Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Ukrainian Night

Tonight we had the pleasure of welcoming some dear Ukrainian friends for dinner. We met them a couple of years ago at the Washington DC LDS Temple Lighting Ceremony at Christmastime. They came as part of the Ukrainian delegation, as Andriy works in the embassy. His wife Mariia is expecting their second son in 2 months and is busy running after their son Mark, who is 18 months old. We have kept in touch since we first met and have enjoyed their friendship. They've invited us to a few Ukrainian events and we have had them over to the office a few times. We had invited them over for dinner before all of the craziness started in Ukraine, and we are grateful they were still able to come. We also had the Wests over - Jon, Kylee and their 4 darling children. Jon served an LDS mission in Ukraine, so we thought it would be fun for them to join us. Jon made plov, an authentic Ukrainian dish, and we loved it! Kylee also made an amazing salad with fennel and blood orange - I might dream about that salad!

I made Ukrainian cabbage rolls, served with mashed potatoes and sour cream. I also made a yummy Ukrainian apple cake for dessert. Both of the dishes turned out so well that I thought I'd like to keep the recipes for future reference. (Please forgive the photos - I forgot to take pictures until after the dinner was over.)

Ukrainian Stuffed Cabbage (Halupki)

1 head cabbage, cored
1/4 t. salt
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
1 c. cooked white rice
2 T. butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 T. chopped fresh parsley
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1 1/2 c. reserved cabbage water
1 (29 ounce) can tomato sauce
1/4 c. white vinegar
2 2/3 T. white sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the cabbage in a stockpot with enough water to cover. Add 1/4 t. salt to the water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn cabbage every 2-3 minutes and remove leaves that separate from cabbage and place in a strainer to cool. Boil until all the leaves have cooked, about 15 minutes. Reserve 1 1/2 c. of the cabbage water. Trim thick center vein off center of each cabbage, while cutting leaf in half.

In a sauté pan, melt butter and cook onion until tender and cool. In a large bowl thoroughly mix together, ground beef, ground pork, rice, onion, parsley, egg, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Lightly pack a small amount of meat mixture sand place in the center of cabbage leaf. Fold sides over the filling and start at the stem and roll the cabbage up until the meat is encased. Repeat with the remaining leaves and filling. Grease a 9" X 13" glass baking dish and layer the cabbage rolls on the bottom.

In a bowl, mix the tomato sauce, reserved cabbage water, white vinegar and white sugar. Pour half of the mixture over the cabbage rolls. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 2 - 2 1/2 hours, or until the meat is no longer pink. Baste the stuffed cabbage rolls with more tomato sauce every hour.

Serve the cabbage rolls along side mashed potatoes topped with the extra tomato sauce. Ukrainians also like to put sour cream on top of it all - which I also think is yummy!

Ukrainian Apple Cake (Yabluchynk)

3 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
4 t. baking powder
1 c. butter (cold)
2 eggs, beaten
2/3 c. heavy cream
5 lg. apples, peeled, cored & thinly sliced
4 T. butter (cold)
1 c. brown sugar
4 T. flour
4 t. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter a 9" X 13" baking dish. Sift together 3 c. flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Cut in 1 c. butter until the mixture is crumbly. Stir together the egg with the cream and gently mix into the flour until a soft dough has formed. Press into prepared baking dish. Layer the apples on top, overlapping, in neat rows. If you have extra apples, just add another layer. Prepare streusel by mixing the brown sugar, 4 T. flour, and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Cut in 4 T. butter until the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over the apples.

Bake for 25 minutes at 375 degrees. I served it with a little vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce, which was delicious!

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