Nina Phomina

Feb 142017
 

 

Since we both, my husband and I, like all kinds of tartar, this year I will step away from my traditional raw, broiled or smoked oyster appetizer for upcoming Valentine’s Day and make a shrimp tartar instead.

I have wonderful huge shrimp in my freezer. They are meaty and very juicy (if defrosted the right way), with a nice mild flavor. I simply boil the shrimp with a spoon of my homemade delicate aroma “Old Bay Seasoning” and then chill them. Hm… or maybe I will simply broil them? Boil or broil? I will decide later…

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But what I know for sure is that these exquisite shrimp will be great on an avocado bed. And this tartar will be a delightful appetizer to enjoy with a glass of good prosecco. Done.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Instructions:

In a bowl, mash the avocado with a fork making a chunky or creamy puree. Stir in salt, pepper, and lemon juice.

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Assembly:

For a single portion: on a plate, set a culinary ring mold (about 2 ½ – 3 inch diameter). Layer the cucumber slices and spoon ¼ of the avocado onto the cucumber slightly pressing it. Cover the avocado with the cucumber slices.

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Carefully remove the culinary ring mold and top the tartar with 1-2 shrimp.

Dot the tartar with Tabasco, sweet chili pepper or other hot sauce and garnish with fresh dill or chives.

Note:

Alternatively, you can arrange the tartar on a bed of arugula, cress salad, or spring salad mix.

Small or chopped shrimp can be used in this recipe – make a layer of shrimp on top of upper cucumber layer.

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Print Recipe
Shrimp Tartar
by Nina Phomina
Instructions
  1. In a bowl, mash the avocado with a fork making a chunky or creamy puree. Stir in salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
Assembly:
  1. For a single portion: on a plate, set a culinary ring mold (about 2 ½ - 3 inch diameter). Layer the cucumber slices and spoon ¼ of the avocado onto the cucumber slightly pressing it. Cover the avocado with the cucumber slices.
  2. Carefully remove the culinary ring mold and top the tartar with 1-2 shrimp.
  3. Dot the tartar with Tabasco, sweet chili pepper or other hot sauce and garnish with fresh dill or chives.
Recipe Notes

Alternatively, you can arrange the tartar on a bed of arugula, cress salad, or spring salad mix.

Small or chopped shrimp can be used in this recipe – make a layer of shrimp on top of upper cucumber layer.

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Enjoy the world!

Feb 112017
 

 

I love chocolate! Specifically, I like dark chocolate. I always have dark chocolate at home. In every country I visit, I don’t miss a chance to taste the chocolate they produce. And when it comes to a holiday table, there is always some space for some chocolate on my menu, whether a box of dark chocolate truffles or a cake. This especially counts when I’m talking about St. Valentine’s Day.
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What is the Valentine’s Day without chocolate? Of course, there should be some. I guess this chocolate mousse cake will be a wonderful final accord for my holiday dinner. It is very chocolate, airy, creamy, and silky, as a good truffle. Every bite of this cake is like a heaven (those who like chocolate will understand what I’m talking about).

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The cake can be made with a simple chocolate filling, but adding a spoon of brandy, rum, or berry liquor will make it even better.

Serve the cake, as is, or with fresh berries, whipped cream, ice cream, or berry sauce.

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Preparation

Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C).

Butter a 9-inch spring form pan.

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In a food processor, combine cookies, butter, and sugar until finely crumbled.

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Firmly press the mixture onto the spring form bottom trying to make 1½-inch sides. You can help yourself working with a bottom of a measuring cup. The sides won’t be perfect – this will make the cake look even better.

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Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let it cool in the pan.

Fill the base with the mousse filling. Smooth the filling with a spatula. Chill the cake in a refrigerator for an hour (at least).

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Before serving, remove the cake from the form; decorate with powdered sugar, fresh berries, or nuts. Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature.

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For the mousse filling:

Mix the gelatin with 1 tbsp of coffee or liquor (brandy, rum).

Melt the chocolate with ½ cup heavy cream (on bain marie/double boiler or in a microwave). Stir until smooth and creamy.

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Whip 1 cup of heavy cream with powdered sugar until fluffy.

While whipping add the melted chocolate portionwise.

Stir in the gelatin-coffee mixture. Whip a little bit more.

