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THE VOICE OF INTERNATIONAL LITHUANIA

24 April 2017
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Food, wine and more

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Our moms’
Lithuanian recipes


Our moms’ Lithuanian recipes is on Facebook. Click HERE to find it!

 

In 2011, a few of first generation Lithuanians from the Hartford Connecticut area in USA started posting on internet that they'd like to share some recipes that they grew up with. Many of these recipes may have been stored in someone's head and not written down, and the group wanted to make these recipes and food history from their beloved homeland at the Baltic Sea available also for future generations.

 

The group’s vibrant Facebook Page has till now collected over 1,000 members!

The people behind the page is very interested in recipes that they can share with all interested in their Lithuanian background. Even if the old written recipes aren't legible anymore, you are asked to post photos of them. They will help you decipher or translate them, and get them posted so all can all enjoy them!

If you remember eating something Lithuanian as a kid and can't remember what it's called, post a description of it. Someone will likely know what it is and can post the recipe.

If you don't have recipes to post, join the Group and enjoy the cuisine and discussions. Try making something and let them know how it came out. They will also help you with trouble shooting. 

Many of these recipes differ from family to family, so it is very interesting to see more than one post of the same recipe. 

 

Ellen Petkaitis Carmichael

Our Moms’ Lithuanian Recipes was started by

Ellen Petkaitis Carmichael (1961-2011)

Ellen Petkaitis Carmichael was the driving force behind Our Moms' Lithuanian Recipes. Sadly, she died in a traffic accident just months after she started this success page, which now collects food-interested people with Lithuanian origin worldwide. We reproduce below the letter she wrote to VilNews when she introduced the Facebook Page in early 2011.

 

Ellen was born on December 21, 1961, Manchester, Connecticut, USA. She lived in West Hartford, Connecticut. Rest in peace, dear Ellen, you did a tremendous job for Lithuanian heritage!

 

Written by Ellen Carmichael in April 2011

 ALL LITHUANIAN FOOD LOVERS FROM EVERYWHERE ARE WELCOME!

 

I remember my young days standing in my mother Ramute and aunt Danuteʼs kitchens watching them cook the food they had grown up with in Lithuania. Always busy, rushing around with purpose.  Interesting, that they never had any cookbooks!  It was always “a little of this, and a little of that”. But it always came out delicious. It wasnʼt until years later that I became interested in cooking the cuisine myself.  When I asked my mother for her recipes, she said they are all in her head. So I started to write things down as she was cooking, and was later able to sit down with her and pick those recipes out of her brain and put them down on paper.  Still, pinning her down on exact amounts of ingredients was a challenge.  Interestingly, even though my Aunt Danute and my mother were sisters, their cooking was slightly different. Was it because neither of them wrote how they cooked things down; thus changes inevitably evolved? Probably. Iʼve noticed that as people post recipes for the same food in OMLR, they are all slightly different, but have the same basic ingredients. Thatʼs why I encourage people to post their recipes even if a recipe for that particular dish is already posted.

 

Where are all the Lithuanian Recipes?

I was curious why there arenʼt a larger number of Lithuanian cookbooks written in English. Certainly not nearly as many as for other foreign cuisines.  It then occurred to me. For example, many of the Lithuanian immigrants came to the US during hard times, such as during the second world war. They escaped from Lithuania with only the clothes on their backs and the meager supplies they could carry. I think cookbooks were not a priority when they had to leave. My mother confirmed that was the case when she left Lithuania in 1942. They were almost trapped in the bombing and the fighting that took place between the Germans and the Russians and were forced to leave on foot. They lived on potatoes, onions and whatever farmers gave them while on the run into Germany. They certainly learned how to be creative with potatoes. When

finally in the United States, English was not their first language,

so if they did write some things down, it was in Lithuanian.

 

How OMLR got started

My cousin Paul posted onto his Facebook page a wonderful picture he found on the internet while searching for various Lithuanian recipes, and he commented: “Blogging about her Kugelis recipe no doubt”.  That Facebook conversation turned into one where we reminisced about some of the stuff we ate as kids and I asked Paul if he has some of his mother’s (Danute’s) recipes, and he said not in electronic form. Then Paul’s friend Vida posted that she’d like to get some of Danute’s recipes too. Cepelinai, Napoleonas Tortas, koldunai, bacon buns were reminisced about in that thread.  Vida suggested we start a FB page; I volunteered and got it started right away, using Paul’s posted picture as the profile picture. I wish I could give someone credit for that photo, but I have no idea where it came from and couldn’t find it again on the internet.  I expected ten, maybe fifteen members to join. Pretty much only people that knew us.  But much to my delight, it’s growing and there are members from all over...Australia, Switzerland, Lithuania, Canada, UK, all over the USA and probably more.

 

 

Troubleshooting with others

One thing that makes this site unique and especially useful for Lithuanian recipes, which do vary so much from person to person, recipe to recipe, is that we have an active dialogue going on about the nuances in the preparation. We also trouble shoot when things don’t go as expected. For example....”Why did my Cepelinai fall apart when I boiled them???”  Group members chime in and offer their experience. You just don’t get that with a traditional recipe book.  Lithuanians certainly are passionate about their food. It really comes out on this interactive site.

 

Several members posted that they remember eating something when they were young…something that their Lithuanian grandmother or relative made…but couldn’t remember what it was called, so they couldn’t find it on the internet.  They described on their post what they remember about it.  Group members gave suggestions as to what it could be and posted their own recipes for it.

The other thing that came out of it is this:  I asked one of the members a question on her message board (not as a post) and we've been communicating ever since.  She was born in Lithuania, moved to Germany at 19 and now lives in Switzerland.  It's amazing how food can connect people that normally would never meet!  Having a Lithuanian interactive food site is especially great, considering the passion Lithuanians have for their food. I don't want to make it sound like a great place to meet people... That's not the purpose for the group[!!   It was just a nice result that came from it.  

