June 29, 2015

Duck!


Verona, Wisconsin, May 2, 2015. Let's film them while they're getting along.

"I thought, is that a way to make money? ... Maybe I could fly around. I could be the flying nun."

Los Angeles Catholic sisters don't think Katy Perry is an appropriate buyer for their former home, the Immaculate Heart of Mary convent.

Babos Receptai (Part 12)

Whoa, you say! This is not the handwriting of my paternal Grandmother, Tatjana! How can it be one of "Babos Receptai?"

This recipe was written for me by Tatjana's daughter, Jonė. It's a recipe for Lithuanian Crumb Cake. Although that treat is ubiquitous in Lithuanian cuisine (the crumb cake appears at weddings, teas, and fashion shows), my paternal Grandmother rarely baked it. Tatjana thought her cake, "Babos Pyragas," was much better. I disagreed, and I was disappointed we had no "family recipe" for the Crumb Cake. Fortunately, my Dad's twin sister had one.


Here is how I wrote up the recipe:

Trupininis Pyragas

3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
about 1-1/2 cups lingonberry preserves, or other tart jam

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and adjust rack to the center position. Preheat a baking stone for thirty minutes. Butter a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan and dust it all over with fine, dry breadcrumbs. Shake out excess crumbs. Set the prepared baking pan in the freezer while you prepare the ingredients.

Sift together the flour and baking powder and set aside.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar thoroughly until very light in color. Add the egg and the vanilla extract and continue beating until very smooth. On lowest speed, or using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the sifted dry ingredients, combining only until the flour disappears.

Reserve about half (approximately 3 cups) of the dough in a small bowl and set aside. Press the remainder of the dough into the prepared pan. Spread lingonberry preserves evenly over the dough. Carefully crumble the remaining reserved dough over the preserves.

Bake about 30 to 34 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove from oven, transfer to a wire rack, and allow to cool completely on the rack. Store in airtight container at room temperature.

*     *     *     *     *

BONUS!

A few years after I tweeked this recipe, I started baking it with a cottage-cheese filling. The cheese version is my favorite; here is the recipe:

Trupininis Pyragas su Varškė

Crust:
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Filling:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
finely grated rind of one-half lemon
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
scant 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
scant 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1-1/2 cups (12 ounces) cottage cheese, drained (measure before draining)
3 tablespoons instant-blending ("Wondra") flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and adjust rack to the center position. Preheat a baking stone for thirty minutes. Generously butter and flour a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan. 

For crust: Sift together the flour and baking powder and set aside.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar thoroughly until very light in color. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and sour cream; continue beating until very smooth. On lowest speed, or using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the sifted dry ingredients, combining only until the flour disappears. The mixture will (and should) be crumbly.

Reserve about half (approximately 3 cups) of the dough in a small bowl and set aside. Press the remainder of the dough into the prepared pan.  Place pan in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

For filling: In the workbowl of a food processor, mix together the sugar with the lemon rind until the rind is finely chopped. Add the egg yolks and beat for about one minute, until the mixture becomes thick and pale in color. Add the butter, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Process until smooth. Add the cottage cheese and process until the mixture is entirely free of lumps. Add the flour and process with 2 or 3 on/off pulses.

Spread the filling over prepared crust. Crumble the reserved half of the dough over the filling.

Bake for 30 to 36 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown slightly. Remove from oven, transfer to a wire rack, and allow to cool completely on the rack. Store in airtight container at room temperature.

June 25, 2015

Wildflower Reunion


Glacier National Park, Montana, July 1966. Most of the wildflowers I see are yellow or purple.

Related by Marriage: Guest


Vilnius, Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic, July 1983. Mr. Irene's Dad visits with an aunt.

Class Notes (Part 11)


Kaunas, Lithuania, about 1934. On this Class Notes page, an army colleague of my Mom's Dad got his inspiration from a folk song:
Through the forest of pines
The sun began to shine.
Through the window's glaze
You gazed.

From Major J.

June 24, 2015

Reflective Reunion


Verona, Wisconsin, May 2015. No, the crane family has not returned. I'm just reaching back.

"Where's Dad?"


Suburban Chicago, June 1959. Mom knows I'll learn to walk quickly if she points me toward Dad.

Centered


Kaunas, Lithuania, 1936. Kaunas Nina may be too young to get the joke.

Thanks to Kaunas Nina's daughtermy Kaunas Cousinfor making this photo available to us.

June 19, 2015

June-Bloom Reunion


Verona, Wisconsin, June 2008. The single-flowered Hollyhock is my favorite garden plant.

Swiss Drive

When we traveled to Europe in 1971, we realized we preferred the wild scenery of the American West. In Switzerland, by contrast, even "remote" spots had been touched by civilization.

Earlier today, I mentioned the seasonal opening of the Going-to-the-Sun Road. The drive along that road isn't for the meek, but it's breathtaking.

How does this drive through the Swiss Alps compare?

"Moscow is stationing 'thousands of troops, including mechanized and naval infantry brigades, military aircraft, modern long-range air defense units and hundreds of armored vehicles in the territory.'"

Kaliningrad.

Guidance


Seligenstadt, Germany, about 1947. My Mom's friend leads her daughter.

The road is open.

Glacier National Park today opened the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

Here's a clip of the drive we took 49 years ago.

June 18, 2015

Glance



Brookfield Zoo, 1966. Avoid direct eye contact with strangers.

Related by Marriage: Together


Suburban Chicago, November 1967. Mr. Irene, Uncle D, and a group of cousins and friends gather in the living room. It looks like someone has a crush on Mr. Irene.

Class Notes (Part 10)


Kaunas, Lithuania, September 26, 1934. On this Class Notes page, my Mom's friend wrote, "From your classmate, Irene K."

June 17, 2015

Early Containers


Madison, Wisconsin, June 2004. We're just getting started.

The Tchotchkes Shelves


Suburban Chicago, 1967. This photo shows the items on display in the Rec Room (see also here, here, and here). Did you have a troll doll?

Monitoring the traffic.

On Google Sheep View.

June Misery


Kėdianai (?), Lithuania, about 1938. My friend V writes, "About this time in June, 1941 my grandparents, who were school teachers and uncle (he was 16) were part of the Soviet's mass deportations of Lithuanians to Siberia. They were put on a train in a cattle car and taken to Yakutsk, Russia. The anniversary of this holocaust is never mentioned in the media. So, today I honor their memory. My grandfather Petras [M.] perished in a Siberian prison camp." (Links added.)
 
Thanks to my friend V for making this photo available to us.