A year in Dnepropetrovsk

An American volunteer in Ukraine

Archive for Recipes

Bliny with red caviar

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After traveling for two weeks in Russia, I returned to Ukraine with the great desire to eat caviar and sip champagne (very rare delicacies here, whereas every restaurant in Moscow and Saint Petersburg will offer these on the menu). I splurged and prepared the most delicious homecoming treat in this part of the world!

Read the full recipe here.

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Borsht

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One of the great things about Passover in Ukraine is that many of the dishes we normally eat are naturally kosher for Pesach. A prime example is borsht, perhaps the most well-known and beloved example of Ukrainian cuisine. Every Ukrainian woman has her own version and so I present to you my very own, one of a kind, borsht recipe.

Read full recipe

The Jew & The Carrot

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This is a public service announcement.

Henceforth, all recipes will be posted on The Jew & The Carrot, the epicenter of Jews, food, and sustainability on the web. I am now a contributor for the “Best New Blog” and “Best Kosher Food/Recipe Blog,” as awarded by the Jewish and Israeli Blog Awards in 2007. I’ll be adding a new recipe or food-related post every week, so be sure to check it out!

In fact, I just wrote an introductory post, Stranger in a strange land, and tomorrow at noon you’ll find an entry on February 23 and my famous vinaigrette. Coming soon: borsht, Pelmeni (both the classic and kosher variations), Ukrainian shwarma, and mushrooms a la Drapkina!

Mimoza salad

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This is a traditional Soviet party dish, so put on your party hat, cause it’s gonna be GRATE! (Sorry, I just can’t help myself. Bad puns are like a disease.) You’ll need:

  • A can of your favorite fish. I used сайра (sorry; I don’t know how to say it in English!), which looks a lot like a sardine and is similar in taste to tuna.
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  • 4 eggs
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 large onion (any kind will do, but unless you’re really an onion nut, I would recommend green or red, as these are slightly milder in flavor)
  • 2 large potatoes (your preferred kind)
  • A healthy amount of mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Boil the eggs, carrots, and potatoes for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, mash the fish into a paste and spread an even layer on the bottom of a plate:

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Cover with a layer of mayonnaise. I don’t love mayo, so I tried to use as little as possible, but this is literally the glue that holds the whole dish together, so don’t spread it too sparingly:

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When the eggs, carrots, and potatoes have finished boiling, let them cool. Separate the egg yolks from the whites, grate the whites, and spread them evenly on top of the layer of mayo paste you just added:

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Here add a very thin layer of mayo (this is the only time it is recommended to be sparse). Next grate the carrots and spread them on top of the whites.

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Add another normal layer of mayo (as before on top of the fish). Chop the onion as finely as possible (very important! I was lazy and left my pieces fairly large, and it proved quite difficult to spread the mayo evenly and to add the next layer to the salad, as you can see in the picture). Add this as the next layer.

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You get the pattern. Spread another normal helping of mayo as evenly as possible. Now grate the potatoes and add them as the next layer.

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Spread your last layer of mayo, again your normal amount. If you’re really not into blander food, and you know you’re going to add salt and pepper eventually, this is the best time to do so. When you’ve sprinkled and spiced to your heart’s content, crush the egg yolks as finely as possible and sprinkle them evenly on top of the potatoes.

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All that remains are the decorations! Dig in and enjoy. Priatnovo apetita!

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Vareniki

Vareniki are Russian dumplings filled with potato, cheese, mushrooms, cabbage, or of course, meat. I made mine with potato and onion.

Vareniki

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Baklazhannaya Ikra

This eggplant spread is another very common Ukrainian dish served at most major gatherings. It is even easier to prepare than vinaigrette! What you need:

  • 4 eggplants (keep in mind that Ukrainian vegetables are much smaller than American roid-raging ones)
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tomatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 tsp parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 lemon, squeezed for juice
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

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Vinaigrette

No, this is not a dressing, this is a full salad. This popular Ukrainian dish can be served at all times throughout the year (a big deal, because it’s hard to get fresh fruit and some veggies during the winter). Nine times out of ten if you are invited as a guest in a Ukrainian home, a vinaigrette will be served. It’s delicious, very filling, and easy to make (although time consuming to dice all the vegetables). Here is the recipe I recommend (the recipe I followed is in parentheses). Both versions are modified slightly from the official recipe I looked up.

You will need:

  • 5 beets (I used 4)
  • 3 carrots
  • 5 potatoes (I used 6)
  • 1/2 onion
  • 3 dill pickles
  • 1 lemon
  • roughly 1/3 cup of oil
  • about 1 tablespoon salt
  • some pepper or spice

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