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Note:

This cake can be made in advance (24-48 hours before serving). Keep refrigerated.

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Print Recipe
Chocolate Mousse Cake
by Nina Phomina
Course Cakes, Desserts
Prep Time 5 min
Cook Time 20 min
Passive Time 1+ hour
Servings
Ingredients
For the base:
Course Cakes, Desserts
Prep Time 5 min
Cook Time 20 min
Passive Time 1+ hour
Servings
Ingredients
For the base:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C).
  2. Butter a 9-inch spring form pan.
  3. In a food processor, combine cookies, butter, and sugar until finely crumbled.
  4. Firmly press the mixture onto the spring form bottom trying to make 1½-inch sides. You can help yourself working with a bottom of a measuring cup. The sides won’t be perfect – this will make the cake look even better.
  5. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and let it cool in the pan.
  7. Fill the base with the mousse filling. Smooth the filling with a spatula. Chill the cake in a refrigerator for an hour (at least).
  8. Before serving, remove the cake from the form; decorate with powdered sugar, fresh berries, or nuts. Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature.
For the mousse filling:
  1. Mix the gelatin with 1 tbsp of coffee or liquor (brandy, rum).
  2. Melt the chocolate with ½ cup heavy cream (on bain marie/double boiler or in a microwave). Stir until smooth and creamy.
  3. Whip 1 cup of heavy cream with powdered sugar until fluffy.
  4. While whipping add the melted chocolate portionwise.
  5. Stir in the gelatin-coffee mixture. Whip a little bit more.
Recipe Notes

This cake can be made in advance (24-48 hours before serving). Keep refrigerated.

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Enjoy the world!

Feb 092017
 

 

This is a simple yet elegant main course for almost any occasion. For a more dramatic presentation I like to serve a crown roast of lamb or standing rack of lamb. The attractive culinary centerpiece of two or three racks always looks stunning on a holiday table.

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If I need to make lamb for two (for Valentine’s Day) to four people I just use one rack and grill or broil it. Depending on my side dish choice I season the meat just with salt and pepper, or Herbs de Provence, or add cumin, or use Jacques Pepin’s lamb seasoning.

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Cooking the rack of lamb under broiler is a surprisingly easy method with an exceptional result. It looks great, it tastes great, and it is quite stylish.

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Cauliflower pilaf, cauliflower-and-farro salad, couscous salad, lentil salad with roasted peppers, quinoa tabbouleh, quinoa with fried peppers and tomatoes, chakalaka, or just simple vegetables, such as basket vegetables, tomatoes with parsley pistou, zucchini with peppers and capers, and green beans with orange zest – all these side dishes greatly compliment broiled rack of lamb and make the diner unique with various world cuisine twists.

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Instructions:

In a bowl mix the garlic, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Set aside.

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Coat all the sides of the lamb with salt, pepper, Herbs de Provence, and oil, slightly massaging.

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Place an oven rack 6 inches from the heat. Preheat the broiler.

Arrange the rack of lamb on a baking sheet (optionally, lined with foil) fat side up (curved side up). Optionally, cover exposed (Frenched) bones with a piece of foil.

Broil in the preheated oven for 7-9 minutes until golden brown. Turn over and continue cooking for 5-6 minutes more for medium-rare (for larger cutlets time is 9 + 6 minutes). Add 2-3 minutes for medium. Depending on the lamb quality exact cooking time could change slightly. Golden brown color and slightly caramelized fat show that the meat is ready to be removed from the oven. Or use a thermometer (130-135 F – for medium-rare; 135-145 – for medium).

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Remove the lamb from the oven and let it rest for 7-10 minutes (optionally, loosely cover with foil).

Meanwhile, cook the green beans and carrots.

Bring a saucepan with salted water to a boil. Add the beans and carrots, bring to boil on high heat, lower the heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Drain. Add the beans and carrots into the bowl and carefully stir well. Let it sit for a minute.

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Slice the lamb between the bones into 8 cutlets, two per person.

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Serve with green beans and carrots.

