Please to the Table: The Russian Cookbook by Anya Von Bremzen and John Welchman

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Notes about this book

  • robm on July 31, 2011

    A comprehensive book covering Russian cooking, including recipes from what are now the former Soviet republics. Russian cooking has been out-of-fashion in the West for a while, but that's a shame -- there are endless superb dishes to be sampled!

Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Eggs stuffed with mushrooms (Yaitsa farshirovanniye gribami)

    • Rradishes on March 31, 2019

      Mushroom stuffed eggs are a classic and a family favorite. Really adaptable too (soften butter instead of cream, or just sautéed mushrooms lightly dressed in mustard, or mayo. Take your pick!) Will be making over and over again.

  • Beet caviar with walnuts and prunes (Svyokla s orekhami i chernoslivom)

    • deboChicago on April 16, 2019

      I have made this recipe frequently for company. It always impresses. I find that three beets is really too much--one really large or two smaller beets would do, but then you might want to reduce the number of prunes a bit (from 7 to 5, perhaps?) to limit sweetness. Otherwise, I make it as written, the day before serving. It lasts over a week in the refrigerator.

    • MelMM on March 03, 2016

      I made a few adaptations in the interest of time. I steamed the beets in a pressure cooker for 15 minutes instead of cooking in the oven. I chopped the prunes before adding to the brandy to speed absorption, and brought both ingredient to a boil together before removing from the heat. I sped up the cooling of the beets by giving them a quick shower under cold water, then slipped the skins off. I added the prunes to the food processor with the beets, instead of at the end. I toasted the walnuts lightly in a skillet. This is supposed to sit in the fridge for 6 hours or overnight, and I have to say I skipped this step. It sat in the fridge for maybe 20 minutes. It was great right away, and also the next day. As you can imagine, what with beets and prunes involved, this caviar was on the sweet side, but the sweetness was nicely balanced by the lemon and mayo, plus the slight bitterness of walnuts. This just might be my favorite beet dish ever.

  • Wild mushroom caviar (Gribnaya ikra)

    • MelMM on March 03, 2016

      The caviar is supposed to sit at room temperature for at least an hour to allow the flavors to meld, and this is the one caviar where I actually did that. While it didn't make that big a difference with the other two (which I also tasted after sitting, and again the next day), with this one it did. The flavor of the dill really doesn't come through until after the caviar rests for a while. It gets stronger the longer it rests (and is stronger still the next day). So when adjusting seasonings, keep this in mind. This was absolutely delicious, and was our favorite of the three vegetable caviars we made, although the beet one was a close second for me. The amount of mayo in both this and the beet caviar is minimal enough that it doesn't come off as a mayonnaise-based salad, at all. In fact, you can barely tell it's there. Anyway, this was a winner, and I'll happily make it again.

    • deboChicago on April 16, 2019

      This is another recipe I frequently make for company. It is one of my most requested recipes. Super umami.

  • Eggplant caviar, Odessa style (Baklazhannaya ikra)

    • MelMM on March 03, 2016

      This is a very good eggplant salad. It was our least favorite of the three we tried last night, but that is just because the other two were so good. A little more sitting time would have helped (I had some of the leftovers for breakfast this morning, and it was improved). The downside for us was the raw onion and garlic, which we were tasting for the rest of the evening. Even after tasting again today, that's still a bit of an issue. Let's just say this is not a salad you want to serve the first time you have your new boyfriend/girlfriend over for dinner. But once you are well-acquainted enough to agree to face in opposite directions in bed that night... Really, I am giving this veg caviar a hard time. It's good, and a quick sauté of the onion and garlic (not enough to brown them) would have taken the edge off.

  • Miniature salmon croquettes with dill mayonnaise (Pozharskie kotletki iz lososini)

    • Breadcrumbs on March 09, 2016

      p. 37 – When I see the word croquette I immediately imagine crispy, crunchy rolls or patties of deliciousness so it was easy to decision to plan a tasty meal around this recipe. I’d never made or eaten a salmon croquette before and I was expecting them to bear a resemblance to the various fish cakes that are always a favourite here. I wish I could say this recipe was worth the effort but unfortunately it disappointed us. While the grated onion provided some flavour to the patties, they were still pretty bland and even with the sauce they were just ok but certainly nothing special. My biggest issue with the croquettes was the salmon itself as this cooking method dries out the meat and doesn’t allow it to shine. I couldn’t help but feel I’d wasted a lovely piece of salmon. Needless to say I won’t be repeating this recipe. Photo here:

