Here’s another treat that would be perfect for Valentine’s Day! ❤
This cocktail is composed of many of my favorites. I love a classic gimlet. 🙂 This pomegranate version would also be festive for the holidays or just tasty any other time of the year.
This recipe was adapted from Today.com. I modified the proportions to make individual cocktails. The volumes for 6 gimlets are also noted below.
Yield: one cocktail
- 2 oz (4 T) gin
- 1 1/2 oz (2 1/2 T) pomegranate juice (I used Trader Joe’s)
- 1 1/2 oz (2 1/2 T) freshly squeezed lime juice (from 1 lime)
- 2/3 oz (1 1/2 T) agave nectar or simple syrup
- lime slice and pomegranate seeds, for garnish
For a Crowd:
- 1 1/2 cups gin
- 1 cup pomegranate juice
- 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (6 to 8 limes)
- 1/2 cup simple syrup
- 6 lime slices and pomegranate seeds, for garnish
- At least one hour before serving, place martini glass(es) in the freezer.
- Combine the gin, pomegranate juice, lime juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker filled with ice (for 1 cocktail) or large pitcher (for 6 drinks).
- If making multiple drinks, fill a cocktail shaker half full with ice and add the drink mixture until the shaker is three quarters full.
- Shake for a full 15 seconds.
- Pour the mixture into the frozen martini glasses and garnish with a teaspoon of pomegranate seeds, or more to taste, and a slice of lime.
Note: To make your own simple syrup, combine 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a small pot and heat just until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Refrigerate until cold.
Posted in Drinks, Holiday, Recipes
Tags: agave nectar, Christmas, cocktail, drink, gimlet, gin, Ina Garten, lime juice, pomegranate juice, pomegranate seeds, simple syrup, valentine's day
I kept seeing various versions of this pretty pull-apart star bread and had to make one for myself. 😉 It’s so pretty and deceptively simple.
There are savory versions out there, but this variation of a classic cinnamon bun was the first choice for my crowd. The recipe is from King Arthur Flour. I weighed the dry ingredients and used fine sea salt. I made the loaf a day in advance and it was still tender, moist, and delicious.
Yield: One Star Loaf, about 8 servings
For the Dough:
- 2 cups (241g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (46g) potato flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill) or 1/2 cup (46g) dried potato flakes
- 1/4 cup (28g) nonfat dry milk
- 3/4 cup + 2 to 4 tablespoons (198g to 227g) lukewarm water, enough to make a soft, smooth dough
- 4 tablespoons (57g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 2 tablespoons (25g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon (6g) fine sea salt
For the Filling:
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1/2 cup (99g) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
To Make the Dough:
Posted in Baking, Bread, Coffee Cake, Holiday, Recipes
Tags: bread, breakfast, Christmas, cinnamon bun, cinnamon rolls, cinnamon sugar, coffee cake, King Arthur, New Years, pull apart
My Mother-in-Law makes this delicious strudel every Christmas Eve as part of the traditional Ukrainian 12-course feast. It is always a highlight of the meal for me. 🙂
I used tart apples (Granny Smith) but may use a combination of tart and other firm sweet-tart apples next time. I also used a mandoline to slice the apples. My Mother-in-Law has the magic touch… hers tastes better than mine, of course, but I did use her recipe! Yum.
Yield: One Strudel, about 8 servings
- 2 1/2 to 3 tart and firm apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/8-inch thick
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup raisins
- lemon zest from 1/2 large lemon
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ground cinnamon, to taste
- 2-3 T fine bread crumbs, plus more for sprinkling
- 8 sheets of thawed phyllo dough
- 1 stick (1/4 pound) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- strawberry preserves
To Make the Filling:
- Peel, core, and thinly slice the apples. (I used a mandoline to slice the apples 1/8-inch thick.)
- Mix the sliced apples with the sugar, raisins, lemon zest, vanilla, cinnamon, and 2-3 tablespoons of bread crumbs.
To Make the Strudel:
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Unroll the phyllo dough and cover with a damp towel and plastic wrap.
- Remove on sheet of phyllo dough and place on a piece of parchment paper.
- Brush the entire surface with melted butter, sprinkle lightly with bread crumbs, sprinkle with brown sugar, and dot with strawberry preserves (use very little preserves).
- Repeat this process for the next 7 layers of phyllo dough.
- After the dough is prepared, place the filling evenly on top of the dough, starting at the shorter end and leaving 1-2 inches uncovered at the opposite end.
- Lift the edge of the parchment paper closest to the filling to help roll the dough and form the strudel.
- Place the roll, seam side down, on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Brush with remaining melted butter.
- Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until golden brown.
Posted in Baking, Fruit Desserts, Good Sweets, Good Eats (Desserts), Holiday, Recipes
Tags: apple, Christmas, dessert, Eastern European, fruit, lemon zest, phyllo, pie, raisins, strudel, tart, Ukrainian
We missed celebrating Christmas with our extended family this year. 😦
Traditionally, my Mother-in-Law makes all of us the meatless 12-dish Ukrainian Christmas Eve feast as part of our celebration. It is a beautiful dinner, but a major undertaking. I didn’t attempt to make the complete meal, but I did make a couple of the courses for our celebration at home. 🙂
Our meal began with a (mini) shot of vodka and a bite-sized piece of challah with honey. We ate this Winter Borscht with Vushka (mushroom-onion dumplings) followed by sauerkraut and potato-cheese pierogies, which my husband purchased from a local Polish store, as our main courses. I made my Mother-in-Law’s apple strudel for dessert, post to follow.
