Category Archives: Poland

being Polish in America, immigrant stories, Polish cuisine,

ewa samples, cebularz, flat bread with onion and corn-6

Polish flat bread with onion, corn, flax-seed meal and fresh herbs / tzw Cebularz Lubelski

While this dish is very popular in Poland and you can find it in almost every single bakery I had no idea that it comes from Jewish culture and it is actually called “Cebularz Lubelski” after one part of Poland where it suppose to originated from.

“Cebularz” means something with onion… and in this case it doesn’t mean that the onion is incorporated into the bread. It is not an onion bread.

After reading many descriptions of this dish it seems like I should say that it is a wheat cake with onion. I’ve decided to call it a flat bread but it is not a bread. The dough is more like for sweet buns or dinner rolls.

There are many ways people prepare the onion and many recipes mention is should be prepared a few days ahead. I didn’t have that much time and I was really craving this dish so I simply fried the onion while the dough was in my bread machine. Originally the topping is made from onions and poppy seeds. I didn’t have poppy seeds and I’ve decided to make it more colorful and flavorful by adding different ingredients.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup milk

3 Tbs. butter, unsalted

2 tsp. sugar (any kind: white, brown, turbinado)

1/2 tsp. sal

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour *

1/2 cup bread flour +1Tbs (if needed)

1 tsp. instant yeast

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup flax-seed meal (can be switched for chia seeds)

1/2 or 3/4 big purple onion, chopped roughly

fresh corn from one cob

2 Tbs. olive oil

1/2 cup fresh herbs (I used mix of cilantro and parsley)

cherry or yellow pear tomatoes (optional)

Fresh picked from our “buckets garden” :)

* you can use different amounts of bread and all-purpose flours. If you don’t have bread flour you don’t have to use it. I have never tried this recipe with whole wheat flour, but I think, it would be ok to incorporate it into the recipe as well.

Directions for bread machine:

In a sauce pan put together the milk, butter, sugar and salt. Heat it up on low heat until the butter melts. The mixture should be lukewarm not hot. Pour it into the bread machine, add flours and sprinkle the yeast on top. Set the machine on “dough” and turn it on.

During the second kneading open the lid and add the egg saving about 2 tsp for later use. Add flax-seed meal.

At this point you might need to add an extra 1 Tbsp of flour (all-purpose or bread). The dough should form elastic, soft and shiny ball around the kneading hook inside the bread machine.

Meantime chop the onion and cut the corn of the cob. In a frying pan heat up 2 Tbsp olive oil, add chopped onion and corn. Fry until the onion is soft. Add salt and pepper to taste.

When the dough is ready, take it out of the bread machine and divide into 6 balls. On a lightly floured surface roll them into a flat circles, about 5 to 6 inches in diameter.

Transfer them into a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Brush the edges of each piece with the remaining egg. In the middle of the flat bread put about 3 Tbs of the onion-corn mix.

Bake for 15 minutes in 395 F or until the edges are golden brown.

To make this dough without bread machine just follow a regular directions for making yeast dough by hand or Kitchen Aid.

Dissolve the  sugar and yeast in very warm milk and wait until bubbly. Add melted and cooled butter, salt, flours and knead. Add beaten egg and knead until the dough is not sticking to the side of the bowl and creates easy to work with ball. Transfer the dough to lightly oiled bowl, cover with a cloth or plastic foil. Leave in a warm place to rest until doubled in size. When it’s ready punch in in the middle, add flax-seed meal and knead a little bit more until everything is well incorporated. To finish follow the instructions above. 

Serve warm, topped with fresh herbs and cut into wedges fresh tomatoes.

ewa samples, challah,featured picture

Bread Machine Challah (Chałka)

Challah is a traditional jewish braided bread made on jewish holidays and Sabbath.

In Poland, challah is very popular and it can be bought in any bakery. Though, this baked goodie has no religion meaning. Many people don’t even know that this bread comes from jewish culture.

As a small kid I remember my mom buying it every Saturday. Each time we would sit at a kitchen table with her and gobbled it up, warm with some butter or jam on top, or just plain. Just the two of us. Fresh and warm challah is one of the best things ever.

The challah I remember was moist, sweet and very fluffy with not very crunchy (but soft) skin.

