Unless you are form Kauai, you likely have not heard about our islands' long association with Russia.
In 1804, the first official Russian delegation arrived in Hawai‘i. At the time, Pai‘ea Kamehameha was still consolidating his rule over the Hawaiian Islands. After negotiating with Kamehameha, the Russians established trade and arranged for goods to be shipped from Hawai‘i to Sitka.
In 1815, political intrigue was rife in Hawai‘i. A German physician, acting as an agent for Russia, ended up building a fort near Waimea, Kauai. In 1816, two additional forts were built on behalf of Russia. All three were soon decommissioned.
Back int he 1980s, when I was a food writer for the Hawai‘i Tribune-Herald, a Russian research ship put in at Hilo, and I had an opportunity to dine with the Captain and his wife, who was the Chief Scientist. As I was driving mauka on the Volcano Highway, I saw a group of ‘ilikea women with very red faces determinedly walking makai. I was afraid they would have heart attacks or heat stroke! So, I made my way back around and offered them a ride to wherever they were headed. It turned out that they were off the ship, and had walked all the way to the mall! They were very happy to ride back to the ship, and invited me onboard. We had a grand time, and traded a few recipes. I remember those lovely gracious and fun-loving people fondly.
Here is one of the recipes from that shipboard afternoon:
Actually more of a terrene than a true pâté, this Russian-style forcemeat is easy to make and, if you like liverwurst, braunschweiger, etc., very tasty and an excellent pūpū for home or pot lucks.
1 pound chicken livers
1 stick (1/4 pound) butter
1 small round onion
1 carrot, parsnip, or other root vegetable cooked until soft
4 cloves garlic
chervil or parsley to taste
tarragon to taste
Gently poach the chicken livers in the melted butter. While they are cooking, you can mince the onion, carrot, garlic, chervil, and tarragon, and add them to the butter. Continue to cook until the onions are translucent and soft and the livers are thoroughly cooked. Let cool until just warm. Place in a blender and whirl on high until thoroughly blended. Pour into a dish or mold, cover, and refrigerate.
Serve chilled as a spread with toast, crackers, cheese, fruit, or whatever you like.
Note: I do not always include the root vegetable.
I also enjoy it in sandwiches.
Sliced sourdough or rye bread
thinly sliced onions
You can either make a classic sandwich with these ingredients, or make lovely canapes by cutting the bread smaller. Toast the bread and spread it with the pashtet. Add onions and dill to taste. Serve open faced.