barszcz18

There are few very classic Polish soups that I really like to eat and borscht/beetroot soup is one of my favorites. It’s essential and full of flavor and I sometimes like to drink it from a cup, but in most cases I serve it with little meat dumplings. Some people would say that this soup has some magical powers as a hangover cure, and here is where my husband would definitely concur, but the truth is that beetroots are very healthy and good for you.  Just drinking a glass of beetroot juice (mixed with your favorite fruit or carrot) gives you tons of vitamins and minerals and antioxidants.
With this recipe I prefer to roast them and then cook them for a short amount of time so that they don’t lose all the goodness in the process of boiling.
In the past for many years I would use a premade beetroot concentrate but since I don’t live in Poland anymore and getting that concentrate would mean traveling to a Polish store, which is not really anywhere close to me right now, I decided to make my own. I have done different fermented bases for soup or bread in the past so I figured it shouldn’t be that difficult. I checked a bunch of different Polish websites and blogs and many of them asked for a piece of rye bread, which again is not that easy to find in the States. (American Rye bread is different than Polish Rye.) So I came up with this recipe and called it an experiment. And guess what! It turned out pretty good. So now I always double the ingredients and keep half of the concentrate in a fridge for the next time.
There are also ways to tweak it and change it into a more hearty soup just by adding potatoes and cream and sprinkling with fresh dill.  Or, you can make a completely new soup called Ukrainian borsht by adding green beans, white large peas, cabbage, potatoes and cream, though this particular soup has dozens of other versions that vary from region to region and country to country.
Nevertheless, beetroot soup/borsht is definitely something that would be common in Poland and other Central and Eastern European countries but not necessarily in other countries or continents.  However if you don’t want to prepare a soup there are always other ways to add a beetroot to your lunch and dinner. More »

babka3At this time of the year my family in Poland would have been almost finished with preparing all the traditional savory and sweet dishes for big Sunday dinner. My family has been always pretty strict about following the rules of Lent and when my sister and I were little kids we always couldn’t wait until Sunday. All the delicious smells coming out of the kitchen were just making our stomachs growl with anticipation, and we knew we were not allowed to touch them yet. To tell you the truth, back then the dreaded Lent soup that we had to eat for breakfast on Sunday before we could jump onto delicious cakes, sausage and pates, seems a little less dreadful when I’m grown up. I actually miss that taste of soup whose main base was the leaven (fermented rye flour in water with garlic and spices) and all the blessed basket ingredients like sausage, egg, bacon, vinegar, horseradish and some spices. This year because of our move from Montreal to Washington DC and continued unpacking I didn’t have a lot of time to get ready for the Easter feast. But there is one cake that is indispensable part of Easter and doesn’t require almost any work. It will definitely be part of our dinner table at my husband’s family house. And if for any reason you wonder why I call it Boom Babka… it got christened by a friend who was surprised how I made it few years ago unnoticed while preparing the rest of the dinner. It literally takes few minutes to pound the cake and it comes out of the oven in the twinkling of an eye while you are preparing the other dishes. More »

done17It’s been a while since I posted something sweet and chocolaty so this recipe is for cupcakes that are filled and covered with chocolate from the top to bottom. I made them in a small cupcake form so whenever you eat one you will feel less guilty about the calories and sugar rush. Those tiny cupcakes just make a perfect teaser for your sweet tooth. They are not overwhelming and provide the ultimate amount of chocolate that we all sometimes need.
When I first saw this recipe on America’s Test Kitchen I thought it was insane and a little too much of chocolate in chocolate. I know it sounds wrong and there is no such thing as too much chocolate… but I’m not a huge fan of super sweet stuff and the amount of chocolate just looked humongous. However, you should try making it and judge for yourself. I definitely am a big fan of this recipe and will confess that these cupcakes have some adequate amount of sweetness and chocolate. More »