Monday, January 25, 2021

Avocado, Mushroom, Pepper and Tomato Salad

A while ago I was missing cucumber so I decided to add two different ingredients: avocado and mushrooms. This turned into what I now call an Avocado, Mushroom, Pepper and Tomato Salad. In fact I decided to only use pepper, tomato and the three base things I use when I start. They are balsamic vinegar, olive oil and sunflower seeds. There were also three new things I combined for this new salad. They were an avocado and two types of mushrooms. 

AMPT Salad plated w/ Pork Loin Chop

Avocado, one small ( 72 g )
Balsamic Vinegar, One Table Spoon ( 16 g ) 
Olive Oil, One Table Spoon ( 13.3 g ) 
Oyster Mushrooms dried ( 7 g ) 
Red Sweet Pepper, medium size ( 100 g ) 
Shiitake Mushrooms dried ( 7 g ) 
Tomatoes, Two small ( 105 g ) 

 Putting it Together 

As mention above, I start all the salads I make with three main ingredients: Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil and Sunflower Seeds. Over time I've learnt that if I put in all of these ingredients in the same mixing vessel and stir all these together the sunflower seeds themselves get coated in the mixture. In doing so they have a propensity to stick as individual seeds to the other ingredients that are added. 

In this case I was adding two new ingredients in the form of avocado and mushrooms. When I was young and used to go foraging for mushrooms with my father. Some of those mushrooms he would pickle, while there were others that he used to dry.  I can't remember nor did I ever learn what the different types of mushrooms were called when I was young. However, when I ended up on ground in Ukraine for over ten years, that changed. 

On occasion when I was in my paternal village I would go out foraging for mushrooms with my cousin.  I have a pretty good memory of things I've seen and realized that the mushrooms that my father primarily dried were oyster mushrooms. So when I was at the local grocer's I decided to pick up a few packages of dried mushrooms, hence the reason I added mushrooms to my new salad that morning. 

Dried mushrooms quite literally taste like dirt, so one of the first things you do is to put your mushrooms in a bowl and re-hydrate them with some boiling water. The fungi will quickly soak up the water like a sponge and by the time you have cut up your avocado, pepper and tomato, they will be almost look like fresh mushrooms you just came back from the forest with. 

Cut both your avocado, pepper and tomato into pieces of about one centimetre cubed. Mix these into the balsamic vinegar, olive oil and sunflower seeds. What I like to do with salads is mix them in a container that one can put a lid on to really shake things up. I found that this works quite well when I'm putting avocado into a salad. When you mix it up, the avocado breaks down a little and the pieces mix in with the base fluids, plus the seeds and fluid of the tomatoes also do the same. 

Before doing this check and see if your mushrooms are well re-hydrated. Strain off the water and add your mushrooms to your container for the big shake. Once that's done, its ready to plate. 

That amount of ingredients included above will be enough to make two nice sized salads as a nice side dish for any meal. The mushrooms add a nice texture to the other ingredients. to any meal. 

Vasyl Pawlowsky 
Independent Consultant
Who Loves to Cook


Saturday, January 23, 2021

Destruction of Culture: The Little-known Murder of Mykola Leontovych

Today is a day of historical significance for Ukrainians and the music world, though few people know of the murder of Mykola Leontovych, composer of "Carol of the Bells".

This morning a saw a post by my friend Tina Peresunko, author and curator of a project called "Світовий тріумф "Щедрика" - 100 років культурної дипломатії України" - "The World Triumph of
"Shchedryk" - 100 Years of Cultural Diplomacy of Ukraine"

Shortly after I shared it with friends I received a hint from my friend Olesya Sokalska in Ukrainian, "This should be in English!" So that was my project for this morning. Below is Tina's original post with some additions for clarification for those with little background knowledge of Ukraine's geography or history.

Shchedryk became what we know in North America as "Carol of the Bells" with the lyrics written by Peter J. Wilhousky.

Myklola Leontovych in His Youth
Exactly 100 years ago today at seven in the morning on January 23, 1921 Ukrainians lost one of their bright stars. A shot from a rifle, and a Russian agent of the Cheka killed composer Mykola Leontovych. He bled out on the couch in his parent’s home in the village of Markivka which had historically been known as the Podilia region of South Western Ukraine, currently Vinnytsia oblast.

