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Who Really Owns Borsch ?

In Canada, our homegrown beets are being harvested now and many of you, like myself, are making Borsch. I ran across this article from a BBC.com Travel website. Instead of weighing in on the discussion, I thought you would enjoy reading it and then you can decide.

Food Wars is a series from BBC Travel that invites you to feel the heat when passions flare around beloved dishes that shape a culture’s identity. http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20191014-who-really-owns-borsch

• By Andrew EvanS

15 October 2019

Soup should never be your go-to weapon in a food fight. As projectiles go, a bowl of chunky liquid proves messy and lacks precision. Fist-size bread rolls are more effective – or, say, chocolate pudding catapulted from a spoon. In Russia though, the latest food fight is all about soup, and it’s being hurled from the walls of the Kremlin via Twitter.

The soup war boiled over into social media this year, when @Russia (the official Twitter account for the Russian Federation’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs) tweeted: “A timeless classic, #Borsch is one of Russia’s most famous & beloved #dishes & a symbol of traditional cuisine”.

To the average Twitter skimmer, Russians broadcasting about borsch may seem obvious and innocuous, but for Ukrainians, who consider borsch to be their national dish, the Russian tweet is wartime propaganda, especially considering the current occupation of Crimea and the latest territorial conflict in eastern Ukraine that’s been raging since 2014. The Ukrainian Twittersphere responded with anger and humour, with comments like “As if stealing Crimea wasn’t enough, you had to go and steal borsch from Ukraine as well”.

A war over who owns borsch has boiled over on social media this year (Credit: Denis Karpenkov/Alamy)

You may also be interested in:

• The Cold War-era drink that rivals cola

• How to drink vodka like a Russian

• The truth about the humble French fry

Borsch (борщ in Cyrillic) is a hearty soup, usually coloured red from beetroot (though green and white varieties of the soup exist), and for centuries, it has been a daily staple in the Ukrainian kitchen. For many, Russia’s claim on such a quintessentially Ukrainian dish embodies a much larger trend of Russia’s historical oppression of Ukrainian language, politics, and, above all, independence.

According to Alex Kokcharov, a London-based political and economic risk analyst of Belarusian descent, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s chest-beating around “Russian” borsch is, “another attempt at cultural appropriation by Moscow”. He explained that while “a number of cultures claim borsch to be theirs – Ukraine, Belarus, Poland and Russia – Ukraine has the strongest claim for the dish.”

“Borsch is most definitely from Ukraine,” said Olesia Lew, a New York-based chef and head consultant for Veselka, the iconic Ukrainian diner in New York City’s East Village, who is proud of her Ukrainian heritage. “I say it’s Ukrainian, not just from a nationalistic point of view, but because the soup hails from the land of Ukraine, and those ingredients have been found in the country’s archaeological record into the distant past.”

Borsch is usually coloured red from beetroot (Credit: barbara cameron pix/Alamy)

So, what about the millions of ethnic Russians who insist the red soup they love is most decidedly Russian?

“Yes, Russian people claim it’s their food,” said Lew, “But it’s a food they developed through occupation.”

According to Lew, borsch did not simply leak across the collective consciousness of Russian cuisine, but most likely entered the Soviet mainstream in the Stalinist era as a result of a concerted effort by the Kremlin. In his attempt to collectivise the largest country on Earth, Stalin tasked his Commissar of Food, Anastas Mikoyan, with establishing a Soviet national cuisine that catered to the more than 100 different “nationalities” (the Soviet term for the diverse ethnic populations) found in the USSR.

Russian people claim it’s their food, but it’s a food they developed through occupation

Mikoyan’s official study of cultural melting pots and mass food production led him to the United States, where he fell in love with hamburgers, hot dogs and ice cream. On his return, Mikoyan launched factory-produced ice cream across the Soviet Union and popularised efficient kitchen meals like kotleti (minced meat patties) in everyday cooking. In 1939, he published the propaganda-heavy Book of Tasty and Healthy Food, a standardised cookbook that was often gifted to newlywed couples in the Soviet Union from the Communist Party – a book that is still in print to this day.

