Kotlety (Котлеты)

(Ukrainian Ground Meat Patties)

November 12: Feast Day of St. Josaphat Kuntsevych

When we used to live in Illinois, we met our friend Olga W.’s parents while they were visiting the United States from Ukraine for the first time. As they did not understand or speak English, Olga joked that her mouth was getting tired and her voice was getting hoarse from translating for everyone in our culturally diverse group. Then her mother cooked us a typical Ukrainian dinner of ground meat patties and served them with potatoes, brown gravy and a dilly tomato-cucumber-onion salad. “Mmmmm” needs no translation! All together at the dinner table, we graciously shared a common human need and love for food.

Ukrainian-born St. Josaphat Kutsevych (Йосафат Кунцевич), a Polish-Lithuanian monk and Orthodox archbishop, believed in bringing people together in the Christian faith. He was martyred on November 12, 1623, because he wanted to unite Christians (Orthodox, Catholics and Protestants).  Read the reflection of what St. Josaphat’s life mission was about at the Franciscan Media website.

Like edible ecumenism, in this Ukrainian style meat patties recipe, ground pork is often mixed with another ground meat (beef, chicken or turkey). There are many variations to this recipe but the result is still the same deliciousness! So in honor of this bold Ukrainian saint and his idea to mix things together, we were inspired to cook kotlety for his feast day. Mmmmm!

Recipe

Adapted from Olga W.’s Mom

Ingredients

  • ½ pound ground pork
  • ½ pound ground beef, chicken or turkey (we used beef)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ small onion, grated
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • oil for frying

Directions

In a bowl, combine the ground meats with the egg. Grate the onion and add it to the mixure.

Sprinkle the garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Add the bread crumbs. Mix well. Use a large ice cream scoop to make balls. Flatten lightly into patties.

Heat a little oil on the bottom of a skillet. Fry the patties until browned on both sides and cooked through in the middle. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot.

Notes

Barbara Bush Cookies

November 6:Election Day 2018

We have been making cookies for Election Day events for some time now, using the presidential bake-off recipes from “Family Circle” magazine. These chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, submitted by former FLOTUS Barbara Bush, were among the first to be included in the publication’s inaugural cookie contest back in 1992. Although her recipe “lost” and her husband, George H.W. Bush, did not get re-elected, according to the magazine’s mythical prediction, Barbara Bush’s cookies have remained popular ever since the Houstonian Hotel asked her permission to put them on the Olivette restaurant’s menu.

On April 17, 2018, Barbara Bush passed away. As a respectful tribute to the late First Lady, we baked a batch of her cookies, which are also suitable to serve at social gatherings during the midterm elections.

Recipe

Adapted from the Houstonian Hotel

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar, granulated white
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats (not instant)
  • 6 ounces (half a bag) of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

In a bowl, sift together the flour, slat and baking soda. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter with the white and brown sugar. Beat in the egg. Gradually add the flour mixture and blend well.

Stir in the vanilla. Fold in the oats and chocolate chips. Drop by tablespoonsful onto a lightly greased cookie sheet about two-inches apart to allow for spreading.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 12-15 minutes or until the middle of the cookies have set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the cookie sheet for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container. Yield: Approximately 3 dozen.

Notes

  • We photographed our final food photo with a red rose, white pearls and a blue background for a patriotic color palette. Barbara Bush’s favorite color was blue and she was famous for her fashionable accessory (pearls) so we placed a strand of Islander’s beads around the cookies in the late First Lady’s honor.
  • We visited the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas, where Barbara Bush is laid to eternal rest.
  • Try our other Election Day cookie recipes from the presidential bake-off (2012 and 2016). These include both the political parties’ candidates’ Democrat and Republic recipes.
  • Search our blog for other recipes for Election Day (see the Patriotic listing under Theme Menus).

Ghost Peeps Cupcakes

ghostpeepscupcakes

October 31:Halloween

Get into the Halloween a”spirit” and decorate devil’s food cupcakes with marshmallow ghost Peeps and pumpkin candies. They are a simple, cute and quick treat to make with the kids and they sure beat store-bought desserts. Plain cupcakes can be transformed from boring to “boo-tiful” and can be a festive food for Halloween.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • Devil’s food cupcakes (or other favorite flavor)
  • Chocolate frosting (canned or homemade)
  • Marshmallow Peeps ghosts
  • Pumpkin candies (Brach’s brand)

Directions

Bake cupcakes according to the package directions. Cool completely. Spread or pipe frosting on the cupcakes.

ghostpeepscupcakessteps1

Separate the marshmallow Peeps ghosts in the package by cutting between them. Stick a toothpick on the bottom of the Peeps ghost. Insert into the top of a cupcake. Finish decorating by placing a pumpkin candy next to it.

ghostpeepscupcakessteps2

Notes

  • Change the cupcake paper colors to orange, purple, green or other Halloween liners.
  • Vanilla can be substituted for the chocolate frosting.
  • Search our blog for other Halloween recipes.

