Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mexican Night



About a year ago, I had a Mexican roommate. As she turned out to be crazy (not due to her being Mexican) I don't usually talk about how I've learned anything from her. But I learned a few things:

1 -- I hate passive aggressive behavior. Just be aggressive!
2 -- Packrat-ism can reach scary levels.
3 -- How to cook Mexican rice and beans.

How to cook beans is pretty easy: soak dried beans until soft. Either overnight with cold water, or about an hour with hot water (or you can let it sit a bit longer if you're me). Drain the beans. Then boil the beans with a lot of water, and half of an onion. When the onion falls apart and is a funky color due to the beans, you can feel free to remove it. This helps to limit the amount of gassiness that the musical fruit can impart. The beans can take about an hour, depending upon the type of bean.

How to cook Mexican rice: Heat a frying pan (with a decent lip) and a bit of oil. Add uncooked rice, and toast, stirring occasionally until lightly golden and having fully absorbed the oil. They'll be shiny. You'll then want to add stock. It'll hiss and steam quite a bit, but add enough to cover and then some, then put a cover upon the pan. Check this occasionally, and add stock as needed until the rice is cooked. This should take about 10 mins or so.

We served this with corn tortillas that were toasted on both sides, and Monterey Jack cheese sprinkled upon it and melted. Also a jar of Green Mountain Gringo's Salsa was had.

You can either eat this all separately, or make little tacos.

Note: the picture above is the set up of tea kettle, beans, rice and tortilla pans.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Meal Planning

So yet again, Mister and I have eaten out far more than we ought. I love to blame it on him, but time after time he goes "oh I'm hungry" and I merely say "mm... me too..." without having a conscious idea of what we can make or what food is in the house. We also have a fridge full of rotting leftovers, in case anyone's wondering. :-P

Because of this, yesterday, Mister and I sat down and planned this week's menu:

Monday: rice, beans and cheese
Tuesday: enchiladas
Wednesday: pasta and meat sauce, garlic bread
Thursday: Mac n cheese
Friday: X
Saturday: Lasagne, garlic bread
Sunday: leftovers

There will be a salad accompanying all of these meals. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday I work late, and so Mister will be preparing these meals. On Friday, Mister is eating out with his mother (who will only be in town that day).

Shopping List:

-- tortillas/masa
-- enchilada sauce (I've tried making it and had severe fail)
-- black olives
-- salad mix
-- ground beef
-- bay leaf
-- thyme, oregano?
-- ricotta
-- mozzerella
-- milk
-- loaf for garlic bread

On a lighter note, Mister and I had a huge fight about food storage this weekend. Grr. I still don't know where he stands on that kind of thing. I know he doesn't really care about doomer prep, but I figured he didn't care if -I- did it... oh well. More to hash out!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Some Mango Recipes

Mango Chutney

Spicy and sweet mango chutney makes a great condiment for pork and poultry. You can also pour it over a block of cream cheese to serve as an appetizer.
Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

3 to 4 pounds mangoes (mixed green and ripe), peeled, seeded, and diced
3 medium onions, diced
1 cup currants
1 cup white raisins
1 pound brown sugar
One 3-inch piece of fresh ginger root, minced
2 cups cider vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cloves
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1-1/4 teaspoons salt or to taste
Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
Preparation:

Place mangos, onions, currants, raisins, brown sugar, ginger, cider vinegar, cloves, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes in a large cooking pot. Cook until fruits and vegetables are softened (but not falling apart) and the chutney is thickened. Seal in glass jars and refrigerate.

This is an heirloom Florida recipe dating back to the early 1900s.

Yield: about 6 cups

Peach/Mango Vinegar

Homemade peach vinegar adds a fruity zest to salad dressings, glazes, and marinades. Nectarines or mangoes may be substituted for the peaches.
Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

2 ripe peaches (about 12 ounces total), peeled, pitted, and chopped
1 cup Japanese brewed rice vinegar, or a good distilled white vinegar with an acid content between 4 and 5 percent
3 Tablespoons sugar
Preparation:

Puree the peaches in a food processor, then pour the puree into a medium-size bowl. (There should be 1 cup of peach puree.)

Combine the vinegar, sugar, and 1/2 cup water in a medium-size saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until slightly syrupy, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir the vinegar mixture into the peach puree. Let cool.

Sterilize a 16-ounce bottle (or two 8-ounce canning jars). Sterilize the cap (or lid) according to the manufacturer's instructions or have ready a clean cork.

Skim the foam, if there is any, then strain the vinegar mixture through a fine sieve, pressing on the solids to extract as much juice as possible. Discard the solids. Drain the bottle, then fill with the strained vinegar. Seal with a clean cork (or sterlized lid). Store in a cool, dry place or refrigerate.

Variation:
Mango-Passion Fruit Vinegar: for the peaches, substitute 3/4 cup mango puree plus the strained pulp of 1 large passion fruit (about 1/4 cup). Proceed with the recipe.

Yield: about 2 cups

Recipe Source: Nicole Routhier's Fruit Cookbook by Nicole Routhier (Workman Publishing)
Reprinted with permission.

Beurre Blanc Sauce with Mango Pruee
3/4 cup water
6 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
Zest from 1 lime
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
4 tablespoons whipping cream
1 1/4 stick butter cut into tablespoon size pieces
Ground white pepper to taste
salt to taste
1 tablespoon cilantro lime Gremolata.
mango puree to taste


1 - Boil water, vinegar and shallots in a saucepan over medium heat until reduced to 1/4 cup.
2 - Add cream, zest, and ginger.
3 - Add butter, 1 piece at a time whisking until melted. Continue until all butter is incorperated.
4 - Strain.
5 - Add salt and pepper to taste.
6 - Add mango puree to taste.
7 - Add Cilantro Lime Gremolata.

