Thursday, March 1, 2012
Last week was Maslenitsa (Butter Week) here in Russia, and in world Orthodoxy in general. It's the week before the Church is plunged into a 7-week-long of strict fasting, and the last time before Easter that we can indulge in any dairy products. The week before Maslenitsa marks the last meat we eat until Easter.
The traditional food of Maslenitsa here in Russia is blini - thin pancakes packed full of milk, eggs and butter. Blini are typically eaten with fillings - chopped egg, sliced scallions, smoked fish and caviar are popular. In Russia people eat them year round with vegetable and meat fillings, as well, but having grown up eating them mostly during Maslenitsa, I prefer them with seafood.
This year we had Jeremy's boss and his family over for blini. After I had extended the invitation, I panicked. Jeremy's boss' wife is a born Ukrainian and it's a pretty safe bet that her blini blow mine out of the water. Although I love blini, I only make them once a year, and as a result, mine never turn out quite right. As you can see from the photos, they get a little crunchy around the edges. I get impatient frying them as slowly as you have to, to get a nice light colored blin.
But they turned out pretty well, and we had a good laugh over the fact that all four of the children at the table (ranging in age from 16 months to 11 years) loved eating blini with red caviar. I don't know many American children who salivate at the sight of a bowl of fish roe.