Monday, October 31, 2011

Pet Peeves

When people write "wala" instead of "voilà". Grrr... I didn't even know this was a thing until several years ago when a friend wrote that, and I have since seen it from quite a few otherwise passably intelligent people.

School Update

We watched that in Russian class first thing today.

Then we watched that in Theory, my second class. (It might refuse to embed "due to request" if so, this is Pure Imagination from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory)

And then that in Ear training, third. Luckily, we didn't watch anything in History or I'd have had something stuck in my head from every class today!


I auditioned today for a music scholarship with my theory professor, and when he realized that I had both the score and the solo, he was like "well let's go to the piano and play this!" so I got to work with an accompanist who was also supposed to be judging my ability to play but what probably working a fair amount on sight-reading. :-D We also worked out some course planning, and I talked with my history teacher about a course she's offering next semester.


So I want to apply for an overload up to 19 credits. Ideally, I'd apply for 22, but that's not particularly reasonable when they have a "max" credit of 17. But I'm taking 17 and breezing through this semester. I'd like to take next semester: Theory 4, Ear Training 4, Oboe Studio, Individualism in Pre-Modern (or maybe History of the English Language), Russian 2, Orchestra, Orchestration, ... I feel like maybe I'm missing one. Or I can't count credits in my head, either are possible.

I also have to see if I can get more transferred credits applied to requirements. My Anthro class counted as freshman writing, so perhaps I can get that applied towards Freshman Writing 2? As I also have the Harvard Extension writing course which is in there.


I got a B on my English essay that I was super worried about -- and that's INCLUDING the deduction of a letter grade for not doing the in-class peer review (I was so bogged down I didn't have really anything to show for it). This is super awesome, and I'm honestly surprised that it was that high. So it turns out that both papers that I worried over turned out fine, and I think I have less to worry about!

Last Post for October! Household Updates

We had our first snow this past weekend! It snowed a little bit Friday night (it was mostly rain -- horrible, cold, grey rain), and Saturday, it snowed enough that we had our first snow plows. That's right, we had 2" of snow stick to the ground. It of course melted when the sun came out Sunday :-P. Apparently, there are hundreds of homes without power due to the snow. Say what? How can NO ONE have been prepared for snow in October? Seriously folks, it ain't hard. It's kinda a fact of life when you live in the north east US. If you tried to pull that kind of thing in Syracuse or Buffalo they'd laugh you out of town. But that's another story. Mister and I also only turned our heat on the day before any snow hit. We're just awesome like that. :-D


I started working on the muslin for my wedding dress. Let's just say that I suck at pleats and measuring the amount of fabric required. At one point, I threw the thing down and told Mister I was done. When I explained that it was too big, he inquired further.

Mister: Well, how big is it supposed to be?
Me: Me-sized.
Mister: How big is it?
Me: (*holds out hands 3' apart)
Mister: You could fit two of you in that!

I'm pretty sure it's because I think it requires three inches of fabric to make one inch of pleated fabric, and it winds up only needing two inches of fabric. But that's just my suspicion. I'm now tacking down pleats and seeing what I've got left after that.

Thankfully, this is the hardest part I think... It's a pleated bodice that connects to a fitted waist, and a full skirt that goes to just below the knee. There will be additional tricksy-ness for the actual dress as I'm doing super cute things with... uh... pleats... (maybe I should rethink :-P)


Basil and Pepper are cuddling in the kitchen currently and I may actually get more peppers. I kept meaning to bring Pepper in, and forgetting, and when Sunday, after the snow melted and I saw Pepper acting so happy I figured I'd bring him in. He has little pepper plants set! We'll see how this goes.


Still haven't heard from L about the money she owes us. We forgot to call her last Friday, so I've reminded Mister to call her and let her know that we're filing papers tomorrow. (It was supposed to be today.)


Bumped into a friend Saturday, as she was on her way back from picking up her sister at the train station. Wound up grabbing a meal with them, and while waiting for a table, it came up that my friend, M, had never seen Dirty Dancing. As this cannot be born, a movie night was had on Sunday after she got out of gamelan practice. Mister made his awesome Boeuf Bourgignon and we had goat cheese of some variety. M cannot have wheat, gluten, cow milk products, or chicken. Mister and I have rolled with this and we often cook delicious things for her (I made her cake for her birthday last week 'cause I rock ;-) ). Yet, every single time we cook something that we find quite obvious and simple (chili, beef stew, cabbage and bean soup, rice flour cake, etc.), she always seems quite surprised and shocked that we've a) cooked for her and b) found something delicious she can eat. Mister even commented to me last night: 'I think she doesn't really cook much or eat much variety...'. Which is quite probably true. I think what makes it perhaps different is that we're not going out and buying gluten-free wanna-be-wheat products or vegan cheese or what-have-you. Now, these are still quite simple meals -- I wouldn't call chili difficult in any sense of the word -- but perhaps it's something that she never thinks of? I dunno. Extrapolating with too few data points.


