Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Polish Egg Salad: Salatka z Jaj

Plate full of Polish egg salad on Leaf Lettuce
Egg Salad, Polish Style

Recipe Adapted from Polish Cooking

Growing up in a Polish family in a small New England town full of other Poles, I took Polish cuisine for granted. My grandmother and her sisters working together for days to make hundreds of pierogies or scores of nut rolls and poppyseed rolls, my mom whipping up galumkis (stuffed cabbage), my Bopcha’s freshly-made chrusciki (angel wings), potluck tables laden with egg, potato, and beet dishes; these were my world. How soon after we moved away recipes and traditions were forgotten as the cooks aged and died. But memories live on, as I seek to recreate and record these recipes from the past. A new thrift store cookbook and a surplus of Easter eggs inspired me to delve into my Polish cooking heritage.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Fava Bean, Green Garlic, and Parsley Pesto

Fava Pesto on Leaf Lettuce, Grape Tomatoes, and Hard Cooked Eggs
Fava Pesto Over Salad

Adapted from Unknown Source

Every spring I have the same challenge: finding new recipes with fava beans that my husband will like. Our CSA provides plenty of favas every year. For the farmer they are an early and prolific crop that also enriches the soil with usable nitrogen. Favas’ strong and distinct flavor requires equally strong flavors for balance and compliment. Tomatoes and paprika, cumin, yogurt, and cayenne, and radishes, mustard, and vinegar with favas are past combinations that work well. I hadn’t much hope for the pesto idea, since cheese flavor has a similar tang to favas. Yet with the green garlic, lemon, and parsley, the flavors balance out. Bonus: unlike basil pesto, fava bean pesto stays bright green for days without any fussing to exclude air.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Popover Pancake with Strawberry Sauce

Slice of Pancake on Plate with Strawberries and Maple Syrup
Easy to Make and Fun to Serve

Recipes by Philippa and Mom

As the years go by, I appreciate my cousins more and more. Most are far away but remain close to my heart. A few years back, after a 30-year hiatus, I visited my cousin/godfather Dick, and Philippa, his wife of nearly 50 years, in Pennsylvania. Both had inspired my early study of music by their interest and by their own musicianship. Amongst the catching up, Philippa whipped up the most amazing meals, including a light and airy popover pancake for breakfast one morning. She assured me that it was easy to make. It didn’t seem possible that its puffy, soufflĂ© like proportions could be easily duplicated. But surprisingly this impressive dish takes little time and effort and uses few ingredients.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Asparagus, Bacon, Roasted Pepper, and Sausage Strata

Slice of Strata on Plate
"Loaded" Strata

Recipe by Robin

Ten or more years ago I was served strata at an Easter brunch. It was so beautiful and yummy that I’ve wanted to make one ever since. The process of preparing all of the strata layers, assembling them in order, and pouring the egg mixture in was appealing. But the idea of refrigerating it for 10 hours to allow the bread to soak up the eggs and milk—that means planning—seemed daunting. But spring inspires new activities, especially when I see tender young asparagus on sale. I might get used to eating brunch at home weekends instead of going out…maybe.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Roast Chicken with Wild Rice Stuffing & Orange-Wine Sauce

Plate of Chicken with Wild Rice Stuffing
Early Spring Comfort Food

Recipe by Robin

Stuffed chickens are extremely out of fashion and I’d like to reverse that trend, particularly at this time of year. Though technically spring, many days still tend towards damp and chilly, evenings are nippy, and my East Coast friends are looking at snow from yet another storm. We’re craving something warm and comforting. An oven-roasted bird with stuffing reminds us of celebratory feasts from seasons past and orange-wine sauce provides a lighter take on gravy. Why limit our enjoyment of stuffed birds to winter occasions?