Monday, December 29, 2014

Basic Applesauce

So apparently Christmas is the holiday on which EFL students in China give their teachers apples, the less flavorful (Red "Delicious," anyone?) the better. It got to the point that I had a small mountain of apples in a corner of my kitchen, and that's when I started looking at applesauce recipes! The following is a quick and easy one adapted from this recipe.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Chinese-style Slivovitsa

Slivovitsa (сливовица), also known as slivovitz and sliv'yanka, is a plum brandy most commonly produced in the Balkans, but known throughout Eastern and Central Europe. Although genuine slivovitsa is made by distilling plums with yeast, sugar, and an assortment of other ingredients, slivovitsa can also be made with plums, vodka (or another grain alcohol), sugar, and so on. This recipe is of the latter variety.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Massaman Curry Tofu

I loved all things Thai long before I first got the chance to visit Thailand, and massaman curry chicken has been a favorite among favorites. I was reminded recently of how long it's been since I had massaman anything, and so I decided to slightly adapt this recipe to take it from carnivorous to vegan. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Easy Stuffed Peppers

I've been looking for easy recipes for meals here now that the Prophets' (or Advent) Fast has begun and this fits the bill nicely. It works for me as a meal (a couple of them, actually) when I'm dining on my own, but it could easily work as a side dish for a larger meal as well. I may experiment with a tomato sauce of some sort the next time I make this, but it's perfectly lovely served as is.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Doro Wot

An oldie but a goodie from Ethiopia! Chicken is expensive there (or was when I lived there), so this would normally be served around the holidays, the Nativity and Pascha especially. Any day's a good day for doro wot though, and since I was in need of a pick-me-up I decided to try my hand at this. (It's been a long time since I made it last.)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Smoked Tofu Pumpkin Soup

This recipe came together rather by accident - a mix of homesickness for fall in North America, a pumpkin sighting at my local grocery store, and the delightful discovery of smoked tofu for sale at a 'meat' shop (protein shop?) near work. You may not have smoked tofu available where you live, and if that's the case I am profoundly sorry. It seriously rocks my world! I think that this recipe might be okay without smoked tofu (maybe), but thankfully I haven't had to try it without yet!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Rice Kollyva

In many Orthodox Christian countries - primarily in Eastern Europe and parts of the Middle East - kollyva is made following the death of a loved one to be blessed at the funeral and at the memorials held over the first forty days following the death, at the 6 and 12-month anniversary memorials, and thereafter at the memorials held on the yearly anniversaries of the death. There are certain other holidays and events it is prepared for, but in our culture it is generally associated with funerals and the dead, a bittersweet reminder that when "a grain of wheat falls into the ground and produces much grain" (John 12:24).

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sausage Shakshuka

This is my new favorite way to do eggs for breakfast! Scrabbled eggs haven't been sitting well with me for whatever reason, but shakshuka - served with a nice flatbread - is the perfect mixture of eggs, sauce, and bread. It'd make a good dinner meal too, perhaps with some rice or couscous. Heck, it'd make a good anything - I'm seriously tempted to go get another batch of ingredients from the store so that I can have shakshuka for breakfast again tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Ground Cherry Compote

I recently moved halfway around the world and find myself almost surrounded by mounds of ground cherries being sold by street vendors. Whether it's the roadside outside my apartment complex or the corner near work massive piles of ground cherries abound. I've been enjoying snacking on them, but once I figured out what they were called I started wondering what else I could do with them. (BTW, it's more like 'what aren't they called' - physalis peruviana or ground cherries are also known as Cape gooseberries, Peruvian cherries, and golden berries, among other things.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


If you've been to Pascha in an Orthodox country in Eastern Europe - Russia, Ukraine, even Georgia - then you've seen the dozens and dozens of kulichi in baskets waiting to be blessed on the holiday. They're a standard part of every Pascha basket and Bright Week meal, and are pleasantly versatile, working well when fresh and slathered in syrnaya paskha and when older, toasted, and eaten with butter, jam, or another spread.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Pause in Posting

I am currently out of town completing a teaching certification course and I expect my life to be in transition for quite some time after, so I likely will not be posting about any culinary adventures here for a while. As sad as it makes me to write it, in all likelihood I will not be doing much real cooking until I am actually living somewhere again. That includes over Pascha, which is normally such a joyous time of baking and food preparation. Such a sadness, but God willing I am laying the foundations for a better future (and better cooking! ;-) ) through all of this running about. So, until the next time, whenever that may be!

Thursday, February 20, 2014


This is one of my favorites from Russia, albeit in an American incarnation - normally, in Russia and Ukraine anyways, these would be made with творог ("tvoroh" or farmer's cheese), not cottage cheese. To each their own though!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Ruz be T'ibs

T'ibs is an old favorite of mine from Ethiopia and since I still have a bunch of berbere I decided to try my hand at making t'ibs before Lent arrives. (Actually, before Monday arrives - in the Byzantine Rite we stop eating meat a week before Lent actually begins.)

Friday, January 31, 2014

Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce

Okay, so here's the deal: I'm not a big fan of baked apples. Apple pie? Meh. Apple crumble? Pass the crumble please! All the same, when I was looking for a dessert to make for Sunday lunch at church this weekend I ran across an apple cake recipe that made me hungry. (I think it's the repressed American inside me - he just can't help wanting to be free now and again ;-).) Halfway through the baking process I started wondering what kind of a horrible mistake I'd made - apples? In a cake??? But this cake is the real deal! I can no longer say I hate baked apple products, 'cause this was amazing. Especially with the caramel sauce, but even without it!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Gnocchi Vegetable Soup

A lovely, warming vegetable soup for cold winter nights when you're fasting. (Or just being you if you're vegetarian or vegan!) This recipe is based on a recipe I found online for Italian gnocchi soup. Sickness is always stalking the house during the winter, so I threw some extra garlic in this to help stave some of that off. (Plus it just tastes good :-).) Less can always be added, or more if desired! Same for everything else in this, for that matter.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Crêpes à Marc

'Crêpes à Marc' is a fancy way of saying these are my potato pancakes ;-). This recipe is a blend of the recipe for 'crêpes à Nicole' from Julian Armstrong's delightful A Taste of Quebec cookbook and a couple of recipes for potato pancakes from online.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Creamy Potato Soup

I can't believe how long it's been since I posted anything! In my defense, life picked up pace just before old style Nativity and has remained somewhat hectic since as I prepare to move. That plus the end of the Advent Fast has meant I haven't been so much cooking as slathering cream cheese on things and pouring eggnog ;-).