Had another friend, M (too many Ms!), over Saturday night for cards, and the conversation turned to reed making. At which point he proclaimed that it probably wasn't too hard and he could make them. I immediately pulled my kit out and put him to the test. He managed to make a functioning (not perfect) reed in 30 mins, and snapped two others due to a) not soaking b) not sharpening the knife often enough or c) not appreciating the delicate nature of cane. I call that a success. He can work in my reed sweatshop ANY time! :-D


Mister and I realized something last night: half of the reason why the kitchen hadn't been getting clean of late is because we kept trying to say it was this person's job or that person's job. When really, we work better when the two of us are in there, and not getting in each other's way. He was cooking and I was washing dishes, and washing what he needed, and cleaning the counter space that he needed -- when we both try to wash, or both clean, we wind up sniping at each other because we work quite differently, yet similarly in one way: we both are brusque and demanding when in work-mode. This has led to quite a few exciting fights.


I'll also post today on school updates, as I haven't been posting much of late.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Planning Russian Tea Party

Based upon this website, I am building my Russian tea party. In order to save the information, I will also put it here.

Over the course of the last two hundred years, the tea ceremony has become one of the strongest and most pervasive cultural traditions in Central Russia. Since its introduction from China early in the seventeenth century, tea has become the Russians' favorite drink. The tea ceremony has become not only a cultural tradition but also has developed into a strong communicational bond for the society.

In Russia tea is served after meals and during mid-afternoon breaks, a kind of English "five-o'clock-tea" with difference that this Russian "five-o'clock-tea" may occur in any part of day and in any place - in office, in a car, in a park. When friends visit somebody hosts invite them to have a cup of tea. This "cup of tea" is not just a tea but a lots of cookies, sandwiches, other meal. Each feast ends with tea-drinking with candies and cakes. Till present time when bagged tea got popular in the world Russians still prefer tea prepared in old classical way when loose tea is brewed in a hot teapot or samovar - the central symbol of the Russian Tea Ceremony.

Here are 9 rules for Russian tea ceremony:

1) Russian tea drinking is called chaepitie, tea is chai
2) Russian tea means - black tea. There are some rules to prepare good tea. That water should be boiled till "sparkling boiling" when first air bubbles appeared. Water should be soft, hard water with much salts is not good for tea. A tea-pot is heated a little bit with some hot water. Then tea is put into the tea-pot - 1 tea-spoon for each person plus 1 for tea-pot - classical recipe. After 3-4 minutes tea is ready.
3) Loose tea is brewed in a teapot, producing strong tea called zavarka. Zavarka is served in teacups or stakan s podstakannikom (glass with metal holder) diluted with hot water to fit personal taste.
4) Sugar and a lemon are a must, everyone adds them in tea to taste.
5) Tea is drunk from cups with saucers. Drinking tea from saucers is allowed, but not recommended. Children often allowed to do it in order to cool their tea.
6) If children are the part of the ceremony they are usially seated at the separate little table, with much less strict rules of behaviour.
7) Russian tea drinking is accompanied by plentiful snack.
- snack nourishing (pies with meat or fish, with cottage cheese, with cabbage, with rice, pancakes with nourishing stuffings).
- sandwiches, cut bread and butter.
- pastries and sweets (any sweet cookies, cakes, chocolate, jam, honey, nuts, pancakes with sweet stuffings). Jam and honey are not put into cup or glass with tea but are served in a kind of bowl or special vase and then each participant of tea party put portion into personal little plate or bowl and then eats by a tea spoon. Often white bread or roll is offered, in this case loaves of bread are spread with jam or honey. Of course fresh butter is served - just in case to spread onto bread.

8) Most of all, remember that tea, in Russia, is not just for tea time. I like to think that the warmth, comfort and hospitality that tea symbolizes, in Russian culture, is why it is offered at every meal and anytime during the day, especially when family and friends are gathered.
9) The main tea drinking in Russian is a conversation. Therefore simply do not invite to tea visitors who you do not want to have a deep conversation with.
Pleasant chaepitie!

Russian Samovars

The samovar came to Russia from Persia and the Middle East in the 18th century. The samovar is a a metal urn in which water is kept boiling for tea. Charcoal or wood is burned in a vertical pipe through the center of the samovar and this heats the water. On top of the samovar is a holder for a small teapot. In this pot, a strong tea concentrate is brewed. This tea essence is then diluted with hot water from the samovar.

In old Russia, in the days before mass production, tea drinking was a way of life. The samovar was a staple in homes, restaurants and offices. Samovars would be located on street corners to sell tea to passersby. Even trains were equipped with samovars for their passengers.
The first samovars in Russia were imported and were very utilitarian in form. As is typical for the Russian people, they began to decorate and develop the samovar into a beautiful work of art, as welcome in the Winter Palace as in a peasant's izba (hut). The first samovar was made in Tula in 1820. After a while, Tula became known as the center of Russian samovar production (in addition to the production of munitions and other metalwork). By 1900, there were 40 samovar factories in Tula with an annual production of around 630,000. The Batashev Metalworks, which became one of the most famous factories, produced 110,000 samovars alone each year.

Samovars came in various shapes and sizes depending on their use. Most were small, around 18 inches high, and were used in homes and offices. Larger samovars could be several feet in hight and diameter. Traveling samovars were equipped with handles and removable legs. Others had compartments for preparing food. The metalworkers of the Russian samovar factories provided exquisite detail in silver, bronze, and iron.

