Archive for category Food

>Lazy pierogi

>I was craving cheese pierogi tonight but was also disinterested in spending hours in the kitchen inhaling flour.  Polish meal known as the “lazy pierogi” came to mind and it seemed like the perfect alternative to the real thing.   So I called mom and got the recipe because of course she has them all memorized in her head. 
And I made the lazy cheese pierogi. (Which by the way, is often misspelled as “pierogies” because pierogi is already plural!) And though they were considerably less time consuming to make, I would not call them lazy. The good thing is that this dish captures the flavor of pierogi, and yet it takes about an hour to prepare.  But if you’re feeling really lazy and have to eat some pierogi, your best option is to just go out and buy some.

My “lazy pierogi” served with vanilla yogurt and raspberries.


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>This is one of my all time favorite foods!  It’s kind of like a pizza with a Polish twist: it has butter spread instead of a tomato sauce.  And toppings go in reverse order: mushrooms, shredded cheese and ketchup on top. I like mine nice and simple, and with lots of mushrooms, but bacon works very well and can be added, as well as any other pizza-type toppings.  This time I used mini Portuguese rolls so they are great as an appetizer or party finger food.  I love it so much that I make it at least twice a month. 

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>A pre-Valentine’s treat


I may not be a Wolfgang Puck in the kitchen but these heart-shaped Belgian waffles made by truly yours are to die for.  

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>It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas …

>Preparations for Christmas Eve supper (Wigilia) are underway at the Szymanska household. There are twelve traditional Polish dishes to be made by Friday and four sets of hands diligently working together. First on the list are uszka, (meaning “little ears” in Polish) small dumplings filled with mushrooms and served with red borscht.

The company of my sisters and mom as we sit around the table preparing the food makes this one of my favorite times during the holidays.

Making a list and checking it twice. (A list of 12 dishes is always at hand.)
Mom and Viola making uszka; spreading the mushroom stuffing on each square of dough.
Then the dough is closed at opposite corners to create little ears.
(An army of little ears are waiting to be boiled.)
Things always come out better with my lucky apron on.
Also made is Bigos (stew of cabbage and meat) with kielbasa and plums. Here, it’s being cooked the second time over. It will hit the stove one more time (for total of three times) before it reaches it’s wonderful Wigilia flavor.
And of course, a homemade piernik (gingerbread) is a must during the Christmas holiday.

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>Food Craving: Polish chrusciki

>Now that my Autumn nut cravings have passed, I’ve moved on to crave sweets.  So what am I to do when I get a sudden urge to eat Chrusciki at 11 p.m.on a week day? Nothing, but make, shoot and devour them.

Chrusciki also known as angel wings are a light and crispy deep fried pastry sprinkled with confectionery sugar. They are traditional Polish pastry typically enjoyed during Christmas time, Easter, Fat Thursday o during those uncontrollable sweets cravings.

Chrusciki are generally made in a shape of a twisted ribbon but I really wanted to use my new star-shaped cookie cutters. Perhaps it was the first snow earlier this week that put me into the holiday spirit.
I made about 50 stars.
They are best if consumed while still hot. Enjoy (the picture)!

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>Best Salad. Ever!

>I love salads. Let me tell you. Fresh lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, buffalo chicken, croutons, and creamy ranch dressing is what I like in my salad.  But the other day,  when I visited my mom, she’d made a Polish style salad.  Eating it brought back so many good memories from Poland and eating dinner as a family. 

Today I made my own Polish style salad.

Three key ingredients are Boston lettuce, radishes and green onions. (Boston lettuce which is originally grown in North America, is the variety that is most appealing to Europeans.)
The lettuce leaves, sliced radishes, chopped green onions and salted sour cream.
All the ingredients are mixed well together.
This salad is meant to be served as a side dish to dinner. 
 Below pictured with home-made chicken tenders and mashed potatoes.

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>Gum and Onion…


… go together like pasta and Italian.
I use quite a bit of onions in my cooking and that means peeling and cutting onions has been really dreadful to me for obvious reasons. That is until, I popped a Snapple cap one day and it changed my life.  According to Snapple’s Real Fact #28, chewing gum while chopping onions will keep you from crying.  Since I’m a bit skeptical about things I read under bottle caps, I was curious to see if it really worked.  So I tried it the next time I was cutting onions and sure enough, I didn’t shed a single tear!  So how is it possible, you ask? Well, after doing a quick research online I found out it’s not magic afterall. has the answer: “Chewing gum is sort of a gimmick; it keeps your mouth open and breathing more than usual. This means that the onion fumes aren’t all entering you nasal cavity in as much of a concentration and thus reduces the effect.”    
So there you have it… simple solution to a serious problem.  Now, if chewing gum worked on crying babies…
There was no sobbing during this photo shoot.

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>Cinco De Mayo


In celebration of May 5th, I prepared a Mexican inspired dinner: Crunchy tacos with hamburger, rice and melted cheese.

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>Cakes, Jelly, Rice and Cherry

>They started when I was pregnant and continue to this day.  These sudden food cravings and addictions to certain sweets.  So, I want to introduce my newest sweet addiction: Rice cakes. I have skipped few along the way since roasted hazelnuts, like buttery croissants with honey and cinnamon buns. But this one is just too good to keep a secret.

They are Stew Leonard’s own Freshly Popped Rice Cakes. With only 15 Calories per rice cake they’re an ultimate guilt-free snack for anyone! The cakes’ maker at Stew Leonard’s suggested eating them with a peanut butter spread. So, I tried that and they were good. But it wasn’t until I experimented with cherry jelly that I became hooked!

So, there you have it.  Cherry jelly rice cakes. My newest addiction.

They are so addicing, in fact, that I can eat a whole stack (shown below) in one sitting. 
And that’s exactly what happened after this photo shoot was over.

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>Fat Thursday

>In Brazil and New Orleans carnival is celebrated with street parades, but in Poland it’s too cold so we eat paczki. Paczki (pronounced: pounchki) are very popular Polish doughnuts most commonly filled with strawberry marmalade.

In Polish tradition, the Tuesday before Ash Wedensday, is called The Herring Day.  On this day you party as much as you can and eat a lot of herrings as it’s the last day before Lent.  Thursday before Ash Wednesday is Fat Thursday also known as Paczki Day.  And on this day you forget all about your diet and eat moutains of paczki and other things fat, greasy and generally unhealthy but delicious.

The best paczki are from a Polish bakery.

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