Easy Mango Sauce

This Mango Sauce/Dip is easy to make, and always gets rave reviews when I serve it to company. A little coconut milk helps enhance the mango and give it a rich tropical flavor, while a touch of lime juice keeps it on the savory side - a nice mixture of sweet, sour, spicy and salty. Use it as a dip for cooked shrimp (great with coconut shrimp!), calamari, spring rolls or fresh rolls, or whatever appetizers you happen to be serving up. You can also use this mango sauce in stir-fries, such as mango chicken or shrimp stir fry. Be sure to buy the ripest mango you can find (see the recipe for shopping tips). ENJOY!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Yield: MAKES 1.5 to 2 cups mango sauce
Ingredients:
2 ripe mangoes
2 Tbsp. fish sauce, OR 1 Tbsp. soy sauce + pinch salt if vegetarian/vegan, to taste
4 Tbsp. good-quality (thick) coconut milk
2 Tbsp. Thai sweet chili sauce (available in most supermarkets in the Asian section)
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. dried crushed chili (from the spice aisle)

Preparation:
1 - Scoop out the mango fruit and place in a food processor, blender, or large chopper.
2 - Add all other ingredients. Process well to create a delicious mango sauce. Tip: Avoid over-processing, as you don't want it too runny. If you prefer chunks of mango in your sauce, just pulse to create the sauce until you're happy with the consistency.
3 - Do a taste-test. Depending on the ripeness/sweetness of your mango, you may have to add a little more sugar. Add more fish sauce for more flavor, or more chili for more spice. What you want is a balance of sweet, salty, and spicy.
4 - Use as a marinade/sauce for chicken, pork, fish, or seafood, OR serve as a delicious dip for nearly any finger food. ENJOY!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Projects

I have been fairly lax in the "doing stuff" department, so I've signed myself up for quite a few things to get me back in the swing of things.

1 -- I have to make an outfit for my mother by Easter (skirt, jacket, and maybe a poofy underskirt)

2 -- I have to FINISH Sharon's tablecloth and get it mailed to her

3 -- I have to finish the baby blanket that I've started for my mom's boyfriend's son's wife ('s fetus -- couldn't help myself!). To make it short, I'm calling her my step-sister. Either finish it, or decide to rip it out and begin anew. I suck at deciding how wide I should start so usually end up with double-wides that I turn sideways.

4 -- I have volunteered my needles to Sharon to make a few 8x8 squares for afghans and perhaps to make additional actual blankets. They aren't hard, all they take are time. I'll probably crochet over knit since knitting takes friggin' forever.

I'll put pics up in due course (I'm currently posting from work (*shock!)).

Monday, March 21, 2011

Last Week's Special Dinner

I keep forgetting to post about this! Mister and M's boyfriend J made myself, M and another friend K dinner last Tuesday. Monday, M and K had made dinner (I helped a bit), and as a joke, M commented that the boys need to make US a dinner. I said, 'yeah, 5 courses!' and M threw in 'tomorrow!' Well, they took us at our word, and we had a 5 course meal for the next evening.

Course 1: toasted french bread rounds, topped with carmelized onions and goat cheese

Palate Cleanser: lemon sorbet with a sprig of mint

Course 2: baked pears with a spiced, ginger honey sauce and topped with slivered almonds

Course 3: boeuf bourgignon

Course 4: cheese platter with french bread

Course 5: chocolate (all Valrhona, all single origin)

There were two wines to accompany, but I forget exactly what they were.

And now for the pics! No finished meal pics, sadly.



Mister, hard at work.




J at his station.




Some nicely chopped veggies.




BACON! ...and some rosemary. :-P




Mister, flexing for me.




The stew, simmering.




J peeling many many items for our consumption. :-P

Poppy Seed Filling Recipe

Taking down a filling recipe from Smitten Kitchen's Hamentaschen recipe. For Easter, my family makes Poppy Seed Sweet Bread and Apricot Jam Sweet Bread roll-type things. My grandma also likes to buy Hot Cross Buns just to top it all off. :-P

Poppy Seed Filling
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
Grated zest of 1/2 orange
1 cup poppy seeds
1/3 cup raisins
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tablespoon brandy
1/2 tablespoon orange liqueur
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract


Grind seeds in a coffee grinder. Heat milk, sugar, orange zest, ground poppy seeds and raisins in a small saucepan over medium heat. On a low simmer, cook until the seeds absorb the milk, thickening the mixture, about 15 minutes. Add the lemon juice, brandy, orange liqueur and butter and cook for 2 minutes more. Finally, add the vanilla and stir to combine. Remove from heat to let cool completely. I sped this up in the fridge.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Made In America

This is one part of the movement that I've never fully understood. Yes, yes, it's all well and good to not have had to ship things from overseas, but there is very little industry in the U.S. And what guarantee that you'll have high quality just because it's "american made"?

A fellow blogger mentioned how she was going to buy art supplies for her kids, American made if possible. My first thought was: when I think of high quality art supplies, I don't think U.S.A. I think Germany, or Italy, or someplace that has a strong art culture. I'm sure that you can FIND U.S. made art supplies, but that I fear they'd be lower quality, and not worth the money.

Because so much has been shipped overseas, there is usually only one or two of any given field still operating in the U.S. That does not give you a lot of options to work with. Suppose you're buying a tool -- you want a tool that will last a long time, not break easily, and be easily repaired when needed. If you only have one or two options, you better hope that they're good! Especially as the dominant culture in the U.S. is the "break it and buy a new one within 6 months" mentality, which does not a good tool make!

