Gifts From My Kitchen – Pickled Cherries

I was giving a ride to my 4 year old son and a couple of 11 year-olds to their zoo camp. The older kids and I were discussing jobs for teenagers. Zoo teacher’s assistant seemed liked a cool option.

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“Much better than working at a McDonalds,” I voiced my opinion.

“No, mommy!” said my son, laughing at me, like I said something very silly, “I love McDonalds!”

“Do you? Have you ever been to McDonalds?” I asked ready to have a serious talk with my husband…

“Of course, mommy,” and he started singing, “Old McDonald had a farm EE-I-EE-I-O!”2013_May_CherryFarm-18

 

We have taken the kids to a farm. A cherry orchard, to be exact. Here is what came out of it.

Pickled Cherries

From While Chasing Kids | Condiments and Sauces | American

This is a perfect gift from your kitchen, which would be an excellent addition to many savory hot dishes

00:30
00:20
00:10

cal Calories 328kcal

Low fat Total Fat 1g

sat-fat Free Saturated Fat 0g

chol Free Cholesterol 0mg

Low sodium Sodium 7mg

High carbs Total Carbohydrate 79g

Serving size 401g Calories from fat 5kcal Fiber 4g Protein 2g Sugar 72g
4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs fresh dark cherries
  • 3 stems fresh rosemary
  • 2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbl allspice
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 2 fresh bay leaves

Directions

  1. 1.Sterilize the jars.
  2. 2.Wash the cherries and pat dry. Snip the stem ends leaving ¾ inch intact. Prick each cherry in several places with a toothpick. Fill the jars with cherries.
  3. 3.Divide rosemary between the jars.
  4. 4.Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, allspice, anise and bay leaves in a medium sized saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved. Boil the liquid for 1 min and remove from heat.
  5. 5.Fill the jars with hot pickling liquid leaving ½ inch headspace. Seal with lids. Cool at the room temperature before transferring to the refrigerator for at least 2 weeks

For free canning labels and gift notes go here.

Special tools:

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Things To Do With Kids – Traveling

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.

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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!

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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!

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They even found it cool to be washed outside with water heated up by sun.

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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!

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Cream Of Asparagus

The stuff my husband brings from farmers markets nowadays makes me want to shake the winter hibernation off with some fresh healthy recipes.  I know, right? What’s happening to me?!  Well, I guess all the things green and juicy and flavorful, and not kale are quite inspiring. Plus they are reminding that there is a slight (very slight, but…) chance of sunny days on the horizon, and low possibly (but still a possibility!!!) of a t-shirt-kind of day, and that perhaps we should get into a t-shirt appropriate shape!

Here is something healthy and delicious to celebrate the spring!

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Vegan Cream Of Asparagus

From While Chasing Kids | Soups | American

This soup is so creamy and smooth you would never guess it’s vegan!
Serves: 6

00:45
00:10
00:35

cal Calories 245kcal

Low fat Total Fat 8g

Low sat-fat Saturated Fat 1g

chol Free Cholesterol 0mg

High sodium Sodium 1030mg

carbs Total Carbohydrate 39g

Serving size 419g Calories from fat 72kcal Fiber 8g Protein 9g Sugar 14g
6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 bunches fresh asparagus, chopped
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped
  • ½ bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 steam fresh rosemary
  • 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt, pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted

Directions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven and sauté cumin seeds for about 3 minutes till fragrant. Add garlic and onion, sauté, until onion is golden yellow. Add asparagus and sauté for another 5 minutes.
  2. Add cauliflower, cilantro, chopped rosemary leaves, and vegetable broth. Bring to boil and cook on medium low heat for about 25 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
  3. Pure soup in a blender. Pour the pure back into the Dutch oven and add lemon juice, salt and pepper, bring to boil and take off the heat.
  4. Serve hot; garnish with a few drops of vinegar and pine nuts.

Tips

  • Add cumin seeds for a slightly nutty flavor.

If you liked this recipe you may enjoy:

Russian Friday – Vanilla Paskha

We, Russians, like to take our time with everything (I can see my husband nodding here). This year it includes Easter celebrations.  Russian Orthodox Easter is on the 5th of May. Naturally, I’m taking my time to publish this traditional recipe. Last year I was a bit unprepared, and paskha didn’t look anything like it supposed to; but I’m well equipped now.  If you like cheesecake kind of substances, here is a delicious no-bake dessert!

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Vanilla Paskha

From While Chasing Kids | Desserts | Russian

Another traditional Russian Easter dish, a symbol of joy and blissful eternity.