Finally, I think one of the most interesting thing I've come to realize in doing this, is that Lithuanians really don't write their recipes down in general.  I've heard over and over again that they are stored in their mother's or grandmother's heads...a common phrase is "a little of this and a little of that" when asked how much of the ingredients go into a given recipe.  So I suggested that one of the reasons for that is perhaps many of the Lithuanians emigrated out of Lithuania with only what they could carry.  No room for cookbooks.  Many were on the road for months, even years before they settled down, so the recipes became ingrained in their heads and there was no reason to write them down.  That's only my idea, but it is an interesting thing for a food historian to ponder!

Category : Food, wine and more

A beer drinking country

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There are a number of things that make any Lithuanian swell with pride;
Rich History, Amber, Beautiful Nature, Basketball, etc.

There is, though, one that has a special place in their hearts. This source of pride is the Lithuanian Beer. Today, Lithuanians are among the best beer producers in the world, enjoying numerous international awards for the subtle taste and high quality of their drink. But is beer a truly “Lithuanian” drink and how deep are the traditions of brewing beer in Lithuania?

Read more...
Category : Food, wine and more

Kugelis, the potato pudding that became a Lithuanian national dish

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Photo by Yours For Good Fermentables 

I’m very excited to share this recipe with you because

KUGELIS IS MY ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE

Once again I have been elected to share a traditional Lithuanian recipe with you due to the fact that I am so very “culinary challenged”. Please remember that I need to be supervised when I’m in the kitchen so that I don’t hurt myself. But the powers to be of VilNews feel that I’m the best person to share these recipes since if a person with my limited cooking skills can cook these tasty meals than it shows to every one how easy they are to prepare.

Read more...

Category : Food, wine and more / Front page

Ready for a mushroom hunt?

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Mushroom ‘outlet’ at a Varena roadside.

Mushroom picking is undoubtedly one of the favourite activities of the Lithuanian people. It starts in the spring and lasts till the first frosts, normally early November. Mushroom hunting is probably Lithuania’s second most popular sport, after basketball. When rumours start to float around that the first mushrooms of the year have been seen in the woods, people get up at 6 am on Saturday morning and go to the woods with their baskets and plastic bags. You can actually experience traffic jams at that time on a Saturday morning! Entire families go mushrooming and return with overflowing baskets.

The most abundant forests are in Dzukija, the south eastern region. Traditionally the inhabitants of this part of the country are the most prolific mushroom gatherers and this region's cooks are known for the most creative mushroom recipes.  The mushroom capital of Lithuania is the town Varena, founded in 1862 as centre of the Varena District. Due to lower harvests in infertile soil, local farmers had to supplement their yields with edible mushrooms and berries collected in the forests. Still today mushroom collecting remains an important part of the local economy.

All over Lithuania mushrooms are used in many dishes, to add special flavor to meat, fish and potato dishes. Mushrooms are used fresh, dried, salted or marinated. More than four hundred edible varieties are found in the Lithuanian forests. The most popular are boletes. Also collected are chanterelles, blevits, morels and many others.

Mushroom recipes from the book LITHIANIAN TRADIONAL FOOD
Compiled by Birutë Imbrasienė 
Edited and translated by Giedrė Ambrozaitienė

FRIED MUSHROOM CAPS
Keptos grybų kepurėlės


1/2 k (1 lb) fresh boletus or button mushroom caps
100 g (6 tablespoons) butter
2 tablespoons flour
salt and pepper to taste

Wash mushroom caps, blot dry and roll in flour, seasoned with salt and pepper. Fry floured mushroom caps in butter on low heat until nicely browned, about 20 minutes.
Serve with hot potatoes or bread for lunch or as a late afternoon snack.


FRIED MUSHROOMS WITH ONIONS
Kepti grybai su svogūnais


1/2 k (1 lb) fresh boletus or white or brown, mushroom caps
200 g (3/4 cup) vegetable oil
3 onions, diced
several bay leaves
pinch of salt and pepper

Drop dry mushroom caps into hot oil and fry on low heat, about 20 minutes. Add onions, seasonings and fry for 5 more minutes. 
Serve warm fried mushroom caps with hot potatoes and cold caps with toasted black bread.


MUSHROOMS SIMMERED IN SOUR CREAM OR MILK
Grybai troškinti grietinėje ar piene


1/2 k (1 lb) fresh mushrooms
100 g (6 tablespoons) butter
2 onions, finely chopped
4 tablespoons sour cream or 1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

Brush mushrooms clean. Slice and cook in a frying pan, in their own juices. Cook until all liquid evaporates. Add butter and onion to mushrooms, bake for 15 minutes. Pour sour cream or milk and simmer for 5 minutes. 
Serve for lunch with hot potatoes or bread.


MUSHROOMS IN A BLANKET
Kepti grybai tešloje

1/2 k (1 lb) fresh mushrooms
100 g (3 oz) butter or vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons bread crumbs
pinch of salt

Brush mushrooms clean, cut in halves and dust with salted flour. Dip mushroom halves into egg and roll in bread crumbs. Fry breaded mushrooms in hot oil or butter. Place fried mushrooms on a baking sheet and bake in preheated oven at 250F/120C, for about 10 minutes. 
Serve with bread or hot potatoes for breakfast, lunch or as a late afternoon snack.


