Last month my children landed in Moscow wearing a perfect shade of San Francisco Pale on their skins. These city kids were raised where outside requires constant adult supervision, they had only minor encounters with nice weather, and were yet to experience a water or electricity outage.
In 3 weeks they were completely transformed into tan Russian-speaking sun-loving kids who had a bite of freedom and lots of bites of freshly grown produce right outside of their great- grandmother’s house!
Their only swimming experience up till now was in a heated pool. I don’t quite get it, but apparently swimming in a river with cousins, fish, ducks and frogs is much more fun!
Grandma’s garden was an endless source of entertainment and nourishment. Apples, cherries, currant, strawberries – and that’s just the begging of the list. The kids had a blast playing in all this lusciousness!
They even found it cool to be washed outside with water heated up by sun.
Though, you should have seen my son’s excitement when he got back home and went to the bathroom: “Есть вода!” (The water is on)! Hmmmm….
Here are some Instagram favorites from the trip. Enjoy!
This report has been brought to you from a special place where we had no internet, only 2 and a half TV channels, intermediate phone service, and issues with water pressure… Yet, the 3 weeks we spent there are beating all the awesomeness charts! In June I gulped a can of courage pills, loaded my 4 and 2 year-olds on an airplane, waved bye bye to the husband, and took the kids on a 30-something hour trip to my homeland!
So, here are some shots and recipes from our visit to Russia, where my children were running in my grandmother’s garden, in the house where my mother was born, where I spent so many happy days, and where you don’t need special photo props to give recipes a hint of old country.
I used the flaky dough from the previous post and filled it up with fresh plums to make this delicious pie. We served it cold with ice cream and I barely had a minute to take a few shots before it disappeared!
Low calCalories 47kcal
Low fatTotal Fat 1g
sat-fat FreeSaturated Fat 0g
Low cholCholesterol 12mg
Low sodiumSodium 41mg
Low carbsTotal Carbohydrate 10g
Serving size81gCalories from fat5kcalFiber1gProtein1gSugar7g
2 ½poundsplums, washed, pitted and quartered
3/4 cup granulated sugar plus more for sprinkling
Zest of oneorange
Juice of ½orange
Prepare the dough as directed in the Flaky Pie Dough recipe up to step 5. Roll the refrigerated disks on a floured service one at a time to 1/8 inch thickness. Fill the pie dish with the first disk and refrigerate (without cutting the edges). Roll the second disk, place it on a floured baking pan, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Make the filling: wash, pit, and quarter the plums. Mix them up with the remaining ingredients. Fill the pie with the plums and refrigerate while working with the second disk.
Cut the disk into at least 15 ½-inch-wide strips using a fluted pastry cutter or a sharp knife.
Lay 8 strips across pie. Lay lattice pattern on top of the pie. Press together the edges of the pie with a fork and trip the crusts to a 1-inch overhang. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190° C).
Make egg wash: beat up the egg with water.
Brush crust with egg wash, and sprinkle with sugar. Bake pie on middle rack, with a foil-lined baking sheet on bottom rack to catch juices for about 1 ½ hours. The mixture inside should be bubbling in center when the pie is done. Loosely tent with foil after 1 hour if the edges start browning too soon. Transfer pie to a wire rack and let cool for 2 hours before serving.
Keep the dough refrigerated between the recipe steps to get the flakiest crust
Hello from CA (and I mean Carboholics Anonymous, not the state)! I must admit, this Russian mom fell off the wagon again with a crazy week-long baking spree. Why? Because she finally nailed the perfect pie crust recipe. I know, disastrous right?!
To top that, it’s rhubarb season in CA (the state). So, I think you can guess what I’ve been up to! There is a rhubarb pie bubbling in the oven right now… ohm… my 3rd this week.
The rhubarb pie recipe (my new favorite, can’t you tell!?) is to follow in a later post (once my hands stop shaking from all that sugar, and I take some photos). Here is everything on how to make the flaky pie dough I’m so much in love with!
This doesn’t just make a fabulous crust; it also is very easy to remember. The flour to butter to water ratio is 3 to 2 to 1. Add a quarter of a teaspoon of salt for each 100 grams of flour and you got yourself The Perfect Dough! This recipe yields two 9 inch pie shells.
fatTotal Fat 10g
High sat-fatSaturated Fat 6g
carbsTotal Carbohydrate 14g
Serving size32gCalories from fat90kcalFiber1gProtein2gSugar0g
Measure water, dissolve salt in it, and place it in the fridge
Cut butter into pea-sized cubes and place in the freezer for at least 20 minutes.
