Nadia’s (Mom’s) Kulich / Paska

What many of you call Paska we called Kulich growing up. This is my mom’s Russian Easter Bread Recipe that I quartered because the amount she would make is quite daunting for me. We have cut it in half in years past. Now what you need to know about my mom and recipes is that she ends up tweaking them from year to year so this recipe is for her Kulich from 2001. I have a 2009 and 2012 recipe, too. This one was easier to quarter. Here’s the link to the original. My dear mom passed away from this earth in September of 2013 so I cherish her tweaked recipes.

Ingredients:

2 pkgs rapid rise yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1/4 cup lukewarm milk
1 teaspoon sugar

4 egg yolks
1 egg
1-1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup half and half
1/2 ounce apricot brandy
1-1/2 teaspoons powdered vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
Zest of half a lemon
About 2-1/2 lbs of flour, sifted (about 7 cups)
Vegetable oil to coat the rising dough

6 to 7 one pound or two pound cans for baking. You can use loaf pans or large muffin tins if you don’t have the cans to bake them in.

Add yeast to the lukewarm water and milk and sugar in a stainless steel bowl. Make sure the liquids are lukewarm. Let this mixture dissolve and sit.

Beat the egg yolks and egg together.
Cream the butter and sugar in the large bowl of a stand-up mixer.
Add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture slowly mixing to combine and then beat to incorporate well.
Mix the half and half with the whipping cream and heat until lukewarm, not hot, and slowly incorporate into the creamed mixture.
Mix in the vanilla and brandy.
Add the yeast mixture and the salt and beat with a mixer.
Continue beating and add the lemon zest.
Continue beating and add the sifted flour about a cup at a time.
Once you cannot beat the dough any longer using the mixer, put the dough on a floured surface and start incorporating the remaining flour by kneading the dough.
The dough should be kneaded very well, approximately 10 minutes.
You should knead the dough until you can cut it with a knife and it is smooth without any holes.
Place the dough in a stainless steel bowl. Take some oil and pour a little on the dough and spread it all over the dough. Make sure to turn the dough so it is coated evenly.
Cover with plastic wrap right on the dough and a dish towel on top of that.
Place in a warm place away from drafts to rise. (My sister usually puts it into the oven that has been warmed slightly.

It is now time to prepare the coffee cans (1 lb. and 2 lb. cans are the best) Cut circles the size of the bottom of the cans out of wax paper. You will need four circles per can. Make sure the cans are well greased. Put the 4 circles in the bottom of the cans.

Use a empty and clean coffee can like the ones above. If there is a label make sure to take it off. If the can has a lip at the top you’ll need to use a can opener to cut the lip off the can. I hope these pictures will make the process easier to understand.

Cut sheets of wax paper long enough to line the sides of the can and tall enough to be 2″ above the rim of the can. Use crisco to seal the ends of the paper.

Here’s a can with the bottom and sides lined with the wax paper.

When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and turn it over.
Let it rise a second time until it doubles in size. Punch it down again.
Now the dough is ready to put into the prepared cans.
You will take a portion of dough about 1/3 the size of the can. Knead it and form it into a smooth ball that you can easily drop into the can.

Let the dough rise again inside the can until it is at least double in size.

Bake in a 350 degree oven until golden brown on top.(approximately 30 minutes or more depending on your oven.)

Let them cool slightly in the cans. Remove them from the cans and then cool completely standing up. Some people cool them on their sides turning them often to keep their shape. We found this time that they cool just fine and keep their shape standing up so we didn’t bother with that step!

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To go with this bread my mom always makes a wonderful sweet cheese topping that is formed in a mold in different shapes. For my mom’s Sernaya Paska (cheese spread) recipe click here.

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I’ll be trying this Kulich/Paska recipe quartered at the end of this week. I’ll let you know how it goes and how many coffee can shaped loaves it makes. We got seven loaves out of this recipe although we shorted some of the cans.

Are you preparing for Easter?

Saturday I turn 64!

img818My life started when I was little in East Los Angeles.

img817I was a real swinger.

