July 29, 2012

cold garlicky potato soup

2012.07_cold garlicky potato soup
We had a lot of great soups in Poland and Ukraine, from spinach soup (with poached egg) to cold borscht (with hard boiled egg) to hot borscht (with smoked prunes). I've been inspired to make more soup, starting with this nice cold summer soup.

Potato, baked or boiled
Almond milk (or whatever milk)
Garlic cloves, to taste
Onion flower (or onion)
Lemon juice

Blend everything and top with hot croutons made with thyme, salt, garlic powder, and olive oil.

July 28, 2012

Now is the time for: bean salad

2012.07_bean salad
Our green beans have started to come in, despite the fact that our bean plants are remarkably short (~1 ft tall). Sooo, it is time to make bean salad. Goes well with tacos.

Green beans, blanched
Dry beans (ours were white and black mixed, from market)
Carrots, shredded
A dressing of your choice. Here's mine.

July 27, 2012

first tasting: sleepytime wit

2012.07_sleepytime wit
We cracked open the first bottle of our Sleepytime Wit, a witbier featuring lots of chamomile and honey. Coincidentally, we had just harvested a bunch of chamomile that is now drying on the table. While it does not look or taste like a witbier to me, it is tasty. You can taste the honey and there's a subtle scent of chamomile.

July 26, 2012

what's the deal radicchio?

2012.07_raddichio question mark
We planted radicchio in our garden, but these do not look like the radicchio on the seed packet–no purple core has formed. These do taste bitter like radicchio. Perhaps they are a variety of chicory or endive. What's the deal?

July 25, 2012

white pizza with sage

2012.07_white pizza with sage
Our garden is busting with sage! What does one do with so much sage?? I do not know. It seems you either have to try to ignore it or try to give it away to everyone you know. Anybody want some sage?

To make a minor dent in our growing collection of sage, I made this white pizza with sage from Deborah Madison's "Local Flavors".  Basically make your favorite pizza dough.  Roll it out, top it with olive oil and slices of fresh mozzarella, and bake for 7 minutes at 500° F.  Then add sage and bake for 8 more minutes.  Remove the pizza from the oven and top it with parmigiano reggiano, red pepper flakes, and sea salt.

I've made this pizza in the past with dried sage leaves and the flavor was much more intense and tasty than with fresh sage.  To improve the flavor of a fresh sage pizza, I would toss in fresh garlic next time.

July 24, 2012

taming the wild

2012.07_garden things
It's always nice to see the garden after being away. Our little patch of 100 square feet really exploded. We harvested chamomile, tomatillos, beets, carrots, garlic, onions, onion flowers, green beans, arugula, basil, sage, thyme, lemon balm, chocolate mint, and dill seed–all in the same day. I love all the variety we are growing this year!

Note to fellow arugula farmers: While our arugula keeps bolting, we keep chopping it down to the base and eating the leaves. No problem. Maybe next time I'll try pickling the seed pods like capers.

2012.07_taming the wild

beetroot smoothie

Have a ton of beets? Try a beetroot smoothie.
2012.07_beetroot smoothie

Beets (boiled and peeled) blended with ice cream, apple juice, a touch of lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Serve with kale chips in the heat of summer.

July 23, 2012

curried peas and carrots with a biscuit smothered in peppery vegan gravy

2012.07_vegan black pepper gravy
Pea season is over! I hope you had a plentiful pea harvest to shell and freeze! If not this year, maybe next year. I for one missed that boat...  We managed to keep pace eating what grew in our garden and what came from our CSA share.

I made this meal about a month ago when all I had in the fridge was peas and carrots.   I instantly thought of the all-too-common steamed peas and carrots preparation.  I nearly gave up.  In the end though I persevered.  I braised the peas and carrots and flavored them with a touch of curry.  On the side I made my usual biscuits recipe and Eric made this totally awesome black peppery vegan gravy (based on Julie Hasson's recipe).

2 c. plain soymilk
1/4 c. flour
3 T. nutritional yeast
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. salt
1 t. black pepper
1 T. margarine

Whisk together everything but the margarine.  Bring to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat while continuously whisking.  Reduce heat, add margarine, and continue to thicken until desired consistency,

July 22, 2012


Another thing I enjoyed having in Ukraine was kvass, a non/low alcoholic fermented drink made from stale rye bread. To me it tasted a bit like dark beer, but a little sweeter, and with a pleasant sour bread smell. Naturally, I want to try making some at home. It seems like implementations of it can vary widely, with some recipes simply including water, bread, yeast, and sugar, while others are more like soda and include "molasses, coffee powder, chicory root extract, St. John’s bread extract, prune juice, carbonated water and the usual sweeteners and preservatives." We'll see how a homebrew version compares to that served by restaurants and street vendors in Ukraine.

вегетаріанська їжа в Україні

Yes, that means "vegetarian food in Ukraine." Although not as easy as in Poland, it is possible to find good vegetarian food in Ukraine. (Note: I have nothing against traditional ways of raising and eating meat; my vegetarianism is primarily in the context of the U.S. meat industry).

Here's a recap of some of the interesting food and drinks we had in Ukraine (mainly Lviv). Hopefully we'll be making some of these at home in the coming months!

@ Kumpel in Lviv
Banosh (Банош) is a creamy cornmeal porridge from western Ukraine. A reputable source informed us that Kumpel has the best banosh in Lviv.

