lazy noodles (kluski leniwe) with pesto

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I have been so lazy lately.  But seriously, I am not sure what is going on.  There are two possibilities I can fathom, allergies or the end of summer just makes us lazy. Here’s to being lazy!

So lazy noodles is a thing in Polish cooking.  Who doesn’t love lazy cooking.  We need more recipes like this in life.  They are also sometimes called lazy pierogi or lazy kopitka (which means little hooves and is another dish that uses potato instead – but I guess the lazy way is like this with cheese).  It seemed like the best thing to make since I’m lazy, and because it’s actually really good.  They are similar to gnocchi, using cheese and flour to make little dumplings.  But they are a bit more sloppy and lazy perhaps.  Pesto is also a bit of a lazy choice in my opinion, plus the basil you can get now!  Lazy noodles are often just served with browned butter breadcrumbs, little bacon bits or just sugar and butter.  But really they can be served with many other sauces, but just remember – keep it lazy.

Also I don’t do the whole pine nut pesto thing, in America pine nuts cost an arm and a leg, and I like my limbs thank you very much.  It’s walnuts for me.

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This version of lazy noodles I made is not the laziest.  The laziest would be to just take some farmer’s cheese and mix in an egg and then just add flour until you get the consistency you need.   I wanted mine to be extra good so I went for the slightly less lazy version where you beat egg whites and soften butter and all that jazz. The lazy part is that you don’t have to knead.

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Lazy Noodle (Kluski Leniwe) with Pesto

3 eggs, separated

6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

2 1/4 cup soft farmer’s cheese

pinch of salt

1 1/3 cup all purpose flour (plus more for shaping)

1 1/2 cups basil, washed and dried

1/3 cup walnuts

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 garlic clove

juice of half 1 lemon

salt and pepper

-fill a large pot with salted water and set to boil.

-make the pesto by mixing the basil, oil, walnuts, olive oil, cheese, garlic and lemon in a food processor.  don’t over blend it, just pulse until it’s all blended nicely into a paste/sauce type texture.  season and pulse a couple more times.  set aside until the noodles are done.

-beat the egg whites until soft peaks form and set aside.  mix the egg yolks with the softened butter.   mix the farmer’s cheese with the yolks and butter and add salt.  gently fold in the egg whites.  fold in the flour in small batches and mix well.

-flour your work surface well.  the dough will be very sticky so use a bunch of flour and don’t overwork it.  divide the dough into four parts.  take one part and gently form it into a long thin tube shape. use your fingers to pinch and form it then roll it back and forth the make it longer.  you can make it as thin as you want but not too extreme, then cut it into even pieces and place on a floured plate or cutting board.

-place them into the boiling water not all at once.  they will float to the surface when they are done, just a minute or two so keep checking.  place them in a strainer and when they are all done toss them in your pesto!

violà -jrad

chłodnik – cold beet soup

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Oh you’ve never had a cold pink soup before?  Pretty awesome right?  It looks exotic but it is basically beets, radishes and cucumbers with some kefir and buttermilk and lots of herbs.   Perfect for a hot day.

And it’s been hot.  So hot that I don’t want to cook.  I don’t want to turn the oven on and I definitely don’t want to carry two heavy bags of groceries home from my train stop or even the closest grocery store.

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So this is a Polish, among other countries, soup.  Chłodnik basically means something cold, in this case a soup, and it seems to always refer to this type of soup.  The ch is pronounced like an h and the ł sounds like a w, and everything else sounds like it should, so good luck saying it.  Gevork, my boyfriend, speaks Russian and he has so much trouble pronouncing the chł combination, which we practice with the word for boy: chłopiec.  This chłodnik also includes botwinka (w sounds like a v), which is the greens of young beets.  Cold soup doesn’t seem to be a popular choice in America, and it is a shame.  This soup is full of summer goodness.  There are many variations of how to make it, it’s kind-of like all soups where you can really play around with it once you’ve made it once.  I am leaving a simple classic variation here but feel free to get inspired.

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Chłodnik

4 small beets with leaves

1 lemon – or beet kwas – or both (I used some kwas I made to give it a tang – recipe here)

handful of radishes (about 6)

handful of small cucumbers (about 4)

2 cups kefir

2 cups buttermilk

1/2 tbsp salt

pepper

freshly chopped parsley, dill and chives

hard boiled eggs, quartered

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-peel and chop the beets into small diced cubes.  chop the leaves and stems finely as well. place beets and leaves into a large pot and cover with water and juice of one lemon and/or some beet kwas.  boil and then simmer for 15-20 minutes just until beets are cooked but the color stays.

-meanwhile clean the radishes and cucumbers and cut off the ends. juilenne them into thin little matchsticks.  place them in a bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  pour the kefir and buttermilk on top.  toss in the herbs and stir well.  refrigerate if needed.

-once the beets are cooked let them cool with the liquid at room temperature and then place in the fridge for a bit to cool more.

-pour the kefir mixture into the beets and mix well.  the color should look beautiful now!  let the whole thing cool, season more if needed and serve with hard boiled eggs.

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smacznego!

minty fudge popsicles

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These were so good that I came home from a long day of work and ate two.  I really think I want to infuse everything with mint right now, especially everything with chocolate.  I had big plans to buy a big mint plant at the market today, but I had too much stuff already so Wednesday it is.  Our basil, thyme, rosemary and lemon balm are growing nicely on the fire escape, so I think the family is ready to grow.

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This summer I don’t have big plans to travel so I am trying to use my free time wisely.  I have been trying to walk around the city pretending I am a tourist.  Chill, no rush, looking around at things.  It has been a bit quieter in the city now that school is over and sometimes when I am really good at it I feel like I am somewhere else.  That is the nice thing about New York, its old and big and there are parts I’ve never seen and parts that look like Europe so sometimes it feels different.  I’m suppressing my urge to buy a cheap plane ticket outta here though.

I am going to make some German cake now with sour cherries and blueberries, you know for the Forth of July.  Did you know that around 17% of Americans identify themselves as German?

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Minty Fudge Popsicles

2 cups milk

1/2 cup cream

1 cup chopped mint

6 oz. dark chocolate  (like 70%), chopped into small pieces

2 tbsp cocoa powder

1/4 cup honey

sprinkle of salt

– heat the milk and cream until almost boiling in a small pot.  add the mint and turn off the heat.  let that sit for half an hour, stirring occasionally so the milk does not dry out on top.

– strain the milk into a bowl and press on the mint so all the milk comes out.  pour the milk back into the small pot on medium until warm again.  add the cocoa powder and honey, mixing until incorporated.  add the chocolate pieces a little at a time stirring the whole time until everything is smooth.  sprinkle a bit of salt.  pour the mixture into your popsicle molds and freeze 24 hours or longer before eating. run the molds over warm water so they slip out easier.

enjoy!