Saturday, September 26, 2015

Fancy name.

   Every Polish person has eaten tomato soup at least once in their life (it's probably more like 100 times, but you get the point!). After "rosol" (Polish version of a chicken soup), it's safe to say that tomato soup is the next most popular soup of Poland. It definitely earned the spot - it's quick, easy and delicious, so why wouldn't it be so popular? You can eat it with noodles, or rice, or I even saw some variations with different veggies. I make it very often myself, because I can have it done and on the table within 15-20 minutes, but this time I decided to go for something more "sophisticated" - a tomato bisque. It's a little bit denser than our soup, it has a little bit more ingredients and it has a French name, so if you want to impress somebody, just tell them you are serving a "bisque". They will think you are the next Julia Child!


* 2 28oz can of whole tomatoes, with juice
* 1 large onion
* 2 garlic cloves
* 3 medium carrots, finely chopped
* 4 celery stalks, finely chopped
* 4 tbsp butter
* 1 chicken bullion cube
* 3 tbsp chopped basil
* 1 tbsp chopped parsley
* 1 cup milk
* salt and pepper 


1. In a large pot, melt butter and saute onions with a little bit of salt for 5 minutes. Add garlic and constantly stirring, cook for additional minute.

2. Add chopped carrots, celery, basil and parsley. Cook for 5-6 minutes.

3. Add canned tomatoes with juice and a bullion cube and cook everything on low-to-medium heat for 40 minutes until all the veggies are tender. You can add a cup of water if necessary (if it's way too dense).

4. Take the soup off the heat and blend with the immersion blender until smooth. Add milk, season with salt and pepper if needed and cook for additional 2-3 minutes.

5. Garnish with fresh basil before serving.

   You can see in that picture how dense and creamy the soup is. It has some sweet and acidic notes and the fresh herbs are just delicious. For my husband, the obvious missing thing was a grilled cheese sandwich, but I enjoyed the soup, I mean the bisque ;-), by itself and it was awesome.


Monday, September 21, 2015

Accidently vegan!

   I am not a vegan and I was not planning on making a vegan dish, it just happened that all the ingredients I chose for this dish fall into this category. Besides, we are not really "scared" of vegan food like some people, I think it's delicious and nutritious and I wouldn't mind eating more of it. I am not willing to give up my eggs and cheese, but I have nothing against vegan food! And looking at  Justin and Christopher finishing the vegan burgers I made, it seems that they like it too. Recipe makes about 10 large patties.


* 1 cup quinoa
* 2 15oz cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
* 8oz baby portabello mushrooms, chopped
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 1 tsp olive oil
* 1/2 cup chia seeds
* 1/2 ground flax seeds
* 2 tbsp ketchup
* 1 tsp ground cumin
* 1 tsp garlic powder
* salt and pepper


1. Cook quinoa in salted water for 20-25 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool down.

2. In a skillet heat the olive oil and saute onions and mushrooms for about 5-6 minutes until softened. Set aside.

3. Place drained and rinsed black beans in the large bowl and mash them using a potato masher. Add cooled quinoa, mushroom/onion mix and all remaining ingredients. Mix everything together until well combined and season with salt and pepper to your liking.

4. Form burger patties and place on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes.

   You can use whatever you want to build the burger, I chose pickles (of course), tomatoes, spinach and horseradish spread. The patty is really good, but I feel like it needs a little bit of  a "kick" and horseradish and pickles take care of it perfectly.


Saturday, September 12, 2015

No-butter cake!

   Yes, that's right, not every cake needs to have butter in it (not that there is anything wrong with butter!) and it still can be delicious! I was mostly curious about it and wanted to try something different. Even though the cake is super easy and doesn't require any electric mixers, I did have some help making it from my sous chef. He is almost 20 months old, full of energy and enthusiasm for cooking, and is great with stirring the pot, especially a pot of flour! We tried to follow the recipe, but to be honest I'm not sure how much flour went into the cake itself, because I saw some on the counter, some on the floor and some in my shoes, but the cake turned out awesome so clearly you don't need to be too precise!
Here is the recipe for a blueberry-lemon yogurt cake:


* 3.5 cups all purpose flour
* 3 tsp baking powder
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 2/3 cup vegetable oil
* 4 large eggs, room temp.
* 2 cups granulated sugar
* 2 cups plain Greek yogurt, room temp. 
* 3 tsp vanilla extract
* juice and zest from two lemons
* 1.5 cups frozen blueberries (do not thaw)


* 1/2 cup powdered sugar
* juice from half a lemon


1. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.

2. In a separate bowl combine eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, oil, lemon zest and lemon juice. Whisk everything together until smooth.

3. Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix with a spoon. Gently fold in frozen blueberries (leave few for the top) and transfer into the rectangular baking dish lined up with buttered foil.

4. Sprinkle with remaining blueberries and bake at 350F for 50-55 minutes (until toothpick comes our clean).

5. When the cake cools a little, in a small bowl combine powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth and drizzle over the cake.

   Moist, lemony, fruity and flavorful! The glaze is optional, but I really recommend adding it because it makes this cake out-of-this-world delicious! Christopher was so impressed with his own work that he actually learned two new words: "cake" and "CAAAKE" - when I gave him too small of a piece!


Saturday, September 5, 2015


   There are two types of people in the word... actually there are many more types, but for the purpose of this post let's just all agree that there are people who either love quinoa, or people who don't understand what the big deal is all about! Our family happens to love it, even little Christopher enjoys a little side of quinoa (as long as it's accompanied by some meat)! I like the texture, I like the taste and I like how healthy and guilt-free it is! I use it often as a substitute for rice or couscous and it's always good! This time  I loaded it with zucchini and mushrooms, so I kind of killed two birds with one stone here - starch and veggies in one dish! Couldn't be easier!


* 1.5 cup quinoa (I used the tri-colored one)
* 2 cups shredded zucchini (~2 medium)
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 8oz white mushrooms, chopped
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 2 tbsp butter
* 2 tbsp fresh basil
* 1/2 tsp marjoram powder
* 1 tsp dry dill
* salt and pepper


1. Cook quinoa in about 6 cups of salted water for 15-20 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. In the meantime, in a large skillet, melt butter and saute onions with a pinch of salt for 5 minutes until translucent.

3. Add mushrooms and garlic, cook for 2-3 minutes. Gently squeeze shredded zucchini to remove excess water and add it the skillet.

4. Add herbs, season with salt and pepper and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often.

5. Combine with quinoa, adjust seasoning if necessary and serve as a side dish.

   Delicious! And so versatile too! It can be a side dish, a meal on its own, or even a stuffing for different veggies, or anything really! I used it as a side dish for baked chicken and it was awesome!