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Sałatka Jarzynowa

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

One dish that is always served at my family for any of the holidays is a Polish mayonnaise based vegetable salad, sałatka jarzynowa. It goes very well with the rest of the mandatory Polish dishes served during Christmas, Easter and other important occasions. Every family has their own recipe, but the common ingredients are diced potatoes, eggs, carrots and mayonnaise. This kind of salad with diced vegetables bound in mayonnaise can be found in many countries with various names and a bit different ingredients. The most common name is Russian salad, even though the original recipe contained lobster and truffles and differs a lot from today’s version. But the most important thing isn’t the origin or name, but the taste!

    Sałatka Jarzynowa

    4 large potatoes, boiled with their skin on and then peeled
    2 red onions
    6 eggs, hard boiled
    3 large carrots, boiled
    250 gram green peas, boiled or from can
    200 gram fermented cucumbers
    350 ml mayonnaise
    salt
    pepper
    optional: 1 tbsp of grated horseradish
    optional: a handful of grated cheese

    Dice potatoes, eggs, carrots and cucumbers. Finely dice the onions. Combine the diced ingredients in a bowl and add peas. Add mayonnaise and combine everything. Salt and pepper to taste. Add grated horsradish and/or cheese if wanted. Cover with cling film and keep in the fridge. May be prepared one day in advance for a better taste.

Racuchy z jabłkami (Polish apple pancakes)

Sunday, September 23rd, 2007

I’ve lost track of all those autumn afternoons and evenings during my childhood when I impatiently waited for my mother as she fried racuchy with apples. They are delicious Polish apple pancakes based on a dough containing yeast which gives them a different texture compared with normal pancakes. The crucial ingredient is tart apples, you don’t want sweet ones in this dish. You should really give them a try, especially now during apple season.

    Racuchy z jabłkami (Polish apple pancakes)
    (makes 10)

    250 ml milk
    30 gram fresh yeast
    1 tsp sugar
    50 ml sugar
    2 eggs
    250 gram flour
    1 tsp vanilla sugar
    1 tbsp oil
    1 tbsp Grand Marnier (can be omitted)
    2 tart apples (don’t use sweet ones for this recipe), peeled and cut into small pieces.

    neutral oil (I use canola) + butter for frying.
    icing sugar for serving

    Heat the milk to 37 degrees C. In a bowl combine 1 tsp of sugar with the yeast. Pour the milk over the yeast and combine. Cover with a kitchen towel and leave for 20 minutes until it starts to bubble and the mixture has started to “grow”.

    In another bowl, with an electric beater mix 50 ml sugar with the eggs. Add the sugar/egg mixture to the yeast mixture. Add the flour, vanilla sugar, oil and Grand Marnier. Combine, use an electric beater for a minuter or two. Add the apple pieces and combine. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for 45 minutes.

    Pour neutral oil in a frying pan, add butter. Fry the pancakes on medium heat, it’s important that the fat isn’t too hot as you want the pancakes to rise without beeing burned. Use two heaped table spoons of batter for every pancake. Fry until golden brown and then flip. Add more butter if needed. Sprinkle with confectioners/icing sugar and serve immediately.

Kalafior z bułką tartą (cauliflower with browned butter and bread crumbs)

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

Sometimes the simple things in life are among the best, like this very easy and tasty cauliflower dish. Cauliflower with browned butter and bread crumbs is THE way to eat cauliflower in Poland, or at least in my family. To my pleasant surprise Pille wrote about the same dish some time ago as they also eat cauliflower in the same way in Estonia. In Sweden it’s often served gratinated in cheese sauce which doesn’t appeal to me at all.

This dish is one of those comfort dishes that I love to eat and the simplicity makes it a perfect snack or dinner when I’m very tired and hungry. When I was growing up we very often had it as a condiment or just ate it plain, nowadays I eat it more seldom as my dear husband dislikes cauliflower and I can’t eat a whole califlower by myself. But last week I found very small cauliflowers in the grocery store, perfect for one person and then I knew immediately what I would cook. This isn’t really a recipe, you just cook some cauliflower and then you take some butter and bread crumbs for the “sauce”.

    Kalafior z bułką tartą (cauliflower with browned butter and bread crumbs)
    (serves one)

    1 small cauliflower (300 gram)
    1.5 tbsp butter
    1.5 tbsp fine dry bread crumbs

    Boil the whole cauliflower in salted water for about 12 minuter, until soft enough but not too soft. You want it kind of al dente. If you’re using a large cauliflower then cut it in florets before boiling, and also boil it shorter. Drain the cauliflower and put it on a serving plate. Melt the butter in a pan, add the bread crumbs. Stir the mixture while it browns, this will take a couple of minutes. Pour/sprinkle the butter/crumb mixture over the cauliflower and serve.

Polish cottage cheese salad (twarożek z szczypiorkem i rzodkiewką)

Saturday, July 14th, 2007

This simple and refreshing summer salad with cottage cheese is very popular in Poland. I’ve eaten it every summer since childhood and will continue to do so. I make the salad exactly as my mother does, the way she learnt to do it from her mother, my dear granny.

    Polish cottage cheese salad
    (twarożek z szczypiorkem i rzodkiewką)

    3 spring unions
    12 large radishes
    400 gram cottage cheese
    150 ml crème fraîche (or sour cream)
    salt
    pepper

    Slice the spring onions. Grate the radishes. Combine spring onions, radishes, cottage cheese and crème fraîche. Salt and pepper. Serve with freshly baked bread.