As I grew up the flavor and the texture of it have changed to something very hallow with hard and not very tasty skin. My mom and I didn’t really like it so we stopped buying it. Every now and then if I spotted a new bakery I would stop and buy one just to see if the bakery uses the old good recipe for moist and sweet challah but I had no luck.

I haven’t had challah for at least 5 years.

I’ve been looking for a good recipe for quite a while. Finally I decided to try the recipe from “Allrecipes”. I went through a many reviews under it and I made a few changes mentioned in one of them although I had to change it even more. At the end I ended up with totally different recipe but ah… still SO DELICIOUS !!!

After I took if out from the oven altogether with my daughter we couldn’t stop eating it.

I rolled the dough into three strands instead of four. Didn’t use any special way to braid it just the simple “hair style braid”. Because of that it came out a little flat. Next time I will invest an extra few minutes to learn the right way of doing it.

Ingredients:

1 1/4 room temperature water

1/2 cup sugar (the original recipe calls for honey but I didn’t have any)

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 1/2 tsp. salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

3 egg yolks, lightly beaten

2 cups all-purpose flour *

2 cups bread flour

2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast

1/4 flax-seed meal (optional)

* I guess, it depends on how big your eggs and yolks are but I had to add and extra 2/3 cup flour to the bread machine during the second kneading.

Directions:

Add to the bread machine: water, olive oil, beaten egg and yolks, all purpose and bread flour, sprinkle the yeast on top. Close the lid and set on “dough”. During the second kneading if the dough is really runny (like mine was) add and extra 1/3 cup of bread or all purpose flour, close the lid and wait for a minute or two. Repeat until the dough form a soft ball inside the bread machine. At the end add flax-seed meal.

Divide the dough into 3 parts and braid as you would make your hair :)

or follow this instruction for the right way how to braid challah.

Transfer the challah onto a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper, cover with light towel and let rest for about 60 minutes in a warm place.  

After it’s doubled (or tripled) in size preheat the oven to 375.

You can gently brush the top with egg white and sprinkle poppy/sesame seeds on top which I didn’t do. 

Bake for about 30 minutes. After 15 minutes if the top of the challah is dark brown you should cover it with aluminum foil to prevent from burning.

I baked mine for too long and I burned the insides a little too much.

The thing was that each time I checked the bread I was expecting to hear a hollow sound when I tapped it but each time it was soft and seemed not quite baked inside. Finally after 40 minutes of baking I had  decided to take it out and check the inside.

How surprised I was when it looked perfectly baked.

The entire house smelled like heaven :)

We ate it with blueberry jam on top. I mean, SHE ate it with the jam. I ate it plain. That’s how I like it.

ewa samples,self portrait,featured picture

365 Self-portrait Project (week 23rd)

It’s been a hot week here and finally they opened on old playground near us which was closed for almost 9 months because of complete re-doing. I haven’t seen this place (or any other playground) so packed with running and yelling kids. It appeared that the generation of today’s kids still can jump, run and swing. I thought that it’s a long time forgotten skill ;)

This park is walking distance from us so each day before or after dinner when the weather cools down we walk down to the park where for an hour or so our NO. 1 is in a hog heaven!

365/154

That’s exactly what we did last Thursday. We went to the park. While my husband was running after NO. 1 I was watching them and freezing my butt off. The weather here is so crazy. Sometimes I hate it. It’s so hot during the day and when it comes to around sunset the temperature drops and it gets really cold, especially with the wind blowing. Ugh…

Watching all those kids (and adults) running in their shorts and short sleeve t-shirts I was getting even more cold. My husband always makes fun of me that being raised in such a cold country strangely I have no immunity to the cold.

by the way, Poland is not that cold. It snows there during the Winter and rains in Fall but other than that I would say it’s pretty nice. People always think that Poland is like Siberia but it’s not!

It still doesn’t change the fact that I hate the cold!

365/155

Next evening, at the park, as well. We went there a bit earlier so it hadn’t gotten cold yet, but at the end I got cold again and wanted to go home what wasn’t that easy with our NO. 1 enjoying all the fun things around. We had to bribe her with the vision of a yogurt and cheerios waiting for her at the house ;)

It worked!

Two things she loves: swing and slide. Nothing else matters.

365/156

On Saturday, at the park, again.

This time we went there before noon and the weather was just gorgeous.

