Russian Monday: Salad "Olivier" - Potato Salad

Even though in every Russian family Olivier salad is made in their own way with some secret ingredient, like grandma used to do it, let’s try to remember  where this dish came from and give thanks to the Russian chef of French origin named Lucien Olivier who invented the salad any New Years table seems empty without.


Have a Magical Christmas & a Happy New Year!

"Fair be the path beneath your feet.
Bright be the skies above you-
Where'er you go, still may you meet
Friends that will truly love you".


All-Time Favorite Holiday Cookies

Have you baked your favorite cookies for Christmas yet? If not, there is a whole weekend ahead of you. Gather around kitchen table with your family and make the most special holiday treat. Here are some ideas may help you to decide which one to bake. I love every one of them, I bake few varieties of cookies every holiday season. We always share our sweets with friends and neighbors. Happy Holidays my dear readers!!! And have a very sweet weekend!


Chocolate Panforte - Christmas Sweets

Christmas is probably the favorite holiday for many people. And I think it's not because of religious believes, but because it's family time, and time for magic and forgiveness. Christmas is different for everyone of us. Every house has its own traditions and rituals with special food and Christmas decorations. What is your perfect Christmas? How do you see it?


Russian Monday: Chicken Liver Pâté With Red Wine & Cranberry Jelly

History of pâté is rooted in the distant past and many countries contest the right to be named its birthplace, however, by default this right is held by France. In truth, French chefs have simply revived the dish loved by ancient Romans. Interestingly enough, in medieval times, pates were served as feast culmination, and hence were decorated in the most luxurious fashion, often made with “surprise” inside, when live birds could fly out from inside of the dish brought into the feast hall. Often pâtés were cooked wrapped in the layer of dough, like pies. Dough was simply a wrapper and secondary to the stuffing, hence word “pâté” has started being used only for what was inside of such pies.


French Hazelnut Meringue Cake

"According to legend, the recipe for this delicious pastry came from a fifteenth-century parchment found among the fallen stones and rubble of a monastery in area of Crocq, in the Creuse - one of the 83 departments created during the Revolution, when so many monasteries were destroyed. The monks cooked this creusois cake in ceramic tiles that were themselves creuses - hollow, concave, or curved…


Shepherd's Pie With Truffle Oil

Pure white flakes fall gently from the heavens, blanketing the entire world in a sparkling mantle. All sounds seem hushed. The air is crisp and cold. Whether you're spending an active day outside or passing a quiet afternoon beside the fire, the Shepherd's pie is the favorite of comfort food will warm both body and soul on any winter day.


Spicy Orange Honey Quick Bread

Whenever the holiday season comes around, I'm always in a yearning mood for a Spicy Orange Honey Quick Bread.

There is something about the aroma that fills the house on a cold night, and the combined savory and delicate sweetness of the buckwheat honey, cinnamon, star anise and the nutmeg that compliments just about every hot drink -  from a cup of tea or coffee, to a cup of cocoa or even a steaming glass of sangria - to be enjoyed alone or better yet, with your friends and loved ones by the crackling fire.


First November Snow

There is no recipe today, just beautiful pictures of first November snow and happy colors. Take a walk with me around my neighborhood. Enjoy!


Braised Rabbit with Mustard - Lapin a La Moutarde

This historically traditional French dish is sure to climb into a top spot on anyone's favorite comfort food list. My own personal experience at BOUCHON had inspired me to bring this amazing dish to life. With simple fresh ingredients, I was able to perfectly compliment the Rabbit's flavors, which always are a welcomed change from our typical everyday sources of protein. Easy to make, without being too fancy, yet fit for every occasion or holiday. Enjoy!


Melangery Stamped Honey-Vanilla Cookies

One of the things my kids could always count on when they come from school, is finding homemade sugar cookies in the big blue cookie jar in my old kitchen hutch.

These cookies are very special, they have my blog signature. What would you write on your cookie?


Rye Bread with Flax, Amaranth, Quinoa & Sesame Seeds

Home-baked bread speaks to us of the warmth of the hearth and home. It conjures up bustling kitchens, flour-dusted work counters, large bowls covered with dishtowels, ovens yearning for bread pans filled with plum, yielding dough. The baked bread, which permeates the house with its indescribable aroma, is beautifully browned, its crust crisp or softly elastic. There it sits, cooling on a wire rack, waiting for the time to be right to slice it and spread it with pale creamery butter and maybe a spoonful of the apple butter.


