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Saturday, 29 September 2012

Love stopping in Calgary . . .

At 11 a.m., we’re outside Marilyn’s door . . . even though we said we would arrive at 12:30 p.m.

A hug and a quick walk with the dog, Casper, to the neighbourhood park . . .

Soon, we'll have mugs of frothy cappuccino warming our hands

. . . while Marilyn gets lunch ready . . .

. . . and finds time to chat.

Marilyn’s husband, Bill, is away on a business trip, but their son, Jonathan comes over with the wee doll, Sofia, Jonathan’s daughter . . .

. . . for a wonderful lunch . . .

. . . local sausages . . .

. . . scalloped potato and sweet potato casserole . . .

. . . and blueberry clafoutis for dessert, served with a drizzle of maple syrup.

Thanks, Marilyn, for a lovely visit and lunch!

Thursday, 27 September 2012


My last blog had a picture of a little boy beside a washtub:  my cousin, Ivan.

June, 1963:  Diana, Ivan, Eleanor


A lot of the food I have blogged recently came from this book:

Atkinson, Catherine.  From Borshch to Blinis.  London:  Southwater, ©2000.

The writer, Catherine Atkinson, is a Cordon Bleu cook and the contributing editor, Leslie Chamberlain, has lived and travelled in Eastern Europe.

This cookbook specifically identifies 15 of its recipes as Ukrainian.  The lavish illustrations provide helpful clues regarding techniques and presentations. 

Having tried most of the Ukrainian recipes, I can especially recommend the Carter’s Millet, the Dried Fruit Compote, the Beef Stroganoff, and the Cheese Dumplings.
I would suggest using your own judgment when it comes to some of the other recipes.  Faithfully following the recipe for Galushki, for example, did not work for me.  A few days ago, I had some extra perogy dough (Mom's recipe), so I cut it up in halushky style squares  -- much better!

 As for Atkinson's boiled Kovbasa, that was the “wurst”.

I tried the Polish Babka, and it was good, but I don’t think it rose enough, even though it looks much as it did in the book’s illustration. 

I did enjoy Atkinson's book for its contributions to promoting Ukrainian cuisine, but we have better recipes . . .                                                         thanks to our moms.  

Monday, 24 September 2012


Who can identify this charming child?


Chicken Liver and Bacon Varenyky:  from a recipe in Catherine Atkinson’s From Borshch to Blinis. 
Mushrooms Paprika:  from a recipe in The Spice Cookbook  by Avanelle Day and Lillie Stuckey
Lettuce Salad



Prepare Filling:
1 tbsp oil
6 ounces onion
6 ounces bacon
12 ounces chicken livers
3 tbsp chives
scant ½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

1.        Finely chop onion in a food processor.
2.       Chop the bacon and the chicken livers into small pieces.
3.       Finely chop the chives.
4.       Heat oil in a large frying pan at medium low and cook onion for 5 minutes.
5.       Add bacon and cook over slightly higher heat 5 more minutes, stirring all the time.
6.       Add livers and stir one minute until browned.
7.       With food processor, blend liver mixture until chopped, but not smooth.
8.       Add chives, salt, and pepper and process lightly one more time.

See my very first post to see Mary Stadnyk’s recipe for the dough and how to fill and cook the varenyky (perogies). 



½ pound onion
1 pound mushrooms
3 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp pepper
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 cup sour cream

Slice the onions and the mushrooms. 
Sauté them in butter until tender. 
Add salt, paprika, cayenne, pepper, and parsley.  Cook for 2 more minutes.
Stir in sour cream and heat, but do not boil.

Friday, 21 September 2012


My mother made wonderful meals, but she never pounded  . . .  and stuffed  . . .  and rolled  . . .  and tied up beef!
So who prepared these delicious Ukrainian krepleniky?
Must have been the cooks for the lords and ladies in the Ukrainian zamoks (castles) . . .