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Black and Whites1I started out a brunette and then became a blond and then switched back to brunette. Now I’m suppose to be gray, but funny thing, I’m still a brunette and I owe all the credit to my fine hairdresser, Sherri Bell.

img331Kindergarten at Montebello Gardens Primary School. This school only went to the 3rd grade at this time. Starting in the 4th grade we were bused up to Montebello (over the Rio Hondo river) to Fremont Elementary. Montebello Gardens (not a garden by any stretch of the imagination) is part of Pico Rivera. (Top Row Left with my Buster Brown “do”)

img332Mrs. Nicolaus my 1st and 2nd grade teacher was one of a handful of my teachers that I knew was fond of me. I was a voracious reader and she recommended that I be skipped from 2nd grade to 3rd grade. (Top Row left with my curly “do”)

img333The majority of the children I went to school with in my primary school days were Mexican/American. Of course now the politically correct title is Hispanic. My growing up experiences were not in the era of political correctness. (Top Row right with my Buster Brown askew)

I tried to count the candles on this cake to see what birthday it was. It looks like 7 but I’m not sure. This was at our house in Montebello Gardens/Pico Rivera, 4635 Oak Street. It’s funny how the old addresses stick in my head. My sister Kathy on the right with my cousin Jim Loscutoff. On the left is my brother Fred and my sister Vera.

img645Since my brother Tim looks like he’s 1 in this photo I’m 8 years old.

I know this is later than the photo above since my brother Steve is sitting in the highchair and my cousin Tanya is sitting at the table. My best guess is that this is 1960 since my brother Steve was born in December of 1959 (my 9th birthday). My cousin Valia, cousin Vera, cousin John, and cousin Walter blurred along with my brother Fred blurred.  Looks like a store bought cake for this year…

When I was in the 5th grade we moved across the river into Montebello and I was able to walk to school. During my 4th grade year I was bused. Speaking of 4th grade, I talked too much and my handwriting was messy. Funny how the criticisms stick with you all your life. My 5th grade teacher gave me the distinct impression that she did not like me at all. She made me stand up once in class to chastise me and I remember thinking in my head “I may be standing up on the outside but I’m sitting down on the inside!”  My 6th grade teacher was a gem who encouraged me with his kindness.  I worked in the cafeteria in the 6th grade and got free lunches. The cafeteria ladies were another group of adults who encouraged me.

img369High School Song Leader Squad. I hope to see some of these gals in April.

Junior High1Graduation from Junior High and graduation from High School with my dear maternal babushka.

Pictures15Graduation from college with my Dear and with my brother Fred.

img080Honeymoon with my Dear, December 1974.

P1050481This year it’s time to sing that great Beatles tune, “When I’m Sixty Four” and appropriately this photo of me is taken in jolly old England and I still have an attitude!

“When I’m Sixty Four”

When I get older losing my hair
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me a valentine
Birthday greetings, bottle of wine?
If I’d been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four? You’ll be older too
And if you say the word
I could stay with you I could be handy, mending a fuse
When your lights have gone
You can knit a sweater by the fireside
Sunday mornings go for a ride
Doing the garden, digging the weeds
Who could ask for more?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four? Every summer we can rent a cottage in the Isle of Wight
If it’s not too dear
We shall scrimp and save
Grandchildren on your knee
Vera, Chuck & Dave Send me a postcard, drop me a line
Stating point of view
Indicate precisely what you mean to say
Yours sincerely, wasting away
Give me your answer, fill in a form
Mine for evermore
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four?
Ho!

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Tonight (Friday) we are going out to dinner with some wonderful friends of ours and on Saturday (my actual birthday) I’ll be going to the Sounders Soccer game with Josh and Laura. We’ll celebrate my birthday and Katie and Andrew’s anniversary on Sunday. We are being threatened with a mighty storm on my birthday…what does the weekend hold for you?
Thank you Lord for saving me and leading me all these years!