 

Pumpkin Crunch Cake

October 26: National Pumpkin Day

In Hawaii during fall and Thanksgiving, pumpkin crunch cake is the most-searched recipe on the Internet. As an alternative to pumpkin pie, this dessert holds up well in a tropical climate, can serve lots of local people, is relatively easy to prepare and complements the other ethnic dishes served at potlucks. We have made pumpkin crunch cake for autumn-themed parties and Thanksgiving get-togethers on the mainland and it is a crowd-pleaser. This favorite fall dessert is especially perfect for celebrating National Pumpkin Day!

Recipe

(From Phyllis S.)

Ingredients

  • 1 can (15 ounces) 100% pure pumpkin
  • 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
  • ¾ – 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon ground cloves)
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 – 1 ½ cups chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted and lightly cooled
  • whipped cream (optional frosting)

Directions

Line the bottom of a 9×13” pan with waxed paper. Mist the bottom and sides with cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix together the canned pumpkin and canned evaporated milk. Beat in the eggs. Add the salt.

Mix in the pumpkin pie spice. Pour into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the yellow cake mix evenly over the entire top of the pumpkin mixture. Sprinkle with chopped nuts.

Pour the melted/cooled butter all over the top. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 50 minutes (test the cake for doneness with a toothpick). Cool at room temperature. Cover and refrigerate to set. Invert the pumpkin crunch on a tray and cut into squares. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream (optional).

Notes

  • Smother whipped cream on the cooled cake as a frosting before serving.
  • For potlucks, we omit the whipped cream, cut the cake into 48 pieces and place them in cupcake papers for easy self-serve.
  • Thanks to our friend, Phyllis S., a Hawaii expatriate now living in Texas, for sharing this recipe with us. She served pumpkin crunch cake when she and her husband Pat S. entertained us and other people at their home and it was nostalgic for the locals!
  • Search our blog for other fall favorite foods or pumpkin recipes.

 

Queen Elizabeth’s Drop Scones

October 12, 2018: The Royal Wedding Day of Princess Eugenie of York and Jack Brooksbank

Those who live on the west side of the Atlantic Ocean and are planning to follow the second British royal wedding of the year must wake up really early to watch any news reports due to time differences. A simple British-inspired breakfast with tea and scones would make still-sleepy fans rise and shine for the celebration of marriage between Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank (a low-key event compared to her cousin Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding on May 19).

We have made many royal recipes for our blog before and are now including Queen Elizabeth’s own drop scones for this occasion. Also known as Scotch pancakes (which are basically like American-style “silver dollars”), Her Majesty served these to U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower when he visited her at Balmoral Castle in Scotland in 1959. Her old family recipe is included in the National Archives.

Drop scones/Scotch pancakes/silver dollars are a perfect option for celebrating the royal wedding early in the morning or for a tea time breakfast or brunch. Congratulations to Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank on their wedding day!

Recipe

(Adapted from Town and Country magazine)

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons sugar (superfine preferred)
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted (we used European/Irish style unsalted butter)

Directions

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. In another bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar. Add half the milk. Gradually mix in the dry ingredients.

Mix in the remaining milk and melted butter. Drop by tablespoonsful on a greased griddle/skillet/pan on medium high heat. Do not overcrowd the pan if cooking in batches. Use a spatula to flip the scone on the other side when bubbles appear. Cook until golden brown. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Serve warm with jam, jelly, clotted cream, butter or syrup.

Notes

  • Queen Elizabeth’s original recipe uses teacups for measurements. We have converted them to modern cup measurements above.
  • Search our blog for other royal recipes filed under the British/English/Tea Time section of our Theme Menus.

Maple Leaf Cookies

September 23: Autumn Equinox/Fall Season Begins

Happy fall, y’all! Now that we live in Texas, after having resided in Illinois and New Jersey for a few years, we miss seeing the colors of the leaves on the trees change when the seasons and temperatures transition from summer to fall. Even though a visit to Lost Maples in Vanderpool, Texas, allows us to experience the glorious fall foliage in the southwest, it is not the same or as abundant as when we lived in colder climates. But Islander still appreciates the vibrant and colorful leaves on the mainland during the autumn season that she did not see while growing up in year-round tropical Hawaii.

