February 4, 2013
(Russian Cold Cucumber Soup)
February 4: National Homemade Soup Day
A Russian friend of a friend came to our house blessing in Illinois and was kind enough to share a cultural dish for our special occasion. Kristina Y., whom we met through our Ukrainian friend Olga W., made a refreshing cold cucumber soup called okroshka. They explained that it is eaten during the short summer months in Russia and Ukraine.
Although it is still winter in the northern hemisphere, and hot homemade soups are on most menus, okroshka may still be enjoyed where the weather is warm (such as in the southern hemisphere).
For a refreshing Russian soup, try okroshka for National Homemade Soup Day.
(Adapted from Bella Online)
- 1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped
- ½ cup green onions, sliced (green parts only)
- 2 sprigs fresh dill, minced
- 2-3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
- 4 cups water
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 ½ cups cooked ham, chopped
- salt to taste
Chop the cucumber, slice the green onions, mince the dill and chop the eggs. Place everything in a large bowl.
Pour in the water. Mix in the sour cream. Chop the ham and add it to the soup. Season with salt. Chill in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to blend. Ladle into soup bowls. Garnish with additional dill (optional). Serve cold.
- This soup is traditionally made with kvass (a fermented beverage made from rye bread). However, it is difficult to find kvass here so it is fine to use water as the liquid in the soup. Kvass adds a unique flavor to the soup.
- Instead of ham, sausages or other flavorful cooked meats, such as lamb, beef or chicken, may be used in this recipe.
- Sometimes ice cubes are added to the recipe to ensure a very chilled soup.
- Thanks to Olga W. for the ceramic figurine from Ukraine which we used in the final food photo above.
- January is also National Soup Month.
November 1, 2011
(Filipino-Style Vinegar Cucumbers)
November 1: National Vinegar Day
Filipino foods are often a blend of sour (asim), salty (alat) and sweet (tamis) flavors for a unique mouthwatering mix. Suka pipino (vinegar cucumbers) is an example of a Filipino-style side salad that has the cultural cuisine characteristic of “sour-salty-sweet” ingredients all in one.
Islander’s Mommy sometimes served suka pipino for her family. The simple yet very vinegary cucumbers balanced the soy sauce-marinated meat dishes that she also made for our mealtimes.
Savor some suka and pucker up with pipino and make vinegar cucumbers as a Filipino-style side salad on National Vinegar Day.
- 1 large cucumber
- ¼ cup vinegar (we used sugar cane vinegar)
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- salt and pepper to tast
Wash, pare and slice the cucumber. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar with the sugar. Mix in the sliced cucumbers. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve as a side salad.
- Apple cider vinegar may be used in this recipe instead of sugar cane vinegar. Clear vinegar also is fine.
April 11, 2010
April 11: Feast Day of St. Stanislaus of Szczepanów
When we visited Bandera, Texas, during one of our weekend road trips, we stopped by the second oldest Polish parish in the United States, St. Stanislaus Catholic Church. Immigrants from Poland founded this town, which is now known as the “Cowboy Capital of the World,” in 1855. The church was built in 1876 and is recorded as a Texas Historical Landmark. The featured blog recipe for the Feast Day of St. Stanislaus, the martyred patron and first saint of Poland, is mizeria z ogórków, a simply refreshing Polish cucumber salad with a sour cream dressing.
(Adapted from Polish Forums)
- 1 large cucumber
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
Peel and thinly slice the cucumber. Place the slices in a colander and sprinkle with a little salt. Let stand for 30 minutes to drain the liquid. Pat the slices dry with a paper towel. In a large mixing bowl, make the dressing by combining the sour cream, dill, lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper. Add the cucumber slices to the bowl and mix well. Chill the salad in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Garnish with extra dill before serving.
- Panna Maria, Texas, is the oldest Polish settlement in the United States since 1852. Panna Maria means Virgin Mary in Polish, and the immigrants built the first Polish parish in America in 1856.