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Friday, 22 June 2012

Perogies and Ukraine

Just imagine!  In Kiev, the Varenichnaya Restaurant offers nearly 25 different varenyky fillings!

The bad thing about Ukraine restaurants is that I have so much trouble reading the Cyrillic menus.   Also, they don’t all have vareniki!

July, 2004:  Visited Ukraine with one of my sisters  and one of my brothers, and Bryan, my cholovik. 

There I am in the beautiful cemetery at Lviv in front of the monument to the Stadnicki.  Relatives?  So elegant, not likely.  Oh, wait a minute, why not?
Our little group kept breaking away from the tour, but it was hard sometimes.  One restaurant's menu totally baffled me and we ended up leaving and buying deep-fried cabbage-stuffed buns from street vendors.  Yum?   Yes, indeed, but still there was that element of frustration.

September, 2009
No tour group this time.  Just me and my daughter and wonderful, terrifying Ukraine.  My daughter was so patient, and HUNGRY, while I painfully deciphered menus, syllable by tortured syllable.  

  Kamyanets-Podilsky  was delightful -- not just because it has the most romantic castle I have ever seen, but also because we unearthed there Vareniki with mushrooms! 

                In Kiev, we found vareniki at Puzata Khata .   The great thing about Puzata Khata is that you just walk past all these food stations and point to what you want to try so we went there several times for breakfast. 
June, 2012
My daughter is visiting now and, of course, I made vareniki.
Here’s my interpretation of the filling for Bean and Mushroom Perogies from Ukrainian Cuisine, translated by Odarka Boychuk, et al:
1 and ½ cups beans
2 tbsp. lard
1 pound button mushrooms
2 onions
½ tsp pepper
1 tbsp salt

1.       Soak beans overnight.
2.      Cook and drain beans.
3.      Puree the beans.
4.      Add finely chopped and sautéed onions and mushrooms.
5.      Mix together with salt and pepper.

My daughter had asked me if we could have rabbit, too – no problem since my brother had just told me that a local meat shop, Penguin Meats, stocks rabbit.   My cholovik, Bryan followed Savella’s recipe for Tishkovanie Zayets (Rabbit Stew) giving us the best rabbit ever served to the girls.

(We used to have delicious wild rabbit when I was growing up.  Mom’s sauce was a rich caramel colour – unfortunately, I never asked for her recipe and I’ve never been able to reproduce it with any recipes I have found such as the one I tried some years ago from Cordon Bleu. )
 Our meal also included Savella’s Smazhena Kapusta  (Panned Cabbage,  p. 245) and we enjoyed it even it was overcooked.   (I could try to blame Savella who didn’t  specify the time but really next time I’d just watch it more closely.)