Wednesday, September 21, 2022

On June 2, 2022, my husband, Peter, lost his long battle with cancer. His last few days were spent peacefully at home under hospice care surrounded by his family. This blog was a very special project for him. He enjoyed sharing his love for Polish food and culture and he loved hearing from all our followers. Many thanks to all of you for the love you showed both of us over the years as we traveled to various programs and festivals.
This Friday, September 23, would have been Peter's 75th birthday and the family has chosen this time to celebrate his life with our close friends. The menu will include some of his favorite foods including gołąbki and his favorite birthday dessert, Walnut Torte. There, without a doubt, will be many toasts and shots of Polish vodka. Our family hopes that all of our followers will raise a glass in remembrance of this man who is greatly missed.

The recipe for the Walnut Torte can be found on page 86 of Polish Classic Recipes.

Please stayed tuned. I would like to continue the blog but it may take me a while to figure it all out. Most of my time was spent cooking and baking the recipes that were posted but Peter was the wizard behind the blog. Hope to see all of you soon.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

 Wesołych Świąt (Happy Easter)! 

Our Easter menu has remained pretty much the same through four generations and over 70 years since the Zeranski’s emigrated from Europe.  For 2022 it will be again be a blend of Polish traditional delicacies with some American favorites – all intended to please our family’s diverse palates. 

Poles the world over love their Easter sweets, many of which can be found in our book: Polish Classic Desserts. 

The cornerstones of the main menu are always platters of traditional sliced ham, kielbasa, roast pork and more.  

On the side we sip traditional peppery Barszcz (clear beet broth).  The combination of sweet and peppery flavors balance so well with the rustic garlicky kielbasa and more delicate vegetables. 

For dessert Laura always has such a hard time choosing between the traditional Babas, Cheesecakes or Mazurkas.  Everyone’s mouths are already watering intensely with the anticipation of this meal.

As we start to make our plans for this wonderfully traditional Easter meal, we quickly understand that a couple of sauces to garnish the cold sliced meats, are the true difference-makers that elevate the feast to the next level.   These are classics and easy to prepare ahead of time.  A dollop or two on your plate, right next to the ham and kielbasa, will kick the flavors up and make the meal truly memorable…until next year.  

Mustard Sauce   (Makes 1 cup)
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 cup sour cream
Salt to taste
¼ teaspoon sugar

Mix all ingredients well. Chill well.   

Green Onion Sauce   (Makes 1 ½ cups)
1 cup sour cream
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
4 tablespoon chopped green onions
¼ teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Salt to taste

Mix all the ingredients.  Chill well.  

Beets & Horseradish   (Makes 2 cups)
2 14.5 ounce cans beets (not pickled), drained & rough-chopped 
5 ounces prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon sugar

Combine all ingredients, place in an airtight sealed container.  Best after 24 hours.  We often add an ounce or two of more horseradish just before serving for an even stronger kick.   

Dill Pickle Sauce   (Makes 3 cups)
1 ½ tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons instant flour
½ cup beef stock or bouillon (hot)
3 large dill pickles, shredded
½ cup dill pickle liquid from the jar
½ cup sour cream
Salt to taste

Mix butter with flour over low heat. Gradually stir in the hot bouillon and then the pickle juice. Bring to a light boil, stirring constantly. Add the pickles and sour cream.  Heat, but do not boil. Add salt to taste.  Serve warm. 


Monday, January 17, 2022

Polish-Hungarian Goulash

 Witamy!     Brrrrr!  It’s cold in many parts of the world so preparing delicious, stick-to-your-ribs comfort food is a top dinner choice for many cooks.  One-pot meals are especially appreciated because they don’t have to take a lot of prep time and can be left alone while cooking.  This is especially true of dishes that can be prepared in a slow cooker or crock pot.  We love one-pot meals because the left-over’s can be reheated a couple of times and often taste better over time.  That’s because the ingredients have more time to infuse into the whole dish.

Students of classic Polish cuisine will know that many Polish dishes evolved from recipes first popularized in near-by  countries.  That occurred for two main reasons --  first was the inter-marriages of nobility from neighboring countries, dating as far back as the 14th century.  The second reason has to do with Poland’s long history of changing borders.  During the last 100 years or so, Poland’s land mass was claimed and occupied by several countries such as Germany and Russia.  The result was an integration of cultures, customs and food that took hold over time.

Here is an economical and tasty one-pot dish that borrows heavily from its Hungarian roots yet still retains a Polish spin through the inclusion of caraway.  It's actually better if made a day early and reheated,  but that takes patience.  (The dish actually tastes much better than the photo looks.)   Smacznego!

Goulash With Sauerkraut

½ pound of bacon, diced
4 medium onions, sliced
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 cup water
4 pounds stewing beef, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 green peppers, cored and sliced
Salt, to taste
2 pounds sauerkraut, drained and rinsed very well
2 cups cooked rice
1 pint sour cream

Brown the meat on all sides and set aside.  Sauté the bacon until transparent.  Add the onions and sauté until golden.  Add the paprika, caraway seeds and garlic.  Mix well.  Transfer to a pot, add the water, meat, peppers.  Cover tightly and simmer for one hour.  Taste the liquid and add more paprika and caraway if desired.  (We happen to like bolder flavors and usually add more flavorings than most recipes call for.)  Add the sauerkraut and simmer for one more hour.  Taste again.  Let cool, If you have the time, refrigerate overnight.  Before your meal, reheat the goulash slowly. Before serving, add the cooked rice, bring to a low boil while stirring.  Remove from the heat.  Stir in the sour cream.  Serve in large bowls with crusty bread, sweet butter, and your favorite adult beverage.    
Serves 12