Hard to believe that it’s been 2 years since superfoodies said: “Let’s Eat!” I mean: “I do”… but there it is… I started plotting our celebration awhile back, and when L mentioned a vague question about what were we going to do, I said I was already on the case! (And that he could have next year exclusively). A good plan, we decided, so that our general nature to surprise each other didn’t result in a clash of events.
Last year was a super fun time at Pravda in Toronto, and I thought it would be easy, fun, to keep up the theme. My plan was to stay home this year, and have a vodka tasting party. And then the choices began… there are so very many vodkas and it was hard to narrow it down to 4, but I managed to choose brands that I thought we would appreciate most, and hadn’t tried before.
Right in the middle of my purchases (which happened over several weeks), L developed a taste for gin… right about the same time that the liquor stores started highlighting the stuff, with big displays!… and interesting, new varieties! Maybe next year… we were committed to our vodka past at this point.
After much research and shopping, I settled on: Pravda (no mistake, a nostalgic nod to year one fun), Chopin, Absolut Elyx, and Russian Standard Platinum. The next step was to make up score cards, since you can’t do a legit tasting without some scoring! After picking up and numbering 4 small carafes and 8 small glasses, my next dilemma was how to get the vodkas into the carafes without me knowing what they were. Kid L to the rescue. She came over and poured, and then wrote up the “vodka key” and stuck it on the basement fridge for us to open when we were finished.
In the meantime, I had shopped for, and then arranged, an awesome charcuterie plate! Meats, cheeses, pickled onions, rye bread, crackers, spicy pickled green beans, olives, asian pear… all of our favourites… which were eagerly consumed during the tasting. I made sure not to look at L’s scorecard and he did the same, so we could have a fair assessment. So how did they all stack up??
1st Place: Pravda, 2nd: Russian Standard Platinum, 3rd: Absolut Elyx and 4th: Chopin. Pravda really was the stand out for sure.
What to do next?? Well, the night was young, many drinks were already consumed, and L was now on clean up crew for all the carafes of poured vodka. Sensing this might be the logical flow after the tasting, I planned for us to make perogies from scratch! A needed and forced break in the imbibing, if you will…
Again I researched, and actually found a vareniki recipe (click here) that sounded very delicious and interesting (note: I did change the filling to potato/cheddar). I sprung the plan on L, and I’m sure that he did NOT see THAT as the next activity, but he sure was happy about it. (we have always said we’d make perogies from scratch) As I started the set up, L continued to scarf the entire rest of the charcuterie platter… and vodka… then he was up, stuffing the dough as I cooked. L is a champion vareniki stuffer, gets waaaay more in than I do! We boiled them and then fried in a whack of butter and onions… yes we did.
They turned out fantastic! Puffier than regular perogies, and as tasty as any I’ve had in a long time. We ate as many as we could, which was considerably less than our usual intake of course, after the giant meat/cheese fest.
It was nice to be home this year, and be able to waddle over to the couch after the remaining vareniki were safely tucked in the refrigerator. What on earth will next year hold??? L… anniversary #3 is in your court :D