This weekend has quite possibly been the best my husband and I have had since we got married. It was full of joy, rest and moments where you stop and get to say "Wow... this is my life." Those are my favorite moments.
First off, on Friday night I made meat pancakes... not to be confused with meat made INTO a pancake shape, which would be considered a hamburger. No, no, I truly made meat-filled pancakes (or Blinis, to be exact).
These crepe-like, pseudo-pancakes are the russian equivalent to Indian Naan (at least in my mind) in that they are a traditional food and are eaten with many different toppings - from caviar and creme to fruit preserves.
I chose to use the traditional meat filling for my blinis, but you can pretty much top them or fill them with anything your heart desires. Also, since I am gluten intolerant, I made my tasty "pancakes" with buckwheat flour instead of the usual wheat flour. I found that the buckwheat didn't quite stick together as I had planned (which turned into a bit of a frustration leading to what some may call a pancake throwing tantrum), so next time I would try adding some Xanthum gum to the mixture.
The recipe that I used will be at the bottom of the post.
Smaller, thicker appetizer-style Blini with creme and caviar topping
Image taken from http://www.glutenfreeday.com
On Saturday, my husband Adam and I went to the local parade to celebrate the beginning of the pear season. There were little "shops" in the park next to the parade selling a variety of local products - a few of which were questionable (i.e. 1200 thread count sheets for $25, and medieval leather dress with matching corset). But all in all, we had a good time walking around and watching those Shriners whizzing by on their tiny cars.
Next, we went to visit my DARLING nephew, Lucca, in the NICU. I was really sick with a nasty virus (and a neck sprain... yuck!) when he was born at 34 weeks on April Fools' Day. Since he was born so early I couldn't see him until all of my symptoms were gone. He is one of the cutest babies I have ever seen, if not the cutest. Really, he is beautiful. I'm not just saying that. I brought my sister some home-made soup, and while she rested a bit, I got to hold him while he slept peacefully in my arms.
Lucca and Elisa in the hospital
Uncle Adam and Lucca's tiny hand
On Sunday, we finally got to go to church after (what is for us) a long hiatus. It was so great to be able to spend time with our friends and worship together. As part of the ministry team, Adam and I were particularly blessed to be able to pray and minister to people.
After church we went home, ate yummy left-over chicken soup and grilled sandwiches and then headed to the laundr-o-mat. After finishing the laundry (and playing an AMAZING iphone game called "Angry Birds." I highly suggest it) we headed to Target, where I got my first bikini ever. Ever. And 2 new pairs of shoes. Plus, my husband surprised me and bought my favorite movie, "Once". So, we went home, made spaghetti and watched our new movie (Adam's first viewing), cuddled and rested. Dreading the end of the wonderful weekend, we got ready for bed. "At least we have spaghetti for lunch tomorrow," I thought. Mmmm... Spaghetti.
Blini with Traditional Meat Filling:
1 Medium onion
1 lb. beef
1/2 cup parsley
1 Tablespoon dill
Salt and pepper to taste
Garlic (to taste)
Separate the egg yolks from the whites and place into separate bowls, using a large mixing bowl for the yolks. Beat the egg yolks with the butter, salt and sugar until creamy. Add the milk. Gradually add the sifted flour, stirring continuously to make a smooth batter. If lumps exist, put the mixture through a sieve. The mixture needs to be thin and should slide off a spoon. If it doesn't, add more milk until it does.
Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold carefully into the batter.
Heat a small nonstick frying pan with a little coconut oil or butter. Using a ladle, add enough batter to thinly cover the bottom of the pan (try to make as thin as possible [like a crepe], or you can make them smaller and thicker if you are making these for an appetizer).
Cook the blini on one side only (if necessary, you may flip to cook the other side). When cooked stack them onto a plate under a pot or casserole lid to keep them warm and moist as you continuing cooking.
Chop the onions and garlic and saute them in coconut oil in a frying pan. Add the minced beef, dill, and at the end, the herbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Spread a thin layer of meat filling over the cooked side of the blini. You may serve the Blinis open-faced or folded (like a burrito).
Traditional Style, Crepe-like Blini
Recipe based on "Blinchiki" recipe found on http://www.russianrecipes.co.nz/recipes/meat-beef-pancakes.html