Friday, 13 June 2014

2014 Ukie Stampede Stomp

Calgary is the home of the world's largest and best known Rodeo - the Calgary Stampede! And just over a century ago a huge number of new immigrants to Canada from the mountains, foothills and steppes of Ukraine joined the Stampede fans - even participating wholeheartedly in the horse-play, lasso competitions, and horse riding hijinks! It was, of course a time when Calgary's first Ukrainian church community was taking their prayerful steps in setting root here, and just before Canada's First Internment Operations. But those are a lot of other stories about Ukrainians in Calgary!

A little connection you may not know though - there is increasing evidence supporting the hypothesis that horses were domesticated during the copper age, in the Eurasian Steppes centered in Dereivka, Ukraine between 3380-4570 BC! Dereivka is located in the Dnipro valley in Kirovohrads'ka oblast Ukraine. The herding and breeding of horses, beginning with the domestication of the horse, transformed Ukraine's steppe culture, and every subsequent society that adopted horse culture.  Horses increased mobility, and had an impact on transportation, trade, hunting and warfare. While the glorious age of Ukrainian Cossack State resonates in the memory, jump forward many centuries to the timely establishment of the Calgary Stampede! It must have been extremely enticing for new Canadians from Ukraine to join with their new countrymen in celebrating the horse culture on Canada's new frontier. The wild open spaces, the tradition, the colourful stories of Ukrainian cowboys - the kozaky - and everyone was a cowboy!

Lots of reasons to join in the Calgary Stampede Fun - and it is never too early for a Pre-Stampede Stomp! Getting your cowboy boots on?

St. Stephen's Cultural Centre is again the great venue for a Barbeque Steak and Perogie Supper on Saturday, June 21, 2014! Make sure to get your tickets soon! Yee! Ha!

Monday, 9 June 2014

Ukrainian Calgary is Two Today!

Today is Ukrainian Calgary's second birthday! As I like to say - happy, healthy mnohi lita!  It has been an adventure learning to blog - and frankly, finding time to blog!  I love it, and am so positively overwhelmed with the readership!  Gotta say, there are fans of Ukrainian Calgary on almost every continent - okay nobody from Antarctica - but there is still opportunity there!

The idea arose from a comment a friend made a while back. Ukrainian people everywhere are extremely good at planning and having great events, but let's face it, we are just not all that savvy at promotions!  When I started this blog, it felt like it was the only chatty promo blog about Ukrainian things.  Since then I have noticed at least a few more interesting blogs about community and events.  And in the last six or so months, that number has burst the seams with information about the social, political and economic realities of Ukrainians in the homeland and here at home. It seem the stories of our ancestral connections continue to nurture us and our families! We like to not only remember, but create energetic connections for our family, culture, tradition and language!  It is, after all, about the relationships we hold dear!

So much has changed in a brief two years, and yet.....  so much yet to accomplish.  Here's to all the unsung heroes who reach out, connect, make bonds of friendship that become often closer than family! Whatever the time, talent or treasure you are sharing with the Ukrainian community, diasporan or in Ukraine, THANK YOU!  You are my family, my dear friends!  And blog on!  

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Name that Mushroom!

wild morel mushrooms - дикі сморчки гриби ???
Ukrainians everywhere have a penchant for mushrooms!  And of course the folk songs tell of hunting for mushrooms in the fall, but there are special mushrooms hunters who get out there early in the spring too!

Ukrainians use a lot of mushrooms and cream in many recipes - and every Ukrainian cookbook comes with at least one favorite variant!  This one is from an old cookbook that gives advice on the social aspect of mushroom picking, packing a picnic and sticking together with an expert mushroom identifier. 

Wild mushrooms are a treat, but there is a Ukrainian joke that goes something like this.  What kind of wild mushrooms can you pick?  All mushrooms are edible, it's just that some mushrooms are edible more than once!!  

A friend in Calgary found these lovelies in a heavily wooded pasture with a creek, somewhere near Calgary, but unfortunately she is sworn to secrecy about the actual location! All the same here are a couple of great recipes to enjoy!

Mushrooms in Cream

1 pound mushrooms          2 T chopped onion
3 T butter                          2 T Flour
1/2 cup chicken stock       1/2 sweet cream
Salt and Pepper                1 t chopped dill

Use room temperature ingredients for best results!  Clean, wash, drain and slice the mushrooms. Cook the onion in the butter until it is barely tender. Add the mushrooms and cook for about 10 minutes or longer. Blend the flour with the chicken stock to a smooth paste. Stir in the cream a small bit at a time to the mushrooms. Cook, stirring, until the mixture boils. Season to taste, cover, and simmer for about 5 minutes, or longer. More cream may be added for a thinner sauce. When ready to serve, stir in the dill.

Mushrooms in Sour Cream

1 pound mushrooms          1 small onion, chopped
2 T butter                          2 T flour
1 cup sour cream              1/2 clove garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper                1 t chopped dill

Clean, wash, drain and slice the mushrooms. Cook the onion in the butter until just wilted. Add the mushrooms and cook for about 10 minutes. Blend the flour with a little of the cream to make a smooth paste, gradually stir in the remaining cream, and add to the mushrooms. Cook, stirring, until the mixture boils. Add the garlic and season to taste. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or longer. When read to serve stir in the dill.
If the mushrooms look relatively clean, just damp wipe the mushrooms as they could absorb more water than you wish, and get mushy. You could also try a soft bristle mushroom brush!