Monday, August 22, 2011

Racuchy / racuszki - Polish pancakes with apples

Oh boy... Racuchy are soooo yummy! You can't stop having just one! They will disappear from your plate within seconds... Perfect with milk, perfect next day, perfect even cold... Polish "racuchy" or "racuszki" look similar to American pancakes, however, you need to try them to taste a difference. So, what is the secret? Yeast and tart apples. I use Granny Smith apples, and I am in heaven every time I make them :)
You can make racuchy without apples and serve them with different toppings. You can also substitute apples with strawberries, but to me real racuchy are made with apples! And I stick to it! :)

Recipe: (plenty for 2-3 people)
250 g (less than 2 cups) flour,
14 g instant yeast (2 packets),
1 egg,
3/4 cup lukewarm milk,
2 tbsp sugar,
pinch of salt,
2 big tart apples,
confectioners sugar,
oil for frying (vegetable, canola, sunflower)
*Double ingredients, if needed (but use only one egg)

  1. Wash and peel the apples. Cut them into small pieces.
  2. Mix flour, yeast, sugar, salt, egg and milk. Add apples and mix again. Leave for 60-90 minutes. The dough will raise.
  3. Heat oil (make sure that it is not too hot, racuchy tend to burn fast) and fry racuchy on medium heat until gold on both sides. Racuchy should be small to medium in size - this will allow them to cook inside without burning outside.
  4. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar.
Serve warm with a cup of milk or enjoy cold.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Birthday wishes in Polish

It is always nice to receive wishes or greetings in our native language, especially from people who do not speak it. My sister-in-law surprised me this year sending to me birthday wishes in Polish. How sweet is that!! I had the biggest smile on my face seeing the message from her, and knowing that she took an effort to search for the wishes in my native language. Thank you Gina :))

Here is a little Polish class / Lekcja języka polskiego

You can write birthday wishes as simple as following:
"Serdeczne życzenia z okazji urodzin!"
"Wszystkiego najlepszego z okazji urodzin!"
"Sto lat!" 

Let's break it down:
serdeczne - "from one's heart"
wszystkiego najlepszego - all the best
życzenia  - wishes
z okazji - on the occasion of
urodzin - birthday
sto - hundred
lat - years

*Please note that the basic form for "birthday" is "urodziny", but in the sentence above, it changes to "urodzin". For example: "my birthday" - "moje urodziny", but "on the occasion of your birthday" - "z okazji Twoich urodzin".

*Wishing someone "Sto lat" is very popular in Poland, so is the song "Sto lat" - Polish version of "Happy Birthday". It means that we are wishing a long life to a person, who has birthday (sto lat means 100 years). :o)

*What are we wishing? Here are the most common wishes:
spełnienia marzeń - dreams to come true,
zdrowia - health,
szczęścia - happiness,
pomyślności - the best of luck,
radości - joy,
sukcesów - success.
And one more useful word: dużo - a lot! :)

Wszystkiego najlepszego z okazji urodzin!
Spełnienia marzeń,
dużo zdrowia, szczęścia
i pomyślności.
Sto lat!
You can break it into a simple sentence or say it all :)
Good luck!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Rice with Apples - easy summer dish

Rice with apples - ryż z jabłkami

I wouldn't say that rice with apples is a typical Polish dish, however it brings memories from my childhood. I have always loved aroma of cinnamon and taste of vanilla...  I remember lots of summer afternoons, when this dish was a simple and great treat for everyone.
Rice with apples is a perfect dish (main meal or dessert), if you want to fix something quick and light.
I had some apples left, so I decided to use them and make this easy, summer dish. It put smile on my hubby's face ;o).

1 bag of rice (white or whole grain),
4-5 medium apples (your favorite),
2 tsp vanilla extract or 1 tbsp vanilla sugar,
*1-2 tbsp sugar
(I used brown sugar, but it is optional - depends on how sweet are the apples),
cinnamon (decide how much you like; I eyeballed it),
whipped cream

  1. Cook rice according to the instructions on the box. It doesn't have to be "boil in a bag" rice.
  2. Wash and peel apples. Grate them and mix with sugar, vanilla and cinnamon.
  3. Cook apples in a skillet for about 8-10 minutes frequently stirring.
  4. Spread rice in a baking dish and top it with fried apples.
  5. Bake for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Let it cool for few minutes. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon. Serve warm or cold.
*Instead of whipped cream, you can use sour cream mixed with vanilla sugar.
See "Naleśniki-Crepes" recipe.*

TIP: For some extra flavor mix rice with a little bit of milk or coconut milk before baking.


