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Beet Leaf Holubtsi

Beet Leaf Holubtsi

When I plan my garden I have a few must have veggies that are top priority in my kitchen.

Number one on that list is beets.

Fresh beets from the garden.

Beets are the more versatile vegetable I grow. I use the entire plant, and especially love the leaves. You can use the baby leaves in salads or wash and freeze them for smoothies. But to truly enjoy them allow them to grow a little longer until they are about 2 1/2 inches wide. The perfect size for rolling them around a creamy rice, bacon, dilly onion filling.

I have been making Beet Leaf Holubtsi for years. The tender leaves make the perfect blanket for the rice with fresh dill and onions. Bacon is NOT required but makes a nice addition to the rolls.

They are finished off by topping them with a bit of butter and baking them in whipping cream with some shaved onion.

I like to pick the leaves the day before, Wash the leaves and place on sheets of paper towel to dry. Once dry I put them in a large bowl, cover it with a clean tea towel and leave them in the fridge over night. The next day you will find them lightly wilted and ready for rolling. I have read of a few methods of wilting the leaves, from freezing them to placing them in the oven. I have tried the oven method with okay but very time consuming results. Just pop them in the fridge for the night. Trust me.


Beet Leaf Holubtsi

beet leaves

2 cups of white rice

2 tablespoons of butter

6 slices of bacon – diced

1 medium onion – chopped

whipping cream

fresh dill

salt & pepper

Prepare the rice according to the package directions.  Meanwhile fry bacon, after 5 minutes add 1 tablespoon of butter and chopped onion. It is done when the bacon is crisp. Pour the bacon and onions, over the rice. Add a generous amount of freshly chopped dill and stir to combine. Now is a good time to season with salt and pepper.  Add a 1/4 cup of whipping cream, stirring until it all becomes creamy.

Beet leaf holubtsil filling on Nutmeg Disrupted

Place a beet leaf on a cutting board and trim the bottom part straight across to remove the stem. Place a generous teaspoon of filling on the trimmed edge of the beet leaf and roll it towards the tip. Gently place the roll in a greased/buttered baking dish. Repeat until you have used all the leaves and filling.

Beet leaf holubtsi on Nutmeg Disrupted

*They are not rolled like cabbage rolls when in when making cabbage rolls you tuck the edges in when rolling. It is fine to leave the edges of the beet leaf holubtsi open.

Beet leaf holubtsi on Nutmeg Disrupted

Pour whipping cream and a few teaspoons of shaved onion over the rolls just until lightly covered. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.





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Kutia – Celebrating Ukrainian Christmas

Kutia – Celebrating Ukrainian Christmas

Ukrainian Christmas is on January 7th, so Christmas Eve is fast approaching. And though I usually celebrate traditional Christmas I always make many of the traditional Ukrainian dishes to serve.

A traditional Ukrainian Christmas eve dinner consists of:


Sauerkraut and Peas


Stuffed fish and pickled herring



Cooked Beans

Beets with mushrooms


Stewed Fruits



Each dish is symbolic of the twelve apostiles.

The most beloved of all Ukrainian festivities is the Sviata Vechera (Holy Supper). Respected and honoured customers pervade the house on Christmas Eve.

The first dish in a traditional Ukrainian Christmas eve meal is Kutia, a preparation of cooked wheat, sweetened with honey and dressed with poppy seed.  Kutia symbolizes prosperity, peace and good health.


2 cups of wheat 3 quarts of water
1 cup of poppy seed
2/3 cup of sugar, I used brown this year
1/3 cup of honey , I used high grade maple syrup
Place the wheat and water in a slow cooker and simmer on high for 4 hours.
Wheat for the Kutia from Nutmeg Disrupted
Add the poppy seed and water honey mixture, stirring well.
Making Kutia for Ukrainian Christmas from Nutmeg Disrutped
 Turn the slow cooker to low, cover and allow to simmer for an hour.
Kutia for Ukrainian Christmas Eve form Nutmeg Disrupted
 Traditionally served warm but I enjoy it cold also.



















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It has been a roller coaster of a summer. I am nearing the end of a 500km move and am looking forward to having a kitchen once again. All my measuring utensils and baking tools are packed away but in a need to get this post up I am……winging it.

Besides. who needs a rolling pin when you have wine!

My makeshift rolling pin in a pinch.

We are at month 4 with The Canadian Food Experience Project.  For September we are sharing our Cherished Canadian Recipes.

The recipe I am featuring as my cherished Canadian recipe is also one of my very first authentic Canadian Food Memories. Perishke is still one of my most enjoyed Ukrainian dishes I prepare. Perhaps because they do bring back such strong memories of when I was a child and first discovered them. They were the catalyst of what made me want to learn how to cook.

They are easy to make and freeze well so you can always have some at the ready.

