Paska, Easter Bread, Kulich

paska class 001Paska brought the Mennonite Girls Can Cook together and it continues to play a big role in our cooking story. This past Tuesday we taught a cooking class at Lepp Farm Market in Abbotsford, British Columbia (Canada) on Paska and a traditional Mennonite Easter meal. My daughter Katie had a ticket for the class and she was able to be our photographer as she watched.

So much was going on this evening at Lepp’s and I’ve created some collages of the different parts of the class.

2014-03-26 paska class1Paska, it’s what’s for Easter!

Paska is a slightly sweet Easter yeast bread that is traditional in the Ukraine and Russia. My Russian relatives call this bread Kulich. My mother and relatives always made dozens of loaves in the cylindrical shape using coffee cans or large juice cans.

2014-03-26 paska class9Lots of work goes on behind the scenes right up until Lovella introduces us to the guests and gets the evening going. Judy and Kathy helped coordinate this class and had all the timing and shopping lists ready ahead of time along with recipes to hand out to our guests.

2014-03-26 paska classLovella showed us her process in getting the dough ready to rise for her Paska.

2014-03-26 paska class3Julie talked about the products that make gluten free baking easier these days. She prepared her gluten free Paska and brought it to the class to share. She also demonstrated a delicious mustard sauce for the Easter Ham we would be serving.

2014-03-26 paska class5Kathy demonstrated her Cheesy Scalloped Potato recipe and also showed the ingredients she uses for a gourmet scalloped potato recipe.

2014-03-26 paska class2Judy demonstrated her delicious coleslaw dressing and mixed up a large batch of fresh coleslaw for the class. My daughter Katie is not fond of store bought coleslaw. She really enjoyed Judy’s homemade variety!

2014-03-26 paska class4Bev demonstrated how to make Pluma Moos or Plumi Moos. This is a traditional fruit dish served in Mennonite homes at Easter and other holidays, too. It can be served cold or warm. People use different varieties of fruit for the dish.

2014-03-26 paska class8Bev also demonstrated how to carve a ham with the bone in. She really did a great job.

While we started plating the food for our guests Lovella started working on her dough that had been rising during these demos.

2014-03-26 paska class7She showed us a variety of pans that you can use and how to pinch off small portions for sweet little petite paska buns made in muffin tins. She also showed a loaf variety and a twisted loaf.

2014-03-26 paska class6I had brought a completed Seernaya Paska, sweet cheese spread from home since it has to sit in the refrigerator having all the liquid pressed out for at least 24 hours. I plated it and showed one of the flower pots I use to mold the cheese and the heavy stone wrapped in plastic wrap to weight the cheese and force the liquid out. We used fresh viola blossoms to decorate it. I made an error in the pronunciation of this dish in our first cookbook. It is called seernaya paska not seerney paska . I’ve always had a hard time with Russian grammar. Growing up we always had this spread to serve with our Easter bread.

Lovella finished off the demonstrations showing us how she makes the Paska Icing.

2014-03-26 paska class12

While our guests ate their main course of ham with mustard sauce, cheesy scalloped potatoes, and coleslaw. We started plating the paska, sweet cheese spread and a dollop of frosting to serve. We also served up a small bowl of pluma moos.

paska class 309

paska class 311These classes are always so much fun to participate in. The wonderful thing is knowing that the profit generated from our classes goes to Matthew’s House in Abbotsford. Lepp Farm Market partners with us in donating the profits from our classes to this worthy non-profit that is a respite home for children with complex health care needs. You can see and read about Matthew’s house here.

2014-03-26 paska class10

paska class 005Because the class was all about Easter I have to explain what the X and B on my Russian Sweet Cheese Spread is all about. On Easter the greeting that we always express to one another is

Christos Voskress! Voistinu Voskress!

Христос Воскрес!

Воистину воскрес!

Christ is Risen!

Truly He is Risen!

So the X (the first letter of Christ in Russian) stands for Christ and the B (the first letter of risen in Russian) stands for Risen, Christ is Risen. This is what Easter is all about.

2014-03-26 paska class11I stole this next photo off of Kathy’s blog. Hope it’s ok, Kathy. If you click here you can see Kathy’s post about our time. Here’s Katie getting ready to take photos of the class.

Lepp Kt

Katie and I wrapped things up and hit the road back to the U.S.A. at about 9:30 P.M. We were happy to make it home at 11:40. I’ll admit that I was a zombie on Wednesday and I might or might not have spent the whole day in my robe.

All the recipes for these dishes are in our cookbooks or on our blog.

Matthew’s House

2014-02-11 Matthews house6Inspired by the life of a young boy named Matthew, Matthew’s House is a respite care home for children living with complex healthcare needs. Up to five children at a time are cared for in a state-of-the-art residence staffed by experienced caregivers. Medical necessities like overhead track systems for transferring and full wheelchair accessibility will be complimented by a beautiful aesthetic, a multi-sensory playroom and an outdoor playground. Overnight guest suites allow family to remain close while taking a restful step back to refuel themselves.