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 7th, 2007


Easter baskets with samples of Easter food, called Swienconka

I’ve just returned from church where we’ve been for the traditional blessing of Easter food. Every family decorates a basket and fill it with samples of the Easter food which will be eaten tomorrow on Easter day. The tradition is only common in east European catholic countries and the church is always filled with people and baskets.

Happy Easter to all of you!

Pączki jagodowe (Polish bilberry doughnuts)

Saturday, March 3rd, 2007


Polish bilberry doughnuts, made this evening

Pączki are delicious Polish doughnuts, filled with preserves. The most common filling is marmalade made from rose buds or plum marmalade, but you can fill them with any thick preserve you prefer. One of my favourite fillings is Advocaat custard which is vanilla custard with a kind of egg liqueur. My mother mostly fill them with plum marmalade which is delicious as well. In Poland pączki have their own day, but it’s very common to eat them during the whole year. I still remember when I was 9 years old and I toghether with my mother visited relatives in Poland during summer; we went to a bakery and bought loads of fresh pączki which we ate outside the bakery. Then we went back inside and bought another 30 to bring back to my aunt. The baker must have thought we were insane. But that is actually the problem with pączki, because when you start eating fresh still warm pączki, you just can’t get enough. When my mother used to make them at home we ate them all in no time :-) Anyway, the main day for pączki is last Thursday before Lent which is called Tłusty czwartek and means fat Thursday. I missed fat Thursday this year, which was a few weeks ago, so I made Pączki this evening even though lent has started. They were nice, but I wasn’t pleased with the result so I will make a new try tomorrow. I used bilberry jam as filling and it was lovely. Tomorrow I will probably use the same filling but I will modify the recipe and then post about it.

Knedle ze śliwkami (dumplings with plums)

Sunday, November 5th, 2006

Many countries have their own versions of potato based dumplings; kroppkakor in Sweden, Klöße in Germany, Knödeln in Austria and so on. In Poland there are many dumpling variants made of boiled potatoes. We have the ones with savoury filling “Pyzy“, the sweet ones “knedle” and “kopytka” which are not filled with anything at all. Some people would probably want to add “pierogi” to the above dumpling list, but their dough normally doesn’t contain any boiled potatoes (apart from the filling) so they don’t really belong here.

Knedle ze śliwkami is typical Polish sweet dish, often eaten as a sweet dinner. The Polish kitchen isn’t always healthy… :-) Normally the dumpling dough is made of boiled potatoes, but I found a variant made out of quark (my middlename should be quark…) on the Polish food forum which I read. The result was excellent, and even Fredrik really liked these dumplings.

Knedle ze śliwkami
(makes 12, serves 4)

Dough:
250 gr quark (don’t use Kesella as it’s too runny; I made my own quark)
1 egg
120-130 gr flour
2 tablespoons of melted butter

Filling:
12 small sweet plums
12 tsp caster sugar

For serving:
melted butter
caster sugar
cinnamon


Wash the plums, pat dry and stone by cutting a gash. Stuff each plum with one teaspoon of sugar.

Boil water in a large pot.


Prepare dough in a bowl by mixing all ingredients. Work dough until firm, if the dough is too sticky add some flour. Divide the dough into 12 pieces, then flatten each piece with your hands and wrap it around each plum.

The plums should be completely covered with dough.


Put the knedle in boiling water, 6 at a time or less depending of the size of your pot. When they start floating carefully boil for about 8 minutes until you think that the plums are soft. Take out the dumplings carefully with a slotted spoon. Pour melted butter over the knedle and sprinkle some sugar and cinnamon.

How to make your own quark-curd

Sunday, October 29th, 2006

Quark-curd

Quark is a kind of soft cream cheese often used in Polish recipes and you’vre probably noticed that I use it a lot, especially in cheesecakes as I’m used to eastern european cheesecakes with quark instead of cream cheese. The problem is that in Sweden we only have Kesella. Kesella works rather well in some recipes but for most dishes it’s just too watery and runny. Some dishes calls for compact quark, and that you solve by making it yourself. This is just the base recipe, when you’re done you can use this homemade quark in cheesecakes (maybe a Tiramisù cheesecake or raspberry cheesecake brownies, pierogi (a sort of Polish tortellini), pancakes (either Polish ones or pancakes that melt in your mouth) or other dishes. Or you can just add some of your favourite spices and put it on a piece of bread together with some tomato slices and you have yourself a delicious sandwich. In day or two I will post another great dish which calls for this homemade quark.

Quark-curd
(makes about 400 gr)

2 litres of filmjölk 3% (Kefir should work as well)


Pour the filmjölk into an ovenproof container.


Heat the oven to 100 degrees C. Put the container into the oven for about 1 hour.


It’s done when the quark-curd has thickened slightly and begun to separate from the whey. Be aware that you need to carefully stir with a spoon to see if the whey has separated or not.


Cover a large sieve with a clean kitchen towel (sterilized with boiling water!) and pour everything in the container onto the towel. Let drain for at least 1 hour, preferably longer.

Then take the whole kitchen towel and try to drain the last by hand, squeezing firmly. Keep the quark-curd in the fridge until you need it.


Quark-curd, ready to eat.