Simple advice for a better life.

Easter is just around the corner, so Ukrainians, as well other Eastern European bakers are scurrying around, looking for recipes to make that special Paska (Babka) bread, to be blessed and served for Easter Sunday brunch.

Everyone has their special recipe, or decorating method, for their Easter Bread.

Here are some of the posts I already prepared previously for your reading pleasure, as well as my favorite Paska recipe.

 

Here is my favorite recipe for Ukrainian Easter Bread – Paska.

This link will take you to the recipe and technique of decorating Paska.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, you have the Paska recipe, all ready to bake, but not sure about the pans to use for this project.

 

    

 

 

 

 

No worries.  This post will show you several different types of bakeware suitable for Paska baking.  Click on the link and you will see a larger selection of bakeware.

OK. Now you ask – How to you get this Paska ready for blessing?

Very easy…I  have a post which tells you all about the Ukrainian Traditional Foods you need to include in your basket to be blessed, and then consumed at your Easter Brunch.  Here again click on the highlighted link to read all about it.

So, your Paska is ready, but you want some of those gorgeous Ukrainian Easter Eggs in your basket.  No problem.

 

These are the 12 steps that turn a plain white egg into a piece of art – Ukrainian Easter Egg.

Click on the link above, to visit that post, and learn how to make them.  You will be delightfully surprised at your own hidden talent. Not kidding!

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can take up this project on your own, or engage your whole family.  The above Pysanky were made by my children in their teenage years.  Sure, your young children can do it as well (with your supervision of course, as lit candles are used for heating the stylus filled with bee wax).

Also, I would suggest to use a hard-boiled egg for children under 6, to prevent losing the finished project to a “Humpty Dumpty” experience, and face the long-lasting disappointment.  Believe me, I have been there…very heart breaking.

Are you thinking why would anyone invest so much time in decorating an egg?

These eggs here are close to 90 years old now.  They were decorated by my great-aunt (and her children) who was our first family member to come to the US.

If it interests you, please click on the link above, and read the rest of the story.

I have wrapped the whole Ukrainian Easter Tradition in a nut shell, in this one post.

I hope you enjoyed it, enriched your knowledge, and will share it with others.

Happy Easter!!

Khystos Voskes!  Voistynu Voskres

Christ is Risen. Indeed He is Risen.

While doing my grocery shopping today, I noticed fresh AMERICAN shrimp in the seafood department (if you pay attention to labels, you will notice that majority of the shrimp you find is from China, India, Indonesia…. something that I will not purchase.  Click on these links to read more about it.

To sweeten the deal further, it was on SALE…so I purchased 2 lbs., which was too much for the two of us for one meal, hence another recipe today.

This recipe is full of flavor, with an added “kick” from red pepper.

I would be interested in hearing your opinion, which of these two posted shrimp recipes you like better, or please share your favorite shrimp recipe with us.

Pinterest picture of this recipe looked so delicious, which prompted me to give it a try.  If you notice the shrimp in my picture have their tails removed (I do not care to see the tails in my prepared dish…just a personal preference, as I am not much of a seafood admirer).

I am listing the ingredients, since I made some changes to the original recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 Tbs. olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. red pepper, ground
  • 1 Tbs. sweet paprika, ground
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice (used 2 lemons)
  • 2 Tbs. dry white wine ( I used California Collection by Beringer – Souvignon Blanc)
  • Salt and Black Ground Pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbs. fresh parsley, chopped (Italian Flat Leaf Parsley is my favorite

Directions:

  1.  In a medium frying pan, set on medium heat, gently saute the minced garlic in olive oil, about 1 min.
  2. Mix in the paprika and red pepper, stir well to incorporate with the garlic and oil.
  3. Mix the wine with the lemon juice. Set aside.
  4. Add the shrimp to the paprika/garlic mixture.
  5. Pour the wine and lemon juice over the shrimp.
  6. Cook for 2 minutes on one side, turn them over and cook  1 minute longer.
  7. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

 

 

I was about to try a Potato Kugel recipe, to share with my friends who are planning their Passover menu, but a young lady I work for, shared this wonderful recipe for Potato Kugel Cups, posted on another site.

I thought this was a wonderful idea, and decided to give it a try.

Very quick and easy process of preparing a traditional Passover dish, with a modern twist.  It presents itself nicely, and tastes scrumptious.

Excellent idea for individual servings, making it so easy to handle, rather than scooping out portions out of a casserole dish.

I did not have enough individual baking containers, so I used a muffin pan, which was even more convenient.

For serving, I removed them from the pan, and arranged them on a serving platter, surrounded by lettuce leaves and carrot shavings, as in this picture of a single serving.

This recipe produced 6 muffin size cups of Potato Kugel, or if you want smaller portions, you can use cupcake pan, and most likely make 12 potato cups.

 

 

 

 

 

If you noticed, I placed a sheet of Aluminum Foil under my muffin pan, to catch any oil drippings spilling out of the cups, because I overfilled them, and my oven would have been a mess.

