Cultured Cream Feta

I love getting out of my bubble, traveling the world: learning new cultures, enjoying different experiences, feeling alive. My favorite part about traveling, though, is trying new cuisines and then bringing home ideas for future recipes. An idea for this post came out of the airport in Romania. My first time in the business class lounge,


It was one of those warm middle-of-California-summer nights in a tiny lakeside town near Yosemite. You know, the type where you don’t feel like doing anything but don’t really feel like doing nothing either, so you just kinda slowly walk around in this hazy fog of dehydrated confusion. We were spending a week by the

Infusing Vodka

I spent the first half of my childhood in Moldova, a tiny republic of the former Soviet Union, rich with fruit, vegetables and wine. It is the Napa of the Eastern Europe! Life in Moldova was simple. Eat seasonally, drink year-round. During summertime, my mom would bring home mountains of produce and my dad would

Crêpe Napoleon

Last week, on my way to work, I got startled by GENi‘s email announcement of my hubby’s approaching birthday. Four Zero! Gotto tell you, seeing such a mind blowing number next to my man’s name was pretty surreal! My man was abut to turn 40!!! That baby-faced boy, that I met as a teenager, is soon to celebrate

Russian gazpacho Okroshka (окрошка)

  Odessa, Ukraine. My husband and I are dressed to go out. Dinner, then a nightclub at a beach. A coral dress and blue heels for me.  Hair down. A gray v-neck and faded jeans for the hubby.  Leather wrap bracelets.  It is Saturday night, the air is warm and smells of summer. It is

Soup Kharcho

I have been having some major childhood-food cravings over the last few weeks. I don’t know exactly what triggered my culinary nostalgia.  Could it be this unusually cold and rainy for this time of year weather? Or perhaps my grandma’s recent passing? Whatever it was, it just felt like I needed something comforting and warm

Homemade Farmer’s Cheese (aka Tvorog, Ricotta, Cottage Cheese)

“Mommy is making farmer’s cheese again,” I overheard my 5-year old talking to his sister, just as the sweet nursery-soothing scent of warm milk started to fill the house. “Can we make farmer’s cheese together some day?” he asked,  as both of them crowded around the stove, watching me stir the pot. I never turn

Uzbek Lamb Plov with Barberries & Raisins

“The wisdom of the ancients teaches us that there are appropriate times for both feasting on rich foods and for fasting on the simplest fare.” Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats by Sally Fallon. I don’t know about you, but I generally crave richer foods on the days

Healthy Apricot Cake

Common culinary wisdom holds that you are either a baker or a cook. I hate to admit it but I am NOT a baker! Baking does not come naturally to me at all; nothing in baking makes sense. First time I ever made cookies, the directions called for “creaming butter.” I almost felt like Amelia

Fermentation Experimentation

Yep, I make my very own milk Kefir (Кефир.) An Eastern European-style yogurt, Kefir is loaded with lots and lots of tummy-friendly bacteria. Not to brag, but I also curdle farmers cheese (Творог): a creamier, smoother, and milder form of cottage cheese. Surprisingly, fermenting dairy products at home is super easy, fast and fun! A

Vareniki (Вареники)

Le Shana Tova Happy New Year to all my Jewish friends. May this year bring peace and a world filled with happiness, laughter and love. Leshana tova tekatev v’techatem. Tonight, for Rosh Hashana, I am serving Vareniki (варе́ники.) Vareniki is the ultimate comfort food for me. Both my husband and I grew up on these