Russian Cold Soup (Okroshka)

Iryna and Joanne partnered up to demonstrate at the Caring Place Community Kitchen. Iryna is from Ukraine. She demonstrated a very popular Ukrainian dish which originated from Russia. It is a cold soup dish called Okroshka. Iryna told us that she had been making this cold soup all her life. She served the Okroshka with toasted bread and a dollop of sour cream.

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Okroshka is a summer dish. It is a very refreshing soup. It is made with fresh diced vegetables. The fresh vegetables retain the vitamins due to no cooking is involved. Heat is the main culprit to destroy vitamins. The only vegetables that need cooking is potatoes. Of course, there is meat in this dish which needs cooking. You can add poached chicken, fish, ham or sausages to this dish.

Okroshka is usually made with cucumbers, carrot, a garden radish, parsley, baby dill, green onion, eggs, lemon juice, butter milk or sour cream or mayonnaise.  If you like to add meat, it has to be cooked and chilled. The ratio of meat and vegetables should be approximately half and half.

Iryna, thank you for sharing your favourite soup with us.

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Iryna shared with us something about her country, Ukraine. Ukraine is used to be part of Russia. It’s an European country. It is the biggest country in Europe after Russia. It claimed it’s independence in 1921.

Ukraine’s population is about 50 million. Ukrainian also speaks Russian and it’s language is similar to Hungarian and Poland.

Ukrainian’s winter is very harsh, between -20 to -35 Celsius and the summer can be pretty hot, as high as 40 Celsius.

Ukraine has no mountain except the border with Poland and Hungarian. Iryna is from the south of Ukraine which borders the Black Sea.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds chicken breast or sausages
  • 2 cucumbers, dice
  • 2 radishes, dice
  • 4 boiled potatoes
  • 6 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 bunch of green onions
  • 1 small carrot, boiled, dice
  • 1 bunch baby dill, chopped
  • 1 small tub of sour cream
  • 1 litre of butter milk or 1 small jar of mayonnaise
  • lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
  • salt to taste

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Iryna did not use the butter milk but she used the mayonnaise instead.  She brought the butter milk to show us the option.

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Radish is a root vegetable. It is related to mustard and turnip. Radishes are rich in ascorbic acid, i.e. Vitamin C, folic acid and potassium. They are a good source of Vitamin B6, riboflavin, magnesium, copper and calcium.  Radishes can be eaten raw and is often used in salad.

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The flavour of Okroshka is predominated by dill. Dill has fernlike leaves that are aromatic and used to flavour many food such as salmon, borscht, okroshka and pickles. Fresh dill loses it’s flavour rapidly if dried, however, freeze-dried dill leaves preserve their flavour relatively well for a few months.

Source: Iryna

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Chocolate Banana Cookies

For dessert, Minoo selected a Chocolate Banana Cookies recipe to end the meal at South Arm Community Kitchen. This Chocolate Banana Cookies are great for breakfast or tea time snack. They can be easily packed into the lunch box.

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This Chocolate Banana Cookie is soft and fluffy. It’s has a cakey texture. You may use various types of chocolate for this recipe, like milk, white, dark or flavoured chocolate. If you do not like banana, you may leave it out. To make this into a real chocolatey cookie, you may add 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder.

We made this recipe with dark chocolate which is produced by adding fat and sugar to the pure cocoa solids. Dark chocolate is believed to reduce the possibility of heart attack when consume in small amount regularly. This is due it’s dark chocolate is a rich source of epicatechin and gallic acid which possess cardioprotective properties.

Ingredients

  • 1 large ripe banana, peel and slice
  • 4 oz (100g) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2/3 cup (100g) soft light brown sugar
  • 1 medium egg, beaten
  • 1 cup (100g) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5ml) baking powder
  • 1/3 cup (50g) oats
  • 4 oz (100g) dark chocolate, broken into small chunks

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We usually double or triple the recipe when we cook in the community kitchen. The left over food can be brought home for our family to try.

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I love butter in the 1/2 cup stick. It is much easier to cut up the quantity required. I’m glad it can be found in the Real Canadian Superstore now.

