Making kluski; Polish drop noodles

I was feeling lazy today, and wanted to make something quick and easy for supper, to go with the meatloaf I had in the oven.

I decided to make kluski. Well. I suppose the proper name for them is kluski kladzione, since kluski is a generic Polish word for all kinds of dumpling type things.

These work up really quick, so start a large pot of salted water going, have a slotted spoon handy, and place a colander over a bowl nearby.

I finished mixing the dough well before the water reached a rolling boil.

The recipe is simple. Three cups flour, three eggs, a bit of salt… (the recipe in the link above uses only two eggs, but I followed the quantities I got from a video I found, so things can be flexible)

… and enough water to make it a batter-like dough.

I use a little over a cup of water to get it to this consistency. It just needs to reach a consistency that’s almost something you can pour.

I mixed by hand, but an electric mixer can be used. I just didn’t feel liking something else to wash. I just kept beating it by hand until the water was ready.

Traditionally, the drop noodles are made by putting some of the dough onto a plate, then scraping pieces off into the water when it reaches a roiling boil. Or, they can be dropped directly into a soup.

I didn’t want to wash a plate, either. I’d used an 8 cup measuring cup to mix the dough, so I just scraped small spoonfuls over the edge of the bowl, instead of the edge of a plate.

They cook up very quickly, too. The pieces I scooped out were pretty small, so they were done very soon after they all started floating on the top. I just gently stirred after dropping them in, to make sure none were stuck to the bottom.

Once a batch was done (I did it in three batches), I used the slotted spoon to scoop them into the colander to drain.

They can be eaten right away at this point, just tossed with a bit of butter and seasonings. I decided to keep following the video I found, though. This next part isn’t necessary, but the video I watched did it, so I gave it a try this time, too.

I took the colander over to the sink and rinsed them with cold water.

They were then dumped into a hot pan with generous amounts of melted butter.

After frying for a minute or so, they were done and ready to serve!

Except my meatloaf wasn’t even done yet.

The resulting little dumplings have a soft, toothsome texture to them, and taste wonderful. I found I didn’t even need to add more seasons. Just the butter it was fried in was enough! Unfortunately, my meatloaf did not turn out all that well, but at least I had delicious kluski!

This is the video I found, when confirming my quantities to make these. I think Grandma Lipinski is adorable!

Enjoy!

The Re-Farmer

Not quite a recipe: three cheese scalloped potatoes with kielbasa and carrots

While making scalloped potatoes yesterday, I wanted to find a way to use the carrots from our garden I had picked that morning.

If they had been larger, I would have just sliced them thin and layered them with the potatoes, but these were on the small side.

So I got creative.

Here is how I ended up making the the scalloped potatoes.

For the cheese sauce, I used 1 medium onion, sliced thin, butter, flour, seasonings, whipping cream and cheese.

We already had old cheddar and grated Parmesan in the fridge. I also picked up a cheese that has recently showed up in local stores that is just awesome. BellaVitano Reserve. We’ve tried the three different varieties we have available, and I picked up Tennessee Whiskey this time. They have an Espresso one that it really good, too. I shredded this, plus the cheddar, and mixed it all together with some grated Parmesan. I used most of it in the sauce, saving some for later.

For the seasonings, I used mushroom salt, freshly ground pepper, garlic powder and paprika. For the liquid, I like to use whipping cream, but it can be made with milk or a lighter cream, though why anyone would want to, I don’t know. 😉

To make the sauce, the onion first gets slowly cooked in about a tablespoon of butter until soft. Then, a couple more tablespoons of butter is added. When that’s melted and bubbling, the flour (about 2 tablespoons) is added and cooked, stirring constantly with a whisk, for maybe a minute. Then 2 cups of room temperature cream is added, little by little, with pauses to whisk it smooth. For the first while, the flour thickens the cream very quickly. After all the cream is added, the sauce is simmered, while constantly stirred with a whisk, until it is slightly thickened. Then the seasonings are mixed in. Finally, the heat is turned off, then the shredded cheese mixture is stirred in until melted. After tasting to see if the seasonings need adjusting, it is set aside.

