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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Flaky Pie Dough

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?!   

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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!

 

Flaky Pie Dough

From While Chasing Kids | Desserts | American

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.

00:32
00:07
00:25

cal Calories 158kcal

fat Total Fat 10g

High sat-fat Saturated Fat 6g

chol Cholesterol 27mg

sodium Sodium 199mg

carbs Total Carbohydrate 14g

Serving size 38g Calories from fat 93kcal Fiber 1g Protein 2g Sugar 0g
16 servings

Ingredients

  • 300 g all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 200 g butter
  • 100 ml water

Directions

  1. Measure water, dissolve salt in it, and place it in the fridge
  2. Cut butter into pea-sized cubes and place in the freezer for at least 20 minutes.
  3. To make the dough combine cold butter and flour and pulse briefly until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  4. 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).
  5. Separate the dough into disks, 1-inch thick. Wrap them in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  6. 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)
  7. For recipes that call for uncooked shell, refrigerate until ready to use.
  8. 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.
  9. Let the shells cool completely on wire racks before filling.

Tips

  • 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.

Russian Friday – Buckwheat Breakfast

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

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 If you liked this recipe, you may enjoy:

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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Russian Friday – Farmers Cheese (Low Fat Version)

Ladies, happy International Women’s Day! Let it be the most beautiful spring day filled with many smiles! My daughter and I are totally prepared to be admired and cherished for the next 24 hours! No doubt the husband and the son are ready to deliver! Wink-wink!

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As always, feeling a bit nostalgic this day, I’m putting together a recipe from my homeland.  OK, I posted it before, but my mom informed me there is a low fat version that works just as well! So, here is a low fat Russian farmers’ cheese. It could be enjoyed on its own, sprinkled over your salads, stuffed into huge dumplings, baked with, and the list goes on and on.

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Don’t be intimidated by the word “cheese”. It’s very easy to make, and requires only about 15 minutes of hands-on time!

Low Fat Farmers Cheese

From While Chasing Kids | Side Dishes | Russian

This homemade cheese is used in so many Russian dishes, there would be enough to fill a cook book. Its consistency is very similar to goat cheese, but the flavor is much milder.

24:10
24:00
00:10

10 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 liters fat-free milk
  • 2 tbs low-fat sour cream

Directions

  1. Combine milk and sour cream in a large jar (I used 3 Liter glass canning jar). Leave at a room temperature to ferment for 12-24 hours). Cover with a lid but don’t clamp it.
  2. When the milk turns into a clabber of hair-jell-like consistency, the cheese is ready to be made.
  3. Fill a large pot 1/2 way with water and warm it up on the stove.
  4. When the water is almost boiling (about 180° F /approx. 80º C or higher) carefully place the jar with clabber into the pot. It’s ok if the water is below the sour milk level. Let it heat up for about 10 minutes. The milk will start separating into curds (solid) and whey (liquid).
  5. Line up a large colander with a large cheese cloth folded twice. Carefully dump the milk mixture into it and drain. You may have to use a spoon to empty the jar. Tie a knot with a cheese cloth and hang it above a dish or your kitchen sink for a couple hours.
  6. If you don’t fully drain it, the farmers cheese will be very soft and tender, ready to eat.
  7. A drier farmers cheese is perfect for cooking.

Tips

  • Keep an eye on your fermentation process. Try a little bit of the clabber – it should have a pleasant slightly sour taste. Too long of a fermentation could cause bitter clabber; the cheese made with it would have an unpleasant taste.
  • The farmers cheese should be stored in the fridge for a few days, and could be frozen for up to 1 month.

 

If you liked this recipe, you may enjoy:

Chocolate Berry Cake

The berry season has arrived to California!  Eager to part with everything citrus I’m presenting this simple berry creation.  The chocolate ribbon, even though a bit messy, is super easy to make. 

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/Chocolate cake recipe adopted from Martha Stewart’s Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake/

Print this recipe

CHOCOLATE BERRY CAKE

INGREDIENTS:

Cake

  • Vegetable-oil cooking spray
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Topping

  • Assorted berries
  • 4 tbs powdered sugar

Chocolate ribbon

  • 200 g of your favorite chocolate, chopped into pea-size chips

 

Yields: 8 small cakes

DIRECTIONS:

Make cakes: preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat eight 6-ounce (3.5 inch diameter) ramekins and place them on a rimmed baking sheet.

Stir flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix with a paddle attachment. Add egg, milk, oil, vanilla, and 1/4 cup water. Mix on medium speed until smooth and combined, about 2 minutes.

 

Divide batter evenly among prepared ramekins. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted into a center of a cake comes out clean. Place the ramekins on a wire rack.  Let cool completely before unmolding.  To unmold run a knife around sides of the cakes.

Wrap cooled cakes in a plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours to 1 day.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Place cooled cakes on it.

Make chocolate ribbons.  Measure the circumference and height of the cakes.  Cut out 8 parchment paper ribbons, making sure, their length is about 7 mm (1/4 inch)  longer than the circumference and height is about 2 cm (3/4 inch) higher.

Line a table with a large sheet of parchment paper – this is your working surface.  Have a wet towel handy, as working with melted chocolate could be a messy ordeal.

Microwave the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl for about 2 minutes (or until the chocolate starts to melt).  Mix the chips with a spoon to a smooth consistency.  Working with each parchment paper ribbon individually: place a ribbon on your working surface and, using a large spoon, spread a thin layer of chocolate over it, completely covering the ribbon.

Let the chocolate cool to a jelly-like consistency (about 30 seconds). Carefully lift the ribbon, using a knife to help you separate it from the work surface, and wrap it around a prepared cake, chocolate side facing the cake, overlapping the ends.  Make sure the bottom of the ribbon is lined with the bottom of your cake, the ribbon should be taller than the cake (creating a cup for the berries).

Repeat with the rest of the cakes.  Immediately place them in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

Assemble: After the chocolate is hardened, carefully peel each paper ribbon off, gently breaking the piece of chocolate where the ribbon overlapped.

Fill the cups with seasonal fruit and sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

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