Source: Minoo

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Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini

Minoo served the Hoisin Baked Cauliflower with Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini. Tahini or sesame paste is a paste of ground sesame seeds used in cooking. Sesame paste is a popular ingredient in some Chinese, Korean and Japanese dishes. East Asian sesame paste is made from unhulled seeds, hence it is bitter than tahini. Tahini which is sesame paste from North Africa and West Asian is made with hulled, lightly roasted seeds is milder in flavour.

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The Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini has a nutty flavour and sourish flavour from the lemon juice.

Cauliflower got its name from Latin caulis (cabbage) and flower. Cauliflower is low in fat but high in dietary flber, folate, water and vitamin C. As part of the cabbage family, cauliflower contains several phytochemicals which protects against cancer, particularly prostate cancer. Boiling cauliflower reduces the levels of phytochemical significantly; for e.g. 20-30% after five minutes of boiling, 40-50% after ten 10 minutes and 75% after thirty minutes. However, other preparation methods like steaming. microwaving and stir frying had no significant effect on the compounds.

Ingredients

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup of tahini
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley for garnishing

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Source: Minoo

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Hoisin Baked Salmon

For the main course, Minoo prepared a Hoisin Baked Salmon. We seldom have seafood recipe in the community kitchen because of the cost of seafood. However, there are many requests to have fish recipes as the members are more health conscious and would like to include more fish in their diet as recommended by the Canadian Heath food guide.

Salmon is an oily fish and it’s rich with protein, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D.

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This Hoisin Baked Salmon is a simple and luscious way to prepare salmon. Hoisin sauce is made with ingredients starches (such as sweet potato, wheat or rice), water, sugar, soybeans, white distilled vinegar, salt, garlic and red chili pepper. It does not contain fish despite the name which literally means seafood.

Hoisin sauce is typically used a dipping sauce or spread on Chinese pancake or used as marinates for chicken, etc.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds salmon steaks or fillets, rinse and pat dry
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 scallions, chopped for garnish

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Source: Minoo

Please ignore the parsley, ginger, oil and salt in the above photo which belongs to another recipe.

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Lentil Soup with Tomato and Spinach

Minoo prepared four recipes for the South Arm Community Kitchen held at the Bethel Church. It looks like that we will continue to meet at the Bethel Church until the summer break in July. We appreciate very much for Bethel Church’s generosity to allow us to use their well equipped kitchen for free.

For the starter, Minoo selected a lentil soup recipe. Lentils require soaking (some overnight) before cooking due to the presence of anti-nutrients such as phytic acid and tannins. Lentils can be used to make soup, salad or cook with rice to add protein to the vegetarian diet.

Here are some recipes that I had blogged before about lentil:

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This soup gets a gentle heat from jalapeno pepper and a burst of added flavours from freshly squeezed lemon juice and freshly roasted spices. The addition of tomatoes and spinach also adds freshness to the soup.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons oil or butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh minced ginger
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow lentils, washed and drained
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 plum tomatoes, peel and dice
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • salt to taste

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Source: Minoo

The spinach can be substituted with other green vegetables like kale.

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Coconut Corn Pudding

Marian served the Stuffed Pepper with Beef and Brown Rice with a soup and a salad at the South Arm Cooking Club for Seniors.

Spinach Salad with Orange Sesame DressingCream of Celery Soup

I had blogged about the soup and salad recipe before. They are Spinach Salad with Orange Sesame Dressing and Cream of Celery Soup.

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For dessert, Marian prepared a popular Filipino dessert called Coconut Corn Pudding or Maja Blanca Maiz. Since, there is not many turn up for this kitchen, I have to help Don to make this dessert. I was so sure that I had blogged about this before here, I did not take pictures of this recipe. However, when I got home and compare the recipe, it is slightly different. So, here is the recipe without the step by step pictures.

Maja Blanca Maiz is always served during festivals in the Phillipines. It can be served warm or chilled.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 can (400ml) coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 can (398ml) whole corn kernel
  • butter for greasing pan
  • 1/4 cups toasted coconut flakes (we omitted this)

Source: Marian
Serves 12

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Stuffed Pepper with Beef and Brown Rice

The South Arm Cooking Club for Seniors met again at Bethel Church. For this meeting, Stella and Minoo were not able to make it and Marian was in charged of the kitchen. Perhaps, it was during the spring break, not many turned up for this kitchen. There were four seniors and four volunteers.