Modern day Russians still use the samovar quite often. However modern technology has provided for electric samovars which don't require the use of charcoal. As in old, these samovars are found in kitchens, offices, and even on Russian Trains. And the use of the samovar has spread from Russia to much of eastern Europe.

I intend to make pierogi, and probably fry them up as well served with sour cream, and I will probably make a sweet of some sort. But will that be enough? Should I maybe do a meat pie or a cabbage pie or a potato pie (all of which sound AMAZING), should I do open-faced Russian sandwiches, or should I at least include bread and butter and jam? I want to make a lot of delicious food, but it ALL sounds good!

... I have half of a cabbage in my fridge, and perhaps I should make cabbage pie tonight!

And since I'm super nervous about losing these recipes and the website, I will list off their recipes as well.

Cabbage Pirog

3 cups flour
1 lb. sweet butter, divided
3/4 cup cold water
2 tsp. salt, divided
1 tbsp. rum or vodka
2 lbs cabbage
1 tsp. sugar
3 hardboiled eggs, peeled and chopped
1 egg yolk
To make the dough combine 3 cups flour with 1/2 lb. cold sweet butter (2 sticks), cutting it until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Mix together the 3/4 cup water, 1 tsp. salt, and the rum or vodka. Add this to the flour mixture and gently mix. Turn out onto a floured board and roll out dough into a rectangle about 1/2-inch thick. Fold into thirds, seal in a plastic bag and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
Bring one stick butter (1/4-lb.) to room temperature. Roll out dough again to a thickness of 1/2-inch and spread butter on it. Fold into thirds and roll again. Fold the dough again, place in airtight plastic in refrigerator.
Finely shred the cabbage as if you were making cole slaw. (Or you can use 3 bags of the already shredded cabbage that you can purchase at some supermarkets, but be sure the cabbage is very white and fresh.) Put cabbage in a pan with enough milk to cover 1/2 the depth of the cabbage. Add 1 tsp sugar and 1 tsp. salt. Mix gently and cook, uncovered, until soft. Drain cabbage well. Into the pan that you used to cook the cabbage, put the remaining 1 stick of butter and heat to melt. Add the cabbage and the chopped hard-boiled eggs.
Preheat oven to 550-degrees F. Butter a 9 x 12 x-inch pan. Take 3/4 of the dough, roll it into a rectangle slightly larger than the pan, bringing the dough up the sides and cutting off the excess. Spread cabbage mixture over top. Roll out remaining dough and place over top. Pinch edges to seal. Brush with an egg wash that you have made by combining one egg yolk and 1-tsp. water. Make holes in the top of the pie to let steam escape during cooking.
Place pan on lowest rack of preheated oven. Bake for 15-minutes. Move up to middle rack and lower heat to 500-degrees. Bake another 30 to 35 minutes, watching to see that it does not burn. Note: Doubled, to serve a large group, this recipe will fill a standard 12 x 18-inch baking sheet.

Meat Pirog

3 cups flour
250 g butter
15 g yeast
0.5 c milk
500 g meat
2-3 onions
2-3 potatoes
2 eggs
0.5 c meat stock
Make dough from the butter, flour, 1 egg, yeast, and put it in the cold. Roll out the dough in a layer 1 cm thick. Place a half of it in a dripping pan and cover with the meat filling, onions and herbs. Salt the filling, add some pepper, 1 bay leaf, and finely chopped raw potatoes. Cover with the second layer of dough, and spread an egg over it. Make small holes in the pie, and pour some broth through it while baking. Bake in a hot oven for 30-40 minutes.


4 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 pound of chilled unsalted butter, cut into bits
6 tablespoons of chilled vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon of salt
10 to 12 tablespoons of ice water
2 cups of dry white wine
1 cup of coarsely chopped onions
1/2 cup of coarsely chopped celery
1 cup of scraped, coarsely chopped carrots
10 whole black peppercorns
4 1/2 teaspoons of salt
2 1/2 pounds of fresh salmon, in one piece
8 tablespoons of unsalted butter (1/4 pound stick)
1/2 pound of fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons of fresh, strained lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper
3 cups of finely chopped onions
1/2 cup of unconverted, long-grain white rice
1 cup of chicken stock, fresh or canned
1/3 cup of finely cut fresh dill leaves
3 hard-cooked eggs, finely chopped
In a large, chilled bowl, combine the flour, butter, shortening and salt. Working quickly, use your fingers to rub the flour and fat together until they blend and resemble flakes of a coarse meal. Pour 10 tablespoons of ice water over the mixture all at once, toss together lightly and gather into a ball. If the dough seems crumbly, add up to 2 tablespoons more of ice water by drops. Divide the dough in half, dust each half with flour, and wrap them separately in wax paper. Refrigerate 3 hours, or until firm.
Combine 3 quarts of water, wine, coarsely chopped onions, celery, carrots, peppercorns, and 3 teaspoons of salt in a 4- to 6-quart enameled or stainless steel casserole. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the salmon into the liquid and reduce the heat to low. Simmer 8 to 10 minutes, or until the fish is firm to the touch. With a slotted spatula, transfer the fish to a large bowl and separate it into small flakes with your fingers or a fork.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a heavy 10- to 12-inch skillet set over high heat. Add the mushrooms, reduce the heat to moderate, and, stirring occasionally, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are soft. With a slotted spoon, transfer the mushrooms to a small bowl and toss them with lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a few grindings of black pepper.
Melt 4 more tablespoons of butter in the skillet over high heat and drop in all but 1 tablespoon of the finely chopped onions. Reduce the heat to moderate and, stirring occasionally, cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until the onions are soft but not brown. Stir in the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and with a rubber spatula, scrape into the mushrooms.
Now melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the skillet over high heat. Drop in the remaining tablespoon of onion, reduce the heat to moderate and stirring frequently, cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until soft but not brown. Stir in the rice and cook 2 or 3 minutes, stirring almost constantly, until each grain is coated with butter. Pour in the chicken stock, bring to a boil, and over the pan tightly. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 12 minutes, or until the water is completely absorbed and the rice is tender and fluffy. Off the heat, stir in the dill with a fork. Add the cooked mushrooms and onions, rice and chopped, hard-cooked eggs to the bowl of salmon and toss together lightly but thoroughly. Taste for seasoning.


