Nina Phomina

May 182017
 

Dear friends,

 

This post-message is mostly for my Russian-speaking readers. As per continuing requests of the readers, I would like to let you know that I’m reopening my cooking site in Russian. So you are welcome to visit my renovated page Cookingpalette.net.

 

Thank you very much for your support.

 

With all my love,

Nina

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…

shrimp tartar00017

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!

shrimp tartar00016

 

Instructions:

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

shrimp tartar00001

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.

shrimp tartar00008shrimp tartar00009

 

 

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.
chocolate mousse cake (25)

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).

chocolate mousse cake (3)

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.

chocolate mousse cake (2)

 

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.

chocolate mousse cake (7)chocolate mousse cake (8)

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.

chocolate mousse cake (9)chocolate mousse cake (10)

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).

chocolate mousse cake (16)chocolate mousse cake (17)

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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.

chocolate mousse cake (24)chocolate mousse cake (27)

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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.

chocolate mousse cake (11)chocolate mousse cake (12)

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.

chocolate mousse cake (13)chocolate mousse cake (14)

chocolate mousse cake (15)

 

Note:

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

chocolate mousse cake (31)chocolate mousse cake (35)

 

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.

broiled rack of lamb with green beans and carrots00037

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.

broiled rack of lamb with green beans and carrots00036

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.

broiled rack of lamb with green beans and carrots00017

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.

broiled rack of lamb with green beans and carrots00047

 

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.

broiled rack of lamb with green beans and carrots00032

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).

broiled rack of lamb with green beans and carrots00033

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.

broiled rack of lamb with green beans and carrots00012broiled rack of lamb with green beans and carrots00013

broiled rack of lamb with green beans and carrots00016

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

broiled rack of lamb with green beans and carrots00038broiled rack of lamb with green beans and carrots00040

Serve with green beans and carrots.

broiled rack of lamb with green beans and carrots00046broiled rack of lamb with green beans and carrots00045

 

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!