“Mikoyan needed to mass-produce a cultural identity for these Soviet foods,” said Lew. “It’s fascinating to read what he picked from each place – be it Ukraine or Georgia – while remaining vague (eg “add meat”), since at the time most ingredients were not widely available across the Soviet Union. The cookbook made all these dishes part of Soviet culture and thereby ‘Russian’, since Russia was the most important culture for the Soviets.”

While Russian people claim borsch as their own, it has been a daily staple in Ukrainian kitchens for centuries (Credit: Olga Nikiforova/Alamy)

So what exactly does this Soviet food bible say about borsch? Chapter 6 (“Soups”) starts with cabbage-based Shchi, listing six different recipes, after which comes “Borsch”, then “Summer Borsch” (featuring squash, celery and beetroot greens), followed lastly by a differentiated “Ukrainian Borsch”. (Imagine an American cookbook with multiple recipes for tacos, finishing with “Mexican tacos”, and that’s what it sounds like.)

According to Mikoyan’s recipe, standard borsch contains meat, beetroot, cabbage, root vegetables, onions, tomato paste, vinegar and sugar, while “Ukrainian” borsch contains meat, cabbage, potatoes, beetroot, tomato paste, carrot, parsnip, onion, bacon, butter, vinegar and garlic, garnished with sour cream and chopped parsley. The Ukrainian recipe, framed as a separate iteration of the standardised version, is by far the most well-known today.

While the broader world may consider borsch as a quintessentially “Russian” food, very few non-Russians are acquainted with the much less-exciting Russian variant shchi. As a basic cabbage soup, shchi is effectively borsch without the beetroot.

An 1823 Russian dictionary of Ukrainian words defined borsch as “the same thing as shchi”, while an 1842 book of Russian etymology differentiates between Russian shchi (referring to sour cabbage) and Ukrainian borsch, a word that in fact references the soup’s traditional ingredient of hogweed, or borschevik. Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium) grows throughout Eurasia, but the plant flourishes in the marshy areas around the Danube and Dnipro (Dnepr in Russian) river deltas. Long before the modern-day countries of Russia or Ukraine existed, the people of the Black Sea region boiled soup from the pickled stems, leaves and flowers of the hogweed plant. Recipe books show that the Ukrainians added beetroot.

Borsch likely entered the Soviet mainstream when Stalin’s Commissar of Food, Anastas Mikoyan (right), established a Soviet national cuisine (Credit: TASS/Getty Images)

Similar-yet-separate culture and geography make the untangling of Russian and Ukrainian history an almost impossible task. Pro-Russian ideologues use the region’s complex past to promote a rewritten history that draws a straight line from the current Russian regime back to the original Slavic civilisation. To that end, in its tweet, the Russian Foreign Ministry doubled down on its historical bias by reframing of the origins of borsch from “Russian” hogweed that dates back to the “Ancient Rus” of the 10th Century.

The problem with this statement is that Ancient Rus was centred in Kyiv (Kiev in Russian), now the capital of Ukraine. Over the past millennium, Ukraine’s largest city has been defined by repeated invasion, occupations and violent uprisings – often against the stronghold of Russian influence over Ukrainian politics. Rebranding Ukraine’s national food staple as Russian is even more ironic and offensive in light of the Holodomor, Stalin’s manmade famine of 1932-33, when forced collectivisation, aggressive grain procurement and confiscation of food stores led to the starvation of millions of Ukrainians. The exact number of dead, and whether the famine should be considered a genocide, remains a sticking point that is still debated and denied by Russians.

The cookbook made all these dishes part of Soviet culture and thereby ‘Russian’

The battle over borsch and its meaning continues online, most notably around the soup’s official definition. Ukrainian Wikipedia lists borsch as “found in Ukrainian, Belarusian, Polish, Lithuanian, Iranian and Jewish national cuisines,” but fails to mention Russian cuisine. Meanwhile, Russian-language Wikipedia says: “Borsch is a type of beet-based soup, giving it a characteristic red colour. A traditional dish of the Eastern Slavs, it is a common first course in Ukrainian cuisine.”

