Sunday, July 28, 2013

More houswifing.

   You probably think what's up with all this canning and preserving, but I'm telling you, there is nothing better than a home made fruit jam. I know that some people might be scared and intimidated by canning and think that it takes long time and cost a lot of money. It couldn't be further from the truth. We always go to the farm to pick our own fruit, which is way cheaper and way better than a store bought, and the canning itself takes no more then an hour (this blueberry jam took me 15 minutes from the beginning to the end - seriously!!!). And just wait when you taste it... it's amazing. You can actually taste the fruit, it's not too sweet, it's tangy and chunky. Just a perfect jam. From 3 pounds of blueberries I got 7 jars of jam... and I "tasted" some on the way.


*  3 lbs fresh blueberries
*  1 cup sugar
*  1 tbsp lemon juice
*  2 tbsp pectin


1. Wash and drain blueberries, transfer them into a big pot and crush them gently with a potato masher. I don't crush all of them, I like chunks of fruit in my jam.
2. Bring blueberries to boil, add sugar and lemon juice and cook on high heat for 5 minutes (constantly stirring). Add pectin and boil for 1 minute.
3. In the meantime, boil small jars and lids for about 4-5 minutes.
4. Transfer hot jam into a hot jars, wipe the edges of the jar, cover with hot lid and close tightly. Repeat with remaining jars and fruit.
5. Transfer jars into a boiling water (make sure that the water doesn't touch the lids) and boil for 5 minutes. Transfer onto a kitchen towel until lids "pop" and jam cools down. Store in room temperature, on your pantry shelf.

   I have to warn you that it is not too sweet. I just hate over-sweetened jams, where you can't really taste any fruit and it's like eating a bowl of sugar. So if you like your jam a little bit sweeter, you can add some extra  sugar... just taste it as you are making it. I think this one is just perfect!


Sunday, July 21, 2013


   Ever since I was a kid, summer was always a season for canning and pickling in our house. When I was little it was really hard to buy fresh veggies in the middle of the winter in Poland, so everybody always made sure that they have plenty of canned and jarred food. During the summer everything is in season, ripe, fresh and cheap, so it's the perfect time to do your pickling. I'm sure I already mentioned many, many times that I am a huge fan of pickled veggies (all of them), so of course I had to do some "housewifing" and make my own assorted pickled vegetables. Here is my recipe (made 6 large jars):


*  1 cauliflower, cut into small pieces
*  2-3 cups fresh green beans, cut into halves
*  3 red bell peppers, cut into pieces
*  1 1/2 cup small white onions
*  5-6 garlic cloves

*  12 cups water
*  2 cups white vinegar
*  3/4 cup sugar
*  1 tbsp salt
*  10 allspice berries


1. Blanch the cauliflower and green beans in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and put into ice water to stop the cooking.
2. To prepare the pickling liquid, combine water, vinegar, sugar, salt, and allspice berries and boil for 2-3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and keep slowly simmering.
3. In a large pot, boil the jars and lids for couple of minutes. Remove one jar from boiling water, fill with combination of veggies, add one clove of garlic to each jar, add boiling pickling liquid, cover with hot lid and close tightly. Repeat the process with remaining jars and veggies.
4. Place filled jars into a pot with boiling water (make sure that water doesn't touch the lid) and boil everything on medium heat for about 5 minutes.
5. Place on the kitchen towel and let it cool and seal. To make sure it's sealed check if the lid "popped" - it might take up to 30-40 minutes.

   I like my pickles really acidic, so if you are not fan of it, you might want to cut down on vinegar. Regardless the recipe, your best bet is always to taste it as you go... and if you need to add more vinegar and sugar to make it to your liking, go for it. You can use it on sandwiches, as an appetizer, as a side dish... whatever floats your boat! I love pickled veggies, so I have no problems finding a "use" for them.

Good luck,

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Jagodzianki z kruszonka.

   Yes, the title is in Polish. Not because I couldn't come up with an English version of it, but because it just can't be any other way. Jagodzianki are the most delicious summer staples of Poland. Fluffy, sweet, yeast based buns stuffed with blueberries and covered with a crumbly topping. I'm sure that all my Polish friends will agree with me that there couldn't be any other title than the one I wrote. You can find them in most Polish bakeries all year around, but there is absolutely nothing better that jagodzianki made by your grandma in the middle of the blueberry season. So since we went to pick our own blueberries few days ago, I decided to make my grandmas famous jagodzianki z kruszonka! The recipe makes 16.


*  4 cups all-purpose flour
*  3/4 cup sugar
*  pinch of salt
*  1 egg
*  1 glass of warm milk
*  2 tbsp dry yeast
*  4 tbsp melted butter

*  3 cups fresh blueberries
*  1/2 cup sugar

*  4 tbsp cold butter
*  4 tbsp sugar
*  8 tbsp flour
*  1 egg, beaten


1. Mix warm milk with yeast and 1 tbsp of sugar, stir together and let it stand for 5-6 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, sift flour together with  sugar, salt. Add egg, melted butter, and milk and mix together to form a dough. Kneed the dough until smooth, but still a little bit sticky.
3. Transfer the dough into a greased bowl,cover with a kitchen towel, and let it in a warm place until it doubles in size (about 1 hour).
4. Remove the dough from the bowl and divide into 16 equal pieces.
5. To make filling: combine blueberries with sugar and mix until coated.
6. Gently roll each portion of the dough, place a tablespoon of the filling in the middle of the dough, and stick the sides together (make sure you seal it completely). Place them on a cookies sheet (seam down), cover with a kitchen towel and let them double in size (about 45 minutes).
7. To make topping: combine butter, flour, and sugar in a food processor. Pulse until crumbs form.
8. Brush the top of the buns with beaten egg, sprinkle with crumbly topping and bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

   Oh Jagodzianki, you are the best thing in the world! Soft, aromatic, filled with delicious fresh blueberries up to the edges... heaven! I urge everybody to make them... this will be the best thing you've ever eaten, trust me. Glass of milk, jagodzianka in your hand (or two)... and you will be the happiest person in the world.


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Small and cute!

   Going to a party and don't know what to bring? I'm often asked to bring an appetizer, and I will be honest that sometimes these little things are the most challenging. I always want to bring something new, something delicious, and something that everyone will like. This time I decided to make mini quiches - I love the big version, so I figured that small ones must be even better. You can make it with any ingredients you want, I chose broccoli and turkey bacon - I'm telling you, it's a delicious combination. Here is the recipe, makes 24 mini quiches:


*  10 slices turkey bacon, finely chopped
*  1 cup small broccoli florets, cooked
*  1 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
*  3 eggs
*  1 cup heavy whipping cream
*  1 tbsp flour
*  1 tsp curry powder
*  1 tsp turmeric powder
*  salt and pepper


1.  Crisp the bacon in a pan - for around 10 minutes.
2. In a large bowl combine together eggs, whipping cream, flour, curry powder, turmeric, salt and pepper. Whisk everything until combined.
3. Add cheese and mix together.
4. Into greased mini muffin pan put a piece of cooked broccoli and a teaspoon of crisped bacon.
5. Spoon the egg mixture into the cups - all the way to the edge, and bake at 350F for 20 minutes.

   Aren't they cute? I am telling you, there is no easier, quicker and tastier appetizer to bring to a party. They are delicious warm or cold, no need to worry about the serving temperature. Yummy!