Food from the Georgia region of Russia, described by Michael Webb. is also enthusiastically endorsed by Sonia Uvezian in a well-executed new cookbook called "The Best Foods of Russia" (Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, $8.95). The recipes are from Georgia and the other Caucasian republics of Armenia and Azerbaidzhan. These are the regions where, as you know if you have seen a certain commercial on TV, people eat lots of yogurt and live very long lives. Here is a trio of recipes from Uvezian's book.
LAMB STEW WITH WINE (Serves 4) 3 tablespoons butter 1 pound bonesless lean lamb, cut into 1-inch cubes 1 large onion, chopped 2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped 1/2 cup beef broth Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 1/4 cup dry white wine 1/4 cup finely chopped coriander leaves or parsley.
In a heavy saucepan melt butter over moderate heat. Add lamp and onion and saute until lamb is browned on all sides, stirring frequently. Add tomatoes, broth, salt and pepper and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 45 minutes. Add wine and simmer 15 minutes or until lamb is tender. Sprinkle with coriander and serve with a plain rice pilaf.
VEGETABLES SALAD WITH WALNUT SAUCE (Serves 3 or 4) 1 medium cucumber, peeled, quartered lengthwise (cut out seeds if too large and discard), and thinly sliced 1 medium tomato, seeded and diced 1/2 cup very thinly sliced celery Salt 1/2 cup shelled walnuts 1 small clove garlic Cayenne to taste 1 tablespoon wine vinegar 3 tablespoon cold water 2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander leaves or 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley Romaine or Bibb lettuce leave
Combine cucumber, tomato and celery in a mixing bowl and season with salt. pound walnuts to a paste with garlic clove and cayenne. Stir in vinegar and water until well blended. Add to the vegetables along with onion, coriander and parsley. Mix gently but thoroughly.Taste for seasoning. Serve cold over the lettuce leaves.
YOGURT FRITTERS IN SYRUP (Serves 8) Syrup : 1 cup sugar 2/3 cup water 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed and strained lemon juice Small stick cinnamon 1/4 cup honey Fritters : 4 eggs 1 cup unflavored yogurt 2 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons sugar 1 tablespoon double-acting baking powder 1 tablespoon baking soda Vegetable oil for deep frying Garnish : 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts or unsalted pistachios
In a small saucepan bring sugar, water, lemon juice and cinnamon to a boil over moderate heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves. Stir in honey and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Place eggs and yogurt in a large bowl and beat until well blended. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda. Add to yogurt mixture and blend well.
In a deep fryer or heavy saucepan heat 4 inches of oil over moderate heat. Drop 1 tablespoon of batter at a time into the hot oil, being careful not to crowd the pan. Fry fritters until evenly browned on all sides, turning frequently. With a perforated spoon remove them from the oil and drain on absorbent paper.
Mound fritters on a serving platter and pour the syrup evenly over them. Sprinkle with the nuts and serve.