Monday, November 30, 2009

Award ....

Few weeks ago Anula of Anula's Kitchen gave me this wonderful award. I love her blog and often look up to her for advice on Polish dishes and food scoop in general. She is an excellent source of information and has a lot of great recipes. Her blog has the ability to take me home to my childhood and often makes me home sick for good ol Polish meal. With this being said, better late than never: THANK YOU SO MUCH ANULA!!! I appreciate this more than you know.

I will be passing this award very soon.

Pierogi making...

Few weeks ago my friend Debbie & I embarked on pierogi making...For those of you who do not know what Pierogi (plural) are, they are a dish consisting of boiled or baked dumplings of unleavened dough stuffed with varying ingredients. They are usually moon shaped. Pierogi are served in a variety of forms and tastes (ranging from sweet to salty to spicy) in Polish cuisine. Polish pierogi are often filled with fresh white cheese (farmers cheese), potatoes, and fried onions; in this form, they are called pierogi ruskie (russian) don't ask me why...Pierogi are usually served with melted butter or bacon bits. Traditionally serve two types of pierogi for Christmas Eve supper. One kind is filled with sauerkraut and dried mushrooms, another – small uszka (ears-very small pierogi) filled only with dried wild mushrooms – are served in clear borscht (beet soup)

I love pierogi but they are time consuming to make. If you attempt these, make sure that you have a buddy. Debbie and I had a great time making these, and even better time eating it.

Pierogi Dough
makes 24 pierogi

* 2 cups flour
* 1 egg
* 1/2 cup warm water
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 2 tablespoons oil

Mix all ingredients together lightly in bowl. Knead until smooth. Let rest, covered, 30 minutes. Using half of the dough at a time, roll out to 1/8 inch thickness.Cut circles with biscuit cutter or floured glass.

SaurKraut & Mushroom Filling:

* 1 lb sauerkraut, finely chopped
* 150 g butter, divided
* 1 onion, chopped
* 1/4 lb fresh mushrooms, diced
* pepper
* salt

Saute the sauerkraut in 1/3 of the butter. Fry the onion in 1/6 of the butter; fry the mushrooms in the remaining butter. Combine these ingredients, season with salt & pepper, and refrigerate until ready to assemble pierogi.

Potato & cheese filling:

* 2 large potatoes, cooked & mashed (1/2 cup instant or leftover mashed potatoes is fine too)
* 8 oz of cream cheese
* 1 onion, minced & sauteed in butter
* 1 tablespoon butter, melted
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* pepper, to taste

I use Vegeta seasoning in place of salt. You can find it in a supermarket in Ethnic section.

Combine all of the ingredients listed under filling and refrigerate until ready to assemble pierogi.


Thursday, November 26, 2009


Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you have a safe, delicious holiday! Enjoy your turkey and fixings. I think the best part of the any holiday is desert. I'll post some recipes for my holiday feast but in the meantime, I wanted to share some laughs with all of you. My friend Debbie emailed this to me the other day... Hope you'll have a good laugh. Apparently this is the way the pumpkin pie is really made. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cranberry-Pomegranate Sauce and POM Wonderful

I was recently approached by Molly at POM Wonderful. I was so excited to see Molly's email offering me some Pomegranate juice. POM Wonderful is a global brand committed to innovation and wellness. They grow and market pomegranates and pomegranate-based products that have amazing health benefits. A 2005 study published in the American Journal of Cardiology showed improved blood flow to the heart in patients drinking 8oz daily of POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice for 3 months.
Researchers studied a total of 45 patients with coronary heart disease who had reduced blood flow to the heart.Patients drinking POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice experienced a 17% improvement in blood flow, compared to an 18% worsening in patients drinking a placebo. THANK YOU SO MUCH MOLLY FOR YOUR DELICIOUS CONTRIBUTION TO OUR THANKSGIVING CELEBRATION.

I generally drink it or put it in my cocktail, but this time around wanted to make something different with POM. With Thanksgiving around the corner, what can be better than Pomegranate cranberry sauce.

Cranberry-Pomegranate Sauce

1 1/2 pounds fresh or frozen cranberries (6 cups)
2 cups sugar
1 cup pomegranate juice
2 cups fresh pomegranate seeds
1 Granny Smith apple
1 cup of fresh pineapple
1 cinnamon stick

In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries with the sugar, chopped apple, cinnamon stick and chopped pineapple and pomegranate juice. Bring to a simmer and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until most of the cranberries have burst, about 10 minutes. Scrape the cranberry sauce into a medium bowl and let stand until cool, about 2 hours. Fold in the pomegranate seeds and serve the sauce chilled or at room temperature.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fondue Night

I've wanted to do this for a while. My sister lives in Switzerland and when we went to visit few years back I fell in love with fondue... Few days back we decided to get together for a fondue night in my house. I've made cheese and vegetable fondue as well as a chocolate version. It was so much fun!!! I will post some pictures and recipes for both fondues.

Veggie-Cheese Fondue:

* 1/4 cup milk
* 1/4 cup white wine
* 1 (8 ounce) package shredded Cheddar cheese
* 1 (8 ounce) package shredded Monterey Jack cheese
* 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
* 1/4 cup chopped green onions
* 1/4 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
* 1 teaspoon ground dry mustard
* 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
* 1 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, mix together milk, white wine, Cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese and cream cheese. Cook, stirring frequently, until melted, about 10 minutes.
2. Stir in green onions, spinach, dry mustard, cayenne pepper, garlic powder and black pepper. Continue cooking until all ingredients are well blended, about 10 minutes.
3. Transfer mixture to a double boiler or fondue pot to keep warm while serving.

