By now you know I am obsessed with the color green, it would, therefore, be logical that I would collect objects in green.  Since I have made this week a celebration of Russian (and Greek) Orthodox Christmas, which is this Saturday, January 7th, I wanted to continue the theme with a discussion of my small malachite collection. I visited Russia in 2002 and had the opportunity to spend a week in Moscow and a week in St. Petersburg.  It was an amazing trip and I will discuss my impressions of the Cities in another post, today I wanted to concentrate on this interesting mineral. I did get a couple of malachite objects there but I  purchased more amber than malachite, again another story. I just learned that this mineral is special to Libra’s.  Most certainly a fact I didn’t know… lucky me, I’m a Libra! is said that malachite is a healing stone.  Here a cross section of the mineral.

The Malachite Room in the Winter Palace (The Hermitage). I want these doors, can you even imagine?????  They were magnificent, to say the least.

imageA malachite mantle in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. The green paint on the walls is almost the same as my walls….who knew!!!

imageClose up of my faux malachite mantle, made especially for me by my dear friend, the incredibly talented, Mark Heister, with its gold embellishment. I featured the entire fireplace in my mantel posting several weeks ago.

In 2005 we had a very special visitor at Saks Fifth Avenue, Chicago, Tatiana Fabergé who brought her incredible collection of objects to us, it was the first time since 1917 that new Fabergé was available. I was overwhelmed with the beauty of the pieces and to be able to own a Fabergé was beyond belief and to have it signed by Tatiana Fabergé, words escape me. I purchased two items for myself, a green enamel egg and a malachite and gilt frame. She was kind and signed both for me.  I did purchase a couple of eggs to give as gifts.

Tatiana Fabergé, great-great-granddaughter of Gustav Fabergé, founder of the company, whose son was Carl Fabergé.

imageA photo of my Father in my signed Fabergé malachite and gilt frame. He is wearing a favorite Hawaiian shirt all the rage in the late 1940’s, seriously!!! Czar in a Fabergé malachite frame, in the Hermitage malachite room, notice the attached stand, it is the same on my frame!

imageMy small collection of malachite items….the necklaces, along with large ball drop earrings, were purchased in Moscow as was the charming watercolor of Saint Basil’s Cathedral, in its own malachite and gilt frame.  The needlepoint pillow is from Jonathan Adler.

Time for our weekly recipe….this one is kindly shared by Tom Hawley from his Mother, Elenor’s, recipe box.  I can attest to the fact that is is absolutely delicious and very easy to make.

Elenor Hawley’s Quick Beef Stroganoff

1 1/2 pounds of beef  cut into strips (we used cooked beef, see below)

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Dash of pepper

Dredge beef in flour and pepper in a plastic bag

Brown in 1/4 cup butter


1 pint sliced fresh mushrooms

1 clove of garlic minced (we used jarred garlic, a generous teaspoon, worked perfectly)

1/2 cup chopped onion

Cook until mushrooms are browned


2 beef bullion cubes dissolved in 2 cups water boil and reduce liquid, about 10 minutes just watch to be sure most of the liquid is absorbed

Stir in 1 cup sour cream

Serve over wide egg noodles


We used leftover beef from a standing rib roast, unbelievably delicious!!! Use a good piece of beef don’t use tenderloin it is too lean….you do need a bit of fat  Since this was already cooked we only browned it and cooked with the other ingredients for about 20 minutes or until the mushrooms were tender. If using raw meat cook for about 40-45 minutes after browning.

Our meal was served with glazed carrots, followed by a green salad lightly dressed with a vinaigrette and a rich dessert.  Of course, lots of wine, this time we did a bold red but since is it a Russian dish why not more champagne!


The finished product…..



  1. Lesley Brewster January 5, 2017 / 12:16 pm

    Nena, I have never had the privilege of seeing a photo of your father. What a handsome and striking man. He is always with you.

    • nenasnotes January 5, 2017 / 2:38 pm

      Hi, Thanks so much Lesley. Not the best photo of him. I’ll post better ones. Yes, he was handsome but more importantly a kind, generous and extremely talented man and the BEST father ever. Lucky me!!!

  2. Tom Mantel January 5, 2017 / 5:17 pm

    Looks delicious. Looking forward to having this dish.

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