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[21 Aug 2009]

Are you curious about Slavic cooking but not sure where to start?  Whether it's to celebrate Ukraine's Independence Day or to impress your Russian Bride-to-be, we have a few easy, classic recipes that are sure to please your palate.  Be sure to start your meal with pickled cucumbers, salted herring, salad and caviar, and don't forget to invite your guests to each offer a toast with vodka during the meal!   Borsch 1 cup chopped fresh beets 1 cup chopped fresh carrots 2 cups green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces 3 or 4 medium potatoes, cubed 1 quart chopped or shredded cabbage 1 pint fresh or canned tomatoes, chopped 1/2 cup chopped onion 1/2 cup fresh dill weed, chopped salt to taste 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion 2 tablespoons oil 2 tablespoons flour cream minced garlic, to your taste   Put the chopped beets, carrots, and green beans into a 6-quart kettle with about 2 quarts of water and cook a little while. Then add the rest of the vegetables, dill, and salt and cook until vegetables are tender, adding more water for the desired consistency. Saute the finely chopped onion in oil in a small frying pan and add flour. Stir until smooth. This is used as a thickener; add this to borsch when vegetables are cooked. Add some cream and the freshly chopped garlic and cook for about 5 minutes more. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Serve.     Cabbage Leaf Holubtsi 1/2 to 3/4 cup onions, chopped and sauteed oil or meat drippings 1 cup meat, ground  4 cups cooked rice 1 teaspoon salt 1 large head cabbage 1-1/2 cups tomato juice 1/2 cup cream or sour cream   Saute chopped onions in meat drippings and add to cooked ground pork and rice. Sprinkle with salt. Roll this mixture up into a wilted cabbage leaf and place into pan. Cover this with tomato juice and cream or sour cream and meat drippings. Cook until done. Serve.     Berry Compote 1 pound fresh berries (strawberries or raspberries) 3/4 cup sugar 1 cup water   Wash and drain the fruit. Bring the sugar and water to a boil. Pour the boiling syrup over the fruit, and let it stand for several hours before eating.     Cherry Crepes   1 cup flour1/4 teaspoon salt1-1/4 cups milk2 eggs2 tablespoons butteroil  Mix together the flour, salt, milk and beat until smooth. Add the eggs and mix well. Add the melted butter and mix again. Let this batter stand for a while. Brush the bottom of a frying pan with oil and put over medium heat until it is just hot but not smoking. Pour about 2 tablespoons crepe batter into pan and quickly tilt the pan in all directions so that the batter covers the pan with a thin film. Fry for about 1 minute. Lift the edge of the crepe to test it for doneness. The crepe is ready to be flipped when it can be shaken loose from the pan. Flip the crepe and cook for about 30 seconds on the other side. (This side of the crepe is usually a little spotted brown and is the side the filling is put on.) As each crepe is done, spread the filling over the inside and fold the first two sides over each other and then the other two sides over each other. Place the finished crepe carefully on a plate. Keep doing this until all the crepes are made. It is easier to make with two people working. One makes the crepes, one fills the crepes. Use home canned pie cherries that have been drained of liquid for the filling.