Thursday, March 24, 2011

Musings of a virgin food stylist...and stuffed cucumbers!

Witamy! Just a few short weeks until our book’s release on Amazon (April 15th) but we’re hoping to mail all the signed copies that have been pre-ordered on our site, a week or so before the 15th.   We’ve already scheduled a few book signings in early May, they’re posted here on the site – on the right side, down a bit.

We want you to meet Daniel Dalcin, a “chef-in-the-making,” which means he is a culinary student here in Washington DC.  Dan artistically arranged the food on the serving plates, so that Matthew could take his great photos.  It was really a team effort – Laura cooked, Dan styled, Matthew shot, I got in their way, and we all tasted! Anyway, we asked Dan to blog about his experience on our book, so this is from Dan:  

Working on the cookbook was a lot of fun! I remember the first day Matt and I went out to Peter and Laura's house. Matt had picked me up from work where I was wearing my slightly dirty and fish-smelling kitchen whites, to go out and meet the authors of this cookbook. I was a little nervous because Matt was wearing a nice button up shirt and slacks, making me think I was going to be the “slobby” under dressed cook – ha-ha.  It was no big deal at all; as soon as we knocked on the door we were greeted by the most friendly couple I've gotten to deal with in a long time.

Peter, throughout the whole cookbook, was the idea man, the revision man and the shopping man. He must have been sick of the local stores in the area by the end of the book. Laura was the kitchen queen, whipping up various dishes for the shoots in only a matter of minutes. She also had a great eye for picking out the backgrounds and helping me choose a plate for the food. 

It was hardly what I would call "going to work". It was more like hanging out with some good friends and tasting some awesome new food, while making a nationally published cookbook on the side. I always looked forward to spending the day there, listening to various kinds of music, but Peter always insisted on NO RAP! Peter and Laura also had become grandparents soon before we got to meet them, so it was cool to see a whole wall of pictures of the new baby develop from week to week.

All in all we made a good team and I think it shows in the cook book. Keep your eyes peeled for the next volume, and if it's Deserts then let’s hope Matt has a big enough lens to frame me and my possibly 50 extra pounds of body mass.


Here’s a tasty snack or appetizer that show’s France’s influence on classic Polish cuisine, as well as our love for sour cream.  It’s so easy and tasty that your kids will have a ball with it, plus it’s a great new way to use up some left over ham after Easter. Smacznego!

Stuffed Cucumbers

4 cucumbers, peeled  (straight ones will work better)
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 cups lean finely chopped ham
¾ cup sour cream
¼ cup prepared horseradish

Cut each cucumber in half, length wise.  Scoop out just the seeds making a small trough down the length of the cucumber. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, and vinegar.  Let stand for two hours while the liquid leaches out.  Drain.  In a bowl combine ham with sour cream.  Add the horseradish a little at a time, tasting frequently.  Fill the hollowed out cucumber halves with the ham mix – about a quarter cup each.  Serve with a warm, crispy French baguette.

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