Russian Salad (Olivier) Recipe

How to make Russian salad

Being on a mostly plant-based diet, I can’t say I normally enjoy most Russian food but, every once in a while I get homesick and crave some of my favorites. A week ago we hosted a party for Tony’s dad’s birthday and while I love his family (they’re wonderful and have fully accepted me into their homes and lives), it always makes me miss mine. In an ideal world I would love to have parties with both our families there. One problem, they’re 5 hours away in Brooklyn, NY while we live in Malden, MA. As I was planning the dishes for the party, I decided to make one of my favorite zakuska. I have fond memories of always eating tons of Russian salad growing up made by various members of my family (probably explains while I was a chubby kid).

I first started by gathering the ingredients

  • 1/3 lb of turkey bologna (most people usually use regular bologna and probably more of it)
  • 1 can (15 oz) of sweet peas
  • 3 middle size potatoes
  • 4-5 middle size carrots (I used more because I got these smaller organic ones from the farmer’s market)
  • 5 eggs
  • Green and red onion to taste (I used 4 green onion stems and 1/4th medium red onion)
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh dill
  • 6 middle size pickles (I started with 4 but added 2 after tasting)
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of light Mayo

1. Peel the potatoes and boil the potatoes and carrots and let them cool to room temperature. Hard boil the eggs as well and let them cool down to room temperature. I peeled the potatoes before and the carrots after boiling.

2. Dice and cube potatoes, carrots, bologna, eggs, onions and pickles.  I use this handy contraption that my mother got for me a few years ago when she realized I’m more likely to chop a finger off than an onion. I used the big one for the potatoes and eggs and the smaller one for everything else. If you’re old school or just not a complete moron like me you can chop them with a modern invention called a knife.

3. Add all the chopped potatoes, carrots, eggs, onions, sweat peas, pickles, bologna and dill together and mix!

4. Add 1 tablespoon of mayo (or more if you love mayo) and pepper to taste and keep mixing!

5. Serve and enjoy!

How long would it take for my skin to turn yellow/orange?

Yes, I ended up with a single lunch time run session:

5.6 Miles – 3 Incline – 49.44 – 6.8 average pace

Not bad. B I wanted to do an 11-miler for my “longish” run but I got caught up at work for an extra 90 minutes and by then the slush/snow storm made me too lazy to stick around the office until 10pm (even if it is to use the gym). B I told myself there’s always tomorrow and that’s my plan for today. B 5:30Pm 14 mile run single session. Me and evil treadmill have a date.

So yesterday instead of run part 2, I went home and decided to make theB SpaghettiB Squash that was slowly but surely going to die in my kitchen if it wasn’t cooked soon.

Spaghetti squash gets its name from the fact that when it is cooked, the inside flesh pulls out of the shell in long strands, resembling spaghetti pasta. B When I first tried it, I was a bit in shock when it didn’t taste exactly like pasta.

So Let’s talk about why aside from the taste (even if its not like pasta), why it’s so great

  • A 1-cup serving offers 5.4 mg of vitamin C, which is almost 10 percent of the recommended USDA daily intake
  • Other vitamins include A, B-6, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid and vitamin K.
  • The dominant mineral is manganese, with 0.2 mg, which is 8 percent of the RDI. Manganese aids in the production of healthy bones, tissues and sex hormones. It also plays a part in metabolism, regulation of blood sugar, absorption of calcium and the functioning of the nervous system.
  • Other minerals found in smaller amounts in spaghetti squash include potassium, magnesium, calcium, copper, iron, phosphorus, sodium, zinc and selenium.
  • It contains 2.2 g, or 9 percent of the RDI of Fiber. B Your body will use this fiber much better then the kind found added to FiberOne bars.
  • B It also contains omega-3 essential fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. While the former is good for preventing heart disease, cancer and inflammation caused by arthritis, the latter promotes brain function.
  • There’s only 42 calories and 10 carbs in one cup!
Here’s a summary chart people who see too many words on a screen and tend to have their eyelids glaze over:
Nutrient Value
Vitamin A 170 IU
Vitamin B1 0.1 mg
Vitamin B3 1.3 mg
Vitamin B5 0.6 mg
Vitamin B6 0.2 mg
Vitamin C 5.4 mg
Vitamin E 0.3 mg
Vitamin K 1.2 mcg
Folate 12.4 mcg
Potassium 180 mg
Choline 11.6 mg
Calcium 32.6 mg
Sodium 28 mg
Phosphorus 21.7 mg
Magnesium 17 mg
Iron 0.5 mg
Zinc 0.3 mg
Manganese 0.2 mg

So how did I prepare this massive lump of goodness?

