Radiant Girl by Andrea White: Oladi

img_5530.jpgFor September, the bloggers at Eat The World are exploring Ukrainian cuisine. To not get too political in a food blog, it’s pretty interesting how certain things can line up. Ukraine is quite top of news right now. So being that I am hearing a lot about Ukraine and possible (um probable) involvement in the US elections, it was interesting to get a historical fiction history lesson about the area. For my book selection I chose Radiant Girl by Andrea White. Rated a 4.06 on goodreads on the date I wrote this entry, I rated it 4 stars.

Radiant Girl is set in Ukraine in 1986 and revolves around the explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Told from the perspective of a young teenage girl, this book follows 11-year-old Katya into her high school years as she copes with the aftermath of the tragedy which forced her family out of their home and community. The book also used a lot of plays on Ukrainian folklore, which helped give some insight into the culture as well.

Food in the book included:

  • Paska
  • Sorrel and cabbage
  • Garlic buns and crepes called nalysnyky
  • Sausage and cabbage soup
  • Bread and hot chocolate and chocolate cake
  • Horilka, a strong spicy vodka
  • Strawberry jam
  • Kompot
  • Huge stacks of salami, domashnyaya kolbasa, beet-root salad, pickled mushrooms, cabbage rolls stuffed with meat and rice, fried fish, and sweet pies
  • Cucumber salad
  • Kutia, the traditional Christmas dish Mama made with poppy seeds, wheat nuts, and honey
  • Pancakes with sour cream, strawberry jam, and jelly
  • Lemonade
  • Salo-pig fat, the new potatoes dripped in butter, borsch made from homegrown beets and piping hot apple pie topped with sour cream
  • Cooked potato
  • Pickled beets and a loaf of chorni khilib
  • Yushka, a nutritious soup of whole wheat bread, chicken, veal, ham, egg yolksm and celery
  • Sausage and sauerkraut or corned beef and slaw
  • Homemade sandwiches
  • Porridge
  • Varenniki
  • Oversized sausage sandwiches
  • Cucumber and mayonnaise sandwich
  • Chicken soup
  • Chicken and dumplings
  • Chicken sandwich
  • Chicken paprika
  • Potato soup

I decided to make pancakes:

“As Mama returned to the kitchen, I managed to get out of bed and begin dressing. The delicious aroma of fried dough filled my room — she was making pancakes.”

When I googled “Ukrainian pancakes,” I learned about oladi. Oladi or olaydi is a common dish in Russian, Ukraine, and Belarus. They are small, yeasted pancakes made with buttermilk. Oladi are usually served with sour cream, jam, honey, and/or caviar.

The oladi is much fluffier than a pancake, as the yeast sits more like bread. It has to sit for an hour and a half before frying. The flavor is much more like sourdough because of the sourness from the buttermilk.

After sneaking out at night and meeting her domovyk, or household god, Katya wakes up to her mom making pancakes for breakfast.

“A pile of pancakes, a bowl of sour cream and strawberry jam waited for me on the counter. The butter dripping off the side of the pancakes had formed a luscious yellow pool.”

I served the pancakes with the jam from my previous post. The sweet of the jam and the sour of the pancakes was a perfect breakfast!




1 cup warm water
1/4 tbsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tbsp salt
just under 2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 tbsp vegetable oil


  1. In a small bowl sprinkle the yeast over the water. After a minute stir together and then let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the buttermilk, egg, sugar, salt, and yeast water. Then slowly mix the flour into the wet mixture.
  3. Cover and set aside somewhere warm for an hour and a half. Let the mixture double in size.
  4. Heat a griddle and spread the vegetable oil on the griddle. Scoop heaping tablespoons of the batter on the skillet. Cook until golden brown on each side.
  • Makes about 15 pancakes.


Check out all the wonderful Ukrainian dishes prepared by fellow Eat the World members and share with #eattheworld. Click here to find out how to join and have fun exploring a country a month in the kitchen with us!

Making Miracles: Mazuricks
Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Nalysnyky (Ukranian Crêpes)
Sugarlovespices: Ukrainian Poppy Seed Roll, Makivnyk
Pandemonium Noshery: Ukrainian Pickled Tomatoes
A Day in the Life on the Farm: Galushki Soup
Literature and Limes: Oladi

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware: Triple Berry Jam


The Facebook book club I’m part of read The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware for September’s choice. I’ve read In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ware and enjoyed it. I thought The Turn of the Key was even better. I rated it 5 out of 5 stars on goodreads. At the date I am writing this review the book has been rated 4.03 stars.