While No. 1 was running like crazy around the playground…

… enjoying the warm weather I lied down on the grass with NO 2.

Of course, the Big Sister always cares about the well-being of her Little Sis. She always says: “you ok, baby?” and when No. 2 is crying she asks: “whats wong, baby?” (yes, she skips the “r”). The cutest thing ever.

365/157

An hour of free time in my hands turned into this photo (and a few more, but this one I like the best).

365/158

Killing boredom during one of those long night feedings I played with textures and ended up with this:

using Bonnie’s texture: “Memories of Paris”

I like it enough to post two almost the same pictures. I just couldn’t pick one. I like them both. With and without the texture.

Photo Art Friday365/159

Every time I go outside, to water the plants, to go to do the laundry, to check the water temperature in the swimming pool, to take a picture… SHE ALWAYS RUNS after me wanting to go, too! Running towards the door she yells at dad: “bye bye” and off she goes with me.

365/160

Yesterday I went almost all day without thinking about this project AT ALL. All the sudden at 10:30 pm (!!!) I remembered. Had no freaking idea what to do.

There is a long story behind this picture which was waiting for a different moment and more time to prepare myself for this shot. From the day I started this project I knew I want to recreate an image from Stephen King’s “the Shining” book’s cover (Polish edition). This cover wouldn’t let me fall asleep if the book’s cover wasn’t facing down on my desk after I read it before going to bed. I used be addicted to S. King’s and D.R. Koontz books when I was a teenager.  

I hope I will approach this idea one more time as this one is not what I have in my head.

365/161

Enjoying my book. Funny and really entertaining. I know that there is a movie with Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson (I can’t stand this guy, by the way!!!) based on this book. I found out about this book reading Cesar Millan’s book “Be the pack leader” last month. I am in a mood for doggy books lately ;)

That’s for now, my friends. I will drag my tired self to the kitchen to make a new cup of green tea!

by the way, for those who breastfeeding in public is an issue worth to discuss, please join the dialog under my post for World Moms Blog : “Poland via USA: Breastfeeding in public?”.

Give me your best shot at Better in BulkPhotoStory Friday

ewa samples,homemade marzipan

Homemade Marzipan (Marcepan domowe roboty)

First of all today is my turn for a post to World Moms Blog. Please stop by the blog and join the discussion about breast-feeding in public.

As for my blog I’m talking about MARZIPAN!!!!!!!!

Who doesn’t know what marzipan is or who has never tired it… gosh… you don’t know what you’re missing, people ;)

If you like almonds and sugar you will love marzipan because basically it’s an almond paste with some sugar and extra almond flavor from  almond extract (some people don’t add it, though).

I grew up eating Ritter Sport Dark Chocolate Covered Marzipan and to these days, when I see this chocolate in a grocery store, I can’t stop drooling. It’s really expensive, though, and only the price keeps me from buying it each time I see it. Finally about a month ago I decided to try to make it at home. Yeah… you see how long it takes for me to finally make something.

It took me 5 months to make a cheesecake from the day I had decided to make it. I have an excuse, though. I was researching for the best recipe and this kind of research takes time ;) 

The same was with the marzipan. This time, though, I haven’t found any recipe that would suit me, I just got the idea of how to make it. If you google for “marzipan recipe” you will find many of them starting from very simple ones with only two ingredients to very fancy ones. Some call for rose-water, corn syrup or egg whites. Mine recipe doesn’t have any of those, although it has sugar syrup which I made myself.

It takes quite a bit effort to make it at home but IT’S SO REWARDING when you eat it homemade and it tastes just like the store-bought or even better.

From what I read the quantity of used almonds and sugar should be 2:1 (2 cups almonds, 1 cup sugar), and a few extra ingredients like egg whites or corn syrup to help the paste to stick together.

The thing is that after the paste is made you can actually adjust the amount of sugar to your personal likes. Just like I did.

INGREDIENTS:

2 1/2 cup blanched almonds, whole

1 cup powdered sugar, plus more for shaping the paste (I made my own by blending regular white sugar until the sugar turned to powder)

2 Tbsp sugar syrup, (I made my own sugar syrup as a substitute for corn syrup), honey can be used instead 

1 Tbsp almond extract

DIRECTIONS:

In a high-speed blender or food processor grind the almonds until they turn into almond meal. In my case I used high-speed blender and those almonds didn’t turn powdery/floury. They created a sticky paste that my blender couldn’t work with anymore or I would’ve burned its engine if I continued to work with it. That’s why you can see small pieces of almonds on the picture above. That doesn’t bother me at all. It gives an extra texture and doesn’t change the flavor at all.

