Thursday, September 8, 2016

Russian Tea Cookies

These Russian Tea Cookies also known as "maslenki" in the eastern block, might be the easiest and just about the most delisious cookies you will ever make. Some may know them as butter cookies, due to the large amounts of butter that goes into them. Only 6 ingredients. Just mix it all to make the dough. Form little balls and bake 10 - 12 min. Oh, how I LOVE them! The perfect combination of walnuts and butter. They make your whole house smell Devine. Great cookies for the fall and winter! YUM! 

Makes about 30 cookies 


1cup - salted butter (2 sticks)
2cups - flour 
1/4tsp - salt 
1tsp - vanilla extract 
3/4cup - finely chopped walnuts 


Preheat oven to 400 F. Mix together all ingredients and roll into 1 inch balls. Bake cookies 10 - 12 minutes. Transfer into a different cookie sheet and let them cool off completely. Roll cookies in powdered sugar. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Cuban Pork

I hear cuban food is to die for in Florida.  But this recipe was an inspiration from a Cuban restaurant we like to visit in New York. The food is to die for, the live music and atmosphere...we just always have a wonderful experience there. This recipe is very easy but it takes some planning. The flavors are dead on. The Mojo sauce is a must. This fall off the bone pork is so so good! A perfect meal for the whole family. 

Serves: 4 - 6 

  • Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups - orange juice + the zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup - lime juice + the zest of 1 lime
1/3 cup - fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dried
6 cloves - garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp - ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp - pepper
1/2 cup - olive oil + 1/2 tsp for browning of the pork 
1/2 tsp butter
2-3 pounds pork shoulder or butt

  • Mojo Sauce: 

1/2 cup - fresh orange or grapefruit juice
1/4 cup - fresh lime juice
1/4 cup - olive oil
1/4 cup - fresh cilantro, chopped
1 jalapeño finely chopped (optional)
salt, to taste (optional) 

  • Directions:
Place the pork in a large zip-lock bag. Combine all the ingredients but the pork in a bowl. Mix well until everything is well combined. Pour the marinade over the the pork. Allow the pork to sit overnight in the fridge (remove from the fridge 30 minutes prior to roasting), or at least 2 hours at room temperature. 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat a heavy bottom dutch/french oven or oven safe pot with a lid, over medium-high heat. (For a crock pot, use same directions except cook on low 7-8hrs or 4-6hrs on High). Melt 1/2 tsp olive oil and butter. Once melted, remove the pork from the marinade (reserve the marinade for cooking) and add to dutch oven. Sear on all sides until golden brown (about 2 minutes per side). Remove the pot from the heat and let the pork cool down slightly, then pour in the reserved marinade + 1 cup of water. Place a lid on the pot and place in the preheated oven. Roast the pork for 3-4 hours or until the pork is falling off the bone and shreds easily. (You may flip pork over once while cooking). Shred the pork in the pot and toss with the sauce. Discard any fatty pieces. If at any point throughout the cooking process the liquid in the post gets lower than 1 inch, add about 1/2 cup water to keep liquid in the pot.
!Mojo Sauce:
Combine all the ingredients in bowl. Taste and add salt as needed. Serve over shredded pork, rice and beans.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Peach & Raspberry Melba

Pêche Melba, one of the best known French deserts, was created in 1892 by the very talanted  Provençal chef August Escoffier in honor of Dame Nellie Melba, an Australian opera diva. This is not your regular melba where you throw in a bunch of fruit and ice-cream together. The raspberry sauce is prepared and the peaches are poached in water, sugar, vanilla bean and lemon zest. You get the idea. Enjoy! 


6 cups water

2 cups sugar

1 vanilla pod, split lengthwise

thinly peeled zest of about 2/3 of a lemon

6 just ripe peaches, washed and halved

4 cups good quality vanilla ice cream (I use vanilla bean)

flaked almonds, toasted

powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Raspberry Sauce:

10 oz raspberries, fresh or frozen

juice of 1 lemon

juice of 1 orange

3 Tbsp superfine sugar


Combine water, sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest in a saucepan large enough to hold the peaches. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.

Poke peaches with a tooth pick. Gently drop the peaches into the syrup. Bring to a slow simmer and poach the peaches for 10 minutes until just tender.  Transfer the peaches and syrup to a bowl and leave to cool. Once cold, refrigerate until 10 minutes before serving.

To make the raspberry sauce, blend all the ingredients to a puree. Strain through a fine sieve and refrigerate until ready to use.

When ready to serve, lift the peaches out of the syrup and peel them carefully. You may cut them in half if you prefer. Place a scoop or two in a melba glass. Gently place a few peaches on top and spoon the raspberry sauce over. Sprinkle with toasted almonds, dust with sugar and serve right away. Alternatively serve the melba in a giant serving dish.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Italian Tomato Basil Salad

This italian salad is one of my favorites. What a great way to use up all those tomatoes and basil! A great addition to any meal, or great by itself. Yum! 


8 ripe tomatoes 
1 small loaf day old or toasted bread, sliced 1/2 inch thick and cubed 
1 medium red or yellow onion 
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar 
4 Tbsp olive oil 
1 cup chopped fresh basil 
1/2 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp pepper 
kalamata olives, chopped (optional) 


In a large bowl whisk together vinegar, oil, basil, salt and pepper. Add bread, tomatoes, onion and olives and toss until well coated. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Peach Galette

I am not going to lie, this peach galette is not only gorgeous but it is also delicious. I ate half of it after I did this photo shoot ha ha. Peaches, almonds and buttery goodness all in one. Wonderful for breakfast, desert or even brunch. I can't wait to try more flavors because all you have to do is change up the fruit. Bake on a cookie sheet or a tart pan, either way you won't go wrong. Enjoy! 



