Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Cannellini Beans Salad

I realized that I haven't posted for several days. Time flies. It's all started with that little "vase project", which had a snowball effect, meaning we re-organized the whole house. There was a lot of moving furniture, changing decor, some wall painting, but not a lot of cooking. Salads came to rescue for lunch and dinner.

Cannellini Beans Salad

2 cups Cannellini Beans, cooked 
2 red bell pepper
1/2 cup green olives, sliced
2 limes 
1 cup green onions, chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 tbsp olive oil
cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients, and juice from one lime. Mix well, and chill in the refrigerator for minimum two hours. Serve with a lime wedge and a few cilantro leaves. 

See you,

Friday, May 25, 2012

Picnic Time

To party at this Marina you don't have to have a luxury yacht, or even a small boat; you don't even have to be near the water. All you have to do is enjoy the food and have some fun...

A refreshing tabbouleh salad with roasted eggplants and zucchini with an apricot. 

A meat pastry (belyashi) with tomato juice or adult version: bloody Mary.

Fried green tomatoes and catfish would certainly comfort any tiered traveler of the world.

A garden fresh salad...

and Roasted eggplants (aubergine) and potato risotto to satisfy a gourmet friend.

A glass of champagne orange sorbet...

with an orange margarita...

or some strawberry lemonade.

And if you have room for dessert:
donutella or...

a slice (or two, or three...) of cake Napoleon?

He is ready to party at that tent... 

And make sure you have a great time! :)

See you,

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Accidental Oat Pancakes

This morning I was bitten by a bug. I was having my morning tea , and one of those "I don't like how this vase on my fireplace looks like, I need to do something there" bug.  And guess what? Twelve hours later the whole room is transformed: I painted the wall above the fireplace; I re-arranged two closets and freed up a small bookshelf to go in the living room as a space divider and to serve as a shelf for my photo props. The place looks crisp and fresh, and now I need to decorate it as the vase that started it all is just a lone standing figure above the renovated fireplace.
While working in the closet I re-organised my clothes by sleeves (sleeveless, short, and long); I got rid of any clothes I have not used in a year; I did laundry; and I am ready for some rest.

So what all of this has to do with the oat pancakes? And why it's accidental? Well, at first it was suppose to be a bread, a rye bread. Last night I mixed all the ingredients, put the dough to rise, clean the kitchen counter and took the flour bag to put it in it's place just to realize that I used an oat flour instead! 
It wasn't in my plans to make an oat bread and I added some water to the dough to thin it out and make a batter to use in the morning. 
In the morning, before the cleaning-painting-organizing bug bit me, I made a great pancakes. To the batter that I already had from the last night, I added an egg, two cups cottage cheese and some sugar. Then spooned it into a frying pan, cooked it on both sides until golden brown. I served it with a sour cream and strawberries. I know sour cream sound strange for many of you, so just use whipped cream, maple syrup, honey, or whatever you like with your regular pancakes. Those pancakes were good, and gave me energy to run all day to do my "little" project - the vase project.

I also painted my photography board...  :)

Does it ever happened to you: 
one small thing spontaneously  leads to a big all day project?

See you,

Monday, May 21, 2012

Back to the Roots: Beets

If I have to rank my favorite root vegetables, the list would definitely start with beets. From a reach dark ruby color to a delicate taste I love it all in the beets. 

My culinary experience with it is wide: beet juice, pickled beets, raw beets salad, baked beets salad, stews, and the king of all -  the borscht. 
This summer version of the borscht is great either cold or warm.

When I was babysitting last week, I made borscht from the ingredients that were available in the kitchen. Actually, all you need for summer borscht are beets.  

The Borscht


  • 5-7 medium beets, baked, then peeled and shredded
  • 1 medium size onion, chopped
  • 2 Russet potatoes (or any other), peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 cabbage head, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2-3 liters water or stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large bowl combine shredded beets, apple cider and the sugar. Mix and set aside.
2. Start in a large pot you will be cooking borscht with heating the olive oil, then add onions and saute it until golden brown.
3. Add beets and stir it 2-3 minutes.
4. Add water or stock of your choice (I prefer to use water for this summer version), bring it to a boil. Less water will make the borscht thick, so you choose how much water to add.
5. Add potatoes and cabbage, reduce heat to a medium and simmer until potatoes are done (about 15-20 minutes).
6. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
7. Enjoy it warm, with a dollop of sour cream on top, or cold (my personal favorite to eat it cold next day when all the flavor  blends).

He loves the smell of the borscht too... 

See you,

Friday, May 18, 2012

My Office This Week

Destin, Florida (via text from my friends)

Destin, Florida (via text)

While my friends are enjoying this views (above) I am working on the location. Here are just a few shots, a sneak-pick of what's coming up.


Iced tea


Hot afternoon

Friday evening... Kids are off school for the summer...
Party time for me: margarita night!

Have a great weekend, my friends!

See you,

Thursday, May 17, 2012

First Tomato from the Garden

Today I checked on my garden for the first time since I've been taking care of two houses (I am still babysitting and cat sitting at my friend's house), and 
I was gifted by a one of the tastiest tomato I've ever tried.

First tomato

To enjoy the flavor of the real tomato I just sprinkled it with sea salt and drizzled it with a little sunflower oil.

I planted the seeds of this tomatoes on January 6th. My idea was to start earlier so by the time the heat hits my plants, they already have the fruits set. The reason to do it was my unsuccessful experience last year. I had a strong plants but no tomatoes: pollen dies when temperature is above 95F (35C). We had a record high temperature last summer, above 100F for a few months. 
So far my experiment is working...

See you,

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


This week I am babysitting, cat sitting, house sitting, fish sitting...  My friend is on vacation in Florida, and I am on vacation at her place. 

I think he is doing well... :)

She called me asking how everyone is doing. Well, here is how: in the morning kids woke up, had a breakfast and drove themselves to school. Yes, those babies I am watching are teenagers, her daughter and my son. 

Wishing them a safe drive, I went outside to check a weather, fed the cat and played with him until he walked away.
Then I did some chores around her house, and went home to do chores around my house, including making some food for the teenagers and The Husband. 

Yeast dough, ground meat...

place the meat on the dough, wrap around... fry on both  sides...

By the time kids called me to let me know that they are home, I was almost done with my cooking.  
I told them what I made for them and they eagerly waited for me and the food. :) 

Although they had some soup when they came back from school, they didn't hesitate to finish up that plate. Kids, I envy your metabolism!

Belyashi, pickled beets and tomato juice with lovage

My calories I had to work out, this time I did it in the pool. 
I do feel as I am having a little vacation on my own...

See you,

Monday, May 14, 2012

Cake Napoleon, and a Renaissance Getaway

My Mother's Day started with a slice of cake Napoleon, that I made, following my mother's recipe
The day was promising a good weather for some outdoor activities. What kind? Well, have a piece of that cake, and get comfortable: we are going to Oklahoma Renaissance Festival.

                              Where am I?

Really? Do I need to dress up? Which one shell I choose?

Amm? May be not this time...

That's better...

That way!

Transportation option:

That is one of the "high-tech" brooms, if you ask me...

My head is spinning and I am hungry. 
What do they serve in the Castle?
Turkey leg!

A Turkey leg and a root beer "to go" XV century style...

As good as it could be...

See you,