here and there

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Fish Balls

These Fish Balls are delicious and a great hit with children. They are served with a sweet and sour sauce.  The only seasoning is lime juice in this case.  

I prefer crusted cornflakes as the sweetness in the cornflakes and the added crunch adds to this dish.

The fish is pulsed in a food processor but can also be chopped or ground in a meat grinder.  1/2 medium onion was added along with the egg. The onion can be sauté first, but I didn't in this case. 


Dip the fish balls in an egg wash and then in cornflakes. 

The fish balls were frozen for the Traditional Christmas Eve dinner.  

The best part of preparing all these dishes is the tasters

.  You can also adjust the spices at this time before you makeup the fish balls.  

For Christmas Eve, these fish balls were baked in the oven at 325

Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas Tree Scone Appetizer

Our Annual Neighbourhood Christmas Party was last night and our side of the street was assigned to bring a savoury Appetizer.  Since my husband makes awesome scones, he made bite size scones and we arranged the scones in the shape of a Christmas Tree to bake.

The scones even though I did push them together did not stick together.  Perhaps moistening the edges may help.

The tree was covered with a cream cheese icing

Cream Cheese Icing:
8 oz Cream Cheese
1/2 c Sour Cream
dill weed
1 garlic clove, minced

Top the tree with 3 cups of chopped vegetables of your choice.

I grated one carrot, chopped broccoli and 1/4 c onion, thinly sliced red peppers for the garland, chopped tiny broccoli florets for ornaments and shaped a star out of the bell pepper

This appetizer was very festive, made a grand entrance to the party and disappeared quickly!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Plum Pyrohy

Plums were used as a filling to use up the left over dough, 2 dozen of Plum Pyrohy were made for Christmas Eve.  The tester with a drizzle of maple syrup sour cream and whipped cream was delicious.

My father used to love High Bush Cranberry pyrohy for Christmas Eve 

The sliced plums were first soften in the microwave.  The testers were boiled until they floated in the water.

Now to wait to see how my family likes this variation. I have made prune ones which are lovely too.  

Cabbage Pyrohy for Christmas Eve

Another traditional dish made for Christmas Eve dinner is Sauerkraut pyrohy.  These pyrohy have always been my favorite and especially delicious reheated. 

Using the same recipe dough that I did for the cottage cheese I made 4 dozen of these dumplings.  My Mom always made the shape of these dumpling by pinching the ends together to get a circle shape. The shape is much like the Italian Tortellini shape. 

The sauerkraut is drained and washed. A step my Mom always did as she felt the store bought Sauerkraut was too bitter and salty. 

Drain and squeeze out as much moisture as you can as easier to make the dumplings if the filling is dry.

Soften finely chopped onion in a drizzle of Olive oil and then add the sauerkraut to sauté.

Yes, a lot of pinching that needs to be rechecked before freezing as the dough does relax and the seams need to be checked and resealed tor the dumplings will open when boiling to cook.  Trust me after all this work the last thing you want to see is the filling floating as you cook the dumplings!

These are frozen on a cookie sheet pan.  Cover the pan with saran wrap and each layer.   My Aunt Marion laughing commented that life is so much better with Saran wrap.   Sprinkle a dusting of flour on the base and on each layer of dumplings.  Another time that a shaker with flour is most handy.  When the dumplings are frozen, repack into ziplock bags. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Vushky, Mushroom Dumplings

Vushky, "Little Ears"

These tiny dumplings are part of traditional Christmas Eve dishes and served in Lenten Borscht.  Vushky translates to "little ears' because of the dumplings final shape.   As a child, I remember being fascinated by these tiny white dumplings floated in a clear Borscht broth on Christmas Eve at my Grandmother's place.

Sauté mushroom and finely chopped mushrooms in drizzle of Olive Oil.  Wild Mushroom powder was added to mushrooms. 

Chop the cooked mushroom filling

Again, I used the same dough recipe I did for the Cottage cheese pyrohy the recipe for this dough is my Mom's recipe for Pyrohy.

I did do two different shape styles and will have to wait to see which one floats better in the broth. One style is to pinch the ends so you get a circle shape, like the Italian tortellini. For the other shape pinch the ends together over top of the dumpling.

Using a smaller cutter size or glass, I got 4 dozen of these tiny dumplings.

Pyrohy, Vareneki

Everyone I know has their own variation of the dough recipe, whether they add baking powder, an egg, sour cream, mazola oil, Red Rose flour, etc.  Each claiming their dough recipe reigns supreme!
I have continued to work with my Mom's recipe until I can honestly say I have no trouble rolling out the dough.  The dough is very basic; flour, water, oil and salt.