CHANTERELLES WITH BACON
Voveruškos su lašiniukais


1/2 k (1 lb) fresh chanterelles
100 g (3 oz) bacon, finely cut
2 onions, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Wash chanterelles and drop into salted, boiling water. Cook about 15 minutes. Fry bacon and onion, add cooked chanterelles and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cover frying pan and continue baking for 10 minutes, stirring several times. 
Serve for lunch with hot potatoes.


BRAISED MUSHROOMS WITH POTATOES
Troškinti grybai su bulvėmis


10 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 k (2 lbs) fresh mushrooms
100 g (3 oz) bacon, finely cut
2 onions, chopped
1 cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

Cook potatoes until soft, drain and save potato cooking water. Fry bacon and onion. Cook mushrooms in salted water for about 20 minutes. Drain and cut mushrooms into halves. Add mushrooms to fried bacon and onion mixture. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, add 1/4 cup potato water and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour simmered mushrooms over boiled potatoes, mix well. Pour sour cream on top just before serving for lunch.


FRIED DRIED MUSHROOMS
Kepti džiovinti grybai

100 g (3 oz) dried mushrooms
3 tablespoons flour
150 g (6 oz) butter or vegetable oil
1 cup milk 
salt to taste

Soak dried mushrooms in milk for 3 hours. Blot dry and roll in salted flour. Fry in hot fat, on both sides, about 25-30 minutes. 
Serve hot, covered with pan juices.


MUSHROOM PATTIES
Grybų maltinukai


1 k (2 lbs) fresh mushrooms
3 eggs
2 onions, chopped
2 tablespoons sour cream
200 g (3/4 cup) butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste

Cook mushrooms, drain and chop finely. Fry onion in 2 tablespoons butter. Add beaten eggs to sour cream, mix well. Add fried onion, salt, pepper, mushrooms and bread crumbs. Blend well and let set for 1/2 hour. Then form medium patties, roll patties in flour and fry in hot butter, both sides, for about 25-30 minutes. 
Serve hot for lunch with hot potatoes and dill pickles.


MUSHROOM EARS
Ausytės su grybų įdaru

3 cups flour
3 eggs
water
2 cups cooked mushrooms, finely chopped
1 onion, chopped and fried
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

Make dough with first 3 ingredients. Roll out dough thinly and cut into squares. To make filling, add 1 beaten egg, fried onion, pinch of salt and pepper to mushrooms. Blend well. Place a spoonful of mushroom mixture, fold over into a triangle, seal edges and join corners together. Cook mushroom ears in salted water 5-7 minutes. Drain and place mushroom ears into a bowl and cover with butter cooked with sour cream. 
Serve hot.


MUSHROOM STUFFED EGGS
Grybai kiaušiniuose


8 eggs
5 mushroom caps
1 cup cooked, chopped mushrooms
1 cup sour cream
100 g (6 tablespoons) butter
onion greens or scallions fresh dill
salt and pepper to taste

Hard boil 7 eggs. Peel 5 eggs and cut off tops, scoop out yolks. Fry mushroom caps in butter. Add 2 finely chopped, hard boiled eggs, 5 scooped out yolks and 1 beaten egg to chopped mushrooms. Mix well and fry mixture in butter for 10 minutes. Fill 5 eggs with mushroom mixture, cap filled eggs with fried mushroom caps. Stand eggs in a serving platter, cover with sour cream, seasoned with salt and pepper and sprinkle with chopped scallions and dill. 
This is eaten as a snack or light lunch with toasted white or black bread.


MUSHROOM CAKE
Grybų tortas


1 k (2 lbs) fresh mushrooms
3 raw eggs, beaten
4 tablespoons bread crumbs
1 cup sour cream
2 onions, chopped, fried
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
2 tablespoons flour
50 g (4 tablespoons) vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste

Cook mushrooms, drain and blot dry, cut into small pieces. Add onion, hard boiled eggs, bread crumbs, beaten eggs, salt and pepper. Blend all ingredients well. Grease a spring form cake pan and fill with mushroom mixture, sprinkle top with flour and bake in preheated oven at 350F/180C, for about 30 minutes. 
This is eaten hot and cold.
Category : Food, wine and more

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Craving for a barbeque
on a Lithuanian lakeside

Text: Saulene Valskyte

Dark gray days and cold nights are finally over and spring/summer has made its way back to Lithuania. Just a few weeks ago you still could've found some remains of snow, but now the sun made her way back and it looks that everybody became happier over night.

After a long rainy autumn and an even longer cold dark winter, people were praying for spring to come back and when it did it looks like everyone is trying to catch up on all summer activities on the very first weekend.

Lakes take the biggest role in Lithuanian summer. Over winter everyone is just craving for barbeque on a lakeside and we do make sure that the very first summery sunshine will be welcomed somewhere in nature enjoying good weather and šašlykai*. Even when the weather is still quite chilly and only dropping clues about upcoming spring fills streets with bicycles and relaxed pedestrians, it looks like for months and months people were waiting for a chance to get out of their homes and finally they get the possibility to do that.  In a matter of days parks fill up with lovely couples, young families and youth  playing ball, cards or just chilling on barely sprouted grass.

I work in a big shopping mall AKROPOLIS and last weekend it had its big birthday celebration with huge discounts and special offers for costumers, big prizes were up for grab, but does anyone care about it? That weekend we were rewarded with magical weather of  +27 and it was so sunny, and warm breezes were flowing around so despite Lithuanians passion for shopping, everybody was commonly running from town. During that weekend lakesides were filled with people and in the mean time AKROPOLIS was almost empty.

I can’t describe the image that stuck in my head that Friday afternoon. Traffic in Ozas street, which is a huge 4 lane street, was impossible. Cars were barely moving in the direction that leads from the city centre. It looked like a massive evacuation. During the normal commuter rush hour there are half that many cars as it there was then. During all the weekend Vilnius centre was almost totally empty….

