Simple advice for a better life.

Paska baking -  our 6 year old Paska decoratorUkrainian Traditional Paska -  3 batches of Paska bakingUkrainian Traditional Paska - design D

 

 

Thursday was our family Paska Baking Day.…three generations of bakers – mother, daughter and granddaughter.
We had so much fun, especially my 6-year-old granddaughter, who did a beautiful job helping with measuring the ingredients, and decorating her Paska (above picture).

You may click on the above link for the recipe, but today I will share pictures of the different designs we created for this year’s Paska.

Ukrainian Traditional Paska - design A

The traditional braid toward the middle of the Paska, a flower in the middle, and some “figi” decorations below the braid.

Ukrainian Traditional Paska - design BThis one has the twist (two strings of dough twisted together), and a fancy cross in the middle of the Paska.

Ukrainian Traditional Paska - design G

Here we have a large cross on top of the whole Paska,  and some other decorations along the side.

Ukrainian Traditional Paska - design C

This Paska is decorated with a long braid twisted around the middle, and dough -birds all around the edge.

Ukrainian Traditional Paska - design D

My six years old granddaughter decorated this Paska all by herself.  She did a beautiful job, if I may say so myself.

Ukrainian Traditional Paska - design E

This Paska has two twists intertwined in a way to resemble the thorn crown Jesus wore on his head.

Ukrainian Traditional Paska - design F

Last but not least, a single dough rope is twisted around this Paska, with some loops formed symmetrically, and a dough rose in the middle.  Plus a single dough rope is laid around the Paska, about 1/2 inch below the upper one.

Paska baking - our 6 year old Paska decorator

Hopefully our designs will help you to decorate your Paska, or it will inspire you to create your own, even more decorative.  Please share your Paska designs with all our readers.

Ukrainian Traditional Paska - 3 batches of Paska baking

This year’s Easter is very special for Ukrainians, since the Catholics and the Orthodox celebrate it at the same time.  Most of the time the Catholic one is much earlier than the Orthodox, as they both follow different calendar (Julian or Gregorian).

KRYSTOS VOSKRES!  (CHRIST IS RISEN!)

VOISTYNU VOSKRES! (INDEED HE IS RISEN!)

HAPPY EASTER!!

Vegetarian Recipes

Potato-Kugel-cup-serving

Vegetarian-Matzoh-Lasagnastuffed-green-peppers-

Vegetarian dishes are a welcome change anytime in my menu planning, not just during the Great Lent.

If you are looking for tested vegetarian recipes, I am more than happy to share some links to my previous posts.

You may also click on “Meatless Dishes”  categories, for other vegetarian recipes.

 

Eggplant Rollatini  - Serving

Eggplant Rollatini

Christmas-Beet-Borscht-with-Vushka

Ukrainian Borscht (Red Beet Soup)

Portabello-mushrooms-with-pasta

Portobello Mushrooms with Pasta

stuffed-green-peppers-

Stuffed Green Peppers with Rice and Mushrooms

halushky-dinner-

Halushky (sautéed cabbage and pasta)

Vegetarian-meal-pasta-with-stir-fry-veggies

Stir Fry Veggies with Pasta

Vegetarian-Matzoh-Lasagna

Vegetarian Matzoh Lasagna

Potato-Kugel-cup-serving

Potato Kugel Cups

This link with take you to my previous list of over 25 meatless recipes.

Enjoy these dishes, and share your favorite vegetarian recipes.

blueberry french toastIf you need a break from savory breakfast food, and wish to spoil your taste buds with something sweet, enjoy this cream cheese and blueberry stuffed french toast.

The Original recipe is pinned on my Pinterest board, however the one I am posting is improvised slightly, to suit my taste.

This breakfast dish is very moist, full of flavor, and simple to prepare.

It yields 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  •  1/2 loaf of french bread, sliced to 1/4 inch slices then cubed
  • 4 oz. 1/3 fat cream cheese, cubed
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup Maple Syrup
  • 1 cup milk
  • zest of 1 orange (or lemon, if your prefer)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon (split in two)

 Topping Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tbs. cornstarch
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter

Step one = blueberry french toastblueberry french toast  - step 2

Directions for French Toast casserole:

  1.  Prepare this recipe the night before. Cover and refrigerate.  Bake it next day.
  2. Grease (I used butter) 9 x 9 glass casserole dish.
  3. Spread 1/2 of the cubed french bread, over the bottom of the casserole.
  4. Sprinkle 1 cup of blueberries over the bread.
  5. Drop cream cheese cubes all over the blueberries (see photo above).
  6. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, milk, syrup,vanilla, zest, 1 tsp. of cinnamon, and a pinch of salt.
  7. Pour 1/2 of the egg mixture over the first layer of french toast.
  8. Cover with remaining cubed bread.
  9. Pour remaining egg mixture over the top of the casserole and sprinkle with 1tsp. of cinnamon.
  10. Cover with aluminum foil, and refrigerate over night.
  11. Next day, preheat oven to 350 degree F.
  12. Place the covered casserole dish in the oven, and bake for 30 minutes.
  13. Uncover, and bake 25 minutes longer.
  14. Serve with prepared blueberry topping, which may be prepared day before, or while the toast is baking.

