Borscht

March 2, 2022: Ash Wednesday (Worldwide Day of Prayer and Fasting for Ukraine)

This post is dedicated to our friend Olga W. whose family is fighting for survival in Ukraine. Olga was Islander’s classmate when we lived in Illinois. We join others around the world in praying for peace in her country. We also pray for the Russians who do not support their government’s war with their neighbor; sometimes hatred is misplaced on the people because of their political leaders’ actions.

Borscht, which is believed to have originated in Ukraine (see Notes), is a vibrantly colored vegetable soup made with beets, cabbages, carrots, onions and potatoes. It was a dish that Olga would cook when Islander came to visit and stay with her in Indiana during spring break, which often fell on Lent Fridays. This budget-friendly soup is suitable as a meatless meal on Ash Wednesday as well. As the season of Lent begins, cook borscht as a sign of solidarity and support for Ukrainians and continue to pray for peace around the world.

Recipe

Inspired by Olga W.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup shallots, chopped finely (may substitute for onion)
  • 2 large red beets, peeled and grated
  • ½ head of green cabbage, sliced finely
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6-7 cups water
  • Sour cream 
  • Dill, chopped (optional garnish)

Directions

Chop the shallots, grate the beets and slice the cabbage.

Grate the carrots and cube the potatoes. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Sautee the shallots until softened, around 5 minutes, being careful not to burn the bottom of the pot.

Stir in the beets, cabbage and carrots. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are softened, around 15 minutes. Stir in the potatoes. Season again with salt and pepper. Pour in the water, bring to a boil, stir then simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Ladle into soup bowls and serve hot with a dollop of sour cream and dill.

Notes

Roasted Turkey Tails

November: Thanksgiving

What foods may be frowned upon in one culture may be a favorite in another! Such is the case of roasted turkey tails. The fatty butts of the big birds were once considered an undesirable part for most Americans who discarded it on Thanksgiving. Not wanting to waste the tails, turkey food companies shipped the “pope’s nose” (also known as “parson’s nose” or “sultan’s nose”) to other countries as a way to make some easy profit. Turkey tails have become a cheap delicacy in places like Ghana and Samoa. Because they are unhealthy, governments have tried but failed to ban the import of turkey tails.

Turkey tails are popular in Hawaii, too! Islander’s cousin, Roxanne, married a Samoan, Billy T. and they serve several roasted tails along with a traditional turkey on Thanksgiving. Some of her relatives also eat their turkey with ketchup in lieu of gravy (see Notes)! Remember, what tastes may be frowned upon by one person may be a favorite of another!

Try indulging in these tasty roasted turkey tails at least once on Thanksgiving! Happy Turkey (Tails) Day!

Recipe

(Adapted from Polynesia.com)

Ingredients

  • Turkey tails, raw and not smoked
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Onion powder to taste
  • Garlic powder to taste
  • Mixture of chopped herbs (rosemary, sage, etc.), optional (we leave them out)

Directions

Wash the turkey tails and pat dry with paper towels. Use tweezers to pull off any visible quill ends of the feathers. Season with salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. Sprinkle with chopped herbs (optional). Place turkey tails on a rack over a foil-lined baking pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for about an hour. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and serve with gravy or ketchup.

Notes

Khobz el Dar

(Algerian Semolina Sesame Bread)

November 17: National Homemade Bread Day

Although we mostly rely on our trusty bread machine, we sometimes try to make bread from scratch just to challenge ourselves. But sometimes thinking about all that proofing, kneading and rising ruins the mood and we get super lazy.

Then we found online a pretty picture of this Algerian semolina sesame bread and wanted to try it because the directions were surprisingly simple. Even our first effort for making semolina bread turned out looking like it came from a bakery!

Those who do not feel as experienced in making homemade bread can challenge themselves with this semolina bread recipe for National Homemade Bread Day.

Recipe
(Adapted from All Recipes)

Ingredients

• ½ cup + 2 tablespoons semolina flour
• 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, divided use
• 1 tablespoon sugar, granulated white
• 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
• ¾ teaspoon salt
• ¼ cup vegetable oil
• 2 eggs, divided use
• 1 cup milk, lukewarm
• 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour + 2 tablespoons or more
• 1 teaspoon water

Directions

In a large bowl, mix together the semolina flour, 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds, sugar and yeast.

Add salt, oil, 1 whole egg and 1 egg white (save the 1 egg yolk for the egg wash). Stir in lukewarm milk. A liquid dough should form.

Cover the bowl and let stand at room temperature until frothy (about 1 hour). Uncover the bowl and stir in the 2 ¾ cup flour and mix until a sticky dough forms. Cover again and let rest for about half an hour.

Uncover the bowl and sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of flour (or more as needed). Mix the dough until it pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the dough on the prepared baking sheet and shape into a round loaf. Cover loosely with a cotton towel and let rise in a warm place for at least another hour or until doubled in size.

Beat the remaining egg yolk with 1 teaspoon water to make an egg wash. Brush this over the round loaf. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds.

Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven. Cool slightly and slice.

Notes

• Smother this fresh semolina bread with homemade butter.

• Search our blog for more homemade bread recipes (both by hand or by machine).