Thursday, March 3, 2011


First, I apologize for disappearing for two months: I've been awfully busy and sometimes sick,not to mention that I hate winter and if choosing would hibernate till mids of march. Now I'm back with some sweets, because in my opinion this is what we do the best: sweet, greasy, deadly good baking:)

Second, before I start explaining why the rest of the world celebrates Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday and we celebrate Tłusty Czwartek, Fat Thursday let me show you this amazing cookbook of my gradma's. I never saw her cooking from it, so I never had a chance to take a peek inside and when I finally did (recently) I was amazed by the fotos. It's a book from the sixties and contains some awfully Technicolor-ish funny arranged photos - I wanted to show you some, but my photo cannot transmit the original coloring. It also has some black and white shots that are at least weird:

There's something about the way they were taken, or the contrast, or merely their weird subjects (i.e. how to arrange plums in a cake; how to put a jelly in a glass to make it look good; shots of 60's kitchen appliances) that captured my attention and I became a bit obsessed by them; finally I decided to make some kitchen decoration with them. I'll show you when they're finished.

There's also a lot of characteristic "socialist" design that no book would be complete without:

Well, enough about my design obsessions and back to cooking.

The Carnival ends next Wednesday so today a Fat Week is starting: the last occasion to party before lent, which is, by the way, still important to most of the people, in a very weird way ( like, they pretend not to eat meat and do not listen to dance music... and, of course, go to church), but still. To celebrate it, we eat pączki (recipe follows in next post), oponki, faworki (recipe next Tuesday)- all kinds of deep fried pastry. Why is it deep fried? To go well with lots of alcohol, of course:) Today's recipe, oponki - meaning little tires - are curd cheese-based tire-shaped sweets decorated with icing sugar. I wanted to make those this year because they were the only thing I learned how to cook in school; I was twelve when I made them las time and remembered only that I liked them and the dough had no eggs in it. Since I really wanted to try frying something tofu based, I went with these. A total success except for one thing: I forgot how tall the rolled dough should be and they went out kind of flat. Flat tires, it is. But don't worry, now that I figured what size they should be I'll include it in my recipe:)

3 cups flour
200 g natural firm tofu, as fresh as possible
1 cup sugar
8 tablespoons oil
8 tablespoons soymilk (I used vanilla) + 3/4 tablespons to add if dry
2 teaspoons baking powder

oil for deep frying
icing sugar to decorate

Crumble your tofu into a big bowl, add soymilk and oil and blend until smooth and creamy. Add the rest of ingredients and begin kneading until it forms a ball (you might need some more milk but do not add more fat, ever). Roll the dough in two batches - it should be 1,5-2 cm thick. with a big cup start cutting out circles and then, with a much smaller one (in Poland we always use vodka shot glasses for it, but since you might not have them use something in similar size) cut out a small circle inside, creating a tire. Repeat until you run out of dough; you may make something with the rests, for example, my sister made very natural looking dough rats:)

Now frying: traditionally in a deep pan full of oil, which is what I consider dangerous and also it might result with very greasy pastry due to temperature. I used a deep-fryer, the kind you make french fries in and they went out perfect. Anyway, the temperature should be about 180C (350F), you rinse them for two minutes and take out. This is how they're supposed to look right after frying (remember that mine are flatter than they should be):

Let them rest in a big patch of paper towels to drain out the fat. Properly done, they should be delicious and not soaked in oil (yet still greasy, I'm sorry). When they cool down a bit decorate with icing sugar and serve slightly warm. They are not resistant and not even half as delicious the day after, so make sure you have some guest the day you fry them:) This recipe makes about 20 oponki.


Tomorrow something for people who don't like fried stuff: baked Polish doughnuts:)

A special message for Ryan: I WILL make faworki (chruściki) next Tuesday because 1) this is the day to eat them 2) My stomach won't stand so many fried sweets and I already ate a lot of oponki yesterday and today, so I need a few days to rest:)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tomato soup, twice

This would be my last MoFo post - didn't make it to 15 recipes this time, but at least I dared to try:) This time I've got two tomato soup recipes, one classic and one mine: quick and spicy.

Tomato soup is omnipresent in polish houses: this would be the most popular soup too. Everybody makes it and there are various kinds that people swear to be the only original ones: the basic questions is, do you use pasta or rice? Then: sweet or salty? white (=with sour cream) or not? Parsley on top? 
This is my family recipe, with rice, not sweet (I never really understood how people can add sugar to a soup with a carrot cooked in broth in it!) and without sour cream, with parsley on top. Enjoy!

Classic Tomato soup for 6 people

veggie broth, 2 l
2 medium carrots
a quarter celeriac root
 one parsley root (save the leaves)
 one medium leek
3-4 allspice berries
1-2 bay leaf
5-6 big ripe tomatoes
a big handful of rice

Boil the broth and cook whole carrots, celeriac, parsley and chopped leek in it with allspice and bay leaf. In a separate pan cook peeled tomatoes until they fall apart and blend. Take out of broth all the veggies except a carrot and discard (=eat apart if you like it). Mix in the tomato puree and boil again; when boiling add rice and salt to taste. The soup is ready when the rice is cooked.