For the rest of it, I had potatoes peeled and sliced thin and the carrots were peeled and shredded. I didn’t count how many potatoes I used. They were on the small side, so it was probably around a dozen. The shredded carrots made about 3 cups, loosely packed.

In a buttered baking dish, I put a layer of potato slices, topped it with 1/3rd of the shredded carrots, then added 1/4th of the onion and cheese sauce. This was repeated two more times, then the top layer was just potatoes and the last of the sauce.

It then went into a 350F oven for about 40 minutes.

Shortly before the time was up, I took a ring of Polish sausage and cut it into slices. The slices were then laid on the top of the potatoes.

I hadn’t originally planned to use the sausage, but I happened to have it, so why not? 🙂

I did have some concerns at this point. We’re still getting used to the new stove, and haven’t used the oven much at all in this heat. When stabbing the potatoes with a fork before adding the sausage, they were still surprisingly hard. I had forgotten to cover it with foil at first, so that might be why.

I covered with foil at this point, but it really should have been added right from the start.

With the sausage on the top, I put them in for another 10 minutes. Most recipes for scalloped potatoes that I’ve seen say to bake for 40-50 minutes, and I was shooting for 50 minutes in total. After that, I added the rest of the cheese mixture on top.

Back in the oven it went, though without the foil. I didn’t want the cheese to stick to it. I then baked it until fork tender.

It ended up taking a lot longer to cook than I expected.

Also, handy hint. Put the pan on top of a baking sheet, in case the sauce bubbles over.

We’ll be testing out the oven’s self cleaning function, next…

😀

When it was fork tender, I took it out and topped it with chopped parsley I’d picked from our garden that morning.

This was quite an experiment from how I usually make scalloped potatoes. They are usually just the potatoes and onion-cheese sauce, these days. I was very curious as to how the carrots worked.

They pretty much disappeared!

I used some of each type of carrot we have; white satin, rainbow (orange, pale yellow, and white), and deep purple. The purple carrots left colour on the potatoes, but with them being shredded, and such a long cooking time, they all pretty much disintegrated and disappeared into the sauce. I could taste a hint of their sweetness, but that was it.

I would definitely be up to including them again.

The addition of sausage… well, you can’t go wrong with adding kielbasa!

The cheese mixture worked really well, too. That Tennessee Whiskey cheese added to the flavour, but did not overpower.

All in all, this was quite a success!

The Re-Farmer

Historical cooking: chickpea soup with fried bread

One of my Recommended posts was for the Historical Italian Cooking YouTube channel. Recently, they put out a new video for a super simple dish made with ingredients we typically have on hand. Today, I was able to give it a try!

Here is the video.

You can also visit this link for the written recipe.

This is an ancient Roman dish; chickpea and leek soup, with a fried flatbread called lagana.

About the only thing we had to go out of our way to get for this recipe was the white wine.

There was one ingredient we couldn’t find, though. Durum wheat flour. Any type of flour is just now becoming easier to find, but there’s no chance of finding any out of the ordinary flours. All Purpose flour, which is what we have, is made with a blend of hard and soft red wheat. Here in North America, durum wheat tends to be used in pastas. It’s the sort of thing we’d have to go to specialty stores to find. I’m sure I could find it in the city, but certainly not locally.

So I substituted AP, since that’s what I had.

First, the soup ingredients.

Another substitute I made was to use canned chickpeas instead of soaking dried chickpeas overnight. The recipe called for 2 leeks, but has almost no other quantities given. I had 2 leeks, but they were pretty massive, so I used 2 cans of chickpeas to balance out the quantities. There’s also the white wine, some olive oil, and caraway seeds ground with a mortar and pestle. I eyeballed most of the quantities based on watching the video. 🙂

The soup was started by boiling everything but the leeks in salted water for 10 minutes. Then, the leeks are added and cooking continues for another half hour.

While that’s being done, the flat bread is made.

The flour was the other thing with a quantity given: 300 grams.

