This ladies and gentleman I present to you is the Russian meatloaf...or maybe the Russian "mama-burger"...OK what it really is, is ground meat combined with onions and seasoning, fried to perfection to create little patties of goodness. Moist and delicious, this recipe definitely takes me back to eating at my paternal grandmother's house as a kid. There, no ounce of fat was spared. My grandmother would fry them in butter and sunflower oil, until they were perfectly brown and delicious. My mother on the other hand, used ground chicken or turkey instead of beef and fried them in as little sunflower oil as possible. I grew up and I made them the way my mother used to because that's the only way I knew how. Don't get me wrong they were delicious, just not traditional. I wouldn't dare try anyone else's "kotleti" because they weren't my mom's. That is until last year. My best friend, Marina, calls me up and tells me that her mother-in-law Vera, taught her how to make perfect "kotleti". She says, "You know Mila, real "kotleti" not the kind you make." Naturally, I had to try these, she down right offended me! I did try them and they were AMAZING! Just like babushka (grandma) used to make! Fattening little suckers they are, but hey just one won't hurt. This is the only recipe I ever use to make "kotleti" (thanks Vera!) I just try and pair it up with something healthy and eat just one (sometimes). The only thing I did change was that I finish them up in the oven instead of frying them on the pan the entire time. It saves me time and lightens up the fat. This time, I served it up a nice healthy side of buckwheat, a Russian staple, and a light salad of tomato, cucumber and red onion. Enjoy!
Kotleti 5 pounds of ground beef (I used 85% lean and they turned out great) 2 onions, pureed in a food processor until finely minced 3 pieces of bread, soaked in water 1 egg salt and pepper to taste
1. Combine all ingredients well by hand. Make sure you squeeze out the water from the bread so that your force meat won't be soggy. 2. Form little oval patties with your hands. Try not to work them too much, you want them to remain nice and fluffy. 3. Fry them up on each side until they are a nice golden brown. Lay them out on paper towels to suck up the oil a bit. 4. Pour all the oil out of the pan and finish them up in a 500 degree oven for about 5-7 minutes, until juices run clear.
Years ago, I followed my dreams and went to culinary school. I went to culinary school to continue the dream that my mother and I always shared: to open up a deli or cafe somewhere and call it our own. Whether that cafe will ever open is still up in the air...but my cooking and my love for food I owe to my mother...and in a way this blog is dedicated to her...I only hope that I can inspire other women with this blog the way my mother inspired me...With her love for food passed onto me, I quickly became a food snob after culinary school. Today, a house, a husband' (and his stomach),and an up and coming business keeps me busy enough without all my gourmet concoctions! But, no matter how busy I am, I still go to my kitchen and cook to retain my sanity. Prehaps this is a way I connect to my mother...but cooking is the only thing that truely soothes my soul. My recent transformation has led me to belive that sometimes you just have to Keep It Simple Stupid...and Cook!
I will not eat oysters. I want my food dead - not sick, not wounded - dead. ~Woody Allen
Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside. ~Mark Twain
Great food is like great sex. The more you have the more you want. ~Gael Greene
Tell me what you eat, I'll tell you who you are. ~Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
And, of course, the funniest food of all, kumquats. ~George Carlin
Avoid fruit and nuts. You are what you eat. ~Jim Davis
The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you're hungry again. ~George Miller
Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. ~Harriet van Horne
Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon. ~Doug Larson
I didn't fight my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian. ~Anonymous
But those aren't the flavors. That'd make too much sense. Apple and pear, according to Dr. Phil, are body types the bars are made for. Hey, I've got some advice. If you look like an apple or a pear, eat an apple or a pear! [On Dr. Phil's energy bars. ~Lewis Black