More after the jump...

July 17, 2012

wegetarianski in krakow, poland

We've mostly eaten and leisurely wandered our way through this vacation.  In Krakow my favorite places to eat were Cafe Młynek, Glonojad, Momo, and Massolit.  Massolit is bookstore with a small cafe menu that includes garlic bagels, quiche, and espresso.  Perfect for breakfast.  Momo offers delicious vegetarian food that tends towards Indian rather than Polish, but honestly, that can be a welcome change of pace.  Cafe Młynek and Glonojad have thoughtfully diverse menus that include interesting vegetarian Polish dishes some of which you can see below. 

2012.07_Cafe Mlynek in Krakow_bigos
@ Cafe Młynek in Krakow
sauerkraut and mushroom bigos (hunter's stew)

 2012.07_Cafe Mlynek in Krakow_pierogi
@ Cafe Młynek in Krakow
cranberry filled pierogi

2012.07_Glonogad in Krakow_fried cheese, spinach crepe, salads
@ Glonojad in Krakow
spinach nalesniki (crepe), fried smoked cheese with buckwheat groats, a sampler of salads including green bean, carrot, beet, and maybe kohlrabe, and lentil filled pierogi (not shown in this picture)

2012.07_Glonojad in Krakow_potato pancakes with Hungarian ragout
@ Glonojad in Krakow
potato pancake with Hungarian ragout

July 12, 2012

street food in krakow, poland

2012.07_street food in Krakow_lody
lody (ice cream)
We went twice to a place that is known for its constant line out the door. Wild strawberry, blueberry, and delicatesy (dried fruit and nuts) were my favorite flavors.  The fruit flavors tasted so much like real fruit!

2012.07_street food in Krakow_obwarzanki
obwarzanki (related to bagels)
Word on the street is that bagels originated from Jewish communities in Krakow, Poland.  If obwarzankis are the ancestors to New York style bagels, then I personally would choose the modern bagel over an obwarzanki any day.  Good filler none the less.
2012.07_street food in Krakow_zapiekanke
zapiekanke (pizza bread)
We only took notice of this night life street food because of the excessive lines for it at Plac Nowy in Kazimierz. They offer all sorts of toppings but the classic is an open faced bread baked with mushroom spread and cheese and then topped with a sauce. We went with garlic cream sauce instead of ketchup.

July 7, 2012

wegeterianski in warsaw, poland

What? Eric and I are in Poland!?

Mostly we came all the way out here to spend time with a friend who lives in Ukraine, but since we were already flying to Eastern Europe, I wanted to take the opportunity to explore Poland and my Polish heritage. Somehow I managed being born 100% Polish American. A mix of great grandparents and great great grandparents came over to the States. Unfortunately the language and most of the cultural connection has been lost on my generation. But hey, here I am now!

Obviously (considering I have a food blog), I love food and I connect to places and people via food. In a country that has classic meat-centric dishes, being vegetarian (wegetarianski) could feel sort of limiting. Thankfully large cities like Warsaw and Krakow are progressive enough to have vegetarian Polish restaurants! Note to self: just do a little advanced research on where to eat and things are gonna to be alright, even superb (and you won't be stuck eating at tourist traps)!

2012.07_Miedzy Nami in Warsaw
@ Miedzy Nami in Warsaw
brie and sundried tomato sandwich
cold beet yogurt soup

2012.07_Green Way in Warsaw
@Green Way in Warsaw
soy cutlet in brown lentil gravy served on buckwheat groats
tvp (texturized vegetable protein) goulash served on barley

2012.07_Biosfeera in Warsaw
@Biosfeera in Warsaw
potato-vegetable cakes covered with a chanterelle mushroom sauce

July 4, 2012

flowers is mine

2012.06_echinacea and calendula flowers
As mentioned in a previous post, flowers are blooming in abundance in our garden this year. This is our first echinacea flower, which was slow coming but finally here! I like watching all the bees that like the flowers.

Here's a honey bee slurping an onion flower:
2012.06_bee and onion flower 
That's going to be some pungent honey! Just like chive flowers, onion flowers are tasty for humans too.


This was our first time growing kohlrabi. It was exciting and delicious.


2012.06_Flagstaff Fire
Last week there was a fire in the foothills of south Boulder, about 1.5 miles from us. We were under pre-evacuation notice for about 24 hours. Thanks to the work of aerial and ground firefighters, the fire is now 90% contained. This was the hottest June on record in Denver, and the 3rd or 4th driest season in Colorado, so conditions were right (there are 11 active fires in Colorado right now). Although not as destructive or threatening as the more high-profile High Park Fire in Ft. Collins or the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs, this fire (Flagstaff Fire) was close to home for us. At one point, we could see flames coming over the ridge from our bedroom window.
2012.06_Flames on Bear Peak (zoom)
The experience of packing up to get ready to evacuate was thought-provoking. We don't have a land line or TV, so we had to rely on the Internet for information. We don't have a car so we packed our pannier bags and trailer for the dog to be ready to bike to a friends house if necessary; although, we have great friends that offered to come pick us up in their van if necessary.

The fire also made me realize the luxury of air conditioning. We have an air conditioner, but usually don't need to use it. With the combination of 100+°F heat and smoke in the air, having air conditioning was much appreciated. It made me think about the health impacts of a fire for people who don't have air conditioning or if there's a power outage and people are forced to open their windows to try to cool down.