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Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Uncle Myron's granddaughter's wedding . . . and Poppyseed Cake

Melanie and David


When I was growing up, there were always loads of cakes and pies on the tables at a Ukrainian wedding.

  Here’s a recipe from Lois Syhut in Sonningdale, Saskatchewan  for delicious


2 cups flour
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
½ cup poppy seeds
1 ½ cups sugar, divided
½ cup coconut oil or butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk
½ cup egg whites (or 4)

*Set aside a well-greased 9 inch tube pan. 
*Start oven preheating to 350.
*In a medium bowl, stir together flour, salt, baking powder, and poppy seeds.
*In a large bowl, beat together 1 ¼ cup sugar, coconut oil, and vanilla. 
*Beat in some flour and then some milk.  Keep alternating until done.
*Beat egg whites until soft peaks form.  Then beat until stiff with the remaining ¼ cup sugar.
*Fold egg whites into batter.
*Turn into tube pan.  Bake for 50 minutes.
*Stand on wire rack.  Remove from pan after 10 minutes. 
*When cool, spread with a vanilla butter-cream icing or a cream cheese icing. 



My cousin Gerald is Uncle Myron's son.

 Gerald and his wife, Val, were in Ukraine last month where they had a wonderful time as guests at a wedding.

It occurred to me that they might enjoy a trip down memory lane.

The pictures I have shared in this post are from their daughter’s wedding in 2003.   

Monday, 13 November 2017

Setting a Place . . . and Borshch Moskovskaia

The gone-befores
are here with us
in our memory
in our keeping. . .

(by Maude Meehan) 

Dad:  December 13, 1901 - July, 1983

Matt: December 13, 1932 -  September 21, 1999

Mom:  October 2, 1912 - November 13, 2007

George:  March 27, 1935 - July 24, 2013

                                                                Donald: July 21, 1936 - November 27, 2015

                                                                Steven: December 14, 1962 - November 11, 2016


Ukrainian Saying: Without bread, it’s no lunch.  Without cabbage, it’s no borsch.  

Без хліба – не обід; без капусти – не борщ (Bez khliba – ne obid; bez kapusty – ne borshch).



            From:  RUSSIAN COOKING by Helen & George Papashvily.  Time-Life, c1969

1 pound beef (top round or sirloin)
8 cups beef stock (canned)
2 tbsp butter
½ cup chopped onions
1 ½ pounds beets
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
2 tomatoes (medium or large)
2 tsp salt (divided)
¼ tsp pepper
½ pound white cabbage
¼ pound boiled ham, cut into small cubes
¼ pound all-beef frankfurters
4 sprigs parsley
1 bay leaf
1 cup sour cream
½ cup finely chopped dill

*Put beef and 2 cups stock in small saucepan.  Bring to a boil and skim.  Lower heat, partly cover, and simmer for 1 hour.
*Chop onions and set aside.
*Peel and cut beets into strips.  Set beside stove.
*Finely chop tomatoes.  (Otherwise, you must peel them.)  Set beside stove.
*Cut ham into small cubes and set aside.
*Cut frankfurters into ½ inch lengths.  Add to ham.
*Cut the now-cooked beef into small cubes and add to the franks.  Put in fridge.
*Cook onions in butter in a large pot (like a Dutch oven) for 3 to 5 min until soft but not brown. 
*Add beets, vinegar, sugar, tomatoes, pepper, ONLY ½ cup of stock, and ONLY ONE TEASPOON SALT.
*Cover and simmer undisturbed over low heat for 50 minutes.   The liquid will be almost all gone so be careful not to have the heat too high.
(I prepared the soup to this point a day ahead.  This isn’t necessary but I’m just saying it can be done that way if that will help the cook.)
*Coarsely shred the cabbage into strips about ½ inch wide and 1 to 2 inches long.
*Add the remaining stock to the pot and add the cabbage.  Bring to a boil.
*Add ham, frankfurter, beef, parsley, bay leaf, and another teaspoon of salt.  (The borsch was very tasty but a bit salty so you may want to put in only one half teaspoon of salt right now.)  Simmer partially covered for ½ hour.
*Remove the parsley sprigs and bay leaf when serving.

Chop the dill and set on the table in a small bowl with a spoon.  Also, set out a dish of sour cream to pass around. 
Serve the borsch with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of dill. 

Wednesday, 8 November 2017


                           Val and Gerald in front of the Opera House in Lviv.  

This  brought back wonderful memories of seeing a spectacular performance there of  Georgian dancing.  The men drummed and stamped their boots, made incredible leaps from a kneeling position, and spun about in the air!