  • Tiny meatballs with pine nuts and raisins (Kololik)

    • ashallen on October 23, 2020

      These are very nice, but then I'm always a fan of raisin-nut-meat dishes! I substituted chopped slivered blanched almonds for the pine nuts which worked OK - they weren't as tender as pine nuts. I roughly chopped the raisins also to disperse them more evenly in the meatball mixture. Salt is "to taste" - I used 3/4 tsp fine salt but would use more next time. Some of my meatballs overshot the minimum cooking temperature for ground beef/lamb (160F) and were less tender and juicy than the more lightly cooked ones, so I'll keep a closer eye on them in the future. We didn't squeeze lemon juice on them as the author suggests but did eat them with pomegranate molasses glazed carrots tossed with cilantro (Melissa Clark recipe) which worked really well.

  • Cold veal meat loaf with horseradish sauce (Versienos vyniotinis su krieny padazas)

    • mcvl on June 20, 2015

      Superb meatloaf -- use dill pickle juice instead of chicken broth for moistening the mixture.

  • Classic Russian cabbage soup (Shchi)

    • mcvl on September 02, 2020

      I didn't have half the ingredients called for, and it was still delicious and stick-to-your-ribs satisfying.

  • My mother's super-quick vegetarian borscht (Vegetariansky borshch moyei mami)

    • deboChicago on April 12, 2020

      This is a really wonderful recipe. We have been making this for more than a decade. Highly adaptable, always delicious. Also great for company.

  • Azerbaijani meatball soup (Kiufta bozbash)

    • ashallen on June 04, 2020

      Nice comfort-food type soup with large, tender, prune-stuffed meatballs. Aromatic flavors from large quantities of tarragon, mint, and parsley. I was pleasantly surprised by how well the various flavors melded. My prunes were on the small/tart side and that worked well - large prunes would be harder to mold the meatball mix around and really sweet ones would be a bit cloying. I used a flavorful homemade chicken stock instead of lamb/beef stock as specified in the recipe - worked fine, but this would be really nice with a flavorful beef stock. Recipe doesn't say how big to cut the potato chunks - scant 1-inch chunks with skins-on worked well. Recipe calls for 1/4 cup rice in the meatballs - I used cooked rice, but based on some internet research it looks like I should have used uncooked rice - next time! Leftovers kept well to next day - soup thickened but flavors were still good.

  • Wild mushroom soup with barley and cheese (Gribnoy sup s perlovkoy i sirom)

    • Rinshin on February 05, 2017

      A perfect 10 - this is the mushroom soup I've been hoping one day I meet. Everything about it is superb. Intense mushroom flavor along with hint of gruyere and parmesan cheese. This is also very easy to make. I added a T of quinoa along with barley the recipe called for. I normally cook soups longer than what recipes call for and I did cook this soup longer before adding the carrots, celery and potatoes to concentrate the flavor.

  • Armenian lentil and apricot soup (Vospapur)

    • westminstr on April 01, 2016

      It was a little too sweet for our tastes with the addition of the apricots.

  • Cucumbers in sour cream (Salat iz ogurtsov so smetanoy)

    • Gio on March 11, 2016

      Pg. 117. For this little salad I used both sliced cucumbers and radishes. Kirby cucumbers were presalted etc. per the recipe but the radishes were not. I liked the combination of colors and flavors: tangy, refreshing. I didn't mind the preponderance of dill but it does add that slightly bitter citrus flavor that I'd rather have in moderation.

  • Moldavian tomato, cucumber, and pepper salad (Salta de patagele, castraveti, si ardei)

    • deboChicago on August 09, 2019

      So fresh and delicious. Wonderful!

    • deboChicago on August 22, 2019

      This is going to become a regular summer dish. Great again today.

  • Beef Stroganoff (Bef Stroganov)

    • eve_kloepper on November 24, 2019

      Delicious, but needs more sauce for the noodles. I increased broth to 1 cup and flour to 1 1/2T to take care of that.

  • Russian hamburgers (Kotleti)

    • Gio on March 06, 2016

      Pg. 162. Interesting, different mixture one might use for meatballs or kofte. Outcome was delicious and very well liked. We used ground lamb not beef, peanut oil. and ghee instead of butter, Panko for the breadcrumbs. Recommended..