After the almonds are all blended move the paste/almond meal into a sauce pan and add powdered sugar. Turn the heat to medium, and stirring constantly with wooden spoon, cook the paste until all the sugar melts. Mix in sugar/corn syrup and stirring constantly cook it over medium high until the mixture starts sticking together into a ball around your spoon. It might take 15 to 20 minutes. Close to the end add almond extract.

You can always taste it and adjust the amount of sugar and almond extract to your likes.

Here I will quote one comment I have found under a marzipan recipe at Smitten Kitchen:

I mix everything first in the sauce pan, then apply moderate heat while continuing to stir until the mass sticks in one ball. The trick is to heat the mixture enough to draw the oil out of the almonds while stirring. Too much heat will evaporate too much moisture causing the paste to get crumbly. Try to rescue by adding more water again after turning off the heat and then let it sit in a cool place (‘fridge) for a day or two.

I did not wait a day or two. I waited until the mixture turned cool and then I portioned into 5 parts. Using an aluminum foil sprinkled with a small amount of powdered sugar I rolled each part into a long log, one inch wide.

Shaping is your personal preference as well. The paste could be shaped into small balls, rectangles, squares, what ever you like. I roll it into a log as it was easy to store.

My recipe doesn’t have eggs in it so the marzipan could be stored in a room temperature. I keep mine in a fridge so it doesn’t get too soft. Whenever I want to eat it I just cut a small piece off of the log and put it back to the fridge.

For the purpose of this post I cut one log into a small pieces

and ate them one by one while taking pictures

the remaining two logs I cut into pieces and covered into dark chocolate

and they tasted like heaven! just like the Ritter Sport brand that I used to eat in Poland.

It wasn’t any fancy special chocolate. I simply melted over water bath 3 oz of regular dark chocolate and pour the it over the cut pieces of marzipan. I didn’t care much about the look. It was all about the flavor and it was PERFECT.

Btw, the recipe is at some point approved by husband… and that is AMAZING :) he ate half of the chocolate covered piece and the next day he gobbled up 5 whole wheat pancakes with marzipan pieces in them.

Have a great evening, my friends.

You might also like:

Whole wheat blueberry marzipan pancakes

ewa samples, pasztet z marchwi, carrot pate

Pasztet z marchwi – Polish Carrot Pâté with coconut sugar glazed carrots

Dish this was in my head for a long time. As once vegetarian I used to make it quite often. I made a few changes like the glazed carrots inside or coconut oil but the rest of stayed pretty the same. 

Normally pasztet is meat based dish. In Poland it’s made from ground poultry, pork, ham (It actually could be made from any kind of meat). The meat is minced into a spreadable paste. It’s mixed with flour or bread crumbs, eggs, seasonings and baked in a loaf-like pan. It’s not the healthiest dish as it’s made mostly from the “strange” parts of the animal (like liver) and its fat.

There is many variations of this dish. Vegetarian variations as well. Mine is one of them. To like this dish you really must like carrots. It is essentially a carrot paste with whole sugar glazed carrots inside. I LOVE it. My husband DOES NOT.

Ingredients for glazed carrots:

4 carrots, lengthwise the size of a loaf pan*

2 Tbsp  butter, unsalted

1 Tbsp coconut sugar (brown sugar is fine, too)

orange juice from one orange, fresh squeezed

* You can cut those carrots in half but you don’t have to if you have a pan wide enough to cook them in.

First of all I need to mention that I’m in love in coconut sugar, lately (as well as coconut oil).
I discovered this sugar in our grocery store for about $5 per lb. It’s not the cheapest thing but I had to try it. Now I am hooked. I use it only in small amounts and in a few dishes so it lasts longer.

Place carrots in a sauce pan. Add coconut sugar, butter and fresh squeezed orange juice. Covered bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a medium low and cook for about 20 minutes or until almost all the liquid is gone. Stir it often.

