bay leaf pudding

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I have so much free time right now, but I am so not using it wisely!  I am now living in a new city and looking for new jobs and trying to save money so my mind is not focused yet.  It’s so exciting though, I feel positive.

I lived in New York, Brooklyn specifically, for 7 years.  It was such an amazing adventure.  I learned a lot, worked my butt off, did stupid things, did really cool things, wasted time and wasted money.  After everything I was burnt out!  I needed a different pace, I needed to spend less money and I needed my family around.  New York is amazing, but after a while, it’s just too much for someone like me, a year goes by like three months.

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(New York from a rooftop in Brooklyn)

I have never really put together a list of stuff to do in a city but maybe I will do it for New York/Brooklyn, from the perspective of someone living there and seeing how much there is and not really having money, time and especially energy to do it all.  It can either be a really good list or a really lame list, we will see.

And now Chicago, I really love this city and kind-of want to keep it a secret, let’s just keep it at that for now…

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(Lincoln Park in Chicago)

And even though I have lots of time right now, you might not, and this is a such an easy but amazing dessert!  This stuff is addicting!  Seriously, I can eat the whole thing and more.  I have a thing for puddings, any pudding: rice, chocolate, lemon.  But bay leaf?  I am not sure how to describe the flavor, it’s a bit herbal, maybe a hint of licorice, but it’s very subtle and does not take over.

Bay Leaf Pudding

2 1/2 cups milk

6-10 dried bay leafs (I used a lot, and you can also use fresh, experiment and taste!)

1/3 cup of sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

– heat 2 cups of milk in a small saucepan on medium heat until almost boiling.  remove the milk from heat and crush up the bay leafs into the milk.  let it sit for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so the milk does not create a film on top.

-strain the milk and reheat until almost boiling again.

-mix the remaining 1/2 cup of milk with 1/4 cup of cornstarch in a small bowl a little at a time so it breaks down evenly.  turn the heat down a little on the milk and add the sugar.  Stir for about 5 minutes.  keep stirring and add the cornstarch.  stir occasionally on low heat for about 5 minutes.

-remove from heat and let it cool down a bit.  pour into a bowl or whatever your using and place plastic right on top of the pudding to help not create a film (or not if you don’t mind).  cool in fridge for a couple of hours.

yummmmm

-Jrad

 

sorrel soup

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I just got back from a lovely couple of days in Chicago visiting my parents.  It wasn’t the Bahamas or Iceland but it felt so nice nonetheless.  Anytime we get away from our normal routine it is so refreshing.  I used to come visit and get very anxious to get back to my life in New York and would feel that Chicago was so boring and lame.  But I just welcome it so much now, because I’m pretty lame and Chicago is actually pretty cool.  I do love the mid-west, I know mountains and oceans are better but the midwest is special, there is something in the air that floats around and makes you feel ok about yourself.

We celebrated Easter and it was lovely.  Saturday we got our baskets blessed and I made a traditional Polish Easter dessert called mazurek, we died hard boiled eggs and had an array of sandwiches and babkas and cheesecake.  I think Easter is my favorite holiday and I never come to Chicago for it and I’m so glad I did this year.  We also went to the botanical garden and I got some glamour shots of how beautiful nature is!  I wish I was as beautiful as a flower!

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My mother’s garden is also starting to slowly show signs of life.  The nettle and sorrel are the strongest and when I saw the sorrel I got so excited to make sorrel soup!  I tried to make it last year in the summer and it is so hard to find sorrel in the city. I found some at the farmers market but it would be just small little bundles and only for part of the season.  So I made this great soup yesterday.  It is simple farm food, sorrel is easily found in Europe and a popular ingredient for soup and sauces.  If you can find it here get it and enjoy it, or if you have a garden plant some!  It is a sturdy plant.

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Sorrel Soup

1 small onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 tbsp butter

3-4 small potatoes, peeled and diced

6 cups vegetable broth

salt and pepper

1/2 pound or about 6 cups sorrel, chopped

1 cup sour cream

1 tbsp flour

hard boiled eggs, cut into 4ths

parsley or dill for garnish

-heat a stock pot to medium and add 1 tbsp butter.  add the onion until soft and then until fragrant.  add the potato with salt and pepper and cook about 1 minute.  add the broth and bring to a boil.  turn down the heat and simmer until potatoes are almost cooked, about 15 minutes.

-meanwhile heat a skillet and add 1 tbsp butter.  add the sorrel until wilted, it will turn a muddy green.  turn off heat and add the sorrel to the soup.  continue simmering.

– mix the sour cream with flour in a bowl and add about 1/4 cup of broth slowly until combined. add it back to the simmering soup.  simmer a bit more, until the potatoes are cooked.

-serve with pieces of hard boiled egg and chopped herbs.  season to taste.

-this can also be eaten cold.

cheers, julia