Friday, August 5, 2011

Jagodzianki Recipe

What are "jagodzianki"? Delicious buns with blueberry filling! In Polish "jagoda" (read: yagoda) means blueberry. Blueberries are great for cakes, tarts, buns, pierogi filling and dessert toppings.

I have heard many stories about how making the yeast cake can turn bad. I finally tried it, and you can see results of my work. Buns could be a little bit softer, but like for my first time, they turned out really nice... My husband and I, were enjoying jagodzianki for two days only! This means that they are disappearing quickly... :)

The common mistake while cooking and baking is eyeballing the ingredients :)) It might work with sugar or spices that we are familiar with, but certain proportions should be saved. I used my coffee cup to measure milk and this was my mistake. It is larger than a traditional 250 mL glass. My dough turned out really loose, so I kept adding more flour to it. Luckily, my jagodzianki did not turn out as hard as rock!:) It is very  important to stick to the recipe, especially while making a yeast cake.

I looked up many recipes and modified them a little, so I could use instant yeast instead of fresh yeast. I have one more recipe to try and I will keep you posted. But first, I need to do some jumping jacks, before I decide to bake a second set of these delicious buns :)

Recipe (yield: 10)
1 pint (250-300g) blueberries
2-3 Tbsp sugar (granulated or confectioners sugar)
*vanilla sugar (optional)

Wash blueberries, mix with sugar (blueberries tend to get sour during cooking) and set aside.

Crumbs (optional):
50 g flour
25 g sugar
25 g cold butter

Mix with wooden spoon, set aside.

You can make more crumbs. The proportions are: whatever amount of flour, then half on this amount would be sugar and another half would be butter (as above 50, 25 and 25).
I decided to make them, because I love them! Instead, you can brush your buns with watered egg (whisk one egg with one teaspoon of water) and sprinkle them with some sugar before baking, or use confectioners sugar after baking. Both options are great.

1 cup (250 mL) milk
16 g vanilla sugar or 1 tsp vanilla extract
40 g butter
1 lb (450 g) flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
7 g instant yeast
1 egg
  1. Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet.
  2. Combine milk, vanilla sugar and butter in a small pot and cook over medium heat until butter dissolves in milk. Let it cool.
  3. In a big bowl mix flour, yeast, salt and sugar. Add cooled butter and milk, egg, and knead the dough. The dough will be loose and sticky, no need to add flour. 
  4. Form a ball and cover it with a clear foil or clean, linen towel. Set aside in a warm place. Let it raise for one hour.
  5. Divide the dough into 10 parts. TIP: Spray your hands with oil or cooking spray (I used PAM spray). Flatten each part of the dough in your hands, put blueberries in the center and stick the sides together. Shape round balls. Place them on a cookie sheet, cover and leave for 30 minutes. They will double their size :).
  6. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  7. Sprinkle crumbs on the top of jagodzianki or brush them with egg. You can also leave them as they are.
  8. Bake for 18-20 min or until they start "catching" brown color.
  9. Cool and sprinkle with confectioners sugar.
Smacznego! Enjoy!

Jagodzianki are great for breakfast! Enjoy with a cup of milk or coffee!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Poland - basic info

Pozdrowienia z Polski - Greetings from Poland
Own source

The Republic of Poland (Rzeczpospolita Polska)

Polish (Polski)

Warsaw (Warszawa)

Polish Zloty (Polski Złoty)


312,685 square kilometers (120,728 square miles)

38,2 million (statistics from 2010)

Roman Catholic

Two stripes - top: white, bottom: red

White eagle in a crown against red background

Flag with national emblem

"Mazurek Dąbrowskiego"

Parliamentary democracy

Central Europe

  • NORTH:
Morze Baltyckie (Baltic Sea),
Russia (Kaliningrad district)
  • EAST:
Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine
  • SOUTH:
The Czech Republic and Slovakia
  • WEST:
  • Karpaty (Carpathian Mountains), including Tatry range (Tatra Mountains) with the highest peak Rysy (2499 m).
  • Sudety
  • Góry Świętokrzyskie (Holy Cross Mountains)

  • Wisla (known as Vistula River)
  • Odra
  • Warta
  • Bug