A true psychological thriller and mystery, The Turn of the Key is quite exhilarating with twists and turns I was not expecting. Set in the UK, Rowan gets a new gig as a nanny for a family living in a house out in the boonies. The house is all up to date with the newest and the best types of smart house technologies. When Rowan begins working with this family she quickly learns something is amiss. Is it ghosts? Is someone messing with her? But the loud music that pumps through the speakers, the doorbell consistently ringing – who is doing this to her? What does it mean?

I’m not going to tell you, because that would ruin the fun.

The Turn of the Key is written in the form of a letter. From jail Rowan writes the best lawyer she has heard of a compelling reason why he should take her case.

Food included in this book was:

  • Beef casserole with horseradish creme fraiche stirred in.
  • Toast and marmalade.
  • Porridge.
  • Ice cream.
  • Chocolate chip cookies, juice, pizza.
  • Popcorn.
  • Pasta and pesto with peas mixed in.
  • Mini rice cakes.
  • Picnic of sandwiches, crisps, and rice cakes.
  • Alphabetti Spaghetti.
  • Cake.
  • Cappucino.
  • Berry jam.
  • Hot chocolate.
  • Tea and biscuits.
  • Bacon sandwich.

As Rowan tries to make sense of the strange happenings in the house, she looks up the history of the house online. The children had mentioned in passing that they knew something bad had happened in the house. That’s when Rowan learns that the former residents had lost their 11-year-old daughter after

“she had died from eating Prunus laurocerasus, or cherry laurel berries, which had been accidentally made into jam.”

Poison jam you say? For my murder mystery thriller? Sounds great!

Don’t worry. No Prunus laurocerasus was used in the making of my jam.


Triple Berry Jam


1/2 pint fresh raspberries
1 pint fresh blackberries
8 oz fresh strawberries, cut into chunks
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice


  1. Set your berries in a bowl. Mix together with sugar and set aside for 10 minutes.
  2. Add to a pot. Set to medium heat and bring to a boil. Add the lemon zest and juice and salt.  Reduce heat to medium-low.
  3. Gently simmer for 15-20 minutes. Use your spoon to break down the berries as they get soft.
  4. As the jam cools it will start to stiffen up. Pour into a mason jar. Cover once completely cool and refrigerate.

This recipe is being shared with Foodies Read, Novel Reads, & Creative Muster,

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai: Moroccan Lentil Chickpea Stew


For September’s choice of Girly Book Club, the choice was The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai. While I often read books chosen by Girly Book Club, they unfortunately don’t have a chapter anywhere near me. Though part of me says I should start one myself, I’m not sure I have the time to do that. But the books chosen just are very good, culturally relevant books. Rated 4.23 stars on goodreads, I rated this book a 4.0.

The Great Believers tells the stories of Boytown during the AIDS crisis. Moving between the ’80s and ’90s in the gay community of Chicago and between Paris in 2015, this story weaves the past and present together of the stories of those who both contracted HIV and those who lost loved ones to the disease. Focusing mostly on Fiona and Yale, this story tells the story of love and loss, based on the very real events that victimized the gay community.

This book was tragic and hard to read, but it was very well written. Though there was a lot of food mentioned in the book, there hardly was a dish that stood out very much, because none were all that relevant to the story line. They included:

  • Sandwiches.
  • Cuba libres.
  • Pancakes.
  • Trays of little quiches and stuffed mushrooms and deviled eggs.
  • Swedish fish candy.
  • Bowl of chocolate ice cream.
  • Soup.
  • Croissants.
  • Double cheese sandwich with three slices of provolone, three slices of cheddar, brown mustard, lettuce, onion, and tomato on rye.
  • Milkshake.
  • Ice cream and waffle cones.
  • Latte.
  • Yoplaits and Pringles.
  • Leftover spaghetti.
  • Fish fry.
  • Potpie.
  • Fish and chips.
  • Avocado with cottage cheese.
  • Fruit salad.
  • Cheese omelet.
  • Chocolate milk.
  • Doughnuts.
  • Honey and salad dressing.
  • Cornish game hens.
  • Fresh baked bread.
  • Trifle with sherry.
  • Rice noodles.
  • Apple pie.
  • Tea and ramen.
  • Meatballs and mashed potatoes.
  • Cheeseburger.
  • Moroccan stew.
  • Apple tart.
  • Veal parmensan.
  • Tomato soup.
  • Chocolate pudding.
  • Veggie chili.
  • Sake, nigri, ikura, miso, and avocado roll.
  • Sloppy turkey sandwich.
  • Egg salad, pasta salad, cold cuts.
  • Cherry cobbler.
  • Souflee.
  • Chicken salad.
  • Platters of smoked fish.
  • Grilled cheese and tomato soup.
  • Mu shu and lo mein.
  • Turkey and Muenster cheese sandwich.
  • Toast.
  • Roast beef sandwich.
  • Pizza and beer.
  • S’mores.
  • Paella.
  • Ham and cheese sandwich on baguette.

