Finding avocados in Moscow is not all that hard. But finding an edible one is. Finding salsa in Moscow is not hard either. Finding a jar for less than $6 is impossible. And I’m not talking about a jumbo size jar here. We’re talking your average small jar of salsa. Trader Joe’s, I miss you. You always had at least 5 kinds of salsa and never charged me more than $3 for any of them. Sigh.
But the other day was a lucky one for me. I found good avocados. Which of course leads to guacamole. And taco salad. So I bought the avocados and was determined to make guacamole. However, tomatoes are not in season. And even if the tomatoes in the picture above look pretty they were totally inedible. So I decided to cheat. I used jarred salsa instead. And Maldon sea salt. That stuff just makes everything taste better. So even though this is not an authentic guacamole recipe it is a good one.
2 avocados, chopped
1/4 c. jarred salsa
1/2 tsp. Maldon sea salt
In a medium bowl combine all ingredients and mash to desired consistency.
Is that really even a recipe?
I absolutely loved this stuff and would get a bottle on almost every trip to Trader Joe’s. However, the stuff was loaded with seed oils. No bueno! This afternoon I set out to make our weekly batch of Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette when I opened the cupboard and discovered that I was out of balsamic vinegar. I had just finished an RPM class and walked two miles while running errands so going back to the store was just not going to happen. So I decided that I would replace the balsamic with the other vinegars I had on hand. And even though I did not use any champagne vinegar, I was surprised that the end result tasted exactly like the Trader Joe’s brand of vinaigrette. Score!
4 cloves garlic, grated or pressed
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tsp. favorite spice or seasoning blend (I use a teaspoon of Penzey’s Greek or Turkish seasoning)
1/2 teaspoons salt (or less depending on if there is salt in your seasoning blend)
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/3 cup sherry vinegar
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup extra light olive oil
Whisk together garlic, mayo, Dijon mustard, seasoning, salt, and pepper until well combined. Add the both vinegars and whisk well. Slowly add in the olive oil (while whisking).
I am so excited that the worst of winter is over here in Moscow. And not just for the obvious reasons. It is wonderful to see the metro/street markets open again. And not just a random stand or two selling frozen vegetables. Today as Xman and I headed out to do some writing, we passed the markets at the Smolenskaya metro stop. For those who know Moscow, this is at the end of Old Arbat near the Garden Ring. This market looks similar to a dozen others but I still find the need to stop and look at every vendor.
First up, ferments! Of course there are a dozen types of sauerkraut but you can also buy kimchi, fermented carrots, fermented eggplants, and even pickled shrimps. .
Next, dried fish. Not quite the selection that you’ll find at the Dorogomilovsky market but not bad for a small metro stop open air market. Again I was reminded that we need to ask our Russian friends for a dried fish tutorial.
Fruits and vegetables, of course. I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am to see vegetables that are not cabbage. Seriously. I may choke if I have to fix another cabbage this week. And I’m someone who actually likes cabbage.
And then there are dried fruits and nuts. Of all the things you can buy at these markets I think these are the only items that are overly-priced. Best to head to Indian Spices (there is an English version of the site) or the Vietnam market for these items.
And one of XGirl’s favorites, honey. The honey in this country is as unique as it is ubiquitous. In fact, I’ll probably have to devote a whole post to honey at some point.
To find the Smolenskaya market take the dark blue (Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya) line to the Smolenskaya stop. Hang a right and follow the crowd till you see you tents!