Schatzi: Every Christmas (and Easter), my sisters and I drag our devoted swains over to Dad & Gina’s for a delicious Eastern European feast. My father’s grandparents were from the eastern corner of Ukraine, in the shadow of the Carpathian Mountains, and they had a large part in raising him. We try to celebrate this heritage with our dinners, which over the years have evolved from small family dinners to large potluck free for alls of Eastern European cuisine. We’ve all developed some specialties, too: I beg Malia to make her lamb meatballs in pomegranate sauce, and beg Maiya for her Cranberry Mousse; they beg me to make Saffron Pudding, and we always enjoys Heather’s holubtsi. Though Grandma Ohar probably would have fainted at the idea, we tend to try any recipe from the former Soviet Union, and our potluck guests branch out even farther.We also serve a variety of vodkas and other beverages, like kvass.
This year I did not make anything, being tragically short on cash and time. Instead, Eli and I brought some lovely blue Brie and Żubrówka; we’ll be ready for Easter, however. The following are pictures of a few of the treats we enjoyed this year. Items not pictured include a chicken paprikás, cranberry kissel, brandy cake, bran rolls, kvass, cheesecake, and more. If you’re patient, and follow the pictures all the way, you’ll find a Georgian Green Beans recipe we make often.
Georgian Green Beans:
- 2 lbs green beans, trimmed
- salt to taste
- 3 T unsalted butter
- 1 large onion, quarted and thinly sliced
- 1½ tsp red wine vinegar
- 3 T low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 T fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- pepper to taste
- Blanch beans in a large pot of salted boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain, run under cold water, drain again, and pat dry.
- Melt butter in skillet over medium heat and saute onion. Drain. Stir in beans and saute 5 minutes. Add vinegar, broth, garlic, salt, and pepper, and stir. Cook for 10 minutes, then add cilantro.
- Simmer to desired tenderness and serve.