Like I said, there were a lot of mentions of food in this book. Nothing in this book though was entirely crucial to the telling of the story. It was all mentioned rather in passing. So the reason I chose the Moroccan stew is because there was a scene that sort of revolved around this dinner with the stew. I didn’t make it with the lamb and the apricots that were discussed in The Great Believers, because unfortunately buying lamb is really hard at my local stores and when I can find it, is very expensive.

“It was another two hours before the doorbell rang — what Serge had been cooking was a Moroccan stew that apparently took years.”

Fiona, like I said, is one of the main players in this book. Back during the AIDS crisis her brother Nico died. Fiona had become very close to Nico’s friends, including a man Yale. Fiona and Yale’s friendship shaped a lot of her adult life. And with the deaths of many of the men in this group of friends, their losses shaped Fiona and her decisions into the future. Those decisions shaped her relationship with her daughter, Claire. The portion of the book that is set in 2015 is set in Paris, where Fiona is searching for Claire to try to mend what may have been broken. While in Paris she tries to reconnect with her daughter, but also reconnects with old friends, including Richard. While staying at Richard’s house, his boyfriend Serge, makes a dinner of Moroccan stew what lamb and apricots and spices that “didn’t hit till after you’d swallowed.”

This hearty stew was a great way to begin into soup season, with us meeting one of our colder nights since summer started.


Moroccan Lentil Stew


1 tbsp avocado oil
1 onion, chopped
1 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1 1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 garlic cloves, grated
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
28 oz crushed tomatoes
6 carrots, cut into coins
1 cup dry lentils
16 oz can chickpeas
1 lemon
coconut milk, to taste


  1. In a large Dutch oven, heat the avocado oil. Add the onions to the pot and cook for about 10 minutes.
  2. After the onions start to get translucent, add the cinnamon, cumin, coriander, pepper flakes, salt, and garlic. Cook for 2 more minutes.
  3. Pour the chicken broth, water, crushed tomatoes, and lentils into the pot. Bring to a boil. Turn down to medium-low and simmer for 25 minutes.
  4. After 25 minutes, add the chickpeas and lemon juice. Cook for another 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in coconut milk. Cook for 2 more minutes.
  • Serves 5-6.

This recipe is being shared with Foodies Read, Souper Sundays over at Kahakai Kitchen, & Reader Tip Tuesday.

Shadows on the Nile by Kate Furnivall: Taameyya


For September, Eat The World is exploring Egyptian cuisine. So as I mentioned in my review of The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico, I am trying to mash these two challenges into one. Since this month we are doing Egyptian cuisine, I opted to find a book set in Egypt. I didn’t do a good job, though there were several mentions of Egyptian foods in this book. I truly disliked Shadows on the Nile, rating it 1 star on goodreads. The average as of the date I am writing this entry is 3.53.

Shadows on the Nile is a mystery set in 1912. Jessie, an English woman, learns her brother has gone missing. She begins to follow clues he has left for her to find him. These clues, many Sherlock Holmes related, lead her to Egypt. I find the book boring, slow paced, and predictable. And it really didn’t have any of the Egyptian food references I was hoping might pop up. The food that did show up included:

  • Herring
  • Steak
  • Apfelstrudel
  • Two fried eggs on toast, three fried tomatoes, and three mushrooms
  • Milky cocoa and a ginger biscuit
  • Rhubarb and custard
  • Scrambled egg
  • Orange marmalade
  • Escargots, trout meuniere, pigeon roti, and graptefruit sorbet
  • Shai tea
  • Peaches and spiced wine
  • Pomegranate juice
  • Mashed potatoes and steamed tasteless fish
  • Tea and watermelon with yogurt and honey
  • Eesh baladi
  • Mint tea
  • Slice of melon
  • Flatbread rolled around goat’s cheese
  • Cinnamon
  • Falafel and pita bread
  • Two eggs and a piece of millet bread
  • Lemonade
  • Kushari and mezzes

