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Archive for the ‘Eastern European’ Category

postheadericon Liver Noodles or Leberknoedel

We Pa. Dutch and Coal Region folk are a frugal lot. Not only do we use just about every inch of a butchered animal for food and sustenance, but we get creative and come up with multiple dishes using ingredients some consider less than crave-worthy. Take liver for instance; just about everyone has heard of liver and onions, but that can get a little boring. Plus, if you are like many a “Dutchie” you have some extra beef liver hanging out in your freezer just waiting to be put to good use. Enter the leberknoedel , or “liver noodles”, a traditional dish of German, Austrian and Czech cuisines (the word “Dutch” in “Pennsylvania Dutch” does not refer to the Dutch people or language, but to the German settlers to the region, known as Deutsch). Leberknoedel is usually composed of beef liver, though in the German Palatinate region pork is often used instead. .

Actually calling these “noodles” may be a bit of a misnomer to today’s cook — they are more like a “dumpling” than the flat, thin piece of pasta found in grocery stores in cellophane bags, dried and ready to be dumped into boiling water or stock which many people identify as “noodles”. Leberknoedel, rather, is like a dumpling. It is flavorful and can be eaten in soup or as the protein for a meal served with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut. They pack a nutritional punch and are very budget friendly – liver is extremely inexpensive at your grocery store or butcher. Yes, they might appear a little plain (and gray), but if you like liver, you really should give these a try!

 

Liver Noodles (Leberknoedel)

Liver Noodles  (Leberknoedel)

Leberknoedel (liver dumplings)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound calves liver
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 tsp marjoram
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • Simmering soup or broth to cook leberknoedel in.

Instructions

  1. Clean liver by removing any veins or membrane.
  2. Using a food processor, combine the liver, butter, onion, parsley, and seasonings and process until smooth.
  3. Add the breadcrumbs and eggs and process until well mixed. Add a bit more bread crumbs (or flour) if needed, for dumplings to hold together.
  4. Using wet hands if needed, using about 2 tablespoons for each, form into balls.
  5. Bring broth (or soup) to boil. Add dumplings and reduce heat to a simmer. Dumplings will float to the top when they are done, about 20 minutes.
  6. Serve soup, garnished with parsley.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/05/06/liver-noodles-leberknoedel/

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postheadericon Italian Easter Bread (Pane di Pasqua)

Bread has incredible significance in many cultures on Easter tables; on the Italian Easter table, bread has a religious significance — Christ is often referred to as “the bread of life.”  This Italian Easter Bread is braided with eggs for not only a festive look, but also signifies signs from nature of new life, just as Christians celebrate new life in the risen Christ. It is baked in the shape of a wreath to symbolize the crown of thorns worn by Jesus Christ at the crucifixion. The three pieces of dough braided together represent the three elements of the Holy Trinity.  During Lent, many households abstain from rich foods and sweets. The end of Lent brings about a time to celebrate and indulge which often includes Easter breads which are sweet, egg-enriched, and often contain dried fruit which at one time was a luxury item. This particular bread is traditionally made for Italian and Greek Easter celebrations though many Eastern European countries also claim it as their own. It is no wonder that this bread often makes an appearance on Easter tables in the Anthracite Coal Region where those cultures are extremely well represented.

There are many family recipes for this bread, none are “right” or “wrong” and each is as delicious as the other.  This recipe features a slightly sweet  dough with tones of citrus and anise. If you desire, you could knead in some candied fruit or raisins to your dough. You will be using raw eggs which will cook as the bread bakes, so handle them gently when dying them and be sure to use food-safe dyes. The eggs get placed between the “ropes” of bread dough that form the braid,  so remember to braid loosely when working with your dough. The eggs get placed in the dough braid before the last rise and tend to want to roll outward during the rise if placed close to the outside of the braid, so keep the eggs slightly toward the inside of the dough circle when inserting them. Glaze is optional, the choice is yours. You can also dress up the glazed top with colorful sprinkles or sliced almonds. You can make this recipe as individual “nests” with a single egg in each if you desire.