This recipe was adapted from Tom Birchard and Natalie Danford of NYC’s East Village restaurant Veselka, via The New York Times, contributed by Julia Moskin. (I gave my husband the Veselka cookbook for Christmas!) I incorporated some of the beets, puréed, into the finished soup. I used dumplings wrappers instead of making the dough for the dumplings. I also modified the Vushka proportions and technique.
I used beets from my CSA share for the soup, made it in advance and stored it in the freezer. I made the Vushka a day in advance and stored them in the refrigerator. The recipe states that the dumplings are optional; in my house they are essential! The soup had a spicy kick which may have been from the fresh garlic, which is incorporated at the end. I enjoyed it but may consider omitting the garlic next time.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
For the Borscht:
- 2 pounds beets, trimmed and scrubbed (do not peel)
- 3/4 cup white vinegar
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 whole allspice berries
- 1 tablespoon sugar, more to taste
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- coarse salt
- mushroom and onion dumplings (Vushka)
- chopped dill, for garnish, optional
- Coarsely chop beets, preferably in a food processor.
- In a medium pot, combine beets, 4 cups water and vinegar; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until beets are soft, about 45 minutes. Strain and set juice aside. (Beets can be used for another purpose, like salad.)(I puréed half of the strained beets in a Vitamix and incorporated them in the finished soup.)
- Meanwhile, in a deep pot, combine carrot, celery, onion, stock, bay leaves and allspice; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 45 minutes. Strain and discard aromatics and vegetables.
- Combine strained stock and beet juice and simmer 5 minutes.
- Add sugar, garlic (if using), and black pepper. Season to taste with sugar and salt.
- Add half of the reserved beets, puréed, into the finished soup, as desired.
- Serve with dumplings and sprinkle with dill, as desired.
For the Vushka (Ukrainian Mushroom & Onion Dumplings):
Yield: 80 to 100 dumplings
For the Filling:
- 2 tablespoons dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 large yellow onion, minced
- 2 cups chopped button mushrooms
- coarse salt
- freshly ground black pepper
For the Dough: (I used Shanghai-style dumpling wrappers instead)
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, more as needed
To Make the Filling:
- Place dried mushrooms in a small bowl and add 2 tablespoons of boiling water. Let soften, about 10 minutes. Strain, reserving liquid and mushrooms separately.
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until golden but not brown, about 5 minutes.
- Add button mushrooms and cook, stirring, until mushrooms have released their liquid, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drain liquid.
- In a food processor, combine both kinds of mushrooms.
- Spoon in porcini liquid, leaving behind any silt in bottom of bowl.
- Pulse together until finely ground but not pasty: about 3 or 4 pulses. Add salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
To Make the Dough: (I used dumpling wrappers and continued at Step 8)
- In a small bowl, combine egg yolk, oil and 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water and whisk 1 minute.
- Place flour in a large bowl and make a well in center. Add a third of the egg mixture and lightly mix in with fingers or a fork. Repeat 2 more times.
- Using hands, fold dough together until soft: if crumbly, gently work in more water; if sticky, add flour.
- Transfer to a lightly floured board and knead 3 minutes.
- Form into a ball, transfer to a bowl and refrigerate 45 minutes.
- Lightly flour a work surface and a pan or board for the finished dumplings. Divide dough into 3 sections.
- Using a well-floured rolling pin, roll each section out until very thin and in a rough rectangle.
- Use tip of a sharp knife to cut dough into 1 1/2-inch squares. (I used a 1 1/2-inch square cookie cutter as a guide. Each dumpling wrapper yielded 2 squares. If using square dumpling wrappers, each one may be able to make 4 squares. Next time!)
- Cover the cut dough with plastic wrap so that it doesn’t dry out.
- Drain any excess liquid from filling. Place 1/4 teaspoon filling in center of each square. (I found it helpful to pre-scoop the filling and place it on a cutting board because it dried it out slightly.)
- Wet the edges of the dough and fold squares in half to form triangles, sealing filling inside.
- Pinch the 2 opposing corners together to seal tightly, use water if necessary.
- Place on a rimmed baking sheet lined with plastic wrap or a floured surface: do not stack.
- Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
- In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook dumplings until they float, 2 to 4 minutes. (If cooking frozen dumplings, cook until they rise to the surface and add 2 minutes.)
- Drain and serve in hot borscht, about 10 per serving, or just with sour cream.
Posted in Holiday, Recipes, Soups, Stews, & Chowders, Vegetarian
Tags: allspice, beets, borscht, Christmas, dill, dumplings, Eastern European, mushroom, one-pot, porcini, soup, Ukrainian, vegetarian, Veselka, vinegar, Vushka