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Celebrating Each and Every Day

Easter, “Velikdenn” – “The Great Day” is here this weekend and like many of you, I am busy preparing our Easter basket and other foods to share with our family and friends.

When I woke up this morning, I had decided to make a butter lamb for the Easter basket that I would be bringing to church to be blessed.  As I mentioned in an earlier post on Ukrainian Easter, we take a basket of special traditional foods to be blessed and then shared with our family on Easter morning.

As I prepared the ingredients and started shaping the butter into a lamb’s body shape, I thought about the time that my sister-in-law made a lamb for us.

SIL is a very special person in our family and in many ways sometimes seems more Ukrainian than I am.

 

SIL is English-speaking  and did not grow up Catholic.  Now over the years that she has been married to my brother, she has learned some of the Ukrainian language as well as many of the customs and traditions.  She is an amazing cook and I have borrowed many of her recipes over the years.  Her holubsti are so much tastier than mine will ever be !

But I digress.  I started thinking about her and this lamb because a few years back, SIL offered to make My Man and I a butter lamb for an anniversary dinner.  At first, I thought great…it’ll be so yummy.  I love eating lamb but had never seen it prepared like butter chicken (so I assumed).  Little did I know.  SIL laughed and said “No, no.  I’ll make you a butter lamb for your dinner table.  It’s butter and we’ll spread it on our bread and buns.”

She then proceeded to cut into a pound of butter and shape a small animal into it. The animal was a lamb.

Maybe I’m just being nostalgic this weekend but I am very thankful for my sister-in-law and I want her to know it.  I now know how to make my own butter lamb. Thank You SIL!

I don’t think we say we are grateful to our family or friends enough.

As we celebrate this Easter weekend, let’s not just think about the food however.  Let’s think about the wonderful people who share our daily lives.  Let’s celebrate these busy yet fun family and friend times now, each and every day.

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.”

Happy Easter.  Khrystos Voskres.

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Easter Baking

Easter is fast approaching so I did a bit of baking today.

Dough Birds

I have a few followers who, like myself, enjoy twisting and braiding bread for special occasions.  I have been asked to demonstrate how I make bread dough doves. I use a Kolach dough.  It’s a bit firmer than regular bread dough and is easier to roll out and twist around the fingers.

To begin, break off a small piece of dough and roll evenly to approximately 12 inches in length.  I keep it fairly thin (about the diameter of a pencil).

Divide these rolls into smaller segments, about 3 – 4 inches. 

Take one end and cross it over as shown. 

Insert one end gently through the center and this becomes the bird’s head.  Squeeze the tip to form a beak.

I then flatter out the tail and put 2 – 3 slits in it to resemble the tail feathers.

Bake at 350F. for 10 minutes, but keep an eye on them.  As soon as the beaks start to darken and turn golden brown, take them out of the even.  I use egg wash to add poppy seed eyes.

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Petrosha’s Chebureki aka Ukrainian Meat Pies

There seems to be many variations to Chebureki, a popular yet simple street food.

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I don’t recall eating Chebureki at home when I was a young child.  I first heard of Chebureki from a fellow Ukrainian language school classmate.  She raved about how delicious these little “meat pies” tasted.  My Ukrainian school teacher told us how she made them all the time.

I decided to go in search of this recipe and found many variations posted on Russian and Ukrainian recipe sites.  They are basically a deep-fried meat pie stuffed with ground beef and onions.  image

Although these traditional chebureki taste just fine, I have tweeked the recipes and come up with my own rendition of chebureki appetizers.

Take a look for the recipe under Traditional Ukrainian dishes or click here   Petrosha’s Chebureki aka Ukrainian Meat Pies

I hope you enjoy them.

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BC Blueberry Picking Time!

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It’s July and it’s time to get out there and pick some fresh farm produce.  I love to go to the local farms and pick my own fruit off the plants.

When growing up on the Prairies, my family and I used to go North of my small village and pick whichever berries were in season.  These fruits were not cultivated and cared for by berry producers.  No, the berries that we picked were growing wild.

The wild strawberries were the first of the season, and then raspberries, choke cherries and then blueberries.

Oh now that I think about it, picking these berries was not something I truly loved to do.  No, picking Manitoba berries was hard.

You see, all of these berries except for the choke cherries grew only one or two inches off the ground.   I recall the blueberries being tasty but very, very small as well.

We had to squat or kneel right down on the dirt to pick them.  And of course, there were mosquitoes to contend with and at times, even small garter snakes slithering by us.  Oh, okay so these aren’t my happiest memories!