Ingredients for pâté: 

9 medium carrots, washed

2 Tbsp plain yogurt

2 eggs

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

zest from one lemon

2 Tbsp coconut oil

 1/4 big red (sweet) onion

1 stick celery

salt, pepper, sugar (to your taste)

feel free to use ginger and nutmeg as well

Directions:

wash the carrots, cut into small pieces and place into blender. add flour, eggs, yogurt and lemon zest. blend until smooth. add spices and blend again. set aside.

in a small pan heat the coconut oil, add onion and celery. cook until both are soft. add it to the carrot mixture and blend again until smooth.

Pour half of the mixture to a loaf pan. Place 2 glazed carrots side by side.

Pour the rest of the carrot mixture over it and place the remaining glazed carrots on top of it pressing them so they are slightly covered.

Cover with aluminum foil. Baked in 355 F for 1.5 hour in a water bath.

After that let it cool covered or serve warm immediately.

It could be served warm or cold.

As a main dish or a side dish.

As a paste on a sandwich or with crackers.

It looks great and taste delicious with fresh mint :)

Store it in a fridge for up to a week. It actually tastes better after a few days.

Food on Friday button
featured picture

Polish “Babka” with almonds and white chocolate

I suppose to be on bed rest but it’s not that easy when you’re pregnant and when you crave so many different homemade goods. Last week, for example I had homemade chocolate milk pudding for dinner. Four times. What means that for four days I didn’t eat anything else for dinner just my pudding. Oh wait… I did have something else. A few slices of fresh strawberry and a banana on top of my pudding ;) That counts, right?!

I want to share that recipe here on my blog, but every time I make it there is almost no time between when it’s made and when it’s in our bellies.

Last Saturday when it was raining and dark outside I finally decide to make Babka. Finally, because that cake was stuck in my head for a long time. “Babka” is Polish name for a sweet yeast cake but actually it can be made without the yeast and then it resembles pound cake. That’s how my mom and my sister used to make it – without the yeast. It’s not very babka-like but many people do that and call that cake babka and when they use the original recipe with yeast then they call it “yeast babka”.

My mom wasn’t a baker and she even didn’t tried to become one. Whenever she baked something (and it happened really rare), she would always make something VERY easy and fast to fix. Babka and a simple chocolate cake were our most often eaten desserts (and pudding or kisiel, of course). She almost never made a glaze. It was too much work with something that she actually didn’t enjoy – baking. Instead of glaze she would spread a homemade jam (raspberry or black currants) on top of each slice of those cakes and that was it. Just like you would do with open-faced sandwich. It actually was pretty delicious.

These days those simple dishes are my comfort food and whenever I feel under the weather I always come back to it.

Following my family steps I made my babka without the yeast. Although, I do want to try to make it the original way someday. But not when I am on bed rest ;)

This cake is really moist and not sweet at all, at least not too sweet like you would think after reading the recipe.

I do not have the right pan for baking babka but I used 9inch loaf pan and it worked great.

Ingredients for cake: 

1/2 cup white chocolate cut into really small pieces (or white chocolate baking chips),

5 1/2 Tbsp. butter, softened and cut into small pieces,

8 tsp. sugar,

1 tsp. baking powder,

1 tsp. baking soda, (if you don’t have it, don’t worry, this cake will be fine without it)

3 eggs, yolks separated from whites,

1/3 cup all-purpose flour,

1 cup ground almonds, blanched

2 tsp. orange zest,

Ingredients for glaze:

3/4 cup milk chocolate, cut into pieces (milk chocolate chips will do), or if you want to make white chocolate glaze use white chocolate (or chocolate chips),

1/3 cup whipped cream,

1 tsp. fresh squeezed orange juice (or orange liquor),

1 tsp. orange zest.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Into a glass bowl put chocolate and butter. Put that bowl over a pot with small amount of boiling water. Stirr until ingredients melt together. Now you can take it off the heat and add egg yolk, but still over the double bath. Add one yolk at a time stirring really fast. Add sugar and mix well.

Remove the bowl from the pot and add sieved flour with baking soda, baking powder and ground almonds. Stirr with a spoon.

Beat the egg whites until stiff and add to the almond-chocolate batter. Mix well with a spoon. Add orange zest.

Transfer the batter to a greased pan and bake for about 40-45 minutes. After about 40 minutes you can check with a toothpick if it’s done.

Cool on cooling wrack.

While the cake is baking prepare the glaze:

Again, over double bath melt together chocolate and whipped cream. At the end add orange juice and orange zest.

