If I inspired you, I've done my job!

February 23, 2011

Georgian Chili: Chakhokhbili [Чахохбили]

What makes chili a chili? For me it's a chili pepper, of course! Or any other hot pepper. I have prepared a chili recipe to share with you, a more traditional version, but then I thought I'd share this idea first. There's a Georgian dish named Chakhokhbili (and it does rhyme with Chili!) that is prepared using chicken, tomatoes, peppers and fresh herbs. Originally, they use the whole chicken with bones. I used boneless skinless drumsticks--the dark chicken meat makes this dish very hearty. However, you can use any part of chicken. The trick is to sauté the chicken before adding everything else.
Although some variations of Chakhokhbili call for a bell or sweet pepper, I decided to use the bitter one- red hot chili (dried). To re-hydrate the peppers, I poured hot boiling water over and soaked the peppers for couple of hours. If you want to make the dish less spicy, remove the seeds. If you want it mild--just use bell pepper.

My version is quite spicy, so beware!

Chakhokhbili- Spicy Chicken & Tomato Stew from Georgia

2 lb dark chicken meat, boneless and skinless
2 cups (about a pound) slices onions
2-3 closes of garlic, crushed
1 cup (about 4 oz in weight, please see photo above) re-hydrated red hot chili, chopped
2 cups chopped fresh herbs: cilantro, parsley & dill
1 (16 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (16 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 TB spoons tomato paste
2 TB spoons olive oil
Salt to taste
  1. Heat oil in a dutch oven or aluminum pot, add chicken and brown it on high heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring to make sure it turns golden brown on all sides;

  2. Add onions and peppers, mix and sauté on medium heat with open lid for 5-8 minutes or until onions are translucent;
  3. Add both diced and crushed tomatoes plus tomato paste, mix, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through on medium-low heat, stirring to prevent burning;
  4. Add fresh herbs, cover, turn off heat and let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving;
  5. Serve with bread or boiled potatoes, or fire extinguisher!

February 21, 2011

Cookie, please

Just when we thought we won't see snow again, winter decided to remind us--it is still February! More snow is here. Well, let's put the kettle on, brew some Earl Grey and enjoy it with some delicious home made oatmeal cookies that are good enough to eat for breakfast!

I usually use the recipe on the back of the lid of the Quaker Oats can. The recipe is called "Vanishing Oatmeal Raising Cookies". Only in our house they do not vanish unless I eat them: nobody likes these, especially after my husband started to make his chocolate-chip cookies. I, for one, rather eat oatmeal ones.

But they got boring. A little. So I tried something different. Instead of raisins, I used dried cherries; I added 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips in lieu of white sugar and omitting vanilla extract (since the chips already have some flavor) I added lemon zest. Turned out delicious! Now these were vanishing right before my eyes--everybody loved them!

Really Vanishing Oatmeal Lemon Cherry Cookies

1 1/2 cup all purpose white flour
1 t spoon baking soda
1/2 t spoon salt
3 cups plain quick oats

2 sticks unsalted butter (1/2 pound) softened
2 whole large eggs
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 T spoons lemon zest (from 2 medium lemons)

1/2 pound dried cherries
1/2 pack (1 cup) white chocolate chips

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a bowl mix together DRY ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt and oats, mix with a wooden spoon.
  3. In another bowl, mix WET ingredients: butter, eggs and sugar and beat until creamy with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Mix in the zest
  4. Combine both DRY and WET and beat for about a minute until all mixed together. Fold in cherries and chocolate chips.
  5. Spoon batter by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cooking sheet and bake in pre-heated oven for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Remove from the oven, let cool on a cookie sheet for 1 minute then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Enjoy with a cup of fresh brewed tea.
There's an Arabic saying: February comes with no shoe laces tied. But spring will tie them before we know it!

February 17, 2011

"And a peel for the wolf!"//"А для волка--кожура!"

Here's a Russian cartoon about animals sharing an orange. Everyone got a piece of it. Everyone, except the Wolf. Animals believed they tricked wolf leaving him only an orange peel. Little did the animals know--orange peel is a treasure itself!