Now my fast food version. I especially enjoy making it at eleven PM when you're not supposed to eat anything, but you're hungry anyway and maybe a little cold too. Great to warm up in a snowy day (do you have snow yet? Too much in here)
1 cup tomato puree
1 cup veggie broth
2 spoons olive oil
1 teaspoon powdered garlic
1 teaspoon powdered sweet chili
1 handful of tiny, quick-cooking pasta
salt and pepper to taste (I use cayenne pepper for better kick)

Boil the broth, add tomato puree and olive oil and boil for 5 minutes. Add spices to taste and pasta; the soup is ready when pasta's ready. Simple and so good.

I'm really glad I started this blog again and that I participated in MoFo. I promise to not disappear next month and show you some delicious Christmas recipes.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Quick side dish: breaded green beans

My parents were renovating the kitchen last week (actually, they still didn't finish, but at least the oven is plugged and accessible), so I couldn't cook anything.  Bad luck; I may not make it to the 15 recipes I promised.

I heard, once, that the only practical innovation in world cuisine that polish kitchen has made was the custom of topping the veggies with breadcrumbs. I strongly disagree with that, but it occurred to me lately that maybe some people don't know about this simplest way to serve veggies ever. Polish kids tend to eat them just for the crumbs.

The recipe is very simple, actually a no-recipe. first, cook your green beans (or other veggie; it is traditionally used with cabbage, cauliflower and other stinky things) - I like to steam mine - and heat a pan. Put some oil on it, I use olive oil for the taste, then begin to stir in the breadcrumbs. Some people add salt and pepper, I like to experiment with tastes and often produce very spicy crumbs. Fry them until golden brown, stirring constantly to prevent from sticking. Now top your green beans with it and serve warm as a side dish.

BTW, if you like green beans, here's a recipe I recently found and it's amazing; I cooked my beans in dried sage infusion and they came out fantastic.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Some fun from I eat trees.

What is one food you thought you’d miss when you went vegan, but don’t?
I thought I'd have problem with milk chocolate, but I just forgot about it. Now when occasionally  I'm eating sweet chocolate, I don't like the taste.
What is a food or dish you wouldn’t touch as a child, but enjoy now?
That would be coffee, potatoes, beets, and cauliflower. Also, I hated some kinds of scrambled eggs (with tomato, with mushrooms, creamy...) which resulted edible once I switched eggs with tofu:)

What vegan dish or food you feel like you “should” like, but don’t?
I hate buckwheat. I know it's good and cheap and so on, but I can't stand it. I'm also not a fan of corn, mushrooms, barley, rye flour, brussels, parsley and tons of other vegetables, but I eat those sometimes.

What beverage do you consume the most of on any given day?
I don't drink much, almost nothing, so that would be tea I'm having for my breakfast every day.

What dish are you “famous” for making or bringing to gatherings?
farfalle olive salad. And muffins.

Do you have any self-imposed food rules (like no food touching on the plate or no nuts in sweets)?
Yes, I hate to mix my salad with other dishes, so I eat it separately. I also don't drink while eating (not a rule, just a childhood habit) and don't cook my vegetables in water: almost every vegetable stinks after that.
What’s one food or dish you tend to eat too much of when you have it in your home?
Strawberry yogurt disappears in seconds.

What ingredient or food do you prefer to make yourself despite it being widely available prepackaged?
Hmm... maybe mix of herbs? I usually buy prepackaged things. Oh, chickpeas, I buy them dry, not canned.

What ingredient or food is worth spending the extra money to get “the good stuff”?
soy sauce, tea, ketchup, bread

Are you much of a snacker?  What are your favorite snacks?
Yes. Popcorn is my favorite, spicy peanuts in caramel (a mix of spiced peanuts and caramel-coated ones), homemade croutons and dry dates.

What are your favorite vegan pizza toppings?
Some spicy peanut sauce; I can't remember where I found the recipe. The rest is classic: tomatoes, olives, garlic...

What is your favorite vegetable?  Fruit?
Tomato and Pomelo.

What is the best salad dressing?
Ginger Miso dressing from Skinny Bitch - the only recipe I liked in this book:)

What is your favorite thing to put on toasted bread?
olive oil and tomato puree, spanish style.

What kind of soup do you most often turn to on a chilly day or when you aren’t feeling your best?
hot tomato soup is the best

What is your favorite cupcake flavor? Frosting flavor?
peanut butter cupcakes from VCTOTW rock my world. I hate frosting.

What is your favorite kind of cookie?
gingerbread I think.  I also like apple cinnamon shortbread one chain of supermarket sells. I used to lie oatmeal until I became vegan and they became the only cookies I can buy in most places (= the only sweets people buy when I come to visit)

What is your most-loved “weeknight meal”?