Recipe type: Side dish
Cuisine: Ukrainian Traditional
  • Dough:
  • ½ cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 2 packages of yeast
  • Combine the above and add to:
  • 1½ cups of milk, lightly warmed
  • ½ cup of oil
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 eggs - beaten
  • 5 - 6 cups of flour
  • Combine the dough and let stand for 15 minutes.
  • Filling:
  • Dry curd cottage cheese - 4 cups
  • 2 egg yolks
  • fresh dill
  • a generous pinch of salt
  • Stir the filling ingredients well to combine.
  • whipping cream to finish
  • 3 tablespoons of butter - melted
  1. Pinch off a walnut sized piece of dough and using a rolling pin roll out a nice small 1½ inch circle. Fill with a tablespoon of filling.
  2. Bring the edges together and pinch to seal creating a tiny bun.
  3. Place into a lightly buttered pan, sealed edge down.
  4. Have the oven preheated to 350 degrees.
  5. Once the pan is full of Perishke bake immediately until golden brown, about 23 - 25 minutes.
  6. Brush with melted butter and cool.
  7. The idea is too work quickly as you do not want the buns to rise.
  8. Repeat until all your dough is used.
  9. Once the Perishke are baked they can be frozen or eaten.
  10. I like to remove them from the container to cool then, this prevents the bottoms from becoming soggy.
  11. I place them back into the tins to freeze.
  12. To finish the Perishky toss with whipping cream and fresh chopped dill and heat in the oven for 15 minutes.

Making the filling for Perishke.

Making Perishke in the Nutmeg Disrupted kitchen.

Perishke ready for the oven.

Perishke fresh from the oven.

Finished Perishke from the Nutmeg Disrupted kitchen.

The Canadian Food Experience Project began June 7 2013. As we (participants) share our collective stories across the vastness of our Canadian landscape through our regional food experiences, we hope to bring global clarity to our Canadian culinary identity through the cadence of our concerted Canadian voice. Please join us.

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The Canadian Food Experience Project – June

The Canadian Food Experience Project – June

Welcome to my first post of The Canadian Food Experience Project for June.

What an exciting project to be a part of! Join along and follow more then 50 bloggers from across Canada highlight what is our Canadian food identity! When you think about what is Canadian food the ideas very from province to province and each nationality has its own version of what they identify as Canadian foods within their families.

Our first topic is  about each of our own First Authentic Canadian Food Memories.

I remember the day like it was yesterday. Which is so completely strange that it would stay with me like that. I dare say,  it was the day I started thinking about and looking at food differently.

I was playing at a friends place, just like any other Saturday afternoon. Her mom and baba were busy in the kitchen. Perhaps there were more people there, of the details of the day, the people are not what peaked  my interest. It was the food.

They were using one of the girls rooms to cool and store everything while they worked. I remember being told to stay out! But being 9, the words stay out made us want to go in even more so. I remember the door being cracked and we peaked inside. Every surface was covered with clean sheets and on those sheets were 1000’s of tiny little lightly golden walnut sized buns. 1000’s. The aroma of freshly baked bread filled the space. Of course, once you have entered there was no going back. We had to taste just one. The dough has just the slightest hint of sweetness and they were filled with cottage cheese. They were the most fabulous thing I had ever tried. I am not sure how many we ate that afternoon? In fact I don’t even remember the rest of the day but I can still see the room like it happened yesterday.

And I never forgot those amazing little buns.

When I got older and began cooking I found myself being drawn to traditional Ukrainian foods. The labor intensive dishes that you not only cooked to eat that night but always made extra for the freezer. Things like perogi (verenyky) and cabbage rolls (holubitsi) . Where you make 30 – 40 dozen in one sitting. Essentially what is known as peasant food.

If you google peasant food Wikipedia describes it as the following:

Peasant foods are those dishes specific to a particular culture made from accessible and inexpensive ingredients. Peasant foods often involve skilled preparation by knowledgeable cooks using inventiveness and skills passed down from earlier generations. Such dishes are often prized as ethnic foods by other cultures and by descendants of the native culture who still desire these traditional dishes even when their incomes rise to the point where they can purchase any food they like.

I grew up in a predominately Ukrainian area of Alberta, just north of Edmonton. Both my Baba and Gido spoke Ukrainian and English, my great Baba only spoke Ukrainian. Well except for all the names of her great grandchildren and a few words like keep, as she would hand you a $20 bill. I never knew where she got her money from, but she always spoiled her great grand children. As would my baba and gido as well.

They were a huge influence on my first experiences of growing your own food. They had 2 gardens. One in town that grew the main foods for fresh eating and the freezer. The garden on the farm was raspberries and potatoes. Rows and rows of raspberries and potatoes. I remember many hours out there picking berries and digging for potatoes. Or the hours of watching Baba turn her garden goodies in to pots of Borscht or freezing beans for winter.

I learnt that not only can you create amazing food in your kitchen I learnt that the best food is the food you grow yourself.

Those memories have fostered two of my greatest passions, cooking and gardening. It is who I am.

