Babka or Paska for Easter

This loaf was purchased at Weiland's Market in Clintonville Ohio
Babka or Paksa.  That's what's on the Reinecker's Bakery label.

Babka 

“the Polish and Belarusian noun babka and the Belarusian,Ukrainian, Macedonian, Bulgarian and Russian baba means “grandmother” or “old woman”, and as applied to the pastry probably refer to its shape, a tall cylinder, sometimes with corrugations resembling a skirt’s pleats.[1]

or Paska.

“Paska breads are a traditional element in the easter holidays of Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Romania, Moldova, Georgia and parts of Bulgaria” 

“Paska is made with milk, butter, eggs, sugar, except in Romania, where the recipe most commonly includes sweet cream, cottage cheese and/or sour cream with eggs, sugar, raisins and rum.  An egg and water mixture is used as a glaze.”

 

I can tell you that it tasted delicious.  It is said to have a Brioche-like quality and there is a richness due to those moist golden raisins and the bread has just a hit of sweetness.  Add a little butter.  Mmmmm.

Here is a recipe from the Brown Eyed Baker for Paska Easter Bread and it has FIVE egg yolks.

Here is a recipe for Polish Babka Easter Bread from King Arthur’s Flour with three whole eggs.

 

Pita Breadmaking at Pitaland Guest Blog

A couple of dear friends flew from Florida to Pittsburgh to see my art show and attend the closing reception. They’d gone online at home and arranged to go on a walking food tour of the Pittsburgh neighborhood, Brookline.

Yesterday, Shuey sent me the photos and captions. They really enjoyed the ‘Burgh Bits and Bites tour. There are tours in other neighborhoods,the Strip District, Bloomfield and Shadyside. In fact, two were already booked up and so they chose Brookline.

Shuey made it easy for me by numbering the photos and text.

Pitaland in Brookline.  #1

I’m sending individual pics to tell the story of how pita bread is made.  First the secret recipe dough is made fresh, formed into a biscuit of dough and comes out here where it makes a left turn and heads into a machine that flattens it out.

Pitaland in Brookline.  #2

After it’s flattened into a super thin pancake it makes a few turns and heads into the oven.

Pitaland in Brookline.  #3

In the oven for 22 seconds at 1200 degrees.  They are so thin entering the oven that I couldn’t even see them until about half way through they just materialize out of thin air in a second . . . like magic!  Out of the oven they continue their journey cooling off.

Pitaland in Brookline.  #4

The cooled pita breads drop off the conveyer onto a table where they are manually deflated and stacked then handed off to another worker who bags them up for shipment to stores in 14 states.

Pitaland in Brookline.  #5

This is Joe Cuchines, owner of Pitaland and two of his employees.  He came to America with 1 dollar in his pocket and . . . he’ll tell his story best.  

Pitaland History

Thank you Shuey for such a great guest blog. I’m going to have to take the tour.

Shuey was a guest blogger with his fabulous Barred Owl Photo in 2012 https://rutheh.com/2012/03/12/barred-owl-niceville-florida-guest-post/

Light Caught in a Pyrex Bowl

When I sat at the dining room table and looked into the kitchen, I saw the yellow bowl with the light shining through it. Right after I took this picture, the sun disappeared and it was a regular old Pyrex bowl. This is a bowl like the one my mother stirred her whole wheat bread dough, covered with a tea towel, let it rise. Large yellow Pyrex bowl on kitchen table

vintage Pyrex large Yellow bowl with sunlight

 

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St. Joseph at St. Michael in St. Augustine

St. Joseph Feast Day March 19     IMG_3592

 

