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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Fish Cake

Minoo started the South Arm Community Kitchen in 2011 with 3 recipes. The first recipe is a simple Fish Cake recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver.

Minoo used fresh salmon for this Fish Cake recipe. You can substitute the salmon with tuna  or crab. Leftover fish is great for this recipe too. Can salmon will make a very handy substitute from the pantry.

Ingredients

  • 300g potatoes, peel and dice (or use left over baked potatoes, scoop out the potatoes and discard the skin)
  • 100g salmon fillet, skin on and no scales on the skin, all bones removed
  • a small handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 green onions, green part only, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 lemon
  • quick cooking oats
  • all purpose flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil

Source: this recipe is adapted from Jamie Oliver

Yield 4 cakes

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Latkes

Anna is Jewish. When we asked her to share some Jewish recipes, she suggested Latkes and Falafel. However, Minoo is afraid that there is not enough time for both recipes, along with the Easy Indian Curry Chicken recipe that Anna is so eager to share with us. So, we decided to go with Latkes. Latkes are popular in eastern Europe and are eaten during Hanukah, according to Anna.

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Who does not like fried potatoes? These Latkes are crispy and my kids love them when I brought back a couple for them to try.

We also made a middle eastern salad, Tabouli to go along with the Easy Indian Curry Chicken and Latkes.

Ingredient

  • 2 cups peeled and shredded potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon grated onion
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or more if needed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup oil for frying

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Source: Anna

Serves 4 to 6

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Potato Mousse with Zucchini

The second zucchini recipe shared by Minoo in the Gilmore Park Church Community Kitchen is a casserole dish called Potato Mousse with Zucchini.  This dish is great for party or potluck.

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The Potato Mouses with Zucchini is the supreme version of mash potato dish. It is light, cheesy and with added nutrients from the zucchini.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound potatoes
  • 1 pound young zucchini, sliced into coins
  • 1/2 pound (250g) Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 eggs
  • dried dill
  • nutmeg
  • ground black pepper
  • salt
  • butter for greasing baking dish
  • Parmesan cheese

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Source: this recipe is adapted from www.alive.com

Serve 4

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Smoked Fish Hash

The Richmond News came to the Gilmore United Church a few weeks ago to interview the Richmond Community Kitchen for their newly launched community guide. That community guide is called Welcome to Richmond. In their first edition of December 2009, they choose to highlight the Richmond Community Kitchen for their cover story! We were all so excited.

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In the cover story, the monthly community guide talked about the role of the RCK in supporting the diverse multi-cultural community that you find in Richmond. We felt that food and cooking is one element that brings people from various culture together. Being a SAHM, I personally had formed lasting friendships through the RCK. I encourage those of you who lives in Richmond to come join us to learn about food and of each others culture.

There are a total of six community kitchens in Richmond. So there is at least one near where you stay if you live in Richmond.

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On that day of the interview, we did a series of recipes for breakfast and brunch. While the interview was done at the Gilmore Church, this series is documented with the South Arm Community Kitchen. We do sometimes rotate the same recipes with several kitchens.

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As requested by some members of the cooking club to do a session on breakfast and brunch item, Minoo came up with four very nutritious recipes to share. Minoo also shared some important breakfast basics with the members. We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A healthy morning meal will fuel the kids up in time for school or a day of play at the child care. We simply need to refuel our body in the morning after going without food for 8 to 12 hours during sleep. That’s why the morning meal is called break fast. Skipping breakfast can made kids feel tired, restless and irritable, moody and lack of energy.

Breakfast also can help keep kids’ weight in check. It kick-starts the body’s metabolism, the process which converts fuel in food to energy which starts the burning of calories. People who skips breakfast is likely to get famished before lunchtime and snack on high-calorie foods or overeat at lunch which cause overweight issue.

Choosing breakfast foods that are rich in whole grains, fiber, and protein while low in added sugar may boost kids attention span, concentration, and memory. Breakfast that boosts brain power is what kids need to improve their learning in school.

With all the benefits of a good breakfast in mind, here is the first breakfast/brunch recipe.

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This Smoked Fish Hash has a smoky flavour that kids will love. It is simple and straight forward diner classic. When top with some eggs and Baked Stuffed Tomatoes, it makes a hearty breakfast.