Wait until cake and the glaze are cool then spread the glaze over the cake.

Enjoy!

ewa samples, faworki

Fat Thursday and Faworki always go together …

… at least in my home.

Fat Thursday -  is traditional Polish and German feast marking the last Thursday before Lent and is associated with the celebration of Carnival. Because Lent is a time of fasting, the next opportunity to feast would not be until Easter. (Wikipedia).

All Catholics know that – not that I am one, but I grew up in a very religious Catholic family with plenty of doughnuts and faworki every single year on Fat Thursday. More often we had homemade faworki than pączki (doughnuts). It was much easier to make for the family of 5 plus grandparents and, I think, we all liked them better than pączki.

These days, for me Fat Thursday is more like a cultural tradition not very much connected to religion. Being far away from my home country I take a thing or two from the religion I grew up with and make it a cultural thing. It kind of make sense even for Polish people living in Poland because Catholicism is connected very closely to the culture of our country, so even people that are not very religious still celebrate Fat Thursday by indulging themselves eating unlimited amount of doughnuts on that day.

In Warsaw, people waiting in line for doughnuts on Fat Thursday (source Thenews.pl)

I should’ve done this post yesterday but to the last minute I was convinced that I am not going to make anything for Fat Thursday this year. I went to bed last night thinking: I’m too tired to make something that it’s actually going to be just for me. My husband is not a big fan of deep fried foods. Of course he’ll eat french fries, fried onion rings, fried chicken and many different deep fried foods (all in the restaurant) but if I make something at home that is deep fried he does not want to eat it. Oh, and he has nothing against store-bought doughnuts – SOMEBODY PLEASE TELL HIM THEY ARE ALL DEEP FRIED!!!

Anyway, I got up this morning and couldn’t stop thinking about making faworki (chrusty, angel wings).

After making breakfast for everybody I put myself to work (I mean, my stand mixer). 

Those delicious little things are very easy to make and with all the ingredients that most of us have already in the kitchen.

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp white sugar

4 egg yolks

5 tsp plain yoghurt (original recipe calls for sour cream) plus more if necessary

1 tsp vinegar

2 Tbsp. butter, softened

pinch of salt

orange zest (optional) – this is my twist to this recipe so actually it’s not necessary 

oil for frying

Put all the ingredients together in a big bowl and mix it in your Kitchen Aid or knead by hand until the dough is smooth and looks like that:

our little one burned her hand days ago and these days her favorite word is “hot”. She touches everything saying “hot, hot, hot” looking at me for the nod if she got that right. This time she didn’t ;)

If the dough is too dry and doesn’t want to hold together just add a teaspoon of plain yoghurt. If it’s still too dry add one more until the dough holds together, is nice and smooth and easy to shape into a ball.

Wrap the dough in a plastic wrap, aluminum foil or parchment paper and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. After that time take it out cut into four pieces, leave one piece out and put the 3 left back to the fridge. When you’re done with cutting, folding and frying that first part, repeat everything with the remaining 3.

On lightly floured surface roll the dough very thinly. The more thin the dough the more crispy the pastry will get after frying.

When done rolling with a sharp knife cut the dough into 1 1/2 inch wide and 4 inches long stripes. Make 1 inch or 1 1/2 inch long slit in the middle of each strip.

Working with your both hands open the slit in the middle. Take the top and fold it towards the slit. Pull the end through the slit.

Gently pull both ends and you made yourself a perfect angel wing :)

Repeat with the remaining strips.

Fry in hot oil. You can check the oil if it’s ready by putting one corner of the raw angel wing in the oil. If it starts to sizzle and bubbles appear it means that the oil is ready.

Fry on both sides until golden brown. The heat should be on medium high for the best results. Keep an eye on them as they tend to burn really fast.

You might want to put them on paper towel to soak the extra oil out. While still warm heavily sprinkle with powdered sugar. I mean, REALLY heavily :)

Keep it high enough so your Little Ones can’t get into it while you’re not watching.

Jennifer’s Cabbage with Apples (plus extra recipe for bread)

Jennifer – green wife of a green military guy :)

On her blog she writes about their journey while trying to become a zero waste household… .

In her last post she wrote that sometimes when her husband is out at sea she skips trips to the store and she lives on cereal and raw cabbage for days.