History and Heritage…

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I posted this on the Mennonite Girls Can Cook Blog on Sunday for our Bread for the Journey and I’m re-posting here for my own records on The Happy Wonderer. That’s wonder not wander. I’m adding a few more photos from Russia and Persia in this post. Today I’m linking up with ABC Wednesday with thanks to Mrs. Nesbitt, Roger and the ABC Team! I’m also linking up to Testimonial Tuesday #5 at Jerrelea’s Journey.

We are in the middle of a new series on Sundays called “Movement”. As we launched into this series our pastor encouraged us with this statement: “The book of Acts tells the story of a group of first-century, rag-tag followers of the Risen Christ who became the movement that would change the world; it’s God’s movement because He is a God on the move, and He invites us to get on the move with Him.” As a follower of Jesus “I am an integral part of the most powerful, life-changing movement in the history of the world.”
It’s an encouraging exercise to look back over your life and the life of your ancestors to see how God has led and moved you to where you are today.
 My father’s family
My mother with her brother and younger sister.
 For me part of my story is God moving both sets of my grandparents to flee Russia on foot with their children to Iran in the early 1930’s. Both sets of grandparents settled near Tehran where my parents later met and got married. God moved my father with the desire to come to the United States. One of the things that influenced this desire was how my father was treated while working in an U.S. Army base kitchen in Iran. The soldiers were kind to my father and let him take food home to his family because they knew my father’s family was struggling.
My parents with my oldest sister shortly after arriving to Los Angeles, my mother is pregnant with my sister Vera in this photo.
 My parents filed the proper paper work and were granted permission to immigrate to the U.S.A. With my oldest sister they traveled to the U.S.A. settling in Los Angeles shortly after World War II ended. In 1963 my father went to hear Billy Graham at the Los Angeles Coliseum and my father was born again. My father’s decision to follow Jesus turned my family’s world upside down in the right way. That same year I accepted Christ and my new life in the greatest movement of all time began. We won’t know the whole story on how our own lives impact God’s movement till we see Him face to face but we can see part of the story now and be encouraged to carry on and follow Him where he leads us. He doesn’t call us and then leave us alone. He has given us his Spirit, He intercedes for us, He gives us strength. He multiplies the little that we have when we are willing to step out in faith with Him. What an amazing movement to be a part of! You, too, can be a part of this movement. Ask God to reveal Himself to you, to show you the way.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:16-17
Jesus said to them, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6
Here are a few more photos from Russia and Persia that I promised… Sorry about the quality of some of these but after all they have traveled a long distance!
This one was taken in Russia before my father’s family fled to Iran. This is my paternal babushka’s relatives, the Sisoev’s, in Prelestnaya Village in Russia.
This is my mother next to her brother Paul on the right. My mother is standing next to her future sister-in-law, Nina. Nina is to the left of my mom and Nina’s brother Nikolai is next to her on the left.
My mother with her brother Paul.
These are two families, who were close friends in Iran and considered family to each other. There were also marriages that connected these two families together further. This was taken in Persia after my parents had immigrated to the U.S.A. I believe all but two of them made it to the U.S. My maternal grandfather seated on the lower right was killed in Iran and my maternal grandmother seated next to him immigrated to the U.S. as a widow with my Uncle Paul and Aunt Nina (pictured together upper right). Aunt Nina was part of the Katkov family and the others in this photo are her siblings and mother and father. The little boy between my grandmother and grandfather is my cousin Alex. One of the sisters from this family married a U.S. Soldier stationed in Iran and she is not in this photo. I’m not sure if who I lovingly called babushka Manya (seated next to my babushka Vera) came to the U.S. as a widow, also, or if her husband Nikolai was able to immigrate with his family.
Well this post is long enough for now. When I scan more photos that I came across from Russia and Persia I’ll share.
Hope you have a happy day…

Reminiscing…

We have always called my mom’s friend Zena, Aunt Zena.

img615This photo of my mom and Aunt Zena was taken in Tehran, Iran in the 1940’s. In the late 1940’s our families immigrated to the United States.

