My dad was the breakfast maker in my household. My dad is also 100% Polish. This means as children we were often fed placki (pronounced “plot-zik”) for breakfast…. and for dinner, because the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and my dad is a breakfast man. I recently found out that these kind of Polish pancakes formally go by the name naleśniki, but in my family we referred to them as placki, which literally means pancake in Polish. My dad said that is what his grandmother (from Poland) called them and that is what I grew up calling them, so that is what I will still be calling them! They are very similar to French crepes, but the way we eat them is different. My family tradition is to eat them with sugar and bacon. If this sounds weird, just trust me, please trust me because it is good!

So, the thing about lots of recipes that have been passed down through generations is that no actual recipe exists. That is the case. My dad instructed- milk, flour, eggs. At first this seemed weird to me as the possibilities could be endless, but what I discovered is that you can start with a base and then add more of any of the ingredients if need be. The batter should be fairly runny and the resulting placki should be fairly thin. So, if it turns out too thick, add some more milk, to thin, more flour, and so on. For those of you who crave exactness, I wrote down exactly what worked for me for this post.

This weekend my Dad, Buggie (my baby), and I went to the 45th Annual Polish American Festival in Doylestown, PA. To get in a Polska frame of mind I finally made placki the morning before we went. The ingredients are very simple, but I felt a bit nervous. I had a lot to live up to. To me placki is an elusive and wonderful breakfast that can only be made correctly by my dad or his mother (Nanny).  My dad warned me that the first one rarely turns out right and it usually has to be tossed. He was right. After the first mishap though, they turned out quite good. I am happy to report they tasted as I remembered and had me feeling quite nostalgic of the days I got to wake up to my dad cooking breakfast for all of us.

The festival was held on the grounds of  the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa. Check out the pictures of the church. This place is so beautiful! The church inevitably reminded me of my grandmother, very much a Catholic Pole. My grandmother passed away almost exactly 4 years ago. Irene Mary Malinosky, or Nanny as we all lovingly called her was an outspoken, funny, caring, and sassy woman. She was also the epitome of all things grandmotherly- a huge heart, giver of endless hugs and kisses, the desire to stuff her grandchildren full of food, a habit of slipping twenty dollar bills in the hands of her grandchildren, yelling at everyone to wear their hats and mittens when the temperature dropped below 70 degrees… I could go on and on. Most importantly, when we were around Nanny we felt loved. Sigh, isn’t this the wonderful thing about food? This simple recipe has brought about so many good feelings and memories!

Placki- Polish Pancakes with Sugar and Bacon

Ingredients for One Serving (about 3 placki)

1 Egg
1 cup flour
1 ¾ Milk (I used rice milk)
½ tsp vanilla extract (not in the family recipe, but I added a splash)
Butter or bacon fat for frying (I used Earth Balance soy/dairy free spread)

Sugar and Bacon (veggie bacon in my case) for topping

Directions

*If you use a skillet/frying pan that is the same size you want your placki to be it makes things much easier! I used a smallish pan, about 5 or 6 inches in diameter and got 3 placki out of it, but use whatever size you would like.*

Get started on cooking your bacon or veggie bacon. Meanwhile, mix the ingredients together in a pitcher or bowl. I used a fork and it worked quite well, afterall this is a rustic recipe.

Melt butter or bacon fat over medium heat in frying pan. Note: placki need to be cooked at a heat a few notches higher than American breakfast pancakes. Once pan is hot pour enough batter in to coat the surface of the pan. When the edges of the placki look cooked and golden, flip the placki using a spatula. Cook for about a minute or two on the other side.

Serve topped with a generous sprinkling of sugar and (veggie) bacon.

Lastly, here is my little guy sporting the shirt he got at the Polish Festival 🙂

Baby-ski

"Ahgoo, what does my shirt say?"

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Oatmeal Raisin cookies count as breakfast thanks to the star ingredients. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it! However, these cookies are so good it will be hard not to eat them around the clock. I was never a huge fan of oatmeal raisin cookies, but as you grow up your taste changes, and I have definitely come to appreciate this chewy, oaty, cinnamony treat.

The past few mornings we have experienced that chill in air that foreshadows autumn. I love that, don’t you!? It makes you want to put on a cozy sweater, snuggle, put a pumpkin on your doorstep, and if you are like me, it also makes you want to make fall-ish foods. Oatmeal cookies fall (haha, no pun intended) into that category. For a cookie they are quite hearty, and of course I put cinnamon (my favorite spice, remember?) and nutmeg in them, which remind the palette of apple pie and other fall inspired baked goods. So, the other morning, with my kitchen windows open to let in the romance of autumn, I baked these oatmeal raisin cookies. Can you tell I LOVE fall? You too will feel the love when you bite into one of these.