Homemade Beet Pasta & SAVORA GIVEAWAY

This is a colorful pasta, made from roasted beets with a sweet aftertaste and a lovely bright color that marries best with cheese sauce and fresh herbs thats show off its beauty. Small beets will impart magenta color; larger beets will impart a darker, almost purplish color. Some of the color will inevitably leach out into the water, but the cooked pasta will still be quite bright.


Taste of Bucks County: Peddler's Village & Homemade Bumbleberry Pie

Bumble-berry pie is an old-fashioned name for a pie made with several varieties of berries. Once you bake your first homemade pie you will never again eat the one bought at the store.


Russian Monday: "Grechnevay Kasha" - Buckwheat with Dried Mushrooms, Pumpkin & Onion

Good hearty buckwheat kasha is a serious matter. It’s a thing in itself crowning the whole of Russian cuisine. It requires a responsible and thorough approach when cooking with it, but the rewards are hundredfold. You will appreciate it when, after one helping of kasha, you will reach out for the second one. Today’s recipe is the old inherited one, from along time ago used in Russia - buckwheat with wild mushrooms.


Rustic Chocolate & Vanilla Bread

As the familiar sweet aroma fills the house, no one will be able to resist a slice of this dense, chocolate bread. Breakfast time? Serve the bread at room temperature or toasted, with butter or, for a special treat, with your favorite jam.


Russian Monday: "Manti" - Steamed Buns Stuffed with Lamb

"Manti" (steamed buns with lamb filling) is a traditional meat dish of the people of Central Asia, Turkey, Mongolia, Korea, as well as of the Tartars and Bashkir of Russia. It is believed that manti originates from the outer regions of China, where Uyghur people of Xinjiang region have a dish named “mantou” which literally means “steamed bread”. Gradually, the recipe of the dish has spread from Xinjiang through Central Asia and beyond. But even today, Uyghur cooks are considered to be the best manti specialists in the world.


Country Chicken with Garlic Sauce

Here, chicken thighs and drumsticks are slowly cooked in a flavorful garlic sauce with a white wine, thyme and spices to create a comforting meal. To make a one-dish meal before putting the chicken in a oven add some mushrooms, potatoes or butternut squash. Delicious!!


Gingery Pumpkin-Apple Soup with Roasted Carrots (Dairy-Free, Vegan)

With its sweet, earthy taste, butternut squash soup with apples and ginger is my favorite for the month of October. I like to play with spices when I am cooking pumpkin soup, but you can use your favorite seasonings and herbs. The roasted carrot chips are a perfect addition to this soup.


My New Orderly Kitchen

My dear readers, as many of you know that during the summer time, my blog was a little lonely as I did not post any new recipes for you. Unfortunately, I did not take a vacation to some exotic place and forgot all about the blog nor did I abandon it. We were renovating our kitchen and it took us four long month to do so. In the beginning, we only planned to change our cabinets, but we ended up changing pretty much everything: floor, lights, walls, fireplace, furniture and dishwasher.


Apple & Pumpkin Strudel Parcels with Fall Spices & Coconut Oil (No sugar)

When fall comes, what makes us want to bake so much? I wonder...

Is it the changing colors on trees, or the cool evenings, or the orange pumpkins sticking out from the ground? Or the kids coming home from school and you like to surprise them with aromatic sweets? Or maybe everything together: the new beautiful season is born and you like to bring it into your home - mixing spices, honey and chocolate. The magic of the fall makes the feeling at home even dearer.


Purple Autumn: Black Lentil Stew with Beets & Fig Balsamic Vinegar

What a beautiful evening it is outside tonight as I write this! The air is still warm enough to be comfortable, but a cool breeze is coaxing the still-vibrant summer vines to dance tonight under the almost full moon. Katydids and crickets are busy making "a little night music" while toads, from tiny to plump, jump from sidewalk to lawn, entertaining our little dog as my husband I stroll with her on our evening walk.