For a variation, you may make a Corned Beef Hash by substituting the smoked fish with corned beef, diced and omitting the rinsing and poaching process.

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Mustard and Rosemary Roasted Potatoes Skewers

For those who made their guesses on previous post regarding Frank and Ken’s age, here is the answer.  Frank is 80+ and Ken is 90, can you believe it.  They are just amazing seniors with an active lifestyle.

Back to the kitchen, Helmut with the help of Stella made this Mustard and Rosemary Roasted Potatoes on skewers.  Stella offers her help as the kitchen is short of a member that day.

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This extremely simple, but oh-so-delicious potato side dish makes a great pick-up appetizer when threaded onto wooden skewers.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lbs. small new potatoes, halved (or quartered if large)
  • 24 wooden skewers, optional

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This recipe serves 4 to 6 as a side dish, or 8 to 12 as an appetizer.

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Mash Potatoes

Minoo made Mash Potatoes as a side to go along with the Cheesy Fish and Spinach Casserole. Everyone has their own way of flavouring Mash Potatoes and Minoo’s recipe is flavoured with shallots and garlic.

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Minoo’s Mash Potatoes is creamy and fragrant and a little garlicky.  It is garnished with green onions.  You may substitute the garnish with chives instead.  This recipe serves 6.

Ingredients

  • 6 medium potatoes, peel and cube
  • 4 medium shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • green onion (green part only)  or chives, chopped for garnishing
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter or oil
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • milk

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Samosa Style Potatoes and Peas

Christina and Stella prepared this side dish for the South Arm Cooking Club for Seniors. Stella helped out Christina as one of the senior (Lorna) did not turn up the last minute as she was still recovering from her eye surgery. We wished Lorna to have a speedy recovery.

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The Samosa style Potatoes and Peas is flavoured with spices like turmeric, mango powder, cumin seeds and chili powder. The peas add sweetness to this dish. This recipe is from Satta Lal.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb russet potatoes (about 3 medium), wash and cut into quarters
  • 1 cup frozen peas, rinsed under running water
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon amchur (mango powder)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • salt to taste

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Here is an excerpt from ‘The Spice of Life’ on ginger shared by Stella:

Ginger is native of China and India, the creeping stems of this perennial plant have been used in Chinese medicines for many countries.  Ginger has been used in a wide variety of different products including pickles, chutneys, curries, and, of course, ginger ale.

Ginger is believed to be effective in relieving symptoms of nausea and inflammation.  Preliminary studies at the American Association of Cancer Research have shown that gingerol, an active ingredient in ginger, may halt the growth of colon cancer, and it is effective in promoting positive eicosanoids and killing yeast and microbes.

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Tuna Pie

Tanni made a simple pie which is great as a snack or for school lunch. It can be made with canned tuna or salmon. We made both in the kitchen. We found that the Tuna Pie taste better. Perhaps, the salmon flavour is slightly stronger.

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The Tuna or Salmon Pie is filled with carrot, tomato and potato. It’s a good way to incorporate vegetables into a dish which kids will eat. This can be eaten warm or cold.

Ingredients

  • 1 can tuna or salmon
  • 4 oz butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons mustard
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 2 potatoes, boiled and mashed
  • 1 medium carrot, boiled, peeled and diced

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Click on the link below for the instructions.

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Vegetable Pancake

Minoo made a Vegetable Pancake in her cooking class at the Caring Place. If you have problems getting your kids to eat vegetables, like mine, the Vegetable Pancake is a good way to get them to eat it. This pancake is crispy which somehow camouflages the vegetables in it.

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The tuna topping gives the Vegetable Pancake an extra edge. I think it’s a brilliant idea Minoo had of the tuna topping. I can imagine how rather ho-hum this would be without this extra topping.

Ingredients

  • 2 potatoes peeled
  • 1 onion peeled
  • 2 carrots peeled
  • 1 cup Biscuit or pancake flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dry or fresh herbs like rosemary, thymes, sage (optional)
  • oil for frying

Toppings

  • Mix a can of fish (salmon/tuna/sardines) with some mayonnaise and green onions (optional)
  • Crush a can of beans (chickpea/navy beans/kidney beans) and add 1 tablespoon of oil and 1-2 teaspoons of chopped garlic

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