Unfortunately, my kitchen scale disappeared. So we had to use a converter. I used a little under 2 1/2 cups of flour. Salt is added, then a dough is formed with some warm water. That’s it, that’s all!

After the dough is kneaded until smooth, the recipe said to divide it into 10 pieces. There are 4 of us in this household, so I divided it into 12 pieces, instead.

The pieces of dough are then rolled out into rough circles.

The recipe calls for olive oil to be used to fry the bread. Olive oil has a low smoke point, so I modified the recipe a bit more. I added a bit of vegetable oil to increase the smoke point a bit. I was just frying in a pot on the stove, so this was more of a safety issue.

Once the oil was hot, the rolled out dough was fried, one at a time.

The dough bubbled up a bit in the video, but not into big dough pillows like this! 😀 This could be because of the different type of flour, or even because of the oil blend.

Not that I’m complaining! 😀

These fried up very quickly. Maybe half a minute on each side, to get them to a golden brown, before placing them on paper towel to drain. The bubbles cracked on a couple of them, allowing oil to get into the pockets. That took a fair bit of draining! The bread was finished well before the soup itself was.

They look absolutely amazing!

Taste test time!

The soup itself was very mild tasting. Possibly because I used more water than in the recipe. I couldn’t distinguish individual flavours of the caraway or the wine, for example. No one ingredient overpowered the other.

The lagana bread had a surprising amount of flavour for something that is just flour, salt and water! The outside was crispy, while the inside was chewy. It went incredibly well in the soup. A real balance of flavours. Making one without the other would not be as good as the two together.

This is a remarkably easy soup to make. The lack of quantities in the recipe made it a bit more interesting to work out, but that just gives room to adjust to one’s one preferences!

I can definitely see us making this recipe again!

The Re-Farmer

Step-by-step: making sauerkraut

It’s been cold, wet and raining for the past while (with snow, in some areas!!), which meant it was the perfect time to stay indoors and finally make sauerkraut.

While I remember my mother making sauerkraut when I was a child, and I know I helped at least a little, I have never made it myself before. In fact, it was my mother’s sauerkraut that had me believing I didn’t like the stuff at all. She made incredibly strong kraut, and it was many, many years before I tasted any other and found it… okay. LOL Then one evening, while we were hosting a home schooling historical pot luck set in a pioneer theme, one of the families brought a fresh jar of sauerkraut. Fresh as in, just made that day and no fermentation. I was surprised by how good it tasted.

Cabbage, however, was one of those things I just didn’t tend to buy. In fact, it wasn’t until we moved here that we started to pick it up regularly.

I have an old friend from high school that has shared on social media about the sauerkraut she has been making, and with all the food preservation stuff I’ve been getting more and more into, I found myself wanting to try my hand at it. I did some research and found that it is incredibly basic – but it didn’t sound like what she was making. So I messaged her and got her recipe. It’s more like fermented vegetables, with added probiotics, than sauerkraut.

I decided to do both.

This post will be on the basic sauerkraut I made first.

Here are the ingredients.

Continue reading

Marinated Goat Cheese

Though it is still weeks away, we are already planning our semi-traditional Polish Easter basket.

I say “semi” traditional, because we’ve modified some of the contents over the years.

If you’re unfamiliar with a Polish Easter basket, these are filled with symbolic foods to be blessed on Holy Saturday, and eaten on Easter Sunday. The foods include ham, sausage, bacon, bread, cheese, salt, butter, horseradish and eggs. We also include things like olives, vinegar, and olive oil. It may also contain a bottle of wine and a candle. Oh, and sometimes chocolate or candy. The baskets are decorated and covered with lace or embroidered clothes. As a child, Easter was my favourite holiday, and our traditional basket was a big reason for that!

Some of the contents require more advance preparation, and I was able to start on one of those, yesterday. This is a non-traditional way to include the traditional cheese in the basket.

This year, I found some absolutely delightful mini-jars, and decided to make several small jars of marinated goat cheese, but we’ve also done it by layering medallions of goat cheese in a larger jar. Both ways work fine.