Another important thing about Lithuania and good weather is that most Lithuanians own some kind a piece of land that they use for growing vegetables or gardening. Small gardens somewhere near cities are very popular in Lithuania. People have small summer houses with only a few rooms there with a little piece of land for gardening and to escape for the weekend. Others have relatives living in the countryside. So in spring, most Lithuanians spend their time working the land and preparing it for “farming”.  I find it funny when in Vilnius you can’t find friends to meet for a drink because everybody is planting potatoes.

The perfect Lithuanian evening after a hot summer day is sitting on bench somewhere in a park or on a lakeside and enjoying cold beer-we sure do love beer during the summer. So grab some friends, beer and if possible šašlykai and visit the nearest lakeside to enjoy what nature gives you and what we really do know how to apriciate.

*Šašlykai is originally an Armenian dish, but it is one of the most popular dishes during summer or any kind of camping. In Lithuania it’s usually made from pork (lamb originally). It’s small pieces of meet marinated with some vinegar, onions and some of this and that (this and that depends from the cook).

http://a3.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/261780_1873983654222_1380114467_31554925_2356166_n.jpg
Happy Spring Days! From Saulene.

Category : Food, wine and more

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Saulene’s
Easter

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Text: Saulene Valskyte

Spring has come, the sun is shining, birds are singing, at least that's what it should be like. In Lithuania Easter weather swings from blizzard to burning sun, but regardless to that is this the most colorful celebration of the year. As all Christian celebrations Easter traditions here are intertwined with paganism, Easter in particulary were a pagan celebration of awakening nature.

The Easter celebration starts a week before Easter Day, on Palm Sunday, when people are gathering in churches with beautiful, colorful, original “palms”. In Lithuania every region have there own palm making traditions, usually palm base are the juniper twig. During the church service the palms are being blessed. Afterwards people participate in a traditional Palm Sunday ritual, beating each other with the blessed palms, wishing each other health and strength. Today this is mostly a children game, but in old days everyone were doing it, singing "It's not me, it's palm what beats you, there's Easter in a week, and you will get an Easter egg".

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Just as with Christmas, the week before Easter is supposed to be meatless. Although this tradition is not very popular these days, at least the last few days people should try to eat less meat or not at all. This means that herring and other fish courses should be the most common ingredients  on the table.

Very important is to clean everything well before Easter Day. Traditionally Holy Thursday was the "cleaning day", but as people get more and more busy, Easter Saturday has become a more convenient day for all cleaning jobs.

The day before Easter is for decorating eggs. These are the two most popular ways to do that:

With wax

Melt some wax in a dish and make some ornaments on the egg with the tip of the needle or crochet and wait until the wax gets cold and hard. Decorate the egg with paint and when it gets dry scrub the wax off.

With onion shells

Boil eggs in water with lots of onion shells. You can also decorate it with some plants print. To do that put a leaf or a blossom on the egg and lace it up with a thread, then put it in something tight (most widely used are stockings) and then boil in with the shells.

When I was a child, we were decorating eggs with color pencils, because Easter eggs are always more for children.

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The most important meal on Easter Day is a late breakfast after a mass at church. Family members who don't go to church, stay home to prepare the festive table, covered with a white tablecloth and the table decorated with a white lamb figurine.

On a traditional Easter table you will find traditional Lithuanian dark bread, big pork roast, special Easter pie and Easter eggs.

The meal starts with a short prayer, and the elder of the family blesses the table with blessed water from church, then hands out one Easter egg to everyone. The egg fight begins! The egg fight starts when the people around the table are hitting the ends of each other’s eggs until they crack. Then the winners play with the other winners until only one egg is left un-smashed. The winner egg owner should be healthy all year long.

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After the egg fight is over, the meal continues with a big pork roast. In some regions the pork head was the main course of the meal. Also very popular is meat jelly with some vegetables. To make it more festive, some people set it in egg shell to make it look as an Easter egg.

After the meal mother the Easter eggs are equally divided for all the children and they go to roll eggs. Eggs are rolled from a gutter or a plank, with the point to hit each other’s eggs that already have rolled down the slide.

Grownups, who went to the church in the morning, usually go to sleep after this, as they had a very early morning. People don't visit each others on the first Day of Easter, except if they have a neighbor unable to walk. Then every neighbor should visit the valetudinarian with some presents from their Easter tables.

Second Day of Easter is for visiting friends and neighbors and exchanging Easter eggs.

Have a nice, sunny and very colorful Easter with your families, let your Easter eggs be the strongest and most beautifull of all.

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Happy Easter from Saulene!

Category : Food, wine and more

Kugelis recipe

- Posted by - (25) Comment

Photo by Yours For Good Fermentables.com

 

I’m very excited to share this recipe with you because

KUGELIS IS MY ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE  :o)

Once again I have been elected to share a traditional Lithuanian recipe with you due to the fact that I am so very “culinary challenged”. Please remember that I need to be supervised when I’m in the kitchen so that I don’t hurt myself. But the powers to be of VilNews feel that I’m the best person to share these recipes since if a person with my limited cooking skills can cook these tasty meals than it shows to every one how easy they are to prepare.

Kugelis is quite easy to make. The only thing a little confusing about making kugelis is what recipe to use. All recipes for traditional foods of all nationalities have their own little twists to them based on the recipe from one family to another. Recipes for traditional Lithuanian meals are the same.

However for kugelis??????

I think that kugelis has more variations for recipes than any other Lithuanian dish. So in formulating this recipe I took about six different recipes and averaged them out and gave ranges for some ingredients and options for the milk. All said and done, if you made kugelis from the six different recipes I used, in the end they would all be about the same and it would probably be difficult to taste or see the difference if you put a piece of each of the six on a plate.