Italian Easter Bread (Pane di Pasqua)

Italian Easter Bread (Pane di Pasqua)

Italian Easter Bread

Ingredients

    Bread
  • 1/2 cup milk, warmed to 100 F degrees
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 4 to 5 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced (you need approximately ½ c juice)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground anise or pure anise extract
    Braid
  • 6 raw eggs, dyed if desired in food-safe coloring
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tsp water for brushing
    OPTIONAL Glaze
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

    Dough
  1. In a small bowl, mix the warm milk with the sugar until dissolved. Add the yeast and set aside until foamy, approximately 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl or bowl of stand mixer, stir together 3 c ups flour and the salt. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the orange juice and zest, eggs, melted butter, and anise.
  4. Add the yeast mixture and orange juice mixture to the flour, stirring until moistened. Add the remaining flour to the dough, a little at a time, mixing until the dough comes together.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes, until soft and smooth. (or knead in mixer).
  6. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turning to coat the dough with oil. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and a towel, and set in a warm place to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
    Shaping
  1. Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.
  2. Divide the dough into 3 equal parts.
  3. Using both hands, roll each piece into a 24” rope. If dough does not want to stretch to form a long rope, cover it lightly and let it sit for a 10 minutes to relax.
  4. Lay the three ropes side-by-side, pinch one end of them together and loosely braid the ropes of dough.
  5. Gently place and shape the braid into a circle on a parchment lined baking sheet and pinch ends together to close the circle.
  6. Carefully tuck the raw eggs into the braid placing them on top and toward the inner edge of the braid to prevent them from rolling outward during the next rise.
  7. Gently brush the dough ring with egg wash; avoid getting too close to the eggs to prevent the dye from running.
  8. Let the ring rise until puffy and doubled, approximately 1 hour.
    Baking
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Bake tor 25 minutes or until golden and braid sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from oven and allow to cool on pan for 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
    OPTIONAL Glaze
  1. Once the bread is cool, combine confectioners' sugar, milk, and vanilla and stir until smooth. Add more milk if necessary until smooth but not runny. Drizzle over the Italian Easter bread around the eggs
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/04/01/italian-easter-bread-pane-di-pasqua/

Individual Breads

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postheadericon Potato Pampushki – Cheese Stuffed Potato Cakes

Pampushki are starchy bites usually served with soup, such as borscht.  Much of the time, pampushki are yeast rolls, usually drizzled with butter and garlic. Pampushki (singular – pampushka) is common in Russia, Ukraine, and other parts in Eastern Europe. These pampushki are made with potatoes, stuffed with cheese, and pan fried until cooked and crispy…need I say more?! Think of them as stuffed potato pancakes.

What sets these pampushki apart from generic potato pancakes is that they are made with both mashed potatoes and shredded raw potatoes.  Creamy, crunchy, and fried to golden, brown, and delicious, they contain a luscious cheesy filling made from farmer’s cheese, Parmesan and chives. You can use shredded mozzerella cheese or the cheese of your choice and add to or change up the filling to suit your taste; caramelized onions, bacon,or chopped mushrooms, etc. Potato pampushki can be served as a main course, side dish, appetizer, or snack. Make them half the size as directed to use as appetizers.

Potato Pampushki

Potato Pampushki

Potato Pampushki

Ingredients

  • 2 and 1/2 cups mashed potatoes (Yukon Gold preferred because of medium starch content)
  • 1 and 1/2 pounds raw potatoes, peeled (Yukon Gold)
  • 1/2 cup farmer's cheese or ricotta
  • 1/8 cup grated parmesan cheese, mozzarella, or cheese of your choice
  • 1 Tablespoons fresh chives, minced OR
  • 1 teaspoon dried chives or to taste
  • 2 to 4 Tablespoons heavy cream (as needed)
  • salt, pepper as needed
  • Oil as needed for pan frying

