add cabbage rolls and that'd make me fly out there just for dinner. Lordy, that menu is so "me!"

Goody said...

The door's open anytime you care to visit.