Archives for December 2011
I have pulled myself from the depths of laziness in which the busy holidays have sent me. To let you all know, I am still alive! I hope all of your holidays have treated you well and, if you are anything like me, as much as you love Christmas, you are truly thankful it is over!
Here is a quick glance into the laziest, most gluttonous, most tv-on-DVD filled week of my life.
PS I blame my teacher-husband for sucking me into this vortex of laziness and naps, because he is home on Christmas vacation. If he was not home, I would be all “back to business.” Maybe…
Kolaczki (Pronounced ko-wah-ch-kee.)
Yesterday I decided to take my little dog Weezer and head over to my parents house to “help” my mom with some Christmas cookie baking. I use the term “help” loosely, because sometimes I am more of a bother in the kitchen than a help, especially when it comes to baking.
Kolaczki are a traditional holiday cookie in our house. They are light, buttery, flaky, and filled with fruit preserves. Being the proud Polish family that we are, we like to say they are a Polish cookie, but more realistically, I think they are a traditional Eastern European cookie. They are called many different names in Polish and in other languages. No matter what you call them, in whatever language, the description is always the same. They are G-O-O-D! (Pronounced guuud.)
But, I digress. When I got to my parent’s house, my mom already had the dough made and chilled. Score! One less thing for me to mess up. Then she springs this one on me: “Would you mind making a surprise dish for your brother for Christmas dinner while you’re here?” Seriously? I thought we were baking together?
So, what mama wants, mama gets. I started making this surprise dish for Christmas dinner while trying to pay attention to what my mom was doing so I could post an accurate recipe for the kolaczki. When I wasn’t paying enough attention or capturing the pictures my mom wanted me to capture for the blog, I definitely got an earful.
I ended up holding off on my project, taking pictures of the cookie making process, and overall marveling at how quickly and expertly my mom can whip these cookies out. It made me feel like a kid again. I felt like, since I clearly was not needed to make the kolaczki, I might as well entertain my mom with my witty banter.
And then, when all the cookies were baked and sprinkled with powdered sugar, the two of us sat back amongst the mess of flour and dough and ate way too many cookies for lunch and talked about how we wished we could hire somebody to come clean all this up.
Even though I didn’t exactly “help”, here is my mom doing what she does best!
3 Cups Flour
¾ lb. Margarine (3 Sticks)
½ Cup Sour Cream
Any kind of Fruit Preserves you like (We used Strawberry, Cherry, and Apricot)
Powdered Sugar for dusting over the tops
Mix the flour and margarine together using a pastry blender. When the two have combined and the dough is crumbly, add in the sour cream. Combine it using your hands until the dough is formed.
Divide into four equal balls of dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Roll one ball of dough out at a time on a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into 3” squares.
Place a dollop (1/2 a teaspoon) of filling into the center of the squares. Fold the two sides into the center and seal with a little dab of water.
Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Check the cookies at the 15 minute mark to make sure they aren’t burning or haven’t unfolded.
Remove from the cookie sheet when completely baked and place them on a cooling rack. Lightly dust the cookies with some powdered sugar to finish.
After eating too many cookies, and laughing too hard with my mom all day yesterday, my stomach is still sore. It was worth every calorie!
I love appetizers! I love everything from cheese plates with olives and crackers to a messy hard to eat bruschetta. In fact, the other night my husband and I made a meal out of those two very things! I know it isn’t the healthiest or most balanced meal, but hey, it is the holiday season. Don’t all of your normal eating guidelines go out the window eventually anyway?
When thinking of ways to make my all time favorite combination of ingredients even better, there was only one ingredient that came to mind: pork! Pork always makes a dish better!
The addition of a mild pork Italian sausage to the normal bruschetta takes this traditional vegetarian dish and makes it into more of an entrée or a heavier appetizer to lead into the main course. I highly recommend bringing this dish to your Christmas dinner. After all, it is red and green!
Ingredients (makes enough for 10 pieces of bruschetta)
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
2 Links of Mild Italian Pork Sausage, casings removed
½ Cup Balsamic Vinegar
½ Pint of Grape Tomatoes, halved length-wise
10 Fresh Mozzarella Ciliegine (small balls of mozzarella), halved
6 Large Fresh Basil Leaves, cut into thin strips
10 Slices of French Baguette or Ciabatta (or any other kind of crusty bread you like)
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium/high heat. Add the sausage links. Using a rubber spatula, break the links up into small bite-size chunks. When the sausage becomes golden on each side and is no longer pink in the center, add the balsamic vinegar. Turn the heat up to high and reduce the balsamic by half until it is a thick glaze over all of the sausage.