What is one dish or food you enjoy, but can’t get anyone else in your household to eat?
Tofu looks suspicious to most of people. Also the crowd seems not to share my love to cornmeal waffles.

How long, in total,  do you spend in the kitchen on an average day?
I tend to sit in my kitchen and do things there, but if you mean cooking, that would be an hour max.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


No recipe this time, only some information (and borrowed photos). Today is our Independence Day. Every National Holiday is sad here - no parades, no picnics, no fun - so people are not gathering nor celebrating at home. The only exception is my city, Poznań, where we have a special celebration: st. Martin's Day. There's a colorful parade on st. Martin Street, concerts, some other attraction and a culinary specialty sold only by those bakeries who certificate their recipe is traditional: rogale marcińskie.

Those are croissant-shaped, made out of pastry called here "half puff": it's yeast dough rolled like puff pastry. They are filled with white poppy and nut filling, glazed with icing and chopped walnuts. Not vegan, obviously; I only show it here as something interesting.

In general, people don't make those at home, only buy them, but some housewives make their version out of yeast dough like this one, and fill with black poppy filling (white poppy is extremely hard to find, and very expensive), prepared like here. I'm not a huge fan so I'm probably never gonna make it, but if you want, you may give it a try; it will be a challenge.

These are not my photos: by clicking one you should be transferred to a site where they come from

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


A classic wintertime comfort food: cucumber soup made out of pickles. To clarify things, I found this article on Wiki and repeat that for this soup we use cucumbers pickled in salt water. In Poland, we have three ways to make pickles and each one is used in other recipes:

- konserwowe: pickled in vinegar for a few days, can be bought in a jar as "swedish salad", used for salads and herring dishes. Also some degenerates like me eat them out of jar while watching movie, especially when I run out of popcorn
- kiszone: pickled in closed jars or kegs , in salted water, for a few weeks. Used in salads, raw, as a side dish, to eat with vodka, for soups or stuffing
- małosolne or kwaszone: pickled in salted water for a few days, usually in an open dish. Have mellow taste, are not that sour as kiszone and much lighter in colour. Eaten raw in summer, with crackers or between vodka shots:)

In here, we use that second type. The soup is sour and rich due to potatoes that are cooked in broth, releasing starch to the liquid. Some people add sour cream to it before serving: I leave that up to you, personally find it disgusting.

Pickle soup:
2 l veggie broth
2 big carrots, peeled
1 big parsley root
4 medium potatoes
a quarter celeriac root (optional, I don't like the taste it brings)
3 large pickles
3/4 cup pickle juice (the liquid pickles are floating in)
some allspice and pepper, salt
optional: sour cream, chopped dill to garnish

Cut the carrots in cubes, shred the celeriac and parsley roots. Add to broth, salt a bit and begin to cook till carrot is al dente. Then add peeled & cubed potatoes, cook till tender again. Finally add shredded pickles and coo for 10-15 minutes more. Pour in pickle juice and turn off the heat.

If you want to serve the soup with cream, wait till it cools down a bit and first mix the cream with a cup of soup liquid, then add to the pot. Traditionally served sprinkled with fresh dill.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Who wants some beer cookies?

I found this recipe in my mother's cooking notebook: she never made those but recalls it from her parent's house, which means it comes from PRL (People's Republic of Poland) times = communist times. Some ingredients, also the obvious ones (eggs, butter, sugar) were hard to find so people were preparing dishes from few, sometimes bizarre, ingredients, which helps to veganize them. If a cake recipe calls for only one egg and soda instead of milk it's much easier to adapt it than a classic pie made out of 12 egg yolks, discard the whites. Just like this one: only beer, flour and margarine. And some marmalade.

Beer cookies

2 cups flour
100 g cold shortening (of very firm margarine)
half cup of your favorite beer

a jar of marmalade of your choice. Firm!

The recipe tells to shred the shortening, which is something I find literally impossible, so I cut it in small cubes instead. Then, add the flour and make crumbles. Finally, pour your beer, mix with your hand and knead to form a ball of dough. Let it rest in the fridge for 1,5 do 2 hours.

Divide the dough in half and roll into rectangular shape. Begin to cut it in squares (or rectangles, if impossible). Then pour about 1 teaspoon of marmalade in the middle of each square and fold it in half to create a triangle but DO NOT PRESS THE EDGES TO SEAL IT. The should be open and the marmalade visible after baking. If, like me, you cut out some squares that are rather rectangles, fold them to create squares - the will look like little books when done.

Repeat with the rest of your dough. Bake for 25-30 minutes - until golden - in 175C/300F. There is a big  - huge, actually - possibility that your marmalade will start to leak out and burn in the baking sheet, so don't place the cookies too near each other to prevent them in stick to bitter, caramelized jam. Cool down completely before serving.

These are delicious, but remember that the pastry is completely sugarless = not sweet at all. If you have kids or a sweet tooth you might consider sprinkling them with sugar before baking. I also thing that this recipe makes a great tart crust.