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Barbara Rolek
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Eastern European Passover and Easter Recipes

pesach-lukshen.jpg

The spring holidays of Passover and Easter, that are seemingly unrelated, actually have very similar themes.

Eastern European Food Spotlight10

Try Easy Croatian Mussels for Good Friday Dinner

Thursday April 17, 2014
Are you looking for something a little upscale for Good Friday dinner? Something that's easy but will knock your family's and / or guests' socks off? Try this Easy Croatian Mussels Recipe.
Easy Croatian Mussels
Easy Croatian Mussels
Barbara Rolek


This easy dish is popular along the Dalmatian coast where there is a wealth of seafood and a strong Italian influence. It's known as dagnje na buzaru, or koljke na buzaru. "Buzara" in Croatian literally means "stew," but buzara-style cooking simply means that some type of shellfish or crustacean is cooked with olive oil, wine, garlic, breadcrumbs and fresh herbs. If mussels aren't your thing, try Croatian Shrimp Buzara.

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Recipes for Passover from 'A Taste of Pesach'

Wednesday April 16, 2014
"A Taste of Pesach" (ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications, 2014) features more than 150 recipes that are perfect for Passover or anytime of year, especially for those who follow a gluten-free diet.
Flanken Potato Kugel
Flanken Potato Kugel
"A Taste of Pesach" (ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications, 2014), used with permission.

The beautifully photographed book was born out of a pamphlet fundraiser for a Jewish high school. There's something for everyone here and there's even a gebrokts section with recipes containing gluten for those who have no religious or dietary issues. Here are three recipes from the book reprinted with permission. Sign up for the Eastern European Food newsletter
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Poles Celebrate the Drowning of Judas on Holy Wednesday

Wednesday April 16, 2014
In days gone by (and to some extent today), on Holy Wednesday, village youngsters would throw a straw effigy of Judas from the church steeple (or as high up as they could get). It was then dragged through the village, pounded with sticks and stones and what was left of it was drowned in a nearby pond or river. This rather savage ritual is known as Topienie Judasza or the Drowning of Judas.
Polish Custom of Drowning of Judas on Holy Wednesday
Polish Custom of Drowning of Judas on Holy Wednesday
Pol-Am Journal


Compare this with the Drowning of Marzanna or the Winter Witch also known as the Frost Maiden on the first day of spring. In Polish, this is known as Topienie Marzanny.

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The Art of Palm Weaving

Monday April 14, 2014
Palm Sunday has come and gone, and we are one step closer to Easter Sunday.
Palms
Palms
Fanfare on Flickr


Scott P. Richert, About.com's Guide to Catholicism, says, "The faithful have traditionally decorated their houses with the palms from Palm Sunday, and, in many countries, a custom developed of weaving the palms into crosses that were placed on home altars or other places of prayer."

In my own home, the blessed palms were simply placed behind pictures of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary that hung in the living room of my Polish home. My mother and grandmothers never braided or wove their palms and I never learned this lovely art.

I plan to try some designs with the palms I brought home from Mass yesterday. Here's a palm-weaving tutorial I'm going to use. And here is a video showing how to make a square braid. Remember, since the palms have been blessed, any extras you have after attempting weaving (or any dried palms from last year) should not simply be discarded. Instead they should be returned to the church in the weeks before Lent, to be burned and used as the ashes for Ash Wednesday.

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