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.
My son met my babushka, godmother, and two aunts. All these ladies were introduced to him as babas. One evening I asked him, “Who do you love?”
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 size38gCalories from fat93kcalFiber1gProtein2gSugar0g
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.
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.
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!
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!