Kachka: A Return to Russian Cooking by Bonnie Frumkin Morales and Deena Prichep

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Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Short rib zharkoye

    • TrishaCP on December 20, 2018

      This was just ok for us. A little bland (I kept checking to confirm this recipe used no onions-I should have thrown one in regardless) and I thought the prunes tasted a bit off. I followed the instructions but slow-cooked on high for five hours instead of in the oven. Maybe the caramelization from the oven was what is needed, but I have too many better short rib recipes to try this again.

    • Rradishes on December 14, 2018

      While the ingredient list is short and looks almost boring, the results are great. This is a super easy set-it-and-forget it type of meal, with minimal effort. Potatoes come out super flavorful, ribs are tender. I added parsnips to it as well, so it can be easily customized.

  • Bloody Masha

    • L.Nightshade on March 31, 2020

      The horseradish vodka is a breeze to make. To be honest, I forgot I had this one going and the horseradish sat in the vodka for a far, far longer time than the called for. No damage done, it was very flavorful. For the Bloody Masha, caraway seeds, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, and black peppercorns are toasted in a dry pan, then finely ground. I found the aroma of this blend to be extremely seductive. The spices, along with lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and dill are added to tomato juice. I omitted the honey and the prepared horseradish, as I didn’t want to add sweet, and my vodka was sufficiently horseradishy as is. I filled up some old Russian glasses, garnished them with cherry tomatoes, brined chiles, dill pickles, and prosciutto. These were wonderful! Mr. Nightshade declared it the best Bloody he’d ever had. I made breakfast for dinner, eggs scrambled with foie gras and onions, and roasted garlicky potatoes, and the Bloody Mashas were the perfect accompaniment.

  • Beet caviar-stuffed eggs

    • potatooryam on November 24, 2020

      I made just the beet caviar and really liked it, though I wouldn't go through the fuss of making my own mayonnaise next time. The leftovers were really good the next day with some homemade crackers.

  • Moldovan eggplant salad

    • potatooryam on November 24, 2020

      I thought this was fine but wouldn't repeat it, I didn't find that the flavors ever melded as much as I wanted them to. I like eggplant but don't love it, folks who are bigger fans might enjoy this more.

  • Dumpling dough

    • potatooryam on November 24, 2020

      This dough is such a pleasure to work with. Easy put together and roll out.

    • sarahawker on August 23, 2020

      Easy to pull together, a very stiff dough for hand rolling, you'll work out your arms by the time you finish the 8th round. Absolutely works well for the mold though.

  • Tvorog vareniki

    • potatooryam on November 24, 2020

      Delicious! Tastes as good as the ones I have had at the restaurant. I substituted farmer's cheese for the tvorog cheese and would continue to do so.

  • Braised chanterelles and potatoes

    • potatooryam on November 24, 2020

      I love chanterelles, I love potatoes, so I thought I would love this but it was just bland and not a great use of chanterelles which are so expensive around here.

  • Rabbit in a clay pot with draniki

    • hirsheys on September 08, 2018

      I made a 1/2 recipe of this dish and had to use chicken thighs, rather than rabbit. I also screwed up the timing, since I was baking Kulich (I made this on Easter, ironically) and mostly cooked the dish on the stove. This was delicious - like special stroganoff. Good on the potato pancakes (though I like my version better), but even better on egg noodles. I didn't have smetana, so I used 1/2 crème fraiche, 1/2 sour cream. Used boneless skinless thighs. Then I browned the thighs in Dutch oven, pulled them out, poured in the creamy mixture and let it cook down a lot, then put the chicken in and let it braise on the stovetop for a while until the sauce was reduced and light brown in color (1 1/2 hours or so…)

    • hirsheys on November 03, 2020

      Made again actually following the recipe (mostly) - baking as written and with rabbit, and it’s amazing. I love this stuff. Very cozy meal for a scary election night. (I used frozen porcinis, sour cream and creme fraiche, powdered porcinis, and homemade chicken broth instead of garlic broth.)

  • Draniki

    • hirsheys on September 08, 2018

      These were good, but too much like pancakes, not like the fritter version of potato pancakes (latkes) I prefer.

  • Cabbage pirog

    • hirsheys on September 08, 2018

      The crust on this is extremely flaky and delicious (the grating technique works great - it's just messy.) The pickled mustard seeds make this a really unique dish. I ate this for days (I live alone) and it reheated fine, though the crust lost a bit of its crispness. On the other hand, it was one of the flakier versions I've made.

  • Black/white Russian

    • hirsheys on March 07, 2021

      To make a black russian, you mix some of the infused vodka with coffee liqueur (they call for something fancy, but I just used kahlua) and chocolate mole bitters (they call for a specific type that were impossible to track down, but I finally found some that are delicious at whole foods). For the white russian you then add a bit of half and half and a little simple syrup. I left out the simple syrup (as I also had in the vodka) and went just a bit light on the half and half (just because of what was left in my carton - I used maybe 1.5 oz rather than the 2 oz called for). I found this to be a much more interesting and complex version of a white russian and just the right amount of sweet - I'm glad I didn't add the simple syrup. Will definitely make again with the remaining vodka.

  • Chamomile vodka

    • Yildiz100 on February 26, 2020

      Wonderful stuff! I never knew chamomile could be so delicious. Move to the refrigerator after a few hours when house is very warm.

    • jenburkholder on August 10, 2020

      This is delicious and the best of the vodkas from this book. Excellent in a riff on a Bee’s Knees.

