I think the main emphasis in my blog will be on food. Because who doesn't like food? The easiest, most fun way to experience another culture. And another culture I do have. Because I was born and lived most of my life in Russia, I still cook a lot of Russian dishes. I don't see much information in the English language sources about the modern Russian cuisine. So I think it will be interesting to write about what Russians actually eat today and offer the recipes that have been tested here in my Texas kitchen and will work with the ingredients that are available in the US.
But because I have lived in the US for quite a while, I naturally cook a lot of American dishes, with Tex-Mex being one of my favorites. Chocolate chip cookies! I never knew them growing up. Cheesecake! Fajitas! Cream pies! Should I continue?
I will start with a pastry that is common to both Russian and American cuisine. Cinnamon rolls, made with yeast, are something that is popular both here and there. My grandmother used to make them, and I still remember those late nights when I was allowed to stay up keeping her company while Grandma would knead the dough, let it rise and shape it in these snail shapes.
Powdered sugar glaze is something that I borrow from the American cooking; grandmother didn't use it, but it makes the rolls so much better!
By the way, the rolls freeze well, even covered with glaze. They can then be warmed up in the microwave.
Cinnamon and Cardamom Rolls
For the dough:
1 1/2 teaspoons dry east
3 1/4 cups flour
3/4 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons powdered milk
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup water or milk
For the filling:
4 tablespoons butter, melted
6 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon powdered cardamom
1 cup walnuts, chopped
For egg wash (if desired): whisk 1 egg with 2 tablespoons water
2 cups powdered sugar
2 or 3 tablespoons milk
Place the dough ingredients in the bread machine in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Select the "dough" cycle.
In a small bowl, mix the sugar, cinnamon and cardamom for the filling.
Once the dough is ready, roll it out into a 8X16 in rectangle. Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with the sugar mixture, then with the walnuts. Roll it up, pitch the seam closed and cut the roll into pieces about 1 in thick.
Place the rolls cut side down on a greased cookie sheet at lease 2 inches apart, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place about 45 minutes.
In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350F. If desired, brush the rolls with the egg wash (to give them shine). Bake until golden, about 30 minutes.
Make the sugar glaze: add milk to powdered sugar one tablespoon at a time, mixing after each addition (be careful as the glaze can get too runny very quickly).