Sunday, May 4, 2014

Polish Mushroom Soup

While it may be too hot here for soup, on the other side of the country, with damp, raw weather conditions, my parents have been warming up with this Polish Mushroom Soup. My Dad traditionally makes this vegetarian soup as part of our Polish Christmas Eve dinner, Wigilia, when Polish people refrain from eating meat.  For Dad's Polish mushroom soup you'll need:
a few tablespoons of butter
a few tablespoons of olive oil 
1 package dried mushrooms, revived in warm water
10 ounces of fresh mushrooms, like button mushrooms 
10 ounces of fresh mushrooms, like cremini or baby bella mushrooms 
small onion, chopped 
sprigs of fresh rosemary
32 ounces of vegetable broth 
salt and pepper 
barley - rinsed and soaked in 16 ounces of water 
1 cup cream, or 2 tablespoons of sour cream 

1. In a large saucepan (which has a cover), heat butter and oil.  Add the revived dried mushrooms and cover with the lid. 
2. After 2-3 minutes, add half of the fresh mushrooms (a combination of both varieties) and salt and pepper.  Cook for about 10 minutes - covered on low.  If the mushrooms look dry, add some vegetable broth. 
3. Next add the vegetable broth, barley with the water, and sprigs of rosemary.

4. In a separate pan, sauté onions and the remaining fresh mushrooms.  Then add to the above saucepan.  
5. Simmer the soup for about 1 hour.  Add salt and pepper to taste and cream or sour cream at the end.  

Note - soup will thicken due to the barley.  You may want to add more vegetable broth or water. Make sure to remove the rosemary stalks before serving. 

Thanks, Dad, for your recipe and pictures!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Broccoli Bow-tie Salad

Dear Baci reader, 

Welcome back to my blog! I have taken a little hiatus, but I'm back and ready to share some new recipes in the upcoming posts.

Let's begin with a summer-time favorite. Recently M's parents were out visiting us and we started talking about this recipe: broccoli bow-tie salad.  M's mom usually makes it, in a larger batch, for the annual 4th of July picnic.  I had a hankering when I saw a similar version (pasta free) in the deli case at the grocery store. Plus I thought I could use up a shallot (we have an excess of shallots from our CSA - community supported agriculture - basket) and the leftover broccoli and bacon in the fridge. Here's a similar recipe without the pasta and with sugar instead of honey.

small head of broccoli, chopped into bite-size pieces 
3-4 strips of cooked  bacon, cut into bite-size pieces
1/4 of red onion or whole shallot, diced into small pieces
handful of raisins or dried cranberries
bow tie pasta, cooked (enough for 4 servings)
several tablespoons of honey
about 1/4 cup mayonnaise
about 2-3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste 

1. In a large mixing bowl, add the chopped broccoli, onion, bacon, and raisins (or dried cranberries) to the cooked pasta. 
2. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the mayo, salt and pepper, vinegar, and honey.  You may want to add more mayo and/or vinegar depending on your taste and/or the consistency.
3. Add the mayo mixture to the broccoli pasta salad. Gently toss together.
4. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving.  

Serves 4-6 people.

Note - Make this recipe your own - feel free to add more raisins/cranberries or skip the bacon if you want to make this a non-meat side dish. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Rainbow Carrots in a Brown Sugar Butter

Our friends invited us to Albie's Beef Inn for New Year's Eve, a hidden jewel attached to a Travelodge. I know, it doesn't sound classy, but the food is delicious, the drinks are stiff, and the piano bar and crowd provide hours of entertainment.

At Albie's, I usually order prime rib with a stuffed baked potato and a sweet whole carrot.  This is my ode to Albie's; since we were not able to make the New Year's invite, I made their carrots in a brown sugar butter here at home.  Perhaps it's too simple to blog about; however, the rainbow carrots were colorful, so I thought I'd share. 