4.5 glasses (7 cups) flour
4 glasses (4 1/2 cups) milk
25 g (1 1/2 tbsps) yeast
25 g (1 1/2 tbsps) butter
100 g (1/2 cup) cream
2 eggs
2 tsps sugar
1 tsp salt
Dissolve half the flour, the yeast and butter in milk and let it rise. Beat up the dough, add the rest of the flour, salt and egg yolks ground with sugar. Beat again, add the beaten egg whites and cream, let the dough rest and then begin to bake.

Blinchiki with Tvorog

1 cup flour
1 cup milk
3 eggs
oil to fry
200 g tvorog (Russian style cottage cheese)
1/2 cup milk
100 g poppy seeds
1 c raisins
sugar to taste
Put ground poppy seeds and raisins in hot milk and heat until dense, add sugar and cool down. Combine the mixture with tvorog and 2 yolks. Sift flour in a bowl, add milk and salt. Stir in 1 whole egg and 2 whites and knead dough. Bake thin pancakes, but fry only on one side. Put a pancake fried side on a plate, spread the filling and roll into a log. Put all the rolls on a baking sheet, brush with butter and bake in the oven. Serve with milk or juice.


250 g tvorog (Russian style cottage cheese)
75 g oil to fry
2 tb semolina flour
2 tb wheat flour
3 tb sugar
2 eggs
Combine all the ingredients, except flour, and knead stiff dough. Shape small balls and roll in flour. Fry in oil for 3-4 minutes every side until bright golden.


4 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
16 tablespoons (two and a quarter pound sticks) unslated butter, cut into 1/4-inch bits and chilled
8 tablespoons of chilled lard, cut into 1/4-inch bits
8 to 12 tablespoons of ice water
Filling: meat
4 tablespoons of butter
3 cups of finely choppped onions
11/2 pounds of lean ground beef
3 hard boiled eggs, finely chopped
6 tablespoons of finely cut fresh dill leaves
2 teaspoons of salt
1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
Filling: cabbage
3 pound head of white cabbage, quartered, cored, then coarsely shredded
4 tablespoons of butter
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
4 hard-cooked eggs, finely chopped
1/4 cup of finely cut fresh dill leaves
2 tablespoons of finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
Combine the flour, salt, butter and lard in a deep bowl. With your fingers, rub the flour and fat together until they look like flakes of coarse meal. Pour in 8 tablespoons of ice water all at once and gather the dough into a ball. If it curmbles, add up to 4 tablespoons more of ice water, a tablespoon at a time, until the particles adhere. Wrap the ball of dough in wax paper, and chill for about 1 hour. On a lightlly floured surface, shape the pastry into a rough rectangle 1 inch thick and roll it into a strip about 21 inches long and 6 inches wide. Turn the pastry around and again roll it out lengthwise int a 21-by-6-inch strip. Fold into thirds and roll out the packet as before. Repeat this entire process twice more, ending with the folded packet. Wrap it is wax paper and refrigerate for an additional hour.

Meat Filling:
Over high heat, melt the butter in a heavy 10-to 12-inch skillet. Add onions and, stirring occasionally, cook over moderate heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are soft and transparent but not brown. Stir in the beef and, mashing the meat with a fork to break up any lumps, cook briskly until no traces of pink remain. Grind the meat-and-onion mixture through the finest blade of a meat grinder (or, the mixture finely with a knife). Combine the meat in a large bowl with eggs, dill, salt and pepper, mix thoroughly and taste for seasoning.

Cabbage Filling:
Over high heat, bring 4 quarts of lightly salted water to a boil in a 8- to 10-quart pot and drop in the cabbage. Reduce the heat to moderate and cook uncovered for 5 minutes. Then drain the cabbage in a colander and set it aside.
Melt the butter over high heat in a deep skillet or 3- to 4-quart casserole. Add the chopped onions, reduce the heat to moderate, and cook 5 to 8 minutes, or until the onions are soft and lightly colored. Drop in the cabbage and cover the pan. (The pan may be filled to the brim, but the cabbage will shrink as it cooks.) Simmer over low heat for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the cabbage is tender, then uncover the pan, raise the heat to high and boil briskly until almost all of the liquid in the pan has evaporated. Drain the cabbage in a colander and combine it with the chopped eggs, dill and parsley. Stir in the salt, sugar and a few grindings of pepper and taste for seasoning.