I just... don't really get this.

Monday, March 14, 2011

I Won Something

Yay! I have won a copy of The Urban Homesteader from Kate's blog at Living the Frugal Life. This is exciting, and one of the first giveaways that I've won where I can seriously use what I'll receive. This is not to say that I don't use my M.E.N. bandana all the time (I do), but this'll help me actualize my own urban homesteading dreams.

Tasty Bean Dip



All that remains after yesterday


So I had wanted to make this bean dip for the house warming party on Saturday. Alas, I was a lazy bum, and did not.

But my beans were soaked and waiting for me. So on Sunday, I made it for myself and Mister (who had an upset tummy after overdoing it Saturday).

Some changes I made:

I used dried beans, soaked and cooked what I thought was approximately 15 oz of beans. I wound up weighing it out, and had a scant cup extra!

I used a potato masher, and finely diced the garlic, onion and snipped the rosemary with a pair of scissors. It sets my teeth on edge to see recipes that state "and then pull out your imaginary food processor OR the blender!" instead of something a little more neutral. E.g., baked goods should always just say "cream butter and sugar" instead of "at a medium setting on your mixer..." Rawr is all I say to that b.s.

I didn't have bread crumbs, so I used corn flakes. Also, I just mixed the cornflakes and cheese together, crumbled that on top, and then drizzled the olive oil.

When devouring it the first time, I felt it lacked a little oomph. Mister claimed he loved it wholeheartedly. So when I reheated it, I grated a little bit of cheddar on top, and I felt it pulled it together much better.

All in all, not bad, but I have to play with it more.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Couple More Recipes

Baked White Bean Dip with Rosemary and Parmesan -- I'd like to make this for the housewarming party tomorrow

Schnitz un Knepp -- Ham, Apples and Dumplings, this looks tasty!

Recipes to Try

Here's a bunch of random Ukrainian dishes from the book, Ukrainian Traditional –°uisine by Lidiya Artyukh published by Baltia-Druk Publishing House, Kyiv, 2007 courtesy of this website.

Korzhyky with poppy seeds
• Flour — 3 cups
• Cooking oil — 1/2 cups
• Baking soda — 1/4 teaspoon
• Poppy seeds — 1/2 cup
• Sugar — 1/2 cup
• Salt



Mix sugar with oil, add the flour, a bit of salt and knead well. Roll the dough into thin oblongs, cut them into smaller pieces, brushing with oil, sprinkle with poppy seeds and sugar. Bake in the oven until crispy.

Kruchenyky with brynza
• Beef or veal — 1 kilogram
• Butter — 200 grams
• Brynza (salty sheep’s milk cheese) — 200 grams
• Lard — 200 grams
• Kvas (soft drink made of fermented bread) or whey — 1 cup
• Salt, pepper and sugar to taste



Cut the meat into thin slices, pound the slices a little, salt (but carefully — the brynza is salty) and pepper. Put a bit of butter and graded brynza mixed with graded hard-boiled egg on each slice, fold into a roll, secure with a length of string and fry lightly in lard. Place the rolls on a large skillet with high edges, pour the lard over them, add some kvas or whey and stew. If the kvas or whey is too sour, add some sugar. Do not let all the kvas or whey evaporate; keep pouring the liquid in which the rolls are being cooked over them not to let them dry on top.
Prior to serving, remove the strings.
Serve with boiled potatoes and pickles.

Green Borsch a la Pyryatyn
• Sorrel — 200 grams • Spinach — 200 grams
• Young nettles — 100 grams • Potatoes — 2 or 3
• Onions with green shoots — 2 or 3 • Carrots — 2
• Parsley — 2 roots • Flour — 3 tablespoons
• Eggs — 2 (hard-boiled) • Sour cream — 3 tablespoons
• Sweet butter — 3 tablespoons • Meat stock, or water — 6 cups
• Salt, sugar, pepper, celery, dill to taste



Wash the spinach, sorrel and nettles; dice the peeled potatoes, cut the roots and saute in a little butter. Bring the meat stock or salted water to the boiling point and put all the roots and potatoes into it. Simmer until half-cooked.
Attention: it is better to boil the potatoes to readiness first because if boiled with spinach, sorrel and nettles, it may turn hard and not tasty.
Pour some boiling water over the nettles and chop them finely together with the spinach and sorrel; slice the onions, add to the spinach, sorrel and nettles, put into the stock (or the water with the potatoes), and simmer. For thickening, dry the flour on a dry skillet, let it cool and add some water or the stock, and place it in the soup. Bring to the boiling point, add salt, pepper and sugar to taste, and add the chopped celery and dill, then remove from the fire.
Serve with sour cream and chopped eggs.

Mandryka with sour cherries
• Flour — 3 cups • Yeast — 1 tablespoon
• Eggs — 4 • Milk — 400 grams • Hard cheese — 300 grams
• Sour cherries — 500 grams • Sugar — 2 cups
• Salt and oil for oiling the baking tray



Sieve the flour, pour a cup of milk into it and knead the dough, adding the yeast melted in warmed-up milk; 1/2 cup sugar mix with 2 eggs and add to the dough until it stops sticking to the hands. Set the dough to rise.
Mince the cheese and mix with 1 egg. Remove the stones from the cherries, sugar them, and let the cherries produce the juice. Strain the juice using a strainer.
Roll the dough into thin oblongs and put it on the baking tray. Make an edge, spread the cherries evenly over the dough and the rest of the sugar on top of the cherries, and then spread the minced cheese evenly over it. Beat an egg and brush the crust with it. After baking the mandryka in an oven, let it cool, cut into fairly large pieces and pour the cherry juice over them.

