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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!Buckwheat_Breakfast_WM-6

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!

Russian Friday – Buckwheat Breakfast

From While Chasing Kids | Breakfast and Brunch | Russian

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.

00:27
00:02
00:25

Low cal Calories 97kcal

Low fat Total Fat 1g

sat-fat Free Saturated Fat 0g

chol Free Cholesterol 0mg

sodium Sodium 197mg

carbs Total Carbohydrate 20g

Serving size 108g Calories from fat 9kcal Fiber 3g Protein 4g Sugar 0g
6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup buckwheat, uncooked
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Pick and rinse buckwheat. Place all ingredients in a rice maker and cook on a white rice setting.

Tips

  • Serve with cold or warm milk for breakfast

Buckwheat_Breakfast_WM-7

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I’m so excited to present the beautiful entries of all the amazing food bloggers that decided to participate in our parade!  If you are anything like me (a pathological baker and a dessert addict), you would appreciate these guilt-free showpieces! Enjoy!

 

Chocolate Coconut Oatmeal Truffles by Shift Ctrl ART

 

I recently found Katja’s blog and I’m infatuated! Her recipes are wonderful. She is also a very talented artist, a terrific photographer; and I think her home-improvement projects are simply brilliant.

Alcoholic Pears and Chocolate Sauce by The Healthy Epicurean

Fiona’s page is also one of my most recent discoveries.  I was blown away by her gorgeous photographs,  healthy approach to eating, and nutritious recipes. Check out her blog and get inspired! 

Turkish Coffee Meringues by Butter, Sugar, Flowers

Moriah’s love for crafts results in charming desserts and a beautiful blog. She also has her own jewelry shop!

Yogurt and Granola Parfait by de la casa

I asked Christina to display one of her posts, because I’m a huge fan.  I actually abuse her blog as my own cookbook – her recipes are so simple and delicious!   Coincidentally, this one is the only chocolate-less delight today!

Profiteroles by Diane’s Kitchen Table

Diane has been my virtual friend for a very long time (in blog years).  She is an excellent cook and a brilliant story teller.  Read one of my favorites and you’ll know why I love her blog so much.

Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Brownies by In Pursuit Of More

If you are looking for healthy vegetarian recipes, you don’t need to go far – just visit Shira’s blog.  Delicious looking photos and moving stories are awaiting!

 Thank you, ladies!

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My kids look nothing like me. The daughter would probably even fail our DNA test. My mom comforts me that her ears look like mine.  Ears!?  Really!? Well, I don’t know about ears, but we surely have one thing in common: our love for carbs.

Here is a beautiful dish we both enjoy. Mix the batter the night before, and an easy breakfast is ready to be made in the morning. 

/Adopted from Allrecipes.com/

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WAFFLES

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 3 cup warm milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled to lukewarm
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 egg whites

DIRECTIONS:

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup warm milk. Let stand for about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, 1/4 cup of the warm milk and the melted butter. Mix in the yeast mixture, sugar, syrup, salt and vanilla. Stir in the remaining 2 1/2 cups milk alternately with the flour. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap.

Make ahead: place the batter and covered egg whites in the fridge overnight.  Remove from the fridge about 30 minutes before baking the waffles.

If baking right away, let the batter rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks; fold into the batter.

Preheat the waffle iron (I bought mine at Williams-Sonoma). Spray with oil and spoon about 1/2 cup onto center of iron. Close the lid and bake until it stops steaming and the waffle is golden brown. Serve immediately or keep warm in 200 degree oven.

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There are people who take the whole “back to school” craze rather seriously. I know a family that makes 60-70 frozen meals before each year starts. All ladies from their clan gather to spend a day or two chopping, cooking, packaging, and labeling… Pretty impressive, hah!? I tried to accomplish something like that before our second child arrived, though baby Pea ended up being an angel (who said women are high-maintenance?) and unlike her brother devoted her infant days to snoozing.  So, my extreme food storage proved to be unnecessary.

However, with time I did appreciate all the stuff in the freezer. So, a new tradition was started.  Now we make extra and stow our favorites for the days, when there is no time to make a fresh dinner.

Here is one of those recipes.  All you need on the serving day is some bread or croutons!

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TOMATO BISQUE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 8 cups chopped leaks, white and pale green parts only (about 3-4 leaks)
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 30 oz whole peeled tomatoes
  • 14.5 oz vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tbs chopped fresh basil leaves or 2 t dried basil leaves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream (or half-and-half, or milk)

Yields about 9 cups of soup

DIRECTIONS:

Prepare the soup. In heavy pan, heat oil, leeks, celery, and garlic over medium-high heat; cook 8-10 min or until leaks are soft.  Add tomatoes, broth, wine, and lemon juice.  Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, cover; and simmer for 30 min.  Remove from heat; add basil, salt, and pepper.  Puree soup mixture in food processor or blender until smooth.

Make ahead. Freeze in gallon or quart zip lock bags, pressing out the air and laying flat.

Serve: if frozen, thaw; heat through over low heat, stirring occasionally; add cream and simmer about 10 min or until thickened.  Do not boil.  Garnish with basil.  Serve warm.

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Ah, vacation… We had the best time ever hanging out with the family, riding bikes, enjoying the mountains.  However, I found myself missing the kitchen.  In fact I started having a serious baking withdrawal… Naturally, since we got back, I made 5 sourdough loafs of bread, 2 chocolate cakes, chocolate chip cookies, pitas, and naan… all in less than a week.

