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Okra with Veggies

Okra and Veggies or Southern Style Johnnie Marzetti

Serves: 4

Time: 1 hr

Freezes: Yes

Reheats: Yes

Kid Friendly Tasks: Picking Veggies

If you’re from Columbus you will instantly know this dish. It is served in school cafeterias here and came from the area. If you’re not, you’re probably like what the heck. Basically Johnnie Marzetti is ground beef, tomatoes, maybe peppers and celery, plus elbow macaroni. You might melt some cheddar cheese on that too depending on where you’re from. It’s really good in a pasta-a-roni sort of way. I imagine it’s quite common as a dish everywhere, just with a different name. Anyway, my version, since I love okra, is standard Johnnie Marzetti, but with okra added as one of the veggies. It thickens up the sauce really nicely and is just amazing over cornbread. Even my children will eat it.

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Chocolate Potica

Chocolate Potica

Serves: 6-8

Time: 2 hrs +rising

Freezes: Yes

Kid Friendly Tasks: Spreading filling

I will start off by saying that you will probably only like this recipe if you like the taste of dark chocolate because it features bittersweet chocolate. However, if you do like dark chocolate you will LOVE it as it tastes rich like a candy bar or nutella. It’s a love it or hate it sort of thing. If you tend to like eastern European sweets that have that dark chocolate bite to them you will totally love this recipe. You’ve been warned. Now the back story. I have a lovely friend who is Slovenian, living in Slovenia, and she mentioned that she makes walnut (the most traditional flavor) potica every year for Christmas and Easter.

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Walnut Potica

Walnut Potica

Serves: 6-8

Time: 2 hrs + rising time

Freezes: Yes

Kid Friendly Tasks: Spread Filling

I have a lovely lady friend who is my pen pal in Slovenia. Recently she wrote to me about one of their Christmas traditions, potica and how she made it for her entire family as per usual. She mentioned that there were a variety of flavors, but that she herself always sticks with walnut and was planning on making another round for Easter. Well since Easter is coming up I decided to google around and try this tasty sounding Slavic holiday tradition. I found a blog of Slovenian food with a tasty sounding recipe that was different in that it called for sour cream in the dough. Now I’ve worked with sour cream doughs in the past when I’ve made usky and pelmeni and I like them quite a bit. They are richer and so easier to stretch, handle and work with so I decided to give her recipe a spin. The results were very tasty, although my potica cracked, probably because sour cream dough is weaker than regular milk dough. I’ve asked my friend for her recipe and can’t wait to compare results. Meanwhile, below is the recipe for “apple” as my children so oddly call it, probably because of the cinnamon, potica which I would totally make again on another holiday just for fun.

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Sharlotka

Sharlotka or Russian Apple Cake

Serves: 4-6

Time: 1 hr

Kid Friendly Tasks: Stirring

For the uninitiated, Sharlotka is Russian apple cake, named it is said, after the beloved daughter Charlotte of its creator. Basically, it is like a sponge cake (so no butter or oil) with apple slices mixed in. It’s very sweet I find (probably to make up for the lack of butter, oil etc.) so it’s best to use nice tart apples for a lovely contrast. The good news is that it’s much lighter than your average cake, very much a sponge cake in that regard. It doesn’t go as far as regular cake so make extra if you’re feeding a crowd. I would not ice this cake, but would cover it in powdered sugar if you feel it needs decoration. It goes without saying that the perfect accompaniment is a hot cup of tea on a fall day, preferably from your samovar if you have one…

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Lamb Pulao

Lamb Pulao

Serves: 4-6

Time: 1 hr

Freezes: Yes

Reheats: Yes

Kid Friendly Tasks: Rice mixer

Despite the spices listed, it’s actually not at all a spicy dish. It’s sort of a cross between Russian plov and a more Middle Eastern plov. You can sub in chicken for the lamb, but lamb is definitely the traditional meat for the dish. I like the fact that you can reheat it or freeze it as well. It makes a ton and goes amazingly with either green salad or pickled veggies

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