 

Ingredients:

  • 6 large potatoes (I used Russet Baking Potatoes – they are less watery), grated on a large eye grater, or food processor
  • 1 large onion, grated on a fine eye grater ( or in a food processor)
  • 3 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper, ground
  • cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Clean, peel, and grate potatoes (keep peeled potatoes submerged in cold water to prevent from browning).
  2. Place grated potatoes on a strainer to drip off any excess liquids, until ready to mix.
  3. Add the shredded onions.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, along with the muffin/cupcake baking pan.
  5. Beat the eggs with salt and pepper.
  6. Place the grated potatoes and onion into a medium bowl.
  7. Mix in the egg mixture, until evenly distributed.
  8. Remove the muffin/cupcake pan from the oven, and generously spray each cup with cooking spray
  9. Scoop out potato mixture, to fill each cup about 3/4 full,  until you use up all your potato mixture.
  10. Place the pan back in the oven, on the middle rack, and bake uncovered for an hour, or until the tops become crunchy.
  11. Remove from the oven, and let them rest for a minute or so.
  12. Using a plastic knife (so you don’t scratch your pan) loosen up the cups around the edges, and slide them out onto a serving platter.
  13. Best served warm. However, may also be made ahead of time, and heated in the microwave, or on a baking sheet in the oven.

 

These individual Potato Kugel cups make a great accompaniment to any meat dish, or can be served with apple sauce, or any way you like them.

Enjoy your Passover meal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all who are celebrating this very traditional holiday here in the US.

I always have the pleasure of attending St. Patrick’s Day party, hosted by my daughter and her husband.

If you are still searching for party food ideas, I will contribute with links to my previous posts of  “green” food recipes for this occasion.

You can also check out my Pinterest board for “Party Foods”, for lots of new ideas and recipes.

 

Perfect Non-alcoholic Green Punch for those who prefer to keep it that way, or for ALL designated drivers.

Not only green, but really filling and delicious, is this Broccoli/Bacon/Cheese salad.  Everyone’s favorite…really!

 

 

Green Beans Vinaigrette is another wonderful salad for St. Paddy’s Day.

 

 

I like to prepare  a  Corned Beef, cabbage and boiled potatoes meal for my family, around St. Patrick’s Day, just to be a good sport, and support those who are more into it.

 

You know how the Irish feel about their potatoes…hence these Irish Potato Pancakes.  Sooooo yummy!!

I am always looking for your comments and suggestions of party foods you like to prepare.  Thank you.

Enjoy your party!!

 

Once I found this recipe on Pinterest, and pinned it to my board for recipes to try, I noticed that over few days time, over 100 people repined it to their boards.

Since I was looking for an interesting Passover recipe, I decided to try this one, to find out if it actually is that good, or did the original picture make this recipe so popular.

Today was the day to give it shot.  I already had all the ingredients at home ( I love snacking on Matzo, vs chips or cookies….less calories).

I increased the amount of salt, pepper and garlic, to satisfy my taste.

I really enjoyed the Mushroom, Onion and Matzo Kugel, and now understand why it gained so much popularity.

There was enough filling to fill TWO  pie pans, even though the original post stated to use one 10 inch pie pan.

 

I also used a large frying pan to saute the vegetables, and prepare the filling, since a 10 inch pan was too small for all these ingredients.

I will list all the ingredients so the recipe is exactly the way I made it, but you may go to the original site to see their version.

 

I used Yehuda Matzos.  They are already quite toasted, but I did bake them for 5  minutes as the recipe required.

Ingredients:

  • 10 Matzo crackers (1 box)
  • 2 1/2 cup chicken broth (store-bought, or make your own)
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil ( I use canola oil)
  • 3 cups diced onions (3 large onions), I used my nifty onion chopper
  • 2/3 cup grated carrots (1 large carrot)
  • 1  1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1  1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper, ground
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (garlic zoom is a must have gadget for this job)
  • 16 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 2 Tbs. chopped parsley (I used dried parsley)
  • 4 egg whites, large eggs
  • 2 whole large eggs
  • cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Place Matzo crackers on a cookie sheet and bake for 5 minutes.
  3. Break them up into small pieces, place in a large bowl.
  4. Pour the chicken broth and water over the matzo, mix, and let it soak up the liquids.
  5. Into a large frying pan, add 1/4 cup oil, and heat it up.
  6. Place the chopped onions and cook them for 5 minutes, covered.
  7. Add sliced mushrooms, carrots, garlic, parsley and spices.
  8. Cook another 5 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally.
  9. Remove from heat, and fold in gently, add the moist matzo.
  10. Beat the egg whites and the whole eggs, until frothy.
  11. Fold into the veggie and matzoh mixture.
  12. Use cooking spray to coat the bottom and sides of TWO 10 inch pie dishes, or one 10 inch, and one 9 inch, as I did.
  13. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  14. Using a large serving spoon, scoop the filling from the frying pan into the pie pans.
  15. Cover each with aluminum foil, and bake on a middle oven rack for 20 minutes.
  16. Uncover the pies, and bake 18 minutes longer.
  17. Once done, remove from the oven, and let them rest for at least 5 minutes.

Enjoy!

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