So – Don’t worry about it. Just have fun!!!

 

What you will need

10 lbs./4.5 kg. potatoes

1-1 ½ lbs./.5-.7 kg. bacon or pork or chicken

3-6 eggs

2 large onions

1 can evaporated milk or 12 oz. scalded milk

Salt and pepper

 

Potato preparation

Peel and grate all of the potatoes.

If you do not have an Electric Potato Grater,

use the side of the hand grater with the smallest holes.

The consistency is important. It should be like apple sauce.

Unlike the potatoes for cepelinai, you can use a much wider variety of potatoes for kugelis

since the baking process will darken them and give a bit of a yellow tint.

Again we would not recommend using red potatoes though.

And yes by all means Sig and Rima you can use the purple potatoes!!!

You will have purple kugelis but I’m sure it will taste great and

after all there’s a first time for everything.

Just as we mentioned with the recipe for Cepelinai, the most time consuming part of making Kugelis is grating the potatoes. This is why many people don’t make this easy to make dish very often. This is also why many people got the Lithuanian Electric Potato Grater. It will grate 10 lbs. of potatoes in a matter of minutes. It is available through the Lithuanian E-Store www.balticvalue.com

They have it in both the 110 Volt and 220 Volt models and they ship world wide.

Drain the excess water from the grated potatoes.

The best way is to place grated potatoes in a doubled cheese cloth and squeeze.

A less strenuous way is to put the grated potatoes in a colander and let the liquid seep out.

Important – Drain the liquid into a pan.

When finished pour off the liquid and put the potato starch back into the grated potatoes.

 

Meat preparation

Cut the bacon into thin strips.

Fry up the bacon and finely chopped onion together.

DO NOT drain out the grease.

The bacon grease is an integral part of the consistency of the cooked Kugelis.

 

A note about the meat

 

You can use unsmoked or smoked bacon, it’s all a matter of personal taste.

I don’t think I would recommend bacon cured in maple syrup though.

You can but the packaged and precut bacon or you can buy the “slab bacon”.

The “slab bacon” is what is called šoninė in Lithuania – Pork belly

 

While using bacon is what some would say is the “traditional” meat, I can honestly tell you that I have had Kugelis made with about any variety of pork cut you can think of. I’ve even had Kugelis made with chicken or turkey. All variations were delicious.

 

Mixing all the ingredients

Pour the milk into the drained grated potatoes and mix well.

Add the fried bacon and onions into the potatoes (grease and all) and mix well.

Beat the eggs and add into the potato mixture.

Some people recommend that you beat each egg and add it separately???

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Once all the ingredients have been blended well,

Pour mixture into a medium depth, greased backing pan/dish.

 

Baking

Be sure the oven has been preheated.

Again this is a source of discussion.

Some say;

Bake at 425F/220C for 15 minutes then at 350F/180C for 1 hour

Bake at 425F/220C for 15 minutes then at 325F/165C for 1 hour

Bake at 350F/180C for 2 hours

Bake at 350/180C for 1 ½ hours

The best way is to cook it at whatever temperature you think will work for however long you think is enough – When the top is a golden brown and there is a darker crust around the edges it is DONE.

Remove from the oven and let sit about 20 minutes and then cut and serve.

Sour Cream is a great topping.

Here are a few things to consider.

Maybe using 10 lbs./4.5 kg. of potatoes is too much for the meal you are planning so you may want to use 5 lbs./2.5 kg. of Potatoes. Now this may sound kind of strange but every one I have talked to has said that the amounts of all the other ingredients stay the same – You just use less potatoes???

Even if you cook up a big batch of Kugelis and there is some left over don’t worry

 

 

BECAUSE

www.balticvalue.com

 

Fry up some of the left over Kugelis in a pan with some eggs

And this makes one fine breakfast.

In fact this is why I always make a bigger batch than I need just so that I can have Kugelis for breakfast the next day. In spite of what you may have read about “traditional Lithuanian breakfasts” in books, I can tell you that in Lithuania very often what you had for dinner last night is what you have for breakfast (and lunch) the next day.

 

Skanaus

Vin Karnila

Category : Food, wine and more

New Year’s Eve in Lithuania!

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The New Year Eve party in the Skybar of Hotel Radisson Blu Lietuva in
Vilnius has become a classic tradition…
Info at:
http://www.lithuaniantours.com

Text: Saulene Valskyte

In Lithuania Christmas Eve is a family event and the New Year’s Eve a great party with friends!

Lithuanian say "Kaip sutiksi naujus metus, taip juos ir praleisi" (the way you'll meet the new year is the way you will spend it). So everyone is trying to spend New Year’s Eve with friend and have as much fun as possible.

Lithuanian New Year’s traditions are very similar to those in other countries, and actually were similar since many years ago. Also, the traditional Lithuanian New Years Eve party was very similar to other big celebrations throughout the year.

The New Year’s Eve table is quite similar to the Christmas Eve table, but without straws under the tablecloth, and now including meat dishes. A tradition that definitely hasn't changes is that everybody is trying not to fell asleep before midnight. It was said that if you oversleep the midnight point you will be lazy all the upcoming year.

People were also trying to get up early on the first day of the new year, because waking up late also meant a very lazy and unfortunate year.
During the New Year celebration people were dancing, singing, playing games and doing magic to guess the future. People didn't drink much of alcohol, especially was that the case for women.

Here are some advices from elders:
- During the New Year, be very nice and listen to relatives - what you are during New Year Eve, you will be throughout the year.

- During to the New Year Eve, try not to fall, because if this happens, next year you will be unhappy.

- If in the start of the New Year, the first news are good – then the year will be successful. If not – the year will be problematic.

