Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Apple Pie In Custard

It’s apple season.  Our 6-year old granddaughter Lucy loves to visit near-by apple orchards for the apple picking, cool & tangy fresh cider, caramel apples on a stick, or jars of super-fresh apple butter.  The bees or wasps that hang around the cider-pressing hut are a bother, but the payoff in your mouth is tremendous.
image courtesy of
The idea of fruit pies covered with custard allegedly originated in Switzerland.  It’s long been a favorite Sunday treat for European families everywhere, including Poland, because it’s not too sweet,

not overly heavy, but healthful and nourishing.                                                              

Serves 6
1 ¾ cups flour
Pinch salt
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 pound plus 1 tablespoon sweet butter
I egg
Or, one store-bought pie dough

4 medium tart apples, peeled & sliced
½ cup milk
1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons sugar
½ cup whipping cream
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 °F.  For the dough, combine the flour with salt and sugar.  Cut the butter into the flour and crumble with your fingertips. Add the egg and knead the dough quickly. Refrigerate for half an hour.  Or, use your favorite defrosted store-bought pie dough.

Roll out the dough and transfer to cover the bottom and sides of the 9 to 10 inch pie pan.  Pierce in a few places with a fork.
 Image courtesy of                                                                                                   
Arrange the apple slices loosely on the crust in the pie pan.  Fill up the pan at least half way.  Combine all of the ingredients for the custard in a blender until smooth.  Slowly pour over the apples.   
Bake for 40 minutes or until the apples are soft.  Sprinkle a little cinnamon on top and decorate if you wish. Serve warm.
image courtesy of


Friday, July 29, 2016

More Classic Polish Summer Salads


Poles have loved raw vegetable salads ever since they were introduced by Italian nobility in the 14th and 15th centuries.  Their bright colors enhance every plate and with heir fresh crunch, vegetables pair well with almost any main course for dinner or lunch.  And best yet, they’re a healthy way to improve your family’s diet.   Favorite “binders” are sour cream and favorite seasonings are dill, chopped green onion or lemon juice.  Now that hot weather is here and the farmer’s markets are trending big, there’s not much better than a fresh chilled salad on your plate.  These Polish classic salads are light, refreshing and pair well with just about any main course on today’s menu.  
(Note:  these salads lend themselves especially well to modern kitchen tools such as food processors or mandolin slicers.)

            (image courtesy of
Tomato Cucumber Salad
Serves 6

1 medium cucumber, peeled and sliced
4 medium tomatoes,  sliced
Salt to taste
¼ teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon chopped green onion
1 tablespoon chopped dill (fresh is best)
1 teaspoon white vinegar

Arrange your tomato and cucumber slices alternately on a long serving dish.  Sprinkle with salt, sugar, green onions and dill.  Sprinkle with the vinegar.

Polish Summer Salad
Serves 6
2 heads butter lettuce
8 to 10 medium radishes, sliced
1 large cucumber, sliced
1 cup sour cream
Sugar and salt to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

image courtesy
Wash the lettuce, separate the leaves and dry, then tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces.  Combine with radishes and cucumber slices.  Season the sour cream with sugar and salt and pour over the vegetables.  Sprinkle dill over top.  Serve immediately.  (Note, if you wait too long before serving, the cucumbers will start giving off liquid and the lettuce will wilt).

Radishes & Cottage Cheese
Serves 6

1 bunch red radishes, sliced
1 cup of creamy cottage cheese
1 tablespoon chopped green onions
Salt to taste
Lettuce leaves

Fold the radishes into the cottage cheese.  Top with green onions and salt.  Chill well.  Serve on the lettuce leaves or as a spread on your favorite crusty bread.

Cabbage & Pickle Salad
Serves 6

2 cups shredded cabbage
2 medium dill pickles, coarsely shredded
½ teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons pickle juice (from the jar)
2 tablespoons salad oil
1 small tomato, sliced

Combine the cabbage and pickles.  Mix in the salt, sugar, pickle juice, and oil.  Arrange on a pretty dish. Chill well.  Garnish with tomato slices and serve.

image courtesy of

Sauerkraut, Apple & Carrot Salad
Serves 4

½ pound sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
1 large sweet apple, shredded
3 tablespoons salad oil
1 teaspoon chopped green onions

Rinse the sauerkraut really well, squeeze to drain and chop or shred finely. Sprinkle with sugar.  Mix in the carrots, apples and oil.  Chill well.  Taste before serving and perhaps add more sugar if needed.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Summer Vegetables "Polonaise"

We love vegetables from the farm.  

When just picked, they are so fresh, vibrant and full of flavor.  Now that we’re in the primo harvesting season we’re eating a lot more green, yellow and orange stuff than ever before.  Right now in our fridge and pantry we’ve got: fresh asparagus, a yellow cauliflower, green & yellow beans,  a big bunch of very young carrots, orange beets,

 kale, and some zucchini we just brought home.  We hope the two of us can eat all that before it spoils. We see a couple of vegetarian meals in our near future!

But...Peter is always encouraging Laura to add layers of flavor to the vegetables. 

She’s happy with just a little butter and salt & pepper,  but Peter is all about attacking his taste buds with the flavors of garlic, herbs, infused oils, balsamic vinegar, lemon zest, and more.

One delicious and easy way to satisfying
his flavor cravings is to prepare the vegetables the Polish way - “polonaise style.” 

This works with brussels sprouts,  beans, asparagus,  cauliflower,  young carrots, or whatever you can get at the market.  In fact, this preparation will work well with frozen vegetables (egads!) if you are pressed for time.  Try it tonight!

Serves 6
1½ pounds of vegetables
½ teaspoon of sugar
½ teaspoon salt
Salt & Pepper to taste
Lemon Zest (optional)
2 teaspoons of butter
2 tablespoons of toasted plain bread crumbs

Clean and prepare the vegetables in your usual way.  Rinse them well.  Boil a small amount of water in your pot, add the salt and sugar.  Cook the vegetables for about 10 to 15 minutes (depending on the vegetable) until just under done (remember they will continue to cook and soften on the platter.  Drain well and place in a warmed serving dish.

Melt the butter over a low heat and mix in the breadcrumbs.  Sautee for just a few minutes until golden brown and sprinkle over the vegetables.  Add salt & pepper to taste.  Optionally, sprinkle a little lemon zest over the top for a little extra kick. 

Note:   Peter likes a heavier dose of breadcrumbs so Laura often doubles the recipe, depending on the amount of vegetables being served.  But keep in mind that this is a topping to be sprinkled lightly.