Here is a dish that has it roots in Ukrainian cooking. These are fantastic as a side with ham. The cream and dill really work well with the saltiness of ham.



4 eggs

1 cup of milk

6 tablespoons of water

1 cup of sifted flour

1/4 teaspoon of salt

canola oil


2 cups of dry cottage cheese

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoons of whipping cream

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of dill (fresh chopped) or dried


2-3 cups of whipping cream

2 tablespoons of butter

1/2 of a small white onion (chopped fine)

Beat the eggs with a beater until light, add milk and water, beat again. Gradually add the flour and salt, continuing to beat as you add the flour. Beat until smooth. The batter will be thin.  Using a papertowel, just lightly oil the surface of a non stick pan and heat on medium. Using a small measuring cup pour roughly 3 tablespoons of batter into the center of the pan. Tilt to distribute the batter evenly across the bottom. Cook over moderate heat. They will have air bubbles like what you see when making pancakes. When the bubbles pop it is a good indication that the crepe is ready.When lightly browned on the bottom and the top firm to the touch remove to a plate. Continue until all the batter is used.

Crepes for nalysnyky for The Canadian Food Experience Project

For the filling combine the cottage cheese, egg yolks, 2 tablespoons of whipping cream, salt and dill. Spread the filling down the center of each crepe and roll into a tube. Lay the Nalysnyky side by side in a butter casserole dish. Spread 1 tablespoon of butter over the each layer.

Add the chopped white onion to the 2 – 3 cups of whipping cream and pour over the Nalysnyky. Cover with foil and bake at 325 for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 5 minutes.

A finishe dpan of nalysnyky for The Canadian Food Experience Project

If you have a few crepes left may I suggest spreading them with a nice layer of caramel and rolling them tight, top with fresh whipped cream and toasted pecans!

Crepes with caramel, fresh whipped cream and toasted pecans for The Canadian Food Experience Project

Peasant food, just got sexy!

The Canadian Food Experience Project began June 7 2013. As we (participants) share our collective stories across the vastness of our Canadian landscape through our regional food experiences, we hope to bring global clarity to our Canadian culinary identity through the cadence of our concerted Canadian voice. Please join us.

And finally, here is a list of many of the first round of participants of – The Great Canadian Food Experience Project.

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You may have noticed there sure have been a lot of lobster posts here on Nutmeg Disrupted lately.

And I have one more to put up.

I feel a bit stuck right now. Not in a rut so much as just avoiding a place where I am not sure I am ready to go yet. But if I don’t now, when?

Funny how death does that. Pulls the rugout from beneath your feet. Brings such clarity. Makes you question your choices and decisions.

After a nasty physical confrontation with some members of my family which caused my first son to be born a month early, I decided to walk away from my family.

That was almost 15 years ago. And I never looked back. Pride, fear, and anger fueled my stubbornness.And I have never regretted it for a moment. It was what I needed to do. Like a crushing weight being lifted off my chest.

Until now.


My baba died earlier this year.

I don’t think she ever knew what had happened. Why I left and never looked back. I always meant to go see her. But fear can be a very powerful emotion. So many times I wanted to go see her. Or write her a letter letting her know she was always on my mind. And yet, I did nothing. Because I was just so damn scared.

My regret is huge. Really there are no words to describe how very sorry I am. To walk into her funeral with my son, now 13, her never having ever met him. It breaks my heart on so many levels. I guess this is my punishment for my decisions. My lack of action. My stubbornness. For letting my anger with some, ruin relationships with all.

As I sat listening to the stories at her service I started to remember. Remember all the times we spent together. All the things I learnt from her. Of how alike we were.

She was the first member of the family to be behind the camera. Her gardens were nothing short of amazing. And though her food was simple, it was all about the love she put into it. For her family.

So many regrets. My heart is indeed heavy. As I wait for the never ending winter to go so I can find some sort of peace in my garden, I cook through my grief.

She may not have known it, but she was one of my hugest inspirations.

This is a soup she would make. Simple ingredients fresh from the garden!

I remember sitting in her kitchen watching, learning, eating.

Thank you Baba. xoxox

Borscht 2


8 – 9 large beets

2 cups of carrots (cut into coins)

2 cups of green beans (chopped)

1/4 cup of fresh dill  (chopped)

 1 large onion (chopped)

salt & pepper

To prepare beets: Leaving about 1 inch of stem on give beets a wash. Fill a large pot with the beets. If you have large and small beets, use 2 pots, one for each size. Cover beets with water and place on high to bring to a boil. Once it begins to boil turn heat to medium to continue cooking. Small beets take 15 minutes, larger ones take up to 30 minutes. You will know they are done when pierced with a fork. Strain beets and plunge into cold water. Taking a knife remove stem end, the skins will just slide off. Give a quick rinse under cool water and slice into a bowl or soup pot.

veggies for borscht

Add the carrots, beans, onions and dill and cover with water.

Bring to a gentle boil and cook until the carrots are cooked through.

Serve with cream or sour cream.














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