I washed it, I almost killed myself,B I cut it in half, took out the guts, seeds and all that icky stuff. B I Pam-ed it (I might get cancer but its moreB convenientB then olive oil), went to town with the garlic salt, lemon pepper, and maybe a littleB too much cayenne pepper.

Upside down and in the oven it went. B 400F degrees for 45 minutes or so until the skin felt bendable.

Once out of the oven, the fun part begins, grab a spoon, grab a fork, grab your hands and scrap/scoop out the insides. B Keep scooping I promise there is plenty left!

My one squash yielded me two giant snapware containers worth!

Look at what a mighty fine job I did! B The left side tried to misbehave so I showed him whose boss.

Now how do you serve this? B Normal people add something fancy like sliced up small veggies and marinara sauce.B Not I. B I was in a hurry and only had 10 minutes this morning. B So:

B Top half with spaghetti squash, other half with baby spinach (my addiction) and four Trader Joes fully Cooked meatballs and you’re ready to go.

That’s me running out the door!

Remember these from The other day. B They made a comeback in my squash. B I’m on a add hot sauce to everything kick.

Pop into the microwave for 2 minutes and now I’m off to work some more and eat my lunch!

Have you ever madeB spaghettiB squash? B What recipe did you use?

Did you sign up for any races yesterday during Rock & Roll’s Leap Day Sale?

I signed up for the Montreal Marathon inB September. B Now I need to figure out who I can convince to come with me. B Any takers?

TV Catch-up time

Today I kept my workout short to just my usual lunch time run.B The results are still in a struggle disappointment.B 5.6 Miles 52 Min 10 Seconds Incline 3. This set me at an average of 6.4MPH.B I”m struggling to go back up to 6.9MPH I used to be able to.B You figured with my increased endurance I would be able to increase my speed for the short runs.B Maybe I’m just tired, or my legs prefer flat surfaces.

This morning I woke up with a craving for oatmeal… I know, that’s a bit weird for me… So that’s what I had some simple plain oatmeal with a ton of raisins and cinnamon.B After my run I munched on some extra salty peanut butter and fruit.

Which was followed by lunch 20 minutes later…

Looks familiar?B That’s my salad from last night with the leftover lunch chicken…. organic spring mix, organic baby arugula, organic celery, orange pepper, organic carrots, asparagus and cucumbers.B I last minute decided to nuke up the salad so I can pretend to have a warm meal instead with a side of sour cream and onion pirate booty.

The 3pm snack was some vegan carrot walnut cake and peppermint tea… Which ended being disappointing due to the frosting.B Not sure whats in vegan frosting but it did not make my mouth happy and after digging around for the cake part I gave up and threw it in the trash and reverted to my usual bag of M&Ms.

As for dinner, I’m actually quite excited to write about!B Although not as excited as I was about eating it.B That’s why midway through my munching I remember I should take a picture.B I actually do own a nice SLR and a nice point and shoot but I prefer iphone photo for speed.

Yup that’s my dinner half gone already. Tony’s mom kindly offered us some chickpea/veggie patties so I graciously accept (that’s the bitten up thing on the bottom left.) They’re quite yummy.B The rest I made myself!

I chopped and baked sweet potatoes, turnips for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.B I then added some asparagus to the baking bowl for another 15 minutes.B To which I ripped up some organic Kale bumped the over temp to 450 and kept it all baking for another 10 minutes.B Retrospectively I should have only did the Kale for 6 minutes or so, o well live and learn; don’t partially burn your food.

Tony made some hummus that I snacked on with pretzels as I continue to catch up on tv for the night.

What was your most recent day of TV bingeing?

Today I practically ran home so I can catch up on some of my weekly shows:B Once Upon A Time, Desperate Housewives, Pretty Little Liars, and Biggest Loser.B I’m a hulu addict.