So I just got home (4:30 p.m.). I've been at school since 9 a.m. testing out my Polish cake and cookie recipes for the dinner next Saturday. At school we have a Fine Dining Series that is open to the public. It's $40, five courses, and BYOB. Every month is a different theme and next month is...you guessed it...Polish cuisine. And it's perfect, since I Polish. Only problem is, I don't cook Polish....ever! So, I went in today to try out some cake recipes I found on the internet. (Yeh, I forgot my camera. I'll bring it with me next weekend).
In Novemeber, I went up to Wisconsin to visit my parents and my mom gave me the recipes/showed me how to make a majority of the food that will be on the menu. Only problem is we never got to the desserts. I did get one cookie recipe from her, but I'm flying blind on the rest. So to satisfy my need to always be prepared, I went in today and did a test run on the pastries. And...it wasn't too shabby! I'm pretty proud of myself. (Pat..Pat) Although I realized that 90% of the pastry doughs have sour cream in them. Who would have thunk it?
Here's the menu (just in case you were wondering):
Institute of Culinary Arts
Kuchnia Polska (Polish Cuisine) - Fine Dining Series
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Babcia’s Pierogi Kartofel (Grandma’s Potato Pierogi)
Grandma’s traditional Polish dumplings stuffed with a potato onion mixture, boiled and then lightly fried. Served with sour cream on the side.
Zupa Grzybowa z Uszkami (Wild Mushroom Soup with Pillows)
A typical Christmas Eve dish, this soup consists of tiny mushroom filled pillows floating in a delicate wild mushroom broth
Salatka Buraczki Marynowane z Mizeria (Pickled Beet and Cucumber Salad)
A composed salad of pickled beets, mixed greens, and cucumbers tossed in a dill sour cream.
Bigos (Polish Hunter’s Stew)
The national dish of Poland, a savory braised stew of cabbage, meat, fruit, and vegetables served with dill potatoes
Ciastko (Assorted Cookies and Cake)
Kolaczki (jam pastry), Placek (Polish bobka), Rogaliki (almond cookies), Makowiec (poppy seed roll), & Chrusciki (fried bowtie cookies)
Okay as well as not cooking Polish, I do not speak Polish, so I'm sure that there are a lot of spelling mistakes in there. And yes, I was lazy and didn't put all the squiggles in. I know...BAD POLISH BOY, BAD POLISH BOY!
So, thankfully the recipe today was easy and quick because I'm tired of baking/cooking today. I just want to veg out in front of the T.V. with a bottle of wine.
Feta Cheese: $1.86
Parmesan Cheese: $2.45
Monterey Jack: $1.99
Green Onions: $0.67
To kind of repeat what I said yesterday, you should really check out what your local grocery store has in their deli case. I ended up getting the Feta cheese there instead of buying it pre-packaged and saved myself $3. And, in my opinion, it tastes much better.
I also wanted to show you how to cream garlic. Its a technique I learned in culinary school and show my students all the time. It's great for those times when you don't want chunks of garlic in things (like garlic bread).
First, begin by rough chopping up your garlic (make sure you peel it first). Then take some salt and sprinkle it over your garlic pieces. Finally, using the side of the blade mush the garlic into your cutting board.
The salt helps to break down the garlic into a paste. Notice how I have my left hand (My right hand is not in the picture. It is holding the handle of the knife). It is providing firm pressure on the knife to help mush the garlic. Then I smear the garlic on the board by bringing the knife towards me. Be sure to keep your fingers away from the blade edge! Keep doing this until it makes a paste!
In the future, I'll try recording videos of different techniques. That might be easier then me trying to describe it to you.
So once you cream your garlic, you basically take all the ingredients (except for the bread) and mix it into a paste. Top it onto the bread and bake for 12 minutes.
Fast: Took maybe 18 minutes total (including baking time). I shredded the cheese myself so that took a couple of minutes. I don't care too much for pre-shredded cheese. To me it seems a lot drier than freshly grated/shredded cheese and doesn't melt as well.
Easy: If you choose to cream the garlic, that may make this recipe a little difficult (especially, if you've never done it before). Otherwise this is a snap.
Fresh: Yes...surprisingly. I didn't think cheesy garlic bread could taste fresh. However, the combination of the feta cheese and green onion really takes this recipe from drab to fab! You like that? Drab to fab? Can you tell I watch way too many home decorating shows?
Overall: I like this recipe. I would use it as an appetizer. Cut the bread into smaller pieces and crumble a little cooked bacon on top (after it comes out of the oven) and presto...you're ready for cocktails!
Speaking of which...I'm ready for my wine.
Tomorrow = Hungarian Goulash!