Friday, April 26, 2013

Spring in the kitchen! (весна на кухне!)

Technically it's dinner time right now and I really should get started... but first, a quick update from the kitchen. It's been so long since the last на кухне post, ой!

With the banishment of winter and the triumphant victory of spring, we're craving lighter, fresher fare. Mangoes, for example. They're bloody expensive at the market but they. are. perfect! Two days ago we had, I kid you not, the best mango ever! And the only one I've ever paid $10 for...

Cheaper than mangoes but equally suited for spring meals- avocados. Here's something quick I threw together one night.

The next dish looks like a hot mess but it was my first ever attempt at enchiladas (except that I went the lazy route and layered the tortillas instead of rolling them up).
Avocado Enchiladas from Fitness Magazine. Btw, does beer normally go in enchilada sauce? Cuz it went in mine!
I like bright colorful meals these days.
The Green Pea Salad with Radishes and Feta from Natasha's Kitchen was a hit with D.
Even pizza should be colorful!
Meanwhile, I wish I could say the craving for sweets is so last season but, haha. no. This sweet tooth is here to stay and there's no better country to indulge in desserts than Ukraine. Go on, tell me these cakes don't look rich!
"black prince" cake and "napoleon" cake from a local bakery
Back in the gloom of Feb/March I was still cooking some heavier meals, like this tasty Mushroom Stroganoff from Green and Lean, an Easy Creamy Curry Chicken and Rice Casserole from, and, to D's great dismay, lots and lots of black beans  :p One thing he does like about the winter, though, is being able to find cranberries at the market. Here is one of his signature dishes-

My fav thing from the holiday season was a sweet, of course!
My dad's traditional holiday fruitcake, delivered safely to Ukraine and shared with some Ukrainian friends.
One more tidbit from the holidays: a half-consumed bottle of New Year's champagne sat in the fridge door for ages. Finally, I did a Google search and came up with the idea of making champagne vinegar. It took over 2 months, but it was a success!

While making the transition from heavy to light foods, we bought a big smoked salmon (about 80 uah) and devoured it over several days.
orzo, marinated zucchini, feta, smoked salmon, topped with dill
Also in March, there was another great visit to SushiYa. The bright interior and kaleidoscope of sushi offerings were the perfect antidote to, ugh, March.
Spicy seafood soup, 49 uah
"Hit" set, 219 uah
Now it's even warm enough to enjoy meals on the balcony again!
tea break
started making muesli at home: oatmeal + dried fruits with yogurt or milk
A couple of quick shout-outs:
Wow, Laura, for this amazing edible care package!!!!
The first thing to go was the mac and cheese. When I saw the toxic orange glow of the cheese powder...yum...tastes like America!
Belated birthday package from my mom, including "Quick & Easy Indian Cooking" and that Elijah Wood movie about Ukraine.
Who knows, maybe there will be some Indian meals in the next на кухне! Until then, enjoy the fresh fruits, fresh veggies, and sunshine!


  1. Damn it, I should not have read it before dinner. Especially when nothing is prepared. But I must say it all looks really good and now I just have to go back to my kitchen and one up you :) I'm surprised how many ingredients are available in Ukraine these days: avocado, tortillas, mango (10 bucks, ouch!). Not too shabby. But... An angry Texan (okay, transplant but still) really needs to ask: why are there olives on your enchiladas? No, no, no! Cilantro - bueno. Olivas - no bueno. My Spanglish may be a little brokeno, but Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner, so you have another chance :P

    1. Sergei, you and Sarah are welcome for dinner anytime. It's only a, uh, short flight away and I promise not to put any olives atop enchiladas :p (sounded right, I thought!)

      Yes, it's surprising what a variety of produce and "exotic" foods are available in Ukraine! Especially when D recalls the limited selection of his childhood, when even a banana was a big deal. I'm only waiting on yams, water chestnuts, and cheddar cheese, but in the meantime have discovered lots of cool local stuff to try.

    2. Yeah I don't know about yams. Those things still look weird to me and even being a very adventurous food person, I'm still iffy when I see them. But cheddar - I thought you can easily buy it in Ukraine. I definitely learned that word before moving to the States. Is it just not the same there as it is here? Because I'm pretty sure that if you go to a supermarket you can buy something that's labeled cheddar.

    3. Hmmm, I'll take another look around the cheese section. I'd seen processed cheese slices labelled "cheddar" but never a block of similar cheese. Oh, now that you got me thinking about cheese- Monterey Jack, have you tried that yet? It's got a kick and is really good in sandwiches!

      Yams are good, like a sweet, orange potato. Def try them if you haven't! You owe me- I tried the ряженка :p

  2. Люблю повеселиться - особенно поесть! :)