As much as I love to eat oranges, I really don't mind ending up with orange peel. Like everything else natural, this fruit has far more uses then just being squeezed into a glass for breakfast and could be used in its entirety. So, if life gives you nothing but an orange peel, here what you can do with it:
  • Orange peel has high content of essential oil, which is highly flammable. So dried orange peel can be used for starting a fire or kindling for your fireplace;
  • I found out on the web, cats don't like orange smell. If you put orange peel next to your house plants, your feline won't chew on it;
  • My friend, who is lucky to have a blender inside her kitchen sink, purposely throws and pulverizes the orange peel in it to get rid of bad odors;
  • I don't have the pulverizer so I just scrub sink with orange peel;
  • For the same purpose--freshness--you can use orange peel to deodorize trash cans by placing the peel on the bottom of the can before lining it with bag. It can also ward off the insects during summer months;
  • If you rub oil on your skin, you can prevent mosquito bites during summer as well;
  • You can add the orange peel to home made potpourri--it's white pith is super absorbent and will absorb bad odors and humidity from the air;
  • Because of it's absorbent qualities, you can also use the peel in closets to soak up musty smell--put it in a cloth bag first; same bag can be used in a car as a air freshener;
  • It could be used in cooking, of course. With a microplane zester, peel the top layer of the orange peel--the one that does not have white pith--and use this zest in dessert or savory dishes alike to add a distinct orange flavor;
  • You can also use the whole peel to make "succades"--candied orange peel (recipe will follow, start collecting the peel);
  • If you're a drinker, you can infuse vodka and other hard liquor with orange peel, too;
  • If you're not a drinker--make some tea with dried orange peel by steeping a tablespoon of it in a cup of hot water for 5 minutes.
One thing to remember: the oranges are sprayed treated with special wax for import. Use a vegetable brush to scrub oranges even if you buy organic varieties.


Помните этот мультик? Животные думали, что надурили волка, оставив ему только апельсиновую кожуру. Глупые животные не знали, что кожура сама является сокровищем!

Я люблю кушать апельсины, но не возражу, елси мне только кожура достанется. Как всё созданное природой, апельсин не только хорош для сока к завтраку а тоже может быть использовать целиком, включая его кожуру. Так что, если жизнь вам посылает только апельсиновую кожуру, то не огорчайтесь, а используйте её:

  • Из за высокого содержания в ней эфирного масла, которое легко воспламеняемо, кожуру апельсина можно использовать в качестве разжигателя или в качестве щепок для камина;
  • Я узнала из интернета, что кошки не любят запах апельсина. Если положить шкорки около домашних цветков, которые объедает ваша мурка, она к ним больше не подойдёт;
  • Моя подруга, которой посчастливилось иметь раковину с блендером, использует апельсиновую кожуру для того, чтобы избавиться от плохого запаха;
  • У меня, к сожалению такого приспособления нет, поэтому я натираю кухонную раковину шкорками для запаха;
  • Так же для запаха и свежести шкорки можно положить на дно мусорного ведра перед тем как застелить его целофаном. Запах апельсина поможет отогнать мелких насекомых, так как они не любят цитрусовые ароматы;
  • Есил потереть масляной стороной шкорки о кожу, можно даже избежать комаринных укусов летом;
  • Можно добавить апельсиновую кожуру к вашему пот пурри домашнего приготовления--белая мякоть шкорки обладает "всасывающими" свойствами и поглатит пдлохой запах и влажность из воздуха;
  • По этой же причине можно набить шкорками мешочек их грубой материи--холста, например--и поместить его в шкаф, чтобы избавиться от затхлого запаха, или же держать в салоне автомобиля в качестве освежителя.
  • Конечно же кожуру можно использовать в кулинарии. Специальной тёркой снимите цедру (это верхний слой)--не задев белую мякоть--и используйте цедру в приготовлении сладких или пикантных блюд для придания специфичного апельсинового запаха и вкуса;
  • Можно также использовать всю кожуру полностью для изготовления цукатов (рецепт будет по позже, а пока собирайте шкорку);
  • Если вы пьёте алкоголь, то можете сделать настой из шкорок с водкой или другим крепким алкогольным напитком;
  • А если вы трезвенник, сделайте чай из сухих апельсиновых корок заварив столовую ложку на стакан кипятка в течении 5 минут.
Главный момент: аппельсины опрыскивают и натирают специальным воском для перевозки. Даже если вы покупаете экологически чистые апельсины, всё равно хорошо промойте их с помошью овощной щёточки.

February 15, 2011

Got Adjika?

