here and there

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Christmas Day Dinner past!

  • This photo has generated a lot of messages from my brother. He remembers building the red willow crib by the tree with our Dad.

    This is a picture of Christmas past; check out the slices of baked ham with radish roses, a raisin sauce would have been served hot in a gravy bowl is on the stove kept hot, cheese stuffed celery with pimento olives, cranberry sauce, a three tiered crystal serving dish with assorted desserts along with a plate of white fruit cake. In the oven would be side dishes, cabbage rolls and pyrohies to be served piping hot along with mashed potatoes and gravy. 

    All the side dishes would be added to the table to be served hot after grace. A steam pudding with a brown sugar sauce would finish the meal. My menu is very similar to my Mom's. Got to love tradition! Do notice that there are no wine glasses on the table, serving wine was not the norm. Orange Pekoe Tea would have been served with the desserts! 

    By the fresh spruce tree is a birch wood candle holder that my dad made and my mom decorated with fresh spruce and red ribbon and red candles yearly.  Yes, that is holly on the table. A bowls of oranges and nuts are also on the coffee table.. Not sure where that box of chocolates is!

My mom always sliced the turkey in the kitchen before plating it on a large platter along with the dressing. 
This was a new red dress that my mom had bought for me for Christmas and wanted a picture of me in it. 

Check out the black phone on the end table by the couch.

The Christmas tree is a fresh spruce that my Dad would have chopped on his farm.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Cabbage Rolls, Rice Holubtsi for Christmas Eve

Another dish that is prepared for Christmas Eve is Cabbage rolls or Holubtsi.  The recipe that I prepare is how my Mom prepared them for this meatless supper.  My grandmother would not have used butter as her meal was dairy less and meatless.  Some still follow this tradition of what would now be considered a vegan diet.  

Cut out the core of the cabbage so that it steams and is easier to pull of the leaves without the leaves tearing.  You can also freeze the whole cabbage and when unthawed the leaves are also pliable and easy to remove, but this means having the cabbage thawed before you make the cabbage rolls.  I prefer to steam the leaves.

Place the head of cabbage into a pot to steam with the core down.

Use two forks to carefully remove the pliable leaves. Being careful not to burn yourself!

The stack of leaves ready to be rolled. 

The steamed leaves are cooling before being rolled.  Yes, the house has a pungent aroma! 


Cut out the hard spine of the leave or cut down the spine so that you can still roll the leave.. The larger leaves you can cut out four pieces to roll.  The leaves become smaller as you come to the end.  I make small rolls without tucking in the ends.

Place a tablespoon of cooked rice in the leaf and roll!  Place the seam down into a prepared pan. The enamel roaster that are used for larger group, are usually layered with the outer covering leaves of the cabbage.  My aunt uses tinfoil to cover her enamel roaster. Yes, she still does roasters of  cabbage rolls at the age of ninety five. 

The sauce for the casserole is a can of good quality tomato soup, pour over the rolls and grate frozen butter on top, wrap in tin foil and freeze until ready to bake at 350 for one hour or until the cabbage leaves are cooked.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Sauerkraut Pyrohy for Christmas Eve

Once again, preparing dishes for the meatless Christmas Eve Supper.  As I prepare this dish, I think of my Mom and how skillfully she managed this beautiful meal with twelve dishes some that were served piping hot.  I never thought much about this until I had to do Christmas Eve meal all by myself!  Now I marvel how efficiently and without effort this was done by my Mom and Grandmother.  I am not at that stage yet!  Sadly, I do not think this tradition will be continued. 

Once again, I used this recipe that uses 4 cups of flour with about 8 dozen of Pyrohy made from this recipe.

The sauerkraut filling was first washed and squeezed dry.  Something my Mom always did as she said that the sauerkraut was too salty.  Chop and sauté one white onion until soft in Olive Oil.  Add the washed sauerkraut and sauté until the filling is dried.  This helps in making the dumpling.

The ends are pinched together to form a circle.  Something my Mom always did to be able to tell the differences in fillings in the Pyrohy.

These fresh Pyrohy are placed on a cookie sheet that has been covered with saran wrap. They are placed on a lightly dusted flour and placed so they are not touching.  After they are frozen, they are packed into a ziplock bag.   They are dropped into boiling water and are cooked when they float to the top.  Toss in olive oil or butter and serve hot.

Cheese and Potato Pyrohy

As the world becomes more commercial and less and less focus on the "baggage of religion" as a Globe and Mail journalist writer commented in a recent article, I still find comfort and connection to Christmases past, with thoughts of my Mom and Grandmother and the true meaning of Christmas.   The Magic of Christmas along with the traditions seem even more important to me these days.

The preparation for this year's Christmas Eve Meal has started using this pyrohy recipe, one I find most manageable with the result of 8 dozen dumplings. 

Check out 12 dishes of Ukrainian dishes  for the Christmas Eve meal as part of the traditional meal that have been passed down to me. 

The filling for this recipe is potato, ricotta cheese and cottage cheese.  I use a small container of cottage cheese and ricotta cheese and had cooked 2 medium sized potatoes.  I find that the ricotta cheese adds great flavor and is the closes in taste to homemade cottage cheese. I use the regular cottage cheese and just drain the liquid in it first.

My son has wanted me to show to my granddaughters how to make the dumplings, so I had saved some dough and filling for them to use. 

The girls loved making the dumplings, as I busied myself taking movie and pictures of them! 

Since some of the filling was popping out in some of the dumplings, if not all of them, frying the dumplings in Olive oil was a good solution.

The girls quickly devoured their master pieces with sour cream!!