News

Thanksgiving

by Olga Schafranek |

It's hard to believe Thanksgiving is just a few days away. I love that we have a day dedicated to spending time with family and eating. It's nice to also take the opportunity to be grateful for everything that we have and give to the people that may not have as much. 
I mentioned before that there was a Thanksgiving we all got sick and I put tarragon on the green beans. Not sure what "incident" my family thought was worse. For the record, I thought the Food & Wine November 2015 green bean recipe was delicious. I think Thanksgiving is just a hard holiday to bring in new flavors in recipes. Everyone is very protective of tradition. It took years for my mom to finally convince us that we don't need a first course of butternut squash soup anymore. It was something that was painful to let go, but it also would fill us up so much that we hardly had room for the rest of the meal. I happen to like playing around with recipes, especially if I am helping host (ok...except for my mom's stuffing which I crave all year long). 
Last year was also when my sister and I first started talking about me blogging for Tsar Nicoulai. If I haven't told you before, my insanely talented sister is the design guru for all packaging and promotions at Tsar Nicoulai and she helped me get started here. We were fortunate to have some caviar samples for our Thanksgiving meal and took the opportunity to play around styling dishes and promotional flyers.  
One of the dishes I chose was an onion dip, also from the November 2015 issue of Food and Wine. It makes a beautiful presentation and, in my opinion, fits Thanksgiving so well that I decided to include it this year, as well. 
The onions are roasted whole, peel and all. Once cooled, the tops are cut off, insides scooped out, chopped and mixed with sour cream and mayonnaise. I left out the onion powder from the original recipe, finding it unnecessary. Then you fill the onion shells with the dip, top with caviar and garnish with fennel fronds. It's simple and looks gorgeous. And it tastes great with thin, plain, kettle cooked potato chips. It's a great dish to have out while people are waiting for the main event. Not too rich or filling and just so pretty to look at. 
The Signature Bite for our Classic Caviar happens to be an onion dip so it was the perfect selection for this dish. The dip provides a mild base for this caviar and the jet black color makes the whole thing look like a work of art. Any of our salmon or trout roes would pair beautifully with this appetizer while adding a nice pop of bright color, as well. 
I wish everyone a peaceful and joyous Thanksgiving. 
To those who sacrifice this time with family for their jobs, we thank you.
Na Zdorovye, 
Olga
(See recipe below)
Roasted Onion Dip (serves 10-12)
From Food and Wine, November 2015
Ingredients
2 medium unpeeled red onions
2 medium unpeeled Spanish onions
2 medium unpeeled sweet onions
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon onion powder (I omitted this ingredient)
Kosher salt
Pepper
Salmon, trout, and sturgeon caviar, for serving
Fennel fronds, for garnish
Potato Chips, for serving (preferably Kettle Cooked and unsalted)
Preparation
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Using a paring knife, trim the bottoms of the onions and stand them in a baking dish. Bake for about 1 hour and 30 minutes, until very soft. Let cool.
2. Using a paring knife, carefully cut 1/2 inch off the top of the onions. Using a small spoon, scoop out all but 2 or 3 layers of the roasted onions to form cups; you should have 2 1/2 cups of pulp. Finely chop the onion pulp and transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in the mayonnaise, sour cream, and optional onion powder and season the dip generously with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes. Keep the onion cups at room temperature.
3. Spoon the onion dip into the onion cups and transfer to a platter. Top the dip with salmon, trout, and sturgeon caviar and garnish with fennel fronds. Serve with potato chips.