New year predictions
* If during New Year eve it's snowing – then it will be bad weather all year round. If the day is fine – one can expect good harvest.

* If New Year's night is cold and starry – look forward to a good summer!

* If the during New Year Eve trees are covered with frost – then it will be a good year. If it is wet weather 
on New Year's Eve, one can expect a year where many will die and dangerous epidemics occur.

* If the first day of the new year is snowy – the upcoming year will see many young people die. If the night is snowy – mostly old people will die.

* If the New Year time is cold – then Easter will be warm.

* If during New Year there are a lot of birds in your homestead – then all year around there will be many guests and the year will be fun.

Games and magic
Most of Christmas eve games were played also on New Year’s eve, but some are special also for this celebration...

-On the New Year’s Night girls write 12 male names on 13 little sheets of paper (one is left empty). She fold them and put them under her pillow. In the morning she should draw one without looking – the name she draws will show the name of her future husband (if it's the empty one she will stay single). If a girl wakes up at night and make her draw then, she must put the paper piece onto the bedside table and read it in the morning. Guys can do the same only writing female names.

-Young people sit around the table, puts key, ring, little glass of water or some money on the plates and cover them. Then mix the plates. One by one the players choose plates. The one that gets a ring will get married, water means one will get an alcoholic husband/wife, a key means one will move to a new home, and, of course, money means one will be rich.

Nowadays the New Year’s Eve celebration is very similar to everywhere else. Some celebrates at home, some in clubs, some rents houses somewhere out of town. People are still trying not to fell asleep until the midnight and still have great time.

Lithuanians do not make much out of New Year promises or intentions, or they do them quietly to themselves.

At midnight we gather together outside (on bridges, squares or in little town centres) to watch fireworks and wish each other HAPPY NEW YEAR!.

Happy new year to you all! Be creative, positive and happy, let all your dreams come true and stay true to who you are.


Laimingų Naujųjų Metų! From Saulene.

More information about Lithuanian New Year traditions at:
http://neris.mii.lt/EN/HOLIDAYS/new_years.php

Category : Food, wine and more

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A Lithuanian twist to
Thanksgiving this year?

Thanksgiving is a way for Lithuanian immigrants to celebrate being in America and to share that celebration with everyone in the nation—from the descendants of the people who arrived here on the Mayflower to a family that arrived here last year.

When families immigrate to the United States, they often keep to the foods of their native countries. They also tend to continue their traditional holidays. The one American event that gets incorporated into the holiday cycle of almost every new arrival is Thanksgiving. It usually includes all the traditional foods—turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes, cranberries and popcorn, but often with unusual twists that reflect our original homeland.

Any unusual twists on a Lithuanian-American Thanksgiving?

From THE LITHUANIAN RAT PACK, Arizona, USA.

Category : Food, wine and more / Front page

OPINIONS

Have your say. Send to:
editor@VilNews.com


By Dr. Boris Vytautas Bakunas,
Ph. D., Chicago

A wave of unity sweeps the international Lithuanian community on March 11th every year as Lithuanians celebrated the anniversary of the Lithuanian Parliament's declaration of independence from the Soviet Union in 1990. However, the sense of national unity engendered by the celebration could be short-lived.

Human beings have a strong tendency to overgeneralize and succumb to stereotypical us-them distinctions that can shatter even the strongest bonds. We need only search the internet to find examples of divisive thinking at work:

- "50 years of Soviet rule has ruined an entire generation of Lithuanian.

- "Those who fled Lithuania during World II were cowards -- and now they come back, flaunt their wealth, and tell us 'true Lithuanians' how to live."

- "Lithuanians who work abroad have abandoned their homeland and should be deprived of their Lithuanian citizenship."

Could such stereotypical, emotionally-charged accusations be one of the main reasons why relations between Lithuania's diaspora groups and their countrymen back home have become strained?

Read more...
* * *


Text: Saulene Valskyte

In Lithuania Christmas Eve is a family event and the New Year's Eve a great party with friends!
Lithuanian say "Kaip sutiksi naujus metus, taip juos ir praleisi" (the way you'll meet the new year is the way you will spend it). So everyone is trying to spend New Year's Eve with friend and have as much fun as possible.

Lithuanian New Year's traditions are very similar to those in other countries, and actually were similar since many years ago. Also, the traditional Lithuanian New Years Eve party was very similar to other big celebrations throughout the year.

The New Year's Eve table is quite similar to the Christmas Eve table, but without straws under the tablecloth, and now including meat dishes. A tradition that definitely hasn't changes is that everybody is trying not to fell asleep before midnight. It was said that if you oversleep the midnight point you will be lazy all the upcoming year. People were also trying to get up early on the first day of the new year, because waking up late also meant a very lazy and unfortunate year.

During the New Year celebration people were dancing, singing, playing games and doing magic to guess the future. People didn't drink much of alcohol, especially was that the case for women.

Here are some advices from elders:
- During the New Year, be very nice and listen to relatives - what you are during New Year Eve, you will be throughout the year.

- During to the New Year Eve, try not to fall, because if this happens, next year you will be unhappy.

- If in the start of the New Year, the first news are good - then the year will be successful. If not - the year will be problematic.

New year predictions
* If during New Year eve it's snowing - then it will be bad weather all year round. If the day is fine - one can expect good harvest.
* If New Year's night is cold and starry - look forward to a good summer!
* If the during New Year Eve trees are covered with frost - then it will be a good year. If it is wet weather on New Year's Eve, one can expect a year where many will die and dangerous epidemics occur.
* If the first day of the new year is snowy - the upcoming year will see many young people die. If the night is snowy - mostly old people will die.
* If the New Year time is cold - then Easter will be warm.
* If during New Year there are a lot of birds in your homestead - then all year around there will be many guests and the year will be fun.