When I read it I knew I have to write this post. I’ve waited to post this recipe for a long time now and finally I feel like this is the perfect time to do so.

This is a dish that my mother used to make a lot. It goes great with potatoes (mashed or not), all kinds of meat and as a main dish with nothing else on a plate (maybe a piece of good bread to soak the juices after all).

It’s very simple and easy to make and after it’s made it can be store in the fridge for a few days.

This recipe makes about 2 servings.

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. butter

2 apples (any kind), peeled and cut into small cubes (my favorite kind is granny smith and I use it in every recipe that calls for apples)

1 cabbage (whatever cabbage you have or like)

pinch of salt

This time I used Chinese cabbage because it’s the only cabbage I can sneak into my husbands’ diet, so for the most of the time I have it in our fridge. When it cooks it doesn’t smell like regular cabbage and its taste is much milder that the other ones.

If you use a different cabbage you need to cook it longer and add more apples. Chinese cabbage cooks really fast and that’s one of the reasons I use it for this dish… I can make it in 20 minutes :)

Directions:

Chop the cabbage. Cut apples into small cubes. Put those two together in a sauce pan, add butter. Cook covered on a low heat until apples are soft (but not mushy). Stir occasionally.

Add salt if you want, but just a pinch.

Add water if you see cabbage and apple mixture doesn’t have any and it starts to burn on the bottom, but that shouldn’t happen if you cook in on a low heat and stir it often.

If at the end the mixture has to much liquid in it you can use a tsp of corn starch or arrowroot to thicken in up.

I ate it with fresh baked bread and homemade butter

Bread recipe is adapted from Sonoma Garden.

Everyday Oat and Seed Bread

put into bread machine in this order:

1 1/4 cup water

1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar (white, brown,honey)

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 Tbsp. vegetable oil or butter

1/4 cup oatmeal

2 cups unbleached white flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp. vital gluten (or bread flour)

2 1/2 tsp. yeast

Set on dough setting. When it beeps during the second kneading (about 30 minutes before the end) put:

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/4 flaxseed meal

When the dough is ready put it into a greased loaf pan and let rest for about 40 minutes. Brush top with milk. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes at 425 degrees.

So,

Jennifer, the next time you’re all by yourself gather some extra apples, because it looks like you’ve got plenty of cabbage already :) and viola. no more raw cabbage for days and days…

… and from now on this dish is going to be “Jennifer’s Cabbage and Apples” in my book.

ewa samples, homemade ricotta header

Creamy and Rich: Homemade Ricotta

As a kid, since I can remember to about when I was 14 I spent me entire Summer break in a small village in Poland with my dad’s family. They didn’t have running water (just a well). We bathed in a huge washbowl and…  the toilet was outside. I would eat wild growing berries and drank milk straight from a cow. For two months I would forget how processed food tastes like. During the last few years we visited them they had a store (!). That tiny place was mostly used for buying an alcohol and sodas by locals. It didn’t last long, though. That’s how self-sufficient that village was (as most of the villages anywhere else in Poland).

One of the best memories I have from that period is milking cows. I was never good at it and I gave up very quickly in trying to get better, but I tried it and it was fun. While my aunty was milking her cows I would pretend I’m a cat and I tried to drink that warm and fresh milk straight from a bucket to which my aunty milked the cows. Once, a friend of our family came from behind while I was doing so and pushed my head deep inside that filled with milk bucket. Everybody laughed and I was mad… . I’ve never drank milk straight from a bucket since.

Despite that accident and many more (like me being attacked by a “gang” of angry turkeys) those 2 months spent there every year were the best times ever. I will cherish them forever.

The food we ate there is my goal to achieve in the future: home grown, home raised, homemade.

Right now I just learn how to “home make” stuff from what I can get at the store :)

This time I learned how to make ricotta.

I’ll tell you something: I will never buy ricotta again. The homemade is creamy, rich and nothing like the store-bought. NOTHING! The recipe I got is not the original ricotta recipe. The original calls for whey from making another cheese (like mozzarella). Whole milk is never used. I cheated here a little ;) It doesn’t matter, I think. The results are amazing and that’s what matters. Right?!