An EAT Series Dish for Visiting New Parents

by Olga Schafranek |

The due date of our second baby approaches and we are all anxiously awaiting her arrival. I'm also looking forward to eating more of the caviar that I get to photograph. You know...and meeting this little bundle finally after 9 very long months. 
There are many sarcastic parenting blogs out there that talk about visitors after babies are born and how awful it is. It's funny because I quite like having visitors around. As long as they don't mind if I am showered or not and in yoga pants for the 5th day in a row, they are welcome to stop by. No gifts needed. It's nice to have company from the outside world, changing up the day a little and holding your baby while you sip some coffee or wine...or vodka, whatever. 
Food is a nice thing to bring though. Most importantly, easy food. And why not spruce it up a little? When flipping through our Signature Bites, I found one that fit the bill for visiting new parents perfectly! It's even one I could prepare myself with visitors on their way and the baby nursing 24/7. Of course, I would rather this just appear in my house rather than me put it together, but the effort is so minimal and the result pretty great, either way everyone's happy. It's the Traditional Signature Bite for our Smoked Trout Roe. A Latin parfait with layered fresh guacamole, garden salsa, sour cream and corn crisp topped with the roe. Did someone say 7-layer dip? Better yet, did someone say store-bought 7-layer dip? My pregnant self did. And my sleep deprived nursing self will say it, too! An awesome EAT version to an already pretty simple dish.
The Costco 6-layer dip we found was perfect. Since it didn't have a corn crisp layer we tried it with corn tortilla chips. Perfect. I transferred some of the dish out of the plastic into a glass container to make it seem less casual and thrown together, but honestly I don't think any tired mother that you are bringing food to will really care.
The smoky/barbecue-y flavor of the roe adds an interesting twist to this dish and a fun pop to its smooth creaminess, as well. I'm interested to see what the flavor can add to other dishes in the future, as well -- once I can really devour as much caviar as I want!
To order our Smoked Trout Roe, click here.
Wish us luck!
Na Zdorovye!
Olga 

As Long as There's Kindess...and Caviar

by Olga Schafranek |

A big day awaits us Americans tomorrow. Election Day. It's been arguably the craziest campaign season in history and our nation seems to be fraying at the ends and splitting down the middle. But let's not. Let's stay united despite the differences. Let's have kindness. Kindness and love will go a long way. 
And let's also have caviar! To note the coming election and Veteran's Day, I thought it fit to make a hefty American meal with American caviar. A Patriotic Signature Bite of sorts, if you will. Specifically, the Golden Whitefish Roe Luxe Signature Bite - a twice baked potato with crab meat. 
This whitefish is indigenous to the Great Lakes area and produces slightly fruity roe. It has a firm pop which makes it pair well with soft textured dishes - like a baked potato. It's also one of the more affordable options, allowing for a generous sized topping. 
The dish was fairly easy to make and I have included the recipe below. Our Signature Bite calls for chives. I strangely was unable to find any at the store and garnished with parsley instead which worked beautifully. 
Winter approaches along with the season of togetherness and family. Perfect for a warm, comforting and filling dish like this. Let's take this opportunity to embrace the madness of the world and find the kindness in it. And let us not forget to thank all of our veterans - those lost, those finally home, those who will miss their family for the holidays, the sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, the heroes. Don't waste away on hate. Remember that for which they sacrificed their time and/or lives.
Appreciate. Love. Thank.
And vote. 
Crab Stuffed Twice Baked Potatoes (serves 3)
(Adapted from the Food Network)
Ingredients
3 russet potatoes
1 tablespoon plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz crab meat
1/2 cup crème fraîche
dried thyme 
salt
Tsar Nicoulai Golden Whitefish Roe
chives or parsley for garnish
Preparation 
1. Poke holes in potatoes. Roast right on oven rack in 400F oven for about 45 minutes, until cooked through
2. While potatoes are roasting, heat 1 tablespoon butter on a saute pan. Toss in garlic and sauté until fragrant and getting soft. Add crab meat and cook until just heated through. Put crab mixture in a bowl and mix in the crème fraîche. Add thyme and salt to taste. Set aside.
3. When potatoes are done cooking, take them out and let cool. Lower oven temperature to 350F. 
4. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut a portion off the top and scoop out the potato meat into a bowl. Put the empty potato shells back in the oven for about 5 minutes to dry out. 
5. Mash potato meat and add crab mixture. 
6. Take out the potato shells, scoop potato and crab mixture back in to them and bake for another 30 minutes or so. 
7. Top with Golden Whitefish Roe and garnish with a parsley leaf (or chives as is in the original suggested Signature Bite description)
To order American Golden Whitefish Roe, click here
Na Zdorovye!
Olga