Preheat the oven to 400 degree. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a circle about 1/8 inch thick. With a 3- to 3 1/2-inch cookie cutter, cut out as many circles as you can. Gather the scraps into a ball and roll out again, cutting additional circles. Drop 2 tablespoons of filling in the center of each round and flatten the filling slightly. Fold one long side of the dough up over the filling, almost covering it. Fold in the two ends of the dough about 1/2 inch, and lastly, fold over the remaining long side of the dough. Place the pirozhki side by side, with the seam sides down on a buttered baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes , or until golden brown.



600 g potatoes.
200 g flour.
1 ea egg.
200 g small plums boneless.
Grate potatoes very finely and pour off the juice. Add flour, egg, sugar and salt. Knead stiff dough (use more flour if needed). Shape small balls and put a boneless plum inside of every ball. Cook in boiling lightly salted water. Knydli are served with melted butter.



1 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 egg
1/2 cup of sour cream
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 pound of tvorog (Russian style cottage cheese)
1 tablespoon of sour cream
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl. Make a deep well in the center of the flour and drop in the egg, sour cream and butter. With your fingers, slowly mix the flour into the liquid ingredients, then beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until a smooth, moderately firm dough is formed. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap it loosely in wax paper, and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Drain the tvorog by placing it is a colander, covering it with a double thickness of cheesecloth or a kitchen towel and weighting it with a heavy dish on top. Let it drain undisturbed for 2 or 3 hours, then with the back of a large spoon, rub the cheese through a fine sieve set over a large bowl. Beat into it the sour cream, eggs, sugar and salt. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
On ligtly floured surface, roll te dough into a circle of about 1/8 inch thick. With a 4-inch cookie cutter, cut out as many circles as possible. Gather the remaining scraps into a ball, roll it out again, and cut out additional circles (there should be 14 to 16 circles in all). Make a border around each circle by turning over about 1/4 inch of the dough all around its circumference and pinching this raised rim into small decorative pleats. Drop 1 1/2 tablespoons of the filling into the center and flatten it slightly. Using a pastry brush, coat the filling and borders with the egg yolk-and-water mixture and bake in the center of the oven for 20 minutes, or until pale gold in color.


8 tablespoons of unsalted butter (1/4-pound stick), cut into 1/3-inch bits
3 tablespoons of chilled vegetable oil shortening
2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
5 to7 tablespoons of ice water
2 cups of finely ground almonds, lightly toasted
4 teaspoons of milk
6 tablespoons of raspberry jam
6 tablespoons of cherry jam
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup of sour cream
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of unsalted butter, softened
Soak the almonds in milk for 5 to 10 minutes. With the back of a large spoon, rub the raspberry and cherry jams through a fine sieve set over a large bowl. Then beat in the egg yolks, sour cream, cinnamon, nuts and soaking milk.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. With a pastry brush, coat the bottom and sides of a 9-inch false-bottomed tart pan with the tablespoon of softened butter. Drape the pastry over the rolling pin, lift it up and unfold it slackly over the pan. Gently press the pastry into the bottom and around the sides of the pan, being careful not to stretch it. Roll the pin over the rim of the pan, pressing down hard to trim off the excess pastry.
Preheat the oven to 425 Degree F. Pour the filling into the pastry shell and roll out the other half of dough into a 12-inch circle. Drape it over the rolling pin, lift it up and unfold it over the filling. Press the edges of the pastry layers together. Then crimp them with your fingers or press them firmly around the rim with the prongs of a fork. With a sharp knife, cut three 1-inch slits about 1 inch apart in the top of the pastry. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Then set the pan on a large jar or coffee can and carefully slip off the outside rim. Let the pie cool to room temperature before serving.


8 lg eggs; separated
6 tb butter
14 oz honey; clover or wild
2 c sugar
6 c flour
2 ts baking powder
2 ts baking powder
2 ts cinnamon
zest and juice of 1 orange
1 c strong coffee
1 c sour cream
1 c walnuts, chopped
Heat the honey to boiling and allow to cool. Separate the eggs, reserving the whites. Beat the room temperature yolks with the butter until fluffy. Add the cooled honey and beat until well blended. Add the sugar and blend well. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon together, then sift again. add to the honey mixture. Add the orange zest, juice, coffee and sour cream stirring until no dry flour shows. Whip the egg whites until stiff, then fold in a little of the whites, mixing well, then add the rest of the whites. Stir in the chopped nuts, if using them. Pour into buttered and floured loaf pans, rapping them to even the batter. Bake in a preheated 325 Degree F. oven for about an hour. DO NOT open the oven door during the first 30 minutes of baking. When done, cool on wire racks for 10 minutes and then turn out to finish cooling. Wrap well in heavy duty aluminum foil and store in the refrigerator.


