I've already mentioned my trip to Europe with my childhood friends during winter break in college. It was the time I shamefully avoided eating about a million oysters for lack of knowing any better. On that same trip, after we all said our goodbyes, I spent an extra night in Paris at my friend's uncle's apartment before continuing on to another location on my own. I think I went and had dinner somewhere (I wasn't a self-proclaimed foodie back then), but while hanging out in the evening the uncle invited me to join him for a feast of fingerling potatoes.
In comparison to his apartment, he was a big guy and his even bigger personality overflowed his tiny kitchen as we took turns pulling potatoes out of a large pot. He would slice his in half and slather it with butter while chatting with me about potatoes and life. I was in a country with fabulous food and fancy restaurants and this experience was more authentic. More real. I mean, on top of it all, out the window the Eiffel Tower sparkled against a dark sky flecked with little stars. It was an impressionist's painting come to life. The end credits to a subtitled movie.
I could eat buttered boiled potatoes all day every day, but this time I decided to make our Reserve Caviar Classic Signature Bite. I roasted my fingerling potatoes and topped them with a spoonful of sour cream, a hefty dollop of Tsar Nicoulai Reserve Caviar and a sprinkling of chives.
There's no real recipe here. After halving the potatoes, I simply tossed them in a little bit of olive oil with salt and roasted them at 400 degrees until they were fork tender. Once they cooled I added all the toppings.
As its category suggests, this is a classic pairing of flavors and components. The caviar delivers its well-known pop against the soft sour cream and potato; the creaminess giving way to the brininess allowing the caviar to shine through.
My favorite brand of sour cream to use is the European-style Wallaby. I can eat it right off the spoon, and my finger, when putting together this dish.
Pick up some Reserve Caviar by clicking here.Tickets to Paris unfortunately not included.
Since the new year recently began, we thought we would take the opportunity to check in on the farm again and share with you some new developments.
For the longest time, the Tsar Nicoulai farm only housed our sturgeon tanks and everything else was empty, open land. In recent years, we have been cultivating and taking full advantage of all the land has to offer. The orchard's plants we mentioned back in February are maturing and the smoke house is complete.
Early September, our farm started its aquaponics program. Loaded with nutrients, recycled tank water is used to grow delicious vegetables. Lettuce and water crest are just a couple rewards of this truly sustainable objective.
It's never too early to start day-dreaming about Summer! An exciting new addition, our estate house, will open its doors in Summer 2017 for pop-up events, tastings, and private events. Tell your followers to brace themselves for your Instagram feed. After hanging out with sturgeon in one of the tanks, you'll be able to relax at the house, sit at the tasting bar, play at the game tables, enjoy the farm view from the comfortable seating area, go paddle boating, and cool off in the estate pool. And that's just a sneak peak of what's to come!
I don't know about you, but I am ready to plan another trip out to the farm. And maybe move there. Yes.
We are also very proud to share that our staff is full of women who share equal responsibilities with the men (like Hana, pictured above). From the website, to processing, to design, and even to the work on the farm, our female staff is a crucial part of our brand.
Living at the farm are more than just sturgeon! There are crawfish, goats, chickens, bass, and the farm mascot dog, Boston.
Keep track of our Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter and, of course, the blog and our gallery for updates on these new happenings.
(photo from patraminstitute.org)
On November 11th, 2016, the first annual Russian Charitable Gala Ball in Miami, Florida, took place at the Ritz Carlton, South Beach. The Ball was a showcase of Russian culture and a way to bring people together in celebration of it. There was delicious food, exciting entertainment, and all around merriment.
Of course, what would a Russian event without caviar be? A total bust. Ok, I wouldn't go that far. But it certainly would be missed. Tsar Nicoulai was the proud Diamond level sponsor for the important delicacy at this inaugural event.
Guests from across the globe came in support of two non-profit organizations - the Patriarch Tikhon Russian American Music Institute (PaTRAM) and the Prince Vladimir Youth Association (PVYA). The proceeds of the Ball were split among these two groups.
Russian Orthodox Archpriest Andrei Sommer started the PVYA to bring youth together through cultural and religious events and community service activities. The active non-profit group has organized food drives, concerts and other social events. Father Andrei has also organized many conferences for Orthodox Christian youths to get together and celebrate their heritage and faith. He also happens to be married to my cousin and is a pretty cool guy!
PaTRAM is a non-conventional Institute of Orthodox music offering lessons through video-conference and seasonal master classes. Their program is made available for people with busy schedules all across the world. Music is a large part of the Orthodox liturgy and the church is always in need of conductors and singers to beautify the service.
