Spring has sprung.
Well, according to the calendar it has, but judging by the weather it's still February.
The bummed out Buds were positive winter was never leaving until they received word that the Culinary Arts program at West Virginia Northern Community College planned to kick off their 2013 spring meal series this week. And that's pretty much what we were looking for to make it official, so, YAY!
On Tuesday, the Buds were thrilled to attend the first in the program's 2013 spring meal series, which offers both a Tuesday luncheon and a Thursday dinner each week through May 2 featuring a different style cuisine. The Buds were a teeny bit apprehensive as the first meal of the series featured Russian cuisine, which was something that neither Bud had experienced before.
As it turns out, they LOVED the hearty dishes and can't wait for the opportunity to indulge in a Russian meal again.
Once seated, the Buds wasted no time in sampling the bread basket which featured Russia black bread and Kulich with a Russian sweet cheese on the side. The black bread was a hearty darker bread that was dense and flavorful. With a swipe of fresh butter it was delish! The Kulich was a sweet Russian Easter bread with raisins with drizzled icing that reminded Bud Em of the hot crossed buns her mother makes. It was fabulous. Bud Shaunna added a dollop of the sweet cheese to hers and enjoyed every last bite.
The first course was Kulebiaka, which was salmon on a pastry and mushroom base and garnished with a delicious white sauce flavored with dill. It was to die for! The salmon was perfectly cooked and the mushroom filling had a bold flavor which blended perfectly with the dill sauce. This dish may have been our favorite of the day.
The second course was Shashlyk with pelmeni or lamb and vegetable skewers with root vegetable filled dumplings. Truth be told, neither Bud is a fan of lamb but both were big fans of the lovely little dumplings filled with root veggies. We LOVE root veggies! Bud Shaunna sampled the lamb and reported that it was tender and seasoned well, just not her favorite thing.
The third course was Agurkesalat or a cucumber salad. Fresh, crunchy cucumber slices were served in a white cream sauce. There was a strong taste of vinegar, but the added dill seasoning and dried cranberries sprinkled throughout cut through the vinegar taste.
For the main course, diners had a choice of one of two entrees: classic chicken Kiev stuffed with rich, whole seasoned butter or roasted pork loin stuffed with assorted dried fall fruit. Both entrees were served with lacy potato pancakes with chives topped with feta cheese and a roasted trio of gold, red and mini beets. Bud Em chose the chicken, and she was not disappointed. The chicken was juicy and the butter stuffing practically melted in her mouth. Bud Shaunna chose the pork, and this was probably the best decision she made all week! Not only was the pork tender and flavorful on its own, but in combination with the fruit stuffing it was off the hook. Both Buds enjoyed the potato pancakes, that had just a touch of spice to them, and of course we were THRILLED to see more root veggies!
The final course, dessert, was a raspberry filled pastry topped with rich almond icing. Although Bud Shaunna should not be eating sugar, she did sample this dessert along with her fellow Bud. Both Buds, already busting at the seams from four previous courses, painfully finished every delicious crumb on their plates. What we won't do for the sake of good journalism! Overall, the meal was quite hearty and delicious - to get more Russian cuisine this good, the Buds might have to visit Mother Russia herself.
Other dates in the spring meal series include:
Spanish - April 2 at noon and April 4 at 6 p.m.
French - April 9 at noon and April 11 at 6 p.m.
Italian - April 23 at noon and April 25 at 6 p.m.
Middle Eastern - April 30 at noon and May 2 at 6 p.m.
All meals are open to the public and are prepared by Northern culinary arts staff and students in the Culinary Arts Dining Room, Room 215 Education Center, 10 17th St., downtown Wheeling.
There is a cost and reservations are required and can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or called in to 304-214-8934.
Make your reservations today so you won't miss out on these fantastic meals!
The Buds may be reached at email@example.com