Every year my sister and her sister in law would make their dough recipe for our pyrohy work bee and we would find that the one thing each recipe had in common was difficulty in rolling out the dough, yet the end product tasted the same. 

I find the dough is easier to roll out if you use very warm water and the dough is softer if you add flour gradually until the dough comes together and the dough still will need a dusting of flour to roll out.

I add Ricotta cheese to Cottage cheese to get that fresh cheese taste.

The flour shaker is something I discovered recently which so awesome in rolling out pastry, noodles, scones.. They are about 2 dollars in the dollar store and so worth having one! 

Even though I use two medium sized potatoes for the filling, I still had half a pot of filling left, 8 dozen of dumplings later!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Rustic Pate

This Rustic Pate is perfect for the Christmas season
Chunks of duck breast, chicken breast and pork tenderloin are marinade and then mixed into seasoned ground pork.

For Christmas, a handful of dried Cranberries and Pistachio nuts were added
The moulds are prepared with strips of bacon or Prosciutto. This time I used  only bacon, regular strips of bacon and double smoked bacon from a Polish store. as I found the Prosciutto dried out and was too salty.  

200 gm each of duck breast, turkey breast and pork tenderloin were marinade in Brandy, Olive Oil, black pepper, minced garlic clove and fresh Thyme.  The fresh Thyme I used was from my garden, covered in snow but still not frozen! 

The marinade was mixed and the pieces of meat marinaded in the refrigerator for 24 hours 

 After the meat was marinaded, it was chopped into 1/2 inches pieces. The turkey marinaded the best as the turkey breast had been pounded as prepared for scallopini.  I would pound the other pieces of meat  the next time I make this pate. 

To the ground pork, ground cumin, freshly grated nutmeg, ginger, hot cayenne and pepper were added.  I did add some Apfelkorn but this is optional.    The ground meat and mixture of meat chunks were mixed well by hand. 
Cook a small patty of meat to check the flavors. 

The chunks of meat were browned in a hot cast iron, but I did skip this step the last time I made the pate.

The moulds were lined with strips of bacon.

Pack the mould with the meat mixture.  Fold the strips of bacon over the ground meat. 

The  dishes were wrapped in tin foil and will be placed in a pan of water and baked in 325 degree for 40 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the mould.  

I have made this for my son's birthday party last year and it disappeared quickly. 

200 gm each of duck breast, turkey breast and pork tenderloin 
2 ground pork packages, about 750 gm each
Fresh Thyme
2-3 cloves garlic. 
fresh ground pepper
1 tsp hot cayenne
2 -4 tsp cumin
fresh grated nutmeg
1 tsp ginger
1/2 c dried Cranberries
1/2 c Pistachio nuts 
Olive oil
1/4 c brandy

The spices for the ground meat depend on your preference, I like ground cumin in pork. 
The chunks of meat can also vary, I was thinking that my hunting cousin in Manitoba may want to add venison to the mix.. As I was typing this, I thought of the pheasant breast I have in the freezer, a gift from my neighbours that hunts. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Traditional Steamed Pudding for Christmas

Christmas pudding is very much a Christmas tradition in our family.  My Mom made steamed pudding for every Christmas dinner.  Flaming the pudding became part of this tradition in my house when my children became teenagers. 

My steam pudding has dried fruit in the mixture, although I did add about a cup of deluxe mixed glazed fruit this year. 
I added about 1/2 cup of rum to the cut dried fruit to marinade.  Why, cause the prepared fruit can set until one is ready to steam it.
I like to used apricots, figs, peel, cranberries, ginger and raisins. 
I used about 4 cups of fruit.

I set up the two following pictures for the recipe in Canadian Living Christmas cookbook and realized as I was making it, that I never followed the instructions as they don't make any sense.  All my notes over the years are by the recipe.

The recipe instructions were to add the next ingredients to the prepared fruit!

3-4 c prepared dried fruit
1 1/2 c grated carrots
1 c suet
2 c flour
1 c brown sugar (only added 1/2c)

The spices 
1 tsp  ginger
1 tsp  cinnamon
freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves

The next step was to add the rest of the ingredients to the first mixture:

The spices
1 1//2 c grated potatoes
1/2 c pin cherry jelly
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
I added 1 tsp of vanilla

I did add 4 eggs as the mixture seemed very dry.  But the recipe does not add eggs

The way I have been making the recipe is to mix all the dry ingredients, add to the fruit mixture and then the grated vegetables and then the wet ingredients.   

Spoon into prepared moulds

Cover with tin foil and steam on a rack in a large pot or canner for 3 hours. Cool and freeze 

This picture and a blog by the Mennonite Girls Can Cook brought back memories of Mom canning her pudding in mason jars.