Ghosts, Spiders, and Vampires! Oh my!

by Olga Schafranek |

The peak foliage is already ending over here by me, but I am still trying to enjoy every ounce of bright red, yellow, and orange. As the pumpkins appear on porches, lots of kids start anticipating all the candy that will soon pour into their buckets and pillow cases in less than a week! Can I claim the "pregnant card" and just eat candy myself without sharing? I use the excuse for pretty much everything else less socially acceptable that I have been doing. 
One of my best friends growing up lived a couple blocks from me and they always went all out on Halloween. Their house was decorated the scariest on the block, but all the parents would power through with their kids because at the door not only was there candy, there was beer and wine for the adults. A genius idea and very neighborly gesture. 
I couldn't help but remember that when I was coming up with a Halloween bite for our Golden Reserve Caviar. I bet adult trick or treating would be popular in some places. Just judging by the eager parents I would see running up the path to grab a cup of beer or wine to enjoy while watching their kids get increasingly hyped up on candy.
The posh appetizers, however, are probably best kept for a fancified Halloween Party. I made a simple, spooky bite with Tsar Nicoulai Buckwheat Blini Mix, a spider web cookie cutter and some piped sour cream. 
If you've never used our blini mix before, you should. It's so easy to use and tastes great. And if you are conscious of ingredients in bagged or boxed mixes, do not fear this one. It's just organic buckwheat flour, organic whole wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Basically taking out a couple mixing steps in making them from scratch. Added ingredients are also simple - milk, eggs, butter. This is coming from a person who feels the need to make cheddar crackers from scratch for her daughter's pre-school class (eyeroll!). Use this mix without shame! 
I followed the directions on the bag for mini blinis and then used the cookie cutter to cut out spider webs. I spooned some sour cream into one corner of a Ziploc bag, twisted the end and snipped off a tiny bit from the tip. Then I piped a spider web design onto each blini and topped with the Golden Reserve Caviar. Plastic spiders optional. 
Keeping it spooky but classy! 
There's still time to order for your Halloween Party! Golden Reserve Caviar here. Blini Mix here
Don't forget to take advantage of our promotion: use code SPIDERS for 30% off your order (Valid until 11/04/2016).
However you participate, have a happy and safe Halloween!
Na Zdorovye, 
Olga

Something for Everyone During the Holidays

by Olga Schafranek |

The upcoming holidays are a time for warm fuzzies, festive merriment, drinking, eating, and...family drama. There was the year my dad missed his entire Namesday/Holiday Party while stuck in the ER, or the year we all got majorly sick on Thanksgiving (which was the same year I had the audacity to put tarragon on the green beans), and the Christmas Eve where I made my very pregnant sister cry. It's a fun time of the year, but can be loaded with wacky emotions. 
I can't imagine the holidays without some insanity, but maybe that's just us. Either way - enter our Something for Everyone Party Set to ease some of the crazy. Everyone will find a flavor they love to keep them full, quiet, and content. Not to mention there is really everything you need to throw together some special appetizers without wasting major time. If tensions start to rise, throw a glass of wine at your family and encourage them to find their favorite roe. 
This set comes with 2 ounces each of our Naturally Infused Beet + Saffron, Hawaiin Ginger, Wasabi, and Truffle Roes along with crème fraîche, a package of 16 Tsar Nicoulai blini and four Mother of Pearl demi spoons. Elevate a favorite bite/dish or simply use what's in the set to put out a beautiful spread! Serving with unsalted potato chips will make it even more addictive and keeps your cranky uncle even more occupied.  
So as you start Pinning and planning your recipes for the holidays, add our party and gift sets to your list. Save yourself some time and sanity. And this year will be the year you had the best appetizers ever. 
Na Zdorovye,
Olga