(Photo from Ball attendee Natasha Zaharov)
Guests consisted of Russian-American youth, generous patrons, oligarchs, and many others. The VIP Cocktail Hour guests sampled Tsar Nicoulai Reserve Caviar and Triple-Smoked Sturgeon, while other guests were able to enjoy our Gold Pearl Salmon Roe and Paddlefish.
Sashkie Baranoff sampling Tsar Nicoulai (photo from Ball attendee Natasha Zaharov)
Russians take pride in their products (as does any culture), but Tsar Nicoulai's American-made caviar stands up to their biased palate. A friend of mine, Natasha Zaharov, who attended the ball, described a man at her table - shaved head, with a heavy Russian accent and velvet tuxedo jacket - who parked himself at the caviar station. He said it was the best caviar he ever tasted and returned several times for more samplings. He was impressed by the fact that it was made in America. Natasha says she heard many people share his sentiments.
Xenia Maximow describing Tsar Nicoulai Caviar and all its wonderfulness (Photo from patraminstitute.org)
We were happy to take part in this event.
To read more details and see additional photographs from the Miami Russian Charitable Gala, click here.
I hope everyone is having a great 2017 so far!
In my post about Thanksgiving
I mentioned the butternut squash soup that took a while for me and my siblings to allow my mom to eliminate from the menu. It used to be that I would usually wait until Thanksgiving to eat butternut squash soup. It was kind of a once-a-year thing. Because we don't have it on that day anymore, in recent years I've come to make it on the regular during the Fall. It's an easy thing to make and it's delicious.
My mom and I also love to plan party menus in general. We tend to lean on the side of more complicated than simple (because we love cooking) and somehow there are always soup shooters. Like the gazpacho we made for my husband's 30th birthday party a while back. Something about little shot glasses of soup just screamed fancy and cool to us.
You have to admit that it does look elegant and it can be a cozy appetizer for a wintery holiday party. I chose to top this Creamy Butternut Squash Soup Shooter with our Classic Caviar as this happens to be the Classic Signature Bite for this particular caviar. This dish is definitely our go-to for the season (if you remember, we posted a similar recipe last year around this time).
For me, this soup is another "not-really-a-recipe recipe" that I follow from years of watching my mom make the soup for Thanksgiving. I take a big butternut squash and cut it in half then scoop out the seeds. I roast at around 400 degrees on a foil lined baking sheet, cut side down with a little olive oil. Once it's fork-tender (usually at least 45 minutes, if not more), I let it cool and then scoop out the flesh into a pot on the stove top. I add chicken broth and blend with an immersion blender (you can also blend in a food processor if you don't have an immersion blender). I heat the soup up on the stove top and add more broth and heavy cream until I reach my desired consistency and flavor. Salt and pepper are key seasonings of course, as well as your choice of nutmeg, cinnamon, and/or even a little brown sugar.
For the shooters, I put the soup in a measuring cup and pour a little bit into shot glasses. Beat some heavy cream until stiff peaks form and top each shooter with some whipped cream. Then garnish with a generous topping of caviar. Violà - An impressive and beautiful presentation for your guests!
For those on the West Coast - visit your local Whole Foods to purchase our Classic Caviar for your soup shooter appetizer.
Wishing everyone a joyous and beautiful holiday! May you all be surrounded by warmth and happiness!
The menu planning continues as we move from Thanksgiving to the winter holidays. I pretty much never test out recipes for parties, but I decided to play around with a dish for some of our Smoked Trout Roe.
So many dishes for caviar involve toast, blini, and potatoes. If you're also having a cheese and charcuterie plate at your party, it might just feel like a lot of starchy carby stuff. Which, of course, isn't bad, especially during the holidays, but why not something light and refreshing?
I made salmon mousse to top on cucumber slices and garnish with Smoked Trout Roe and some dill. I think it was on an episode of Top Chef that this dish was mocked for being too "80s," but I think it's perfectly acceptable. It's a pretty dish with a good punch of flavor. As I said, it's a nice break from the heavy appetizers that are usually served during parties.
Basically, you take about 8 ounces of cream cheese and process with 4 ounces of smoked salmon. Add a few tablespoons of lemon juice. Scoop the mixture into a piping bag (or a Ziploc with a piping tip) and pipe onto sliced cucumbers. Top with roe and sprigs of dill.
If you feel like making this for your upcoming holiday party, order your Smoked Trout Roe here.
Stay tuned for the next post with another staple holiday party appetizer.