Russian Monday: "Povidlo" - Vanilla Apple Butter

"Povidlo"- Apple Butter is cooked from fruit or berry puree with sugar. Once fully cooked good povidlo looks like homogeneous mass of brownish or dark golden color. Povidlo in Russia are known for a very long time. One of the first mentions of povidlo occurs in the annals describing treats of the princely table. Povidlo are typically made from apples (probably most popular one), plums, apricots, pears, strawberry and various combinations of fruits and berries. I would like to present here an easy and delicious recipe of vanilla-apple butter which you and your loved ones will definitely enjoy. It can be used as pancakes filling or as spread for your bun or toast to be had with a cup of tea or glass of milk.


Favorite Apple Dessert Recipes Round Up

I love everything about fall - from kids finally going back to school to the turning leaves and the crisp air.  Of course, I look forward to visiting various pumpkin patches, farmers markets, but mostly I'm excited to go apple picking at some of our local orchards that offer over 30 varieties of apples.  I will be reporting back on those in the next few weeks, but to help you get you in the Autumn mood right now, I have highlighted some of my favorites fall recipes.


Green Tomato Marmalade With Orange Peel & Vanilla

Green Tomato With Orange Peel & Vanilla is very unique marmalade for using the last tomatoes of early fall that just never seem to ripen. This dark-green, sweet and citrus marmalade is delicious served with a selection of well-flavored cheeses and biscuits or bread, or with cold roast meats such as ham, turkey, tongue or lamb.


Russian Monday: "Sladkay Bulochka" - Cinnamon Chocolate Pastry Wheels

Sweet, buttery, laced with chocolate and fragrant with cinnamon, these beautiful twisted wheels is easy to prepare and you can serve them with a chilled glass of milk or some hot coffee or tea.


Country Biscuits with Sour Cream & Chives

Flaky, white biscuits are easy to make. One of the fastest of baked goods to put together, biscuits are among the most reliable. People who make them with regularity barely have to measure the ingredients - a quick stir, a pat or two, and a fast roll-out are all it takes before the biscuits are popped in the oven. The dough should be handled only a little, but it does need the few seconds of kneading called for.


Russian Monday: "Kartofelnye Zrazy" - Potato Cutlets Stuffed with Mushrooms

Zrazy is a dish of Lithuanian, Belarusian, Polish and Ukrainian cuisines. Word “zrazy” is of polish origin, it means “slices”, “cut pieces” of something. Despite its Polish name, for the first time the dish is mentioned in the Lithuanian historical records of 14th century.


Cauliflower Soup with Tiny Meatballs & Oregano

This is very simple every day soup, it took me no more then 20 minutes to make it. This time I used all organic ingredients as well as grass-fed ground beef. Healthy food for after school meal. My kids loved it!


Fried Green Tomatoes with Cornmeal from "Glass Gem" Corn

These fried green tomatoes are crisp outside and so succulent inside, they will melt in your mouth. So make plenty for everyone.


Russian Monday: "Pozharsky Cutlets" - Ground Chicken Cutlets with Homemade Breadcrumbs

The Pozharsky cutlets have become a popular dish of the Russian cuisine at the beginning of the19th century. Their name and origin are attributed to prince Pozharsky, one of the noblemen of the time.  Moscow’s crown prince was visiting, and Pozharsky’s favorite veal cutlets were to be served. But as ill luck would have it, no fresh veal was found in any of Pozharsky’s kitchens. To save the day, the prince ordered his chef to prepare the cutlets with chicken. The dish was so much to the liking of the crown prince, that  he asked for its recipe. Since then, these chicken cutlets have spread through the kitchens of the nobility and later on they became popular among ordinary people.


Food Blog Forum - Part 3: Beyond Farms & Baked Purple Potato Chips

These irresistible baked potato chips are made from the purple potatoes grown in my dear neighbor's garden, 100% homegrown and organic. I have baked them for the after school snack for my kids and as soon as I put chips out on the plate, they were gone. My daughter asked if I can bake more for her lunchbox and that is what I am going to do! You may use different spices, but I found smoked paprika and parsley being a perfect combination.


Food Blog Forum - Part 2: Highland Brewing Company & Harvest Cake with Apple Cider Frosting

Before posting second story from my Food Blog Forum trip, I would like to share with you the recipe for this moist and colorful cake, which I find perfectly fitting beginning of September. If you like carrot cake, this one would also match your taste. Don't be afraid to use too many vegetables, they all blend together beautifully. Let's celebrate first day of the harvest season with this cake (please scroll down for the recipe).