Admittedly, the wider, non-Slavic world views borsch as Russian, while Poles know it only as beloved Polish barszcz. This is also problematic since at least half of Ukraine was occupied by Poland for several centuries. Meanwhile, the common English spelling of borscht (with a “t”) derives from the Yiddish transliteration, since the soup was introduced to the west primarily by Jewish refugees fleeing Eastern Europe. Food travels with people, which is why borsch is now popular worldwide.

Mikoyan’s Book of Tasty and Healthy Food included recipes that catered to the more than 100 different ethnic populations in the USSR (Credit: Bernard Bisson/Sygma/Getty Images)

“The soup is everywhere now,” said Dima Martseniuk, head chef at Veselka. “Maybe like 5% of Russians say it’s theirs, but the other 95% know that borsch is Ukrainian. I mean, I’m not going to pick a fight over it.” More than nationalism, what matters to Martseniuk is how the soup tastes, since he makes and serves hundreds of gallons of borsch every week.

“My grandma’s classic recipe begins with pork stock boiled from rib bones. Then you have to use sweet cabbage – not the heavy kind. Then it’s important that you cook the other ingredients on the side, in a separate frying pan. You have to sauté them – the onion, carrot and shredded beetroot. Then you add sunflower oil, butter, spices, ketchup or tomato paste. And be sure to add something acidic – white vinegar or lemon juice – that helps preserve the deep red colour.”

His less-traditional tip? “Try making borsch in a pizza oven,” Martseniuk said. The open flame apparently does wonders to the cooking and it tastes really good.

The Book of Tasty and Healthy Food’s chapter on soups begins with shchi, which is effectively borsch without the beetroot (Credit: Vladislav Gudovskiy/Alamy)

Variation is the real beauty of borsch, and across Ukraine, I’ve encountered countless varieties of the soup – with or without meat, beans or certain spices.

“There are as many versions of borsch as there are Eastern European grandmas,” said Tom Birchard, owner of Veselka. “People have an emotional attachment to the soup, and everybody has their own idea of what it is.”

There are as many versions of borsch as there are Eastern European grandmas

I learned how to make borsch while living in Kharkiv, the second largest city in Ukraine less than 30km from the Russian border. My teacher, Tanya Karabanova, was a bona fide babulya (Ukrainian grandmother) who insisted that the best borsch came from careful cutting and separate cooking of each ingredient so that every subtle vegetable flavour comes out. She was adamant that I never chop the cabbage into squares, resulting in what she called “stolovaya”, or “cafeteria-style”, borsch – the kind of soulless, watery-brown sustenance ladled out in schools, military bases or prisons. Instead, she told me to “rotate the cabbage downwards while shaving finely along the edge, forming long, fine, crescents of translucent cabbage”.

“With borsch, everyone is right,” Lew explained. “Ukrainians are fiercely independent and defensive about their food and how authentic it is. For me, the key thing is to have the right beets – young, sweet summer beets. I’m a big fan of meatless borsch – and I like beans in my borsch because that’s the way I was raised. Sour cream, absolutely, and I like a bit of kvas (a fermented beverage) in the back note – the sour offsets the sweetness and richness of the beet.”

Ukrainian borsch, made with meat, cabbage, potatoes and beetroot, is by far the best-known version (Credit: Deb Lindsey For The Washington Post/Getty Images)

Lew buys her ingredients in the farmers’ markets of New York City, insisting on using the freshest ingredients. Descended from an immigrant family, Lew admits that like borsch, her own life story has spread across the globe.

“Food is part of culture and identity, but people move,” she said. “Food can be shared, and it can unite people – but food can travel. Things get sticky when you try to deny people the food that they have been raised on for generations, and I would never want to deny someone their cultural heritage simply because they were raised in Soviet times.”

