Friday, March 30, 2012


Dear friend, 
Walk with me along the shore and treat yourself to a cool horchata and a warm meal. 

Photo courtesy of A.Mischenko

Along the pathway:

Hibiscus in bloom


Busy bee 

Lilac smells... delicious!

Are you hungry? Welcome to the table...

Meatballs with potatoes, sauteed mirepoix in vegetable broth

Chives and Herbs de Provence Mustard add a spicy touch to this dish.

Did you save some room for dessert?

Horchata and strawberries

I found this recipe on one of the blogs I follow Averie Cooks. Because I didn't know what I was doing as I never tried Horchata myself, I followed her instruction exactly (doesn't happen in my kitchen that often). There was nothing left to strain: all ingredients were blended into a creamy refreshing drink. I fell in love with horchata from the first sip. I found it to be a great after-workout pick-me-up. 
For recipe and detailed instructions visit Averie

From now on horchata anchored itself in my kitchen with many variations and ingredients to play with: alcohol, barley (European version), different nuts...

Don't forget to sail back into marina to try some!

Have you tried horchata? 
Have you made any new drinks lately?

See you,

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Oh, Man!

Photo courtesy of A.Mischenko

Yes, some changes here... I am taking my blog-boat into the different direction. Enjoy the sail with me, my friends! And stop at the Marina to refuel yourself with a good food.

See you,

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Just Some Food

Today was a hectic day: all day long I was dealing with all kinds of repair services: air conditioner, plumbing,  electrical. Yes, that's how much happened just in one day. I used all my ability to speak coherently, so just enjoy the pictures of good food! And look at it with a smile...

See you,

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sorrel Soup

Last night, while we were watching No Reservations' episode in Mexico (I am thankful to have Netflix and option to choose what and when I want to watch, and no commercials!), the husband suddenly dropped: "I would love to have one of the mother-in-law soups. Sorrel would be so nice..." And he went on talking about Mexico. 
I know he loves all food my mother makes, which I've learned to make a long time ago but often forget how delicious and great can be just a simple food. I often try to elaborate the dish, or create almost a restaurant quality meal, putting many hours into it. They (family) love it, they enjoy it, and then they ask to make next day something very simple, like baked potatoes, or sorrel soup. 
There was an episode on No Reservation, when Anthony Bourdain has a talk show in one of the very upscale restaurants in New York. His guests were food writers, critics, Food Network celebrity. During  one of the exceptional courses, he made a comment how great this place was and how far the chef pushed to create those fantastic dishes, and asked each guests what would be their last meal if they were to die next day. Guess what was the answer? Everyone would want to have a very simple meals that their mothers would make: macaroni and cheese, casserole, soup. 
That moment imprinted in my mind so deep, that I've been thinking about it since. There is something about home cooked meals, unchanged for generations, cooked the same way for a century or more, that makes my heart smile each time I think about it. And I can never get bored of that food. 


Sorrel Soup

1 tbsp corm meal (for polenta)
2 Russet potatoes, cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp sun dried tomatoes flakes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup sorrel,  shifonade
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2L vegetable or chicken stock, or just plain water.  2liters is about 1/2 gallon
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oil in a cast iron pot (or any other pot of your choice) on a medium-high. Add chopped onions and sprinkle with salt, stir 1 minute and add sun dried tomato flakes, stir for another minute and add potatoes. Give it a good stir and add liquid of your choice.
Bring it to a boil, add a teaspoon of salt, stir, and taste. Adjust salt if needed. Turn the heat to the medium, add corn meal, and simmer until potatoes are done (about 10 minutes). 
In the last minute add sorrel shifonade and turn the heat off. Add finely chopped parsley, cover and let it rest for about 10-15 minutes. 

Sorrel soup 

Serving suggestions: half of hard boiled egg, sour cream, lemon.


How often do you want a simple meal 
from your mother's kitchen?

See you,

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bread Day

Bread is such an amazing food: we can never get bored from eating it. One bread in particular is my all time favorite: I've been eating it since I learned how to eat. This bread my grandmother use to make every week, and every time we were eagerly waiting for her to get the fresh loaf from the oven. 
She always told us to wait until it cools down. Guess what?  Yes, you are right, we never did. As soon as the bread was warm enough to handle, we would brake a piece out of it, pour a glass of buttermilk, and run outside to eat it. Life is good with bread!

This bread is made from the same dough that my usual bread with addition of filling.


Filling: one egg, 2/3 cup farmer's cheese, 1 tbsp dry dill, salt

Filling mixed and ready to be used

Dough is rolled and the filing is evenly distributed on the top



and enjoy! 