                                              Vern (on the right) in front of a restaurant in Lviv

I had the best Baked Alaska ever in the Grand Hotel in Lviv!  My daughter's description: "a splendid mound of fruit and ice cream on a thin layer of cake buried in a heap of slightly chewy meringue  sprinkled with sugar".

                                               Val, Gerald, & Vern tour the Ancestral Village

           and one of  the lovely wooden churches in the Carpathians.

                                               They were guests at this beautiful wedding:

                                           The bride is one of our cousins in Ukraine.


Arab botanists assigned the origin of cauliflower to Cyprus.

Cauliflower arrived in France in the 16th century via Genoa.

A North American variety was developed in Germany in the 18th century.

Savella Stechishin's Baked Cauliflower is very good. (TRADITIONAL UKRAINIAN COOKERY, page 250)

Savella remarked, "Ukrainian vegetable cookery is very much like that of Canada.  The difference may be found only in the final finishing, sauces, and the garnishes." 

Savella identified browned butter and browned butter crumbs as "the favorite Ukrainian garnish".  


Bohdan Zahny also has a cauliflower souffle which I used as a springboard for a

1 lb cauliflower
1 ½ cups milk
¾ tsp salt (divided)
¼ tsp pepper
3 tbsp Cream of Wheat cereal (or farina)
2 eggs
1 tbsp bread crumbs

*Butter a soufflé dish (5-inch or 13-cm diameter) or small casserole. 
*Cut cauliflower into small pieces.  (Include stems.)
*Simmer cauliflower and ¼ tsp salt in milk for 15 minutes – uncovered. 
*Drain the cauliflower and reserve the milk.
*Chop the cauliflower finely in food processor. 
*Return milk to pan.  Heat and stir in Cream of Wheat cereal.  Stir until thickened (about 3 minutes).  Remove from heat.
*Stir cauliflower into cereal and milk.

45 minutes before serving time, preheat the oven to 350.
*Stir ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper, and the yolks of two eggs into the cauliflower.
*Beat the egg whites until stiff.
*Fold the cauliflower mixture into the egg whites.
*Turn mixture into soufflé dish. 
*Sprinkle with bread crumbs. 
*Bake for 30 minutes. 

Leftovers make a wonderful lunch.  Spread on toast.  Top with cheese.  Run under broiler or melt in microwave.  YUM!  

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

HALLOWEEN, a Ukrainian Superstition, and LINGUINE with MUSSELS



          From:  Fabulous Italian by JOHNA bLINN

32 mussels for 4 servings
½ cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
¼ tsp dried crushed red pepper
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, divided
½ cup dry white wine
1 pound linguine
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated parmesan

·        Finely chop the garlic cloves and set aside.
·        Chop the parsley.  Put one tbsp. in a dish and set it on the table so you’ll remember to use it as garnish.
·        Grate the cheese and set on the table.
·        Put pepper grinder on the table.

·        Heat oil in skillet.  Sauté garlic and crushed red pepper for one minute.  Let cool.
·        Scrub mussels.  If any are open, tap them.  If they don’t close in the next few minutes, discard them.
·        Bring 8 cups of water to a boil.
·        Put in the mussels, cover and cook for 1 minute.
·        Dip out the mussels that are open.  If any aren’t open, give them another minute or two.  Discard any that don’t open.
·        Remove mussels from their shells.  Discard shells. 

·         Bring large pot of water to a boil to cook the linguine.  Add 2 tsp salt to the water.
·        Cook linguine 11 minutes and drain.
·        Meanwhile, put remaining tbsp. of parsley in the skillet.  Also add the wine and ½ tsp salt.
·        3 minutes before linguine is ready, bring wine to a boil in the skillet.  Add the mussels to reheat.  Lower the heat and cover.
·        Plate the linguine.  Spoon the mussel sauce onto it.  Sprinkle with parsley and parmesan.

·        Serve with a salad.  Pass the pepper grinder.  Enjoy!


A Ukrainian Superstition . . .

as recalled by Mary (Leschyshyn) Stadnyk

If a pregnant woman asks you for something, you are supposed to give it to her or mice will eat your best clothes.

    So one time I went to a young woman’s place.  Her name was Anna Voznee.  There were other young women making fancy boxes for a Box Social.  I really brought few decorations to give Anna.  I had some Christmas decorations such as silver streamers.  One of the other women asked me to give them to her and I wasn’t going to part with them.  But Anna said, “You should give to her as she is in family.”  But I didn’t.  I came home and told Mother about it. 
     Mother said, Just say: ‘My clothes are in that lady’s trunk.’  Say that a few times and it will be alright.   

Halloween in Kyiv: 2017