Sunday, May 10, 2009


Kvass is a fermented beverage from rye bread. It's tasty, carbonated, refreshing, and just very slightly alcoholic (not enough to be sold as an alcoholic beverage). As I write, I am making kvass from Wasa bread. Am I brilliant, or just insane? We don't know (my boyfriend chastises me every time I try to open the container to taste, "It's not ready yet!"). I have snuck a few tastes and so far I am going with brilliant. It isn't exactly the best kvass for drinking, but I really don't care about that because the only reason I made it is so I can have some Okroshka. Which I have been craving for almost a year. It's a cold Russian soup, and now that it's getting quite warm here, I really want some.

And thus, we are making kvass from Wasa. Because it takes several days, and several days ago we didn't have rye bread. Here's what I did (notes on possible improvements at the end):

Wasa Bread Kvass


Container that is airtight (mine is like 3-4 cups in volume)
2 Wasa toasts (make sure they are the original rye kind, not sesame or anything like that)
Boiling water
Couple tablespoons dry yeast
Few tablespoons of sugar (my boyfriend at first forgot that when getting the instructions from his mom, remembered a day later. You won't have carbonated or correct tasting kvass without it)
Few mint leaves
Few raisins


Let's start with the disclaimer that since I was already doing something very unorthodox, i.e. kvass from Wasa, I didn't follow the directions I was given precisely. I am lazy.

Break up the Wasa into chunks in your container. Pour boiling water to cover. Let sit for a while, and when the temperature has reached body temperature, remove a bit of the warm liquid to a glass. Stir the yeast (and the sugar, which we originally forgot and had to add later) into this, and then add back to the container. Seal container tightly, shake, and let sit for 24 hours, shaking every so often. Then add mint leaves and raisins, let sit another 12-24 hours. Before using, strain well.

What you're supposed to do (my boyfriend's mom's instructions):

First of all, you are not supposed to use Wasa. You are supposed to use nice, dense Russian rye bread, which you cut into slices and dry in the oven. That is work, people. Not a lot of work, but work. I will do it at some point, because it really does result in better kvass, but I really wanted to see if lazy-Wasa-kvass could work. You put the bread in a better air-tight container than I have. )A wide-mouthed jar is ideal. I have a Snapware container, which is great for lunch, but is not completely air-tight when it comes to shaking a carbonated beverage.) Now, you pour the boiling water as directed above. Let it sit until the liquid reaches body temperature. Strain out the bread. Take a bit of the liquid into a glass, add the yeast and sugar. Shake, let sit for like a day, shaking periodically. Add the mint, let sit for another 12 or so hours, shaking periodically. Strain well, then pour into bottles for refrigeration or canning. Add a few raisins to each bottle first.

My boyfriend's mom gave no quantities. I love her for that, she cooks like I do. :-)

I've heard kvass lasts for a week in the fridge, mine is not going to be around long enough to test that. I am making Okroshka for dinner tonight!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Rhubarb-Apple Compote

We got some nice rhubarb in the store, and we still have a bunch of apples that aren't the best for eating (a little mealy/soft) but are good for cooking. I threw this together and surprisingly it was delicious.

Rhubarb-Apple Compote


4-5 stalks of rhubarb
3 small apples
1/4 c dried sour cherries
30 roasted peanuts (unsalted)
A squeeze of lemon
Cinnamon stick (1"-2")
A piece of ginger root (1/2")
3/4 c of sugar


Wash and peel rhubarb stalks, also removing any leaves (they are poisonous). Chop. Core and chop the apples. Peel the ginger and slice into matchsticks. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil slowly, and then let simmer until fruits are soft and the mixture is not liquid.

Notes and Serving Suggestion:

We at this with crepes (blini). I use Yulinka's recipe, but with sour milk (is it the same as buttermilk?) and a bit more sugar. I especially liked the peanuts! It's kind of a breakfast dish (especially for week end) or dessert, but we had it for dinner.