See you,

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thursday Fun

Today I had a late lunch planned with a few of my friends. And let me tell you how it all went. 
Noon: text message exchange to confirm who picks up whom and at what place we meet.  Quick shower, not so quick make up, dress up.  One last look in the mirror, another touch of the lip gloss, and happy me is out of the door.
12.45 PM: I started  my car, released the emergency break, reverse... and an unashamed warning light  caught my attention.

Yes, that light. See, that exclamation point in parenthesis? Not moving an inch, I put the car back in park, emergency breaks up (habit), out of the car to check the tiers, and...

Ha-ha! My reaction? Panic, a little, just to let all the adrenalin and frustration out. 
After my short panic ritual, a very necessary I'd tell you, I was back to my normal self: called my friends letting them know that I am not coming because I have another priority to address at this time. 
Called the AAA (emergency roadside assistance):
Me: Hello! (after about 5 minutes on hold) I need assistance with a flat tire.
AAA: Yes, we can send someone. Where are you?
Me: In front of my home, I haven't moved an inch yet.
AAA: What color is your car and what model?
Me: Red Toyota Corolla.
AAA: Are you in Washington (state)?
Me: (confused, and after a short pause) No-o-o, I am in Arkansas!
AAA: I am in Washington, let me transfer you to someone in Arkansas.
Me: OK (but she already put me on hold).
At this point I was smiling from ear to ear: it would be interesting to wait for help from Washington...:)

Music playing on a line for another 3 minutes or so.
AAA: Hello, how we can help you?
Me: I have a flat tire and need either towing or someone to help me change the tire.
AAA: OK, where are you? 
Me: At home (telling them my address).
AAA: OK, I will send someone to you. It will take about an hour.
Me: Fine, thanks.

Well, I need to admit, AAA were at the best of their service. The technician came in about 20 minutes, changed the tires, and I was on my way to the repair shop shortly. 
The next few hours I spent in the waiting room while the tire was fixed.  I wasn't angry or nervous. I was so perfectly calm. I met a few people in the waiting room and had a nice chat with them, laughing here and there. 
Yes, I would much prefer to spend time with my friends than in the waiting room of the tire place. But it was a new experience for me to learn how to accept the surprises life gives me on the way and not to stress out about it. 

When the tire was fixed, I had just enough time to get to the yoga class: to breathe, to stretch, to relax, and to open my mind to a new adventures life has to offer. 

Singing bawl... 

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” (Max Planck)

In the end, it was a perfect day just because I am glad I did look at things differently. 

Oh, did I tell you it was raining almost all day?! 


See you,

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Sun

This afternoon, around 5PM, the sun finally showed up after two days of hiding behind the clouds. 
First, a few rays modestly shone through the clouds, then a few more, and then the sun came shining and wrapping everything with it's warmth. 
It was a beautiful moment. 

The trees, washed by the rain from all the dust and pollen, turned its fresh green crowns to greet the sun. Birds were chirping and playing, free from their hiding spots. Everything was in harmony.  And all it needed was the sun!

For my teenager I made some desserts: kiwi sorbet was his favorite...

Were you surprised today?

See you,

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring Break

Teenager is on a spring break, which means no early morning alarms, no driving him to and from the school, the  soccer practice, and any other scheduled and unscheduled activities. For the last two days I slept in almost until noon! That is my very personal record: I don't remember when I let myself to rest this much. But to my defense came my practical wisdom: my body knows better what it needs the most at this moment, so be it.
Rested and really energized, I made an unusual breakfast for a weekday: homemade cream cheese with homemade plum sauce and raspberries.

Cheese and raspberries with a plum sauce

I need to tell you that a homemade soft cheeses taste very different from the commercial. When making the cheese I keep it plane to be able to create a different flavors later: from savory to sweet. Making a soft cheese is not hard at all, and no special equipment needed. A gallon of milk, a stainless still pot, a package of culture, thermometer, and a cheese cloth. The end result is a reward to all your taste buds: creamy texture, fresh taste, no preservatives (which is very important in our family), and versatility it provides: I use it in fillings for my savory bread, as a dressing ingredient, a spread, a dessert, you name it.

Kale chips with egg and radishes, sprinkled with Alaea Hawaiian sea salt

For dinner I made a simple kale chips for my Kale Tuesday with some vegetables and an egg. 
Simple. Delicious. Whole. 

What Kale meal did you make today?

See you,

Monday, March 19, 2012

Announcement, and a Few Follow Ups

Dear friends! I want to let you know how I am adjusting to my new status of being a dependent for the first time in my life. I appreciate all of your support in the Random post, e-mails and phone calls. 
To cheer myself up I went through some therapies as well.