  • Uzbek lamb stew with cumin seeds, coriander, and bread (Zharkop)

    • mcvl on May 08, 2020

      My Instacart shopper thought sweet onions were the same as regular yellow onions, so I used only onions, no carrots, in this recipe, hoping to cut down on the saccharinity; worked well. Tasty little dish.

  • Chicken croquettes Pozharsky (Pozharskiye kotleti)

    • AgusiaH on June 24, 2012

      I used only ground chicken (no veal) and 2 egg whites. I forgot to add madeira wine but croquettes came out excellent - very light and delicate.

  • Russian fish cakes (Ribniye kotleti)

    • Rradishes on January 08, 2018

      So good. These are very light, melt in your mouth texture, with nice sweetness of the onion. I used cod and didn't have any of the "fishy" taste. The key is to be generous with the onion and use soft white bread. Crunchy on the outside, fluffly on the inside. Will make again

  • Spinach in yogurt sauce (Borani)

    • Barb_N on March 19, 2016

      Inspired by Gio's note, I made this as a last minute side. The only deviation was adding a bit of arugula in need of eating. Delicious, quick and definitely a keeper!

    • Gio on March 06, 2016

      Pg. 324. Great recipe! With the simple yogurt addition and with onion and garlic the taste of the spinach was lusciously mellow. Onion and garlic are cooked in butter, the spinach is added and cooked till just wilted. Off heat yogurt is stirred into the spinach mix and combined, then gently heated through That's it. Served with the Russian Hamburgers.

  • Zucchini-cheese patties (Kabak mucver)

    • deboChicago on January 07, 2020

      This is a real favorite. Delicious when freshly made and great reheated.

  • Stuffed cabbage (Golubtsi)

    • Rinshin on February 11, 2017

      Not sure what makes these Russian, but it was good and basic stuffed cabbage. I did not notice dill or parsley taste from the sauce and perhaps next time I would increase the dill. I tripled the amount of sauce and instead of using tomato paste, I used one 14 1/4 oz can of tomato sauce.

  • Rice and lamb pilaf (Kovurma palov)

    • Barb_N on January 11, 2021

      I followed the spicing of this dish but used already cooked turmeric rice and cubed lamb shoulder. I added dried cherries and sliced almonds at the end, similar to other recipes.

  • Rice and mushroom pilaf (Plov s gribami)

    • Rinshin on March 31, 2016

      Mushroom heaven! For people who love the taste of various mushrooms, this pilaf has wonderful rich taste. For my taste, the amount of sour cream was perfect as it did not overpower the aroma and taste of porcini and white mushroooms. I added a small splash of dry sherry while cooking the mushrooms. Served with pan fried flounder over coleslaw.

    • Breadcrumbs on March 09, 2016

      p. 366 – In the headnote to this recipe AVB notes that “whenever pilaf appears at Russian dinner parties, the hostess always claims she invented it”. While I chuckled when I read that, I can’t say I’d be keen to take credit for inventing this recipe as it produced a good but not great version of the dish. In particular, we really looked forward to the lovely caramelized onions in this dish and unfortunately we found the flavour of the dried mushrooms to be a little overpowering so the sweetness of the onion was not as pronounced as we’d expected. Also, I didn’t really think there was enough sour cream to have any discernable impact on the dish. As I said, this was a good pilaf but definitely not anything special enough to warrant repeating. Photo here:

  • Pasta, lamb, and feta cheese casserole (Ghiymya hinkal)

    • ashallen on October 30, 2020

      Great comfort food for a cold night. The flavor of the spiced meat mixture with the salty feta is delicious and I enjoyed the springy texture of the homemade noodles. Recipe calls for a "medium-size" casserole dish - I used a 1.5 quart/8x8-inch dish which worked well. I substituted 6 oz drained canned whole tomatoes for the fresh tomato and roughly chopped slivered blanched almonds for the pine nuts - both substitutions worked very well. I was also short on lamb and used 2/3 lamb + 1/3 ground beef. We accidentally ate up all of our yogurt earlier this week and were unable to make the sauce, but the casserole was still great without it.

  • Tahini rolls (Tahiniov gata)

    • Snadra on December 30, 2016

      Seriously delicious rolls - perfect for breakfast with coffee.

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