With the very few Egyptian recipes presented in the book, I googled each. Eesh baladi (or aish baladi as everything online says) is flatbread. Kushari is a delicious dish of lentils, noodles, and more. I have made kushari in the past. I wanted to try something new. While I have had falafel in the past, I decided to google Egyptian falafel and see if it was something unique to Egypt or if it was the chickpea fritters I have had in the past. To my delight, I learned about the taameyya, which doesn’t use chickpeas and is much greener than falafel I have had previously.

If you look taameyya up on wikipedia, it brings you to the page about falafels. And as wiki explains, falafel are deep fried balls of beans with herbs, spices, and onions. Falafel is a well known Egyptian and other Middle Eastern dish. Known as taameyya in Egypt, the literal translation is “a little taste of food” or “a small tasty thing.” In Egypt the taameyya is most commonly made with fava beans.

I made so many taameyya in this process because I soaked too many beans. Instead of letting the soaked beans go bad, I made a huge batch of these fritters. The first meal involved taameyya on pita. The next meal involved a salad with taameyya on top. Both options were delicious. Because I couldn’t find fava beans in my local stores, I opted for a broad bean. Because I did not buy them pre-split, I had to peel them before I could use them in the falafel mix. It was quite a bit of work, but ultimately delicious. The recipe turned out way better than the book.



14 oz broad beans
1 onion, cut into pieces
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 bunch of parsley, no stems
1 bunch of cilantro, no stems
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp salt
oil for frying
Sesame seeds, to taste


  1. For at least 8 hours or up to overnight, soak the beans in a bowl of water, making sure the water covers the beans.
  2. Once the beans are soaked and plump, peel the skin off of the beans.
  3. In a food processor combine the onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, cornstarch, baking soda, coriander, cumin, and salt. Pulse until finely chopped.
  4. Add the beans to the food processor. Pulse until a course paste is formed. Scrape the paste into a bowl and refrigerate for 15 minutes to a half hour, allowing it to firm.
  5. Wet your hands and form balls of the paste about 2-3 tbsp in size. Set on a baking sheet and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Pat the seeds into place.
  6. In a cast iron skillet heat olive oil. Once the olive oil is hot add no more than 5 taameyya to the skillet at a time. Cook for 3 minutes and then flip and cook for 3 minutes on the other side. Remove from the skillet and place on a paper towel lined cookie sheet.
  7. Continue to fry the taameyya in batches until complete.
  • Makes approximately 20 taameyya.

Check out all the wonderful Egyptian dishes prepared by fellow Eat the World members and share with #eattheworld. Click here to find out how to join and have fun exploring a country a month in the kitchen with us!

Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Lahma Bil Basal (Egyptian Beef in Onion Sauce)
PalatablePastimeBedouin Stuffed Grape Leaves
SnehaDatar:Vegan Egyptian Koshari# Eat the World
Literature and Limes: Taameyya
Pandemonium Noshery: Ful Medames
Amy’s Cooking Adventures: Ghorayebah Cookies
The Gingered Whisk: Basbousa Cake Recipe
Kitchen Frau: Egyptian Fava Beans and Feta
A Day in the Life on the Farm: Koshary
Sara’s Tasty Buds: Luqmet el qadi

This is also being shared with Foodies Read

Pet Sematary by Stephen King: Comforting Cholesterol Egg Sandwich


My 12-year-old decided she really wanted to read Pet Sematary by Stephen King. After having read part of It and actually having to put it down because of childhood behaviors written about that made me incredibly uncomfortable, I wasn’t positive Pet Sematary would be appropriate. I have read other Stephen King books that I don’t remember as being particularly inappropriate, like Carrie, but it’s been awhile. I decided I should read Pet Sematary first before giving her the okay. My takeaway is that it’s a great, scary horror story. It is not 12-year-old appropriate. Sorry child, you got a few more years. There was a little sex in the book, but mostly I thought she’d have nightmares for years. Being a big horror buff myself, I can tolerate a lot of scary books. But I did find this story just generally scary.

