Dried Fruit Kompot (Uzvar)

January 2nd, 2010 in Beverage Recipes, Non-alcoholic by Julia Volhina

Uzvar is a kompot made from dried fruits: mainly apples, pears and prunes, however various recipes include raisins, dried sour cherries and even dried apricots.

Even though this drink is traditionally served to Christmas Eve dinner in some countries of West Europe (e.g. Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Lithuania), I really can’t find a reason why it can’t be a great better choice to drink before all those sugary-artificially prepared sodas people consume so much those days.

Uzvar, or as it also called in ex-USSR countries – Kompot made from Dried Fruits, is very refreshing, tasty and easy to do. I highly recommend this drink to everybody, prepare it for your kids – they will love it!

Madeleines (Petite Butter Cakes)

December 26th, 2009 in Desserts by Julia Volhina

It is easy to fell in love with those little butter cakes the first time you try them: it is exactly what happened to me :), I had to find the recipe. And then I’ve got hooked: every time I have extra 30 mins and a mood for baking – I am preparing madeleines.

Apart of eggs, butter, flour and a few other ingredients you will also need madeleine baking pan (madeleine molds) to prepare those french sponge cakes. Internet says they exist in two sizes: bigger and smaller.

I’ve spend quite some time before I finally found bigger ones in Williams-Sonoma, I was also lucky they appeared to be nonstick ones. By the way if you cook in small size molds – reduce cooking time to about 6 mins.

With ingredients described in this recipe will get you about 24 madeleines, enough for 2 baking forms with molds of bigger size. If you want more just double or triple the amounts.

Bigos (Cabbage and Pork Stew)

December 19th, 2009 in Pork by Julia Volhina

Bigos, as a cabbage and meat stew, is very popular second course dish in countries of East Europe. I believe it was originated in Poland, however recipes similar to polish bigos can be found in cuisines of Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine and maybe some others. In Poland bigos is traditional dish to be served on Second day of Christmas.

Ingredients for bigos vary, some of them may or may not include tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots, onions, garlic, honey and even prunes; beef, veal, pork, bacon, smoked ham, smoked sausages or a combination of those.

However common parts for each bigos recipe are some kind of meat, white cabbage and sauerkraut.

I cook bigos (by the way it is called “solyanka” in Russia and Ukraine, even though there is a soup with the same name) with pork, a lot of cabbage (fresh and sour), carrots, onions, bay leaves and spice it with whole black peppercorns, just like it was always cooked in my family. Hope you will like it too.

Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings

December 12th, 2009 in Hot Soups, Soup Recipes by Julia Volhina

In a lot of countries Christmas Eve dinner gathers whole family around one big table. Borscht with mushroom dumplings is the one of 12 dishes which usually are on that table by tradition in West Ukraine (by the way those dumplings are called “vushka” in ukrainian, which means “small ears”, I guess because of the shape).

Of course, because that is the Christmas Eve and Nativity Fast isn’t finished yet there is no meat used to prepare it: just vegetables and dried mushrooms. This borscht like the rest of the Christmas Eve’s traditional food is lenten, it is very tasty and isn’t heavy at all – most of the vegetables are used to prepare clear broth only and don’t get served with the borscht itself.

At first glance, it may look like cooking it is a bit of a hassle and time spending: so many steps (I’ve prepared 34 step-by-step pictures for this recipe!) and so many manipulations with different cooking utensils. However, you can complete preparation steps a day in advance – for example soak mushrooms, boil them or/and boil beets, you can even make dumplings a day before, freeze them and prepare the borscht next day. And then, nobody said you need to make everything yourself: involve your family into helping you! And have a Marry Christmas!

Bacon and Eggs with Tomatoes

December 5th, 2009 in Eggs, Main Dish Recipes, Pork by Julia Volhina

Fried eggs dishes are usually breakfast food, however they are also coming handy when you need to prepare and eat something fast.

Fried eggs with bacon and tomatoes is my favorite way of preparing eggs: easy, tasty and fast. The ingredients in recipe will make a portion for a breakfast for two, adjust amounts if you need more or less.

Cherry or campari tomatoes are perfect for this dish, but if you have any other kind – that will work as well. And if you don’t like bacon for some reasons – replace it with half spoon of butter, however I advice to keep it in, for the perfect taste.

Eggplant Paste (Aubergine Paste)

November 28th, 2009 in Appetizers & Snacks, Side Dish Recipes by Julia Volhina

Here is an eggplant paste recipe how my grandma used to do it: all full of vegetable goodness, and I love its taste (still a bit hard to get it taste exactly the way how grandma’s is but I am working on it).

Baked eggplant paste makes a perfect side dish for meat or vegetable entrees, as well as it can be a great appetizer – just pour a bit on a whole wheat cracker, or spread it over a piece of bread and get a healthy snack.

Prepared eggplant paste can be stored in a fridge for several days and it tastes good cooled.

Pork Schnitzels (Beaten Pork Cutlets)

November 21st, 2009 in Main Dish Recipes, Pork by Julia Volhina

Schnitzels or beaten cutlets can be prepared of almost any kind of meat: pork, beef, vial, lamb, chicken or even turkey.

The preparation method stays pretty much the same for any of those: you take meat, tenderize it, deep into flour (or breadcrumbs), deep into egg mix and fry. It is that easy!

Of course it is your choice which meat to use: pork is usually more fat and considered less healthy choice before beef, vial or chicken, however beaten pork cutlets are more juicy and tasty, so I prefer to use pork for this recipe.