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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

COOK'S CORNER: Caviar Dreams

Being away from home, I miss a few things: a Vanity Fair that doesn't cost more than a double-date at the Diner, X-Files in English and red licorice among others. My husband pines for Cheez Whiz and won't accept tubes of Cheese Snack found on local grocery shelves as a substitute. He's pretty picky about which glossy orange edible-oil product he'll consume.

But as much as I miss certain things, I've grown to love cooking with some of Moscow's more exotic offerings. I eat more smoked salmon than ever before, and quail eggs are always in the fridge.

Caviar is a prime example of something to take advantage of while living in Moscow. Can you imagine a market at home where buying black caviar by the kilo is the norm?

I don't do anything with black caviar except serve it on its own with different types of blini. But I'll take a few more liberties with red caviar because it's stronger and - let's be honest - cheaper. I have two favorite red caviar recipes. The first is a Red Caviar and Eggs appetizer. I get asked for the recipe every time I serve it, and even friends with low kitchen tolerance have mastered it.

The second dish - Red Caviar Pasta - works either as a main course for four people or a first course for six. The credit for this dish belongs to my dear friend Monique. It has become known in certain circles as "Mon's Telephone Cord Caviar Pasta." It makes delicious use of local staples and looks great with any corkscrew shaped pasta.

Red Caviar and Eggs

12 hard-boiled eggs, coarsely chopped

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup chopped green onions

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp dried mustard

100 g red caviar

1/2 cup sour cream

1/3 cup chopped parsley

Combine the first six ingredients and spoon into a glass bowl. Spread the caviar on top and lightly spread the sour cream on top of the caviar. Sprinkle the parsley in a ring around the edge of the bowl. Serve with melba toast.

Red Caviar Pasta

500 g corkscrew pasta

1 1/2 tsp butter

1 1/2 tsp olive oil

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1 cup (decent) vodka

1 cup sour cream or creme fraiche

1 tin red caviar

While cooking the pasta, heat oil and butter in sauce pan. Saute red onion until tender and add vodka. Simmer until vodka has evaporated (this may take a few minutes). Lower heat and stir in sour cream. When heated through, gently add red caviar. Toss with cooked pasta and serve immediately with freshly ground pepper.