Side note: I’m watching the 2019 movie version of this book right now. I’ve heard it’s shitty, but I like watching movies of books I’ve read.

Rated 3.97 stars on goodreads on the date I made this entry, I rated the book 5 stars. The Creed family moves into a small rural town in Ludlow, Maine. When Dr. Louis Creed meets his neighbor Jud, he is also introduced to the neighborhood pet cemetery on his property. Though very much a horror story, this book is a huge introspection into death and into how people cope with death in different ways. Like a lot of King’s works, there is a huge supernatural element, in this one, a haunted Indian burial ground.

Food in this book included:

  • Rat cheese and crackers
  • Deep dish apple pie
  • Beef stroganoff
  • Iced tea
  • Eggs
  • Doughnuts and coffee
  • Tuna fish sandwich and coke
  • Pot roast
  • Apple and snickers
  • Turkey and the trimmings
  • Deep dish pizza
  • Meatloaf sandwich with onion and ketchup
  • Homemade bread
  • Beef stew
  • Submarine sandwiches
  • South side chili
  • Turkey sandwiches
  • Oatmeal
  • Cheeseburger
  • Eggnog
  • Grapefruit and cereal
  • Sandwich and a bowl of soup
  • Chicken pot pie
  • Oatmeal cookies
  • Hot dogs and beans
  • Hamburger and noodle casserole
  • Quiche
  • Baked ham
  • Cold cuts and cheeses
  • Key lime pie
  • Canapes
  • Pepperoni and mushroom pizza
  • Baked potato, green beans, apple pie with ice cream
  • Fried egg sandwich
“He would go out into the kitchen, he decided, and make himself breakfast just as if it were any ordinary day. A bachelor breakfast, full of comforting cholesterol. A couple of fried-egg sandwiches with mayo and a slice of Bermuda onion on each one . . .
He went into the kitchen, rattled out a frying pan, put it on the stove, got eggs from the fridge. The kitchen was bright and crisp and clear. He tried to whistle – a whistle would bring the morning into its proper focus – but he could not. Things looked right, but they weren’t right.”

There were a lot of food references in this book, but I wouldn’t say food was in anyway integral to this story. The reason I chose to make the egg sandwich was because it did play more of a part of the story line without giving the story away, than some of the other options. Though, I did make an apple pie last weekend and almost used it for this book’s recipe – but I decided the pie that we took to my fiance’s grandma’s 90th birthday party shouldn’t be a horror pie.

The cholesterol loaded egg sandwich was easy and delicious.


Comforting Cholesterol Egg Sandwich


1/2 avocado
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp onion, chopped
1 egg
1 1/2 tbsp butter, softened
Mayonnaise, to taste
1 oz sliced deli ham
1 slice provolone cheese
3 slices tomato
2 slices sourdough bread


  1. In a small bowl combine the avocado, salt, pepper, and onion. Mash together to make guacamole.
  2. In a small skillet heat 1/2 tbsp butter. Crack an egg into the skillet. Break the yolk and cook for 3 minutes. Flip the egg and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes.
  3. Spread the remaining butter on one side of the bread slices.
  4. On the other side of the bread slices, make your sandwich. Spread one of the bread slices with the avocado. Spread the other with mayonnaise.
  5. Layer the egg, cheese, deli meat, tomato, and avocado onto the bread and push together to make a sandwich.
  6. Heat the skillet. Cook the sandwich for 3 minutes per side, until golden brown and toasted and the cheese is melted.
  • Makes 1 sandwich.

Shared with Foodies ReadWeekend Cooking

My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman: Kanelbullar


One of the internet book clubs I am a part of read Fredrik Backman’s book, My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry this month. I have a love for Backman. I have read A Man Called Ove and Us Against You and have loved them very much. He still has several others that I need to get, but so far, this one has been my favorite. Originally written in Swedish, the translation does not get in the way. Rated 4.05 stars at the time of this entry, I gave the book 5 stars.

Elsa is a little girl who has a very close relationship to her grandmother. Granny tells her fantastical stories and is quite a character. After Granny dies of cancer, she leaves essentially a scavenger hunt for Elsa. This hunt explains the fantasies her grandmother filled her head with and let her explore the intricacies of the people around her and the connections they had to her grandmother and to each other. This book had me crying at points and laughing at others. I think it’s a must read.

Though not a food related book, there are food references. And many more food references in this book than there were in Us Against You.