Instructions

  1. Cook potatoes until tender, mash fairly smooth. Measure out 2 and 1/2 cups. Set aside.
  2. Peel and grate the 1 and 1/2 pounds of raw potatoes on the large grate side of a box grater.
  3. Spread the grated potatoes onto a clean kitchen towel or cheesecloth and squeeze out all moisture you can.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the grated potatoes with the mashed potatoes. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper. Set aside.
  5. OPTIONAL: You can also add caramelized onions to the potato mixture for added flavor. Set aside.
  6. In another bowl, combine the farmer's cheese OR cheese of your choice, the parmesan cheese, the chives, and 2 Tablespoons heavy cream. Add additional cream as needed to bring the mixture together into a thick paste.
    Assembly
  1. Take about a ¼ cup of potato mixture and form into a flat patty in your palm.
  2. Place about a tablespoon of the cheese filling into the center of the patty.
  3. Fold the potato mixture over the cheese filling, pinching it shut completely enclosing the cheese filling in the potato mixture. Add more potato mix to the top if needed to completely seal the filling inside.
  4. Slightly flatten the patty and shape it into an oval shape. Repeat with remaining potato and cheese mixture.
  5. In a nonstick skillet,add enough oil to cover bottom about 1/4 inch, heat to medium.
  6. Once oil is hot, add the pampushki. Cook the potato pampushki about 5 to 7 minutes per side, until golden brown.
  7. Drain the potato pampushki on paper towels.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/03/29/potato-pampushki-cheese-stuffed-potato-cakes/

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postheadericon Pagach (aka “Pierogi Pizza”)

Pagach is made of mashed potatoes and dough (sometimes with cabbage or sauerkraut instead of potatoes).  It originated as a Lenten dish in Slavic regions. It is popular in Northeastern Pennsylvania (the “Coal Region) and Southwestern Pennsylvania, areas shaped by the large population of Catholic immigrants from Eastern European countries. Pagach can be served as a side or as a main meal. Many times it is made as Friday night supper since it contains no meat. Pagach can be rolled out round or in a rectangle.

The potatoes or cabbage filling will often include butter, onions, cheese, and seasoning. Think of it as if a pierogi and a pizza fell in love and had an offspring! Although, traditionally, the filling is encased in the dough, in many restaurants in Northeast and Southwest Pennsylvania, it is constructed as a typical “pizza” — the fillings placed on top of the rolled out dough then baked, hence the name  “pierogie pizza”.  Pagach is delicious while it’s still warm, but can also be eaten the next day. You could use it as a side dish, a snack, or as a meal on its own.

This recipe is for the traditional construction of the filled and flattened pagach and includes three fillings: potato, cabbage, and sauerkraut.

Pagach (“Pierogi Pizza”)

Pagach (“Pierogi Pizza”)

Pagach

Ingredients

    Dough
  • 3/4 cup scalded milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 Tbsp. sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. shortening
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 -1/4 ounce packet dry yeast (2-1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water (105 F)
    Fillings
    Cabbage:
  • 1 medium head cabbage, chopped fine
  • Butter
  • Saute cabbage in butter until soft.
    Potato:
  • 3 medium potatoes, mashed with no added liquid
  • Chopped chives
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Combine potatoes, chives, and egg
  • OPTIONAL: add shredded cheddar cheese to taste if desired
    Sauerkraut:
  • 1/2 pound sauerkraut, drained
  • Butter
  • Fry sauerkraut slowly in butter about 5 minutes.

Instructions

  1. Make filling of your choice, cool.
  2. In large bowl, pour milk over salt, sugar, and shortening. Cool to lukewarm.
  3. Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water.
  4. Add egg to lukewarm milk mixture.
  5. Add yeast/water mixture.
  6. Add about half the flour. Beat well.
  7. Add remainder of flour. Beat well.
  8. Turn out onto floured board and knead about 5 minutes.
  9. Place in greased bowl and let rise until doubled in bulk - 1-1/2 to 2 hours approx.
  10. Divide dough into 2 portions.
  11. Flatten/roll out one piece to about 2-inch thickness.
  12. Place desired filling in center.
  13. Draw up outside edges of dough to encase filling and pinch together to cover filling. The end result should look similar to a coin purse.
  14. Roll this "pouch" out gently to about 3/4 inch thick. Filling should remain inside dough. Think of a disk with the filling completely contained inside. Follow the same method for remaining half of the dough.
  15. Place each disk on a greased cookie sheet.
  16. Let rise about 1-½ hours.
  17. Bake at 375 F degrees about 20 to 30 minutes.
  18. When done, serve warm slathered with butter or sour cream. May also be brushed with heavy cream and sprinkled with sugar.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/03/26/pagach-aka-pierogi-pizza/