Valentine's day is over. Chocolate is eaten, obligations are paid. Now back to normal life :)

Today, I'm sharing this simple salad I came up with by combining small red beans, onions and Adjika. Adjika is a national condiment of Abkhazia, a beautiful, now independent country stretched on the Northeast coast of Black Sea.

Many people know of Adjika as a tomato-pepper-herb paste. It could be hot, medium or mild. Actually, real adjika does not require many ingredients, but red chili peppers, herbs- cilantro, parsley, dill (if you find taragon it would give it a nice flavor, but my supermarket didn't have it)- and garlic. Now that it's winter and fresh red chili is not available in this neck of the wood, I used soaked dried chili. I usually dry them myself, but they could be found in Spanish/Mexican section of your supermarket. You can adjust the heat by removing or keeping seeds in the pepper.

Adjika goes good with almost everything, especially meat dishes. But since many of you probably had a heavy feast on Valentine's, I decided to make something light and healthy--small red beans salad.

Red Beans and Onion salad with homemade Adjika

For Adjika:
a handful (about a cup) of dried red chili peppers, soaked in boiling water for at least 1 hour
a handful (about a cup) of mixed fresh herbs: cilantro, parsley, dill
3-4 gloves of garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
3 TB spoons red wine vinegar
pink of sea salt

For the salad:
8 oz small read beans (or kidney beans), cooked
1/2 medium red onion, sliced
salt to taste

  1. Cook beans: if you can soak them overnight in quadruple amount of water, if you forgot to do that, bring beans and water to boil, take off the heat, cover and let soak for at least 2 hours. After soaking, drain and rinse again.
  2. Cook beans in the same amount of water (at least 1 to 4): bring to boil, add a pinch of salt and cook over medium heat for 1/2 an hour. Don't overcook the beans! In case you don't feel like cooking beans, go ahead, use canned ones, but don't forget to rinse them well. Set aside.
  3. Slice onions, put aside.
  4. To make Adjika, combine all the ingredients in a a food processor or blender, blend until all combined. Transfer Adjika in a glass jar and close with lid. You can keep it in a fridge for couple of month.
  5. Combine cooked beans and onions and dress the salad with 1/2 of the Adjika. If it's not too hot for your taste, add more. Toss and serve over some salad greens if desired or as a side dish.
It might not be your average aphrodisiac but this simple dish will surely give your taste buds a sensual feast!

February 09, 2011

Drunken Redhead

I am not talking about an individual. I'm talking about a red leaf cabbage. I wonder why they called it "red" when, in reality, it is of a gorgeous purple color! Never the less, being a redhead lead this crunchy vegetable to my Red ingredients list for this month.

The red cabbage is a bit more tough comparing to its blonde sister, the leaves are a bit more stiff and more tangy to taste. I wonder if it's the same with redhead/blonde girls? I can't tell—I'm a brunette :)

So to tame this shrew, I decided to make it drunk. I remembered a method to soak the cabbage used by Georgian cooks—not from state of Georgia, but a country in South Caucasus. They use red wine vinegar and boiling water, but add beets to color the white cabbage red. In my case, I already have a rich color hue, so no beets this time. Also, by adding the vinegar, instead of just cooking the cabbage, keeps the color so bright.

To shred the cabbage you can use mandolin, or a very sharp knife—that's what I used since I don't have a slicer (yes, it's on my wish list!).

I decided to brake the cabbage's purpleness and tanginess with sweet green peas. Green just looks so good on purple. And I added sautéed red onions (which could be sliced with mandolin as well)
Drunken Red Cabbage And Peas Salad

1 medium cabbage (about 2 1/2 lb), shredded
1/2 teaspoon dry cayenne pepper
1 dry red chili pepper
2 TB spoons red wine vinegar
2 quarts boiling water
1 medium red onion, sliced
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 TB spoons oil for sautéing onions
Sea salt to taste
  1. Put shredded cabbage in a heat resistant bowl, add cayenne, chili, vinegar and pour boiling water over it. Keep in a warm place for at least 2 hours.

  2. Drain water, preserving couple of TB spoons of water. Divide cabbage in 2. Put one half in a jar, pour preserved water, cover and store in a fridge. It can be used later for more salad.
  3. In a salad bowl combine remaining cabbage and peas. Toss.
  4. In a skillet, heat 2 TB of olive oil, add onions and sauté until they turn translucent. Pour the onions over the cabbage, toss and serve sprinkled with sea salt.
To make this salad is much easier then it seems. I hope this salad will find a special place on your dinner table. Remember, it's made with Redhead!

