Tuesday, May 08, 2012


I've joined this international online group called Photo-A-Day-May.  There are prompts for a daily photo that you must take and post.  Here is an album to the photos I've taken so far.

Today's photo, Day #8 got me....a smell you adore.  I love the smell of citrus and freshly cut grass.  I adore sniffing and nuzzling my husband's neck.  He always smells likeTide laundry detergent.  I'm NOT a big fan of strong floral odors.  They make me sneeze.  Don't put me next to a chick wearing tons of perfume or a guy wearing oodles of after-shave cologne in a closed elevator!  Ack!  Allergy time!
So, I tried to remember a smell that I loved that made me feel good and warm.  Nothing's better than walking into Grandma's house while she's cooking Kasha mit Varnishkes!  The smell of the diced onion, crackling in a frying pan with chicken shmaltz.  The warm, nutty smell of the oat groats.  Yes, this is a smell I adore.

Both of my grandmothers made this dish.  My Grandma Ethel passed away when I was about 9 years old.  Grandma Freda lived until I was an adult, so I remember her recipe best.  

Freda's Kasha mit Varnishkes

  • 1 cup kasha buckwheat groats, medium granulation
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 2 Tablespoons rendered chicken fat or vegetable oil
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups fresh or canned chicken stock
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup pasta bow ties

In a small bowl, mix the dry kasha with the beaten egg. Be sure all the grains are covered with egg. Place a medium non-stick frying pan on medium-high heat. Add the kasha to the pan and, using a wooden spatula, flatten it out a bit, stirring and moving it about the pan until the egg dries and the grains have mostly separated. Set aside.

Place a pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta bow ties. (Do not cook them yet.)

In a 4-quart heavy stove-top covered casserole, heat the chicken fat or oil and saute the onions until clear. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the salt and pepper and the reserved kasha. Stir a bit and cover. Cook over low heat, stirring now and then, until the kasha is tender, about 10 minutes. If it is not done to your taste, cook for a few more minutes.

In the meantime, boil the pasta just until tender. Drain well and stir into the kasha.  If you like a crispy top to the kasha/varnishkes dish, place it under the broiler for a few minutes.  Serve hot.

Thank you, Ethel Bloom and Freda Katz for widening my home cookin' horizons!

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At 5:57 PM PDT, Blogger Patricia said...

That looks wonderful, one of those comfort food dishes. I have read that our smell memories link very far back and sometimes I will get a whiff of something (I can't identify it) and I am 6 years old walking the path to my house. What a nice memory for you.

At 6:59 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Christine G


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