Chocolate Fondue:

16 ounces semi sweet chocolate, grated
16 ounces bittersweet chocolate grated
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/3 cup hot water

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the chocolate with the heavy cream. Mix in the instant coffee, vanilla extract, sugar, and hot water. Continue to heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture is smooth.

Caponata and GREAT friends

I can't seem to catch a breath these days...I've been trying to update my blog in the past few days and every time I seat down to do that, something else needs my attention...Ohhh, the joys of parenthood :) I'm sure those of you who have children can relate to that very well... I am fortunate enough to have a group of friends, who help elevate some of the pain that comes with working full time, raising children, balancing marriage and family. We get together as often as we can to catch up, enjoy glass or two of wine and just get away I often wonder how I've ever done it without them. They are such a GREAT support system!!!

This is one of the recipes I often make when we get together. It is very easy to make, delicious and healthy. This recipe comes from Gourmet, September 2006 issue.

* 2 lb small Italian eggplants (about 4)
* 1 tablespoon kosher salt or 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
* 1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
* 4 medium celery ribs, cut crosswise into very thin
* 1/3 cup large green Sicilian olives (1 3/4 oz), pitted and coarsely chopped
* 1 3/4 oz Italian capers packed in salt (1/3 cup), rinsed well
* 2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
* 1/3 cup white-wine vinegar
* 1 (14- to 15-oz) can whole tomatoes in juice, drained and chopped (1 cup)

Peel eggplants, leaving some strips of peel, then cut into 1-inch cubes and spread on half of a kitchen towel. Sprinkle eggplant with salt, then cover with other half of towel and weight with a baking sheet topped with 2 or 3 large cans for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1/2 cup oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook onion, stirring, until pale golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Add celery and cook, stirring, until onion and celery are deep golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add olives, capers, and 2 tablespoons sugar and cook, stirring, 2 minutes, then stir in vinegar and tomatoes.

Reduce heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes. If sauce is very acidic, add 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar (to taste). Transfer to a bowl and keep warm, covered.

Rinse eggplant in a colander under running water, then squeeze dry in small handfuls.

Heat remaining cup oil in cleaned skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then fry eggplant in 2 batches, turning occasionally with tongs, until tender and browned on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes per batch. Transfer as cooked to paper towels to drain, then transfer to a large shallow serving dish in an even layer. Spoon sauce on top, spreading evenly, and let stand, covered with a kitchen towel, at room temperature, at least 8 hours (for flavors to develop). Stir before serving.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Pumpkin Pancakes

I haven't blogged or cooked as much as I wanted lately... Things have been crazy with family and school change... Normally this is a favorite time for me to cook and bake. I love the pumpkin season and you would never know that by looking at my blog. I did not explore pumpkin as much as I would have wanted this fall. I hope I can squeeze few more recipes using pumpkin in the next few weeks to satisfy my cravings.

These are a fabulous weekend breakfast! You can also get away with serving them for dessert if you want to. Theses taste great just with a dusting of powdered sugar or with your favorite syrup. I love black currant syrup, but my husband and daughter love the maple. Whatever your choice, they are supper delicious! I hope you'll enjoy them.

Pumpkin Pancakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons vinegar

In a separate bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar.

Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt, stir into the pumpkin mixture just enough to combine.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake.

Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Monday, November 2, 2009

BBQ Pulled Pork

This is a great recipe that practically makes itself. I found pork loin on sale last weekend and was searching for a recipe to make something delicious that my 4 year old would like to eat. It is made in a crock pot and only has 4 ingredients. I have to admit, I was sceptical about it but the finished product exceeded my expectations. Olivia had a pulled pork sandwich for dinner tonight and she cleaned her plate, which almost never happens...She came to me after dinner and said:" Mommy, thank you for dinner! You really know how to make the yummiest food" This is a ringing endorsement from 4 year old if I've ever heard one. Give it a try if you're looking for hands off dinner.

* 1 (4-5 pound) pork loin
* 1 (12 fluid ounce) bottle root beer
* 1 bottle favorite barbecue sauce ( I used Bulls Eye Original)
* Hamburger buns, split and lightly toasted

Place the pork loin in a crock pot and pour the root beer over the meat. Cover and cook on low until well cooked and the pork shreds easily, 8 hours. Drain well. Stir in barbecue sauce. Serve over hamburger buns.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Great Weekend and an Award!

Kitty of Fahrenheit350 gave me the: Honest Scrap Award! This award is gifted to blogs that are encouraging, inspiring, or brilliant. THANK YOU SO MUCH KITTY!!! When I first started blogging, I've never thought that I will be a part of such great community! In the past few months since I've started, I've made lots of friends and learn so much from all of you. This award means a lot to me especially coming from Kitty. I adore her blog and visit often for inspiration, baking advice and lots of laughs.

Now, lets move on to my favorite part, which is passing the award to my favorite bloggers... First and foremost, I'd like to give this to Bea,who is hands down my favorite Polish Blog. Bea's blog inspires me daily and every time I visit I want to run to my kitchen and start cooking.

I also would like to take this opportunity and give this award to few more of my favorite bloggers who teach and inspire me. Thank you all!

Heather is at home.

Cooking Gallery.

The English

Sweet & Savory Somethings.

Food for a Hungry Soul.

Valerie's Attempt at Pondering.

Once again, a BIG THANK YOU to Kitty for this fantastic award. You've made my day!