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postheadericon Kolacz Slaski – Sweet Cheese Bread

Kołacz (from Polish:  Koło: “disk”, “circle”, “wheel”) is a traditional Polish pastry, originally a wedding cake (Kolacz Weslney) dating to the start of the 13th century, that has made its way into American homes, including homes in the Anthracite Coal Region due to the heavy influence of Eastern European immigrants to the area to work in the coal mines. Served around the Christmas and Easter holidays, this “cake” is a yeast-raised coffee cake similar to babka but made in a round pan without a central hole (wheel shaped).

Kolacz traditionally is made in four different varieties: with just crumbs (without filling), with cheese, poppy or apple filling. Some make a lattice top over the filling, others adorn theirs with braids and bird shapes. This recipe is for the popular cheese-filled version and has a crumb topping. This recipe traditionally uses pot cheese in the cheese layer. Pot cheese is very simple to make yourself, takes only three ingredients, and not a lot of time. It keeps in the refrigerator up to four days, so you could make it ahead for use. If you do not want to make pot cheese or cannot buy it, drained cottage cheese may be substituted.

Kolocz Slaski – Sweet Cheese Bread

Kolocz Slaski – Sweet Cheese Bread

Polish Kolacz

Ingredients

    Dough
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup whole milk, warmed to 105 - 110F degrees
  • 3 cups flour or as needed
  • 2 egg yolks (reserve whites for use in filling)
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
    Cheese filling:
  • 2 cups drained cottage cheese (drain in cheesecloth lined colander until liquid is gone)
  • OR Homemade pot cheese (See "Notes" below for making your own pot cheese)
  • 2 whole eggs plus reserved egg whites from the cake
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
    Topping:
  • 1/4 of cup cold butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of all purpose flour

Instructions

  1. Dissolve the yeast in the milk. Let it stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Separate the eggs, reserving the whites for use in the cheese filling.
  3. In stand mixer, beat the eggs with 1/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add yeast mixture and the remaining cake ingredients to the mixer bowl. Mix well with a dough hook to obtain a smooth dough.
  5. Spray the dough with cooking spray, cover with plastic wrap and a towel and allow to rise for 1 hour or until it doubles in size.
    Filling
  1. Separate the eggs.
  2. In a mixing bowl, add the two reserved eggs whites from the dough to the other two whites and beat until stiff peaks.
  3. Place the pressed cottage cheese in another mixing bowl and add sugar and blend it together.
  4. Add egg yolks one at a time to the cheese mixture, mixing well after each addition.
  5. Add the egg whites in two steps, folding in gently after each addition.
    Assembly
  1. Spray a spring form pan with a non stick spray and line the bottom with a parchment paper circle.
  2. Divide your dough in to two parts.
  3. Spread one part on the bottom of the pan, add the cheese in a layer, then cover with the remaining dough.
  4. Brush top with melted butter.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise for about 30 minutes.
    Topping
  1. In a mixing bowl add cubed cold butter, sugar and flour and blend with a pastry blender or two knives until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  3. Sprinkle top of the cake with topping mixture and bake for 55 minutes.
  4. Cover with aluminum foil if it starts brown too quickly.
  5. Cool completely before un-molding and cutting.

Notes

Pot cheese is very east to make and is a consistency between cottage cheese and the firmer farmer's cheese. You only need 3 ingredients and a little time. This can be stored up to four days so you can make it in advance.

Ingredients: 6 cups of whole milk 2 cups of full fat sour cream 1/2 teaspoon of salt

Instructions: Combine the milk and sour cream in a heavy bottomed saucepan set over medium-high heat. Cook stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. The milk will begin separating into curds. Add the salt and continue stirring for 30 seconds longer. When the curds are separated, turn off the heat. Cover the pot with a towel and let it set for two hours. Using a knife, run it back and forth across the pot in both directions to lightly break up the curds into smaller pieces Using a slotted spoon, gently transfer the curds from the pan to a large colander lined with 3 layers of cheesecloth. Bring up the edges of the cheesecloth, squeeze lightly, then fasten or tie the ends together forming a pouch. Leave the pouch in the colander and set the colander over a bowl and let the whey drain off for 30 minutes. You can adjust this time to get the cheese to your desired consistency. Drain longer for a firmer cheese and less for a looser cheese. Transfer to a clean container and use immediately or place in the refrigerator. It will stay keep in the refrigerator for up to four days.