To celebrate the arrival of autumn, Islander made maple-flavored cookies. She texturized them with a leaf veining mat and used cans of edible color spray to decorate them since she does not own an expensive airbrush machine. The color mist can be layered to give variations in the maple leaf cookies and add natural beauty to these seasonal sweet treats.

For an edible equinox dessert this fall, make maple-flavored cookies misted with glorious autumn colors.

Recipe

(Adapted from Kitchen Lane)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 teaspoons maple flavoring
  • 3 cups flour (all purpose white)
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • fondant (golden yellow, light green, orange, burgundy)
  • powdered sugar for dusting the surface
  • Wilton brand color mist spray (orange, green, red, gold)

Directions

In a bowl, mix the butter with sugar until creamy. Beat in the egg and milk. Add the maple flavoring.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture into the other ingredients and blend well to form a dough. Divide dough in thirds and roll into a ball. Then flatten each ball into a disc and place between sheets of waxed or parchment paper. Roll out to about ¼-inch thick (we used ¼-inch thick acrylic sticks as guides). Stack them on a baking sheet and refrigerate until firm (about 30-45 minutes). They may also be frozen for 15-20 minutes.

Take one stack of flattened dough out of the refrigerator or freezer. Peel away both front and back to loosen, leaving the dough on one sheet of the waxed or parchment paper. Cut out the maple leaf shapes. Place on foil-lined greased cookie pan about 1 ½ – 2 inches apart. Refrigerate the cookie pan. Re-roll scraps of dough and cut more shapes, refrigerating if the dough gets too soft. The dough needs to be cold and firm in order to retain its maple leaf shape. Bake the cookies in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until the sides are very lightly browned. Remove from the oven when done and let sit on the pan for about five minutes. Transfer each cookie on a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container until ready to decorate.

Using the same maple leaf-shaped cookie cutter, cut out shapes on fall colored fondant (roll out to 1/16-inch thickness on a clean surface that has been dusted with a bit of powdered sugar to prevent from sticking. Cover the fondant maple leaf cutouts with plastic wrap to avoid them drying out while working on assembling the cookies.

Place a fondant maple leaf cutout on a leaf veining mat (we used Wilton brand flower impression mold). Lightly press to create the leaf vein texture. Brush maple flavoring on the cookie (see Notes). Position the fondant on top of the cookie and smooth out the edges with warm fingers. Repeat for all cookies.

Line a cookie sheet with paper towels. Place a few cookies on top of the paper towels. Shake the color mist can and lightly spray back and forth on the maple leaf cookies. Layer some of the other fall color mist sprays. Let the cookies dry completely before serving.

Notes

  • Instead of maple leaf flavoring, use clear piping gel or water to position the fondant shapes on the cookie.
  • Color mist sprays were our substitute for airbrushed cookies. The color mist shows up better on lighter fondant. Make sure the kitchen area is well ventilated or use the color mist sprays outside.
  • We could have used oak leaf-shaped cookie cutters but we are partial to maple leaves as this is the symbol of Highlander’s birth country, Canada.
  • Some years the autumnal equinox falls on the date of September 22 in the Northern Hemisphere.
  • Make these cookies and other maple recipes on National Maple Syrup Day on December 17.

Rum Punch

September 20: National Rum Punch Day

There is an old poem about Planter’s rum punch that we followed to make a classic cocktail for National Rum Punch Day. The beverage was invented at the bar of Planter’s House hotel in St. Louis, Missouri, and the poem was published in the New York Times on August 8, 1908:

This recipe I give to thee,
Dear brother in the heat.
Take two of sour (lime let it be)
To one and a half of sweet,
Of Old Jamaica pour three strong,
And add four parts of weak.
Then mix and drink. I do no wrong —
I know whereof I speak.

Modern adaptations of this recipe still use limes, something sweet (such as simple syrup or grenadine, the latter more for its fruit punch color), Old Jamaica (we used Caribbean rum) and something weak (ice cubes for a stronger taste or water to dilute the drink). Just remember 1-2-3-4 for measuring the ingredients, whether making rum punch for one or a crowd. Happy National Rum Punch Day!

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 measure/ounce of lime juice, fresh squeezed (around 2 limes)
  • 2 measures/ounces grenadine or simple syrup
  • 3 measures/ounces rum
  • 4 measures/ounces cold water
  • ice cubes

Directions

Slice the lime(s). Reserve a few for garnishing the glass (optional). Squeeze out the lime juice. In a glass, fill halfway with ice cubes. Pour in the lime juice. Add the grenadine or simple syrup. Stir in the rum and cold water. Garnish with a slice of lime.

Notes

  • Search our blog for other classic cocktail recipes.