All posts filed under: Belarus


Monday Meal Review: Belarus

I cannot lie. Sure, I’ve tried. But I learned early on that lying is much more humiliating than the truth. No matter how bad the truth seems to be. Of course, not being able to lie has its distinct disadvantages. Like having to admit embarrassing things, like how I got stood up this week. No, not by my husband (he knows better than to do that – love the sweet man). Remember the lightening bolt of good fortune I had a few days ago? When I ran into a real, live Belorussian (at Dillard’s), the week I was cooking Belorussian? And I invited her to come show me her country’s cooking traditions? And she said yes, she’d be “happy to”? Yeah. That’s who stood me up. I wish I could tell you something much cooler.  That she turned out to be a spy and was sent back to the motherland. How, on her way, she managed to send me a telegram (delivered by white doves) apologizing for missing our dinner date. Included with the telegram, of course, were …

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Strawberry Kisiel

Makes about 1 1/2 quarts Strawberry Kisiel is easy to make and very tasty. The sweet dessert remains light and refreshing. Unless, of course, you serve it over a bowl of vanilla ice cream… which I totally recommend. Ingredients: 1 lb fresh strawberries (or other seasonal berries) 4 cups water 4 Tbsp cornstarch sugar to taste (between 1/2 and 1 cup is about right) Method: 1. Puree strawberries with sugar in a blender or food processor. Pour into a pot and heat over medium. 2. Meanwhile, add a little water to the cornstarch and combine, making a slurry. 3. Pour cornstarch slurry into the strawberry mixture and heat up, stirring frequently. When the mixture thickens into a pudding-like consistency, begin to pour in the water, a little at a time. Do not add more water until the previous addition is mixed in evenly or you’ll get lumps. Continue until all of the water is added. Check for sweetness one more time. Add extra sugar if desired. 4. Heat the mixture until a few bubbles pop …

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Rye Bread

Makes 1 large loaf, or 2 small My husband called this “the best rye bread I ever ate.”  A nice, dense crumb, with a mild rye flavor. The sugar and honey make this loaf wonderfully addictive. Ingredients: 1 1/4 cups warm water 3 tablespoons honey 1 Tbsp sugar 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast 1 3/4 cups rye flour 2 teaspoons salt 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 2 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour Optional: caraway seeds (for top of loaf) Method: 1. Place dry ingredients into bread machine. Then wet. (unless your manufacturer recommendations are different) 2. Set on dough cycle. After bread dough is kneaded, check consistency – dough should be smooth and a bit wet. Not shaggy (although it will be shaggy during the first part of kneading) 3. Let rise in bread machine for about 1 1/2 hours. 4. Form into a ball, roll in caraway seeds let rise on a baker’s peel or baking sheet for about 30-45 minutes. To make it easier to remove from peel or baking sheet, …

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Belarus’ Borscht Soup | Borshch

Serves 6 This soup is popular all over eastern Europe, specifically in the Ukraine. This version hails from Belarus where they add big chunks of potatoes. The longer it cooks, the happier this Borshch tastes. Ingredients: 1 large onion, chopped 1-2 large russet potatoes, as desired 2 Tbsp vegetable oil 2 beets, diced 2 carrots, sliced 2 turnips, diced 1/2 a green cabbage, sliced thinly 6 oz can of tomato paste 1 Tbsp sugar 2 Tbsp vinegar salt and pepper 32 oz beef stock water as needed sour cream, for garnish (optional, leave out for vegan) Method: 1. In a large pot, cook onion in vegetable oil until soft and slightly golden. Add the rest of the ingredients, except sour cream. Add water as needed to “cover” all the veggies. NOTE: I added the beets after the cabbage had some time to cook down, making room in the pot. 3. Bring to a low simmer and cook for at least an hour. I simmered mine for a couple of hours and the flavor was wonderful. Here it …

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Potato Pancakes/hash browns stuffed with mushrooms | Mushroom stuffed Draniki