Honey Kvas
• Honey in honeycombs — 1 kilogram
• Water — 2 liters
• Hops — 20 grams



Place the honeycombs into a saucepan, pour boiling water over them and bring to the boiling point. When the wax comes up to the surface, remove the saucepan from the fire and let it cool. Remove the wax from the surface of the water and add the hops which have been soaked in hot water. Stir and pour the honeyed water into a wooden receptacle, making sure there is enough room left for the kvas to rise when it starts to ferment. Leave until the fermentation is complete. Use the result as a soft drink — it is called kvas.

Paska Kyivska
• Milk — 1/2 cup
• Sugar — 3 cupfuls, and a kilo for the glazing
• Yeast — 75 grams • Margarine — 250 grams
• Butter — 250 grams • Sour cream — 200 grams
• Eggs — a dozen • Cognac or good vodka — 25 grams
• Flour — 1 kilo • Raisins — a cupful • Vanillin, water



Mix yeast, one cup of sugar, 1/2 cupful of flour, 1/2 cupful of warmed milk and put it in a warm place for 30 or 40 minutes for it to rise. Then add the rest of the milk, some vanillin, yolks mixed with sugar, and whipped whites; add the sour cream, also slightly warmed up, and start making the dough. Use your fists for proper kneading. Melt the butter and margarine and add, when they cool off, (neither the butter nor margarine must be hot) to the dough. Continue kneading. Leave the dough in a warm place for up to 3 hours depending on the yeast you have used. The dough must be able to “breathe,” so cover it with a towel and never with a lid. When the dough rises, continue to knead with your fists, adding raisins and sprinkle with cognac. Put once again in a warm place. When the dough rises for the fourth time, fill the forms up to the third of their capacity. The oven must be hot when you put the forms into it — place the forms in the oven only when you see that the dough has risen to fill them out completely. Bake at medium temperatures until ready. Let the Pasky cool before you take them out of the forms. Sprinkle with water in which sugar was dissolved for glazing the tops, and decorate with poppy grains or dyed semolina grains.

Turkey a la Polissya
• One medium-sized turkey • 3 Onions
• Flour — 2 table spoonfuls • Sour cream — 1 cupful
• Cranberries — 2 cupfuls • Melted fat
• Sugar, salt to taste



Carve the turkey, fry the pieces in fat in which the onions have been fried. Fry the flour in a dry skillet, add the melted fat and mix well; add some water and sour cream and put back on fire to turn the mixture into a sauce. Put the fried pieces of turkey into it and then place the turkey into the medium-hot oven. Make a sauce out of the squashed berries and sprinkle the turkey with it once in a while. Bake until the meat is fully cooked.
Serve with the rest of the cranberry sauce, boiled potatoes and pickles.

Jellied Tongue
• Cow or pig tongue — 100 grams
• Chicken legs — 150 grams • Onions — 40 grams
• Carrots — 40 grams • Gelatine — 40 grams
• Bay leaf — 7-10 grams • Sweet red pepper — 1
• Salt, black pepper, parsley



Boil the chicken leg with its skin removed to make transparent stock; (it is important to have it transparent) simmer it for four hours. Never let it boil violently. Add diced carrots and onions, black pepper and one bay leaf about an hour before the stock is ready; otherwise it can lose its transparency. Add salt to taste.
Boil the tongue separately in salted water. Put the gelatine into cold water for 40 minutes, and then add to the stock. Simmer again, stirring to dissolve the gelatine completely.
Remove the membrane from the boiled tongue and cut the tongue into thin slices; arrange it nicely on a big plate, garnish with sliced boiled carrots, sliced sweet red pepper and parsley. Pour the stock carefully through a sieve on top of the tongue arrangement. Put the dish into the fridge for the stock to turn into jelly.

Pyrih z Ryboyu
• 4 cups flour • 8–10 tablespoons oil • cup boiled water
• 50 g yeast • salt • sugar
Filling: 750–800 g sea fish fillet (for example hake)
or large river fish • 3 onions • 6 tablespoons oil
• pepper • caraways seeds • salt
• dill and parsley



Wash, gut and scale the fish. Remove the bones and cut into pieces. Season the fish with salt, pepper and caraway seeds and leave to rest for ten minutes. Chop the onions and fry in vegetable oil in a pre-heated skillet. Bring the vegetable oil to the boil and put the fish in. Stir the ingredients and saute.
Sieve the flour. Mix the yeast with the lukewarm water and add one cup of flour and sugar. Work into dough and leave to rest for thirty to forty minutes. When the bubbles appear, add the butter, salt, and the remaining flour. Flatten the dough by piercing it with a wooden stick or spoon.
Roll out two thin layers. Reel one layer of dough around a wooden stick and transfer to an oiled baking tray. Put the filling on the dough and spread evenly. Cover the pie with the other layer of dough and press the edged together firmly. Pierce the dough with the tines of a fork and leave the pie to rise. Pierce with the tines of a fork again, brush with oil and sit in a pre-heated oven to bake.
Cut the pie into pieces and sprinkle with chopped dill and parsley.

Shulyky Spravzhny
• 3 cups flour • 1 cup water
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 2/3 cup oil • 1 cup poppy seeds
• 1 cup sugar or honey
• cinnamon • salt



Sieve the flour. Add the salt, baking soda, water and half a cup of oil and work into dough. Knead well and leave to rest. Meanwhile, crush the poppy seeds in a deep bowl or mince until the milky substance appears and the seeds turn brown.
Knead the dough thoroughly again. Roll out a finger-thick layer, make diagonal and cross cuts and pierce with the tines of a fork. Fry on both sides in oil in a deep skillet. When it cools, break the layer along the cuts and put into a deep bowl. Drizzle with honey or sugar dissolved in some lukewarm water, sprinkle with cinnamon and poppy seeds.

