Friday, February 14, 2014

2014 Winter Olympics - Sochi, Russia

As is tradition, Mike and I welcomed the start of the Olympics with a meal and snacks similar to that of what people of the host country would enjoy.  I'm very unfamiliar with Russian food and really didn't know what to have.  I wanted to make something we would actually want to eat, had to have access to the food, and it couldn't be too time consuming to make since weeknight dinnertime is a little crazy now that there is a baby living in our house.  I asked for ideas on Facebook and was told that beef stroganoff is a Russian dish and that my coworker would share a crock pot recipe that she liked.  Perfect!  Through some Internet searching I discovered that a traditional appetizer for the Russians is marinated herring.  Well, Ma Baensch's is a local supplier of such a delicacy (grossness!) so that would be easy to come by.  I also read that baked apples are a common dessert.  Easy enough!  While at the store I found a jar of Russian Borscht and picked that up.  Mike was in charge of purchasing the alcohol; we got a selection of Baltika beer and a bottle of Russian standard vodka.  We were all set!!

My thoughts?  The beef stroganoff was pretty good and I have shared the recipe below. I enjoyed the borscht (basically, it's a beet soup.) but Mike said he had to choke his down.  The herring?  It's always been a common thing in my parents' house around the holidays and I never really tried it.  I did this time.  Yeah, still don't like it!  The baked apples were okay.  I didn't have a specific recipe as they were all about the same so I just winged it.  For a dessert it was just too healthy, but for an apple it was pretty good!  The beer wasn't anything to write home about.  As of this writing I had only tried two different 'flavors' and didn't love either.  In fact, I don't think I finished either.  We did a shot of vodka and that wasn't too bad.  Vodka doesn't taste like much so I'm not sure how to tell if it was good or bad vodka.  The bottle is almost gone as Mike has been making White Russians for the last week so it must not be too bad.

I really do love our tradition but it's not as exciting when the foods are hard to come by or just not in our flavor palate.  I'm looking forward to the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro but know that we will struggle with South Korea and Japan.  I'm not eating anything that is still alive!

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff


2  pounds beef stew meat 
1  cup chopped onion  
1  can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed golden mushroom soup 
1  can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of onion soup                 
1  jar (6 ounces) Green Giant® sliced mushrooms, drained                   
1/4  teaspoon pepper                  
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, cubed                
1 container (8 ounces) sour cream                 
6 cups hot cooked noodles or rice 


  • In 3 1/2- to 4 1/2-quart slow cooker, mix beef, onion, soups, mushrooms and pepper.
  • Cover and cook on low heat setting 8 to 10 hours or until beef is very tender.
  • Stir cream cheese into beef mixture until melted. Stir sour cream into beef mixture. Serve over noodles.                    

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