1 tablespoon of unsalted butter, softened
5 egg yolks
3/4 cup of superfine sugar
grated rind of 1 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon of fresh strained lemon juice
1 /2 pound of toasted hazelnuts, shelled and pulverized in a mortar and pestle a grinder
5 egg whites
1 cup of heavy cream
1 cup of heavy cream
2 tablespoons of rum
2 tablespoons of powdered sugar (confectioners�)
Preheat the oven to 375 Degree F. With a pastry brush, butter the bottom and sides of an 8-inch -wide, 3-inch-deep springform cake pan with the tablespoons of softened butter. With a whisk or a rotary or electric beater, beat the egg yolks for about minute, then slowly pour in the sugar. Continue beating until the mixture falls back upon itself in a ribbon when the beater is lifted out of the bowl. Beat in the grated lemon rind and lemon juice. With a rubber spatula, fold in the hazelnuts.
In another bowl, and with a clean beater, beat the egg whites until they form firm, unwavering peaks on the beater when it is lifted out of the bowl. Gently but thoroughly fold the whites into the egg-yolk mixture until no streaks of white show. Pour the batter into the buttered pan and spread evenly to the sides with a spatula. Bake in the center of the oven for about 40 minutes, or until it has puffed and has begun to come slightly away from the sides of the pan. Turn off the heat and let the cake rest in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the side of the pan and turn the cake out on a cake rack. Cool to room temperature.
To make the topping, beat the cream with a whisk or rotary or electric beater until it forms soft peaks. The gradually beat in the rum and sugar and continue to beat until stiff. With a spatula, spread over the top of the cake and serve at once.


1500 g flour
250 g margarine
1 ea egg
1 tb vinegar Icing:
1 sugar
0,5 l milk
2 ea eggs
2 tb flour
200 g butter
Cut margarine into small pieces and toss with flour until smooth. Mix egg, vinegar in 1 cup of water and add it to flour. Knead the dough until elastic and smooth. Divide the dough into 8 parts and put in the fridge for 40-60 minutes. Roll out every part very thin, put in a baking form, cut out remains, pierce with a fork and bake in a preheated oven until light golden. Bake the remains of dough until golden colour.
Icing: Mix sugar, eggs, flour and then pour over milk. Cook on low heat, stirring regularly, until dense. When icing cools down a little, add butter and vanilla.
Spread the icing on every shortcake and on the top. Crumb the dough remains and sprinkle all the cake with them. Puy in a fridge at least for a couple of hours.


cocoa powder (unsweeted)
1 2/3 cups ground toasted walnuts, sifted
1 2/3 cups dry sponge cake crumbs, sifted
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
3/4 cup unsweetened evaporated milk or heavy cream
3 tablespoons rum
1 teaspoon rum
In a bowl, combine all the ingredients except the 1/4 cup of ground walnuts and mix thoroughly until well blended. Scoop up about 1/4 cup of the mixture and shape into a ball. Spread the 1/4 cup of ground walnuts or cocoa on wax paper, roll the rum ball in them.


2 pkg. rapid rise yeast
3/4 cup lukewarm water
4 cups evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
4 cups flour
1 tbs ground cardamom
1 1/2 cups butter
3 cups sugar
2 tbs salt
1 tbs vanilla
1 tbs grated orange peel
1 tbs grated lemon peel
9 eggs
12 cups flour
3 cups raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
Dissolve yeast in the lukewarm water. Set aside. Scald and cool to lukewarm the 4 cups milk. Add yeast and the 1 cup sugar, 4 cups of the flour and the cardamom to the lukewarm milk. Mix into a smooth sponge and set in a warm place for approximately 2 hours. When sponge is done resting, melt and warm the butter. Stir the sugar, salt, vanilla and zest into the butter and add to the sponge. Gradually work in the flour until the dough is smooth and elastic. Knead for 5 minutes. Add nuts and raisins and knead another 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl and oil or butte dough to prevent crust from forming. Let rise until double in bulk. Roll into various sized balls and place in greased various sized metal cans you have saved. Oil the top of dough. Bake in a 350-degree oven. Baking time will vary depending on size of cans. When dough is done remove from pan and butter the crust. Place on baking rack to cool.


2 kg tvorog (Russian style cottage cheese)
300 g butter
400 g sour cream
4 ea eggs
salt to taste
Paskha is a traditional dish for Easter table. Butter must be soft and supple.Put tvorog under weight for 2 hours, drain through the sieve twice (never use a mincer). Drained tvorog is souffle and light. Bring to boil butter, sour cream and 3 eggs in a separate pan, stirring constantly. Pour in hot mass in drained tvorog, add 1 egg and salt. Blend until homogenous. Fill in the Easter form (with a traditional drawing and ornaments). The bottom is covered with wet gauze. Cover with a plate and put a weight. Keep in the fridge for 12 hours.


1 pc active dry yeast
1/4 c warm water
1/3 c butter
3/2 c sugar
1 ea egg
3 ea egg yolks
1 ts vanilla extract
1 ts grated lemon peel
3/4 ts salt
3 1/2 c all-purpose flour
confectioners' sugar
oil to fry
Dissolve yeast in warm water. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg, then egg yolks, one at a time. Add vanilla extract, lemon peel, dissolved yeast, and salt. Beat up until well mixed. Stir in flour gradually, adding enough to make a stiff dough. Turn dough onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic for about 10 minutes. Place in a floured bowl. Cover. Let rise until doubled. Shape little flat rounds. Fry in hot fat 2 to 3 minutes; turn to brown all sides. Drain doughnuts on paper towels and sprinkle with confectioners' sugar, if desired.