12:35
00:05
12:30

cal Calories 138kcal

fat Total Fat 7g

sat fat Saturated Fat 4g

chol Cholesterol 21mg

sodium Sodium 242mg

carbs Total Carbohydrate 13g

Serving size 43g Calories from fat 63kcal Fiber 0g Protein 6g Sugar 11g
20 servings

Ingredients

  • 300 g low-fat farmers cheese
  • 300 g low-fat sour cream
  • 150 g sugar
  • 100 g raisins
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Directions

  1. Mash fresh dry farmers cheese through a strainer. Add sour cream and mix to incorporate. Fold a cheese cloth 2-3 times and place the farmers cheese mixture in the center. Make a bundle and tie it above the sink or a deep dish for 12 hours.
  2. After the whey is strained, add the remaining ingredients. Mix to incorporate.
  3. Line the paskha mold with a thin layer of fresh cheese cloth. Fill it in with the farmers cheese mixture. Press a weight on top of the mold and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  4. Carefully remove the mold and peel off the cheese cloth. Garnish with fresh berries, raisins, chocolate or caramel. Traditionally a candle would be placed on top of paskha.

Tips

  • To add some zing to the flavor, soak raisins in rum for about 30 minutes. Drain before adding the raisins to paskha.

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Христос Воскресе!

 

If you liked this post, you may enjoy:

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Skinny Parade – Spicy Chocolate Fudge Brownies

“My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes,” I thought today, looking at the scale.  The quote, of course, is from my favorite “Anne Of Green Gables”.  The feelings are genuinely mine. I am certain, my love for desserts and baking has absolutely nothing to do with them…

So, today, purely to prove I’m not in denial, we are trying something new, and hope you will jump on board! I suggest we make a parade of skinny desserts.  If you want to participate – the rules are very simple:

  • Make a dessert under 200 calories per serving;
  • Post the recipe and photos in your blog with a link to this entry;
  • Leave a comment here, letting me know you are in.

Next week on Thursday, I will show off your photos with respective links in one blog post.

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And for now, I hope you enjoy my skinny creation.

Cinnamon-Fudge-Walnut Brownies

From While Chasing Kids | Desserts | American

This fudge reminds me of Mexican hot chocolate because of its cinnamon flavor; and the nuts and melted chocolate chunks make it irresistible

01:00
00:15
00:45

cal Calories 170kcal

fat Total Fat 8g

sat fat Saturated Fat 4g

chol Cholesterol 26mg

sodium Sodium 76mg

carbs Total Carbohydrate 25g

Serving size 46g Calories from fat 72kcal Fiber 2g Protein 3g Sugar 18g
20 servings

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup fat-free milk
  • 5 tbs butter, melted
  • 1 tbs cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350⁰F (175⁰C). Coat a 9-inch square metal baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Place flour, sugars, cocoa, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Spread walnuts over ungreased rimmed baking sheet and roast them in the preheated oven for about 7 minutes.
  4. Place milk and ½ cup of chocolate in a small sauce pan. Cook on low heat, stirring until the chocolate melts (about 3 minutes). Set aside. Lightly beat the eggs. Stir in eggs and melted butter with the milk mixture. Pour the milk mixture to the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir to incorporate. Mix in the remaining ¼ cup of chocolate chunks and walnuts.
  5. Bake at 350⁰F (175⁰C) for about 27 minutes or until a wooden toothpick, inserted in the center, comes out with moist crumbs attached to it. Cool on in a pan on a wire rack.

 

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Russian Friday – Poppy Seed Roll

Once again, we took a short vacation, and this mom’s separation from her kitchen resulted in a serious baking outburst. So, my New Year’s resolutions have been successfully shipped to the carb heaven, where they will probably remain sugar-high-and-all for the next 10 months.

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On a brighter note, this blog has reached 100,000 hits; which, I think, is worth a celebration!  So, Russian Friday it is – carbohydrates galore! 

Print this recipe

POPPY SEED ROLL

INGREDIENTS:

POOLISH:

  • 1.5 cup milk, lukewarm
  • 2 tsp active dry east
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 160 g unbleached all-purpose flour

DOUGH:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1cup sugar
  • 50 g butter, melted and cooled to the room temperature
  • 600 g unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 (9 g) bag  vanilla sugar
  • ½ tsp salt

FILLING:

EGG WASH:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbs water

Yields: 2 rolls

DIRECTIONS:

Make poolish: whisk 2 cups of flour with milk and sugar with yeast, cover and let raise for about 1 – 1,5 hours.  The poolish is ready after it reaches its peak height and drops.

Mix the dough: whisk eggs, sugar, salt, and butter together till everything is dissolved.  Add the mixture to the poolish.  Slowly add sifted flour.  Mix to incorporate all the ingredients.  Place the dough on a floured surface and knead (adding flour, if needed) till the dough stops sticking to your hands – for about 10 minutes.

Place into an lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let rest for another hour.

Make the filling: mix sugar with poppy seeds , cover with milk and bring to boil.  Simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Blend in a food processor. Let cool down before spreading.

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Make the rolls: divide the dough in to 2 halves. Working with each half separately, roll the dough into a 14 x 21 inch ((35 x 52 cm) rectangle about 0.2 inch (4-5 mm) thick. Spread half of the filling over the dough, leaving 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) edge.  Roll the dough into a cylinder, place it the seam side down on a baking sheet, covered with parchment paper   Make a wheel out of it, carefully pressing the edges together. Cover with a towel and let rest for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 375⁰F/190⁰C, position the rack in the middle.

Prepare the wash: whisk the yolks with water.

