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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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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.

Spring Time Recipes!

With Summer just days away, check out some of the new Ukrainian recipes in my Pages section of this blog.  The rhubarb is ready and the beets are growing and producing fresh green leaves just in time for making the Beet Leaf Rolls.  I hope you enjoy eating them as much as I enjoy making them for My Man!

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One week away from Easter…are you ready?

imageIt’s a busy time around our house right now.  It’s always been a tradition in my family to prepare well in advance for the “big day” , велйкдень.  We’ve been writing the pysanky, making the paska and I have even started baking some of the delicious Easter foods.

imageToday I am making Nalysnyky and I have attached a few photos.  These are savory, made with cottage cheese.  Check out my recipe on my pages and see all of the step by step photos!

As you know,  I am taking Ukrainian language lessons.  It’s been so much fun and I am learning a lot.  My classmates are a great bunch and many of them are from Manitoba and Saskatchewan.  It’s interesting to hear the different words that we grew up with.  For instance, here’s an example.  The Ukrainian word for car is машена.  Так ?  Well when we heard our instructor say this…we all looked at each other and said, “isn’t it гара (gara?).  So many different dialects!

I still have a lot to learn.  I need to work on possessives, plurals and conjugating my verbs….but truth be told, I actually understand more than I give myself credit for.  Now if I can only get my tongue twisted around some of those letters and their sounds!

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In class tomorrow, we will be having a pot luck and I will bring in some baking as well as the nalysnyky.  I have made some dove buns!  I hope someone brings some good old-fashioned kolbassa!

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Easter …two weeks to Easter Monday!

Time to bake the babka, make the varenyky and write the pysanky!

Please check out the post on Ukrainian Easter traditions as well as the pages on Pysanky !

Дякую !

Pysanky play an important part in traditional Ukrainian Easter customs.

Pysanky play an important part in traditional Ukrainian Easter customs.