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.