Score the rolls, cutting the outer edges through.  The cut should be about 2/3 rd-s of the width of the cylinder.  Repeat the cuts every inch (3 cm), and slightly twist the edges facing them up. Brush the top of the roll with the wash and place in the oven.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden-brown. Let cool on a wire rack before serving.

Repeat with the remaining dough.

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Happy Holidays with Bûche de Noël

Happy New Year!!! С Новым Годом!!!

Even though NyQuil was my drink of choice (paired with some other less fortunate selections), the holiday celebrations still brought so much of that child-like excitement! Well, it helped having two little ones running around, going crazy about Santa, reindeer and Christmas lights!

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In December we baked so much, we probably went through a ton of butter… what wouldn’t one do to spread the holiday cheer? I decided to end the madness with this beautiful Bûche de Noël.  It’s so rich and creamy that after indulging in just one slice you would feel like you are ready to kick start those New Year resolutions and quit desserts for ever and ever (or at least a few weeks), as it’s hard to beat this amazingness.

/The recipe is adopted from Lisabeth Prueitt’s Tartine/

Print this recipe

BÛCHE DE NOËL

INGREDIENTS:

Sponge cake:

  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 2/3 cup cake flour, sifted twice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar

Buttercream:

  • 1 ¼ cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup + 2 tbs granulated sugar
  • ½ cup egg whites
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup coffee, brewed at double strength

Meringue mushrooms:

  • ¼ cup + 1 tbs confectioners’ sugar
  • ¾ tsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 pinch of cream of tartar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar

Coffee syrup:

  • ½ cup coffee, brewed at double strength
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

Almond “Bark”

  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 6 oz (170 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • ¾ cup heavy cream

Pistachio “Moss”

  • ¼ cup Pistachio nuts

DIRECTIONS:

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Preheat the oven to 375⁰F/190⁰C. Spray baking pan with borders with cooking spray and line with parchment paper.  Spray the paper with cooking spray.

Make the batter. Mix egg yolks and ½ cup of granulated sugar in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment on high speed until the foam is 3 times its original volume and falls in thick ribbons when the whisk is lifted.  Transfer to a large mixing bowl, set aside.

Place egg whites in a clean bowl and beat them with a clean whisk attachment on medium speed until frothy.  Gradually add the remaining ¼ cup of granulated sugar and continue to whip until medium peaks form when the whisk is lifted.

Fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture with a rubber spatula in 2 or 3 additions. Scatter all flour, vanilla, and salt over the batter and fold it just long enough to blend the flour evenly.

Bake. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread gently with a spatula. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the top is golden brown and the edges star to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Make the roll. While the cake is baking, sift confectioners’ sugar over a clean flat-weave towel. When the cake is finished baking, insert it onto the sugar coated cloth.  Immediately remove the pan and parchment paper and, starting at a long edge, roll the cake into a log with the towel inside it.  Let cool completely.

Make the buttercream.

Cut the butter into 1 tbs chunks and set aside.

Combine the granulated sugar, egg whites, and salt in a small pan and cook on the lowest heat setting whisking constantly until the egg whites are hot to the touch (for about 4 minutes). Pour the mixture into a bowl of a stand mixer and whisk on high speed until it becomes very stiff – for about 5 minutes.

Add butter 1 chunk at a time, beating on medium speed waiting for each piece to fully incorporate before adding another one. Add coffee and beat until all incorporated. Set aside.

Make ahead: you can make butter cream a few days before using.  Store in an air-tight container in the fridge.  Bring to room temperature and beat with mixer till smooth before using.

Make meringue mushrooms. 

Preheat oven to 175°F (80°C).  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sift together confectioners’ sugar and flour, set aside. In a small bowl combine egg white and cream of tartar and beat with whisk attachment until the egg white holds soft peaks.  Slowly add granulated sugar and beat until very stiff.  Add flour mixture and mix with a rubber spatula, working very quickly.  Place the mixture into a plastic bag, cut a little corner out and pipe out mushroom hats and legs to the prepared baking sheet.  Bake for at least 4 hours.

Make coffee syrup.

Combine coffee and sugar until sugar is dissolve.  Let cool before using.

Make “bark”.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Toast almonds in the oven for about 5 minutes, stirring a couple times with a wooden spoon. Place chocolate in a small heatproof bowl.  Heat up the cream to just before boiling and pour over the chocolate.  Wait a couple minutes before mixing everything until all chocolate is dissolved.  Mix in the almonds.  Refrigerate until the mixture thickens (for at least 15 minutes).

Make “moss”. 

Process pistachios in a coffee grinder until powdered.

Assemble the log.

Place the cake on a plastic wrap.  Apply the syrup with a brush.  Spread the butter cream over and gently roll into a log.  Refrigerate for about 2 hours. Using a sharp knife, cut diagonally edges of the log.  Transfer it to the serving plate.  Add the edges to the sides of the log.  Apply the bark, and place mushrooms on top attaching the hats to the legs with a little bit of the “bark” cream.  Sift a little bit of “snow” confectioners’ sugar and chocolate powder on top.  Sprinkle moss over the log and around it.

Enjoy!

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