Conflict in Ukraine [Syrniki with Strawberry Varenye]

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Sometimes world events touch a place deep inside of us where identity itself resides.

For some time now, reclaiming my culture by learning the traditional recipes of Ukraine has been a priority. Some of these recipes come from family, and others I have pieced together through research and cookbooks.

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The last independence from Russia was in 1991. That is within my lifetime.

I’m sure that now is the time to take a tighter grasp on tradition. This is a culture which, by force, has slipped through the fingers of its people more than once.

 Syrniki (Cottage Cheese Griddle Cakes)

1 lb farmer’s cheese
3 eggs
2 tbsp vanilla sugar
1/4 tsp salt
5 tbsp rye flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
seeds of 1 vanilla bean
butter, for frying

Combine all ingredients, except for butter, in a blender. Blend on high until the mixture is smooth and only tiny cheese lumps remain. Cover the batter and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight.

Heat a skillet over medium-low heat. Spoon the batter into the skillet. You will have to spread the batter into a circle, as it is very thick. Fry gently until the underside is golden, then flip and do the same to the other side.

Strawberry Varenye (Stewed Strawberry Preserve)

1 lb fresh strawberries, hulled
squeeze of lemon juice
2 oz honey
pinch of salt

Put the strawberries and honey in a saucepan over low heat. Once the strawberry juices start to run, turn up the heat to boil. Once the mixture hits a boil, immediately reduce the heat to medium low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the strawberries are very soft and the syrup has thickened. Cool and store in a jar in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

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3 thoughts on “Conflict in Ukraine [Syrniki with Strawberry Varenye]

  1. I come from a place where our culture is so new it has evolved considerably even in my lifetime. To have it buffeted and moulded by others is a pain I can only imagine.

    But you’re right – our personal, family culture can be kept alive in our kitchens, passed from generation to generation, and to our “family” of chosen friends – and even strangers like me – because, next summer, when the strawberries ripen, I’ll make some of these Syrniki, and think of Ukraine – and that too will add to the continuity of your culture. They look absolutely delicious 🙂

  2. Pingback: Syrniki Pancakes with Strawberry Varenye Sauce - Boil and Trouble

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