Baked Apples Stuffed with Raisins and Walnuts

baked apples walnut raisin

I’m sure every country that grows apples has some version of a baked apple recipe. Personally, I’m somewhat indifferent to fresh apples, but baked apples are just pure goodness. I love the smell of baking apples sprinkled with cinnamon wafting from my oven. In the fall, I buy the freshest apples at a local veggie store. This time, I used Ambrosia apples grown locally in British Columbia. These apples are firm and sweet and don’t become soggy during baking. Pretty much any variety of apples can be baked, but firmer medium-sized apples are best.

Beef Patties (Kotlety) in Beer Sauce

beef patties beer

Beef patties (kotlety) is a very basic, everyday type of food that a Russian family typically eats for dinner during the week. The beer sauce is my own invention, but it’s really excellent with the patties. Just remember to use a beer that’s less on the hoppy side and more on the malty side – non-bitter dark beers work well. I usually use a Czekh Beer brand called Baron. It’s sold in most BC liquor stores and is really good to drink on its own too 🙂 For those worried about the alcohol in beer – alcohol is a very volatile substance and is completely evaporated when the sauce is boiled!

Fiery Eggplants (Baklazhan Ogonyok)

This eggplant-based dish tastes excellent whether eaten by itself or as a condiment for steak, meatloaf, pork chops, or any kind of meat. This dish is a typical example of a Russian zakuska (a type of appetizer or an antipasto). In Russia, this dish is literally called “Little Fire” and is a popular canning recipe. Don’t be alarmed at the word “fiery” in the name of this dish. Traditional Russian cuisine is quite mild, and what may be perceived as hot by the Russian palate does not even compare to the level of hotness of other cuisines, for example Korean or Jamaican. Select small eggplants to use in this recipe, as they are less bitter and contain fewer seeds. I found these cute little baby eggplants at a local veggie store and just could not walk away without buying them. I also used a mixture of hot and mild Hungarian peppers, which are soooo much tastier than the regular bell peppers. To add visual appeal and hotness, I used red (hot) and green (mild) peppers. I also used one special ingredient from Russia: unrefined sunflower oil. If you can’t find it, using regular vegetable oil is perfectly fine. This dish is equally delicious hot or cold.