  • Ice cream
  • Chocolate
  • Kebab
  • Coffee
  • Cookies
  • Cinnamon buns
  • Eggs
  • Protein bars
  • Ben and Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk ice cream
  • Hamburgers
  • Salad
  • Soup
  • Sponge cake mix
  • Fresh baked bread
  • Sweet cake
  • Chocolate Cake
  • Sausages
  • Pizza
  • Mulled wine
  • Chocolate Santas
  • Veggie burgers without a tomato
  • Meringues and pasta gratin with Bearnaise sauce
  • Peanut cake
  • Creme brulees
“And then they play Monopoly and eat cinnamon buns and talk about who’d win a fight between Harry Potter and Spider-Man. Bloody pathetic discussion, of course, thinks Elsa. But Granny likes nattering on about these types of things because she’s too immature to understand that Harry Potter would have crushed Spider-Man.
Granny gets some more cinnamon buns from large paper bags under another pillow. Not that she has to hide the cinnamon buns from Elsa’s mum the way she has to hide the beer from Elsa’s mum, but she likes keeping them together because she likes eating them together. Beer and cinnamon buns is Granny’s favorite snack.”

As per the above quote, beer and cinnamon buns were Granny’s favorite snack. And since Granny is such an integral figure in this book, it only seemed appropriate to run with the cinnamon buns for this book. My stepdaughter was at our house this weekend and we have become a tradition of baking on the weekends she’s with us. We’ve done cupcakes, cookies, and now cinnamon buns. I explained to her, as I will to you, that these are not American cinnamon rolls. As you know, an American cinnamon roll is a pastry that is initially rolled into a jelly roll, sliced, and then baked. The Swedish cinnamon bun, or kanelbullar, is a pastry that is cut into strips and then tied into rolled knots and then baked. They are similar, though the kanelbullar is a lot more buttery and fluffy and does not have frosting on top.

The reason I opted for the kanelbullar as opposed to the cinnamon roll I know is because this book, written by Backman, was originally written in Swedish. I figured it was probably more likely that Granny was enjoying Swedish cinnamon buns as opposed to cinnamon rolls. Maybe I should have enjoyed it with a mug of beer.


Kanelbullar (aka Cinnamon Buns)



1 cup milk, lukewarm
1/3 cup sugar, divided
2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast (or 1 package)
3 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 egg, room temperature
5 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature


8 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp vanilla extract


1 egg
1 tbsp water
sugar, to taste



  1. Mix together the milk, 1 tbsp sugar, and the yeast in a small bowl. Let sit for 15 minutes, until frothy.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together the flour, salt, cardamom, and remaining sugar.
  3. Add the milk mixture and the egg to the dry ingredients. Mix on low for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Increase the speed of the mixer to medium and mix for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the butter a little at a time, waiting until fully incorporated to add the next piece. Do this while mixing for 7 minutes.
  6. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm, non-drafty area. Let the dough rise for 45 minutes to an hour to rise.


  1. Place the filling ingredients together in a bowl. Mix together with a fork,  making sure to smash the butter into the sugar and spices.
  2. Turn the dough out on a work surface sprinkled with flour. Roll the dough into a 24″x15″ rectangle.
  3. Spread the filling onto the dough rectangle, making sure to bring the filling all the way out to the edges.
  4. Fold the dough as you would a tri-fold letter. Starting on the short side, fold the dough over a third. Then fold the dough on the other side so that it slightly covers the first folded over piece. Transfer the dough to a cutting board and let sit in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  5. After 15 minutes, transfer the dough back to your work station. Roll out the dough slightly. Using a ruler and starting on the short side, cut strips of dough that are 2 centimeters wide.
  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. With each strip of dough, you are going to wrap the dough around your hand several times and then bring the end over the top of the bun and under one of the loops. I realize I am not describing this clearly at all. Watch this gif from Fix Feast Flair to see the process. Place each bun on the baking sheet. Cover with plastic and let sit in a warm, non-drafty area for 30 minutes. They should rise more.
  7. Preheat the oven to 400.
  8. Combine the egg and water to make an egg wash. Brush the egg wash over each of the buns. Sprinkle with sugar.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the baking sheet.
  • Makes 12 buns

This recipe is being shared with Foodies Read

The Calligraphers Daughter by Eugenia Kim: Cucumber Kimchi


I decided it was time to read another book for the Year of The Asian Reading Challenge. I have many books of my my bookshelf written by Asian authors, so I pulled one randomly off and decided it was the next reading choice. Rated a 3.81 on goodreads at the time of this post, I rated the book 3 stars. The reason I gave it the rating I did was because I found the beginning very slow. I almost put it down several times, but when I pushed myself through it further, it did get better and I began to care more about all the characters in this story.

