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Friday, 30 November 2012

Esther Brody's Bran Fig Muffins

 Sept 6/78:  Mom wrote:

The doctor told me to bake bran muffins for Dad.  I been doing just that as everybody likes them so 20 muffins don’t last long.


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November 29, 2012:  Muffins taste especially good now that Bryan is making them! 


These ones are like Fig Newtons, except better.

Figs, by the way, are an excellent source of calcium.

BRAN FIG MUFFINS :  from 500 Best Muffin Recipes  by Esther Brody

¾ cup whole wheat flour (plus 1 tbsp to mix with figs)
1 cup chopped dried figs
½ cup All-bran cereal
½ cup oat bran (If oat bran is not available, substitute with more All-bran.)
1/3 cup wheat germ (or substitute with more whole wheat flour)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
¼ cup canola oil

1.      Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2.      Grease a jumbo muffin tin (makes 6 large muffins).
3.      Put a tablespoon of whole wheat flour into a small bowl.
4.      Chop figs and keep pieces separated by mixing with the flour in the small bowl.
5.      In a large mixing bowl, mix the rest of the flour, All-Bran, oat bran, wheat germ, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
6.      Beat egg in another bowl (medium-size) and then beat in buttermilk and oil.
7.      By hand, stir liquid and dry ingredients together and spoon into muffin tin.
8.      Bake 20 minutes.

Alternative Cooking Note:   Esther suggests 375 degrees but the muffins weren’t done in 20 minutes so we increased the temperature to 400 and baked them another 5 minutes. 
 (If cracks on top of the muffin look wet, the muffin is not done.) 

Be sure to test the muffins with a wooden skewer --  undercooked bran muffins are nasty!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

SPINACH & BACON PIZZA


 

Oops!  I made this pizza today and carefully measured the water for the dough:    1 ¼ cups.  I then found I needed more flour than I had indicated in my previous blog!  I have gone back and changed that blog but I am also giving the proper amounts here:

PIZZA DOUGH 
1 tsp sugar
1 ¼ cups lukewarm water
1 envelope (2 ½ teaspoons) yeast
Flour:  2 ¾ cups and just enough more to make a non-sticky dough (one or 2 tbsps)

1.       Stir to dissolve sugar in lukewarm water.
2.       Sprinkle the yeast onto the swirling water.  Do not stir.  Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes until foamy.
3.       Put 2 cups of flour into a large mixing bowl.
4.       Measure another cup of flour and set it to the side.
5.       Stir the yeast and water into the mixing bowl.
6.       Sprinkle some of the extra flour onto a working surface.
7.       Drop another ¼ cup flour onto the dough in the bowl.  Now turn the contents of the mixing bowl out onto the working surface and start kneading.
8.       Sprinkle additional flour from the cup onto the dough as needed to make a smooth, non-sticky, but still tender dough.
9.       Sprinkle more flour onto the working surface.  Set the dough on this and cover with the mixing bowl.  Leave to rise for at least 10 minutes while you prepare the pan and the toppings.
10.   Brush the pan with 1 tsp of vegetable oil.
11.   Place oven rack at lowest level.  Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

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SPINACH & BACON PIZZA TOPPINGS:  based on Joie Warner’s All the Best Pizzas

Tomato sauce
Freshly grated black pepper
1/8 tsp nutmeg
4 slices bacon
8 ounces mozzarella
2 cups baby spinach leaves

1.      Dice the bacon and fry until crisp.  Drain on a paper towel.
2.     Cut up the spinach leaves (not finely).
3.     Grate the cheese.
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When you lift the bowl that’s sitting over the dough, you will find the dough will be in a soft, round shape.  With floured hands, gently lift it and place in centre of oiled pan.  Press and push the dough to fill the pan.  (If necessary, sprinkle the top of the dough lightly with flour to help with patting.)  
Bake dough without any toppings for 7 minutes.  Remove from oven.
Reduce oven temperature to 450.
Cover with toppings in this order:

-         Tomato sauce, thinly spread.
-         Grate some pepper.
-         Sprinkle the nutmeg.
-         A thin layer of cheese.
-         The spinach.
-         Finish off with the cheese.

