Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Round-Up of Lenten Recipes to Try

Here are a few recipes I've collected that I'd like to try this upcoming Dormition Lent or sometime soon:

Savory - 
Georgian Bean Salad
Grilled Cilantro Lime Sweet Potatoes

Desserts -
Whipped Coconut Cream Berry Parfait
Cocoa Coconut Truffles
Lemon Coconut Macaroons
Chocolate Truffles
Nanaimo Bars

Have any of you tried any of these?  Do you have your own new recipes you're planning to try?  I especially would like to try more salad recipes.  Do you have any favorites?

Here's some stuff we've been up to lately....

We went on a road trip which included a wedding in Massachusetts (above) and Liza meeting her Great Grandpa (below)!


Liza is playing with some friends at Beryozky - a Russian cottage community not far from Toronto (above).

And Liza turns one!  This past Thursday was her birthday.  We had a cheese cake (recipe below) on her birthday with fresh blueberries (some pureed, some whole) atop.  On the Saturday after her birthday we had a party at our house with some friends.  It was a beautiful day so the party was in the backyard.  The kids decorated crowns for fun as you can see they are wearing while they swing!

Easy Cheesecake

Here is the recipe for the cheesecake I made on Liza's birthday after looking at a few.  I decided to go with the simplest method and didn't even make a crust.

2 x 400 g. cream cheese (from Costco)
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

Cream the cream cheese and sugar.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until just combined.  Cover the outside of a springform pan with foil and place in a roaster pan.  Pour the batter into the springform pan.  Pour boiling water (boiled in a kettle) into the roaster pan.  Bake at 275° for about 50 minutes.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Postscript - Other stuff we've been up to

In my haste to put up a blog before a month had gone by from my last entry, I forgot to mention the more exciting stuff we've been up to.  We went to Jordanville for Pentecost and then my sister, Susanna, and her family came and visited for the rest of the week. 

Other than church services, while in Jordanville, we went to the Farmer's Museum.  It was great!  When we got to Ottawa we also did a lot of touristy things with my sister's family including touring Parliament, going to the Museum of Civilization (which has a Children's Museum), seeing the RCMP Musical Ride, going on a cruise of the Rideau Canal, and visiting Byward Market.  We all had a lot of fun!

View of our church from the Peace Tower at Parliament

Apostle's Fast

This year's Apostle's Fast has been pretty easy!  I feel like we've been eating too gourmet lately for fasting!  Here are some of my favorite menu items we've had lately:

On the Grill:
  • Fish in Foil (with onions, carrots, olive oil, and spices)
  • Trout
  • Shrimp
  • Maple Balsamic Glazed Carrots
  • Portobello Mushroom Caps
  • Mango-Banana-Coconut
  • Banana-Peach-Maple
 I found cans of maple syrup on sale for $1 each (regularly like $5.99)!  So I bought six cans and have been experimenting with cooking with maple syrup.  I made a marinate/salad dressing/glaze that has been great on a lot of things.  Lately, I've tried it on green salads, brown rice salad, grilled shrimp, and the grilled carrots.  Here is the recipe:

Maple Balsamic Dressing

4 Tbsp Maple Syrup
4 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
3 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
Salt and Pepper to taste

I put all the ingredients in a jar and shake until they are mixed.  I don't usually measure, so these are my best guesses at the proportions.

Here is how I used the dressing to make the grilled carrots:

Maple Balsamic Glazed Carrots

Peel the carrots to clean them up.  Boil them for about 10 minutes to soften.  Preheat the grill.  Baste the carrots with Maple Balsamic dressing.  Put them on the grill and baste again when you turn them over.  After taking them off the grill baste again.  Yum, yum!!

I've also used maple syrup in both the sorbets I've made this lent.  It was nice since I didn't have to heat up the sugar in liquid to dissolve it, so I could mix all the ingredients in the blender and then put into the ice cream maker.

In other news, Liza is cutting her first top tooth!  She now has three on the bottom and the one little one on the top.  She had her 11 month birthday on Monday!  I'm not planning for a smallish party to celebrate one year!  We've been enjoying going to the park and taking long walks in the Greenbelt with Liza lately.  Andrey's parental leave will end and he goes back to work August 6th, so it will be back to the real world after that! 