Pampushky

Flour — 1.5 kilo
Yeast — 100 grams
Cooking Oil — 1.75 litre
Sugar powder — 1 kilo
Vodka — 200 grams
Salt




Since these pampushky have no animal fat or eggs in them, they are particularly good for Lent or any fasting time, for people with overweight problems and for the aged. Children just love them too. These pampushky are fluffy and not too sweet.
Boil one litre of water, adding a cupful of sugar and a cupful of oil. When the water cools off, add the yeast and salt. Put the flour into a bowl, make a hole in the top of the flour mound, pour the dissolved yeast and 100 grams of vodka into it. This amount of vodka will easily evaporate but it will make the dough much softer.
Kneed for ten to fifteen minutes; set the dough in a warm place for some time for it to rise. When the dough starts leaving the bowl, take it out and roll the dough on a well-floured board to make it one finger thick, without exercising much pressure. Too much pressure may affect its fluffiness. Use an overturned glass to cut out round pieces. Fry the pieces in much oil in a deep pan. Before frying, pour 100 grams of vodka into the oil which is being warmed before frying — the vodka will prevent the oil from splashing around when you put the round pieces into it, one by one and carefully. Leave room between the pieces so that they do not stick to each other. When ready, put into a vessel with sugar powder. Shake the bowl for the pampsuhky to be well covered in sugar powder. I find them delicious — try it and you’ll be of the same opinion.

Deruny
(potatoes cakes)

Flour — 1.5 kilo
Potatoes — 400 grams
Onions — 50 grams
Sour cream — 50 grams
Flour — 20 grams
1 egg
Cooking oil — 50 grams
Mayonnaise or yogurt, salt, ground black pepper



Peel the potatoes and the onions and grate them. Place the mixture onto a sieve to drain the juice (if there is much juice left in it, the frying may be difficult). Place the mixture into a bowl and add some mayonnaise or yogurt to keep the pancakes light in colour. Add the egg, salt, pepper and flour, mix, and start frying as soon as possible to prevent the mixture from exuding more juice.
Use a table spoon to put the mixture in portions onto a warmed frying pan with oil already poured into it. Shape the cakes when they sit in the frying pan; turn over to the other side when the bottom side has browned. The deruny should be thin enough and well browned.
Serve hot with sour cream. Tomatoes, cucumbers and garlic go well with deruny.

Mushrooms
Hutsul Style

Flour — 1.5 kilo
Mushrooms — 100 grams
Sour cream — 60 grams
Hard cheese — 10 grams
Onions — 30 grams
1 egg
Flour — 5 grams
Salt, cooking oil



Wash and clean fresh mushrooms well; fry them in oil with onions, cut thin; while the mushrooms are frying on a medium to slow fire, beat an egg, add sour cream and salt to taste. Pour the mixture onto a cold frying pan, add the fried mushrooms and grated cheese, stirring all the time. In five to seven minutes, when the dish thickens, put it into little ceramic pots or any similar receptacles. Eat while the mushrooms are still hot. This dish is particularly good with kulesha (see WU # 2 2005).

Fish with stuffing

Flour — 1.5 kilo
Fish (preferable big-sized pikeperch or pike) — 2 kilos
Onions — 600 grams
Carrots — 200 grams
Salo (hard pig fat) —200 grams
White bread — 150 grams
Milk — 100 grams
Butter — 30 grams
Sour cream — 50 grams
2 eggs
Cooking oil — 100 grams
Salt, black pepper



You may want to use a grater to remove the scales; wash the fish in cold water — scales are more easily removed. After scaling, draw the fish — cut the entire length of the body from the vent to the head and remove the entrails. Wash the fish in cold water to remove blood, bits of viscera or membrane. Remove the skin, pulling it from tail to head, careful not to break it; the skin goes with the head. Remove the bones and grind the meat with onions, carrots, salo and bread soaked in milk. Blend two eggs into the mixture, add sour cream, salt and pepper to taste. Add melted butter, mix and then stuff the skin with the mixture. Wrap in foil and bake in the oven at 130° Celsius. The smell coming from the oven may be an indication of readiness. Garnish well before serving. The fish deserves it.

Borsch with sorrel
• Meat stock — 1/2 liter
• 2 or 3 small-sized red beets
• Sorrel — 200 grams
• Spinach — 200 grams
• Potatoes — 2 tubers
• Carrots — 1 carrot
• Leeks — 200 grams
• Eggs — 2 or 3
• Sour cream — 1/2 cup
• Wheat flour — 2 table spoonfuls
• Sweet butter — 3 table spoonfuls
• Parsley, pepper, dill, sugar, salt



Peel the beets and boil them in the meat stock; when ready, remove them and add diced potatoes, chopped parsley and diced carrots. Wash sorrel and spinach well and pick out the stems, chop sorrel, spinach and leeks and mix with the beets sliced into thin strips. Fry all this a little in oil, and add flour. Place the mix into the boiling stock, add salt and pepper to taste, let boil for a minute and remove from the fire. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and dill, let it stay in a warm place for ten minutes, and serve with chopped hard-boiled eggs and sour cream.

Oladky with rhubarb
• Wheat flour — 4 cups
• Yeast — 25 grams
• Milk — 2 1/2 cups
• Eggs — 3
• Sugar — 1 table spoonful
• Rhubarb — 1/2 cup of chopped rhubarb
• Cinnamon, honey, salt, cooking oil



Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk, add salt and yolks mixed with sugar and then add the flour. Stir and then knead thoroughly. Whisk the whites into a thick foam, and mix the foam into the dough. Peel the rhubarb, dice it, and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. When the dough rises, knead the rhubarb into it, and put the dough in a warm place for it to rise again.
Pinch off small pieces from the dough and fry in cooking oil.
Serve with sour cream, yogurt, milk or honey.