  Overlooking the River Dnistr, 15th century Khotyn Castle 

 Entering the fortress that guarded a trade route

Walls 40 m high and 6 m thick

Outer fortification walls

Perfect for a Picnic



based on a recipe in Bohdan Zahny’s The Best of Ukrainian Cuisine p. 90

1 lb round roast (may be cut off a larger Eye of Round Roast)
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
kitchen string

½ pound onion
2 tbsp butter
¼ cup raw brown jasmine rice
2 eggs
¼ tsp pepper
¼ tsp salt

¼ cup flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

1 ½ cups sour cream
½ cup salted vegetable stock (or bouillon)

  1. Cut roast into  6 slices ¼ inch thick.
  2. Brush both sides of each slice with lemon juice.
  3. Let  rest at room temperature for 30 minutes to tenderize.
  1.  Bring rice to boil in ¾ cup salted water (or vegetable stock).   Cover, and cook on lowest heat   for 25-30 minutes (until water is all absorbed).
  2. Hard-boil the eggs.
  3. Chop the onion finely.  Sauté in butter on medium heat for 8 minutes.  Lower heat and continue browning for 7 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Add the rice to the onions.  Chop the eggs and add. 
  5. Add ¼ tsp each of salt and pepper.
                                                  Comparing slices, before & after pounding

  1. Lay meat slices between sheets of waxed paper and pound until very thin, but be careful not to make holes.
  2.  Cut twelve pieces of string; each 20 cm. long.
  1.  Put ¼ cup of the egg-rice-onion filling on each slice.
  2. Roll up and tie with string.

  1. Mix together flour and ½ tsp each of salt and pepper.  Put into a plastic bag.
  1. Heat large sauté pan with 2 tbsp butter. 
  2. Shake a roll in the flour, then put in sauté pan.  Do the same with all the rest.
  3. Brown gently on all sides.
  1.  Mix together sour cream and vegetable stock.
  2. Pour over the meat.  Cover pan and cook at lowest heat for 30 minutes. 
  1. To reheat, cover pan and cook over low heat for 10 minutes.  (I added cooked Syrni Halushky to the sauté pan and reheated both together.)
  1. To garnish, sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012


Is it by coincidence I just found my notes on a couple of the Ukrainian superstitions Mom told me about?

If a picture falls off a wall, bad luck is on the way.
It’s bad luck to wear a scorched garment.

Luckily for us, Bryan and I were both careful today; me with my ironing and . . .

Bryan with hanging some of Nicole’s art. 

Dinner Menu for 4

Cocktail:  Junior:  rye, benedictine, lime juice, angostura bitters

Main:   Yalovichini Krapleniky  (Beef Rolls)
                Syrni Halushky  (Cheese Dumplings):  There are only 12 dumplings so you will need to double the recipe or serve 3 vegetables:
                                                Lettuce Salad with Vinaigrette Dressing
                                                Company Carrots:  from Peg Bracken’s The I Hate to Cook Book
                                                Green Beans:  cook one pound of beans


SYRNI HALUSHKY:  serves 3 to 4

based on a recipe in Catherine Atkinson’s From Borshch to Blinis
1 cup flour
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 ½ tsp baking powder
2 tbsp soft butter
1/3 cup feta
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped cilantro or dill (optional)
¼ cup cold water

1.       Mix together flour, salt, pepper, baking powder, chopped parsley, and chopped cilantro in a food processor. 
2.      Mix in the butter.
3.      Mix in the water.  Process just until it forms a dough.
4.      Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces.  (Start by quartering the dough.)

5.      Squeeze each piece until dough is smooth and not crumbly.  Shape into a ball.

6.      In a Dutch oven, bring 9 cups of water to a boil with 1 ½ teaspoons salt.
   Drop in the dumplings, cover the pot, and simmer on very low heat for 15 minutes. (Atkinson said 20 minutes but that was definitely too much.  I would test at 10 minutes.)
8.      Lift out with a slotted spoon.
9.      Stir gently with butter or combine with a prepared meat dish that has a creamy sauce.

Sunday, 16 September 2012


Sept 16, 1973:  Mom wrote:

I been very busy all week and don’t see no let down for a while.   Last week I canned and made jam of a pail of currants and made bread & butter pickles and picked and made jam of strawberries.   That will be the last of them.   The frost killed most of it.

 I canned two boxes plums and carried 20 big pumpkins.  I sure had a lot, sold some and gave away a lot  and gave a lot of cucumbers too.  I have started some sweet pickles as they got to soak a week so by the end of the week will have to cut them up and pickle them.  I hope I can get my big wash done tomorrow or Tues.   I have to can tomatoes this week.

Dad dug some potatoes yesterday.   He said he will do the rest Monday but if Matt combines wheat he will have to help him with hauling grain and I will have to do the digging.  I hope not but if it’s going to freeze every night like been it’s been doing I will have no choice.

