Ukrainian Cheese Cake – Lvivsky Syrnik

Ukrainian version of cheesecake made from quark/farmer cheese (tvorog) and covered with chocolate glaze. Lviv is a city in western Ukraine – cultural capital and museum. People here loves coffee and there is many café with cakes and pastries.

This recipe adapted from book of famous Ukrainian pastry chef – Daria Tsvek (general circulation publications is about five million copies!). There is some variation for this cake – some adds mashed potato in dough, some bake sirnik with chocolate streusel, some add raisins or dried apricots. I made light version without fruit additions.

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Barley Salad with Apricot, Cucumber, Pepper Relish and Goat Cheese

I started using groats for salads not long ago. In Russia we eat our grains, mostly, very plain – with some salt and butter. Or in soups.  Most popular – grechka (buckwheat, kasha), less – perlovka (pearl barley).

For most people (especially men) barley means tasteless army or pioneer camp food (it has nickname: “shrapnel”), as well as canned semi-meat food “Tourist’s breakfast”. The problem is in the special rules – the groats should be soaked for a long time (at least 12 hours) and had a long cooking (about 1-2 hours) – that usually omitted, and barley became very hard to chew.

Today, for fast meals I use quick cooking barley and rice cooker. Always great result.

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Ice-Cream Cake with Berries and Kitkat Border

No-bake cake with simply layers of chocolate-vanilla-caramel ice-cream (from Good Humor) and vanilla ice-cream sandwiches (from Klondike); bordered with Kitkat cookies (dark chocolate and cookies-n-cream) and topped with fresh strawberries and blueberries. It was birthday cake for our 9-years old, who loves ice-cream (who doesn’t?).

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Crisp Roast Duck with Homemade Flour Wraps

Great make-your-own-wrap meal, inspired by our family favorite – Pecking Duck. But unlike Chinese treat, this duck can be made at home.  Still crispy and tasty, great with homemade flour wraps, cucumber, green onion and Hoisin sauce. Adapted by Epicurious.com.

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Russian Soft Mint Glazed Cookies

In Russian cooking communities these little cookies are called myatnie (mint) pryaniki, but it’s not real ones. Real pryaniky are made with honey or sugar syrup So this is just plain soft cookies with fresh mint kick (peppermint extract needed). Great with cup of hot black tea.

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