This recipe is slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen, a wonderful cooking/baking blog that I frequent. I added nutmeg and doubled the recipe so I could make a bunch of big honkin’ cookies for sharing with friends and fam. The result was a beautifully thick and chewy cookie with a perfectly spicy taste.

Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) butter, softened (I used Earth Balance soy/dairy free spread)
1 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2  teaspoon salt
3 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cup raisins

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Line cookie trays with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Combine this dry mixture into the butter mixture. Once combined, stir in the oats and raisins (and whatever else you are adding such as nuts or chocolate chips). If your raisins are on the harder side you can boil them in water for about ten minutes and it will soften them up. Mine were nice and soft though.

The trick to getting thick chewy cookies is to chill the dough (this also works with other cookie doughs!). I like to chill the tray as well as the dough, my thought process being that the cookies will start to spread if the tray is warm. But, you can just chill to dough and it also works well. I used an ice cream scoop to measure my cookies and the result was a multiple-bite, very thick cookie.

Put dough on parchment lined cookie trays about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on the size of your cookie. Take them out when cookies are golden around the edges and look slightly undercooked on the top. Put trays on cooling racks and let the cookies sit on tray on the tray for five minutes before transferring.

Happy Fall!

I have been a vegetarian for 13 years, that is half my life. Sadly, it took me 13 years to finally make my own veggie burgers. I try not to eat too much soy, since the jury is still out on it’s healthiness what with GMOs and such… so I opted for a black bean burger. Beans are so good for you, they are jam packed with protein, fiber, and vitamins while leaving out cholesterol and saturated fat and all the other yucky stuff meat has.  It also just feels so much better to eat a homemade burger, rather than a processed frozen veggie burger. Plus, they are delicious. I have shared these burgers with 3 friends (1 vegetarian, 2 omnivore) and all have requested the recipe. Then friends of a friend requested the recipe, so it dawned on me to put it on my blog. It’s not breakfast, but it’s food from scratch and it’s so good. You have to try these!

I suggest making a double batch of these tasty concoctions and freezing them. When I want a quick healthy lunch or dinner I throw one of these babies in a frying pan with a smidge of olive oil, top with baby greens and a whole wheat bun and voila! Ok, so I also use mayo, not the healthiest, but if a smear of mayo is the worst thing you’re eating, that’s not so bad. The chipotle mayo is a perfect companion for this southwestern-y tasting burger.  If I am out of chipotles I just mix a little hot sauce with my mayo and it does the trick.

Mmm... beany.

Black Bean Burgers
Adapted from AllRecipes.com
Makes 4 burgers

1 can of black beans
½ a pepper cut into 1” strips
½ an onion roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic
2 eggs (3 if doubling, I have found 4 seems to be a bit much)
1 tbs. cumin
1 tbs. chile powder
1 tsp. hot sauce
bread crumbs (approx 1 cup give or take, and you get a gold star if you use homemade and/or whole wheat!)

Chipotle Mayonnaise

1 cup mayo                                                                                                                                                  1 chipotle pepper in adobo

You can see where the recipe really lends itself to making a double batch anyway, as it calls for ½ a pepper and ½ an onion.

Directions
Rinse and drain the black beans. Pat dry with towel to get off excess water. Mash the beans in a medium sized bowl. Set aside. Chop up  pepper, onion, and peel garlic. Put the veggies in a blender or food processor and chop/blend (depends if you want pieces or not, I turn mine into a rough puree because I find it helps the burgers keep from falling apart). Drain excess water from the veg mixture, as this helps to keep the patties from falling apart later (I use a coffee filter and colander and let it drain for a few minutes).

While the veg mix is draining combine eggs with spices and hot sauce and beat together. Dump veg mix into mashed black beans and combine. Dump egg mix into bean and veg mix and combine.

Starting with ½  cup, add bread crumbs until black bean mix comes together and becomes desired texture for burgers. Form into patties. You can bake them (put some parchment or oil on a pan) at 375/400 degrees F (depending on ho much crunch you like), fry them in a little olive oil over medium heat, or grill them. I usually pan fry or grill them and they always turn out great! Top with baby greens (iron and antioxidants!) and chipolte mayo, on a whole wheat bun.

For the mayo-

Blend chipotle and mayo together in a blender, food processor, or by mashing the pepper with a fork and mixing together. It’s that easy to achieve spicy creamy deliciousness.

Now you don’t have to feel bad about those chocolate chocolate-chip muffins! Happy healthy eating!

You really cannot go wrong with something that has the word “chocolate” in its name twice, can you?! I think not. I added a little something extra by putting some cinnamon in the mix. It adds an extra layer of flavor that I find wonderful, but if you are some kind of weirdo who doesn’t love cinnamon, by all means, leave it out. These would also be good with some kind of nut in the mix. Walnuts perhaps. Back to cinnamon- you will soon see that I am quite fond of cinnamon. If I was going to a desert island and could bring a few things cinnamon would be one of them. Yes, I would be sprinkling it on all of my desert island fruits and vegetables. Yum!  Well, I am also very fond of muffins. I make them at least once or twice a week. I love eating one at 5am when my baby wakes me up. Typically, as soon as the sun rises I become hungry.  I am also so delirious and tired that I cannot see a few inches in front of my face, talk, or think. But I can manage to smile and my little Lovebug and eat a muffin!