Return to oven and bake the pizza for 15 - 18 minutes until the cheese is melted and just starting to brown.  Yum!


Monday, 26 November 2012

Sautéed onions for Perogies



The first time I ever saw sautéed onions dolloped onto the sour cream for perogies was in a buffet lineup at a Vesna Festival in Saskatoon.  Honestly, I was surprised, but I thought, “That looks good!”  And it was.      

It’s not that Mom didn’t have lots of onions.  Her garden always had long rows of them.  On April 6/77, for example, Mom wrote:

We had a good rain but need lot more like it to have any crops.  We have planted onions.  You can get some Dutch sets and you will have onions for salads and so on.  When you be down I will give you some chives and they are good to have.

                             But fried onions on pyrohi?  Never had them at Mom's.

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I still am not in the habit of serving fried onions with pyrohi but I found a recipe that intrigued me.  Paula Peck in her Art of Good Cooking wrote about a Polish lady, Mrs. Rudski, who used a method that “results in onions with a strangely sweet flavor.”

2 ½ pounds large Sweet Yellow onions

1.     Chop onions fine.
2.    In a covered skillet, cook onions, without any fat, for 7 minutes over medium heat.


You will see beads of moisture on the lid.  I wiped these away after 5 minutes, and again after 7 minutes.


3.     Add ¼ cup butter to onions and stir while sautéing uncovered until they are golden brown. 


According to Paula Peck, Mrs. Rudski spooned some golden onions over each perogy!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

UKRAINIAN & AMERICAN, a winning combination


A smiling stranger in Yaremche Market, Ukraine – so charming!


Talking with locals: all Greek to Cholovik 
(also in Yaremche Rynok)

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A beef and green onion meatball – good . . .


But even better with Erik Akis’ Chipotle Barbecue Sauce. 

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Now for the perfect side dishes to go along with an American dish that’s swimming in barbecue sauce:     

Potato and Cottage Cheese Casserole:  from Ukrainian Cuisine
Cabbage Salad (Kapoostyani Salat):  based on Bohdan Zahny’s The Best of Ukrainian Cuisine

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POTATO & COTTAGE CHEESE CASSEROLE

2 pounds potatoes
2 cups 2% cottage cheese
1 ½ tbsp butter
¾ cup sour cream
Pepper

1.       Boil the potatoes in salted water and peel. 
2.      Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3.      Butter a 10 inch casserole that has a lid.
4.      Put a layer of sliced potatoes into the casserole.
5.      Spread with ¼ cup sour cream.
6.      Next spread with a cup of cottage cheese.
7.      Dot with half of the butter.
8.      Sprinkle with pepper.
9.      Repeat the layers.
10.  Finish with a layer of potatoes, covered with sour cream and sprinkled with pepper.
11.  Cover and bake casserole for 40 minutes.


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CABBAGE SALAD

2 lbs cabbage
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

1.       Chop cabbage.
2.      Mix together the rest of the ingredients.
3.      Toss with the cabbage.


Monday, 19 November 2012

BEEF STEW and Winter

October, 2012:  Crystal's view from her living room:


November 6:  My sister-in-law, Aline, wrote:

Merry Xmas!!!  We are under a severe weather warning; the front door step 

has 2 feet of snow. Lee is in the city and says he's still coming home today.

We’re supposed to get 20 to 40 cm of snow.


Even in British Columbia, we’re layering up.


Hearty food is synonymous with comfort and survival during a Canadian winter.

So it’s definitely time for a good Beef Stew. 


FLAVORFUL BEEF STEW  (serves 6)

Inspired by The New Purity Cook Book:  the Complete Guide to Canadian Cooking

2 pounds beef
¼ cup flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
¼ cup oil
2 pounds onions
4 cloves garlic

2 cups vegetable stock (or 2 cups water with a beef bouillon cube)  
1 tbsp soya sauce
1 tbsp Worcestershire
1 tbsp barbecue sauce  (or steak sauce)
2 bay leaves
½ tsp thyme

5 medium potatoes
10 ounces frozen lima beans (or frozen peas)