Come to think about this, I will stay here and stand while picking blueberries at the local farms.

Check out my Blueberry Crisp recipe under Not So Traditional Foods.

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Easter Dinner plans

It’s been a while since I posted.  I have been rather busy like most people I know.  I have recently retired and find that I no longer have time to do “anything”!

Actually that’s not true.  I do a lot but I’m doing what I want to do, when I want to do it.

One of the things I’m working on right now is adding to my Recipes here on my blog.  With Easter just around the corner in a couple of weeks, it’s time to plan out the dinner menus.

Funny!  Hmm, I just remembered something about making dinner plans and the telephone party-lines!

phone2-1024x812My mom used to call up my aunt on her farm to discuss recipes, menus and who was bringing what to the next family gathering.  The conversation went something like this:

Mom picked up the telephone receiver.

“Operator.”

Mom:  “Hi Janice. Can you ring up 66 ring 4 for me?

My Aunt:  “Hello? Oh, hi Неллі . Уак справи ?”

Mom: “Добре. Say, what you making for dinner next Sunday?”

And then………my mom and aunt would hear click. Then another click.

Yes, that’s right. Other people on the party-line would pick up their telephones and listen in. At times, some of the women would even speak up and add their own menu and recipe ideas.

old_box_telephoneHow times have changed.  Today some homes do not even have a landline.

But you know what we still have?

Yes, Easter dinners.  Check out my Easter recipes and Traditional recipes on my pages.

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Please don’t waste your food!

Just last week, I was sitting and talking with some girl friends about cooking and baking for our families.  It was good to hear that there is a swing back to home cooked meals and DIY canning and preserving of food.  Maybe it’s our age group but those of us sitting around that kitchen table also agreed that we tend to save our leftovers and do something with them the next day or so.  We didn’t feel that was the case for most people today.  I am sure you will agree that a lot of “good” leftover food is thrown out every day.

Growing up in our Ukrainian home in the 1950s was totally different from it is today.  Nothing got thrown out if it still had some life left in it.  Not sure what I mean by life?  The cup full of rice leftover from dinner; the half cup of steamed carrots; the cup of gravy…you get the picture.  As long as the food stored in the fridge wasn’t spoiled in any way, it all went into the soup pot, for example.  Maybe it was the Depression from the 1930s or maybe it was the fact that money was scarce in our family, but my mom used every scrap of vegetable or meat product that was leftover from our lunches or dinners.  Maybe this is why I have a major problem with seeing some food get left over at our house.

Yesterday we treated ourselves to delicious hamburgers and french fries from a local restaurant.  Mmm, tasty and everyone enjoyed their meal.  As usual, at least, in our house, I saw that there were left over french fries.  Not sure why but that’s the one fast food item that always gets left.  So what do we do?  We pack them up and put them in the fridge.

I’m already thinking to myself why bother? Never to be seen again?  No one is going to look at them again and they will get tossed in a day or two.

So this morning, when I looked at those fries. I decided enough was enough.  Think!   What could I do with them?

I could stop here and let you guess.  But I won’t.  I made Petroshas’s Hash Brown and Eggs Pan-Fry!  Check out my recipe under Not So Traditional Foods or click here.  Enjoy!

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Petrosha’s Hash Brown and Egg Pan-fry

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Hasselback Potatoes – Ukrainian Style

Hasselback potatoes are a Swedish rendition of the baked potato. This dish was first made and served at the Hasselbacken Hotel and Restaurant in Sweden.  www.scandichotels.se/Hotels/Sverige/Stockholm/Scandic-Hasselbacken/

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Hasselback potatoes present beautifully for any occassion.  They are soft and creamy on the inside and crispy on the outside.  Serve plain or with a dollop of sour cream.

This recipe will serve 8-10 people.

Ingredients:      

  • 6-8 medium-size Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat your oven 425°F.  Scrub the potatoes with a soft brush and wash well.  Do not peel.

Using a large serving serving spoon, place a potato in the spoon.  Slice through the potato and cut down to the lip of the spoon. The spoon will stop you from slicing all the way through.

Once you have sliced all of the potatoes, place them cut sides up in a shallow baking dish.  Drizzle the olive oil over the potatoes, ensuring they are well coated.  Sprinkle on the minced garlic, salt and pepper.

Place in the preheated oven uncovered and bake for 45 minutes.  The outside of the potatoes will be golden brown and the inside soft and creamy.