1 cup flour 

1/2 teaspoon sugar 

2 pinches of salt 

6 Tbsp salted butter, cold, cubed 

3 Tbsp cold water 


1/2 cup finely ground almonds 

1/4 cup sugar 

2 ripe peaches, qartered and then sliced 

1 Tbsp butter, melted 

1/2 tsp lemon juice 


Make the dough: In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and start working the butter into the flour with your hands until there are pieces the size of large peas. 
Add the water and continue mixing just until it forms the dough. Do not overwork the dough. Cover with a plastic wrap, press down to flatten dough into a disk and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling out. 

Preheat oven to 400 F. Remove dough from fridge. Working on a lightly floured surface roll the dough into a 10 - 11 inch circle. Place dough onto a baking sheet or a tart pan lined with parchment paper. 

In a small bowl mix together the almonds and sugar. Sprinkle half of the mixture over the dough, leaving about a inch or inch and a half border. Arrange peach slices starting with the outside of the dough (leaving the border empty). Sprinkle the rest of the almond sugar mixture but two table spoons over the fruit.

Fold the border of dough into the peaches, pinching the edges to make sure they are sealed. Brush the border with the melted butter and sprinkle with the remaining almond sugar mixture. 

Bake in the middle section of the oven for 30 - 40 minutes or until crust is well browned and its edges are slightly caramelized. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes before serving. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Polie's Pie Pizza

    I wanted to share this family favorite recipe with you. I came up with the recipe one time when I just used what I had in the fridge. I used a pie pan instead of a pizza pan too. Surprisingly the pizza turned out to die for. Now I make it all the time and it is my to go to meal when I am in a hurry or when I am out of ideas what to make for dinner. It is super easy, anyone can make it and it takes only 15 minutes bake.  And I mean…who doesn't like home made pizza?! From me to you, enjoy! :)

Serves: 4


12 oz pizza dough 
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
1/2 can diced tomatoes 
1/4 tsp sea salt 
1/4 tsp garlic powder 
1/2 tsp dry oregano + 1tsp for the cheese 
4 cracks of freshly ground black pepper 
3 slices canadian bacon, sliced  
2 slices already cooked bacon, diced  
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated, tightly packed 
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated 


Preheat oven to 450 F. Pour the olive oil in a metal pie pan and spread evenly on bottom and sides. Stretch dough to fit the pan (a little wider than the bottom of the pan. Dough is easier to work with if dip your fingers with some olive oil). Spread tomatoes evenly on top of the dough. Sprinkle with sea salt, garlic powder, 1/2 tsp oregano, black pepper. Layer canadian bacon and bacon. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese everywhere but mostly in the middle of the pizza. Then sprinkle with parmesan everywhere but focussing on the crust (cover most of the crust). Cook for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and sides are golden brown. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Bulgarian Musaka

      I have been asked many times to share this recipe but I didn't want to do a post until I figure out how to make the irresistible musaka that everyone loves. A recipe that you will keep going back to and perhaps will become a family favorite. So here it is! Bulgarian musaka is one of the most popular traditional bulgarian dishes. Do not confuse Bulgarian musaka with Greek musaka. They are very different as they use different ingredients. This dish is like a casserole and its main ingredients are potatoes, ground beef, eggs and plain yogurt. It takes about an hour and a half to make but it is totally worth the time and effort. I am hoping that this dish will remind my children of home just like it reminds me of home. If you are sick of cooking the same casserole over and over again, consider making this recipe. Your family will love it!

Serves: 8-9

Main Ingredients: 

1lbs - 1.300lbs ground beef (80% lean/20% fat) 

6-8 russet potatoes, cubed about 1/2 inch 

1/2 green bell pepper, minced 

1/2 yellow onion, minced

1/2 cup grated carrot 

1/2 tomatoe, chopped 

1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped 

1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped 

3/4 cup sunflower oil 

1tsp thyme 




black pepper, crushed 

Ingredients For The Topping:

3 eggs 

1/2 cup plain yogurt 

1 cup butter milk 

1 Tbsp flour 

1/4 tsp baking soda 


In a 13x9 pan spread the cubed potatoes covering the bottom of the baking pan (about half way). Cover with cold water and set aside. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a sauce pan add the beef, pepper, carrot, onion, tomato, parsley, thyme, 1 Tbsp salt, 2tsp paprika and 10 cracks of black pepper. Cook on medium high until beef is brown. (Do not overcook beef. Beef should be a little undercooked). Set aside. 

Drain the water from the potatoes. Add the sunflower oil, dill, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp paprika and mix. Then add the meat mixture on top of the potato mixture. Mix well. With a spatula press down the potatoes and meat mixture creating a flat surface. Sprinkle 1 tsp paprika again and crack some black pepper (about 6 - 7 cracks). Bake for 45 minutes, stirring the musaka about 30 minutes after it has been in the oven. Make sure to create that same flat surface as earlier.

In the mean time prepare the topping. In a bowl mix the eggs, yogurt, buttermilk, flour and baking soda. Refrigerate until you need to use it. 

After the musaka has been in the oven for 45 minutes, take it out. Taste it. Make sure it tastes good and it doesn't need more salt. Pour the egg mixture on top of the musaka spreading it evenly. Put back in the oven for additional 15 minutes. Serve while it is hot. For more authentic taste serve it with drizzled plain yogurt. Enjoy!