I made these gems the other night when I was desperately craving chocolate. Cocoa powder and vegan chocolate chips were the only traces of chocolate in my house, so muffins seemed like a good way to satiate my sweet tooth. One reason I love them so much is that they are ridiculously fast and easy to make, something I really appreciate these days.

This recipe is adapted from a Nigella Lawson recipe. I just love Nigella. I love her cookbooks. She is so poetic with her words and recipes. Her recipes are simple and always delicious without being fussy or complicated. She is very much about cooking for love- for the people you love, for the love of food, and for your own enjoyment. This recipe is so easy and will certainly fulfill your chocolate cravings. Oh, and so yummy with a cup of coffee!

Cinnamon Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons best quality cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar (or regular if that is all you have)
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
  • 1 cup milk (I used rice milk)
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare muffin pan. I always put a little oil on the muffin liners with a paper towel as it keeps them from sticking to the liner.

Put the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, cinnamon, sugar, and 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips into a large bowl. Pour all the liquid ingredients into a measuring pitcher (think Pyrex). Mix the dry and wet ingredients together, do not overmix, a lumpy batter is good for muffin making. Spoon into the prepared muffin liners. I fill rather close to the top as I like nice high-domed muffins. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips on top and then bake for 15- 20 minutes or until the muffins are dark, risen and springy.

Happy muffin eating!

So, I was planning on making my first post this week. The plan was to make Polish pancakes. I even wrote the post already. I picked up the ingredients yesterday. But, as one of my favorite sayings explains, “Humans plan, God laughs.” And so God made it National Waffle Day today! Well, maybe God didn’t do that, but you know what I mean. Uh oh, first blog post and I am doing what my dad says not to do during the first conversation with someone “you don’t talk about religion or politics.” But, if you’re going to get wet, you might as well go swimming (how many more sayings can I fit into one paragraph?), so let me just say that waffles are a HEAVENLY food, tee hee 🙂

This morning I had to throw my big plan for my first post out the window when I found out about this very important holiday. I just received my brand spanking new waffle iron yesterday. So, so exciting to my breakfast loving self. There I sat this morning perusing the internet for waffle recipes, while in the background I heard some Sprout characters (baby/toddler channel) singing “Happy Waffle Day!” I thought perhaps it was just a Sprout holiday, so I looked it up and to my joy, August 24th is indeed National Waffle Day. So serendipitous I thought that I had just received my new waffler, I am starting a breakfast themed blog, and it was Waffle Day! You can see why I had to scrap The Plan and make my first post about waffles.

I decided to go with a tried and true recipe for now, my slightly adapted version of Emeril Lagasse’s “Classic Belgian Waffles.” It is the first waffle recipe I ever used and it is yummy! It calls for a lot of bowls, but they are worth it! I also created a special topping of my own, which I highly suggest! So without further ado, here you go ladies and gentelemen, Cinnamon Belgian Waffles with Strawberry Banana Compote…

Cinnamon Belgian Waffles adapted from Emeril Lagasse

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 tsp. – 1 tsp. cinnamon (to your liking)
  • non-stick cooking spray

Note: Currently, I am dairy free due to my baby’s milk protein intolerance. Therefore, I use rice milk and Earth Balance soy/dairy free spread, in place of milk and butter in all of my cooking and baking and you cannot even tell the difference!

Directions

In 1 medium bowl sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside. In a second bowl use a wooden spoon to beat together the egg yolks and sugar until sugar is completely dissolved and eggs have turned a pale yellow. Add the vanilla extract, melted butter, and milk to the eggs and whisk to combine. Combine the egg-milk mixture with the flour mixture and whisk just until blended. Do not over mix. In third bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form, about 1 minute. Using the rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the waffle batter. Resist the urge to overmix.

Coat the waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray or brush on oil and pour 2/3 -3/4 cup of mix on the waffle iron. Close and cook until golden brown, my iron takes about 5 minutes to turn out perfect. While  the waffles are cooking away whip up this delicious topping…

Strawberry Banana Compote

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries (thawed)
  • 1 ripe banana, sliced
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Splash of vanilla extract

Directions

Heat strawberries and sugar in small saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally.  Once strawberries have began to get hot and macerate mash them a bit with a fork. Once sauce is desired consistency add banana slices. Stir occasionally for a few minutes. Remove from heat and serve on top of waffles sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Enjoy! Happy Waffle Day!