Read more...
* * *

* * *
VilNews
Christmas greetings
from Vilnius


* * *
Ukraine won the historic
and epic battle for the
future
By Leonidas Donskis
Kaunas
Philosopher, political theorist, historian of
ideas, social analyst, and political
commentator

Immediately after Russia stepped in Syria, we understood that it is time to sum up the convoluted and long story about Ukraine and the EU - a story of pride and prejudice which has a chance to become a story of a new vision regained after self-inflicted blindness.

Ukraine was and continues to be perceived by the EU political class as a sort of grey zone with its immense potential and possibilities for the future, yet deeply embedded and trapped in No Man's Land with all of its troubled past, post-Soviet traumas, ambiguities, insecurities, corruption, social divisions, and despair. Why worry for what has yet to emerge as a new actor of world history in terms of nation-building, European identity, and deeper commitments to transparency and free market economy?

Right? Wrong. No matter how troubled Ukraine's economic and political reality could be, the country has already passed the point of no return. Even if Vladimir Putin retains his leverage of power to blackmail Ukraine and the West in terms of Ukraine's zero chances to accede to NATO due to the problems of territorial integrity, occupation and annexation of Crimea, and mayhem or a frozen conflict in the Donbas region, Ukraine will never return to Russia's zone of influence. It could be deprived of the chances to join NATO or the EU in the coming years or decades, yet there are no forces on earth to make present Ukraine part of the Eurasia project fostered by Putin.

Read more...
* * *
Watch this video if you
want to learn about the
new, scary propaganda
war between Russia,
The West and the
Baltic States!


* * *
90% of all Lithuanians
believe their government
is corrupt
Lithuania is perceived to be the country with the most widespread government corruption, according to an international survey involving almost 40 countries.

Read more...
* * *
Lithuanian medical
students say no to
bribes for doctors

On International Anticorruption Day, the Special Investigation Service shifted their attention to medical institutions, where citizens encounter bribery most often. Doctors blame citizens for giving bribes while patients complain that, without bribes, they won't receive proper medical attention. Campaigners against corruption say that bribery would disappear if medical institutions themselves were to take resolute actions against corruption and made an effort to take care of their patients.

Read more...
* * *
Doing business in Lithuania

By Grant Arthur Gochin
California - USA

Lithuania emerged from the yoke of the Soviet Union a mere 25 years ago. Since then, Lithuania has attempted to model upon other European nations, joining NATO, Schengen, and the EU. But, has the Soviet Union left Lithuania?

During Soviet times, government was administered for the people in control, not for the local population, court decisions were decreed, they were not the administration of justice, and academia was the domain of ideologues. 25 years of freedom and openness should have put those bad experiences behind Lithuania, but that is not so.

Today, it is a matter of expectation that court pronouncements will be governed by ideological dictates. Few, if any Lithuanians expect real justice to be effected. For foreign companies, doing business in Lithuania is almost impossible in a situation where business people do not expect rule of law, so, surely Government would be a refuge of competence?

Lithuanian Government has not emerged from Soviet styles. In an attempt to devolve power, Lithuania has created a myriad of fiefdoms of power, each speaking in the name of the Government, each its own centralized power base of ideology.

Read more...
* * *
Greetings from Wales!
By Anita Šovaitė-Woronycz
Chepstow, Wales

Think of a nation in northern Europe whose population is around the 3 million mark a land of song, of rivers, lakes, forests, rolling green hills, beautiful coastline a land where mushrooms grow ready for the picking, a land with a passion for preserving its ancient language and culture.

Doesn't that sound suspiciously like Lithuania? Ah, but I didn't mention the mountains of Snowdonia, which would give the game away.

I'm talking about Wales, that part of the UK which Lithuanians used to call "Valija", but later named "Velsas" (why?). Wales, the nation which has welcomed two Lithuanian heads of state to its shores - firstly Professor Vytautas Landsbergis, who has paid several visits and, more recently, President Dalia Grybauskaitė who attended the 2014 NATO summit which was held in Newport, South Wales.
MADE IN WALES -
ENGLISH VERSION OF THE
AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF
VYTAUTAS LANDSBERGIS.

Read more...
* * *
IS IT POSSIBLE TO
COMMENT ON OUR
ARTICLES? :-)
Read Cassandra's article HERE

Read Rugile's article HERE

Did you know there is a comment field right after every article we publish? If you read the two above posts, you will see that they both have received many comments. Also YOU are welcome with your comments. To all our articles!
* * *

Greetings from Toronto
By Antanas Sileika,
Toronto, Canada

Toronto was a major postwar settlement centre for Lithuanian Displaced Persons, and to this day there are two Catholic parishes and one Lutheran one, as well as a Lithuanian House, retirement home, and nursing home. A new wave of immigrants has showed interest in sports.

Although Lithuanian activities have thinned over the decades as that postwar generation died out, the Lithuanian Martyrs' parish hall is crowded with many, many hundreds of visitors who come to the Lithuanian cemetery for All Souls' Day. Similarly, the Franciscan parish has standing room only for Christmas Eve mass.

Although I am firmly embedded in the literary culture of Canada, my themes are usually Lithuanian, and I'll be in Kaunas and Vilnius in mid-November 2015 to give talks about the Lithuanian translations of my novels and short stories, which I write in English.

If you have the Lithuanian language, come by to one of the talks listed in the links below. And if you don't, you can read more about my work at
www.anatanassileika.com

http://www.vdu.lt/lt/rasytojas-antanas-sileika-pristatys-savo-kuryba/
https://leu.lt/lt/lf/lf_naujienos/kvieciame-i-rasytojo-59hc.html
* * *

As long as VilNews exists,
there is hope for the future
Professor Irena Veisaite, Chairwoman of our Honorary Council, asked us to convey her heartfelt greetings to the other Council Members and to all readers of VilNews.