1.        Cut beef into cubes.
2.       Slice the onions thinly.  Set aside on a plate.
3.       Chop the garlic and add to the onions.
4.       Shake together flour, salt, and pepper in a plastic bag.  Shake beef cubes with the flour to coat.  Reserve remaining flour.
5.       Start heating the oil over high heat in a Dutch oven.  Spread the beef cubes out in a single layer.  Brown for about 2 minutes, then turn and brown the other side.  Lower the heat.  Remove beef & reserve.  
6.       Add the onion and garlic to the Dutch oven and stir for 5 minutes. 
7.       Stir in vegetable stock, the sauces, bay leaves, and thyme.  Add the beef.  Bring to simmer, reduce to lowest heat, cover, and cook for 1 ½ hours.
8.       Peel the potatoes and cut into chunks.
9.       Add potatoes to stew, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.
10.   Stir in remaining flour. 
11.   Add the lima beans, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.
12.   Taste for seasoning.  Remove bay leaves and serve.

*                                                   **********************



                            After your dinner, curl up with a fun book.  Theme: Survival! 
    
                                                  







Saturday, 17 November 2012

POLISH STEW and Murder


Clicking my heels together!   Everything turned out well for yesterday's dinner party . . .

MENU

Cocktail:  Robbie Burns:  Whisky, Sweet Vermouth, Benedictine


Appetizer:  Chicken Almond spread on fresh Whole Wheat Bread Fingers

Polish Hunter’s Stew:  based on Pork:  the Good Cook Techniques & Recipes by The Editors of Time-Life
Baked Potatoes with Sour Cream
Perfect Green Beans:  see previous blog:
http://eleanorstadnyk.blogspot.ca/2012/09/purple-beans-from-anastasias-garden.html

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POLISH HUNTER’S STEW  (serves 6)

Fresh pork rind:  cut it off the pork roast and render it a day ahead or early in the day.  Reserve the fat for the recipe.  The shkvarki can be added to fried potatoes (or discarded).


Shkvarki

2 lbs sauerkraut
3 cups boiling water

2 tbsp lard
1 lb boneless pork roast (cut in half to make 2 pieces about 1 ½ inches thick)
¼ lb bacon (in one piece, if possible. . .   You could use 2 ounces of salt pork as part of this.)
 
4 ounces chopped onion (a small onion)
3 tbsp rendered fat (or substitute 3 more tbsp lard)
3 tbsp flour
½ cup tomato sauce (for a stronger tomato flavour, make half of this tomato paste)
¼ tsp pepper
½ lb garlic sausage

1.       In a large saucepan,  add the boiling water to the sauerkraut and simmer covered for one hour.
2.       Put 2 tbsp lard in a large frying pan or Dutch oven, over high heat,  and brown the pork and bacon on all sides.  Drain off the extra fat.
3.      Add the sauerkraut to the meat and cook over low heat for 40 minutes.

  
4.       Cut the meat into cubes and return to the pan.
5.      Chop the onion and cook for 10 minutes in the rendered fat (or lard).  Stir the flour into this and cook another 2 minutes.
6.      Stir the flour-onion roux into the sauerkraut along with pepper and tomato sauce.
7.      Peel the garlic sausage (or not) and add to the sauerkraut.


You can leave it at this point until 30 minutes before serving.  Reheat covered in the oven. The temperature can be anywhere between 350 and 450.   (I heated it at 450 because I needed that temperature for roasting potatoes wrapped in foil.)

                                                        *****************


For history enthusiasts,  I also can recommend the FALL OF EAGLES:  we watched one of the episodes last night -- a murder-suicide committed in the late 19th century by the heir to the throne of Austria Hungary.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

PERFECT PIZZA DOUGH and PIZZA METHOD

 It took me many years to come up with PERFECT PIZZA, but Pizza is one of my favourite foods so I was determined to succeed.  


The right dough, the right pan, and the right temperature – these are the keys to pizza making.