  1.  Soak small cucumbers in cold water overnight.   (Do not scrub on the sides or they will get soft.)
  2. Prepare brine:
-          1 cup coarse pickling salt
-          2  cups hot water to dissolve salt
-          18 cups cold water
-          1 cup vinegar

  1.  Fill the sterilized jars:
-          Put some dill (not too much) in the bottom of a jar.
-          Put in a teaspoon of pickling spice.
-          Put in a clove of garlic.
-          Fill jar with clean cucumbers.  Do not cut them.
-          Put some more dill on top, 2 more cloves of garlic, another teaspoon of pickling spice, and one small dried red pepper.   (You can use 2 red peppers if you like more heat.)
-          Fill jar with cold brine.  (Don’t overfill the jars.)
-          Seal.

  1. Set aside for 6 weeks at least.

Mary's daughter-in-law, Aline, carries on the tradition.   August, 2012.

Saturday, 15 September 2012



Cocktail:  Tequila, lemon juice, cointreau, splash of ginger ale


Ukrainian Kovbasa:  Catherine Atkinson’s recipe in From Borshch to Blinis
Nicoise of Green Pepper, onions, tomatoes, and mushrooms
Butternut Squash Macaroni & Cheese:  based on a recipe in CHATELAINE MAGAZINE, February 2012
Lettuce Salad



A mixture of pork, beef, and salt pork is rolled and tied up in cheesecloth.

The sausages are simmered in chicken stock.    They come out very pale, like German Weisswurst.

I reheated the sausages in the oven for 30 minutes before dinner.  They were tasty, but too salty and not great looking as they are gray.   



My daughter remarked that this dish would be an EXCELLENT way to introduce squash to children.

400 g  or one pound of butternut squash (You could use twice this without spoiling the recipe  if your squash is bigger.  Also, you could substitute a different kind of squash.  )
1 tsp olive oil

2 tbsp butter
¼ cup flour
2 ½ cups milk
1 tsp Dijon mustard
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne
8 oz old cheddar
4 oz mozzarella
4 oz gruyere (You could omit the gruyere and just add more cheddar)

3 cups uncooked macaroni

1/3 cup fresh bread crumbs (grind a slice of fresh bread in food processor)

Finely dice the butternut squash before preheating the oven.
Preheat oven to 400.
Brush a baking sheet with the oil. 
Spread out the squash and bake for 8 minutes.  Stir the squash.  Bake 8 more minutes. 
Set aside.

Prepare cheese sauce:   (You will need a  wooden spoon and a wire whisk.)
Grate all the cheeses.
Melt the butter over medium heat.
Stir in the flour.
Add ½ cup milk and mustard and stir with whisk to remove all the lumps.
Add 2 more cups of milk and cook until it just comes to a boil – it will have thickened.
Remove from heat.  Stir in salt, cayenne, and all the cheese.   (The cheese doesn’t all have to melt but you don’t want big clumps of it.)

Boil the macaroni for 7 minutes and drain.  Put it in a large casserole.

Stir in the butternut squash and the cheese.  Top with the bread crumbs.

Forty minutes before you want to serve it, preheat oven to 350.

Bake casserole for 30 minutes, uncovered.

Then turn on broiler and brown the top.  (Watch carefully!)

Thursday, 13 September 2012


You’ve been chasing around and around after that free-running chicken and, just when you think you’ve got it, away it goes into the air.  It can’t fly far but just far enough. 
So Mom figured she’d save herself that kind of aggravation by grabbing a roosting chicken during the night.  Triumphantly, she stepped out of the henhouse into the moonlight . . . and nearly got clobbered by a baseball bat. 

Dad had sprung out of bed when he heard squawks coming from the henhouse.

Dad, late 1950s, henhouse in the background



3 lbs chicken pieces:  marinate for 2 hours or more in:

1 ½ cups yogurt
1 tbsp ground coriander
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp black pepper


½  pound onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
15 grams fresh ginger root:  peeled and finely chopped

4 cardamom pods
4 cloves
2 inch stick cinnamon
2 tbsp butter
½ tsp salt

  1.  Melt butter over low heat.   Add  onion, garlic, ginger, whole cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon.  Cook over slow heat for 6 minutes.  Do not let the onions brown.
  2. Add chicken with marinade.  Let simmer for one hour.
  3. Add salt to taste.
·         If you cook the chicken early in the day, you can reheat it in the oven with the Spinach Potatoes for 20 to 30 minutes after your guests arrive.
·         This chicken is hot so you will want to serve cooling raita.
·         No Indian dinner is complete without a chutney.  This one is fantastic:


based on Mary Atwood’s recipe in A Taste of India

1 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 or 2 small fresh green chilies with seeds, finely chopped
¼ tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp sugar

Blend all ingredients in a food processor.   