http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/03/21/kolacz-slaski-sweet-cheese-bread/

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postheadericon Easy Homemade Farmer’s Cheese

Farmer’s cheese is a fresh or un-aged cheese. It is also known as dry curd cheese or peasant cheese. This type of cheese is used in countless Eastern European cuisine recipes. It is also a part of Pa. Dutch (German) cuisine, often served as crumbles which resemble cottage cheese. Farmer’s cheese goes by many names in different languages: twaróg in Polish, surutka in Croatian and Serbian, tvaroh in Czech and Slovak, túró in Hungarian, varškės in Lithuanian, lapte covăsit in Romanian, tvorog in Russian, skuta in Slovenian, and syr in Ukrainian.

You can make farmer’s cheese easily at home with basic ingredients.. And you do not need a cheese press (unless you inherited one from your grandma … if you did, now is the time to dig it out of the “what am i ever gonna do with THIS thing” box!)

The whey or liquid by-product of the cheese making process is excellent to use when making bread; use the whey in place of water or milk. It can also be used as a soup base. Some people have even been known to drink it! As previously mentioned, it can be left crumbly or formed into a solid piece.  Some people slice it and fry it or eat it on bread with honey, some use the crumbles as a spread or in pierogi filling, add it to scrambled eggs as they’re cooking, or make it into a filling for blintzes. There are many uses, and you can add herbs like dill or chives, mix in basil and diced sun-dried tomatoes if desired.

Easy Homemade Farmer’s Cheese

Easy Homemade Farmer’s Cheese

Homemade Farmers Cheese

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts milk (whole; use pasteurized, instead of ultra-pasteurized, if available)
  • 2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • OPTIONAL: caraway seeds
  • OPTIONAL: herbs, additions of your choice
  • Cheesecloth or muslin
  • Butcher's or kitchen twine
  • Cooking Thermometer

Instructions

  1. In a heavy-bottomed pot, over low heat, slowly heat the milk up, stirring often, until it is just about to simmer (about 180 F).
  2. Stir in the buttermilk, and then the vinegar, and turn off the heat.
  3. Very slowly stir until you see the milk separating into curds (the solids) and whey (the liquid). Leave undisturbed for 10 minutes.
  4. If using caraway seeds, stir them in now.
  5. Line a large strainer with 3 layers of cheesecloth and place over a stockpot to catch the whey.
  6. After the 10 minutes are up, ladle the curds into the cheesecloth and allow the whey to drain for 10 minutes.
  7. Gather up the edges of the cheesecloth and tie a string around the top to form bundle. Tie the string to a wooden spoon/dowel/kitchen sink faucet and hang the cheese curds over the stockpot and continue draining for 30 minutes.
    To use as loose curds
  1. After draining, remove the cheese from the cloth, and transfer into a container. Stir in the salt and refrigerate. Cheese can be used for up to 5 days. Use as a spread, or as you would use cream cheese, or cottage cheese.
  2. Store it in a nonmetallic container, cover, and refrigerate.
    To Form Into a Solid Disk
  1. Once most of the liquid has dripped out, give a last good wring, tie the bag securely, place it between two clean cutting boards and put a heavy weight on top of it to squeeze out the rest of the liquid.
  2. Press the cheese somewhere it can be undisturbed for 8-10 hours or overnight to set. The longer you press the cheese, the drier it will be.
  3. Gently remove the cheesecloth, place the cheese on a plate, lightly salt it on all sides to taste, and put it on a rack to let it dry a little so a thin rind forms.
  4. Store it in a nonmetallic container, cover, and refrigerate.
  5. .
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/03/19/easy-homemade-farmers-cheese/

 

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postheadericon Red Beet Horseradish – Cwikla

