May your holidays be fun and stress free. May your house be warm and your food delicious, and may your family not drive you completely nuts this holiday season.
We are grateful for all of you.
Since you guys asked.
Salad Oliver “Salat Olivie” was created by a Belgian chef Lucien Oliver in mid 1800. He worked for a famous Moscow restaurant called Hermitage, and after the recipe debuted at the restaraunt, everybody wanted it. People stood in lines to get into the place. So Oliver guarded the recipe like the golden fleece and prepared it himself in private. One day he was called away and one of his sous-chefs snuck into the kitchen and wrote down the list of ingredients. Later he left Hermitage and went to work for someone else, and of course, tried to reproduce the famous salad, except it didn’t taste right. To this day nobody knows what exactly went into it, but it had potatoes, crayfish, caviar, and other exotic ingredients. Over the years, the salad became greatly simplified and now this version of the salad is pretty much a traditional Russian holiday dish, especially in the south.
You will need
1 can green peas
3-4 large pickles
1 large granny smith apple (or any other apple that doesn’t turn into mush. McIntosh will be fine. Red delicious won’t work.)
1 pound of meat. Here is where things get creative. “Traditional” recipes sometimes call for bologne, because that’s all you could get in USSR at certain times. My family always did good quality sausage or roast beef cubed into bite sized pieces. You could use ham, probably salty, not sweet. Ham would do beautifully. Or salami. Or boiled beef. You get the idea.
4-5 medium potatoes
2-3 medium carrots (I don’t put these in because bleah, cooked carrots.)
1 small jar of mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
Salt and pepper
Boil potatoes and carrots. Boil eggs separately. Peel everything that needs to be peeled. Chop everything into bite-sized pieces. Put everything into a big old bowl. Add about a cup worth of mayo/Miracle Whip and mix. You don’t want it swimming in mayo, but just nicely coated. Continue to add mayo until everything has a thin layer of mayo on it. Sprinkle dill on top. I can’t find an image of it that’s not copyrighted, but here is a link to a Russian site with a nice picture of it.
Russians come to blows over this recipe and several variations exist. DO NOT skip the apple. DO NOT add sour cream. You will regret it.
PS. My garden gnomes came.
I am a woman of simple tastes. He-he-he.
Breaking radio silence. The plan was to stay away from the internet for a while, but it doesn’t always work that way, and some issues have to be resolved. Since I am on here anyway, might as well ramble.
Thank you for the awesome launch of Sweep in Peace. It hit #31 on USAT and #8 on Wall Street Journal, and I am positive it would’ve hit NYT, except that NYT didn’t know it existed because of Friday release.
For some odd reason – BFF Jeaniene believes it to be mental exhaustion – this release was exceptionally difficult for me. To the point where I couldn’t sit in the work chair for a few days. I’m in it now, and I seem to be up and running. I have no choice. I have to get myself together after Thanksgiving, because we are not missing another deadline. Fallout 4 really helped. I shot so many feral ghouls in the face. Also, the other day, I was making my way to Corvega plant, and a mole rat ran out of nowhere and it had frag mines strapped to it. That was a holy crap moment.
I don’t understand it where this truckload of incapacitating stress came from. I suppose Avon negotiations were a big chunk of it. That was not fun. Maybe it just all accumulated. Anyhow last Friday I went outside and saw the hedges which died sometime this summer from the combination of drought, acidic tree leaves, and too much shade. It looked bad. The small space by the house also looked bad. It was covered in weeds and rocks and chunks of some broken plastic container. I looked at it and thought, “We have the worst looking house on the street. If we don’t do something, we’ll start getting princes looking for Sleeping Beauty soon.” So I made myself get into the car, and drive to the store, and buy mulch, plastic border, and two saws.
And then my husband volunteered to help me, because he is a nice guy, and we cut down the hedges together and dragged them off. Then I raked it and deweeded it, and installed the little fence, and mulched it. I also bought some containers and flowers.
Okay so it’s not perfect, and we will get a service to extract the stumps once we get past holidays. But for now I’m happy with it. It was so satisfying, because I went out and did it, and it looks nice. The house is brighter. The hedges were so tall, they partially blocked the office window. And when stuff in the containers dies, I will empty them out and put something new in there. I have one more container left. Maybe I will buy a pretty plant today.
I have broken with tradition and we’re getting a smoked turkey this year. That leaves me with ham and sides. Gordon will smoke the ham, and I have to decide what sides to make. Mashed potatoes and stuffing were requested, so those two, and corn and green beans, of course. I have a kick butt recipe for a Russian potato-type salad called Olivier, but nobody will eat it. They all hate potato salad and mayonnaise and I would feel stupid making it for myself, because there is no way not to make a big bowl of it. If I make a big bowl, then I will eat it for a week so it doesn’t go to waste, and I so don’t need the extra calories that salad packs.
What are your favorite sides?
Ilona and Gordon are recharging their batteries for a few days so I get to share the wonderful news. Sweep in Peace was released just three days ago and has hit the USA Today book rankings at #31. Wow….just wow! Where is a happy dance gif when you need it?
To recap– their self-published book has been on sale for three days and is the #31 bestselling book in the U.S. Hmmmm, and it was released on a Friday–what might the ranking have been with a Tuesday release????
Thank you for loving Dina and her Inn. Thank you for trusting Ilona and Gordon to create this world and supporting their belief that a story that started on the Blog was something that would be loved by a wider audience. THANK YOU!
Sometimes people will ask about old snippets, posted here and there. Some I can find and some I can’t, but I always try. A lot of the old blog entries are locked due to wonky formatting or things I decided shouldn’t be available, like family stuff from years ago or political/cultural rants that are no longer relevant, etc. So with that in mind, I found some old snippets people have requested and I am putting them right here. Most of these are unfinished fragments.
For K., Gerard and Helen Demille (Dina’s parents) meet. I don’t know why we haven’t finished this one. Deadlines?
For S., Jack and George at school. This was part of Fate’s Edge but was cut for length and flow.
For T., Lucas and Karina have a family. This was a YA idea that just sort of fell out and hit me in the head. Gordon was lukewarm on it and I don’t know, I don’t have a good YA voice. It went nowhere.
A, I’m so sorry, I can’t find the SF with the heroine named Nalini. It was a very long time ago, and I no longer have that file.
And here it is. It’s out. Yay! Dina DeMille doesn’t run your typical Bed and Breakfast. Her inn is a living entity that defies laws of physics, her fluffy dog is secretly a monster, and the only paying guest is a former Galactic tyrant with a price on her head. But the inn needs guests to thrive, and […]