It had been my intention to make two baskets this year, with a large family basket for ourselves, and a smaller one for my mother. She declined my offer, and will be making her own basket.

We’re going to have lots extra out of this batch!

To start with, I scalded the tiny jars I bought special for the basket, plus extra pint size jars. Then I prepared the ingredients. The mini-jars have smaller openings, though, so that changed things a bit.

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Here we have fresh rosemary leaves and fresh thyme leaves – they came in 28gram packages, and I stripped the leaves from the stems. There are peppercorns and about 8 cloves of garlic, sliced. Not pictured is Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

I completely forgot about the bay leaves. There should have been a bay leaf per jar.

As you can see, this is a forgiving recipe.

The goat cheese came in 300 gram logs; I had 2 of them and cut them each into 4 equal pieces. For the ones to go into the mini-jars, I cut pieces off to try and make them into smaller columns, then gently rolled them between my hands to make them smooth and round.

The first one I tried, promptly crumbed apart. Which is why I have rolled balls of cheese. I broke up each trimmed quarter piece into 4 and formed the smaller pieces into smooth balls.

For the pint sized jars, I didn’t have to be pretty, since they’re not intended for the basket

Each jar got some peppercorns, thyme leaves, garlic and rosemary leaves placed on the bottom. If I’d remembered the bay leaves, they would have gone into the bottom, too. Then the goat cheese gets put into the jars.

This is why I make extras…

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I didn’t make one of the small columns of cheese small enough. It got messy. 😀

No worries. It’ll still taste good!

Once the cheese is in, more peppercorns were added, as well as the rest of the thyme, rosemary and garlic slices. Then the olive oil was added.

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After the oil was added, the rims were cleaned, the jars sealed, and into the fridge they went.

Next is the hard part; waiting a week before using them!

From the looks of them, I think the balled cheese will be kept for the basket. I do have one non-messy mini-jar with a bigger piece, so I might use one of each. We shall see. The pint jars don’t have to wait for then, though, and I will post pictures, when they are ready. 🙂

After marinating for a week, the oil can be drained through a sieve and reserved (the herbs are discarded). It makes for incredibly flavourful oil to use when cooking. The cheese can be served as a spread on bread or crackers, or used any other way you would use goat cheese.

Alternatively, little jars like this can be served as individual appetizers. The jars can be warmed by placing them in a flat bottomed pan with hot water, and placed in a hot oven until heated through. They can then be used as individual servings, eaten straight from the jar.

I intend to put these in our basket, just as they are, without straining them first since the jars are so small. When we made them before, with layers of cheese in a larger jar, we removed the cheese, then put a few pieces into a smaller container with a liquid tight seal. I then covered the cheese with strained oil and closed it up. It made for a nice presentation in the basket. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Foil packet fire pit cooking: preparations

I am really looking forward to our cookout this afternoon, and have been doing some preparations for things beyond hot dogs and corn dogs. 🙂

I’ve got 4 foil packets now sitting, ready and waiting, allowing several hours for the seasonings to work their magic. Here is the first one I made up.

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The base of this one is a packet of mixed baby potatoes. I stabbed them all over with a fork to allow the flavours in. The rest is mix and match of what I had available. A couple of carrots, a leek, and some asparagus (there was a good sale on those recently. 😉 ). They were tossed with Rosemary Lemon Salt, pepper, garlic powder and olive oil.

This amount ended up being split between two foil packets. I used a double thickness of heavy duty aluminum foil to wrap them in.

This is something I’ve done before, using whatever vegetables and seasonings I had, and cooking it in an oven. Today will be the first time I’m doing this over a fire. I can hardly wait!

I am also trying out two versions of cabbage.

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I’d found a recipe and instructions online, modified slightly for what I had on hand. This is one cabbage, outer leaves removed and cut into 8 wedges. The cut sides are spread with softened butter. In with is is half a medium onion, Scarborough Fair Garlic Salt, pepper, and extra garlic powder.