On the same day, January 23, 1921, in Paris at the famous Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Leontovych's works were met with the applause of the French aristocracy. In fact this happened just few hours after the tragedy in Markivka (that day the concert of the Ukrainian People Republic’s Capella was a Matinée).

"The perfection is indescribable ... I lack words," the Parisian newspaper “La Presse” wrote the same day.

"This is one of the most interesting events in Paris today," says the “Journal Des Debats”.

"This choir is one of the most interesting phenomena. I even dare to say - the best thing I've ever heard in my life, listening day to day to the plays I'm writing about," admitted the music critic of "L'Homme Libre".

"It's as if the people themselves are expressing themselves. It's as if he's speaking to our people," concluded “L'Humanité”.

However, none of the politicians in Paris listened to the delicate and unobtrusive, musical speech of Ukrainians. The Entente did not support Ukraine's independence. The Ukrainian People's Republic
The Sofa Upon Which Leontovych Died,
Leontovych Museum, Markivka

(hereafter UPR) was occupied by the Russian Bolsheviks, who immediately began purging culturally and politically conscious Ukrainians.

Among them was the genius of a composer, the author of “Shchedryk", who had been a former government official of the Ministry of Education and Arts of the UPR, a figure of the Ukrainian autocephalous church movement, and the author of the first Ukrainian-language Liturgy.

The period of triumphs for the UPR Cappella, which lasted from 1919 through 1921 in 10 countries of Western Europe, was an impoverished one in the life of Mykola Leontovych.

"There was not enough food for the family, there were no clothes," wrote Vinnytsia musicologist Anatoliy Zavalnyuk in a monograph on Leontovych.

The composer's daughter Olha also recalled that period: "My parents often sent me to visit my grandfather in Markivka on various religious holidays, hoping that when I returned I would bring some food."

After Koshetz’s choir left Kyiv to tour Europe, Leontovych returned from the capital to Vinnytsia. (He had worked with Koshetz in the music department of the Ministry of Culture of the UPR).

Yakiv Yastrubetsky recalled that in November 1919 he walked from Kyiv to Tulchyn (about 350 km): "In the autumn of November 1919, Mykola Dmytrovych [Leontovych’s patronymic], in a graceful summer jacket on his shoulders and a clumsy hat, completely exhausted and cold, came on foot from Kyiv to Tulchyn and settled here again."

However, it was at this time, in November 1919, when the first premiere of his "Shchedryk" took place in Paris.

“This is a tour of patriotic and musical propaganda, which the President of the young Ukrainian Republic has prepared for France.” Wrote Paris music critic Louis Schneider about Simon Petliura's music-diplomatic project in “The New-York Herald” on November 9, 1919. “In the Ukrainian’s repertoire we liked the gradation of motives, their characteristic Orientalism, as well as the explosions of sincere merriment, especially in "Shchedryk" - a song that begins with a sudden attack, and in which the effects of truly wonderful humour are formed by simple gradation of voices.”

The Ukrainian concerts, which were supposed to raise the prestige of Ukraine in the eyes of the Western world, became the №1 events in the musical life of Europe.

There is an uncountable amount of evidence regarding this. And even more evidence - on the genius of Leontovych. His "Shchedryk" received great acclamation in Vienna, Prague, London, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Geneva and Warsaw. In all - 45 cities in 10 countries of Western Europe.

For example, the London newspaper “The Daily News and Leader” wrote on February 4, 1920: “Many songs were performed in the encore - almost all them. Among the most original and beautiful are "Shchedryk" and "Oh there, beyond the mountain" - both created by Leontovych.”

The Belgian newspaper “Le XX Siècle” reported on January 10, 1920, a day after its Ukrainian premiere at the La Monet Opera House: "It's worth mentioning, because this is a magically sung masterpiece of folk art -"Shchedryk"arranged by Leontovych. The audience greeted him with a standing ovation, enthusiastically calling for an encore."

The Barcelona edition of “Das Noticias” wrote after its Ukrainian premiere in Spain on January 29, 1921: "The audience said that they liked Leontovych's arrangements the most, which they often called for an encore."

