Virgin Margaritas From Scratch

July 16, 2013

I’m in love with these virgin margaritas. The combination of saltiness, sourness, and sweetness is perfect, and there are no consequences at all the following morning. Best of all, they don’t require any boughten limeade or other mix, and they are cheap to make. Here’s the printable version of this summer favorite:

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Russian Fruit Compote: A Summer Drink

July 15, 2013

Here in America a “compote” is a dessert of fruit cooked lightly in syrup and spooned over things like ice-cream or shortcake or something like that. Meanwhile, the Russian word “kompot” refers to a summer drink where fruit is boiled in water (often with the addition of sugar) until the water’s been infused. It is […]

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Meat-and-Potato Tacos

July 13, 2013

I stumbled upon this delightful, quick recipe while browsing one of my favorite books, The Commonsense Kitchen, where it was titled “Rico’s Tacos.” I think I may have flipped seeing meat and potatoes – a heart-and-soul of Russian cooking – browned together simply and wrapped in tortillas. I fell in love right away. Tom, the […]

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Russian Apricot Preserves

July 11, 2013
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One of the things the Soviet immigrants to the West remember most vividly from their old life are the fragrant whole-fruit preserves, deliciously candied in a pool of flavorful syrup. They talk about them. They dream about them. They pass the pictures of preserves around on Facebook. Some of us can make these at home, […]

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Delicious Baked Custard with Macerated Strawberries

July 10, 2013

I am so excited to share this one with you, folks. It is my old-time favorite, found originally in Tom Hudgens’ fantastic cookbook The Commonsense Kitchen. The custard itself is what Tom describes as “the crème brûlée’s humble country ancestor.” Made with milk rather than heavy cream or half’n’half, baked custard is a tad less […]

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How to Make Russian Sour-Cherry Preserves

July 7, 2013
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Few things are more representative of the Russian (and my native Azerbaijani) culture than home-brewed black tea, accompanied by a saucer of sweet, fragrant whole-fruit preserves, prepared by simmering unpitted cherries, raspberries, and other seasonal fruit in syrup until the latter has reduced and taken on the flavor of the now-candied fruit. A small amount […]

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Recipes for the Fourth

July 2, 2013

Fourth of July means so much to me, folks. It is, after all, the birthday of this nation – the nation I’m so, so proud to call my own. Please, whatever you do, do not take this nation for granted. It is absolutely unique in that it’s founded not around some particular ethnicity, or religion, […]

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How I Make Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

June 13, 2013

Although I’m an accomplished cook, I have not made a single grilled cheese sandwich in my entire life until a week or so ago. It just wasn’t my thing. But when my son asked for it, I made one. And then another one. And another. I don’t have a panini press, so here’s my particular […]

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5-Minute Ice-Cream: Updated

June 12, 2013

I originally posted this a year or so ago, but because of the amazing nature of this recipe, I believe it is my duty to re-share it with you at the onset of summer heat here in Wisconsin (and that’s 80 degrees, you all). It’s delicious, cheap, and quick – and requires no special machine […]

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Soft Molasses Cookies

June 7, 2013
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Click here for the soft, delicious molasses cookie recipe!

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My Favorite Homemade Lip Balm Recipe

March 16, 2013
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I hadn’t considered making my own lip balm – or lotion, for that matter, until my seven-year-old daugther couldn’t find yet another misplaced tube of Dr. Bronner’s Sun Dog – our go-to chapstick (made from a formula developed by a company right here in Viroqua, Wisconsin). That’s when she asked me if I could make […]

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All Things Sweet Maple

March 4, 2013
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It’s still cold and frozen here in the Western Wisconsin (and, mind you, I enjoy that very much), but pretty soon the maple will be running, the taps will be dripping, the buckets will be overflowing with sweet sap, and the delicate, sweet smell of boiling maple syrup will fill the air. OK, we don’t […]

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Easy Homemade Lotion Tutorial

February 22, 2013

Few things are more satisfying to the body and the ego than homemade lotion. In addition to the obvious benefits of being more economical and free from mystery additives,  it works far better than its store-shelf counterparts, which, more often than not, leave my skin feeling dry and overall unsatisfied. Do you ever have that […]

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Perfect Shirred Eggs

February 20, 2013

Ever heard of shirred eggs? I first learned about them from The Commonsense Kitchen, a cookbook by our good friend Tom Hudgens. More specifically, my husband, who was once Tom’s student over at Deep Springs College, was the one who introduced us to this recipe, as it is he who cooks breakfast around here every […]

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Cornish Pasties Recipe

February 17, 2013

Well, not that kind. With my Yooper side of the family, we are no strangers to pasties around here, but this especially lovely version of the recipe was adapted from the recipe given to us by our friends Kris and Eric. You can find the complete recipe here. Enjoy!

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Valentine’s Dessert: Easy Lava Cakes

February 14, 2013

If you are looking for a quick’n’easy last-minute Valentine’s dessert idea, this one is for you! I threw these together yesterday as a bit of a trial run for tonight’s Valetine’s dinner with company, and I thought they were just terrific – goey, chocolatey, a little crispy on the outside, and extremely quick and easy […]

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Russian Eggplant “Caviar” Spread

October 3, 2012

Along with borscht and Olivier salad, few things can delight a nostalgic Russian émigré heart more than this delightful summer spread, forever associated with summers in the motherland. Thanks to our bumper crop of eggplants, I was able to make some entirely with our own garden produce. It can be served as an appetizer on […]

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Late-Summer Recipe Ideas

September 13, 2012
Late-Summer Recipe Ideas

Like no other season, early September in Wisconsin offers the ultimate cornucopia of garden produce, made all the more exciting by its fleeting nature. CSA boxes, farmer’s markets, and food co-ops are bursting with local produce at its ripest. Below is the list of my go-to recipes for this time of year: Apple-Dipping Caramel (above). […]

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