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Chebureki – Ukrainian Meat Pies.

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As the season is changing from hot Summer days to cooler Autumn temperatures, I thought that perhaps you may enjoy a warm Street Food! Although I have not been to Ukraine, I have heard of Chebureki.

There seem to be many variations to this simple street food.  I first heard of Chebureki from a fellow Ukrainian language school classmate.  My friend raved about them.  My Ukrainian school teacher then told us how she made them.

I went in search of this recipe and after trying a few other recipes posted on several Russian and Ukrainian recipe sites, I have come up with my own rendition of Chebureki.  I hope you enjoy them!

Dough Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups white flour
  • 1/2 tsp. white sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cups water, hot
  • 1 tsp. vodka (optional)

Into a large mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, oil and vodka.  If you prefer, leave out the vodka or just drink a shot!

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Heat the water to very hot, but not boiling and pour small amounts slowly into the dry ingredients, stirring the entire time.  It will be sticky.  Mix well to combine and then tip out onto a counter surface that has been lightly dusted with flour.  Knead until the dough is soft and smooth, no longer sticky.  If too wet, incorporate a bit more flour. Place in plastic wrap or place in a covered bowl.  

Now it’s time to make the filling.

 

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion, chopped fine
  • 2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cup beef and pork ground meat
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. oil (Crisco, Mazola)
  • 1 cup Salsa (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1 tsp. of various herbs or if you love spicy foods, add hot sauce (optional)

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On a medium temperature setting, add the oil, chopped onions, garlic and ground meat to a fry pan.  Cook until the meat is fully cooked, about 8-10 minutes.  Remove from the stove.  Drain the excess fats and then stir in the salsa.  If you are using the hot sauce, add it now as well.  I have found that 1 teaspoon was plenty hot enough, but if you like spicy heat, add more.  Set this mixture aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/8″ thickness.  If you are making appetizer-size chebureki, use a 2-3″ cookie cutter (you can also use a glass or an empty soup can) to cut out circles.  This is the same procedure as when you cut dough out for perogies.

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Place 1 -2 tsp. of the cooked meat filling onto the circles and fold over, sealing the edges.  Ensure the edges are tightly closed.  Cover with a tea towel to prevent them from drying out as you continue making the chebureki.  This recipe will make 24 – 36 small (2″ diameter) or 6 – 8 (4″ diameter).

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In a large fry pan, heat the oil on a medium temperature.  Test to see if the oil is ready and hot enough by just dropping a very small bit of dough into the oil.  It should sizzle and float.

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Fry the chebureki on both sides until a golden brown, about 3 minutes per side.

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Drain onto paper towels to soak up any extra oil.

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Serve immediately.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freeze up to a month.  These can be reheated in an oven for 10 minutes or put into the microwave for 3 minutes.

 

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Summer Kitchens

 

Вітаємо !  Welcome to my next post that I am calling “Summer Kitchens”.

It’s July and it’s hot outside.  The sun is shining on the backyard garden that has been growing since Spring and it’s time to use up some of the great growing produce.  But as I just said…it’s hot outside and the last thing I want to do is to heat up the inside of our house.

This seems like the perfect time of year for me to remember and perhaps remind you of cooking in your own little outside kitchen.  Yes, I’m referring to the Summer Kitchen.

Well actually it’s not an outside kitchen at all.  It is a kitchen that is not attached to our house.  As I have mentioned in earlier posts, if you are not from the Prairies, you may not know what I am talking about because I have not seen them anywhere else around here.  I wish that I still had pictures of our old family’s Summer kitchen.

In my recollections, my parents’  Summer kitchen was a small shed-like building that my dad had built behind our main house.  The main house where we lived had its own kitchen, but when it was hot outside in July and August, and I’m referring to 28C plus temperatures, we did not want to heat up the house with hot boiling and steaming water when cooking each day.  Also the Summer kitchens reduced the sometimes unpleasant smells of many foods.  Sour cabbage comes to mind!  The Summer kitchen provided another cooking area where the wonderful garden produce could be harvested and preserved.