February 05, 2011


Continuing my Red theme, I decided to share my all time comfort food: Borscht. Conveniently, my dad was coming back from his short trip to Russia and I wanted to treat him to a bowl of this ruby red hearty soup. There are many recipes for this dish out there, each equally delicious, but I share the one I've knows since I started making it myself.
This dish is known to the world mostly as Russian as Russian people are often called "Borscht eaters". However, other Slavic nations claim that Borscht is their invention. Some even say that it was created by Ancient Romans who grew tons of cabbage and beets specifically for this soup.
The name of Borscht, containing only one vowel and four consonants making it its not-so-easy to pronounce, came from Slavic word "бърщь" [brsch] meaning "beets". The soup has over 40 varieties, including cold--as they eat it in Lithuania, but it can be very easy to make.
I'm not going to bore you history of this rich red soup only because I don't really know it myself, but I know one thing--it is a delicious vitamin powerhouse! Key ingredients are available almost all year round so you can have bowl any time. It is fun to make especially for those cooks who love chopping. If you aren't found of this meticulous task, don't blame the unsharpened knife--sharpen your knife skills (and preparing borscht will be a good practice), or just buy pre-chopped veggies at your grocery store. Although you will find bagged chopped cabbage (cal slaw mix) or carrots (matchstick cup carrots) you will not find chopped beets. Well, at least I never seen any.
Besides all the vegetables, it is made with fresh herbs--parsley, dill and cilantro--but if fresh is not available, you can use dry. In fact, for following recipe I used dry dill and parsley but fresh cilantro (that's what I had). Sometimes, borscht is served with pirojki (Russian fried hot pockets with potatoes) but dinner rolls or french baguette will do, too. It is mostly served with sour cream.
You can make vegetarian borscht ("lenten" as it is known in Russia) or with any meat and poultry, preferably on the bone. Today, I'm sharing with beef-based soup, for it was made especially for my dad, who is a carnivorous! Oh, and another thing that makes my version easier--I use only one pot unlike other recipes, that call for skillet to sauté veggies.
2 TB spoons olive oil
about a pound beef ribs
1 cup chopped beets
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onions
2-3 cloves of garlic (pressed in garlic press) +couple more for serving
5 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2-3 bay leaves
1 dry chili pepper
2 TB spoons tomato paste
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon dry dill weed
1 teaspoon dry parsley
about 12 oz shredded fresh white cabbage
1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro for garnishing
Sour cream for serving
  1. Heat oil in a 10 qt. stock pot and brown beef ribs on one side until crispy and comes off easily, flip and repeat. Takes about 5 minutes per side to brown. Lower heat to medium.
  2. Add vegetables: onions, carrots, beets and garlic. Cover and sauté for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add spices: dry herbs, bay leaves, chili, black pepper and salt. Cover and simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring to prevent burning.
  3. Add potatoes and tomato paste, stir, cover and continue to simmer over med-low heat for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile boil 10 cups of water in a tea kettle.
  4. Pour 10 cups of boiling water, check for salt, adjust if needed; cover and continue to cook for 20 minutes over med-low heat or until potatoes are cooked.
  5. Add cabbage, cover and cook for another 10 minutes or until cabbage is cooked through.
  6. Turn the heat off, add fresh cilantro, cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
  7. Serve with additional fresh cilantro, freshly pressed garlic and sour cream. Melt and enjoy!
There's a joke: if you like yesterday's borscht, come by tomorrow--it is believed that borscht tastes best on a second day.

February 02, 2011

Crank up the Cranberries

The feasting season is over and these little guys had worked hard to make it colorful and delicious. But why abandon them now? I saw a bag of frozen cranberries in a supermarket the other day and it looked so lonely and forgotten, thrown into a wrong pile with frozen veggies. I picked it up and decided to give the berries a chance!

How can I not? They are packed with vitamin C that we all desperately need during the frigid winter! And it filled with a compound called proanthocyanidin--a potent antioxidant with an anti-inflammatory effect.