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Marian prepared four recipes for this kitchen. The above is Stuffed Pepper with Beef and Brown Rice. Bell peppers are in season and they are cheap. Bell pepper is also known as sweet pepper or capsicum. The green one is more pungent, that’s why Marian used the red, yellow and orange ones which are sweeter. Due to the shape and hollow nature of the bell pepper, it is great to be used as a container for stuffing.

Bell pepper is low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. It is high in dietary fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Potassium, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, folate, Manganese, Magnesium and Pantothenic Acid. Bell pepper is ideal for maintaining optimum health and weight loss.

Ingredients

  • 6 red or yellow or orange peppers
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups cooked brown rice
  • 3 to 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Sauce

  • 1 can dice tomato
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch of cayenne pepper

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Source: this recipe is adapted from Lazy Day Cooking

Serves 6

You may substitute brown rice with 2 cups of quinoa. The orange juice can be substituted with lemon juice.

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Curry Roasted Duck with Lychee

Lorna partnered with Emily to demonstrate at the South Arm Community Kitchen. While Emily made a soup and 2 side dishes, Lorna made a main dish.

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Lorna made a Curry Roasted Duck with Lychee. This dish is very colourful and it makes a great potluck dish. You may substitute the roasted duck with fresh tofu skin pouches that had been lightly pan fried for a vegetarian curry dish. This is a mild curry dish.

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Lorna served the Curry Roasted Duck with Steamed Brown Rice.

Ingredients

  • 1 roasted duck, cut up
  • 1 can (400ml) coconut milk for cooking
  • 2 cans (565ml) lychee in syrup (reserve syrup from 1 can)
  • 1 can (14oz) pineapple slices, cut into big chunks
  • 1/2 pack of Glico curry (Japanese curry)
  • 1 bottle (195g) of red curry paste
  • 6 cloves garlic – minced
  • 1 yellow pepper, cut into triangles
  • 1 orange pepper, cut into triangles
  • 1 red pepper, cut into triangles
  • 1 medium onion, cut into big chunks
  • 3 to 4 celery sticks, cut into triangles
  • 1 small pack of grape tomatoes
  • salt to taste (about 1 teaspoon)

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Source: Lorna

Serves: 10 to 12; prep time: 20 minutes; cooking time: 30 minutes

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Soft Tofu with Century Egg

For the last dish, Emily made another side dish at the South Arm Community Kitchen.

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The side dish is Soft Tofu with Century Egg. This is another dish which can be made in less 10 minutes.

Ingredients

  • Soft tofu
  • Century eggs, peel and chop (handle the egg gently as the egg is very tender)
  • salt to taste
  • sesame oil
  • cilantro

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This dish does not need cooking except to warm up the soft tofu. You can steam the tofu or microwave it.

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Century egg is also known as preserved egg, thousand-year old egg or Pidan in Mandarin. Century egg is made by preserving eggs in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, lime and rice hulls for several weeks to several months, depending on the method of processing. Through the preservation process, the yolk becomes a dark green or gray creamy yolk while the egg white becomes a translucent dark brown jelly like. Century egg is an acquired taste because it has an odor of sulphur and ammonia.

You may substitute the century eggs with meat floss.

Source: Emily

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Dace Fish Soup

For the second dish, Emily made a simple Dace Fish Soup in the South Arm Community Kitchen. It is very common to have soup in a Chinese meal.

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This Dace Fish Soup is made with dace fish paste which can be bought from Chinese groceries store. Napa cabbage and oyster mushrooms add sweetness to the soup. This soup can be made in 15 minutes.

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You can buy Dace fish paste in most Chinese groceries like T&T, Great One Supermarket, Great Value Asian Supermarket, etc.

You may substitute the dace fish paste with various meat balls.

Ingredients

  • Dace fish paste
  • Napa cabbage (suey choy), cut into 1/2 inch section
  • oyster mushroom, shred into fairly large pieces
  • carrot, grated
  • cilantro, chopped
  • 1-inch of ginger, minced
  • salt to taste
  • white pepper to taste
  • sesame oil

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Source: Emily

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