Because you can’t have enough garlic.

These were also wrapped with a double layer of heavy duty aluminum foil.

20190316.firepit.foilpacket.cabbage.oliveoil.mix

With this version, the only thing I changed was to toss everything in olive oil, instead of buttering the wedges.

As you can see, some of the leaves of cabbage came loose. Before wrapping it up, I took one out to give it a taste.

Wow.

I am totally still craving it right now. I think this is going to be a future salad; raw cabbage chunks tossed, with the same seasonings, tossed in olive oil. It was so, so good!

You know. When I was a kid, I hated cabbage. We used to grow lots of it, and my mother used it to make sauerkraut, or to wrap cabbage rolls. I don’t recall us ever eating it raw. My mother’s sauerkraut was incredibly strong – at least to me – and I didn’t like it. As for cabbage rolls, I loved the filling. Hated the cabbage. I still am not a fan of cabbage rolls (for a Polish person, that’s heresy! 😀 ), and it’s because of the cabbage leaves. I’ve since eaten and enjoyed sauerkraut, cooked in bigos – something my mother never made – but that’s about the only time I’ll eat it.

Anyhow…

These cabbage wedges were also wrapped in double thickness, heavy duty aluminum foil.

Along with these, I have cut a pineapple into slices (with the core still in; otherwise it falls apart) to cook up on the grill for desert.

It should warm up to -4C by the time we’re going to start cooking over the fire. It’s going to be a beautiful day! I am so looking forward to it!

The Re-Farmer

Brined Turkey with bacon

I was interrupted while making our Thanksgiving dinner today. I got a call from home care, telling me that there had been a sick call, and no one would be able to do the meal assist with my mother.  I did confirm that she would still be getting her bed time assist, then said that I could go over to do the meal assist.  So I turned all over to the girls to finish, and headed out to help out my mother.

Everything was ready by the time I got back, so we went straight to setting up for dinner.  I half carved the turkey before I realized I forgot to take a photo! 😀  So here is half of our bacon covered, brined turkey! Continue reading

Chokecherry Vinegar Drink

I finally got some photos of a drink mixed using the chokecherry vinegar I made not long ago.

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I have been using it for other things already.  One of the things I like to do is put some frozen mixed berries in container to thaw out over night and enjoy them with breakfast.  Usually, I sprinkle a bit of vanilla sugar over them while they are still frozen.  I tried it with a drizzle of chokecherry vinegar, and it worked out very well!  It made plain, ordinary toaster waffles really something!

I’ve drizzled some over fresh cantaloupe, which was also really nice.  It would work just as well over any melon or fruit salad.  The vinegar adds just the right tang.

For a drink, we spooned some over some ice (about 3-4 tablespoons for a large glass), then added ginger ale.20180811.chokecherry.vinegar.gingerale

Give it a bit of a stir, and that’s it!

Very refreshing.

I don’t actually enjoy ginger ale as a drink on its own, but I do like it as a mix.  Half and half with orange juice or cranberry juice, with frozen berries instead of ice, is a favorite of mine.  This chokecherry vinegar would be right at home in any drink like that!

Perfect for a 34C day!

Original recipe here.

The Re-Farmer

Corn on the cob, cookout

It’s been some time since we’ve done a cookout.  It’s either been way too hot to sit around a fire, or raining!

Not a complaint, really.

Today, we cooked supper outside, but brought it inside to eat because… flies.  They like our faces.  And hair.  And ears.

So the idea of eating outside wasn’t very attractive. 😀

I recently picked up a campfire grill, and today I picked up some fresh corn on the cob.

A perfect way to break in the grill!

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Before starting the fire, I removed the outer leaves on the husks, as much of the cornsilk as I could, then left them to soak in cold water.  We turned them a few times, flipped them and changed their positions, because the coals were not evenly heating.

Once they’re cooked and cool enough for eating, the husks can be pulled back and used as a holder for the corn, or broken off completely.

We cooked the cheese hoagies in batches.

A lovely summer treat!

The Re-Farmer