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Print Recipe
Broiled Rack of Lamb with Green Beans and Carrots
by Nina Phomina
Instructions
  1. In a bowl, mix the garlic, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Place an oven rack 6 inches from the heat. Preheat the broiler.
  3. Coat all the sides of the lamb with salt, pepper, Herbs de Provence, and oil, slightly massaging.
  4. Arrange the rack of lamb on a baking sheet (optionally, lined with foil) fat side up (curved side up). Optionally, cover exposed (Frenched) bones with a piece of foil.
  5. Broil in the preheated oven for 7-9 minutes until golden brown. Turn over and continue cooking for 5-6 minutes more for medium-rare (for larger cutlets time is 9 + 6 minutes). Add 2-3 minutes for medium. Depending on the lamb quality exact cooking time could change slightly. Golden brown color and slightly caramelized fat show that the meat is ready to be removed from the oven. Or use a thermometer (130-135 F – for medium-rare; 135-145 – for medium).
  6. Remove the lamb from the oven and let it rest for 7-10 minutes (optionally, loosely cover with foil).
  7. Meanwhile, cook the green beans and carrots. Bring a saucepan with salted water to a boil. Add the beans and carrots, bring to boil on high heat, lower the heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Drain. Add the beans and carrots into the bowl and carefully stir well. Let it sit for a minute.
  8. Slice the lamb between the bones into 8 cutlets, two per person.
  9. Serve with green beans and carrots.

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Enjoy the world!

 

Feb 072017
 

 

When our son Peter lived with us in our house, on Mother’s Days he was making for me a special breakfast (with my husband’s help, of course). Initially, when he was younger, it was a French toast, and later, in high school, I enjoyed his more complicated creation of a poached egg with smoked salmon (thanks to the internet recipe collection). Since then, a delicious poached egg-and-salmon combination became one of our family special occasion breakfast traditions.

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For a long time I was ‘scared’ to make poached eggs – they didn’t always look perfectly rounded and smooth, as you can get at a good restaurant or will see on a cooking show. But then I thought: ‘Who cares? This is not for a ‘demo’, this is for my family’. Even though sometimes the eggs come out with ‘feathers and angles’, they are still as delicious, as they would be ‘in a perfect shape’.

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After that, I’ve made hundreds of poached eggs for salads, pasta, fish, sandwiches, potatoes, other vegetables, and pancakes… Sometimes they turned out perfect, at other times – not so much.

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So, this mysteriously shaped poached egg on a whole grain-avocado-and-smoked salmon sandwich accompanied with Kir Royal or Bellini cocktail is on my breakfast menu for this coming Valentine’s Day. It will be so delightful and memorable breakfast!

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This is a breathtaking poached egg with salmon made for me by my son Peter:

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Preparation

Slice the avocado or puree it with a fork. Season it with salt and drizzle with lemon juice.

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Top toasted bread slices with the avocado, and then with the salmon slices.

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Bring a wide pan or a wide saucepan with some water to a boil. Lower the heat, so water is gently simmering, and add the vinegar.

Carefully crack the eggs into two ramekins or small bowls.

Carefully drop the egg into the water, helping the whites to get together with a spoon. Add another egg. Let them cook for 3 minutes.

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With a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs, one by one, onto a paper towel lined plate. Gently dry them with the paper towel and cut off excess whites (on the sides of the eggs) with a spoon.

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Top each avocado-salmon sandwich with the egg, season the eggs with salt and pepper (if using), and garnish with fresh herbs.

Serve immediately.

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Option:

The sandwich with avocado and poached egg (without salmon) is very delicious as well.

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Print Recipe
Poached Egg on Avocado-and-Smoked Salmon Toast
by Nina Phomina
Instructions
  1. Slice the avocado or puree it with a fork. Season it with salt and drizzle with lemon juice.
  2. Top toasted bread slices with the avocado, and then with the salmon slices.
  3. Bring a wide pan or a wide saucepan with some water to a boil. Lower the heat, so water is gently simmering, and add the vinegar.
  4. Carefully crack the eggs into two ramekins or small bowls.
  5. Carefully drop the egg into the water, helping the whites to get together with a spoon. Add another egg. Let them cook for 3 minutes.
  6. With a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs, one by one, onto a paper towel lined plate. Gently dry them with the paper towel and cut off excess whites (on the sides of the eggs) with a spoon.
  7. Top each avocado-salmon sandwich with the egg, season the eggs with salt and pepper (if using), and garnish with fresh herbs.
  8. Serve immediately.
Recipe Notes

Option:

The sandwich with avocado and poached egg (without salmon) is very delicious as well.

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Enjoy the world!