The Milwaukee Art Museum had the most amazing exhibition of Wassily Kandinsky's work (and some important contemporaries), this past summer. It was an enlightening show - I was totally unaware of his early figural work, and completely charmed by his pieces done in tempera on black paper.
Of course, there was a gift shop to check out after the exhibit. I try not to buy anything (or at least not spend too much); I could not pass up the cookbook by Elena Makhonko on Russian food. I thought I knew something of their cuisine, but paging through the book I realized I really didn't.
The first recipe I tried was for Salted Cucumbers, a.k.a. Smedoni, mostly because I had all the ingredients, including an overabundance of cukes. Also, since these are basically refrigerator pickles, it gave me a chance to use one of the really cool antique canning jars from my mom's collection.
We even had the obscure blackcurrant leaves! A friend gave us a blackcurrent shrub earlier this summer, so I clipped some off for use. The leaves don't match what was in the book, but I double checked that our leaves at least, for sure, come from a blackcurrant.
I crammed the two quart Atlas jar pretty full. With a new gasket, it was ready to head into the fridge for a couple weeks before trying.
TICK-TOCK TWO WEEKS ON THE CLOCK
We tried out the Salted Cucumbers and... very tasty. Obviously a pickle, but lightly vinegary. The dill and garlic are evident, and so is this herby-green-slightly unfamiliar flavor, which must be the blackcurrant. Fine by themselves, there are several recipes in the cookbook that require these as ingredient. So: step 1 done!