Jellied poultry meat
• 1 dressed rooster
• 2 turkey or duck legs with the thighs
• dried mushrooms • 1 carrot • 2 onions
• garlic clove • celery • bay leaf • pepper • salt



Keep the poultry meat in cold water for some time; remove and wash thoroughly. Place in a big sauce pan and pour as much water as needed to cover the meat at least by three fingers. Bring to a rolling boil and then reduce the fire. Simmer for five or six hours, making sure the bouillon remains clear. About an hour before the meat is ready, add one carrot, a root of celery, pealed onion, spices and salt. The meat is ready when you can bone it easily. Allow for the reduction of liquid during the boiling.
Boil the mushrooms and dice them. Peal the garlic and crush it with salt. Let the broth cool, remove the meat, bone it, dice it and place in several soup plates. Add the diced carrot, celery and mushrooms. Throw away the boiled onion. Strain the broth and then pour it into each plate so as to get the meat covered with the broth. Add the crushed garlic and put the plates in a cold place or in the fridge. Avoid too low temperatures. The jellied meat can be served with horse radish.

Varenyky with strawberries
• Wheat flour — 4 cups
• Water — 1 cup
• Strawberries — 3 cups
• Salt, honey (or strawberry syrup), sour cream, yogurt or baked milk



Wash the strawberries (or any other similar berries) in a strainer, shake the water out; make dough without yeast, pinch off small pieces and roll them thin. Put a couple of strawberries into each rolled piece, fold and thoroughly pinch the edges together. Boil the varenyky in salted water, strain them, and put them on a dish. Pour honey or syrup over the varenyky, and serve either hot or cold with sour cream, yogurt or baked milk.

Harbuzova kasha pumpkin porridge with mushrooms
• Pumpkin — 1 kilo
• Millet or corn — 5 tablespoonfuls
• Vegetable oil — 1/2 cup
• Dried mushrooms — 100 grams
• Salt, sugar



Cut the pumpkin into manageable pieces, remove the skin, wash well and put into a wok-like saucepan, add water to barely cover the pumpkin pieces. Cook in the oven. When cooked, remove the pumpkin pieces and fry a little in oil in the skillet. Add the millet (or corn) into the pumpkin stock, add salt and sugar to taste and cook porridge. Cook the mushrooms in boiling water. Remove, chop and fry in oil. Then mix the mushrooms into mashed pumpkin pieces. Put the mix into the porridge, thoroughly stir and put the saucepan with it into the oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Add a little oil or butter before serving.

Varenukha chyhyrynska drink
• Dried pear and apples or prunes
• Sugar — 1 cup
• Honey — 1 cup • Mint
• Peppercorns — 5 • Cloves — 5
• Cinnamon — 1 teaspoon
• A pinch of red pepper, coriander seeds, cardamom, ginger
• 2 cups vodka or 1 litter plum or cherry liqueur (optional).



Cook 3 litters of compote from dried pear and apples or prunes, strain, add mint, sugar, honey, spices and bring to the boil.
Remove from the hob and pour in the vodka or liqueur. Serve hot in cups.

Butsyky cookies
• Wheat flour — 5 cups
• Cold water or milk — 1 cup
• Eggs — 2
• Salt — 1/2 teaspoon
• Vegetable oil



Add whisked eggs and cold water, milk or whey to flour, stir carefully (milk or water must be cold, otherwise the dough can turn out to be too stiff). If the dough is runny, add another tablespoon of flour. If the dough gets to be too stiff, pat it with hands dipped in water, cover with a towel and leave to rest. In 10–15 minutes knead the dough.
Divide the dough into smaller portions. Each portion roll into thin pastry shapes the size of a cookie. Join together the opposite edges of each pastry — two edges inside, two — outside. Cook them in salted boiling water for a short while and then remove with the help of a slotted spoon. It is important not to overcook butsyky, otherwise they would be too hard.
Drain well, and then fry in oil. Serve with browned onion, mashed garlic or horseradish sauce.

Kapusta tushkovana stewed cabbage
• Cabbage — 1 kilo • Onion — 1 big bulb
• Carrots — 1 big carrot • Vegetable oil — 50 grams
• Prunes • Salt, sugar, black pepper



Chop the cabbage, slice the onion neatly, grade the carrot. Fry the onion and carrot in oil to brown it. Put the browned onion and carrot into a pot or a wok-like saucepan. Fry the chopped cabbage for a short time, then add an onion and carrot. Simmer gently. When the cabbage is almost cooked, add the prunes which have been kept in water for some time to make them soft (remove the stones). Add pepper and salt to taste. Bring to readiness in the oven.

Oladki zhytni rye pancakes
• Rye flour — 400 grams
• Water, or milk — 400 grams
• Eggs — 3
• Yeast — 50 grams
• Sugar — 3 tablespoonfuls
• Sugar and salt
• Vegetable oil



Dissolve the yeast in the milk or water that has been warmed up, add sugar, salt, flour, eggs and make liquid dough without lumps.
Preheat the skillet, smear it with oil, pour in the dough with a ladle so as to get oladki one finger thick.
Serve with honey, jam and sour cream.