Grated horseradish with beets is known as cwikla (CHEEK-wah) in Polish. Horseradish root is native to the warmer areas of Eastern Europe and it appears in recipes worldwide.  Here in the Coal Region, a commercially prepared and bottled version is easily found in the grocery store, but for those who cannot get it in stores or PREFER TO MAKE THEIR OWN, this recipe is for you! Cwikła is the perfect accompaniment for Polish sausage and ham and is an indispensable condiment at Easter time often used spread on a kielbasi or ham sandwich with a slice of hrudka (egg cheese) nestled between two pieces of paska bread. Cwikła (or plain horseradish – chrzan) is one of the foods included in baskets taken to church on Holy Saturday to be blessed in parishes with Eastern European ties. The horseradish is a reminder of the bitterness and harshness of the Passion of Jesus, and the vinegar it is mixed with symbolizes the sour wine given to Jesus on the cross. Although associated with Easter, this tasty condiment will find its way onto your plate all year round.

You can use fresh or commercially prepared horseradish and/or fresh cooked or canned beets. Making your own means you can adjust the degree of heat from the horseradish to your own taste; some folks believe, the more horseradish the better! You can also adjust the salt, vinegar, and sugar to find what’s just right for you. If you are unsure about the amount of horseradish, start with less — you can always add more but you can’t take it out.

A NOTE when using fresh horseradish root: Use caution! The root is pungent. The biting flavor and smell of horseradish strengthens when the root is grated due to mustard oils released by enzymes when the cells are crushed. The mustard oil dissipates within 30 minutes of exposure to air, and it is destroyed by heat, so vinegar is usually used to stop the reaction and stabilize the flavor. The release of the oils will burn your eyes and throat. Work at an arm’s length away and whatever you do, don’t deliberately smell the grated horseradish! (I made this mistake once. ONCE. I put some horseradish root my Dad bought at a local farmers’ market in the food processor, grated it, popped the lid off the processor and leaned over the bowl and inhaled.  My knees buckled, my throat seized up, my eyes felt like someone sprayed me with tear gas. I gasped for breath and went into full blown panic mode. It took a while to pass and it was not pretty. It was not a mistake I will ever make again!!) You might want to wear gloves and eye protection. Work cleanly; don’t spread the mixture to your body or other foods.

Red Beet Horseradish

Red Beet Horseradish

Cwikla - Red Beet Horseradish

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 cup homemade (or purchased horseradish)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound beets (cooked, peeled, cooled, and grated) or 1 14-ounce can prepared beets (drained and grated)

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, mix vinegar, brown sugar, horseradish, and salt until well combined.
  2. Add beets and mix thoroughly.
  3. Pack into clean glass jars and store refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/03/08/red-beet-horseradish-cwikla/

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postheadericon Paska Bread

Paska is a traditional Easter bread originating in countries with predominant Eastern Orthodox religion or cultural connections to the ancient Byzantine Empire and are a traditional element in the Easter holidays of Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, and Slovakia among others; countries well represented in the Coal Region. The liquid drained from another Eastern European traditional Easter food, Hrudka (Egg Cheese) is often saved and used in the making of the Paska bread (using this liquid as the “water” in the recipe). Hrukda is often served on Paska bread with kielbasi or ham, topped with red beet horseradish. Christian symbolism is associated with features of paska breads and the dough is usually shaped into round loaves decorated with religious symbols made of dough.  The bread is often made on Good Friday, placed in a basket along with other items like hrudka, butter, eggs, horseradish, kielbasi and ham to be taken to church and blessed on Holy Saturday, then enjoyed at Easter morning brunch. These items were forbidden in the Middle Ages during the Lenten fast. When the feast of Easter brought the rigorous fast to an end, and these foods were again allowed at the table, people showed their joy and gratitude by first taking the food to church for a blessing. Today the Easter blessings of food are still held in many churches in the Coal Region and across the United States, especially in parishes with Eastern European roots. This recipe uses raisins; some family recipes do not. None are “right” or “wrong”, do what suits your taste!  This recipe has directions for using a stand mixer, it can also be made by hand.