  • Baba Yaga

    • Yildiz100 on February 26, 2020

      Excellent. I was hesitant about using the full amount of simple syrup but it worked.

  • Pickled beets

    • Yildiz100 on February 25, 2020

      We found these way too salty. Perhaps she mixed up the salt and sugar in the recipe? The juniper did not work for me here either. It didn't seem to complement the beets and had an unpleasant aftertaste. These will likely end up in the trash.

  • Sirniki with raspberry kissel

    • Yildiz100 on February 24, 2020

      The pancakes are very nice, but the kissel was not pleasant. Very sour (no added sugar) and the potato starch gave it a slightly stringy texture.

  • Porcini barley soup

    • bching on January 24, 2021

      Tasty soup although I think a prefer using beef broth to the mushroom broth used here. I used frozen porcini which marred the texture a bit.

  • Short rib borsch

    • bching on December 26, 2020

      The best borsch I've ever made. It's a project but a fun and satisfying one when the snow makes the kitchen the most comfortable place in the house. Morales says that the mustard makes it borsch and I agree.

    • D.Barker on May 17, 2021

      This didn't work well for us. All the liquid cooked out, so during the long simmer time for the short ribs, must everything in the soup burned to the bottom. I added extra water to try and make it soup again, but it kind of had a burned taste. So I think this could be good with more liquid initially, but it was a pretty long time commitment for something that only turned out okay for us. It made me super sad, because I wanted this to be amazing.

  • Cauliflower schnitzel

    • Rradishes on January 18, 2019

      This was nice, the touch of marinating the cauliflower add flavor.

  • Siberian pelmeni

    • sarahawker on August 23, 2020

      These are so beautiful. I was gifted a mold and this was my first time experiencing/making Pelmeni. Takes awhile honestly,its a weekend project, but every family member LOVED this. Frozen half on a sheet pan and moved to a freezer bag.

    • Jviney on May 17, 2021

      These are not hard but are time-consuming. Well worth doubling the recipe when you’re making them so you can freeze them. They are delicious. I always think they will not work in the pelmenitsa but every time it does!

  • Perlovka salad with pears, mushrooms, hazelnuts, and sorrel

    • inflytur on November 07, 2018

      The sorrel/dill “pesto” gives this salad a vividly green flavor. It is worth the little bit of extra effort to quickly pickle the pear. This is good warm, at room temp, or cold. I made this for the cookbook club at my town library and it was the hit of the evening.

  • Zephyr

    • inflytur on November 04, 2018

      Fun marshmallow candies. n.b. Thick apple purée - I used jarred unsweetened applesauce. I put some in a strainer for about 30 minutes and measured the required amount from that. Syrup - Make sure that the small pan you use has tall sides. The syrup easily boils over and will create a mess that is very difficult to clean up.

  • Vinegret salad

    • jenniebakes on July 18, 2019

      This salad is so good, I can't stop eating it. I know she says to eat as soon as it's made, but I've kept it for a few days and it's great as leftovers... just very, very pink.

    • jenburkholder on August 14, 2020

      We thought this was only meh. The carrot didn’t seem to add anything; I wouldn’t bother including it. On a whole, it felt a bit one-dimensional. If I made it again, it would be a simplified version, no potato, carrots, or raw onion.

  • Lobio

    • Jviney on June 15, 2019

      Man, this was good. I made it for a potluck using canned kidney beans and harissa. I left out the pomegranate seeds because I don’t love them; everyone that tried it liked it.

  • Monday soup

    • jenburkholder on August 10, 2020

      This was a fine soup, cozy for a cold day, but nothing particularly interesting. We used sour cream instead of smetana, homemade veggie stock, and cooked the broccoli less.

  • Cacao nib vodka

    • jenburkholder on August 10, 2020

      A “grown-up” chocolate liquor that adds a beautiful undertone to drinks, especially a White Russian (as suggested in the book).

  • Tarragon vodka

    • jenburkholder on August 10, 2020

      Good - summery, and does indeed make a mean greyhound.

  • Horseradish vodka

    • jenburkholder on August 10, 2020

      Very intense and not for cowards. Likely a polarizing drink, but a good example of its kind.

  • Hunter's vodka

    • jenburkholder on August 10, 2020

      This one was good, but not my favorite. I found it difficult to blend into a cocktail with its variety of spices. Possibly better for straight drinking.

  • Dill flower vodka

    • jenburkholder on August 10, 2020

      This is delicate and not immediately identifiable as dill. Refreshing as a gin substitute in a G and T, especially with cucumber added.

  • Grapefruit gin

    • jenburkholder on August 10, 2020

      This isn’t particularly “grapefruit-y” - it’s more like taking the gin and leveling it up. Easy and delicious, like to keep it around to replace plain gin in all sorts of things.

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Reviews about this book

  • Smitten Kitchen

    The book is a delight on every page; a bit of history, a substantial amount of wry observations, some hilarious guides (how to navigate a Russian grocery store...

    Full review
  • Food52

    ...a lot of these recipes are heritage recipes from the author’s own mama and babushka.

    Full review
  • Food52

    When I opened the book, I wasn’t familiar with the food of the vast, diverse land of the former Soviet Union, and the many cultures and traditions it encompassed. This is no longer so.

    Full review
  • Food52

    ...is part memoir; an exploration of the space Russian cooking occupies in Morales’ life.

    Full review
  • ISBN 10 1250087600
  • ISBN 13 9781250087607
  • Published Nov 14 2017
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 320
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Flatiron Books

Publishers Text

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.

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.

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