Makes about 6 Draniki Pan-fried until crispy and hot, mushroom stuffed draniki taste like pumped up hash browns. Really great comfort food. Belorussians eat these with sour cream, although I know Americans will like them with ketchup. Ingredients: Mushroom filling: 1 oz dried wild mushroom blend (or a handful of fresh mushrooms) 1/4 cup minced red onion 1 tsp dill salt pepper Draniki: 1 1/2 lbs of potatoes, peeled 1/4 cup flour 1 egg 1/4 cup milk salt pepper vegetable oil, for frying Method: 1. Rehydrate dried mushrooms according to package directions. Mince and add with onion to a pan with a little oil. Cook until soft. Add dill and salt and pepper. Remove from pan and set aside. 2. Shred potatoes using a grater, food processor, or mandoline. Add remaining ingredients and stir together. 3. Heat about a 1/4 inch layer of oil in a large skillet over medium. Once oil sizzles when you drop a bit of potato in it, begin cooking. Spoon in draniki batter and flatten with a spoon. 5. Add a …

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Raspberries for What Ails You in Belarus (Poll)

At traditional Belorussian weddings guests chant “Gozko” after the groom drinks from his glass. “Gozko” means bitter. The chanting urges the groom to kiss the bride, an act which should make his drink sweeter. If you catch a cold in Belarus, they might offer you any of these remedies: – vodka with salt and pepper – milk blended with raw egg yolk and honey – raspberry jelly – raspberry tea Much of Belarus cannot be farmed because of falloff from Chernobyl (70% of the contaminants landed in Belarus, even though the explosion was in Ukraine). Still, Belarus  is a major producer of potatoes, buckwheat, rye, beets, flax, and dairy products. Many families grow their own produce and have their own livestock (mainly chickens, pigs, and cows). Belarus is the 3rd largest producer of tractors in the world. Easter eggs are dyed with red onions (they are boiled together) and then taken to church to be blessed. To celebrate Kaliady, winter solstice, children wear masks and dress up as animals. They parade through the town, stopping at …

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Technique Thursday: Tornadoes and a video

Dear readers, Our regularly scheduled programming has been interrupted by severe weather and tornado warnings. I do apologize, but all my brain power has been consumed by “fear of the tornado.”  My husband claims I have a particularly irrational “fear of the tornado.” Irrational? How can my fear of instant, windy death be irrational? I mean look at this: Irrational? No, I don’t think so. The method of death might be irrational. But not my fear. Furthermore, I don’t call this irrational: So what if I had to have 3 helmets standing by? Yeah, yeah. I know, ten month-old Ava is too small for one. But having it out still makes me feel better. Gah, tornado season really makes me question my Oklahoma residence. Maybe I should move to Belarus instead. Anyway, thank you for your understanding! Love, Sasha PS To make up for my inability to produce a coherent piece of food writing, I will now share this Belarus-related video: In this fascinating survival video you will learn how to make a spoon and a saw, …

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Menu: Belarus

I went to the mall yesterday for mixing bowls and came out with a Belorussian! Yes, you read me right! One of the lovely women who work in Dillard’s home department hails from Belarus. In fact, she only got to the United States 8 months ago! After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I invited her to come over, cook, and share her secrets with me. She said yes! Now if that’s not a lightning bolt of good fortune, I don’t know what is! Anyway, this menu is heavily influenced by her recommendations. I can’t wait to see how it all comes together! NOTE: should she suggest modifications as we cook, I’ll come back and update this. I’m sure you understand. Borshch Soup from Belarus (Beet Soup with potatoes) [Recipe] Borshch is popular throughout the Slavic region, however in Belarus they enjoy a special version of this beet soup – chunky, with potatoes and cabbage. Mushroom stuffed Draniki (Potato Pancakes/hash browns stuffed with mushrooms) [Recipe] Draniki (also spelled Deruni) are grated potatoes mixed with onion, …

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About the food of Belarus

This week is going to be interesting. Simply put, my husband hates mushrooms, rye bread, sour cream, beets, and cabbage… which puts his taste buds in direct opposition to the lovely people of Belarus. Not one to be beat down by pickiness, I’ve resolved myself to be the cheerful, but broken record: “Honey, if an entire country eats it, then it can’t be that bad!” And I’m going to ask (beg) him to eat his entire meal. We’ll see. Located in eastern Europe, Belarusian culture blends Russian, Ukranian, Lithuanian, Tartar, and Polish traditions with its own. The typical Belarusian table is hearty. Potatoes are known as the “bread” of this people. Rumor has it, there are even restaurants that dedicate their entire menu to the potato. They put spuds in anything, from pancakes, dumplings, and soups, to pies, casseroles and salads. In the home, too, families are happy to eat potatoes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (Source: Please to the Table). This is not to say they don’t eat bread, too. They do. In fact, …

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