Friday, August 28, 2015

Taste of (Polish) Summer

Summer in Poland means, besides warmer weather, fresh fruit based dishes. At least to me.
Strawberries served with cream and sugar, blueberry pierogi, plum knedle, blueberry soup and cherry soup made by my mum. All so very tasty and refreshing at the same time!
I enjoy having and making various kinds of food: Southern, Tex-Mex, Asian, Italian or, generally speaking, European. But, sometimes I do crave the meals we had at home in Poland. The familiar/favorite tastes of the cuisine not available here. Since I am not good at making any type of pierogi (I have tried a few times but the results were rather miserable), I do not even attempt to cook anything like that these days. That is why, missing the summer Polish dishes, I finally cooked cherry soup. Easy to make and so enjoyable! All you need is the fruit, water, sugar and some cornstarch ( I used Polish potato flour instead). Some time ago I bought a bag of frozen, pitted cherries - I thought I would make a pie. Later I forgot about them. When the crave for the fruit meals came, I had the key ingredient in the freezer, ready to be cooked.

What I used (for two servings):

  • 1 bag (12 oz) frozen (pitted) sweet, dark cherries  - I used about 99% of the bag content
  • water,
  • 3 TBS sugar,
  • about 1 TBS potato flour (cornstarch),
  • 2 qt pan.
  • And: 1/2 cup elbow pasta.


What to do with it:

  1. Cover frozen cherries with water and cook (at 4) to boil, add sugar (the soup should be refreshing, not too sweet). 
  2. Mix potato flour (or cornstarch) with a bit of cold water, add this mixture to the soup, to thicken it (do not make it too thick!), stir, cook for about two minutes. If it happens that the soup gets too thick, add some more cold water.
  3. Remove from heat and chill.
  4. Cook the pasta according to the instructions provided by its manufacturer.
  5. Serve the chilled soup with pasta.

I had not eaten this kind of soup for about four years, so I was quite happy when I made it. It was sooooooooo good! Next time I will make blueberry soup - soon!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Yeast Jelly Buns

Last week I decided to try a recipe by Jenny Jones (Jenny Can Cook). I chose that recipe because it was supposed to be a recipe for healthy Polish Pączki (donuts) version, and I did feel like having some fresh made pączki. Since the dough is not fried but baked instead (which sounded good to me because I dislike the frying part - so messy!), the donuts turned out to be more like regular yeast buns not real pączki. They tasted really good though and, all in all, I was (we were) really pleased with the results of my work.

My comments on making the donut-buns

The recipe calls for milk but on that day, I had run out of it. At first I thought I would skip making pączki, but finally I decided to use half and half instead. Actually, in recipes for 'real pączki' cream is often used.
I made the dough in a traditional way, by hand. I had to use much more flour than it was listed in the recipe (maybe half and half made the mixture wetter and and more sticky) - about two cups altogether. After 20 - 25 minutes of kneading and spanking (meaning the dough of course), it was ready to be set aside.
I never use any baking paper so I greased the tin with some butter and floured it a little bit. It worked fine.
I stuffed the donuts with raspberry jam only, did not make the custard filling. Since I had never used 'the stuffing tool' before, I was not sure how much jam I was to squeeze into the buns. I did not want it to be that much as shown in the picture which illustrates the recipe by Jenny Jones. Later it appeared I could have pressed a bit more jam inside each of the donuts than I actually did.

One more thing: when a recipe is long, I usually happen to miss some part of it as (most often) I just scan the text while making the food item, looking for the key information such as eg. required temperature of the oven or time of baking. And I did miss the part on brushing the buns with melted butter. Nevertheless, instead of covering them with powdered sugar only (the buns seemed a bit dry indeed), I decided to glaze them with the thick icing made of powdered sugar and some hot water.

Summarizing the recipe experience: the buns/donuts were really enjoyable and not too sweet. Maybe next time when I am ready for some pączki again, I will brush them with butter too.

Recipe - print out version here.

Video by Jenny Jones

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Our First Pol-Tex Home Made Tacos

We like tacos and, from time to time, have them at various restaurants and Tex-Mex food places. Yesterday we had them for dinner - at home too. They were soooooooooooooooooo good! My husband gave them his big YES! too. The meal was really very enjoyable and, what was also good about it, it was quite inexpensive comparing to eating out. We bought taco shells and taco sauce at Dollar Tree . Both products are very good so there is no need to get them/spend more at a different store.

Some of the ingredients


What I used to make our Pol-Tex tacos:

  • 1 lb ground meat,
  • taco seasoning,
  • 8 taco shells.

To serve with tacos:

  • lettuce - cut into small and thin pieces,
  • 1/2 onion - diced,
  • 1 small tomato - diced,
  • cilantro - we used dried cilantro leaves,
  • shredded cheese (Mexican style),
  • taco sauce.

What to do with it all:

1. Brown ground meat.
2. Add taco seasoning and water (follow the instructions provided by the taco seasoning manufacturer).
3. Warm up taco shells in oven (instructions on the box). I kept them in the oven (350F) for 4 minutes.
4. Put the meat and seasoning mixture in your taco.
5. Dress your taco with (whatever you like): taco sauce, lettuce, onion, tomato, cilantro and shredded cheese.

They were best tacos we had had for some time. Surely we are going to have them (at home) more often!