Thursday, December 31, 2009



New Year is a very exciting event in my life and the life of my family. Generally, this is the day when we exchange the presents and Santa Claus might stop by to bring something special for my kids. This is the day, for which, the menu has to be thought through weeks before the event. I cook a lot for 31 December. I try to be rational, and break cooking steps in parts, like boiling the vegetables for salads one day ahead, or baking the sponge cakes. The regular dishes are extremely popular on New Year's Eve table almost in every post-Soviet countries families. We cook "Olivie" salad, "Herring under the fur coat", Caviar on top of the crust bread and champagne. Even, many are saying that all the heavy salads with mayonnaise and meat are sooo bad for your body, and I clearly understand that. Still, the taste of it reminds of childhood, spent awaiting for the presents, and the Holiday spirit full of magic and surprises. 

The Menu for the New Year party.

Olivie salad
Herring under the coat of shredded cooked vegetables
Carrots salad -Korean style
Stuffed cherry tomatoes
Caviar tart
Shrimp, cucumber and avocado salad
Crab cakes
Shrimp Kebabs
Smoked Salmon souffle
Mushroom paste
Eggplant rolls
Lamb Ribs
Young potatoes
My Special Cake 
Ant House Cake in a shape of Tiger's head

There is a tradition to make wishes , while the clock's beat goes on for 12 times. We all spend those beats with the dreams and wishes in our head. I wish you to never forget you wishes and keep dreaming no matter what it takes. 

Happy New Year!!! Have a great 2010!!!!

The recipes will be published after 1st. January. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


   The recipe from SULTANORHANGAZI. (youtube recipe)

   I make baklava pretty often and always try something new, trying to find the one, the perfect one. This time , I tried the recipe , which I found on YouTube channel. I followed exact recipe, and I loved it. The baklava pieces come very light, because you use only 2 sheets of filo pastry per a row. It's good to know, but doesn't save you from the calories, because everyone just had 10 pieces at a time. It's easy to make and fast. The rolling pin that she has in the video is also available in asian supermarkets. Mine is a little bit short, that's why I had to cut 2 cm from the edge of the pastry to fit the rolling pin.

Christmas Card. Project for kids.

 I volunteered in my son's class yesterday as an art teacher. I decided to show them how to make a greeting card. This is an  easy project and with your help and a little story, your kids will have fun making it.

 The first greeting cards, is believed, were used in China in 1400s. Chinese people celebrated the Traditional Chinese New Year and loved to exchange the greetings written on a small cards. The European travelers loved the idea of giving cards and brought it with them to Europe. Germans , of course took the whole idea to a new level and decided to print greeting cards. They used carved wood blocks to make copies of the same card. I showed kids stamps and we made some nice small stamped cards. 

 One of the oldest Valentine card is kept in British Museum . The card is more than 600 years old. I asked children when do we use cards and why do we need them. We also discussed the meaning of the tradition word. They decided that giving and receiving card was a beautiful tradition that made people happy. 

 I told them that very real artist needs an INSPIRATION. We discussed the inspiration meaning and they shared their favorite inspiration with me. I baked some gingerbread man cookies at home and brought them for children as an inspiration for their project. They learned that the gingerbread cookies recipe came from Germany and that Germans brought it with them to America. Germans loved the beautiful state Pennsylvania and built their houses in Lancaster county. We discussed the ways of decoration of the house and trees and learned that the same ornaments and decorations were not available at that time. That's why children loved the decorated gingerbread cookies. The used them to hang on the Christmas trees and used to put them on the windows. The passing by people saw the little smiley faces of the cookies and that cheered them up in  cold, winter days.


You will need

1 RED or GREEN cardstock paper folded in half for the card.
1 BROWN paper for the gingerbread man
1 Strip of some colorful paper (you can look in your wrapping paper collection)
1 BLUE cardstock paper
Construction paper for buttons and decoration of the gingerbread man
Hole Puncher
Glue stick or glue dots
Christmas themed stamps and Ink pad

For children I made templates of the Ginger man out of Cereal boxes. They had to just trace the figure on the brown paper and cut it out. If you have little kids, then precut all the "ingredients" of the card, and then simply assembly them on the card. Decorate it with some stamping or color it with a white pencil.

