Mar. 5th, 2017


Mar. 5th, 2017 10:08 am
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I would have ventured to say that relatively few of us Americans have eaten fish eggs, but the widespread popularity of sushi cuisine would have put the lie to that assertion. Still, I believe few people in this country have eaten sturgeon caviar, which consists of fine black eggs and is hugely popular in Russia, where it goes by the name ikra (икра).

Apropos of which, for some time, I have wondered about the link, if any, between the Russian word ikra and the Japanese word for salmon eggs, ikura, commonly encountered in sushi restaurants. (According to Richard Blaine, writing for, ikura does, indeed come from Russian.) But I digress...

Genuine sturgeon caviar is expensive, for reasons that would probably fill a small book. There is, however, another kind of ikra that Russians revere, so called because—if you don't look too closely—the product exhibits numerous black specks of eggplant goodness.

You heard me right. Eggplant caviar.

And everyone seems to have his or her own recipe. Galina's, for example, includes finely chopped carrots and lots of tomato sauce.

Among my late mother's index cards is a recipe that she got from Mrs. Rennenkampf. It lacks the quantitative precision of the recipe presented a few days for okroshka, but it does seem very approachable.
Put an eggplant into boiling water and cover the pot with a lid. When the eggplant becomes soft (use a fork), draw and cool. Once cool, remove the skin. Put the eggplant through a grinder of chop it finely.

Take 2 large onions, chop them finely and fry in Mazola or Wesson oil until they are golden brown. Then add the chopped eggplant, some finely chopped green peppers, 2 cans of tomato sauce, and 2 scant tb of sugar. Cover the pan (saucepan) tightly and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour. When almost ready, add garlic powder, dill, salt, and a little pepper.

The recipe does not really explain how much "some" chopped green pepper might amount to, or how to tell when this "caviar" is "almost ready," but these are not insurmountable problems.

I would whip up a batch later today, were it not for the fact that we are currently facing a food glut.

I'll put it on the list. :)

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For a long time, Galina has been of the opinion that, were it not for all my books (which generally reside inoffensively on shelves), we would be able to lead simpler, more joyful lives. (Of course, that's my interpretation of her opinion. Mileages may vary.)

In any event, I've finally bitten the bullet and begun to haul boxes of books—many acquired via tsundoku (letting them pile up, unread)—off to the local Half-Price Books. My "haul" of cash so far is a hair over fifty bucks, which is actually a bit more than I expected for eight "book sized" boxes of books.

The store has an interesting algorithm for buying books. They examine each book and either reject it or place it in one of several "accept" piles, sometimes after consulting some online source. At the end of the process, you're offered a price for the books they're interested in buying, and you're free to take back any of the books they've rejected or you can let the store donate them to one of several good causes posted prominently near the counter.

I've already determined that, despite a rather sizeable foreign language section in the main part of the store, they're not interested in any of my Russian books, so I'm seriously thinking of offering them (especially my dictionaries) for sale through my work blog. It'd be a shame to have them end up in a dumpster, somewhere.



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