You might remember another St. Joseph Feast Day post  Carmela baked all of these breads

carmelaStJoseph

 NPR story about zeppoles (pastry) – Providence Rhode Island at LaSalle Bakery

and click to read a collection of St. Joseph Day recipes at the New York Times

Strawberry Rhubarb Preserves Evoke Memories

A bolt of lightning knocked out the internet so blogging from my phone
Rhubarb says Spring to me.
When the three kids were younger, we’d pile in the car and drive 7 hours to New York City to visit my sister. I’d park in the lot by the pier on the Hudson and we’d make our way up the five floor walk-up to her apartment. Everyone would be asleep on the floor camping out and in the early morning, Aunt Mary would walk to Zito’s Bakery on Bleecker Street, come home with warm loaves. She’d have the butter out and a jar of her homemade strawberry rhubarb preserves. She’d slice the bread on a wooden board. That’s what the kids woke up to – warm bread and butter and strawberry rhubarb preserves-

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Berenice Abbott took this photo of Zito’s in 1937.

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Today I went to the Farmer’s market on the South Side and bought two bunches of rhubarb and fresh picked strawberries. I was trying to remember the method and chopped the stalks in one inch pieces, put them into a large enamel kettle and sprinkled with sugar to sit.

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Added the strawberries and cooked it down. I wish it wasn’t so late and I could have called for the recipe. Just did it from memory.

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The loaf from the Farmers Market on the bread board, a gift from my sister.

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Postcard stamp on the back of Zito’s card a dime. I pulled it out of the frame tonight. Read what you wrote.

Before Matthew was born and he’s 33!

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Kids grown up and gone but tonight as I taste the strawberry rhubarb preserves, I remember.

P.S. And to answer your question Mary, on the card-
I did get that assistantship and that’s how I was able to get hired at Pittsburgh Public Schools in 1989!

P.P.S. Zito’s is gone now.

A Quart of Vegetable Soup

A good friend brought a quart of vegetable soup and some homemade bread for tonight’s supper.

Especially welcome as I just got home after being in Ohio for the Thanksgiving break and no chance to go to the store yet.

Simmered the soup and sliced the bread and enjoyed the delicious meal.  Thought of how fortunate I am to have good friends.

My friend J in Omaha trades a quart of homemade soup each week with her friend A.

I won’t return the mason jar empty!

vegetable soup

 

Strip District World Festival

I was going down to the Strip to work on an ongoing photography project I started.

Seemed like a good day to go as I was in town, no school on Sunday and the weather was perfect.

As soon as I neared the Strip, I saw an incredible amount of traffic backed up and some tent tops.  Parked immediately instead of trying to get closer and walked the rest of the way. Here’s what I saw

Strip District World Festival- A Community Event    

Tavern 19

Food-

I ate a  delicious Baklava from Taverna 19, a new place with Greek food and dancing at night. (Right across from Primanti’s)  I had already eaten lunch at home. Who knew?

Manuela

Manuela the Caricaturist

music

Dance to the Music

SteelDragon

Steel Dragon Kung Fu members dance the Lion Dance

Steel Dragon (2)

Steel Dragon (1)

This note from Chris at Steel Dragon   the dance is actually a LION DANCE

I would like to mention that actually we did a lion dance today. The MC confused the name of what we were doing. Our name (as you know) is Steel Dragon (or Gong Lung in Chinese). What we did was a lion dance. The actual name of the one we did  today is “Eight Immortals Carry the Mountain to Fill the Eastern Sea”, which is a story from a classic novel called the Eight Immortals Cross the Sea. 

Incidentally, Dragons have many more people than lions (7-100 people vs 2 in a lion) and when you see the head, you can tell their different. If you want, you can check out the video we just posted which has clips from lion and dragons dances on it (plus I just edited so I love when people look at it 🙂 ) The link is on our website under videos. (see  link)

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Steel Dragon (3)

Look behind you!

music (5)

Alex and Ben were the Lion with Steeler Colors

music (7)

music (8)

music (9)

music (1)

sunseri

Two Pound Pepperoni Roll and Mr. Sunseri

BLack and Gold

Schorin’s has everything

Price Bennett

Mr. Bennett Price

world Festival Strip