Thursday, May 26, 2011

Party food...Polish-style

Witamy! Polish cuisine lends itself particularly well to cocktail parties, buffet dinners and any other forms of entertaining where food is the star attraction.  We recently signed our books at Salt & Pepper Books in Occoquan VA, and the owner, Christine Myskowski, served samples of our Cucumber Salad (page 21) and Chocolate Mazurka (page 81).  The Cucumber Salad is a heavenly side dish that is light, refreshing and gorgeous on the plate. The dressing of flavored sour cream with generous sprinkles of fresh dill makes this dish a winner every time.  Plus in our book there’s a neat little story about how this salad got its Polish name - Mizeria – and it has nothing to do with being ill. The Chocolate Mazurka has a shortbread-type dough, a semi-sweet icing and has been a winning holiday confection for generations, even for first-time bakers.

We just had a book release party in our home for folks who supported us while we were working on Polish Classic Recipes.  Laura prepared a buffet of eleven different dishes. all recipes from the book. Right next to the Hunter’s Stew (Bigos Mysliwski) -- which is perhaps one of Polish cuisine’s most iconic preparations containing tangy sauerkraut, bits of savory kielbasa and pork loin, dried mushrooms -- we displayed a decadent, silver ice bucket with a very smooth Polish vodka.  Everyone who did shots with me agreed that the Bigos and mini-sized Cabbage Rolls (Golobki, page 46) went down much better with a taste of ice cold spirits.

The Plum Cake (page 77) was a huge hit and worked well in the cocktail party setting because Laura prepared the batter in mini-cupcake pans instead of the traditional 9-inch pan. So, the result was a platter of 1-inch rounds of bite-size of cake, each hiding a piece of succulent plum.  Our guests absolutely loved this!

It’s starting to be strawberry season in the Washington DC area, and our Chilled Fruit Soup recipe (page 38) is an unusual, refreshing starter for any party.  But the great thing is that it is ridiculously easy to make:  puree some strawberries, blend in butter milk, sour cream, and a bit of sugar...chill...and you’re good to go!  How easy is that?

Many thanks to Dan Dalcin, our food stylist and soon-to be-chef for helping prepare dishes for the book release party.  Dan and his Dad, who really worked his fatherly butt off the entire day, pitched in and  together they styled about 150 canap├ęs, just like Matthew Aron Roth’s “extreme” photos on pages 10, 11, 12, and 13.

There was more and I could go on and on, but I’ve run out of space. Smacznego!

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