I peeled, washed, and boiled the organic rainbow carrots WHOLE.  When the carrots were fork-tender, about 15 minutes, I drained almost all of the water, leaving a few tablespoons of water in the pot with the carrots.  Then I added a tablespoon of butter, or so, and sprinkled in some brown sugar. I mixed the water, brown sugar, and butter in one section of the pot (away from the carrots so I wouldn't mash them) to form of sauce.  Finally I coated the carrots with the brown sugar butter. 

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Nana's Christmas Napkins

Happy Almost New Year! My mom created these cloth napkins, which she coined as Nana's Christmas Napkins, for our Christmas dinner.  She used various festive fabrics, like gingerbread men, peppermint candies, and golden zigzag trees on green.  There were ten of us this Christmas and the assortment of Nana's handmade napkins were sprinkled around my parents' table. So cheerful!

This is the same pattern I shared here for my back-to-school napkins.
I'm sure we both will be sewing-up and sharing other holiday 
and special occasion napkins in 2014!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Vegetarian Fiery Tofu and Coconut Curry Soup

Happy Holidays! The other day M made this delicious vegetarian soup.  It was the perfect balance of creamy and spicy with the right amount of tofu and vegetables.  The inspiration for this recipe can be found here.  He also added red and yellow bell peppers and mushrooms.

Thanks to The Museum Scout for the picture and for inspiring me to "get back on my blog."

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Leek Potato Soup with Bacon

Last year I posted a recipe for Leek Potato Soup with Coconut Milk.  This is essentially the same recipe, but with some organic ingredients, crispy bacon, and melted cheese.

For this recipe you'll need:
a few tablespoons of organic extra virgin olive oil 
3 cloves of garlic, minced
small onion, chopped
2-3 stalks of organic celery, chopped
3 organic leeks, cleaned and chopped
1 32-ounce container of organic chicken broth
6-8 ounces light coconut milk (I used what I had leftover from another recipe)
salt and pepper, to taste
2 potatoes, chopped in bite-size pieces, cooked
4-6 slices slices of crispy bacon
favorite shredded or grated organic cheese

Servings: Makes 6-8 bowls  

1. In a stock pot, add the olive oil and sauté the onion, garlic, and celery for several minutes.  Salt and pepper this layer. 

2. Add the chopped leeks and sauté until they wither down. Again, add salt and pepper.

3. Next add the broth, coconut milk, cooked potatoes, and another dash of salt and pepper.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Remembering to stir often so the coconut milk does not burn or stick to the bottom of the stock pot.

4. Remove from heat and stir in a few bacon slices.

5. Just before serving, top with some additional chopped bacon and your favorite shredded cheese.  Enjoy!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Organic Kale Chips

Whenever possible, M and I have been buying organic produce, meat, and dairy.  There are certain fruits and vegetables that you should always eat organic.  Rule of thumb, if you peel the skin before you eat it, you don't need to buy organic, like oranges and bananas.  However, everything else, from greens to berries to apples should be organic.  And organic milk tastes soooo much better, right Mom and Sister?

Kale - before placing in the oven

With that said, we have a suffice supply of organic produce in our fridge - especially kale.  It's been on sale for $0.99 at our local grocery store, so we keep purchasing it and adding this leafy green to different dishes, soups, and drinks. My latest kale creation - kale chips.  
You'll need:
1 bunch of organic kale
1-2 tablespoons organic extra virgin olive oil
1 gallon-size Ziploc bag
cooking spray and cookie sheet 
salt to taste

Kale chips - after cooking in the oven

1. Preheat the oven to 275°F and spray the cookie sheet with cooking spray.
2. Wash the kale and remove the leaves from the stock.  Chop the kale into bite-size pieces.
3. Add the chopped kale and olive oil to the Ziploc bag.
4. Close and shake the bag so the olive oil is evenly distributed on all the kale leaves.
5. Add salt. Close and shake again.
6. Spread out the kale on the cookie sheet and cook for 15-25 minutes, depending on your oven.  Kale chips should be crispy, but not burned. 

Note - I checked the kale at 15 minutes and stirred and continued to check it every 5 minutes thereafter, until the edges were crunchy like a chip.