Polish Cuisine: Krupnik

Krupnik is a hearty barley soup with veggies. Perfect for this cooler weather.

1/4 ounce dried mushroom (preferably porcini)
2 cups boiling water
1/4 lb chicken or 1/4 lb turkey, diced into bite-sized pieces
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled, quartered lengthwise & sliced to 1/4-inch long
1/4 lb fresh string bean, trimmed, washed
1 small turnip, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh peas
8 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup pearl barley
3 potatoes, sliced to 1/2-inch rounds & diced (about 1/4 lb each)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh dill, finely cut
Directions:

1. Soak dried mushrooms in boiling water until they are soft and flexible (at least 2 hours).

2. Drain the mushrooms (reserving water), and chop them coarsely.

3. In a heavy 3-4 qt casserole dish, combine the mushrooms, reserved water, chicken, celery, carrot, string beans, and peas.

4. Add the stock and bring to a boil over high heat.

5. Reduce to low heat and simmer, partially covered, until chicken is done and vegetables are tender-crisp (20 minutes).

6. Strain, setting aside chicken and vegetables and returning stock to the casserole dish.

7. Melt the butter over medium heat.

8. Add the barley, and stir for 1-2 minutes (do NOT let barley brown).

9. Add the barley and butter to the stock and bring to a boil over high heat.

10. Reduce to low heat and simmer, partially covered for 10 minutes.

11. Add the potatoes and simmer, partially covered, until potatoes and barley are done (20 minutes).

12. Return chicken and vegetables to the soup.

13. Add water if needed, to thin the soup.

14. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then let simmer for a few minutes to reheat the chicken and vegetables.

15. Garnish each bowl with a spoonful of sour cream and sprinkle with dill, if desired.

Bolivian Dessert: Passionfruit Cheesecake

Umm..so I was looking up a tasty Bolivian meal to cook this evening and was a little turned off by the recipes for ‘roasted armadillo’ and ‘beef head stew’, so instead of turning myself off even more, I decided to look up desserts.

I’m not a huge sweets fan, but this cheesecake sounds delicious, and unique. I’ll give it a try!

Maracuya Cheesecake (Passionfruit)

Preheat oven to 350F

Butter a 10 inch pan

Ingredients:

170g (small packet) of suitable biscuits (cookies) for the base

One tablespoon of butter, melted

175ml of maracuyá juice (plus a tablespoon of reserved pulp). 5 large maracuyá should be sufficient for this

4 eggs

3 + 2 rounded teaspoons of cornstarch

500g of pressed ricotta (diet is fine)

1 cup of thick (greek-style) yogurt. If you can?t get greek-style yogurt then you can strain normal yogurt to remove additional whey

3/4 cup plus 1 desertspoon of sugar

1 large orange

Method

Put the biscuits in a food processor and reduce to crumbs. Add to melted butter and stir to mix thoroughly. Press this mixture into a thin, even, layer on the base of your springform pan. Put in the fridge whilst you make the topping.

Put the maracuyá pulp in a sieve and extract all the juice you can. Put 175ml of this juice into a food processor/ blender. To this add your pressed ricotta cheese, broken into small pieces, cup of yogurt, 3 rounded teaspoons of cornstarch, 3/4 cup of sugar and the whites and yolks of 4 eggs. Blend until smooth.

Pour into the springform ban and bake until the top of the cheesecake is firm (your finger will still make a mark on the top at this point). My oven takes an hour to do this but it may be on Bolivian time and I would recommend you check after about 40mins. Turn off the oven, leave the door open slightly and leave the cheesecake to cool inside.

Don’t worry if the top cracks! The topping will cover this. Remove the cheesecake from the pan when completely cool.

When the cheesecake is fully cooled and removed from the pan, you can make the topping. Add 1 tablespoon of pulp (loose seeds rather than a lump) into a measuring jug. Add any left-over maracuyá juice, and make this up to 100ml with juice from your orange. Add sugar to taste, and stir in 2 teaspoons of cornflour. Put in a small saucepan and cook over a medium heat until the mixture becomes thick (this will happen very quickly and suddenly).

With a spatula, smooth this mixture over the top of the cheesecake, making sure not to disturb the cooked cheesecake below.

Buen provecho!

Czech Cuisine

Ok…I’ll try.

Will I like?