1 lb sugar, 1/2 c water
1 1/2 c honey
1/2 lb almonds
500 g flour
12 g potash
1 1/2 lb sugar
1/2 lb chocolate powder.
Dissolve sugar in the water, mix with honey and boil this syrupin a big pan. Add potash, cardamom, cloves to taste and choppedalmonds. Take off from the heat and add flour. Stir thoroughlyand make the dough on the table. Cut out different figurines,put on the sheet and bake in the oven until ready.

I Want to Crochet a Rug!

OMG crocheted rug!

Frustrated As All Get-Out

I try to pay my bills on time. Granted, as I have very little in my own name, and am not currently working, these bills are not particularly many. However, there are several that effect my life.

One -- "temporary" ex-roommate still owes us three weeks worth of rent, and is not responding to phone calls nor returning them.

Two -- I am a guarantor for Mister's car payment, and we just received notice that we're 21 days away from defaulting on this loan.

Three -- last month we had to receive an email from our landlords requesting that we pay rent on the first, not the fifteenth or the 22nd... yeah.

Four -- I received notice from UMass that because my tuition is late, they are charging $100 extra.


How I am dealing with these:

One -- I am going to be filing papers as of Monday to take her to court.

Two -- I am going to beat the ever living hell out of Mister. And make him change his godsdamned bank account so the direct deposit that's set up works.

Three -- I am attempting to remember to remind Mister about these on the weekends, so that I don't have to hound him at work and he gets pissy.

Four -- I am making my dad deal with that, as it's his fault that it's late.


Why don't people pay their godsdamned bills on time? Why does it have to bother my life? I want to stab things... grr... maybe I should buy meat for dinner.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Recipes to Save


No, that's not a typo up there (if it actually comes through at all), it's the Russian word for "tea drinking". I'm going to be hosting a Russian Tea party Nov. 5th, as Mister, J and I need to practice our Russian. I'm also inviting a classmate, JQ (too many people with J's in their name...) as he speaks far better Russian than I, and he can help keep us on track.

I'll make pierogi, little cakes, and lots of tea. Probably also bread with jam and butter. There's also a cabbage/potato pie that I've seen recipes for that looks tasty... I just love Eastern European food, and I want to make way more than I need.

My main source for what to serve is this site. The full official invitation as issued is:

я хочу пить чай с вами в ближайшее. суббота пятый ноябрь в один час равно дня я приглашаю вас на чай в моем доме. я буду готовить вареники и пирожни.

Which translates hilariously as:

I want to drink tea with you shortly. Saturday November fifth to one hour of the day as well, I invite you to tea at my house. I'll cook dumplings and cakes.

Sometimes, I love how Russian works.


I'm sure most of us are familiar with this feeling. Currently, there is a cabbage lurking in my fridge. Just seeing it in the store meant that I had to buy it, as it's one of my favorite things about fall. So, Mister laid down the law that I need to do something with it (by which I mean he remarked 'oh hey, did you know that we have cabbage?'). I looked quickly at those recipes that I have ear-marked for cabbage and came up with a couple options.

The Cabbage and White Bean Soup that I made last year from 101 Cookbooks, Hungarian Noodles and cabbage, and Cabbage Pierogi Filling

I'll probably not make pierogi tonight, as that's a massive amount of work, that one's out. I've left it up to Mister as whether he wants soup or noodles. I know that both are tasty.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


And there are my first two loaves of sourdough! Let's get a closer look...

Oh my, I cannot wait to slice into this beauty! I realized, as I was staring longingly into my oven as these baked, that I have not mentioned my little sourdough project. It all started when over at Pinch My Salt she started a new sourdough starter and invited the internet to join in. This bread has been two full weeks in the making, as I started on a Saturday two weeks ago. It was all going decently, but my starter was moving MUCH slower than the one on Pinch My Salt. I realized it was probably due to it being in the window, and it was probably chilly. I moved it next to the stove, and it perked right up.

I also followed the recipe for her bread, since I was using her starter. I started the sponge last night, popped it in the fridge so it wouldn't overproof, and let it rise for its three rises all day today, as it was beautiful and over 80 degrees F. The only change I made when making it was to mist it with water 3x in the first three minutes of baking. It is now sitting on my counter, on a cooling rack, tempting me.

I will let you know if it's as tasty as it looks!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Last of the Bounty

So I just picked the remaining tomatoes and peppers that were on the plants and did a quick search of my blogs to find green tomato recipes. Here's a quick list:

Pickled Green Tomatoes

Green Tomato Chutney

Spicy Green Tomato Vinaigrette (can be made into a salsa)

Curried Green Zebras

Mock Apple Pie

Stewed Green Tomatoes with Cheese and Croutons

Fire Roasted Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde

Green Tomato Salsa

Green Tomato Chutney

And two recipes that aren't linkable:

There is a recipe in _Fresh From the Farmers Market_ for Sicilian Green Tomato Sauce that goes like this:

1 pound green tomatoes, chopped very fine
1/2 c olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 t hot red pepper flakes

You mix it all together and let it stand for an hour or two. Then add salt, pepper, fresh basil, and cooked spaghetti, and top with toasted pine nuts. (I use walnuts.) I also recommend parmesan on top. Yumyum. Not sure if you could freeze it... the tomatoes would probably become mush upon thawing, but I think that would be OK. It is a sauce after all.

