Idaho is no longer a "meat and potatoes" type of state: it is becoming a veritable culinary melting pot! New and interesting ethnic restaurants and grocery stores are opening up in cities around the Treasure Valley and a growing group of "new" Idahoans is introducing exciting unfamiliar ingredients, different approaches to old-fashioned foods and secret family recipes that have been handed down from one generation to the next.

This blog allows us a peek into the pots and pans of these travelers that have chosen to make Idaho their new home. It captures a compilation of stories and dishes from people who, far away from their country of birth, recreate familiar elements in the dishes they prepare. For many, food from their home country is a comfort to the soul: for some it's an important part of their cultural or religious celebrations and for others, it's just good eating!

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Name: Kamilla Gazieva
Born in: Pavlovsk, Russia
In Idaho since: August, 2009

"I might be the only Russian person that some people in Idaho will ever meet." Kamilla is explaining why she is excited about organizing the International Food, Dance and Song Festival at Boise State University this April where she is studying for her master's degree. "I want to make sure they know that there is more to Russia than bears, vodka and fur hats. There is more to it than great scientists and athletes: we also have great actors and writers. And we have really good cartoons!"

Another thing Russia is perhaps not so well-known for is its cuisine. During the previous regime, food was scarce and often basic but Russian food has a strong and diverse history. "I'm going to cook borsch. It is a traditional Russian and Ukrainian dish and probably it is the first dish you think about when you hear "Russian food". Every family cooks it and it is a must for Russian girls to know how to cook it, although I learned it just recently, when two friends came to visit. Of course the best borsch is the one cooked by my mom!".

Traditionally, borsch is prepared with meat, most often beef, although the areas closer to the ocean sometimes will use fish or herring instead of beef. Kamilla chose to prepare a non-meat variety, adding additional flavor by using a bouillon cube.

5 medium size potatoes
1/2 beef bouillon cube
4 medium size beets
2 carrots
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1/3 cup of warm water
1/2 green cabbage, cut in thin strips
1/2 cup of onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lemon
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley or dill

Peel the potatoes, quarter them and add enough water to cover them about an inch. Bring to a boil and add the bouillon cube. Peel the beets and the carrots and grate them into thin strips. In the meantime, sautée the onions in a tablespoon of oil until golden. Add the carrots and the beets to the onion and stir until soft, then stir in the tomato paste and the warm water. Squeeze the lemon and add the juice: this will brighten the colors of the carrots and beets. When the potatoes have boiled approximately ten minutes, add the cabbage. Stir in the beet/carrot mix, add the garlic and simmer until all the vegetables are done. Add chopped parsley and/or dill, taste and adjust.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream and some chopped parsley and bread.

1 comment:

  1. Borscht is know all over Eastern European countries. In Poland we do above receipe and called Ukrainian borscht. You can also cook and strain from vegetables and use as consome in soup cups or with mashed potatoes and bacon drips on the top or savory crapes filled with meat or veg. You can serve cold, as Jewish do, with sour cream during hot summer days which is called chlodnik.