Speaking of preserves, do you still preserve foods?  I still do, but many of my friends and their children no longer bother or even know how, and it’s kind of a shame.  I suppose it’s not a necessity as food is so much more available now a days and true, no need to “put away” fruits and vegetables.  Freezing and storage of food is not as much of a concern as it was 60 years ago either.  But what’s really sad is that the art of preserving is becoming lost.  Many of our younger generation seems to not know how to do anything “from scratch” and seriously, I think some don’t even realize that  the processed food they buy in the stores even came from a farm garden or a farm animal.  But that’s a whole different topic.  I digress.

Today it’s 26C and I do wish that I still had my Summer kitchen.   I made Dill Pickles today and yes, the house is hotter than usual.  If you are wanting to heat your house up, ha ha, maybe try out my recipe.

I’m attaching a few photos here along with my Mom’s Ukrainian Dill Pickle recipe that I used.  There are many good recipes available but I prefer hers.  It’s quick and easy and the dills stay crisp and crunchy.  They will be ready in about ten days as well.

Mom’s Ukrainian Garlic Dill Pickles

Brine

  • 12 cups water
  • 4 cups white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup pickling salt (kosher works as well)

Boil for 5-8 minutes 


 

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Making a brine

Wash the freshly picked cucumbers and if not using right away, immerse them in ice water to preserve their crispness.  When my garden does not give me an abundant harvest, I buy my cucumbers at a local farm market.  Our family prefers small dills  (2-3 inches long) and I choose the smallest cucumbers that I can.

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Be sure you wash and sterile your jars and lids.  There are many ways to sterilize jars.  My preferred method is to wash them with hot sudsy water.  I then add them to a large pot filled with boiling water and continue to boil them for 10-15 minutes.  Be careful taking them out of the water as they will be hot, and place onto a tea towel.  They are now ready to fill. If you are not ready to fill them, put them inverted into a 225F oven until you are ready to use them.

Pack the jars with fresh dill weed and peeled garlic.  Use 3-4 cloves of garlic or more.  There never seems to be enough garlic!

 

Cut off about 1/8 inch of both ends of your cucumbers and pack into your sterilized jars.  Fill with the simmering brine to within a half inch of the top.

Place the sterilized lids on the jar and tighten the metal screw tops.

Set aside in a cool dark place to enjoy later during the cooler days!  But if you can’t wait, they will be ready in approximately ten days.

Yields 4 quarts or around 8 pints.

 

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Thank you for reading and enjoy the Summer heat…before we know it, it’ll be Fall!

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Best Borscht-Ukrainian style

Hello all,

Thank you to all of my faithful followers.

I am not writing as much these days.  I have recently retired and it is true that there never seems to be enough time to do anything!  Perhaps it’s something to do with planning my time better.  One thing that I am continuing to plan for each day is cook and of course, eat!  Because I have more time at home, I am enjoying trying out new recipes and foods.

I will continue to add recipes to this blog and when asked, offer suggestions to help anyone make the tastiest Ukrainian foods!  Here’s a favourite Borscht recipe that I have been asked to highlight.

If you try it, please let me know what you think. I love receiving your comments.

Enjoy!


1 cup carrots, peel and cut into small strips or grate

1 cup celery, use both greens and stalks, chop fine

2 cups of beets, peel and cut into small strips or grate

1 cup of green cabbage, shred

2 onions, remove outer skin and chop fine

Fresh baby dill, chop fine

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

2 bay leaves

6 cups of water

2 cups tomato juice or tomato sauce

2 Tbsp. corn starch

1 – 2 Tbsp. oil

salt & pepper to taste

Sour cream (optional)

Grate the carrots, beets, celery and cabbage on a medium size grater. I use the attachment on my Kitchenaid as this reduces the chopping time tremendously.

