All posts tagged: food

Vibrancy & Vigor: An Ode to Vegetables

I currently reside in a shoebox apartment in the urban area of Austin, Texas. Though my space is a small one, I do try to keep a sensible garden. I’m not an expert gardener but slowly I have noticed my pale thumb turning increasingly green… leaving me thirstier for a bigger area to try my hand at seed and soil. “The word vegetable comes from the root that means the very opposite of immobile, passive, dull, or uneventful. Vegere means to animate, enliven, invigorate, arouse. Vegete means to grow, to be refreshing, to vivify, animate. From these roots come words such as vigil, vigilant, and vigor, with all their connotations of being wide-awake, alert, of keeping watch. ‘The understanding…was vagete, quick, and lively,” observed one critic in 1662. Ben Jonson described what he saw as desirable characteristics in woman, ‘faire, young, and vegetous.’ Such respect for the vegetable soul was not confined merely to a robust sensual life, but extended into the religious dimension. ‘Man is righteous in his Vegetated Spectre,’ proclaimed Blake when commenting …

Pickle Soup (Zupa Orgorkowa)

A lovely, light, spring or summer soup. *Note: It is important to use brined cucumbers (sour cucumbers) as opposed to the sweet, vinegar based ones you find in the grocery store. You can easily make your own using this recipe. Ingredients 20 g (3/4 oz) Butter 300 g (10 1/2 oz) Polski Ogorkie (those brined dill cucumbers) thinly sliced, or grated (reserve the pickle juice to add to broth.) 2-3 Potatoes (russets or yukons work great,) peeled, diced 1-2 Carrots, peeled, diced 1 liter (35fl oz/4C) Soup stock (I use chicken stock or bone broth…. but you can easily make this recipe vegetarian or vegan by substituting for veg. & using sunflower oil instead of butter). 60 ml (2fl oz / 1/4 cup) cream (for pouring) Fresh, chopped dill Instructions  Melt butter in stock pot over medium heat, after foam separates add in sliced cucumbers. Reduce heat,  stir and wait until softened. Remove cucumbers and reserve. Add potatoes, carrots, and stock and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook veg until soft. Add pickles and cook for another …

Ogórki Małosolne

These Polish-style, slightly salted cucumbers are a bit different to regular pickled cucumbers, the vinegar based ones you find in stores or make at home. They don’t use vinegar at all and contain less salt in the brine therefore they ferment faster and have to be eaten within weeks. These are also the ones that are used for cucumbers soups (zupa orgorkowa) These pickles do no require vinegar as the preservative method, but instead, use a salted water solution (brine) allowing for a natural fermentation process. I’ve talked to several Polish women, my mother-in-aw included, who claim these are much healthier than vinegar based pickled cucumbers (though I’m not a nutritionist, so I can make no such claims.) These salted cucumbers are a traditional Polish dish but other countries have similar marinated cucumbers recipes: Danish syltede agurker, Estonian soolakurgid or German salz-dill Gurken just to mention few. INGREDIENTS – Garden cucumbers / pickling cucumbers – About 4 liters of boiled water – One TB Kosher salt (per jar you want to fill) I usually do …

Simple & Savory Pumpkin Soup

Most pumpkin recipes I’ve come across feature the sweet, rather than the savory side of pumpkin… but this fall favorite can be as diverse as it is delicious! Here’s a recipe for a savory pumpkin soup with just the right amount of spice. P.S. This is entirely vegan  Savory Pumpkin Soup 3 Serrano chilies (this can vary depending on your spice preference) 4 cloves garlic 1 tsp grated ginger 1 large onion, chopped 1 c olive oil .75 l of vegetable stock 1.5 tbsp tamarind paste 2 tbsp coconut milk   0.5 Kilograms of pie/ sugar pumpkin (the ones used for baking not for carving) 0.5 Kilograms delicata squash 2.5 tsps coriander seeds 2 tsp cumin seeds 1/4 tsp nigella seeds 1/4 tsp mustard powder   Preheat the oven to 450°F. Dice onion and 2 cloves garlic. Saute in a pan until translucent. Put this off to the side. Place the coriander, cumin  and nigella seeds in a dry frying pan and brown over medium heat until they golden & smell nice and toasty. Grind in a mortar and pestle with mustard powder. …

Food & Stuff

I’ve been up cooking and canning beet horseradish (Ćwikła in Polish) for tomorrow’s farmers market. I find it surreal sometimes to be selling our “product”. Cooking is my craft and where I’m most in my element. Braising, canning, baking, mixing, shucking, stirring, basting, flipping, folding, frying, mincing –you get the picture– is part of my day-to-day thing… But it is so weird/cool/exciting/nerve-wracking/awesomely odd to be cooking up and serving something that you made by hand…from scratch. I’m proud of the work we do, as we try to be as local as possible, supporting little farm to market co-ops and some awesome farms around Texas. It’s nice to be small-scale, so that we’re actually able to do that. That being said, it is quite a lot of work (of course) and I probably won’t get to bed until around midnight tonight, and then it’ll be up and at ’em around 4 am tomorrow to pack up and head out to the market to sell some handmade Polish dumplings to a crowd of hungry people. I’d like …

Daily Business of Living

 “The life of a poet oscillates between ecstasy and agony, and what mitigates those extremes is the necessary daily business of living.” Louise Glück, from “Internal Taperstries,” by William Giraldi, Poets and Writers (vol. 42, no. 5, September/October 2014)   This is always how it goes,  I write: “I haven’t had time to write.” But there is something I never really realized…. inspiration takes time. It takes hours, days, maybe weeks of meditation to quiet the mind, to actually think thoughts that don’t involve task-oriented motions. Time is something I haven’t had a lot of lately, I feel like a top spinning straight into the ground…. By week, I am in an archaeology intern out in west Texas working on a rather amazing project, and by the weekend, I gather my things (dirt still on my face) and drive back to Austin to make and sell WR & my handmade Pierogi (Polish style dumplings) at the farmers markets here. It’s been quite hectic, but manageable and now I have a week back in Austin. I’ve …