Size 15 Wide Men's Shoes... not exactly her size :)
 Some photos from our walks in the Greenbelt:

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Asparagus Tart and more Salad Days

My mother in law and her brother
We spent the past weekend in the Waterloo region of Ontario visiting Andrey's relatives.  It was his uncle's birthday and a good excuse to go see everyone and the new house his aunt and uncle built on his grandparent's old property.  While we were there we went to the St. Tikhon Russian Orthodox Church where some friends attend.  After liturgy on Sunday, we had lunch at a nearby restaurant and enjoyed a street festival that was going on outside.  There were crafts for sale, live music, and fun stuff like a huge chalk Scrabble board where the tiles were made of floor tiles.  The kids and adults really had fun!
With Andrey's cousin's family who were such great hosts for the weekend
Liza on the tractor!  We have a similar photo of Andrey as a toddler on the same tractor.

Liza and me dancing to live folk music


Papas on Father's Day!

Today I made my menu plan for the week and am including a few new salads.  Today I made Broccoli Slaw from my Smitten Kitchen cookbook.  I won't re-write the recipe since it's on her website.  I replaced the buttermilk with yogurt and the red onion with shallot and it was great!  Andrey and I ate most of it for lunch even though I was planning to also serve it for dinner.  Like the author of the recipe I also really craved broccoli when I was pregnant.  I still love it!  It was that and chocolate, but chocolate is more of a perennial craving for me :)

I think this time of year is so great for lots of salads since so many fruits and vegetables are coming into season.  The 100 Days of Real Food blog has a great list for some salad inspiration.

A few weeks ago we were in Cincinnati for a couple of events.... the Steady Strides 5K for Parkinson's, the placing of the relics of St. George in the new temple, A Russian Summer's Night at the Peterloon Estate, and of course, to hang out more with my family!  What an eventful weekend!  Bishop Peter came from Chicago to place the relics in the new temple and on Sunday there were six priests and a deacon along with the bishop in the altar!  For our little church, that is quite a lot.  Everything was really festive!  My father received a gramata and my mother an icon for their work in the parish.  The gramata was specifically for starting the building project.  The icon my mother received was of Grand Duchess Elizabeth (Liza's patron saint!) and Vladika remarked how the Grand Duchess had made it her life's work to take care of the ailing.  It is appropriate as my mother is the main caregiver for my father, so her intersessions are important for my mother.

Our first 5K!
At the placing of the relics
Almost finished!!

A Russian Summer's Night!

At Peterloon - our first night out without Liza since she was born!
While in Cincinnati, we also threw and impromptu birthday luncheon for an old friend of the family who turned 88!  I made asparagus tarts for the event.  It's very easy!  Here is the recipe:

Asparagus Tart
2 puff pastry sheets, thawed
1 bunch of asparagus
1½ - 2 cups grated cheese (something with flavor, like gruyere or sharp cheddar is good, or use a mix of whatever you have. I used Manchego from Trader Joe's this time.)
Mustard (any variety you like)

Roll out the pastry a bit so it fills cookie sheet.  Spread it with a thin layer of mustard.  Snap the ends off the asparagus and place on the crust.  Cover with cheese.  Bake at 400° for about 35 minutes.

In addition to this we had sandwiches, salad with goat cheese, strawberry cake, chocolate cake, toasted almond gelato, and vanilla gelato.  What a great meal and great company!

The birthday 'boy' is at the end in front of Andrey.  Happy Birthday, Moe!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Quick Cheese Pascha

Sorry that I again took such a break from updating!  I admit I have sort of gotten out of the habit of updating, but am determined to get back to it!  Both Andrey and I have been sick for about two weeks.  We both have bad colds and Andrey has been feeling especially bad and had a low-grade fever on and off for the past few weeks.   He also has had no appetite so I haven't been cooking a lot lately.  I've had a lot of sandwiches and pirozhky and easy things for one person.  But one thing I did make lately was Cream Cheese Paskha.  It is a very quick version of traditional Cheese Pascha that can be whipped up at a last minute notice.  I made it for a little belated baptism reception I had for my goddaughter who was baptized on Palm Sunday.  Here is the recipe:

Cream Cheese Paskha
from Food for Paradise

3 lbs. softened cream cheese
1 pint sour cream
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 lb. softened butter
2 cups cofectioners' sugar
raisins and/or almonds (optional)

Cream the butter and add the cheese, continuing to cream them both.  Add sugar and vanilla.  next stir in the sour cream and raisins and almonds (if using) in desired quantities.  Spoon into bowls and decorate the top.