"This Ukrainian hashish is the sweetest of poisons," said German professor Pavel Zaytsev, regarding Leontovych's "Shchedryk" tothe UPR's chief arts officer, during a concert in Berlin.

And so forth.

The choristers themselves testified to the triumph of Leontovych's works at the concerts of the UPR Cappella.

Levko Bezruchko recalls the premiere in Paris on November 6, 1919: "In the second part of the concert we sang "Shchedryk"(Leontovych) for the encore, and in the third part -"Oy, pryadu, pryadu" (Leontovych).

"Leontovych's"Shchedryk" and Leontovych's "Oy pryadu, pryadu" created a sensation,” wrote a travel magazine about the choir’s concert in Bordeaux.

Shchedryk received the most calls for encores in the Netherlands.

Sofiya Kolodiyivna recalled theconcerts in The Hague, Amsterdam and Rotterdam

- The audience welcomes us warmly, we sing "Shchedryk" as an encore(Rotterdam, Doelen Zaal, January 19, 1920);

- We sang “Shchedryk” and “Open’ky” as encores (The Hague, Koninklijke Schouwburg, January 22, 1920);

- The concert is attended by reviewers of all the Amsterdam periodicals. We sang "Shchedryk" for the encore"(Amsterdam, Hollandsche Schouwburg, January 24, 1920;

- We sang well, with spirit. As an encore we sang Leontovych’s “Shchedryk” (The Hague, Dierenfuju, January 25, 1920).

In January of 1921, the Ukrainian Republican Capella received their last quota of state funding. With their last hopes, the choristers traveled to Paris.

On January 20, 1921, their concert was attended by the famous French (formerly American, as her citizenship had been revoked for her politics) ballerina Isadora Duncan, who wrote in the Capella’s guest book: "BRAVO !!!". General Maurice Pele of the French army also signed the book.

"It seems that the great hall of the Théâtre Des Champs-Elysées has been turned into a temple," wrote the famous French critic Louis Laloy on January 23, 1921, in the newspaper “La Soireé”. - “It is strange that the organ does not play upstairs. The gathering of"the faithful" takes place during the intermission… Mr. Jean Perrier speaks with admiration about these passionate and so majestically set voices. Ms. Isadora Duncan and a group of young people are dressed today as an elegant Parisian woman who surprises "neophytes". The atmosphere is intimate and nice. Director Jacques Hébertot shakes hands with his friends. All those who did not go to "The Bat" [Die Fledermaus, Johann Strauss II] gathered here. "

While the Parisian press publishes these words, Leontovych is being killed in Markivka. In Paris, no one knows that the author of their favourite works - "Shchedryk", "Pryali", "Pochayiv Mother of God", "Oh there, beyond the mountain" is no longer.

And does anyone care?

The last meeting with Leontovych is mentioned by his colleague from the diocesan school and music teacher Yakim Hrekh:

"It was after Christmas 1921. I was very surprised to see Leontovych walking towards me in the
yard. He was dressed in an old coat, on his head he had an original hat, which was sewn for him by his wife from an old blanket. He was wearing mittens (also his wife's work) and grey-black trousers with large purple patches. And he carried a large handkerchief tied tied to a stick with a gift for me - cakes. Visually he appeared to be a homeless traveler, starving, but in no way Leontovych…”

Such was the composer shortly before his death.
Leontovych's Grave and Memorial,
Village of Markivka, Ukraine

At this time he was writing his opera "On the Mermaid's Easter." An opera that, after the presentation of Ukrainian folklore, which so impressed Europe, could raise the bar of Ukrainian musical culture even more.

And Ukraine as a state.

However, he never finished the opera.

Vasyl Pawlowsky 
Independent Consultant

Thursday, December 10, 2020

TMZ: Tomatoes, Mung Bean Sprouts and Zucchini

TMZ is one of my little kitchen conjurings which includes tomatoes, sprouted mung beans and zucchini. Many are probably wondering: “What to hell are mung beans?” Well if you have ever purchased spouts to make chop suey and home, you’ve been eating sprouted mung beans, and you probably didn’t even know it. 

