Sunday, March 18, 2012

Fasolka po bretońsku / Breton beans

This dish is very simple to make and also cheap.
It's very popular in Polish homes, however the name "Breton beans" might be confusing to many people.
After some research, I couldn't find the right explanation of this name either.
To me it's "Fasolka po bretońsku" - period :))
It might remind you of a chili soup, however beans are the main ingredient, and there is sausage and a little bit of bacon in it.
You can soak beans in water overnight or make it more simple and use canned beans.
I prefer option number two :)
Also, my husband is no-beans-eater, so it's not a main meal in our house.
Good dish for a rainy day though.

2 cans (15 oz. each) red beans (white, red or both)
1/2 can (12 oz.) tomato paste
sausage (Polska kielbasa) :)
few slices of bacon (optional)
2-3 tsp paprika
marjoram (lots of it!) - I used probably 3-4 Tbsp
salt & pepper to taste

  1. In a medium saucepan combine beans and 2-3 cups of water.
  2. In a meantime, cut sausage and bacon into small pieces and fry them for a couple minutes.
  3. Add tomato paste, fried sausage, bacon and spices to boiling beans. Stir well and let cook on medium heat for 10-15 minutes. Feel free to add more water and seasoning until you receive desired consistency.
  4. Add marjoram at the end of cooking.
  5. Serve with slice of bread.

Krówki - "Little cows"

Memory from my childhood - chewy candies called "Krówki".
I found them in one of the stores that sells European food in Minneapolis, MN.
The name "Krówki" means: "little cows" ("Krówka" is a singular form) and there is an image of a cow on each individually wrapped candy :)
They are cream fudge toffee like candies, that are very sweet.
I also found a few recipes for homemade "Krówki" online, if you are interested in making them.
Basic ingredients are: milk, sugar, butter, cream or condensed milk and vanilla. Sweeeeet!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Wszędzie dobrze, ale w domu najlepiej

"Nalesnikowo" again - Cinnamon crepes with apple butter

I know, crepes again... :)) I have to have crepes once in a while or I get anxious :)
I wanted to make something good for breakfast this morning and crepes sounded perfect.
I walked to my kitchen half asleep, brew some coffee and started preparing batter for crepes.
I added 2 tsp of cinnamon to the traditional batter (recipe can be found here) and fried my crepes.
Then I spread some apple butter on each crepe and rolled them.
I remember crepes just like these from my childhood. My grandma or aunt would fill them with jelly and all the kids in our family would compete who could eat more.
Somehow there is always more room in a tummy for rolled, thin crepes :)
Enjoyable Sunday breakfast!
Serve dusted with confectioners sugar/cinnamon (sugar is optional).

Friday, March 9, 2012

Women's Day and cute aprons

International Women's Day (in Polish: "Dzień Kobiet") is celebrated in Poland on March 8.
There are wishes - "życzenia", flowers - "kwiaty", chocolates - "czekoladki", and maybe even small gifts - "upominki".
Usually, a symbolic tulip - "tulipan" is just enough. I'd say, it's even appropriate :))
But, look what I received yesterday! These two cute aprons!
I just A.D.O.R.E. them :))
I can't wait to cook & bake for my husband who gave them to me. Gonna look good :)
Apron - "fartuszek"

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Fryderyk Chopin and Chopin's places in Warsaw

Sharing this music clip via YouTube.
I do not own it.

Beautiful, isn't it?
Fryderyk Chopin, Polish composer and pianist (1810-1849) was born in Żelazowa Wola, Poland.
His music is known all over the world and has been an inspiration to many musicians.
If you are interested, a detailed biography of Fryderyk Chopin can be found here.
Cyprian Kamil Norwid, great Polish poet said about Chopin:
"He was a Varsovian by birth, a Pole by heart and a citizen of the world by his talent..."

Chopin's places worth visiting, if you are in Warsaw:

- Żelazowa Wola

Place of birth of Fryderyk Chopin. Today, it serves as a museum devoted to Fryderyk Chopin. It's surrounded by a beautiful park with Chopin's monument. During the summer time visitors can listen to Chopin's concerts played by musicians from all over the world.
Żelazowa Wola is located 50 km from Warsaw and it takes approximately an hour to get there by car or bus.

- Fryderyk Chopin's monument at the Łazienki Park in Warsaw
(Main entrance from Ujazdowskie Avenue)

Łazienki Park - the largest park in Warsaw is an attraction itself. There are many beautiful, historic buildings located at the Łazienki Park with its biggest attraction Palace on the Water, a residence of  the Polish King Stanisław August Poniatowski.
Great architecture and nature beauty create amazing scenery of the Łazienki Park.
You will see peacocks walking around and proudly displaying their feathers, waiting to be photographed. You will see squirrels with red tails coming up close to the visitors and eating nuts straight from their hands. :)))
And there is Chopin's monument, that attracts tourists and local people...
Its beautiful design by Polish artist Wacław Szymanowski is only one of the reasons.
There are also Chopin's Concerts that take place right next to the monument every year. Famous artists play Chopin's music every Sunday afternoon (noon until 4 p.m.), from May until September.
Beautiful music, gorgeous scenery and what's best, these concerts are free to the public! A MUST-SEE!!!
A 1:1 replica of the Chopin's monument is located in Hamamatsu, Japan.

- Kościół św. Krzyża - Holy Cross Church in Warsaw
(Krakowskie Przedmieście Street)

Fryderyk Chopin died in Paris, France, where he was buried at the Père-Lachaise cemetery.
His sister Ludwika fulfilled his last will and brought his heart to Poland.
Fryderyk Chopin's heart was placed in an urn and installed in one of the pillars of the Holy Cross Church in Warsaw.

- Fryderyk Chopin Museum in Warsaw
(Ostrogski Palace, Okólnik Street)

Information about the museum and exhibitions can be found on the museum's web site here.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Grzaniec - mulled beer for cold evenings

It was a blizzard night.
Snowflakes were dancing like crazy, falling on the ground and creating a white comforter for mother earth.
I thought: "Time for grzaniec! Just like in Poland on those cold, winter days..."

Goździki - cloves

Cynamon - cinnamon sticks
 Name "grzaniec" refers to both, mulled beer and mulled wine.
Polish pubs and restaurants offer grzaniec in their winter menu.
If you are cold, it will do the job.
Preparation is very easy, so what are you waiting for? ;o)

Grzane Piwo - Mulled Beer (for two):
20 oz. light beer
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp honey (or more, if you like it sweet)
few cloves
cinnamon stick (or ground cinnamon)
pinch of ginger
* honey can be replaced with raspberry syrup *

In a medium saucepan heat beer with sugar, honey and spices. Stir from time to time. Heat until beer reaches boiling temperature. Strain and serve in hot beer mugs.
Na zdrowie! - Cheers!

Grzane piwo - mulled beer