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Ranch Dressing

My family has been making this since the 1970’s. It’s an adaption from the Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing mix that was really big then. Everyone always loves it! My son in law Joe Wodark thinks I should market my Ranch Dressing 😉

The ingredients for this dressing are in many of the foods I grew up with. My grand parents were from Russia. They used a lot of buttermilk, sour cream, garlic, dill

This can be a salad dressing or a dip for vegetables. Use more buttermilk for a thinner salad dressing and less for a thicker dip. You can add more or less garlic and dill too, depending on your preference. I like to use a clear glass canning jar for this. It’s easy to store in the frig. Use a spoon to pour over your salads.

  • In a quart jar whisk together:

2 cups Hellmann’s Mayonnaise 

1/2 cup sour cream

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon dried dill weed

  • Then add the buttermilk and give a final whisk

1 cup buttermilk

  • Cover with a piece of plastic and then the canning lid
  • Store in the frig
  • Voila!

Cold Beet Soup

This is a soup my Russian grandmother used to make. It’s all vegetables, no meat and served ice cold! It’s the Russian version of Spanish gazpacho and salamorejo!

You can add more of the ingredients you prefer. It’s slightly sweet sour, but you can add more of the vinegar and sugar if you want. Garlic, green onion and dill are other strong flavors you can increase. If you want a chunkier soup, add more beets and cukes!

No sour cream in this recipe!


The cold borsht above has the leaves and stems. The borsht below does not have them.  



6 beets with stems and greens (you can omit the greens and stems and use 8 beets)

3 cucumbers, not too thick because those are seedy

8 green onions

1 bunch dill fronds, left whole

2 very large cloves of garlic

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons white wine or rice vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar


1. Trim the beet stems and leaves from the beet root. Wash all thoroughly in a sink of cold water. Scrub the beet roots with a brush. 

2. In a very large pot, place the whole scrubbed beet roots and cover with cold water by 2 inches. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer until a fork can just slightly be inserted. Don’t over cook. They should be slightly crisp.

3. Lift the beets out of the beet water with a large spoon and place in a colander to cool. 

4. Place a mesh strainer lined with a paper towel or coffee filter over a large bowl. Pour the beet water over the filter into the bowl. Reserve strained beet water and cool.  This is the broth. There should be about 8 cups or so.

To make a filter, fold a paper towel in half crosswise and in half again.

5. Cut up the beet stems into 3 inch lengths. Cut the larger greens in 1/2 or 1/4s. Place stems and greens in a medium pot. Add 1 inch of water and bring to a boil. Simmer only a minute or so. Strain the liquid through the paper toweling and reserve the greens and stems in a bowl to cool.

6. Peel the beets with a paring knife. Cut in 1/2, then slice and then cut into julienne strips or small cubes. Reserve in a bowl.

7. Wash and peel the cukes. Slice and julienne or cut into lengthwise quarters or eights and then slice into small bites. Reserve in a bowl.

8. Wash and slice the green onion. Reserve in a bowl.

9. Mince the very large clove of garlic. Add 1/2 tablespoon of the 2 tablespoons of salt and mince to a paste. Reserve.


10. In a very large bowl or saucepan with a lid combine all the ingredients with a spoon. Add more salt, sugar, vinegar, garlic, green onion to taste. Cover and chill overnight and serve ice cold with a whole grain European style bread. Leave the dill in the container. Don’t add it to the serving bowl.

This is so colorful and nice to look at I like to store it in clear glass quart size canning jars in the frig. Enjoy!

Russian Salad/Olivier Salad/Salade a la Russe

Light mayonnaise dressing

Light mayonnaise dressing

Potates and other vegetables

Potates and other vegetables

This is the most popular salad in the world! It is made throughout Europe and the Middle East and has a long history, originating in Moscow at the Hermitage Restaurant in 1864. My family in Minsk, Byelorussia served this to us in 1970 for lunch and dinner, 2 days in a row. It is a salad made for special occassions and for celebrations and picnics. You may also add tuna, bologna, calamari, shrimp, anchovies, or ham. My dressing is a lighter version of the original French mayonnaise.

2 pounds white potatoes, unpeeled and washed

½ pound carrots, peeled, cooked firm, diced

1 cup frozen peas

5 scallions, sliced thin

4 hard boiled eggs, diced

1 cup diced kosher dill pickles (Bubbies brand if possible)

1 cup diced roasted red pepper

1/2 – 1 cup chopped green Spanish olives stuffed with pimento, drained

½ cup Hellmann’s light mayonnaise

½ cup Greek plain yogurt

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoons lemon juice

  • Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer until they slightly give to a fork prick.
  • Drain and cool potatoes. Peel and then chop into tiny pieces, about ¼ inch
  • In a very large bowl combine potatoes, carrots, eggs, pickles and red pepper. All should be chopped to about the same ¼ inch size.
  • Add the green onion and peas.
  • In a small bowl combine the remaining ingredients.
  • Add this dressing to the vegetables and mix with a big spoon.
  • You may also add cooked shrimp, marinated calamari or bologna!
  • Makes 24-1/3 cup servings.

Russian Style Cabbage

It’s the spicy, hot, sweet and sour flavors we love!



  • 4-6 strips bacon, cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 head cabbage, not too large, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons caraway seeds
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar 
  • 5 whole allspice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon whole mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon hot pepper seeds/flakes
  • 1  28 oz. can tomatoes, chopped
  • 1  15 oz can sauerkraut, drained 
  • 1/2 cup ketchup

Saute bacon in a large cooking pot
Add onion and saute until translucent
Add cabbage and stir.
Add brown sugar and spices and stir.
Add tomatoes and sauerkraut
Add ketchup
Bring to a boil and simmer 1 hour.
Add more spices as desired per taste.

The original recipe was from Grandma Korzin, but Aunt Olga and my Mom taught me to make it. Aunt Olga would make it for Thanksgiving every year at her home. We each developed our own version of this recipe, including my Mom, Sonia.  Grandma was from the Minsk region of Belarus.