Here is a list of some benefits of this ruby red berry:
  • Improve the body's circulatory system
  • A daily glass of cranberry juice will treat cystitis (bladder inflammation)
  • Provide relief for asthma patients
  • Condensed tannins in cranberries are considered an important contributor to a healthy heart
  • Can disrupt the development of kidney stone formation due to its affects on the acidity of the urine.
I made a refreshing drink using a bag (16 oz) of frozen cranberries, a 1/2 pound of green apples, 1/2 cup of sugar--to subdue the sourness a bit, a stick of cinnamon and a flower of dry anise seed. Put it all in a pot and covered with 8 cups of water, bring to boil, turn the heat off and let stand for 10-15 minutes before indulging in a cup of this bright, refreshing and healthy tea. Pour the rest in a pitcher with lid and store in the fridge. If you want, you can leave the berries and apples in, but remove the spices.


Закончился сезон застолий, и эти маленькие ребята хорошо потрудились, чтобы сделать его ярким и вкусным. Почему же отказываться от них сейчас? В магазине я как то увидела упаковку замороженной клюквы, и он выглядел таким одиноким и забытым, заброшеным в кучу с замороженными овощами. Я решила дать шанс этим алым ягодкам!

И как я не могла? Они полны витамина С, в котором все мы отчаянно нуждаемся во время холодной зимы! В состав клюквы входят элементы, называющийся проантоцианидин--мощный противоокислитель с противовоспалительным эффектом.

Вот список некоторых преимуществ этогй ягодки рубинового цвета:

Улучшение кровообращения
Ежедневно употребляя один стакан клюквенного сока, можно лечить цистит (восполение мочевого пузыря)
Облегчает симптомы астмы
Конденсированные таннины в клюкве считаются важным фактором для здоровья сердца
Может помешать развитию образования камней в почках, так как влияет на кислотность мочи

Я приготовила освежающий напиток из одной упаковки замороженной клюквы (454 гр), 230 гр зелёных яблок, очищенных от серцевины и косточек и нарезанных на дольки, 125 гр сахара--что бы смягчить кислый вкус--и специй: палочки корицы и цветочка сухих семян аниса. Положите всё в кастрюлю и залейте двумя литрами воды. Доведите до кипения, выключите огонь и дайте постоять на плите 10-15 минут перед тем, как насладиться чашечкой этого яркого, освежающего и полезного отвара. Перелейте остальное в сосуд с крышкой и храните в холодильнике. Если желаете, можете оставить ягоды и яблоки, но специ выньте.

February 01, 2011

The beet of your heart

I chose the beetroot for the first day of February for a reason. February is proclaimed a Heart Health month by American Heart Association. Read on and you will see why.

One can write an extensive thesis on medicinal propertied of this gem colored vegetable. It is recommended for prevention and treatment of anemia, hypertension, and other cardiovascular diseases.

Dark-colored varieties of beets help strengthen the capillary walls. Substances contained in its root have vasodilator, antispasmodic, anti-sclerotic and soothing effect. In addition, they facilitate the allocation of the excess fluid from the body and are needed for normal functioning of the heart. Beetroot shape itself resembles this vital organ!

Beet root crops contain 14-18% dry matter, 11-12% sugar, 1.7% protein, 5-17 mg of vitamin C. The beets also contain a small amount of carotene, vitamins B1, B2. But what gives this vegetable a special value is vitamin P, which can increase the elasticity of blood vessels, prevent multiple sclerosis and internal hemorrhage.

In addition, beet is useful for the liver. Contained in this vegetable betaine—which is also a natural dye—activates the liver cells and prevents their fatty degeneration. Beetroots contain significant amounts of pectin, which protect the body from exposure to radioactive and heavy metals (lead, strontium, etc.), contribute to the removal of cholesterol and inhibits growth of harmful microorganisms in the intestinal tract. Salts of iron, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, cobalt found in beets also activate the blood formation and regulate metabolism. In iron content, beets trail only to garlic.

Among all other things, beetroot is rich in organic acids that are useful for human body: malic, citric, and tartaric. It also contains minerals such as phosphorus, calcium, sulfur, and sodium.

And let us not leave out the leaves. Beet leaves contain about the same nutrients as the root, but the beet tops have more vitamin C, although less fiber.

Today, I prepared a simple lunch recipes: beetroot soup-puree—although the most traditional soup in this category would be Borsch, but its recipe I will share separately!—and pies with beet leaves and cheese.