"My love and best wishes to all. As long as VilNews exists, there is hope for the future,"" she writes.

Irena Veisaite means very much for our publication, and we do hereby thank her for the support and wise commitment she always shows.

You can read our interview with her
HERE.
* * *
EU-Russia:
Facing a new reality

By Vygaudas Ušackas
EU Ambassador to the Russian Federation

Dear readers of VilNews,

It's great to see this online resource for people interested in Baltic affairs. I congratulate the editors. From my position as EU Ambassador to Russia, allow me to share some observations.

For a number of years, the EU and Russia had assumed the existence of a strategic partnership, based on the convergence of values, economic integration and increasingly open markets and a modernisation agenda for society.

Our agenda was positive and ambitious. We looked at Russia as a country ready to converge with "European values", a country likely to embrace both the basic principles of democratic government and a liberal concept of the world order. It was believed this would bring our relations to a new level, covering the whole spectrum of the EU's strategic relationship with Russia.

Read more...
* * *

The likelihood of Putin
invading Lithuania
By Mikhail Iossel
Professor of English at Concordia University, Canada
Founding Director at Summer Literary Seminars

The likelihood of Putin's invading Lithuania or fomenting a Donbass-style counterfeit pro-Russian uprising there, at this point, in my strong opinion, is no higher than that of his attacking Portugal, say, or Ecuador. Regardless of whether he might or might not, in principle, be interested in the insane idea of expanding Russia's geographic boundaries to those of the former USSR (and I for one do not believe that has ever been his goal), he knows this would be entirely unfeasible, both in near- and long-term historical perspective, for a variety of reasons. It is not going to happen. There will be no restoration of the Soviet Union as a geopolitical entity.

Read more...
* * *

Are all Lithuanian energy
problems now resolved?
By Dr. Stasys Backaitis,
P.E., CSMP, SAE Fellow Member of Central and Eastern European Coalition, Washington, D.C., USA

Lithuania's Energy Timeline - from total dependence to independence

Lithuania as a country does not have significant energy resources. Energy consuming infrastructure after WWII was small and totally supported by energy imports from Russia.

First nuclear reactor begins power generation at Ignalina in 1983, the second reactor in 1987. Iganlina generates enough electricity to cover Lithuania's needs and about 50%.for export. As, prerequisite for membership in EU, Ignalina ceases all nuclear power generation in 2009

The Klaipėda Sea terminal begins Russia's oil export operations in 1959 and imports in 1994.

Mazeikiu Nafta (current ORLEAN Lietuva) begins operation of oil refinery in 1980.

Read more...
* * *

Have Lithuanian ties across
the Baltic Sea become
stronger in recent years?
By Eitvydas Bajarunas
Ambassador to Sweden

My answer to affirmative "yes". Yes, Lithuanian ties across the Baltic Sea become as never before solid in recent years. For me the biggest achievement of Lithuania in the Baltic Sea region during recent years is boosting Baltic and Nordic ties. And not because of mere accident - Nordic direction was Lithuania's strategic choice.

The two decades that have passed since regaining Lithuania's independence can be described as a "building boom". From the wreckage of a captive Soviet republic, a generation of Lithuanians have built a modern European state, and are now helping construct a Nordic-Baltic community replete with institutions intended to promote political coordination and foster a trans-Baltic regional identity. Indeed, a "Nordic-Baltic community" - I will explain later in my text the meaning of this catch-phrase.

Since the restoration of Lithuania's independence 25 years ago, we have continuously felt a strong support from Nordic countries. Nordics in particular were among the countries supporting Lithuania's and Baltic States' striving towards independence. Take example of Iceland, country which recognized Lithuania in February of 1991, well in advance of other countries. Yet another example - Swedish Ambassador was the first ambassador accredited to Lithuania in 1991. The other countries followed suit. When we restored our statehood, Nordic Countries became champions in promoting Baltic integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions. To large degree thanks Nordic Countries, massive transformations occurred in Lithuania since then, Lithuania became fully-fledged member of the EU and NATO, and we joined the Eurozone on 1 January 2015.

Read more...
* * *

It's the economy, stupid *
By Valdas (Val) Samonis,
PhD, CPC

n his article, Val Samonis takes a comparative policy look at the Lithuanian economy during the period 2000-2015. He argues that the LT policy response (a radical and classical austerity) was wrong and unenlightened because it coincided with strong and continuing deflationary forces in the EU and the global economy which forces were predictable, given the right policy guidance. Also, he makes a point that LT austerity, and the resulting sharp drop in GDP and employment in LT, stimulated emigration of young people (and the related worsening of other demographics) which processes took huge dimensions thereby undercutting even the future enlightened efforts to get out of the middle-income growth trap by LT. Consequently, the country is now on the trajectory (development path) similar to that of a dog that chases its own tail. A strong effort by new generation of policymakers is badly needed to jolt the country out of that wrong trajectory and to offer the chance of escaping the middle-income growth trap via innovations.

Read more...
* * *

Have you heard about the
South African "Pencil Test"?
By Karina Simonson

If you are not South African, then, probably, you haven't. It is a test performed in South Africa during the apartheid regime and was used, together with the other ways, to determine racial identity, distinguishing whites from coloureds and blacks. That repressive test was very close to Nazi implemented ways to separate Jews from Aryans. Could you now imagine a Lithuanian mother, performing it on her own child?

But that is exactly what happened to me when I came back from South Africa. I will tell you how.

Read more...
* * *
Click HERE to read previous opinion letters >



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