PIZZA DOUGH 

1 tsp sugar
1 ¼ cups lukewarm water
1 envelope (2 ½ teaspoons) yeast
Flour:  2 3/4 cups and just enough more from 1/4 cup to make a non-sticky dough 

1.       Stir to dissolve sugar in lukewarm water.
2.       Sprinkle the yeast onto the swirling water.  Do not stir.  Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes until foamy.
3.       Put 2 cups of flour into a large mixing bowl.
4.       Measure another half cup of flour and set it to the side.
5.       Stir the yeast and water into the mixing bowl.
6.       Sprinkle some of the extra flour onto a working surface.
7.       Drop another ¼ cup flour onto the dough in the bowl.  Now turn the contents of the mixing bowl out onto the working surface and start kneading.
8.       Sprinkle additional flour from the half- cup onto the dough as needed to make a smooth, non-sticky, but still tender dough.
9.       Sprinkle more flour onto the working surface.  Set the dough on this and cover with the mixing bowl.  Leave to rise for at least 10 minutes while you prepare the pan and the toppings.

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Brush the pan with 1 tsp of vegetable oil


This was Mom’s pan – she loved pizza as much as I do and was always interested in trying out new things.  It works great.   
(I have tried a pizza stone, but didn’t like it.)

Place oven rack at lowest level.  Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
Prepare the toppings.
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When you lift the bowl, you will find the dough will be in a soft, round shape.  With floured hands, gently lift it and place in centre of oiled pan.  Press and push the dough to fill the pan.     
Bake dough without any toppings for 7 minutes.  Remove from oven.  
Reduce oven temperature to 450.
Cover with toppings. (You can leave the pizza at this point until your guests arrive.  Then pop it into the oven and serve a cocktail while it's baking!)
Return to oven and bake the pizza for 15 minutes until the cheese is melted and just starting to brown.


 



Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Simply the best

November 13, 2007:  Mary Stadnyk, my mother, passed quietly away.  She was 95 years old, but had treasured her family, friends, and life to the end.


Mom always loved to laugh: here with grandsons, Nicholas and Lee


Mom would have been so pleased to know that the granddaughter she is cuddling in this picture will soon be holding a tyke of her own.

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Nov 15, 1991:   Mom wrote:  I been crotcheting hats for Diana and slipperettes for Marion.  I will send them for Christmas.  I always give her & Wes mitts. 


In her 90s:  Mom’s hands continued to be busy.

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Mom never stopped enjoying good food . . . especially Ukrainian food.

One time when I had made Thai chicken, Mom asked what was in it.  Then she said, “Why can’t we have some plain Ukrainian cooking?I was surprised because she loved Asian food, but maybe what she needed that day was comfort food.  

Funny, isn’t it, that anyone might think of perogies as plain cooking .  .  . To me, there is nothing plain about something that takes so much work . . .  but Mom could boil up a batch “in jig time” and she loved to make them for her family.

In 1989, she was still making pyrohi for the guys when they were harvesting. 
In 1991, Mom wrote: 

This week I did a lot of work; made a lot of holoptsy.  On Monday I made sauerkraut perohy and potato & cheese ones.  Today I made pyrizhky, double batch.  I gave some to Matt.

 In 1993, Mom wrote:

Wednesday morning I will make sauerkraut perogies as the ones I made – they ate them all.

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When I make perogies, I can’t help smiling as I remember how annoyed Mom got with my squares that I invariably produce in all shapes and sizes.  Mom’s perogies, of course, were beautifully regular and looked as though they’d been stamped out.
   
 Here are my 'anything goes' pyrohi with  another unusual but wonderful filling:


 VARENIKI/PEROGIES with GREEN ONIONS and DILL   (Nachinka z zelenoyi tsibooli)

Based on Mrs. Rudewska’s recipe in Savella Stechishin’s TRADITIONAL UKRAINIAN COOKERY.

4 hard-boiled eggs
12 ounces green onions
3 tbsp butter
fresh dill
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

1.       Chop the eggs.
2.        Slice the onions finely.
3.       Chop ½ cup dill finely.
4.       Cook onions in the butter over medium heat (dial 5) for 5 minutes.
5.       Add dill and cook for 1 minute.
6.       Remove from heat.
7.       Stir in salt, pepper, and eggs.


For Perogy dough and method for cooking perogies, see my first blog:
 

                                     a cold bath for perogies that are going into the freezer


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Mama, I wish you were here to enjoy these with us.