Dice the onion, and together with the shredded cabbage, fry in a bit of oil until the onions are light in colour.

Add the beets to the water; bring to a boil, then simmer on low for 30 minutes. To keep the colour in your beets, add the tablespoon of lemon juice.

Add the rest of the vegetables and once again, bring to a boil. Turn down your heat to simmer. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of the fresh dill.

Add the tomato juice. I very often use tomato sauce but I have also used undiluted tomato soup at times.

Dissolve the corn starch in 1/4 cup of water and add this to the simmering borsch. It’ll thicken the soup.

Taste and adjust with salt & pepper. Lately I have been leaving out the salt as the tomato juice or sauce already contains a fair amount.

Just before serving, add a dollop of sour cream. Enjoy!

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To Bake or Not to Bake…part 2

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Not yet cooked holubsti

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Cooked and ready to freeze!

 

I was chatting with a friend yesterday and she reminded me that I hadn’t blogged about the Holubsti and their baking technique question that I posed to you, my readers.  Well, here’s what you told me.

Of all the replies that I received, the responses were mixed.  I certainly didn’t realize that there were so many ways to freeze and then cook holubsti.

Most people did NOT bake them in the oven first.  The main reason was “because they will be soggy when thawed”.  Some people did not even thaw them first.  They popped them into the oven still fully frozen.  One of my long time friends told me that she tried steaming cooked ones in a fry pan from the frozen state – and they literally fell apart.

Now at our house during the Christmas season, I did my own little (non-scientific however) experiments and found out that my family and relatives could not tell the difference between the ones I cooked and froze first from the ones that were not cooked and frozen.  I do bake them in the oven regardless of how they were prepared prior to freezing.  I have never tried steaming them or frying them.

So no consensus!  I guess we all have our own “passed down” ways and until I am totally embarrassed with “soggy” holubsti, I will continue to cook them just like my mom used to …..cook first and then freeze.

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Vareniki, Perohi, Perogies…Oh, My!

Fried Perogies

A dumpling with so many name variations!  No matter what name they go by in your house, perogies are delicious!

Many Ukrainian food sites state that Varenyky aka perogies or pyrohy, are a main staple of Ukrainian immigrants.

I would agree that in the past, perogies were served at most meals but because many of us watch our intake of heavy foods (high in carbohydrates), perogies are mainly served now for special occasions and special times of the year.  They are basically small parcels of dough that are stuffed with various fillings.  No pyrohy is ever eaten without sour cream and fried onions! (Well, at least not in our house).

Various regions in the Ukraine have their own versions of a varenyky. The fillings that most of us in Canada are accustomed to are made with potato and onion, or potato and cheese.  However, they can also be filled with a variety of fruit, poppy-seed, mushrooms, buckwheat, sauerkraut and even chocolate-covered cherries!   Varenyky Fillings

The recipes for homemade perogies are on my Pages under Traditional Ukrainian Dishes .

These recipes posted are my favourites.  One is my mom’s original recipe  and I include one from my sister and my sister-in-law.  They are all very good, but I find that the one made with the cream of tartar to be the easiest to handle.

I am always experimenting with various filings and would love to hear what you favourite fillings may be.

So, as you can see, I have used the word varenyki and perogies interchangeably in the above text.  “A rose by any other name?”

Whatever you call them at your house……..enjoy!

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Ukrainian Beet Leaf Holubsti #2

It is the season for fresh beet leaves from our gardens.  I have just added another recipe for fresh Beet Leaf Rolls and Holubsti, Ukrainian style.

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Beet Leaf Holubsti #2  is similar to my other recipes Ukrainian Beet Rolls and  Ukrainian Beet Leaf Holubtsi.

I am providing a recipe that will produce softer buns and the rising time is shorter.

So if your mouth is watering as you read these recipes or you are feeling nostalgic for tasty days gone by….check out the Beet Leaf recipes on my pages Traditional Ukrainian recipes.

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Beet Leaf Holubsti, without sauce

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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 (Korovai Birds)

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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