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Friday, January 16, 2015

Christmas Eve Dinner emails

One of cousin uses her mom's letters as the bases for some of her blogs, as I was writing one of my cousin I realized that although I miss the handwritten letters, email correspondences are wonderful too.  It was fun to correspond with my Dad's side of the family and find out what they had prepared for their Christmas Eve Dinner and discuss recipes.  The emails are below:

So how did your Ukrainian Christmas Eve go?  What dishes did you have? 

I had pisney borscht for the first time with the dumplings, my baba used to make this soup but not my Mom. I have fond memories of this soup mainly because of the little dumplings. I do think she served plain beet broth with these dumplings. 

I find that I am not happy with any of the fish I get here!  Never as fresh as it could be.  I remember Mom buying frozen white fish from the back of a white truck that came from Winnipegosis the week before Christmas.  She would make Fish Aspic, I loved it but none of my family likes it.  In looking at Ukrainian Christmas Eve videos for this year across Canada, baking fish that has been breaded seems to be the way to go for a large number of people.  Not sure how this would work as it would take up your oven space and also not sure how long it would take to bake a large amount!  What do you have for fish?   My Aunt fries her fish in "copious" amount of butter.  Her grandson does find pickerel so it is wonderful.  I made fish ball this year, which I use to make for the kids that were also fried in butter, but this year decide to bake them and will bake them again as less mess and faster!  

Sergi my cousin from Ukraine does a dish called oseledets' ped koshooh or Herring under fur coat. 

It is very nice as adds some freshness to this very heavy meal.   The first time I saw it, I thought it was a dessert as it was made in a pie plate and looked like  whipped cream topping.    Yes, the presentation deceived me!  Although this Herring under Fur Coat recipe calls for herring, my cousin did it with mushrooms instead.

HI, good to hear from you. Christmas Eve was great except for the fact that it was cold (typical) and most had to leave early because of school next day. My sister and her family got in and for a change we did the"Yardunn". The crosses get onto the windows and doors. First course is Kutia,  then borstch, and then the rest, ...cabbage rolls, pyrohy, pedpenky in gravy, fried pickerel, herring, smoked salmon, oysters , mussels in sauce,etc.  We don't use any milk products or,meat products. I didn't do the sauerkraut and peas this year. Instead I sauted up some store mushrooms with lots of garlic. Of course there is also the very garlicy "mashed" beans, and vegetables and pickles.  That dish your cousin makes, what is it? Tomorrow is our Church Christmas dinner. Oh goody, more turkey. 

Thanks for sharing your menu.  I remember the Ukrainian Christmas Eve that we spent at your Grandmother's place.  There was tons of food and carolling. There were carollers that came by a horse drawn sledge.  For some reason, I remember the  Mandarin orange that were huge and tasted liked like oranges.  I bought some this year and they were dried out and tasteless.    For me it is a great memory to have been part of this.  Mom never did beans or sauerkraut for Christmas Eve that I can remember.  We are off to church, still dark, but should be warm again today.  Enjoy the turkey dinner.

We do the carolling after the meal, everyone has a copy of the song book and each in turn picks a carol to sing. Once the caroling is done the young children recall what the hay under the table is representing and them they dip in to find the "gifts" usually candy and money.  Did your Mom cook the compote?

No my mom didn't do the compote, but my Baba did.  I really liked it as a kid, I don't know why I don't do it!  Maybe next yearJust finished reading Festive Ukrainian Cooking by Marta Pisetska Farley and I wasn't impressed.  It is suppose to be scholarly yet her authentic recipes are not so authentic.. The Recipes for Christmas Eve meal are not dairy less at all as they initially were and the recipes use ingredients that were not around, ie cream cheese, tomato paste.   Her Compote recipe uses apple cider.  I remember my baba making it  with just spices and water.  Do you make it? Also difficult to visual some of the stuff in her book without pictures.  It was written in 1990 so pictures were costly in print. She talks about a Poppyseed Torte which sound great but would be nice to see a picture of it.  I remember poppyseed cake at your Mom's funeral! 

Yes I make compote but my husband and I are the only ones who eat it. We like it so more for us. I use the mixed dry fruit...apples pears, peach,apricots. If I can find prunes with the pits in, I add those, if pitted I cook them separately other wise they get mushy. I also throw in a handful of raisens. I use water only, no sugar and I don't like any spices.I don't know how long compote lasts in the fridge, maybe a week and then it would change to wine...yum. It doesn't stay long here. For the sauerkraut and peas I would also add sautéed button mushrooms. The peas I would add at the last minute ...just the regular peas.

Good Morning, thank you for this..
When I look at these recipes of preparing for this feast, it sure makes me wonder where my baba stored all this food before all her family showed up on Christmas Eve.  She had no electricity or refrigeration (or bathrooms) in that house in GP.

I read a blog where the writer of Mary's Country Kitchen said they would just cover the leftovers on the table with a tablecloth for the next day.. Adding no one got sick!! LOl

I came across this blog for Compote where she adds Jello to her Strawberry and Rhubarb compote for the kids, I think it would be way too sweet for me.  But I do like the looks of it. 

Have a good day!

I don't know how long compote lasts in the fridge, maybe a week and then it would change to wine...yum. It doesn't stay long here. For the sauerkraut and peas I would also add sautéed button mushrooms. The peas I would add at the last minute ...just the regular peas.
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