These immigrant families got together often in the 1950’s in the Los Angeles area.  My mom upper left next to Aunt Zena, Mrs. Hamzieff, my aunt Nina, my aunt Anna, Mrs. Katkov and Mrs. Titov.  I’m not even going to try to explain the fact that all but one of these ladies are sister-in-laws to one or more of each other. There was also a photo taken of the “guys” on this occasion. I’m wondering why there are so many more guys than gals…

mom-zenaThis photo of my “Aunt” Zena and my mom was taken in 2007.

Aunt Zena’s daughter Tamara, who we called Timi, is in Seattle visiting her daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren. We connected via email and planned to meet for coffee on Thursday morning. Timi came with her daughter Tamara and Katie came with me for our coffee date.

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Tamara, Tamara (Timi), Ellen, and Katie.

So much history and good memories between our families. We had a lot to talk about and the time flew by quickly. Thank you, Timi, for contacting me and making time to meet.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. I John 4:7 (ESV)

Connected…

It was wonderful to see so many dear souls that we have been connected to over the years at my mom’s services.

I didn’t get photos of many of the people who honored us with their presence and their words. It wasn’t easy to relax with my camera in these circumstances.

Mom's services 015Hope and I were coordinated in our outfits and had to have a photo together.

Mom's services 150After attending this little guys baby shower before he was born it was nice to finally meet him in person with his mommy.

Mom's services 151…and with his grandmother, my good friend from Bethany Russian Baptist church.

Mom's services 152Katie with Nikki and her Auntie Christina. Christina is Dear’s SIL.

Mom's services 154Here’s Dear with his only brother, Terry.

Mom's services 155My cousin Vera (from my father’s side), cousin’s cousin Shirley (on my mother’s side), my cousin Jim (on my father’s side), and Shirley’s sister Betty (on my mother’s side).

Mom's services 156More dear friends from our Bethany Baptist Days in Los Angeles.  Diane, Manya (Shirley, Bobbi and Betty’s oldest sister) Alex and Jaydee with Shirley between them.

Mom's services 157Jeanie,(married to my cousin Jim) My cousin Jim, My cousin Vera (Jim’s sister) George (who is Jim, Vera and Katrina’s 1st cousin) and my cousin Katrina (Jim and Vera’s youngest sister).

Mom's services 163My first cousin, Vera, from my dad’s side of the family. The rest of this group are all 1st cousins with each other on my mother’s side of the family. My first cousins are on the right end of this group. Valia and Tanya on the right end with my cousin Walter’s wife standing behind them. Bobbi and Shirley are first cousins to Valia and Tania.

Mom's services 161Our son Dan with our SIL Letty’s son Derek and wife Amy.

Mom's services 158Caleb and Joshua making plans to spy out the Promised Land…Strong and Courageous!

Mom's services 159Niece Melissa bonding with our latest grand nephew Thomas.

Mom's services 172My Pop with his grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Mom's services 166Our kids (missing Andrew) with my pop. Andrew has arrived in Afghanistan with his unit so your prayers for him are appreciated.

Mom's services 176Pop with his sons.

Mom's services 180Sons and daughters…

Mom's services 184Daughters

A very special thank you to the ladies from Whittier Area Community Church and Olive Grove Church  who contributed salads and desserts for our meal together. You blessed us abundantly and we are grateful! Everything turned out so well. We were so pleased to be able to spend time with people we have been connected to over the years. Old friends and new friends supporting each other. It’s a beautiful picture of community…

I’ll close my post with the quote my Brother in law Nick read at the graveside…

“There is nothing that can replace
the absence of someone dear to us,
and one should not even attempt to do so.

One must simply hold out and endure it.

At first that sounds very hard,
but at the same time it is also a great comfort.

For to the extent the emptiness truly remains unfilled
one remains connected to the other person through it.

It is wrong to say that God fills the emptiness.
God in no way fills it but much more
leaves it precisely unfilled
and thus helps us preserve — even in pain —
the authentic relationship.

Further more,
the more beautiful and full the remembrances,
the more difficult the separation.