Kutya
• Wheat grains — 1 kilo
• Sugar — 1/2 cup
• Honey — 1/2 cup
• Poppy seeds — 1 cup
• Crushed walnuts — 1 cup
• Raisins — 1 cup



Boil the crushed grains in a pot with enough water to cover the grain by two fingers; one hour of boiling should be enough to bring the grain to the desired condition (it can be done in an oven too). The wheat should be soft enough but not in a gruel-like condition.
Crush poppy seeds in a mortar with a pestle, crush the nuts, wash and dry the raisins. Place the wheat into a deep bowl and add the poppy seeds, nuts and raisins and mix well. Add water to the honey and sugar, and stir until sugar dissolves. Pour onto the wheat so that it is barely covered. Kutya must be neither too thick nor dry.
Dried apricots or plums can be added after they are kept in water for enough time to make them soft.

Uzvar
• Water — 3 liters
• Dried apples — 1 cup
• Dried pares — 1 cup
• Dried plums — 1 cup
• Dried cherries — 1/2 cup
• Honey



The dried fruit (and berries, if they are available) boil in water until the fruit are cooked. Remove from the fire, add honey. Keep in a cool place for at least twelve hours. Serve chilled.


Tovchenyky-kruchenyky
• Pike or perch — 1 1/2 kilo • Oil (or butter) — 300 grams
• Dry loaf of white bread • Eggs — 3 • Onion — 3 bulbs
• Garlic — 4 or 5 cloves • Carrots — 1 • Parsley — 1 root
• Parsnip — 1 root • Wheat flour — 6 table spoonfuls
• Tomato sauce — 1/2 cup • Salt, pepper, sugar to taste



Wash the fish, remove the skin, separate the flesh from the bones. Mince the fish and the dry bread which has been soaked in water (squeeze out the surplus water before mincing) in the meat grinder. Boil the bones to make stock. Salt and pepper the minced fish, add whisked eggs. Cut the fish skin into manageable pieces, put some minced fish on each piece, close the edges, secure with a length of thread to form tovchenyky-kruchenyky. Roll in flour and place in a saucepan.
Chop the carrot, parsley and parsnip, fry slightly in butter or oil. Fry the flour, let it cool and then add to the stock mixed with tomato sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Add the chopped carrot, parsley and parsnip, and pour the mix onto the kruchenyky in the pan. Cook to readiness on slow fire.
Before serving, remove the thread, add the sauce that formed during the cooking of the kruchenyky.
Tovchenyky-kruchenyky are particularly good to go with boiled potatoes.

Verhuny
• Flour — 250 grams • Eggs — 1 full egg and 3 yolks
• Sugar — 50 grams • Butter — 50 grams
• Sour cream — 1/2 cup
• Vinegar, salt, baking soda, sugar powder, vanilla



Mix flour and a pinch of baking soda with the butter, sprinkle with vinegar. Make a small mound, make a dint on top, put the contents of the egg and three yolks into it, add sugar, vinegar and sour cream. Mix well and make tough dough. Roll thin and cut into strips an inch wide and about four inches long. In the center of each strip make a lengthwise cut about an inch long. Make bow-like shapes out of the strips, fry in much oil until golden brown. Place on cloth to cool (the cloth will also absorb the oil dripping from the verhuny). Place on a dish and serve sprinkled with sugar powder and vanilla.

Shynka
• Pork ham — 2 kilos
• Garlic, bay leaf, salt and pepper



Interlard the pork with cloves of garlic and bay leaf, rub the pork with salt and pepper, and with dried aromatic herbs, if they are available. Put into the refrigerator for two hours. Take the pork out, wrap in cooking foil and bake in the oven for at least 90 minutes.

Ptashky medovi Honey Birds
• Wheat flour — 1/2 kilo
• Baking soda — 1/2 teaspoonful
• Honey — 2 cups • Vodka — 60 grams
• Cooking oil



Add the soda to the flour, mix well. Warm the honey to make it liquid enough (by setting the jar with honey in a pan with very hot water) to be poured into the flour. Pouring the honey into the flour, keep stirring to prevent lumps. Add the vodka and keep stirring and kneading. Set in a cool place overnight. Roll the dough flat and thin, and then cut out shapes of birds with a mold. Bake on an oven tray which is greased with cooking oil.

Zavyvanyk kapustyany Cabbage dish
• Head of cabbage — 1 kilo
• Buckwheat — 1 cupful
• Dried mushrooms — 100 grams
• Onions — 2 bulbs • Vegetable oil — 1/2 cup
• Breadcrumbs, parsley, dill, salt, pepper



Boil the buckwheat until ready and until no water is left (use about two cupfuls of water). Boil the mushrooms, dice them, fry a little in a small amount of oil, mix into the buckwheat, add salt and pepper to taste.
Separate the cabbage leaves from the cabbage, boil the leaves in salted water to make them soft.
Stuff each leaf with the mixture of buckwheat and mushrooms, put the wrapped-up leaves onto a baking tray which has been smeared with oil. Sprinkle the leaves with oil and breadcrumbs and bake.
Sprinkle with chopped parsley and dill.

Kartoplya nachynena
• Potatoes — from 8 to 12, depending on the size
• Onions — 2 bulbs
• Dried mushrooms — 100 grams
• Vegetable oil, salt, pepper, dill



Select potatoes of equal size, wash well and dry well. Cut off the top of each potato, save the tops and hallow the insides of potatoes. Prepare the stuffing: boil the mushrooms (save the stock), chop them, fry them slightly and add to the chopped onions and the potato flesh that has been scraped out of the tubers and fried in oil. Pepper and salt the stuffing and stuff the tubers; cover each potato with the top that was off at the very beginning of the preparation; place the potatoes in a husyatnytsya (an elongated pig iron pan with a narrow oval bottom for cooking geese or ducks), add the mushroom stock and simmer. Check the tops which must stay at their places. The stock should not evaporate completely during the cooking; the readiness can be checked by gently prodding the potatoes with a matchstick or fork — the matchstick or the prongs should go easily into the soft flesh. Serve while still hot; pour the liquid left from cooking over the potatoes. Sprinkle with finely chopped dill.