TMZ in the pan:  in a cast iron pan / Tomatoes, Mung Beans and Zucchini

ack Story

Practically everything I dream up personally in my kitchen is in order to eat food that is good for me, nutritious and tasty. While this is a stretch, how I came across the idea for using sprouts in my cooking, came about due to the fact that many friends in Ukraine were constantly posting pictures of their mushroom foraging outings. They were making me jealous and I decided to go to a site I had bookmarked many years ago. It was site where you could purchase your own DIY home mushroom kit. 

While poking around the site I came across a number of different videos about sprouting. Thus the exploratory adventure began to learn more about how to sprout seeds for human consumption, and the benefits of eating sprouts. I will include more about that in a subsequent post. Within this recipe I will also include the ingredients for a spice mix I like to use in a number of different ways. Primarily I use to dredge some of the meats I like to prepare either on top of the stove in my cast iron pan, or in the oven. Though I like that mixture and the flavour it provides so I’ve started using in a variety of things I prepare. 


One-half (1/2) teaspoon allspice 
One-half (1/2) teaspoon finely ground black pepper 
One-half (1/2) teaspoon finely ground cumin 
One-half (1/2) teaspoon finely ground turmeric 
 One (1) teaspoon ground flax seed (can be purchased ground, I prefer to grind my own) 
One and half (1 ½) cups of mung bean sprouts 
Two medium sized tomatoes 
Two small zucchini 
Two table spoons, Virgin Olive Oil 


One six-inch cast iron frying pan (a personal favourite cooking tool of mine)

Putting it Together

This has to be one of my simplest recipes that can be put together quite quickly, when you have all the ingredients and have prepped them. Slice your tomatoes into pieces, the fluids of the tomatoes add to the overall cooking process. Slice your zucchini into pieces from three to five mm thick. Pour two tables spoons of olive oil into your pan and add all your ingredients to the pan.

 The temperature you cook this meal at is not critical, though you do want to make sure all your ingredients are cooked. You will be able to determine this when you notice that most of your tomatoes have broken down, your bean sprouts have softened up and your zucchini slices have become almost translucent.

It is at this point that I add the spices and mix everything around making cure that all your vegetables are well coated in the mixture. Once this is don let everything simmer a a low temperature with something covering the pan. The reason to do this is to allow the fluids from the vegetables, which are significant in tomatoes and zucchini, to not evaporate into your kitchen, but to condense on the cover and be returned into the cooking process. 

The reason to do this is to allow the fluids from the vegetables, which are significant in tomatoes and zucchini, to not evaporate into your kitchen, but to condense on the cover and be returned into the cooking process. Benefits This dish is low calorie and high in protein and many different nutrients. Recently, during this crazy pandemic and self-isolation, I’ve been revisiting many different books in my library. Particularly, those that can help me better understand the foods I eat.

TMZ Nutrition Facts
In one of the books, The Ripple Effect: Sleep Better, Eat Better, Move Better, Think Better, by Dr. Greg Wells I learnt the following. In order to get the most bang per calorie buck I would have to optimize the nutrient-to-calorie ratio in the foods I eat. On the same page I came across an interesting formula: “H = N/C, which translates as health = nutrients per calorie consumed.” This was derived by Dr. Wells from a book by Dr. Joel Furhman entitled Eat to Live. 

Dr. Furhman has developed something he calls the ANDI, which translates to mean: aggregate nutrient density index. While, I haven't used it in the past I will use it as a cheat sheet in making my choice of foods when in doubt, about my food selection.

In a snap shot this is what TMZ looks like. However, please note that this familiar “Nutritional Facts” label and the % Daily Value has been calculated for my personal weight. I weigh 121 kg, so I’m pretty certain if you weigh less, these values will be higher for you personally.

Though we can even dig a lot deeper into what this meal is comprised of using tools available in this day and age on the Internet.  Below, is an extremely detailed nutritional analysis of what I call TMZ. 