Have Fun!!!

Monday, December 14, 2009


  This recipe is from "Great Recipes of the Great Cooks" cookbook by Patrick Clark. The recipe requires to cook your own Moroccan Barbecue Sauce. The sauce is to die for. It's sweet , delicious, with nice heat and aromas. The sauce is about 1 cup and it will be enough for couple times.


2 1/2 cups honey
1 cup ketchup
1 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
Juice of 2 limes
1 tbsp chile paste with garlic  (You can find it in Asian food store)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
5 star anise
2 small cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1 tsp ground cardamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground mace (I didn't have mace, and it was still fine)

In a medium -sized nonreactive saucepan, combine the honey, ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce, lime juice, chile paste, cilantro, ginger, star anise, cinnamon sticks, coriander seeds, peppercorns, cardamon, cloves, and mace and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer , stirring frequently, for about 45 minutes, or until reduced by one third. Strain through a fine strainer into a bowl and discard the solids. Cool to room temperature.

After you prepared the recipe above, and cool it to the room temperature, preheat the oven to  400 degrees F.
Season the salmon to taste with coarse salt and pepper, lay on a heavy-duty baking sheet, and baking for 7 minutes. remove the pan from the oven and lightly coat the salmon steaks or fillet with the sauce. Roast  the fish until ready.
You can serve it with additional sauce.

Saturday, December 5, 2009



Sorry, I do not have picture. The dish was gone in seconds, and I couldn't find anything left for the photo. This curry is very delicious. You can easily substitute chicken with vegetables or tofu and make your own vegetarian version of curry. Serve it with basmati rice. 


I used about 2 pounds of chicken thighs cut into cubes
2 yellow onions chopped
4 cloves of garlic chopped
1 inch of fresh ginger peeled and chopped
1/2 stick unsalted butter or ghee
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
3 tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp of mustard seed (my own preference, optional)
1 tsp turmeric (optional)
1 can of crushed tomatoes
10 fresh cilantro
1 cup cashews grounded in food processor
1 cup whole-milk regular yogurt (if I don't have yogurt, I substitute it with sour-cream mixed with kefir)

Heat butter in heavy pot. Cook the onions until golden color. Add the garlic and ginger. Cook 1 minute and add all the spices ( curry, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, mustard seeds, salt). Cook the spices for 2 minutes, do not forget to stir it. Add chicken and stir. Cook chicken for 5-7 minutes and add tomatoes. After the sauce will start boil, lower the heat and simmer it for 30 minutes. Do not forget to stir.

Pulse you cashews in food processor and when the chicken is ready, add the cashews with yogurt into the curry. Stir very well and cook just until first bubble.  Chop the cilantro leaves and garnish the curry.

Friday, December 4, 2009



1 whole red snapper (ask the guy from the store to clean the fish)
olive oil
salt, ground pepper
1 lemon
1/2 of a yellow onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 ziplock bag

The fish is perfect as good lamb chops with simple seasoning like salt and pepper. My kids, unfortunately, don't like the fishy smell and that's why I try to marinate fish for at least 30 minutes in lemon juice.

Prepare your fish, wash the inside and dry the fish with paper towels. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 lemon, chop the garlic, add a little bit of extra-virgin olive oil. Sprinkle the fish cavity with salt and pepper. Put the fish into a ziplock bag and pour the lemon juice mixture. After locking the bag, massage the fish with juice and leave it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Line a heavy baking sheet with foil and and oil it with olive oil. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place fish atop the foil. Slice the onions into rings. Place few circles of onion inside the fish. If you have few sprigs of rosemary, place it inside the fish. Slice the lemon and place few slices on top of the fish.

Bake the fish for about 40 minutes until the fish is cooked through the bone.