I had mine decorated with XB made of dried cranberries and a border made with chocolate chips.  Unfortunately, I didn't get a photo.   In my opinion, it is best served at room temperature.  It is the only cheese Pascha I made this year.   Sometimes it isn't worth spending the time on making both Cheese Pascha and Kulich. 

Well, since we've been gone a while, I'll add a photo updates of what we've been up to:
Me with other moms and daughters from church

The baptism reception at our house where the Cheese Pascha was served (Andrey took the photo)

Roasted Fiddlehead... so delicious!!

Baptism of another dear friend's daughter

Lilacs from our yard put together as a gift for a friend's mother

Salad made mostly from foraged greens!  Not by me... I might have ended up poisoning people!  It was good!!

Liza with a friends Iphone.  She'll probably figure out how to use it before Andrey or I do!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

We're Back!

 We just got back late last night from a nearly two-week trip to Cincinnati and Toronto.  We spent the second half of Holy Week, Pascha, and St. George's day with my family in Cincinnati.  We had an awesome time!  Then we stopped in Toronto for Radonitsa and went to the cemetery where Andrey's father, both sets of grandparents, and uncle are buried.  We ran into Andrey's uncle and lots of friends there.  We had a great time going from grave to grave, singing litias, and sharing in Paschal joy and food with others there!!  Here are some photos of the highlights of our trip.

With my dad at the park

My niece, Hannah, with a butterfly at Krohn Conservatory
Liza right before church for Pascha (around 10 pm)
Our family at Pascha
At the zoo with cousin Natasha
Tea at the Bonbonerie with my mom and sisters (minus Andrea)

Liza with the newly-Christened Clara in Toronto
Andrey's maternal grandparent's grave in Toronto
This morning, the Kursk Root Icon came to our house!  What a blessing!  It was Liza's first time to be with the icon, although I venerated it soon after I found out I was pregnant with her.

Right now, I've got chicken and veggies in the slow cooker.  I think it will be perfectly done for when we get home from church tonight (there is an Akathist in front of the icon we will attend).  The recipe for the chicken is pretty simple and open to variation, but I'll tell you what I did today.

Chicken with Vegetables (Slow Cooker)

2 small onions, finely chopped
3 small carrots, cut into rounds
10 button mushrooms, quartered
½ cup white wine
handful of dried cranberries (raisins were called for in the original recipe)

olive oil
10 chicken drumsticks
1 can diced tomatotes
herbes de Provence
salt and pepper
  1. Pour the wine into a small bowl then soak the raisins. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat, then add the chicken drumsticks and sauté thoroughly on each side until golden, about 7-8 min. Take the chicken pieces out of the pan put them in the slow cooker.
  3. Add the canned tomatoes and spices (to taste) into the slow cooker with the chicken.
  4. Add the onion to the pan where the chicken was cooked and sauté 2-3 minutes. Add the carrots and mushrooms then cook 2-3 more minutes. Add the raisins and wine. Scrape the bottom of the pan thoroughly as the wine comes to a boil.
  5. Add the cooked veggies to the chicken and tomatoes in the slow cooker.  Cook on high for 4-6 hours.  Serve with rice, couscous, quinoa or other side of your choice.
I'm serving it tonight with couscous.  I'll let you know how it is.

Since I haven't written in so long I thought I'd put another recipe on for today.  I haven't made it in a few months, but I happen to have a photos of it and it is so delicious!  I think I will make some within the next week.

Whole Orange Cake
From Sunset Magazine, March 2013

Cooking-oil spray
1 cup butter, softened 
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs 
2 oranges (about 1 lb. total), ends trimmed, then cut into chunks and seeded
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1 tsp. orange juice

  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Coat a 10-cup Bundt pan with cooking-oil spray. In a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed, beat butter and granulated sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs.
  2. Whirl orange chunks in a food processor until mostly smooth but not puréed. Add 1 1/2 cups orange mixture to batter and beat until blended. Add flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder to bowl and beat until smooth. Spread batter in prepared pan.
  3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few crumbs clinging to it, about 55 minutes. Cool pan on a rack 10 minutes, then invert cake onto rack and let cool completely.
  4. Whisk together powdered sugar and orange juice in a small bowl. Drizzle over cooled cake. Let glaze set, then slice cake.
Note:  This was written yesterday (Monday, May 13th), but only posted today because I didn't have the photos loaded.