Paska

Paska

Paska

Ingredients

    Dough
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup lukewarm (100 to 105F) water
  • 1 tablespoon dry yeast
  • 5 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 large eggs + 2 egg yolks
  • OPTIONAL - 1 cup golden raisins
    Egg wash
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tablespoon cold water

Instructions

  1. Heat the milk, butter sugar and salt in a sauce pan over low heat until the butter and sugar are melted. Do not boil. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to lukewarm (100 - 105F).
  2. Place the lukewarm water in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Leave for 5 minutes or until the yeast is foamy.
  3. Add 2 cups of flour to the yeast mixture and mix on low-speed until combined.
  4. Add the lukewarm milk mixture, eggs and the remaining flour. Mix until combined. The dough should be pulling away from the sides of the mixer bowl. If the dough seems loose add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time until it pulls away from the sides of bowl.
  5. Switch to the dough hook and knead for 5 -8 minutes until you have a soft smooth dough which springs back slowly when you poke your finger into it.
  6. If adding raisins, knead them in now.
  7. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let it rise in a warm spot for 60 to 90 minutes, until puffy.
  8. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface; divide it into two pieces, one twice as large as the other.
  9. Form the larger piece into a ball and place it into a well-greased 9″ x 2″ round pan or springform pan.
  10. Divide the remaining piece of dough into three equal pieces, and roll each out into a 20″ strand. Create a braid with the strands.
  11. Place the braid on the round main loaf around the inside edge of the pan, or use it to form a cross over the top of the larger piece of dough.
  12. Cover the loaf and let it rise until doubled, about 45 - 60 minutes.
  13. Preheat oven to 350°F, with a rack in the center.
    Egg wash
  1. In a small bowl, beat the egg with the water. Brush the mixture gently over the top of the dough.
  2. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown.
  3. Remove it from oven, turn out of the pan, and cool completely on rack.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/03/06/paska-bread/

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postheadericon Hrudka (Egg Cheese)

Hrudka (aka cirek, sirets, sirok, sireczs) is a simple custard cheese that’s essential for many Eastern European Easter tables. It’s served cold, sliced and eaten by itself or often as part of a ham or kielbasi sandwich made on Paska bread that’s slathered with beet horseradish. For many of us in the Coal Region who have Eastern European roots, the making of  hrudka  is among some of our favorite traditions of the Easter holiday.  Hrudka is often included in a basket of food taken to church blessed on Holy Saturday. This Catholic ritual has been cherished for generations among many Coal Region area families. The roots of this tradition date back to the 12th century early history of Poland, however, the Eastern Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians, including Czechs, Croatians, Hungarians, Lithuanians, Russians, Slovaks and Ukrainians, also participate in this holy ritual. The blessed food is not eaten until after mass on Easter Sunday.

The basic recipe is mixing eggs and milk, adding salt, and cooking it while continually stirring until the curds form.  Many families have their favorite version of hrudka and many include sugar and vanilla in their recipes.  Once the ingredients are cooked, the contents of the pot are poured into a strainer that is lined with cheesecloth or a porous towel. When the liquid drains, the cheesecloth is gathered and the liquid is squeezed out by hand to form the ball. The cheesecloth is tied to keep the ball shape, then hung over a container to allow remaining liquid to drain for a few hours or overnight. The hrudka is stored in a refrigerator for the Easter feast. Some use the leftover liquid in other recipes, such as paska bread. NOTE: Cooking in the microwave shortens the cook time and eliminates the scorching that sometimes occurs with cooking on the stovetop. Directions for both cooking methods are included.

 

Hrudka (Egg Cheese)

Hrudka (Egg Cheese)

Hrudka (egg cheese)

Ingredients

  • 12 eggs
  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • OPTIONAL (for sweet hrudka)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 Tablespoons sugar (or to suit your taste - some people add up to a cup)

