It’s the fava bean season! I know that some of you will be like “fava what?” For some people the only way they have heard about it was when Hannibal Lecter served it with liver and Chianti in The Silence of the Lambs. I definitely grew up eating them differently. I was a little disappointed to see how hard it is to get them around the District, and once you see them at the Farmers Market, they can be quite expensive. They are full of vitamins and a great source of lean protein so it might be worth getting some now since the season for them is so short.

pasta27If I could I would eat a huge pot of cooked fava beans without adding anything, except for salt.  My husband witnessed that a couple of times when we were in Poland. But this time since I didn’t have a lot I decided to use them in a sauce. I have also been thinking for a while what to do with this basil that has been spreading in my garden and finally decided to make basil pasta with fava beans sauce. I know it may sound complicated but it’s really not, and if you have a pasta roller and cutter, that’s even easier and faster. The fava beans sauce complements the pasta quite nicely and highlights the basil. It is so fragrant that you might to try eating the pasta alone with only freshly grated parmesan and olive oil. More »

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There is no picnic without fired chicken. Period.
It’s a little messy process and I admit very easy to burn. I learned this method from one of the chefs in Montreal and since then I’m never going to make it differently. It always turns out juicy and crispy and that’s what fried chicken should be. You can play with the spices as you like but I like simple and classic with a little cayenne pepper kick. More »

03. July 2014 · 1 comment · Categories: Sides · Tags: ,

salad3A friend told me that every picnic basket should include potato salad or any salad with mayonnaise. Let’s the skip the mayonnaise part since we have enough of the redundant albeit inevitable calories in there. I am using a Food Network recipe for sauce for the German potato salad, and my husband, having German roots, was quite appreciative about that.
I have used red skin potatoes but you can use Yukon potatoes as well. It’s great served either cold or warm. More »

breadThis may not be a traditional picnic idea for the 4th of July weekend but if you are planning on making some kind of a sandwich, why not something that would catch everyone’s eye? I used my rustic bread recipe for this, but if you don’t have time for that, get a loaf in your favorite bakery.
It may remind you a little bit of the famous Pan Bagnat idea, except the original version was supposed to be combining wheat bread with Nicoise salad, where it comes from. But since my husband’s preference for bacon and prosciutto is much higher than for tuna I have decided to make some adjustments. More »

This is such an easy recipe but I had a hard time to figure out what I should call them in English.
In Polish we call these Malosolne (maw-oh-SOL-ne).

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I have seen different names at the farmers market and when I tasted them some were close in taste to the ones my mom makes. But not quite…  I don’t want to call them sour because there is no single drop of vinegar in them. And many times there are more spices in them that I don’t want. These are the simple pickles that you will find in many groceries and farmers stands or at homes at this time of the year in Poland. It’s exactly the same brine that you would use for regular Polish pickles in brine.  However the cucumbers you find at markets now are still coming from green houses so they might not survive the long term pickling too well.  Hopefully within a month or two maximum you will be able to get the seasonal cucumbers grown in the ground, but if you are not sure what you’re getting, simply ask.  I will be making lots of jars this year again to keep us going through winter time and will be happy to share canning methods with you later :)

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It takes only 3 to 4 days to pickle those and you should eat them within the next week maximum. They will be super crunchy and refreshing either as a snack or addition to your salad or barbecue meat. I just like to open a jar and eat them directly from there :)

The most difficult part I faced was finding the right dill and fresh root of horseradish.  Eventually I bought the dill in a pot since I couldn’t find the pickling dill, and for this type of pickles you can use the cut dill that you can usually find in a store. Finding horseradish wasn’t easy either. I searched at Farmers Market with no luck and finally found it at Harris Teeter. You will need either a large empty jar or two small ones to hold your cucumbers and brine. The important part is the water and salt ratio. It should be 1 ½ tablespoon for 1 liter of water (4 cups). So if you end up buying more cucumbers you will have to increase the ratio. And remember that when you pick them in a stand, make sure you touch every single one and pick only those that are tough and firm and no yellow color is coming through. More »