Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pancake Day

This morning, before I went on with my daily routine, I had my morning cup of tea and a dose of Facebook. From there I've learned that today is a National Pancake Day. Well, it took care of my dinner plans and I carried on with my Thursday 'to do" list. Quite quickly I realized that I am missing a few ingredients for my pancakes. 

See, what we call pancakes are actually crapes that come with different fillings. Some like it savory (me), and some like it sweet (the rest of my family). The sweet filling wasn't an issue: I have plenty preserves to cover a few miles of pancakes. 
As of savory part I knew exactly what I wanted but I had to get it. If I were as good as my mother in mycology (part of biology that studies fungi) I would go foraging for some wild mushrooms, specifically chanterelles. But because of fear of being lost in the woods keeps me always on the hiking trail my chances to pick some mushrooms were very small. 
So I went "foraging" to a local farm that sells chanterelle mushrooms, and  qtoday it was as fresh as it could be (by looking at it I had suspicion it was picked this morning - that fresh!) 
Why did I want to go through all this trouble? Well, because a) it is a chanterelle season (and I guess all other mushrooms too), and b) I wanted my crapes stuffed with mushrooms and cheese. 

There's no recipe today, everyone knows how to make crapes, right? or pancakes? Then just choose your topping. 
For me it was fresh chanterelle mushrooms, sauteed in a little butter with shallots. Then I topped crapes with mushrooms and some Manchego cheese, folded it and warmed on one side in a skillet until cheese started to melt. Oh my! 
For my sweet loving part of the family I made ricotta cheese filling with a touch of honey, and topped the crapes with raspberry preserve. 

As of that National Pancake Day, it's confusing. I've seen it being celebrated on February 5th; then on February 28th; then on September 26th, then in Russia it's a whole Pancake week before Great Lent. 

But then, do we need a reason to have a Pancake day? :)

See you,

Friday, September 20, 2013

Welcome Back!

We have moved!!! I think it said it all about why I wasn't here lately. I tried. But with packing, moving, two graduations, driving cross-country, unpacking, and everything in between... there wasn't much time left for blogging. 
One evening, somewhere in Arizona, while struggling to connect to a hotel's wi-fi, my son said to me: "Why are you getting so anxious about posting? Take a break, everyone needs some vacation time, even a blogger". I looked at him with admiration: smart kid! "I think I might just do that!" was all I said. 
I am so glad I did take a break. I was worn out both mentally and physically. Let me tell you, moving is no fun! Even if it sounds pretty exiting at first, when you get to the reality of actual process it's a lot of work. Well, you know that, right? 
With all that said, I did miss all of you this Summer, no question there! I am so glad to be back indeed.

Unpacking is not the only thing I did upon our arrival. Because we spent a good half of the Summer traveling my other goal was to catch the season by it's tail and preserve something for upcoming winter. 
For that I go to our Farmer's Market every Saturday, and, oh boy, what a bounty there is! I buy berries, fruits and vegetables in bulk. We eat it fresh as much as we can and the rest goes into jams, jellies, relishes, gets pickled and fermented. I experiment with the recipes, and I make things old fashioned way, a.k.a. my grandmother's and my mother's way. 

Yesterday I made this absolutely delicious tomato sauce, after which it would be really-really hard to use a store bought one. The recipe is from my mother (I am sure many home cooks have something similar in their recipe box), she always makes it in large quantities. We are talking about 50-70 liters per year here. I made a small batch to try. Tonight, teenager and his friend had last of the sauce with pork ribs.  I guess I have to do more bulk shopping for tomatoes. 

The recipe for this basic tomato sauce is very simple, the secret is in simmering this sauce for 1,5-2 hours, steering 20-25 minutes to prevent it from scorching.  

2 kg (5 Lb) tomatoes
500 g (1,5 Lb) onions
Basil leaves

Run the sauce through a food mill or tomato strainer, and it's ready to become a delicious pasta sauce (just add salt), or more intense meat sauce, or tomato soup base, or whatever you chose it to be. It tastes fantastic. Try to make it, you'll be glad you did. 

See you,