To make the dough combine cold butter and flour and pulse briefly until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
Slowly add cold water and pulse again for several seconds until the dough begins to come together in a ball but not completely smooth. There still will be butter chunks. If needed, finish kneading with your hands until the dough forms into a ball (try to handle the dough as little as possible).
Separate the dough into disks, 1-inch thick. Wrap them in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Roll disks on floured surface one at a time to 1/8 inch thick. Carefully line the baking dish with the dough, overlapping about ½ inch (the dough will shrink during baking)
For recipes that call for uncooked shell, refrigerate until ready to use.
For baked shells, preheat oven to 375⁰F/190⁰C. Line the shells with parchment paper and fill with pie weights (I use dry beans). For partially baked shells, bake for about 20 minutes, remove weights. Carefully poke with a fork the dough if it bubbled during the baking. Bake for another couple more minutes. For a fully baked shell, bake for about 25 minutes till light brown. Remove the weights, poke the dough, and bake for another 5 minutes till the dough is golden brown.
Let the shells cool completely on wire racks before filling.
The dough could be made a day in advance and refrigerated. Cooked shells will keep for up to a week in the fridge, or for up to two weeks in the freezer.
When I was a kid each serving of buckwheat was paired with a motivational speech from my parents: “Tolstoy ate this every day, and he lived to be 100 years old!” What they were probably thinking was “Tolstoy ate this every day, and he lived to write ‘War and Peace’!”
Well, I don’t know about 100 years old or even 82 (which is more accurate); but their aspirations came true! Look at me! I’m a blogger who writes in simple English with a heavy Russian accent about once a month, and 200 people liked me on Facebook! Tolstoy in the making!
So, parents, tell your children, that there is this Russian mom, who ate buckwheat.. Wait, actually, I’d stick with the Tolstoy story, because this grain is really good for them, and “War and Peace” is one of the best books ever written!
This is an excellent make-ahead breakfast. Start it in a rice maker before you go to bed, or refrigerate freshly cooked buckwheat in an air-tight container. All you need to do is spoon some in a bowl and pour milk over it in the morning.
Low calCalories 97kcal
Low fatTotal Fat 1g
sat-fat FreeSaturated Fat 0g
chol FreeCholesterol 0mg
carbsTotal Carbohydrate 20g
Serving size108gCalories from fat9kcalFiber3gProtein4gSugar0g
Pick and rinse buckwheat. Place all ingredients in a rice maker and cook on a white rice setting.
It surely wasn’t San Francisco weather, it was the calendar, that reminded me of all the amazing months we spent at babushka’s every year: playing in her beautiful garden; eating cherries, apples, and pears fresh off the trees; picking the sweetest strawberries EVER… and slaving, slaving, slaving in the vegetable garden.
Ohm.. Our hose was useless since the water pressure was so low. We filled huge buckets with water over night, and irrigated the whole plantation manually. And if that was not enough – there were also disgusting tasks – like picking up bugs from the potato leaves, or tortures tasks like pruning. So, you can imagine my love for growing all things green – there isn’t any!
Once in a while I would buy a huge plant at The Home Depot and put the black plastic container it comes with into a nice ceramic one.That’s been my idea of gardening for years.
During my mom’s visits here, such plants would be watered on regular basis and somewhat loved (by mom). Then she would leave. The plant would survive (miraculously or because of whatever drugs The Home Depot stuffs it with) for a few months, and then I’d have to replace it with a new one.
The food blogging community touched some strings in me, that I thought didn’t exist. So, this year, the kids and I planted some herbs and flowers. This time, I controlled the amount of stuff we are going to grow (or kill).
Luckily, our San Francisco yards are tiny. Strangely enough, the kids love to water the new greens. Don’t ask me why. Silly things! They also keep looking for pixie dust, and leave cookies and milk for ferries before going to bed. Sorry, Santa.
Privet! My name is Anastasia. I was born and raised in Russia, and moved to the States in my early 20s. I am a stay-at-home mom of two beautiful babies and a wife of their wonderful dad. I’m living the dream, loving my family to pieces, and getting lost in books when I’m not busy chasing the kids around the house!