This soup is borrowed from Turkish cuisine, where it is traditionally made from roasted beetroots.



6 medium beetroots
2 TB spoons vegetable oil
1 TB spoon unsalted butter
1 cup diced white onions
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
2 t spoons ground cumin
1/2 t spoon ground red hot pepper
1 t spoon ground black pepper
1 t spoon sea salt
1-2 dry bay leaves
6 cups water or broth
bunch of fresh dill weed
sour cream (or Greek style yogurt)

  1. Heat the oven to 375°F, wrap each washed and patted dry beetroot in aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove from the oven—beets have to be tender but not overcooked—cool, peel and chop into disks.
  2. In the pot, heat oil and melt butter in it. Add the chopped vegetables: onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and sauté them for 5-7 min or until onions are translucent.
  3. Add spices (besides salt) and beets; mix and pour water or broth and bring to boil. Once boiled, add salt, turn the heat to medium-low and cook for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, take out the bay leaves, and blend with an immersion blender. Return to heat for 10 more minutes.
  5. Serve with dollop of sour cream (or yogurt) and chopped fresh dill weed.


Beet leaves and cheese pies—tsakharadhiin—are traditional Osetian dish. Osetins are one of the indigenous people of North Caucasus region, and I'm 1/8th Osetian (I know it's totally irrelevant).

You may use already prepared yeast dough or buy frozen bread dough and thaw only one loaf, but I deiced to make my own using whole wheat flour; and instead of butter I used clarified butter—it gives sweet note to the pies that compliments saltiness of the cheese and tartness of greens.

Traditionally, Osetian cheese that is similar to Greek feta is used. However, Greek feta works just fine! This recipe yields 3 10 inch pies: it is Osetian tradition to bake three round pies at a time. And to serve it with sour cream and dill dip. Only I used Greek style yogurt in lieu of sour cream. I used the same dip with the beet soup, too.



For the dough:

1 TB spoon dry active yeast
2 cup warm (100-110F) water, divided
1 t spoon sugar
1 TB spoon vegetable oil
1 t spoon salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup barley flour, divided (or all purpose flour)
+more for dusting the surface

For the filling:
2 cups beet leaves
1½ (20 lb) pounds feta cheese
One bunch of scallions
1 cup chopped fresh dill weed

For serving:
½ cup clarified butter (or melted butter)
Sour cream (or Greek style yogurt) with chopped dill weed

To make the dough:
  1. To 1 cup of warm water, add yeast and sugar and without mixing let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. In a bowl with 2 cups of whole-wheat flour and 1 cup of barley (or all purpose) flour, pour the water, oil, and salt; mix the sponge with a wooden spoon.
  3. On dry clean surface pour 1/2 cup of barley (or all purpose) flour, take the sponge and knead the dough until most the flour is used up; dust the dough with flour and put it back into the bowl, cover with clean kitchen towel and let stand in a warm and non drifty place for and hour. Meanwhile, prepare the filling.

To make the filling:
  1. Wash and dry the beet leaves and shop them into thin ribbons; mix it with finely chopped scallions and dill.
  2. In a separate bowl crumble the cheese, then add the greens and black pepper.
  3. Divide the filling into 3 parts and roll into ball shape.

To assemble and bake the pies:
  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F and keep cast iron skillet (of metal baking sheet) inside the oven to be heated, too.
  2. Divide the dough into tree parts. On a dusted with flour surface roll the dough with a rolling pin or stretch with hands into circles about 7/8 of an inch thick.
  3. Put the filling in the center of the dough, push it in, and gather the dough from around the edges closing in it on top. Pinch off any excess dough. With hands even out the pie. Push it into shape (10 inches in diameter) and poke a hole 1 inch in size in the middle.
  4. Transfer the pie on a hot skillet (baking sheet) and bake for 15-20 until it starts to turn light brown.
  5. Brush the pie with butter. Repeat for the second and third pie.
  6. Serve hot, cut in 6 pieces, with a sour cream (yogurt) and dill dip.

I understand that this time of year many people would prefer chocolate as their main ingredient not only because it makes a nice valentine day treat but also because its dark varieties are good for the health. I understand also that beet might not win competing for a place on your table this month because it might not look so attractive. But have you seen or tasted Cocoa au naturelle? Right, now beet doesn't look so bad!