Mung bean sprouted




310.5 g

392 g

246 g







44.7 mg

16.5 mg


189.41 mcg

78.4 mcg

36.9 mcg

Folic acid

0 mcg

0 mcg

0 mcg


2.326 mg

2.764 mg

1.461 mg

Pantothenic acid

1.18 mg

1.439 mg


0.385 mg

0.141 mg

0.047 mg


0.261 mg

0.165 mg

0.091 mg

Vitamin A

65.2 IU

1920.8 IU

Vitamin A, RAE

3.1 mcg

98 mcg

103.32 mcg

Carotene, alpha

18.63 mcg

248.46 mcg

Carotene, beta

18.63 mcg

1104.54 mcg

Cryptoxanthin, beta

18.63 mcg

0 mcg

Lutein + zeaxanthin

0 mcg

302.58 mcg


0 mcg

6329.58 mcg

Vitamin B12

0 mcg

0 mcg

0 mcg

Vitamin B12, added

0 mcg

0 mcg

Vitamin B6

0.273 mg

0.557 mg

0.197 mg

Vitamin C

41 mg

133.7 mg

33.7 mg

Vitamin D

0 mcg

0 mcg

0 mcg

Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)

0.31 mg

1.33 mg

Vitamin E, added

0 mg

0 mg

Vitamin K

102.5 mcg

19.4 mcg


Calcium, Ca

40.37 mg

82.32 mg

24.6 mg

Copper, Cu

0.509 mg

0.38 mg

0.145 mg

Iron, Fe

2.83 mg

3.1 mg

0.66 mg

Magnesium, Mg

65.2 mg

129.36 mg

27.06 mg

Manganese, Mn

0.584 mg

0.768 mg

Phosphorus, P

167.67 mg

364.56 mg

59.04 mg

Potassium, K

462.64 mg

1799.28 mg

583.02 mg

Selenium, Se

1.9 mcg

1.2 mcg

0 mcg

Sodium, Na

18.63 mg

11.76 mg

12.3 mg

Zinc, Zn

1.27 mg

3.25 mg

0.42 mg



9.44 g

10.62 g

2.16 g


0.307 g

0.557 g


0.612 g

0.451 g

Aspartic acid

1.487 g

1.301 g


0.053 g

0.114 g

Glutamic acid

0.5 g

1.141 g


0.196 g

0.404 g


0.217 g

0.231 g


0.41 g

0.384 g


0.543 g

0.623 g


0.515 g

0.592 g


0.106 g

0.153 g


0.363 g

0.376 g


0.333 g


0.102 g

0.435 g


0.242 g

0.259 g


0.115 g

0.094 g


0.161 g

0.286 g


0.404 g

0.482 g



0.56 g

1.57 g

0.49 g

Saturated fatty acids

0.143 g

0.325 g

0.069 g

Butanoic acid

0 g

0 g

Decanoic acid

0 g

0 g

Dodecanoic acid

0 g

0.012 g

0 g

Hexadecanoic acid

0.099 g

0.278 g

0.049 g

Hexanoic acid

0 g

0 g

Octadecanoic acid

0.025 g

0.035 g

0.02 g

Octanoic acid

0 g

0 g

Tetradecanoic acid

0 g

0 g

Monounsaturated fatty acids

0.068 g

0.122 g

0.076 g

Docosenoic acid

0 g

0 g

Eicosenoic acid

0 g

0 g

Hexadecenoic acid

0 g

0.012 g

0.002 g

Octadecenoic acid

0.068 g

0.114 g

0.074 g

Polyunsaturated fatty acids

0.18 g

0.662 g

0.204 g

Eicosatetraenoic acid

0 g

0 g

Octadecadienoic acid

0.13 g

0.247 g

0.197 g

Octadecatetraenoic acid

0 g

0 g

Octadecatrienoic acid

0.05 g

0.416 g

0.007 g

Fatty acids, total trans

0 g

0 g



18.44 g

12.19 g

9.57 g


5.6 g

4.3 g

3 g


12.82 g

6.47 g



0 mg

0 mg

0 mg


46.58 mg


Alcohol, ethyl

0 g

0 g


1.37 g

4.12 g


0 mg

0 mg

Docosahexaenoic n-3 acid (DHA)

0 g

0 g

Docosapentaenoic n-3 acid (DPA)

0 g

0 g

Eicosapentaenoic n-3 acid (EPA)

0 g

0 g


0 mg

0 mg

Tocopherol, alpha

0.31 mg

1.33 mg

Vitamin D (D2 + D3), International Units

0 IU

0 IU


280.69 g

363.5 g

232.52 g

So now you have the complete run down on what is in TMZ. My post on sprouting will be out shortly.

Vasyl Pawlowsky Independent Consultant