Set in Korea during the early twentieth-century, this historical fiction book details the life of Najin, daughter of a renowned calligrapher. Najin was raised in a very privileged lifestyle, though political upheaval between Korea and Japan disturbed her once cushy life. The story very much describes the struggle between the traditional Korean cultures that her father wishes to maintain and the more modern way Najin wishes to live her life.

There were plenty of food references in this book:

  • Fancy rice cakes
  • Broth with peas
  • Rice porridge drizzled with honey
  • Taffy and kelp chips dusted with sugar
  • Gimchi
  • Rice balls rolled into crushed sesame or red bean powder
  • Fiddlehead ferns in a tangy salad
  • Breakfast of porridge and sauteed greens
  • Dried fish
  • Buns stuffed with sweet bean paste or dates, rice cakes that were rolled in green, red, or beige pulverized peas
  • Yellow melon slices and sweet rice tea
  • Warm sugary freshly baked goods
  • Jajang sauce
  • Pancakes made of eggs, meal, chopped scallions, and squash
  • Rice, spring greens, winter radish, gimchi, mashed soybean flavored with pork belly, and egg pancakes with wild leeks
  • Pear slices
  • Sweet black bean sauce over a steaming bowl of noodles
  • Southern strawberries and apricots
  • Buckwheat noodles with garlic and hot pepper
  • Spiced anchovies on young lettuce leaves sprinkled with steamed bean sprouts with vinegar and soy sauce
  • Dried plums
  • Steamed barley and broth with tender wild leeks and tofu
  • Tiny dumplings, steamed balls of fish, rice rolled in seaweed, and a perfect persimmon
  • Cold noodle soup with chopped vegetables
  • Boiled eggs, steamed buns, and dried mackerel
  • Punch and fancy sandwiches
  • Clear soup, millet, gimchi, steamed bean sprouts, and dried fish in pepper sauce
  • Seaweed soup
  • Hot dogs, vegetables, pastries, beef and mashed potatoes with gravy
  • Country ham or fried chicken
  • Soybean soup
  • Millet with cabbage leaves on top and a shank of salted fish
  • Squash blossom soup
  • Salads of cucumber gimchi and squash pickled in chilies
  • Fish bone soup and millet

With the many mentions of gimchi, also known as kimchi, I decided that was where this book was taking me. The first time gimchi comes up in the book is when Najin realizes it’s gimchi-making season and she isn’t home to help. The last mention of it comes during a much harder time in Najin’s life – she thinks of the gimchi in a memory, of hunting for for fruit to use in salads and gimchi.

I didn’t know that kimchi considered really any Korean pickled vegetable. I have only ever had kimchi made with Napa cabbage. I thought that kimchi only referred to that. But I was wrong and learned that through this book and this cooking project. Kimchi, according to wikipedia, is any salted and Korean pickled vegetable. Since there was a specific mention to cucumber gimchi in this book, I decided that is what I would make.

It came out perfectly spicy, not too spicy for my mouth, but spicy enough to make my nose run.


Cucumber Kimchi


1 lb cucumber
1 tbsp salt
1 carrot
1 oz chives
2 tbsp chili flakes
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp grated red apple
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp minced ginger


  1. Divide each cucumber into three pieces. Then cut each third of the cucumber into four pieces. Cut lengthwise so that you have an approximately 2-inch long cucumber piece.
  2. Sprinkle the salt over the cucumber and place in a large bowl. Mix together so the salt is covering all of the cucumber. Set aside for 20 minutes.
  3. While the cucumber is sitting, julienne the carrot and chop the chives.
  4. Mix together the chili flakes, garlic, red apple, honey, fish sauce, and ginger together in a small bowl.
  5. Once 20 minutes has passed. wipe any remaining salt off of the cucumber. Transfer to a new clean bowl. Mix together with the sauce, carrots, and chives.
  6. Transfer to a glass jar with a lid. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 12 hours before eating.

This recipe is being shared with Foodies Read and The Year of the Asian Reading Challenge.


I am still on track for the Philippine tarsier badge for #YARC2019.