Cesky Gulas (Simple Czech Goulash)

Though goulash originally hails from Hungary, it’s also quintessentially Czech and every pub cook and homemaker has his or her own variation. Czech goulash tends to be milder and meatier than its Hungarian cousin—though both rely heavily on sweet paprika. You’ll rarely see goulash served with potatoes—only bread or bread dumplings.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons cooking oil
3-4 medium sized onions, chopped
1 1/4 pounds of good quality beef, cut into one-inch cubes
2 tablespoons of sweet paprika (more if desired)
2 teaspoons of ground caraway seed
1/2 teaspoon of marjoram
4 cups of cold water
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Warm the oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add the onion and cook until wilted. Add the beef cubes and allow them to brown. Then add the paprika, but don’t let it cook too long or it will turn bitter—ten seconds is fine. Add the water and caraway, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for a couple of hours. The sauce will gradually thicken. Just before finishing, add the marjoram. When serving, add some chopped raw onion on top.

Please vote for the featured scene for the header on my blog, too! I’ll tally the votes for Monday!

Top 5: Food Blogs

I love food, I kind of like cooking (if I’m in the mood). These blogs have really helped me to become more creative and enjoy my attempts to satisfy my taste buds (and be healthy).

5. Better With Butter

I discovered this blog while searching for a way to make a healthier (and less salty) cracker. Love the photography here too!

4. Foodess

Again, love the photography here. The uniqueness and healthiness is what drew me to this blog.

3. Pass the Sushi!

Not as healthy, I suppose, but so *$*@# delicious. Love the ‘fake luna bar’ recipe! Those lil guys are how I survived 3 summers of camping and hiking.

2. The Faux Martha

This girl has great tips and all created with top-notch photography. Faux Martha, better than the real Martha?

1. Food Gawker

Drool….drool…look at the billions of recipes available. Every category ever!

Who’s hungry?!

Please vote for the featured scene for the header on my blog, too! I’ll tally the votes for Monday!

Savory Saturday: Tongan Cuisine

Wow – there are some interesting Tongan recipes online. A pattern I saw emerging was the use of coconuts in absolutely everything, and a ton of raw fish recipes.

I don’t think I would attempt any raw food dishes, I’ll save it for the experts.

This recipe really sounded quite interesting and unique. So let’s try this experiment:

Cassava Balls


Ingredients:

2 cups grated cassava
1 medium-sized onion, chopped
1 tsp freshly, chopped herbs
1 egg
1/4 cup cooking oil
Cooking Instructions:
Mix together the grated cassava, onion and herbs. Lightly beat the egg. Add to the cassava mixture and mix well to form a smooth mixture. Form mixture into small balls.Lightly fry the cassava balls in cooking oil until golden brown. A finely chopped fresh chilli or clove of garlic can be used instead of the herbs.

Savory Saturday – Welcome Fall!

I’m in autumn mode, and I’m craving a nice fall dish that will help me celebrate my favorite season. And I sure love me a good chili in the fall…

Welcome to pumpkin AND chili heaven!

Pumpkin Chili:

Ingredients:

4 cups water
1 (15-ounce) can canned crushed tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) kidney beans, drained
1 (15-ounce) can pureed pumpkin
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup uncooked bulgur
1 cup chopped Serrano chili pepper
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a large saucepan, stir well to combine, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium-low and simmer, covered, 35 minutes. Serve warm.

Savory Saturday – Tanzania

Mmmm…so excited to try this today!

Inspired by Dr. Jane Goodall:

COCONUT BEAN SOUP

    Yield: 2 quarts (8 cups)

In Tanzania, as in other African countries, soups and sauces are served in a consistency that is as thick as our stews. Coconut Bean Soup would be used there as a meatless main dish by increasing the quantities of beans and rice. However, in adapting this recipe in our test kitchen we thinned it to soup consistency with additional water and served it as a delightful soup course. Any dried beans such as black-eyed peas or pea beans can be used in this soup. Just cover with water and cook until tender before combining them with the other ingredients. Coconut milk and the delicate use of curry give the soup its unusual flavor.

In a 3-quart saucepan:

Saute: 1/2 cup ONIONS, chopped finely

  • 1/2 cup GREEN PEPPERS, chopped finely1 tsp. CURRY POWDER1 tsp. SALT1/4 tsp. PEPPER in3 Tbs. MARGARINE OR BUTTER until soft but not brown.

    Add 1 cup FRESH TOMATO cut in 1/2-inch pieces.

    Simmer for two minutes longer.

    Add: 2 1/2 cups KIDNEY BEANS (24-oz. can with liquid)

    2 cups COCONUT MILK (see page 226)

3 cups WATER.

Simmer gently for 10 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup COOKED RICE.

Correct the seasonings to your taste.

Serve one-cup portions in attractive soup bowls.

Garnish each bowl with 1 tsp. shredded coconut