Somehow I managed to escape spring allergies, but fall allergies sneaked in when I wasn’t watching and knocked me down a week. I took a nap every day when I came home from work. I just felt so exhausted! So, that’s why I spread out my dishes over a couple of days.
|I would've never really imagined that cooked rice in a bread would be good, but I was wrong.|
On Sunday, I made Polish Rice Bread, or Pirog. I emptied my yeast packet into 4 Tbsp of warm water and set it off to the side. Then I brought 8 oz of milk, ½ c of caster sugar (I used baker’s sugar), and 6 Tbsp of butter just to the point of scalding it, and then I took it off the heat. I added in 2 beaten eggs, a spoonful of vanilla extract, a pinch of salt to the milk mixture. Then I slowly whisked in my 3 2/3 c of flour a little at a time. Once I got it to start to form a dough, I folded in my sultanas (I used golden raisins), kneading it until it became smooth. I put a little oil in the bottom of bowl and rolled the dough around in the oil. While this was resting for the next hour, I made the rice mixture. In a pan, I mixed 17 oz of milk, 4 Tbsp of baker’s sugar, a pinch of salt, 1 Tbsp of butter, and 6 oz of rice. I brought all of this to a boil and then turned the heat down until it was cooked soft, setting it to the side to cool. This rice tastes similar to what my mom used to make when I was a kid. When the dough was done resting, I punched it down and spread it out in a casserole dish. I poured the rice mixture down the center of the bread, spreading it out a little bit. Kind of like an envelope, I took the sides of the bread dough on all sides, and folded them to the center; the rice still showing in the center. Before I put it in the oven, I brushed the top with melted butter and sprinkled it with cinnamon. I let this bake at 375ºF for about 10 minutes and then lowered it to 350ºF for another 25-30 minutes. I really liked this bread; it almost reminded me of a bread pudding or rice pudding flavor. The sultanas were surprisingly my favorite part. It was flavorful and went really well with strong coffee (I’ve been on a Café Bustelo kick lately).
|This took so long to make that we were basically eating at 10pm at night.|
Yesterday, I made Golabki, or Polish Cabbage Rolls. First I sauteed up some onion and garlic in a little bit of butter and set it off to the side when the onions looked transparent. In a smal bowl, I mixed together 2 eggs, some marjoram, some thyme, salt, and pepper. In a larger bowl, I mixed some ground beef (2 lbs was too much, probably 1 lb would’ve sufficed, and the recipe also suggested doing a beef/pork or beef/veal combo), cooked rice, onion, garlic, and egg mixture; I mixed everything together and set this off to the side. After I cored my cabbage, I took the leaves and blanched them in boiling water for a few minutes to make them pliable. I took them out and placed a little bit of the meat inside the cabbage leaf and folded it up. I placed all of the stuffed cabbage leaves in my casserole dish and layered them when I ran out of room. When I was done, I poured a large can of crushed tomatoes on top of the whole thing and topped it with a little oregano (I had used the last of my marjoram, so I had to make a quick substitution). Then I baked this at 350ºF for an hour and a half. I thought it was really good. I was afraid my cabbage leaves would fall apart, but they held together better than I thought they would. The flavor was good and not bland. I think it probably would’ve been better if I had a beef/pork mix, but maybe an idea for next time.
|Of course, I added broccoli and cheese. Of course I did.|
And finally, I made Potato and Goat Cheese Pierogi. I started off making the dough by peeling and boiling 2 potatoes in salted water until they were soft. (I reserved half of the potatoes for the filling.) I mashed my potatoes and then added in my flour, cornstarch, and salt. In a smaller bowl, I whisked together some egg, sour cream, and butter and added it into the potato mixture, stirring until everything started to come together. I turned this out onto my floured pastry mat and kneaded it until most of the lumps were out and it was smooth. Using my rolling pin, I rolled this out and cut out circles until the dough was used up. Then I covered it with some wax paper while I made the filling. I used the other half of my potatoes and mashed them. In that same bowl, I also mixed in some goat cheese, finely diced onion (in lieu of shallots), an egg yolk, heavy whipping cream, a little thyme (I couldn’t find my sage), and a little salt and pepper. In the center of each dough circle, I put a large dollop of filling and folded it over halfway, pinching the edges. Then I dropped these (about 8-9 at a time) in boiling water for about 6-7 minutes. I really liked these quite a bit! They were filling and had a good flavor. I think I’d like to make these again and add in some bacon bits to the filling mixture. Then it would remind me of that French dish I made (Tarte Flambée).
|A mazurek is also a type of highly decorated cake, most likely named after the dance or the region it's from. It's too pretty to eat. But leave me alone with it for five minutes...|