Green tomato and lemon marmalade.

1 lemon, thinly sliced and seeded
2 1/4 pounds green tomatoes (about 5 large tomatoes), cored and thinly sliced
3 1/4cups sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Pinch of salt.
1. Bring lemon slices to a boil in a pot of water. Drain.

2. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan along with 1/4 cup water, and bring to a simmer, stirring, to dissolve sugar. Cook at a bare simmer until tomatoes and lemon slices are translucent and syrup thickens, 20 to 30 minutes. Cool completely; store in refrigerator.

Yield: 1 3/4 cups.


I am easily frustrated most of the time, but I've been noticing it more lately. Between picking fights with classmates over stupid things like politics and religion (why oh why would I ever get involved in those discussions...) and just day-to-day stresses, I have been snappy lately.

My current problem? I both feel neglected by some and taken advantage of by others. Mister has been having to work 12+ hour days at his job nearly every day. This is because HIS coworkers have not really been doing their jobs and he's been doing most of the work. So when he gets home, he's tired, he's hungry and he's pissed at his job. I feel like I never see him, as he's always at work, and when he is at home, he's usually trying to distract himself with video games or something. Now, I realize that I'm needy and that he's the only one making money in this household, but still -- a little attention?

I also have a temporary roommate that has been here for over a month. She's making some questionable life choices in that she's waiting on two non-dependable people to move out here by the end of this month or mid-November (say what?), and hasn't paid rent for two weeks because she hasn't gotten paid...? I am thoroughly confused as to how she could have been working for several weeks and not gotten paid. We're asking a nominal amount of money -- it's really not that significant, but it's spending money for us as we're spending most of the paycheck on rent and payments.

She's also currently sleeping, as she works the overnight shift. Which means that when I come home to my house, I have to tiptoe around and not play music because there's someone sleeping. Or, at least the door is shut, so I assume she's sleeping.

Also in cranky mode over here, she leaves the fan on ALL THE TIME. I tried explaining to her that the fan works much better if you OPEN THE WINDOW rather than move the same stale, hot air around, but she kinda brushed it off by saying that she didn't want to hear people on the street. I can HEAR the fan, and it frustrates the hell out of me, knowing that it's 60 degrees F outside, yet my roommate "needs" a fan running on my electricity. I'm currently wearing two sweaters for crissakes.

The other thing that's been frustrating me is part of school. For my eartraining class, there was a group performance/sight-reading assignment for LAST Friday that got pushed to THIS Friday as most were not ready. I banged it out over and over on the keyboard until I got it in my head while home sick last week, and I've had it memorized (all three parts) since last Thursday. My partners? The one is nearly tone-deaf, and the other claims to have no time. Ok, I can work with this, and I'll set aside time when I'm on campus to practice (I'm not about to go too far out of my way as to be available during times when I'm not on campus). So the performance in front of my professor is tomorrow, and for the rehearsal today? The one who texted back saying he'd be there never showed, and the other one hadn't brought his book, looked off of mine but so clearly didn't care that he was misreading rhythms that are less complex than children's songs. (Seriously, it's in 3/4 and the rhythm was 1--|1 2 3|1--|1 2 3|1- 3|1 2 3|1- 3+| etc.) I was having to add a beat every other measure just to keep the harmony accurate.

I mean, I realize it's a stupid little assignment that really doesn't mean anything. I know this because I've had it MEMORIZED for a solid week. You can't tell me that I'm so magically brilliant that I'm learning stuff easily that others cannot, when it's frickin' quarter notes and dotted halves. I can tell some things that my partners are doing wrong and hindering their learning, but it's not my job to teach them how to learn. So I've been trying to beat the melody into their heads. As much as I like these two people, I need to have a talk with them about taking my time for granted as well as whether or not it would be worth it to attempt to work with them again.

The one kid who doesn't care, I'll just be blunt and explain that unless he's not going to be an ass (unlikely), I will let him work with others. The other kid tries -- I've seen him try. Him blowing me off today is what frustrated me the most, as I was in the practice room because HE needed it, not I. I also can't tell whether or not he practices. If he does, he doesn't get any better so he must be doing something wrong. Add in the tone-deafness and it's a fabulous combination. He'd say 'do' and sing "mi" or something similar -- and not hear the difference! I've tried saying: stay on the SAME NOTE -- and he still gets off somehow. I dunno. Again, not my job to figure out how to make this work for him but I can certainly try with what is within my power.

... it's funny, but they both were asking if I was in the education track, as I guess they felt that I was either being teacher-ly (I probably was) or doing a decent job of teaching. It's just so frustrating to see something being done WRONG and not be able to fix it personally. I just wish that I could record my voice singing three times and loop it and call the project done. :-P But then that eliminates the other part of the test which is listening to your partners and making music. And that's what it's all about.