So when I was offered review copies of two new books - Polish Classic Recipes and Polish Classic Desserts, by Laura & Peter Zeranski - of course I accepted. There aren't a ton of good Polish cookbooks on the market - particularly ones with photos of the dishes - and I thought it would be fun to recreate some of my favorite meals from my trip to Poland.
I'll be honest here - if I had seen these books in a bookstore or online, I probably would not have been drawn to them based purely on aesthetics:
But the proof is in the pudding; in this case, the recipes themselves. It has been far too hot in my neck of the woods to whip up some of the more hearty dishes contained in the books (although I will welcome the cooler days of autumn to make sour soup and cabbage rolls!) so I opted for the cool summer borscht:
And for those unfortunates who claim that they don't like beets - I really do believe this could change your mind. Want the recipe? Buy the book! And pick up a copy of Polish Classic Desserts while you're at it. [Edit: Since this writing I've received permission to include the recipe, see below]
Cool Summer Barszcz
2 cups fresh beets, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch julienne
1 cup water
1/4 cup beet stems, coarsely chopped
1 cup beet leaves, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
4 cups beef broth
1/4 cup cold water
2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
1 small cucumber, peeled and sliced
1 cup sliced roast pork or veal
8 large shrimp, cooked, peeled, and diced (optional)
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon chopped dill
1 tablespoon chopped green onion
Simmer the beets, leaves, and stems in 1 cup water and vinegar for 20 to 25 minutes, until the beets are completely soft and tender. Add the beef broth and simmer 5 minutes longer.
Mix the flour into 1/4 cup water, add to the beet mixture and stor. Cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Cool completely. Add the rest of the ingredients and chill for several hours. Serve cold. [Note: I did not add the eggs until ready to serve. I also added salt to taste.]
From Polish Classic Recipes by Laura and Peter Zeranski, © Lorapeet Ventures, LLC, used by permission of the publisher, Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.
And to my readers in the Baltimore/Washington area: the Polish Heritage Festival will take place July 20 - 21 at the Maryland Fairgrounds. As of this writing, the authors will be there so you may get a chance to sample some goodies form the books! Maybe I'll see you there.