Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mama's Mothers' Meatballs

Recently, when doing some research for my Golabki recipe, I discovered a great blog featuring traditional Polish recipes from right in the heart of America.  I quickly became a follower, as you should too.

Polish Mama on the Prairie seems to have a lot of fun in her kitchen, online, and, I am assuming, with everything she does.  Well this approach to things is contagious, so I had to jump in...

This recipe is very simple, very Polish, and VERY DELICIOUS!
Each meatball is about 2 ounces, so two of them is a good serving size.  

Instead of the traditional peas and mashed potatoes,  I served mine with sides of Soybeans and Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes and of course the requisite Polish Dill Sauce.

Recipe Links:

Here is the original recipe.
Here's the Foodista (namesake) version.
In case you missed it, the Polish Dill Sauce.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Last weekend, when going through my pile of recipes and deciding what to make, I stumbled upon this copy of a recipe from my Babcia's cupboard...

Golabki, pronounced "Go-Womp-Kee", similar to Pierogi "Per-Oh-Gee", and not related to Garajki "Garage Key"... is my favorite Polish dish. 

As noted in the always factual resource guide Wikipedia, "Golabki is the plural of Golabek, the diminutive of Golab, meaning "Pigeon".   See the resemblance...? 

These traditional cabbage rolls are made from lightly boiled cabbage leaves, which are wrapped around a filling of minced meat, finely chopped onions, and rice or barley; baked or braised in a tomato sauce.

Prep Time:  45 Minutes
Cook Time:  2 Hours
Servings:  12 


1 head cabbage
1 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground veal
1/2 pound ground pork
1 onion chopped fine
1 clove garlic chopped fine
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 cup partially cooked rice (or) 1 cup fully cooked barley
1 egg
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper
1 large can petite diced tomatoes

  • Remove the core from the head of cabbage and place in a pot of boiling, salted water.
  • As the cabbage begins to soften, pull off individual leaves and drain in a colander.
  • Cool leaves in cold water and pat dry.  Cut out heavy ribs.

  • Saute onion and garlic in butter until transparent.
  • Combine cooled onions, meat, egg, rice, and seasoning.
  • Place a 1/3 cup meat mixture at the bottom edge of each cabbage leaf.

  • Roll the cabbage leaf up over the meat, encasing it completely.
  • Fold the two opposite sides and roll.
  • Arrange golabki in a casserole dish or oven proof dutch oven lined with the leftover cabbage leaves.
  • Cover with tomatoes and add water or beef broth to allow for a nice gentle simmer.
  • Put in a 325 degree oven covered for 2 hours, covered for the first hour.

Recipe Links:

Here is a step-by-step pictorial from with more detail on preparing the cabbage.
Here is a great vegetarian version of this classic dish. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Brined and Roasted Pecans

After trying these fresh and home roasted, you may never want to eat a canned nut again!  

As published in Southern Living, December 2010 

Prep Time:  10 Minutes
Total Time:  35 Minutes
Makes:  2-1/2 Cups


2 cups warm water
1/2 cup sugar
2-1/2 cups Pecan halves
3 tablespoons kosher salt

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Stir together 2 cups warm water and 1/2 cup sugar, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
  • Soak Pecan halves in water mixture 10 minutes; drain well.
  • Sprinkle 2 tablespoons kosher salt in a foil lined pan.
  • Arrange pecans in a single layer in pan; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon kosher salt.
  • Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until toasted and fragrant.
  • Toss Pecans in a strainer to remove excess salt, if desired.

Recipe Links:

Here is a link to the original post.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Hoppin' John Soup

Eating Hoppin' John on New Year's Day is thought to bring a prosperous year filled with luck.  The beans symbolize coins or pennies and the greens symbolize the color of money and are said to add to one's wealth in the New Year.

Traditional Hoppin' John is a singular concoction of peas (cow or black-eyed), greens, and rice simmered in a pork base. 

When thinking of how to prepare this dish, I stumbled upon a recipe for a soup version and I  decided to give it a try.  I served it up along with some homemade, fresh from the oven, cornbread.  If you like traditional Hoppin' John you will LOVE this recipe... 

Prep Time:  1/2 Hour
Cook Time:  2 Hours
Servings:  8


1 pound dried black-eyed peas
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 celery ribs, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
6 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large jalapeno pepper, finely chopped with seeds removed
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
10 cups liquid (chicken broth, water, or a combination)
2 large ham hocks
1 pound collard greens, thinly sliced (5 to 6 cups)
1 cup finely diced ham, from ham bone or a ham steak
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
6 cups cooked long-grain white rice
11/2 cups chopped tomatoes (or 1 can Rotel diced tomatoes with habaneros)
Additional vinegar for passing  
Photo: Mary Ann Rice
  • Soak the beans overnight in cold water to cover.  Drain in colander.
  • In a large saucepan or soup pot, heat the oil. Add the onion, celery and carrot and cook over medium heat until onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, jalapeno, thyme, pepper flakes and bay leaf and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  • Add the beans, liquid and ham hocks and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until beans are verging on tender, about 1 hour.
  • Add the collards and continue to cook, covered, until beans and collards are very tender, 50 to 60 minutes. 
  • Stir in the ham, season with salt and pepper, and adjust amount of liquid if necessary. Stir in vinegar.
  • Spoon rice into bowls, ladle soup over, and serve. Pass bowl of chopped tomatoes and a cruet of vinegar and a bottle of hot sauce at the table.
Leave three peas on your plate to ensure a New Year filled with Luck, Fortune, and Romance
Recipe Links:

This recipe is the "original" and was first published in Saveur in Issue #125.
Here is an adaption by Brooke Dojny - which was my inspiration.
Here is a link to quite possibly the World's Perfect Cornbread.

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