Saturday, April 30, 2011

Galushte - Stuffed Grape Leaves...

  ...but not limited to them, since you can choose cabbage leaves or any other suitable wrapping to fold in the stuffing. The stuffing? I had barley, grated carrot and chopped onions here, seasoned with black pepper, salt, garlic and parsley- just play with it, what the heck? Wrap it, place the dumplings in a backing dish, fill with vegetable broth or water and bake them till done- you know it!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Easter!!! Enjoy the Pasca.

Back in Moldova we celebrate Easter with less pastels, more reds, less bunnies and certainly a great variety of dishes, some of them of "only Easter" type. Pasca is the name of the Easter Bread traditionally eaten first thing on Easter morning, after being sanctified at church with the holy water called agheazma.

Though they come in a greater variety, this cheese topped bread braided with a cross is the common one used in the part om Moldova I come from. The cheese used is typically the "brinza de vaca" type (which requires egg for better binding), a yogurt based cottage cheese, but I took the liberty of using cream cheese here, and no egg at all.

My mother tells me that when she grew up, this was the only bread eaten for the next 40 days following Easter, but here we all love it, and sometimes I even bake it beyond the Season. Forgiveness please.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Besan Ladoo- A Heartfull for a Little Sweetheart

My lil'princess turned two this week, and, apart from the traditional cake and candles, I decided to make and take some ladoos to our local Sai Baba Temple here, for the place has become like our second home now. I have never been too keen on the Oh-My God-So -Sweet-and- Rich Indian desserts, but ladoos are irresistible, and thought, auspicious too!

I have borrowed the recipe from

Manjula Ji does a great job of explaining every step of it.  I took the liberty and made some changes, like using brown sugar instead of white one, and replacing pistachoes with almonds. I made about 110 small ladoos, and they went like "hot cakes" on Thursday, Baba's big Aarthi day. 

 Please help yourselves!

Distributing the ladoos after devotees take the prasad

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Vinegret- a Cold Salad

Lent (Postul Mare) is the period from  Lăsat Săcului until Easter (7 weeks) observed by Orthodox Christians as a season of fasting and penitence in preparation for Easter. During these days devotees become literally vegans- at least in our tradition- no animal source food allowed, although  fish is being allowed at certain times. 
My mother is quite devoted to fasting, and since she is now visiting us here in the US, I got her rather confused with my vegetarian diet, since she thinks  is a full time fasting anyways, with the often vegan intrusions into it. 
This salad here, called Vinegret, is a very famous one, both in Russia and some countries around her. A favourite in winter, it makes a perfect salad for a more formal party, especially during lent
Consisting of finely diced cooked potatoes, beets, carrots, beans, green peas, onions, pickled cucumber and dressed with a mixture of (I assume this is the vinaigrette) oil, red wine vinegar, black pepper and salt- the salad is bound to win the hearts of those trying it, as it recently happened during one of my dinners.

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