Instructions

  1. Beat eggs. Add milk, salt, (if using) sugar and vanilla and beat well.
  2. Cook in double boiler, stirring constantly, until the mixture turns to curds and "white water".
  3. Cook the mixture for a few minutes after the white water appears. Be careful not to allow the mixture to scorch.
  4. *** OR USE THE MICROWAVE COOK METHOD:
  5. Cook in the microwave on high, fluffing with a fork between blasts:
  6. 4 minutes-fluff
  7. 4 minutes-fluff
  8. 2 minutes-fluff
  9. 2 minutes-fluff
  10. 1 minuet + fluffing until it looks like watery scrambled eggs (the fluid will be clear). Then follow directions for straining and hanging below.***
  11. Pour the mixture into a strainer lined with a cheesecloth or a porous kitchen towel.
  12. Squeeze out the liquid, being careful not to burn yourself.
  13. Tie the cloth tight and hang it in a place where it can drip dry. (Some use a kitchen faucet for this purpose, others use a wooden spoon placed across the top of a pot.
  14. Allow the hrudka to cool, squeezing it a few more times to really squeeze the water out of it.
  15. Place it in the refrigerator. Allow it to hang to set for several hours or overnight, unwrap..
  16. Store well wrapped in the refrigerator.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/03/04/hrudka-egg-cheese/

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postheadericon Baked Paczki (Polish Doughnuts)

As the Easter season approaches, many of us in the Coal Region look to tradition for our final indulgences in foods that were often abstained from during the Lenten season.  The day before the start of Lent, known as “Fat Tuesday” (or Shrove Tuesday) in many regions is often referred to as “Donut Day” or “Fasnacht Day” in the Pa Dutch and Coal Regions. Due to our heavy influence of Eastern European cultures and immigrants, it is also known as “Paczki Day” in many Polish households. As with other cultures in our region, the making of paczki is traditionally a way to use up all of the fat, sugar, and fruit in the house–things that are forbidden during the strict Polish Lenten season. In Poland, Paczki Day, the day when all of the last paczki are consumed, is the Thursday before Ash Wednesday. In the USA, Paczki Day is the day before Ash Wednesday. The difference between these and a basic doughnut is that paczki are made with a very rich, sweet yeast dough consisting of eggs, butter and milk. Sort of like a brioche doughnut. Traditionally, paczki are fried in hot fat, but many people either do not have the kitchen equipment to deep fry, or they prefer not to do so due to health or safety concerns. This is a recipe for BAKED paczki that are just as delicious as their fried counterparts and baking them gives you a great kid-friendly recipe and opportunity to involve the younger members of the household in the process to introduce them to family traditions! Paczki can be filled with a variety of fruit jams or cremes, but the most traditional filling is a stewed plum jam or rose hip jam. The easiest way to fill these is to use a pastry bag fitted with a Bismarck Tip. If you do not have a bag/tip, you can cut a slit in the side of the baked dough and spoon in some jam. Fill with your favorite fruit preserve or even lemon curd or custard. Baked paczki last longer than fried, but are still best consumed the day they are made.

Baked Paczki (Polish Doughnuts)

Baked Paczki (Polish Doughnuts)

Baked Paczki (Polish Donuts)

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups warm milk (105 to 110 degrees F)
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) room-temperature butter
  • 1 large room-temperature egg
  • 3 large room-temperature egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon brandy (or rum)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4-1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • Optional: Granulated sugar, Confectioners' sugar, and fruit paste or jam for filling

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl or measuring cup, add yeast to warm milk, stir to dissolve and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together sugar and butter until fluffy. Beat in egg, egg yolks, brandy or rum and salt until well incorporated.
  3. Still using the paddle attachment, add 4-1/2 cups flour alternately with the milk-yeast mixture and beat for five or more minutes by machine and longer by hand until smooth. The dough will be very slack. If very soft or runny, add up to the remaining 1/2 cup flour.
  4. Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk approximately 1-1/2 to 2 -1/2 hours. Punch down, cover and let rise again.
  5. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Pat or roll to 1/2 to 3/4-inch thickness. Cut rounds with 3-inch cutter. Remove scraps, and re-roll and re-cut. Transfer rounds to parchment-lined baking sheets, cover and let rounds rise until doubled in bulk, 30 minutes or longer.
  6. Heat oven to 375F degrees.
  7. Place pączki in the oven on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until toothpick tests clean when inserted into center.
  8. Remove from oven and roll in granulated sugar while still hot or confectioners' sugar when cool.
  9. To fill the pączki, let them cool completely then pipe or spoon in filling.
  10. Baked pączki are best eaten the day they are made.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/02/14/baked-paczki-polish-doughnuts/

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