Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Babka aka a lot of work!

Babka cake is present on every Polish table during Easter. It is a yeast cake that looks simple to make but do not be fooled... I did succeed, however, and here is the fruit, or cake, of my labors!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Barszcz, not Borscht!

Any respectable Polish person will tell you there is no "t" in the name of this soup ;)
The other weekend Lacey, Megan and I went to a wonderful little bakery downtown that also makes soups for lunch. They are all homemade and as far as I know organic! Also, their ingredients are locally grown. I decided to have this beet wonder for lunch, and although it was not the "real borszcz", as the one you may see in the picture, I was pleasantly surprised! The soup was full of vegetables and even had beef in it, something new for me when it comes to borszcz.
I do have to mention, that the borszcz featured on the picture was one of the best I have ever had, in a Lithuanian restaurant in Poland called "Krasowianka". The color of the soup is deep red and either "uszka", or tiny dumplings filled with meat or mushrooms may find their way into the bowl. Usually found on the Christmas Eve dinner table, this wonderful soup also warms my heart during long winters here, in the north! Another favorite is Flaki, or intestine soup (yes I said intestine), but that's a story for another day!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Palm Sunday - Easter is almost here!

Very exciting time for Polish people. Why? It is a time of new beginnings, family gatherings, great foods and time spent in church, even though one may not be a religious person. First off, let me introduce the ideas that I miss:
Swieconka, or translating, "basket that is to be blessed". A small basket is brought to church on Holy Saturday and blessed by the holy water. The baskets are put on a long table running in the middle of the church set up for this very purpose. The basket contains a piece of kielbasa (sausage) - a mandatory part of any Polish meal! A piece of cheese, salt and pepper, bread, eggs and springs of boxwood plant, which I have not seen around here yet. It is usually covered with a lace or napkin to protect the items from falling out. Now, we are talking about very small pieces of food, only for the symbolic reason. They are later put in the center of the table and everyone can munch on a piece of holy sausage!
Babka, Mazurek or many other dessert cakes. Although on Easter Sunday usually brunch is prepared, desserts are a vital part of this meal. Dessert for breakfast, nothing better than that! Perhaps I will attempt to bake some of those deliciousness for next week.
Palm Sunday is a great tradition, although I have to say I do not have that many memories associated with it. I just remember those sticks filled with colorful ribbons and such and going to church on the Sunday before the Easter. I am posting a picture of them, although it is not mine - thanks Wikipedia! As I was on Wikipedia borrowing the picture, I saw that the Palm Sunday has been celebrated in Poland since the middle ages!