The old chocolate cake has been such a huge success, I decided to try a Russian version found in the winter’s Fine Cooking issue.  The potato adds a bit of moisture and keeps the dough fresh for up to 4 days!    Enjoy!

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SWEET RUSSIAN CHOCOLATE BRAID

INGREDIENTS:

Dough

  • 1 ½ cups plus 3 tbs unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 3 tbs water
  • 1 very small potato, peeled, boiled until tender, and forced through a sieve (to yield ¼ cup)
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tsp vanilla powder
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 tbs cold unsalted butter

Filling

  • 1 cup Pastry Cream (recipe below)
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 large egg, beaten

DIRECTIONS:

Make the dough. In a small bowl, mix 3 tbs of flour and yeast and water.  Let sit for about 10 minutes till foamy.  In a stand mixer combine the remaining ingredients, add the yeast mixture and mix until the dough is smooth for about 8 minutes.  It will be very sticky.  Dump the dough on a floured surface and knead with your hands for a couple minutes adding a little bit of flour to make it firmer. Transfer the dough in a large container, seal with plastic wrap, and rise for about 3 hours.

Make ahead.  Instead of letting the dough rise, you can place it in a plastic bag and refrigerate for up to 4 days.  Pull it out of the fridge and let it stand for 3-4 hours in room temperature before proceeding to the next step.

Make pastry cream (see recipe below) right after the you mix the dough to give it enough time for cooling down.

Shape the braid. Line a heavy baking sheet with parchment.  Roll the dough on a floured surface into a rectangle about 13×16 inches and about 1/8 inch thick.  Apply the chilled pastry cream over the dough and sprinkle with chocolate chips.  Roll it into a 16-inch cylinder.  Transfer to the baking sheet.  Cut the cylinder in half lengthwise and arrange both halves parallel to one another with a cut side facing up.  Wrap them around each other starting in the middle, pinching the edges of the braid together. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for another 35-45 minutes.

Bake. Preheat the oven to 350⁰F/175⁰C.  Position the rack in the center of the oven. Brush the beaten egg over the braid. Bake until golden brown for about 40 minutes.  Let cool on a rack for 1 hour before slicing.

As you see on the picture below, we couldn’t wait, so the chocolate is still melting under the knife!Yummm!

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PASTRY CREAM

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla powder
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 tbs all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 large egg yolks

DIRECTIONS:

Whisk vanilla, sugar, flour, salt, and egg yolks. Warm up milk just until a skin forms.  Add milk to the mixture in a thin stream, whisking constantly.  Transfer back to heat and cook until the mixture is thick and glue (for about 5 minutes) constantly steering it with a wooden spoon.  Place a plastic wrap on top of the cream and refrigerate until ready to use.

 

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I love bread, I cannot lie. Our neighbors seem to enjoy it too. For months now I have been successfully trading bread for smiles, car washes, window cleaning, wine, and mmmmm my favorite nopales salad. Here is the loaf that has been really popular lately.

It’s a modification of my favorite Tartine recipe.  The natural leaven makes it taste amazing even several days after it was baked.  Try this bread fresh while still warm – and you are in danger of eating the whole loaf in one sitting.

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RYE BREAD

INGREDIENTS:

  • 200 g leaven
  • 800 g water (75⁰ F/ 25⁰ C)
  • 270 g whole-rye flour
  • 830 g unbleached bread flour
  • 20 g salt

Yields 2 loafs

DIRECTIONS:

Day 1: make leaven – combine 200 g water, 1 tbs of sourdough starter and 200 g unbleached all-purpose flour.  Mix well, loosely cover the top of the container with a plastic wrap, and let ferment overnight.  Discard the rest of the starter.

Day 2: Test the leaven: it’s ready if a tsp of it dropped in the water floats.

Once the leaven passes the floating test, combine all ingredients but salt and mix in a stand mixer with a dough hook.

Cover the mixing bowl with plastic and let rest for 25-30 minutes.

Save leftover leaven – it’s now your starter.

After the first rest, add the salt, and mix it well into the dough.  Let rest for about 3 hours, turning the dough upside down with wet hands twice during the first two hours.

After about 3 hours, when the dough has increased in size, dump it onto a floured surface and separate into two equal parts.

Working with one half at a time: with a bread scraper fold the dough edges in to form a ball.  Let rest, seams down, on a floured surface for about 25-30 minutes, covered by plastic or a floured towel.

Next, working with one half at a time, place it face down on a floured surface.  Carefully fold the edges with your hands slightly pressing them into the remaining dough: starting by carefully stretching the bottom edge and folding it to meet the opposite end; repeating with left, right, and finishing with the top edge. Form a loaf.  Place a loaf in a proofing basket, lightly sprinkled with rice flour, lined with a floured tile, face down, seam up.

Put the baskets in plastic bags and refrigerate for 8-24 hours.

To bake: place an iron pot with the lid in the oven and preheat the oven to 500⁰ F/ 260⁰ C.  Dump the loaf into the preheated pot, seam side down. Cover with the lid, and bake the bread in it for 20 minutes at 475 ⁰ F/ 245 ⁰ C.

After 20 minutes remove the lid and let bake for 25 more minutes.

Let chill on a wire rack or eat while it’s hot.

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