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

HOT SPICY POTATOES and More about Dads

my cousin Marilyn’s father, Matt, and mother, Nellie (Mom's sister)

Marilyn wrote: "That is one of my favourite pictures of Mom and Dad!!!.. Some dispute as to whom the fur trim belonged - everyone claims it!"

Returning from Ireland this month, Marilyn wrote: "I've been thinking about what you wrote on my trip back to Canada, and I got hungry just thinking about fresh farm pork and pepper… the perfect combination!  My father also loved heat!  His favourite mustard was Keen's dry mustard mixed with a splash of water to form a smooth paste! great with cold chicken or beef!  In fact we had it served to us on our trip and it made me think of Dad! Horseradish fresh out of the garden has a lot of heat too! I guess I never thought of Ukrainian food as being spicy hot! 


ALU SAGH  (Indian Spinach and Potatoes, serves 4-5)

1 pkg. frozen chopped spinach, undrained
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp butter
1 pound potatoes
1 ½ pounds onions
1 clove garlic
1 tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp cardamom
50 grams fresh green chilies (or one large chili about 8 cm long x 2 ½ cm across top)
15 grams fresh ginger root (one inch knob)
¾ tsp salt
¾ cup water

  1.  Slice the onions.  Set aside on a plate.
  2. Chop garlic.  Add to the onions.
  3. Remove the seeds and chop the chili finely.   Add to the onions.
  4. Peel ginger root and chop.  Add to the onions.
  5. Peel potatoes and cut into ¾ inch pieces.
  6. Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan that has a lid over medium heat.
  7. Add the onions, garlic, chilies, ginger, potatoes, coriander, cardamom, and salt to the pan.  Keep stirring until the the bottom of the pan gets dark brown.
  8. Add the water and reduce the heat to low.  Stir to pick up the browning on the pan.
  9. Add the spinach and stir to blend. 
  10. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes or until potatoes are done.  The liquid should be all absorbed.
  11.  You will need to serve a cooling dish of Raita with the potatoes.

ELEANOR’S RAITA  (to serve 4)

2 cups plain yogurt
½ chopped tomato
½ chopped cucumber

Mix together and serve.    (Do not add salt or pepper.)

Saturday, 8 September 2012


 My sister, Anastasia, has a green thumb.  The amount of stuff she grows in a tiny space is unbelievable!

Gifts from Anastasia’s Garden


Cook ¼ pound of beans for each serving.

1 pound frozen cut green beans  (or fresh  beans)
¾ cup water
2 tbsp butter
¼ tsp salt
1/8  tsp pepper
1/8 tsp marjoram (optional or substitute a different spice) 

1.       Measure butter and seasonings and set aside.
2.      Put beans and water in Dutch oven over high heat.
3.      Reduce heat when water begins to boil. 
4.      Boil until tender:  about 7 minutes for frozen beans:  start testing at 5 minutes.  Fresh beans may take about 10 minutes.  (Watch that the water doesn’t all boil away.)
5.      Drain.
6.      Return beans to hot Dutch oven; then add butter and seasonings.
7.      Stir and serve.

  • I cut up and cooked Anastasia’s long purple beans this way – they turned a wonderful dark green and were delicious.
  • Anastasia suggests adding some Chinese spices and a little Oyster Sauce or Hoisin Sauce to the pot with the beans and water.
I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to post a comment on my blog.  It’s like having a conversation and makes blogging so much more fun.  
I know that it’s been difficult to leave a comment but I have made some changes that should make it easier.    Also, I have worked out some steps to follow.  Please let me know if they actually helped or maybe need some clarification. 

To make a Comment for the First Time
1.        At the bottom of my post, click on “Links to this Post”.
2.       Type in your comment.
3.       Click Publish.
4.       You will be redirected to a page that says Create your Own Blog.  That doesn’t mean anything.  You will not be creating a blog.  Just type in your gmail address and your password.
5.       Hit Enter and that will bring you back to your comment.
6.       You may have to click on Publish again.  (You may even have to type in your message again, but after this first time, it should be much easier to make a comment.)
7.       Thanks.   And I will respond to your comment!