To make it I used:

3 cups whole milk

1 cup heavy cream*

1/2 tsp salt

4 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

Directions that couldn’t be any easier:

Pour the milk, cream and salt into a saucepan. If you have a candy or deep-fry thermometer attach it to the pan and heat the milk to 190°F stirring occasionally. When it reaches 190°F remove from heat.

If you do not have the thermometer you should watch the milk-cream very closely until you see bubbles appearing around the edges of the pot. It means the liquid is ready to be removed from heat.

Add lemon juice. Stir couple of times (no more), very gently and slowly. Let the pot sit undisturbed for 5 to 10 minutes.

Line a sieve with a few layers of cheesecloth and place it over a bowl. The bowl is to catch the whey. Later it can be used for baking breads.

Pour the milk mixture into the sieve and let the curds strain for at least an hour.

I didn’t have cheesecloth (but I do now) so I used an old t-shirt I don’t use anymore.

The cheese I got after 2 hours of straining was firm but very easy spreadable, it looked and felt almost like cream cheese. No curds just creamy and silky texture.

I am not sure for how long you can store it. I kept mine in airtight container in the fridge. It lasted for 4 days before I ate it all.

I ate it with fresh baked bread… .

You can’t beat that!

For an extra twist to this cheese visit Polish Mama on the Prairie… I’m definitely trying her idea the next time I’ll make it.

* the heavy cream in this recipe can be skipped. doing so you’ll get cheese with big curds and much more drier texture. 

It's a KeeperHookingupwithHoH Beyond The Picket Fence

ewa samples, homemade kisiel header

Homemade “Kisiel”

Sometime in the past I wrote a post about kisiel. The one that I had was a powdered kisiel I got from our Polish store.

To make it you just need to add the powder to a boiling water and voila! I found it in our Polish store but I’ve never bought it again since.

What’s kisiel?!

It’s a European dessert. Its consistency is like a thick syrup. Often made from kompot - at least in our family we used to use it to make kisiel. Sometimes it’s made from fruit juice. To get the thick consistency, in Poland, we use potato starch (flour). Corn starch is very rarely used in cooking in Poland. Instead of those two, lately I discovered that arrowroot is the best to use.

If there is no kompot  or fruit juice kisiel can be made with water, sugar and fresh fruits. I’ve never tried to make it using frozen fruits but I think it might work, as well.

The one that you can get from the store doesn’t have any fruits in it. Just like a pudding it’s a flavored powder, nothing else. These days they make those weird flavors that have nothing to do with fruits. The last time I had one was “cola” (coca-cola) and it was terrible!!! 

Homemade it’s a totally different story. To make it you can get creative as much as you want, but stay with the fruits only ;)

For example a few days ago I made a bueberry-pear-apple kisiel from fresh fruits.

It was delicious. 

Have you seen “Julie and Julia”?! I love love love this movie!!!

It might be serve cold or hot. I prefer to eat kisiel hot. The same is with pudding. I think that serving those two desserts cold is a sin against taste buds. Seriously!!! I’m getting angry just thinking about it.

Anyway, many recipes that you will find on Internet call for huge amounts of sugar. It’s really not that necessary if you use fresh fruits. The fruits will give it the natural sweetness and, at the end you could serve it with a whipped cream. 

This is my recipe

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

1/2 cup apple (I always use granny smith), peeled and chopped into small pieces

1 cup pear, peeled and chopped into small pieces

3 cups cold water (divided into 2 1/2 and 1/2)

3 TBSP. sugar (or more if needed)

3 tsp. corn starch (or arrowroot or potato starch)

Cook chopped apple and pear in sugar and 2 1/2 cup of water for about 5 minutes – until the fruits are soft but not mushy. Add blueberries and cook another 3 minutes stirring often. In the remaining 1/2 cold water dissolve the corn starch (or whatever starch you’re using). Mix it with the fruit-sugar mixture. Stir until it thickens.

Done! :)

As I said, you can serve it cold, hot or slightly warm.

In my opinion the dessert tastes the best on the next day. You can store it in fridge for a few days. Whenever you’re ready to eat it just heat it up again (or not) and enjoy.

If it’s not sweet enough you can always add sugar.

If the consistency is not thick enough for you add more starch (first dissolve it in a tiny bit of cold water). I remember my mom used to make it almost like water. She would add almost no starch. She liked to drink it from a cup like it was a tea. I like mine somehow thick but not too thick.

… at the end enjoy watching your kids gobbling it up!!!