But gratitude transforms
the torment of memory into silent joy.
One bears what was lovely in the past
not as a thorn but as a precious gift deep within,
a hidden treasure
of which one can always be certain.

— Dietrich Bonhoeffer”

The Heritage…

I was struggling with how to share all the photos I took at our nephew Caleb’s and new niece Marie’s wedding this past Saturday. This new couple is so blessed with an amazing legacy of marriage longevity so that is where I decided to start. The fathers, the mothers, the grandparents, and the great grandparents. Over 350 years of marriage was represented!  73 years, 70 years, over 50 years, over 30 years, over 20 years…those are amazing numbers in this day and age.

Caleb & Marie7The father of the groom, my brother Steve, with the groom Caleb. Loved watching their interactions while they waited for the Bride to appear in the distance.  (Now I’m struggling with where I should be putting commas! Added pressure with so many English majors in this family!)

Caleb & Marie4My sister-in-law Kelly, the mother of the groom and married to my brother for 32 years.

Caleb & Marie5The mother of the bride, Lizzie. Her husband Todd and she have been married for 25 years.

Caleb & Marie14Marie’s great grandmother and her grandparents. Great grandmother was married for 73 years before her husband died! Each of Marie’s grandparents have been married over 50 years! (53 & 55 I believe)

Caleb & Marie15Caleb’s grandparents, my SIL’s parents, married for 56 years.

C & M wedding 5Caleb’s grandparents (my parents) watching the wedding via facetime at their apartment. How cute are they all dressed up for the wedding from afar!? They have been married for 70 years!

Caleb & Marie12Father walking his first daughter to get married down the aisle. They were both fighting back the tears. Marie has two younger sisters.

Caleb & Marie13Both fathers officiated the wedding side by side.

IMGP0829It was great, Todd prompted Caleb for his vows and Steve prompted Marie for her vows.

And then all the grandparents came up to pray a blessing over this young couple.

IMGP0836What a beautiful moment representing 364 years of marriage!

I’ll be sharing more posts soon because there’s the bride, the groom, the flower girls, the extended families, the venue, the tables, the fabulous way they had us find our assigned tables, etc. etc…

I’m feeling more alive today. Yesterday was a do nothing recuperation day for me. How’s your August going?

A Surprise…

I had no idea of the scope of the Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach. When we pulled up in front I still didn’t realize what was waiting to explore within and beyond the museum building. For this post I’ll just share the Center and the Museum with our signing photos and in another post I’ll share the Village and the Barn Restaurant where we enjoyed some heritage food.

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The Village Centre contains the main exhibit telling the Mennonite story from the 1500s to the present.

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The whole time we were in the center signing books there was a steady stream of elementary students arriving in school buses to have a tour of the center and village.

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The Museum gift shop had a great collection of Mennonite books and they had our cover aprons from our first cookbook for sale in different fabric patterns.

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A walk through the museum took you on a time line of the migration of the Mennonite People over the years. There were many great photos and items from Russia in the museum.

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Even though I am not Mennonite these photos could have been a photo of my relatives from Russia. They look so similar to the few photos we have from our ancestors in Russia.

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Kathy’s cousins came to the center and it was fun to take this photo with Kathy holding her cousin’s Draft Horse Calendar that is sold in the Heritage gift shop.

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How cute are these little girls with their braids? We asked permission to take their photo.

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It was fun to meet Jeanine from The Baking Beauties who is actually only one baking beauty right now. She has a great Gluten Free Baking sight and you can click over to check it out. She’s in the middle in the back row.

When we were done with our signing slot we headed out the back doors of the center and I was pleasantly surprised with the sites I saw. I will share more in my next post.

We are busy now working on options for easily storing some of our larger pieces of furniture while we have all of our floors replaced. We are having it done in two stages and will be moving things in and out for the hardwood floors first and then following up with the carpeting. We are still trying to choose the color and pile we want on the carpeting. Everything you do opens up the door to more things that need to be done. Any big projects at your house?