1. Chocolate therapy "for immediate relief of: Chocolate Cravings, Lovesickness, Exam Pressure, Mild anxiety and Extreme Hunger". Even though my case is not listed, it worked well.

2. Sun therapy: worked on my garden.

3. Beer and chocolate therapy while watching No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain.

Love Netflix, my favorite show at any time and no commercials!

4. Book therapy: a few good books can make anyone happier.

5. Kindle therapy, a.k.a. book therapy of the 21st century.

I really need to learn this power of less!

6. Comfort food therapy.

A bawl of spicy roasted potatoes and beer... No comments needed...

7. Shopping therapy, kind off... as I am not a big fan of shopping.

After a long search for a good knife to replace my broken one, I found the winner.
Very similar to one I had, and the price was right too!

How I am doing? Much better when I don't think about being a dependent. Then I need another chocolate...


Now, what is the announcement? When I started this blog, my goal was to share the healthy recipes and also save some of the family recipes. I have noticed (not without help from my family and friends) that my blog went in a narrow direction: totally vegetarian. Many of  you, who know me personally, tasted my non-vegetarian meals, and I've been asked many times when such and such food would appear on the blog pages. So, even though I am still cooking healthy, I've decided to start posting recipes that are not vegetarian. 
As I said before, I am not a vegetarian Nazi, and I don't have any other philosophy in choosing food except our health. As one of the Indian Guru said, for me "food is not a morality. Food is state of well being". 
Hence, I am creating a page to post a non-vegetarian meals to preserve, first of all for my kids, some of the family recipes. 

See you! :)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday Breakfast

Sunday breakfast

While a traditional weekday breakfast in our home is porridge of rolled rye and barley served with blueberries, for our weekends I usually treat my men with something different. I never know what it's going to be until I have my lazy Sunday morning cup of tea with a few pages of the book I am reading. Those are my 15-20 minutes of peaceful time while everyone is still asleep. This morning was no exception either.  
Then, I started making a batch of vegetable stock for a week. I prepared carrots, peppers, celery, onions, garlic, and zucchinis to go in the oven. Then I looked at the baking pan before sending it to the oven a breakfast idea "hit" me: pancakes! But not your usual pancakes with buttermilk and syrup. I wanted something with spicy kick in it, and some vegetables. So... chickpea-zucchini pancakes with a spicy parsley-garlic sauce... to wake up all the senses!

Chickpea-zucchini pancakes with a spicy parsley-garlic sauce


  • 4 zucchinis, shredded
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 hipping tablespoons chickpea flour
  • 1 tablespoon amaranth
  • 1 tablespoon corn flour
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dry dill
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Shredded zucchini
Mix all the ingredients together to form a batter and let it rest for about 15 minutes. Preheat non-stick skillet, add a few drops of oil, and spoon butter to form small pancakes. Cook about 1 minute, and flip it on the other side. The color should be golden-brown. If it's too dark, turn the heat to a medium high or even a medium. Taste the first pancake for the seasoning, and adjust, if needed, to your taste.

Handful of parsley ...
and the other ingredients for the sauce
Spicy parsley-garlic sauce (dressing):

  • 1 handful parsley
  • 3 clove garlic
  • 2 tbsp sour cream (or plain yogurt)
  • juice from one lemon
  • 1 generous tbsp shredded Pecorino Romano cheese

Whiz it the ingredients in a blender or a food processor to a creamy consistency and serve.

Parsley-garlic sauce is a perfect dressing for any vegetables

Spice up your day!

What was your breakfast today?

Until next time,
Cowboy Country Vegetarian

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Hot Day

Lime lemonade
It is official: today we turned on our air conditioner: temperature inside was 82F, outside was close to 90F (30C). I looked at the calendar three times to make sure that last week we switch only clock to the summer time, not the season. No, still March. 
Traditionally I start making a lemonade on Memorial Day. This time mother nature made correction to this routine as well: we were desperate for a cool drink and a spicy meal.

Pasta with a spicy parsley sauce and a lime lemonade
I made a lime lemonade and a pasta with a spicy parsley sauce. Lately I fell in love with all type of garlic sauces, dressings, and dips. This one is one of my latest creations: handful of parsley, a small piece of Pecorino Romano cheese, juice of one whole lemon, 3 cloves garlic, a tablespoon of good olive oil, a tablespoon of veganaise, a handful of walnuts all run through a food processor or a blender. Teenager had it twice!

Have you re-discovered a "new" old ingredient? 
What is it?

Until next time,
Cowboy Country Vegetarian