Dec. 12th, 2014

laurajv: Don't give me any wild ideas! (Default)
Dec 12: for [personal profile] dine:what are your favourite holiday dishes? (share recipes if you want)

This one's both easy and hard! My favorite (childhood) holiday dishes are a mix of ones that aren't holiday-specific -- my mom's spicy spinach and her famous green beans -- mom makes those all the time, because they're so good, and holiday-specific Polish dishes my mom learned from her paternal grandmother -- chrusciki, kielbasy, and kapusta. In adulthood, I've added some favorite dishes from my husband's family traditions -- scallops over pasta, rib roast, lobster bisque, crabcakes Benedict.

None of these do I have recipes for, exactly -- I know how to make many of them, but it was mostly learned in the kitchen. I'm sure I've written some of them down before, but here are some basic methods:

Spicy spinach: sweat garlic in extra-virgin olive oil (or butter, or a mix of the two) in a LARGE, wide pan until translucent. DO NOT allow it to brown! add cayenne and a giant amount of spinach. No, more spinach than that. Seriously, it shrinks down to like 1/10 the amount. Add pepper and salt to taste and then throw some handfuls of grated parmesan in there. Fend off other diners with a knife while you shovel it into your mouth, snarling.

Green beans: chop up some onions and bell peppers. Cook over medium heat in extra-virgin olive oil until they are soft and caramelizing. Add green beans, rosemary, salt & pepper. Cook til beans are how you like your beans. Throw some handfuls of grated parmesan in there.

Kielbasy: look you're gonna need my mom's recipe, a meat grinder, a sausage stuffer, and some sheep casings if you can get them. And pork butt and mustard seed and marjoram and it has to smell right and...look I can't really help you out with this one.

Kapusta: chop up some white cabbage and boil it until tender-ish but not TOO tender. meanwhile, melt some butter in a giant high-sided pan with a lid (like a big enameled Dutch oven) and in there you put some bacon (leave out if vegetarian) and sliced onion. when the bacon & onions are cooked, toss in a bit of flour and cook that in the fat for a bit, then add sugar, white vinegar, and the cabbage. Stir it all up together til the sauce coats everything and the cabbage is properly tender.

Chrusciki are a fried dough cookie. You can use any chrusciki recipe you find online for these, really. It's a dough with a lot of eggs in, and you roll it out and cut slices and fry them in shortening or lard (lots of people twist them or wrap them to make "wings" -- their English name is Angel Wings -- but my mom never did) and then dust them with powdered sugar. If you have teenagers you will need an extra wooden spoon to rap their knuckles as they steal from the pile of chrusciki as you make them.

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