Directions for Blueberry Topping:

  1. Mix sugar with cornstarch in a medium saucepan.
  2. Add water.  Bring to boil, and cook until thickened (about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add blueberries and cook few more minutes, stirring continuously until blueberries burst and form a smooth sauce, with few whole blueberries still remaining.
  4. Remove from heat, mix in butter, and set aside until ready to serve.
  5. For best results, serve it warm.

Blueberry french toast - all baked

All baked, and ready to enjoy with blueberry topping, or maple syrup.

Enjoy!

Party-foodsParty-Time-Appetizer-table

 

 

 

 

The hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping is over for most of us (many Ukrainians will still celebrate Christmas on January 6th and 7th), so now it’s time to plan the New Year bash.

Since I will not be hosting  New Year  party this year, and not preparing anything exciting, you may click on the highlighted links to my previous posts with many fun party foods.

Also, I pinned a lot of interesting party foods on my Pinterest board, which you are more that welcome to check out, and test them out.

H A P P Y   N E W  Y E A R!!!

MAY YOU ALL BE BLESSED

WITH GOOD HEALTH,

LOVE,

PEACE,

AND PROSPERITY.

 

Dark Chocolate Ganache CakeMy daughter’s birthday was fast approaching, so I was researching many cake recipes with lots of dark chocolate (her favorite ingredient).

For the past three years I have been making her favorite Chocolate Cake with Fleur de Sel Caramel Filling, but this year I wanted to do something different.

She selected a Dark Chocolate Torte with Dark Chocolate Ganache, so I took her up on the idea, and baked the above pictured torte.

The original recipe was posted by Tarra Knight from Texas, in Taste of Home, however I tweaked it a little, and printed my version here.

It earned high marks from the birthday girl, and all the guests.

This cake freezes very well, but the fresh raspberries had to be removed before freezing, and replaced with fresh ones before serving ( we served the leftover cake  at Thanksgiving).

 Cake Ingredients:

  •  4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (I used Bakers chocolate for baking)
  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup hot coffee (I used Dunkin Donuts Caramel flavored)
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup Canola Oil
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used Gold Medal Unbleached)
  • 1 cup dark Cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup warm water ( for torte punch)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract (for torte punch)

Ingredients for Ganache:

  • 14 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (I use Baker’s chocolate for baking)
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 3 cups heavy cream for whipping (1 1/2 pint)
  • 7 tsp. light corn syrup

Cake Directions:

  1. Line the bottom of 3 – 8 inch round cake pans with parchment paper, and grease it generously (I also dab a little Crisco under the paper to keep it in place).
  2. Place the chopped  chocolate in a medium bowl, pour the hot coffee over it, and stir with a whisk until all chocolate melts, and smooth mixture forms.
  3. Cool to room temperature.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, adding sugar gradually, until creamy and light lemon color (the mixture resembles vanilla pudding).
  5. Mix in the oil and vanilla.
  6. Gradually add the chocolate mixture, continuously beating.
  7. Set aside.
  8. In another bowl mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  9. Gradually incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet mixture, alternating it with gradual addition of the buttermilk.
  10. Divide the batter equally between the three cake pans.
  11. Preheat the oven to 325 degree F.
  12. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until the toothpick test is clean.
  13. Remove from the oven, and cool in pans for 10 minutes.
  14. Remove from pans unto wire cooling racks, to cool completely.

Ganache directions:

  1. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl.
  2. Place a medium saucepan on the stove, pour in the heavy cream and corn syrup, and bring to boil.
  3. Pour the boiling cream over chopped  chocolate, and stir with a whisk until smooth and creamy.
  4. Set aside for at least 30 minutes, to cool it off slightly, stirring occasionally.

Assembling the torte:

  1. Slice off the “hump” from each cake top, to create even and flat top cake rounds.
  2. Cut two rectangular pieces of waxed or parchment paper, about 6 inches wide.
  3. Place these two pieces slightly overlapping, on a cake platter.
  4. Place the first cake round on top of the waxed paper.
  5. Prepare the torte punch by mixing the warm water with the vanilla extract.
  6. Dip a pastry brush into the torte punch, and brush the  cake top with it to moisten it.  Use 1/3 of the torte punch on each layer.
  7. Spread 1/2 cup of ganache on top of the cake.
  8. Place the second cake layer on top of the ganache.
  9. Sprinkle the cake top with the torte punch, as previously.
  10. Spread 1/2 cup of ganache over this cake layer as well.
  11. Place the third cake layer on top of the ganache, with the trimmed off top down.
  12. Spread the rest of the ganache over the top and sides of the cake.
  13. Decorate the top with candy, or fruit.
  14. Keep it refrigerated for couple of hours, or overnight, to firm up the ganache.

Enjoy this yummy torte, which is very “chocolaty” rich, yet semi-sweet at the same time.

 

« Previous Entries  Next Page »