Food Blog Forum - Part 1: The Biltmore Estate NC & Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup

It's been a while since my last post and I truly missed my blog and my dear readers. My new kitchen is finally finished; summer vacations are behind us, so I can slowly come back to my real life with cooking, photographing and sharing recipes. My first recipe after a long break is wild mushroom soup, creamy and earthy, just the way it should be. Please scroll down for the recipe, because first, I have share with you some impressions from my last voyage.


Garden Berry Ice Cream - A Great Summer Treat!

This summer I have been very busy with my new kitchen. We are not done yet and there is still some tile and trim work left to be done along with some finishing touches here and there. Three month have passed since we’ve started our project, and I can tell you now - if I would know how much effort this may take, I would probably think twice before starting this renovation. But now I see the light at the end of the tunnel and I just can’t wait to cook a gourmet meal in my new kitchen and have a nice, long dinner with my friends.


4th of July Recipe Ideas

Dishes for special occasions

"To roast some beef, to carve a joint with neatness,
To boil up sauces, and to blow the fire,
Is anybody's task: he who does this
Is but a seasoner and broth-maker.
A cook is quite another thing. His mind
Must comprehend all facts and circumstances;
Where is the place, and what the time of supper;
Who are the quests, and who the entertainer;
What fish he ought to buy, and where to buy it."



Linden Tea for a Summer Afternoon

June and July are the best time to pick and put away till winter linden tree flowers famous for its therapeutic properties. Linden tree starts blossoming in June spreading around wonderful delicate scent. It is covered with small yellowish-white color flowers. Linden flowers have anti-thermal, emollient and expectorant action and therefore are used for making tea treating colds and influenza. The tea stimulates abundant perspiration, decreasing body temperature.


Still Life with Oysters on a Canvas

I live in historic Bucks County which has many artsy towns and art galleries. From time to time I exhibit my Still Life work at some of them. Last month I have been awarded "Best of show" with four of my photographs. I sell my work printed on fine paper and museum quality canvases. One of the companies I have tried recently is "Easy Canvas Print". I've ordered 24x36 with border wrap .75.  It came out beautifully, excellent quality and nice wrapping. I think this "Still Life with Oysters" is going to find a home on a wall of a restaurant, boutique hotel or someone's dining room-))


Five Superstar Summer Salads

Here are some salad recipes that do not appear to have many ingredients in common. Some are based on a traditional vegetables and fruits, others are a little more unexpected. When you are not sure what to serve, these salads provide a perfect solution, suitable for an informal meal with your family, or a quick snack before the movie theater, or just a lunch with a friend where a full meal is not required. Fresh, light and easily done, these salads are attractive and sure to please.


Still Life with Peaches & Tomato

Have a very creative weekend!


Still Life with Plums & Peaches

Summer is here - Have a wonderful week!


After the Rain...

"Spring rain 
conveyed under the trees
in drops".

Matsuo Basho's Haiku


Summer Jams

When summer is approaching, I start contemplating visits to local farms to collect some berries and fruits for my jams and preserves. Over the past few years I have cooked many scrumptious jams, but every summer I have developed more unique recipes. Without having some homemade preserves on the shelf any house is not complete.

When we cook breakfasts on a weekend my kids like to pick their favorite jams and syrups for waffles and pancakes. Sometimes we have our breakfast outside on the porch and freshly made berry jams are an important part of it, just like they are part of any summer sweet gatherings.


Still Life with Bread & Onions, Plus Exciting News!

My Still life with Bread & Onion was selected to be in the 20th Annual Artsbridge Juried Show. This year, 298 pieces were submitted. From that total, 84 hanging works and 8 sculptures were chosen. The show will take place at New Hope Arts Center, 2 Stockton Avenue, New Hope, PA. The dates of the show are: Saturday, June 14-Saturday, June 28


Cape Cod, MA - Part #2 & Seafood Summer Dishes

Cape Cod was a beautiful dream, the one you love to come back again and again. My friend told me that if I come to Cape Cod in October, I can pick enough wild mushrooms for next three years. I don't remember the last time I picked forest mushrooms, but I surely love to cook, dry, and marinade them. This would be a treat to cook mushrooms from the place as unique as Cape Cod!

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