2014-02-11 Matthews house7The playground area was very impressive with a soft cushy surface and lifts and designs that allow easy access for wheelchair bound children. The slides are equipped with rollers so the kids can slide down without physical effort. Swings that you can lay down on and a merry go round flush with the surface to be able to wheel a wheelchair onto and spin the child while in their chair.

Matthews house 025Providing families with the support they need, Matthew’s House is about caring for kids, a community encouraging one another, hospitality, compassion and joy. One-hundred percent of the funds for Matthew’s House come from the generous support of individuals and community partners. The Mennonite Girls Can Cook have partnered with Lepp Farm Market in donating all the proceeds from our cooking classes at Lepp to Matthew’s House. Each of these leaves on the wall forming a large tree represent the many contributors to Matthew’s House.

Matthews house 026“Rob and Charlotte Lepp, owners Lepp Farm Market and the women of the Mennonite Girls Can Cook (MGCC) blog/cookbooks have raised nearly $25,000 to stock the kitchen at Matthew’s House and keep it cooking. It is a unique relationship that marries a love for good food and a
generous spirit.”

Matthews house 042Here are 7 of the girls along with Rob and Charlotte Lepp in the kitchen that we have helped to build and equip.

2014-02-11 Matthews house8What a privilege to be able to contribute to the needs of these families dealing with children with complex healthcare needs.

Matthews house 024Our private tour of the facilities renewed our vision and encouraged us to continue our partnership with Lepp Farm Market with our cooking class donations going to Matthew’s House. Our next cooking class will be on March 26th, Paska, Pluma Moos and Easter Dinner. Click on the link to see how to register for the class.

It’s Thursday and we have sunshine and beautiful skies while many of you are suffering winter storm conditions yet again. Hope you are safe. What are your plans for Valentine’s Day? We are going to have our meal in. Dear volunteered to barbecue some steaks and I’ll add some baked potatoes and a salad for our meal. Maybe we’ll watch some Olympics or another episode of Midsomer Murders on Netflix. Hope whatever you do that your home is filled with love.

Matthews house 035

But the Greatest of These is Love

When God brought the Mennonite Girls Can Cook together little did we know the doors He would open for us to share His love with others and with each other. Yesterday was a day filled with examples of how powerful God’s love and purposes are and what it can do for a small circle of people and extend to the greater community and the world.P1030469

My 220 mile round trip drive up to Abbotsford and back was worth my time.

About thirty minutes into my drive I realized I had left my passport at home and was happy that I had gone to the trouble of getting an enhanced license. It worked great going into Canada and coming back. When I walked up to Lovella’s door I was greeted by Anneliese and Lovella with their cameras in hand. Of course I pulled mine out and started taking photos, too. Lovella’s table was set beautifully for us and the aroma of the food she and Anneliese had prepared set the mood for our celebration.

2014-02-11 Matthews houseThe 4 Chilliwack girls arrived and we sat down for our delicious meal starting off with Anneliese’s Roasted Red Pepper soup (which I forgot to take a photo of). Lovella made a quiche with fresh laid eggs from her farm and an amazing layered salad with greens, papaya, avocado, strawberries, onions cut big enough just in case we wanted to discard them and a tasty home made avocado dressing.

2014-02-11 Matthews house3Lovella will be sharing the recipes soon on our blog.

2014-02-11 Matthews house2We missed Bev, who is out of the country with her hubby on a business trip and our Winnipeg girls, Charlotte and Betty. I borrowed stole this next photo from Anneliese’s blog.

DSC_0014

Judy made a special Valentine’s day dessert treat for us and because 2 of our girls have February birthdays she brought something special to light their desserts up!

Matthews house 019Happy February Birthdays to Marg and Lovella!

2014-02-11 Matthews house4Aren’t these desserts in a jar sweet! What a fun surprise to have them come out of Judy’s Tupperware tote and placed on Lovella’s plates and her mom’s vintage paper doilies from years ago.

The main reason we got together on this day was for a special tour of Matthew’s House in Abbotsford which was scheduled for 2:30. We’ve played a small part in making this dream come true. I will share more about Matthew’s House tomorrow. The house that love built…

Matthews house 022We were going to meet at a restaurant for lunch before our tour. We all appreciated meeting at Lovella’s home instead where we could have a more intimate time together. Thank you Lovella for thinking of that and opening your home and table to us.

I made it to the border close to four for my trip home and had a fun chat with the U.S. Border agent. I wanted to give both the Canadian and U.S. agents I encountered this day a Gold Medal for doing their job cheerfully! I was home by six with just one nasty back up close to home. I’m always thankful for the ease of travel from my home to Canada.