Klyotski smazheni
• Potatoes — 1 kilo • Potato starch — 2 tablespoonfuls
• Egg — 1 • Onions • Cooking oil, salt



Boil the potatoes in their jackets; peel when they have cooled; mince in a grinder or mash well; add the starch, add an egg, mix well and kneed. Divide the potato dough into easily manageable pieces and form them into a finger-thick elongated shapes; cut these elongated pieces into smaller ones, each about two inches long, roll in the starch and fry in a pre-heated skillet.
Serve with chopped onions fried with small pieces of salo (hard pig fat) or with grated brynza (salty cheese), or with grated garlic and vegetable oil.
During Lent or any other period of religious fasting, no eggs or meat should be used.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cranberries

So I had ordered 15 lbs. of dried (and sweetened) cranberries from a company called Oh Nuts that kinda made me chuckle with how hard they were pushing the Jewish angle ("Buy our Purim/Shiva baskets!"). This happened only a couple of days ago, but today I came home to find a notice from UPS and a box on my front porch.



Strangely, when I opened the box, I discovered this:



15 1-pound bags of cranberries. So much for buying in bulk! But I quality checked them, and they seem to taste delicious, so I'm not overly angry with them. But I think that if I were to order from them again, I would check for a way to get them in ACTUAL bulk, or order from someone else.

Also, this pretty much filled my three-gallon bucket. I could possibly fit 16 pounds, but 15 is a solid bet here.

Monday, March 7, 2011

OMG



It's been fairly warm in the Greater Boston Area these days. So, when I peeked at my compost bin to see if the scavengers were back, I noticed a glorious thriving plant in my garden so recently deprived of snow (so recently, that I didn't notice the snow was gone until five minutes ago).

ROSEMARY! Two large, happy plants have overwintered, and hopefully will continue on into the summer!


Postscript: I sent this to Mister, and here was our conversation:

Mister: compost bin scavengers?
Me: um
Mister: also: wtf garden melted how did we not notice that
Me: i know
Mister: I even put the grill outside last night
Mister: I walked out there
Me: i know!

Pink for Francesca!



These little slip on shoes are my slippers around the house. Apparently, it causes much confusion among people who are not Mister or I when I ask about where my "slips" are. There has been more than one raunchy comment following. :-P

Sadly, between the pink and green plaid flannel pjs and my pink slips (very dirty, I apologize), that's the max amount of pink that I wear these days.

I'm posting this pic in response to Francesca's week of color. Check it out and join in!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Driving...


View Larger Map

This is going to be a loooooooooooong weekend. :-\ In case you're wondering, that's about 8 and a half hours if driving continuously. (Also, for clarification, we're STARTING at Point D on Friday, and ending back at Point D Sunday.)

Pictures!

I know, the moment you've all been waiting for: pictures of the new apartment! Let's do a little walk-through, shall we? R, don't kill me -- it's a shit-ton of pictures.



You walk into the house, into the foyer. Look! Shelving for shoes and sundry articles! We'll have a little couch in here at some point to take shoes on and off. There's also a window next to the door that I'm not showing.




To your right, are french doors into the living room.




Triple windows facing SE give a lovely amount of sun, and a view of both the front porch and the street.




A single window, facing SW, makes this room super sunny during the day (less so at night :-P). Also, look at how cute our couch is there! The rug, JUST fits in this room. I believe the rug is 8'x13' or something similar.




A long shot of the room, with a glimpse into the dining room. Where the wide bookshelf is currently (at the right of the picture) my piano might be at some point -- if it ever comes out from NY.




Walking through the archway into the dining room, and looking back at the living room.




The triple windows in the dining room also face SW.




A shot of the rest of the dining room, with the doorway into the hallway (the hallway is not easy to photograph, so I didn't really bother -- the apartment is divided down the middle pretty evenly, with bedrooms and the bathroom on one side, and all of the living space and kitchen on the other. The hallway basically connects the two in a space of about 10').




A close-up of the built-in china cabinet. The handyman sanded it down and restained it while he was doing the work on the rest of the apartment (walls painted, floors refinished, and a brand new kitchen).




Walking through the doorway into the hallway from the dining room, immediately on your left is the pantry (in front of you is the kitchen, and to your right is the hallway connecting to bedrooms and bathroom).




Yay pantry!




Little laundry chute into the basement! We have our own washer and dryer, and plenty of DRY storage space.




The view from the doorway of the kitchen. Windows still face SW. There's dishwasher, gas stove, all new appliances, new floor, new counters, new cabinets... NEW! :-D




Looking back towards the right is the stove and most of the counterspace.




Just to give you an idea of the color scheme.




The little alcove where the fridge is -- it's a fruit room!




Mister keeps thinking that I'm making it up when I talk about fruit rooms... but I know the truth!




The NW portion of our exclusive garden! Shade only, sadly.




The NE portion of the garden. It's about 14'x14' -- the upper apartment gets the garage. I think we're winning. :-P




A quick shot of the back porch.


After viewing the entire left side of the house, I'll show a few pics of the right side.



The second bedroom, the back bedroom, the whatever room.




The windows face NE. Also, face the neighbor's porch light which is on 24/7 (so do the bedroom windows).




And rather than show you the messy bedroom (same size as the last room for the most part), I offer you the double closets. One has two poles for hanging clothes, and the other is a mass of shelves.


This concludes our walk-through, and I hope you enjoyed it!