Tag Archives: Dessert

Food-related goals

I’m a big fan of goals.  I love New Year’s resolutions, personal goals, career goals, reading goals, traveling goals, etc.  This year, I’m adding a food goal to my list.  This might sound funny to some of you, but yes, I’m adding a culinary goal to my life.  You see, I have an absolutely unnatural and irrational fear of baking.  I know, strange.  No good reason for it.  Other than perhaps the fear of the mess I’d make, but my kitchen always looks like a tornado went through it after I’m done cooking.  But baking towering cakes doesn’t really appeal to me and I’ve never been a dessert person (well, until a few years ago).  So I figure I’ll try something rustic/easy/something I have space for in my kitchen.

So, here are my culinary goals for this year:

  1. Learn to bake one kind of bread
  2. Learn to make a baked dessert
  3. Learn to make yogurt
  4. Cook more Uzbek food
  5. Cook more soup

I know yogurt isn’t a dessert, but it is often an ingredient in dessert.  Yeah, that’s it.  That’s a good reason to learn making it.  Oh heck, I just want to learn to make my own yogurt, something that will be creamy, sweet, thick and luscious, and won’t cost an arm and a leg.

And after the Chaihana post, I’d imagine the Uzbek food goal is self-explanatory.  😉

As I’ve started cooking soups, it seems fairly easy and healthy.  Should be a good match for the bread.

As the year goes on, I’ll update this page.

*Update on 5/9/2010
I made Mastava, which goes towards goals #4 and #5.
I’ve also been working on making yogurt and bread, but no success with yogurt yet, and gotta figure out this yeast thing for the bread….
Stay tuned.


Puff Pastry “fingers”

Puff Pastry "Fingers" with Jam

Puff Pastry "Fingers" with Jam

This recipe is even easier (I know it’s really hard to believe) than my other puff pastry desert. It’s equally delicious, but I think that my dad likes this better because the can control (read pile on) the amount of strawberry jam.  Here, I just placed a small bowl of softened jam so people can dip and eat as much as they’d like.

1 box Puff pastry dough (I used one sheet)
Jam (which ever you like, as much as you like)

1. Cut the puff pastry dough in half lenghth-wise and then in about inch intervals.
2. Bake until golden and puffy (about 400 degrees for about 12 minutes)
3. Dip the “fingers” into warmed jam. Or, split the “fingers” and fill them with jam (so the jam is sandwiched between the pieces of puff pastry).

Puff Pastry Dough

Puff Pastry Dough

Puff Pastry "Fingers"

Puff Pastry "Fingers"

Banana Bread Experiment

I’ve been looking for an easy recipe that doesn’t call for exotic ingredients. And by “exotic” I mean something I’d actually have to go look for in a store. My goal really was to use ingredients I already have on hand. And I really wanted to use bananas. Since I can’t really eat raw bananas and I really like how they smell, I was really looking forward to some kind of a banana bread. I learned that when fruit is cooked it has different digestive properties and those who are allergic to the raw variety might be able to eat the same fruit cooked. I’m one of those people when it comes to bananas. So, I found this recipe and have been trying for weeks (or has it been months already) to make it. But with the holidays and birthday season of the past 6 weeks, it hasn’t been a priority.

I’ve finally managed to find some time today. It turned out OK, but a little darker than the picture on David Lebovitz’ site. I think that’s because I used some espresso. However, his recipe doesn’t specify how much of it to use, so I used just a little bit (one teaspoon dissolved in just enough hot water). Other than that, I followed the recipe to the letter. We’ll see if anyone else likes it.


Thanksgiving Spread

Thanksgiving Spread

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, in large part because I love all the cooking.  Most people dread all the cooking, but I even take Wednesday off so I can make a few “spares”, just in case something doesn’t turn out and people still leave with overstuffed bellies.  I still love the holiday, despite the mandatory family squabbling.  But without further delay, here is the menu I’m planning (and yes, I take help where I can):


  • Chicken wings (not a Thanksgiving staple, but I love them and they seem to go over pretty well with the family).  See above
  • Seafood puffs (puff pastry stuffed with seafood, store bought, and I hope they’re good).
  • Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese Pizza Bites
  • Smoked Mackerel (this can be found in most Russian food stores; ask for “skumbria”)
  • Baked Asparagus with Cheese
  • Shrimp with sauce
Whole fish

Whole fish

Fish in pieces

Fish in pieces






  • Seafood salad
  • Olivie? (a French salad, and every cook in former USSR has her/his own twist on it. This one is a maybe since I don’t like peeling potatoes or cutting cooked potatoes.) I decided not to make it this time.
  • Egg salad and mushroom


Main Course:

  • Baked potatoes (my family is averse to mashed potatoes with skins and I am averse to pealing potatoes)
  • Stuffing (of the StoveTop variety. My family will accept no other.)


Zephyr in Chocolate

Zephyr in Chocolate

  • I bought two pies at Sweet Pies of Door County and we’ll have that. They’re yummy, try one.
  • I also bought a Russian-style dessert called Zephyr in Chocolate. I’m not exactly sure what’s in it, but it seems a marshmallow-type substance covered in dark chocolate.

Recipes and pictures for all these to follow.