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Barbara Rolek

Barbara's Eastern European Food Blog

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Consider Puff Pastry to Wow Mom on Mother's Day

Saturday May 10, 2014
Fresh Fruit Tart
Fresh Fruit Tart
Lebhar-Friedman Books, used with permission
I don't know what packs more bang for your buck than puff pastry. You can cut down on the time it takes to make it from scratch with this blitz puff pastry recipe or use purchased puff pastry in these two wowzer breakfast / brunch / dessert pastries -- Fresh Fruit Galette (Tart) Recipe which takes all of 45 minutes to prepare, and Cherry Cheese Baskets Recipe.

The former recipe is from "Gourmet Meals in Minutes" (Lebhar-Friedman Books, 2004), and the latter recipe is from "Breakfasts & Brunches" (Lebhar-Friedman Books, 2005). Both books are from the Culinary Institute of America.

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Try Easy Polish Lemon Tea Cookies for Mom's Day

Saturday May 10, 2014
If you're looking for a pretty cookie that is dainty and feminine yet easy and satisfying for the heartiest of male appetities, consider this Polish Lemon Tea Sandwich Cookies recipe.

Polish Lemon Tea Sandwich Cookies
Polish Lemon Tea Sandwich Cookies
Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
Tea drinking is very common in Poland and you often hear expats in Polonia offer their guests a "nice glass tea." There's no "of" before the "tea." It's just "glass tea" and that is how it is drunk in Eastern Europe. In the coldest climes, it was a way to warm the hands. In Russia, fancy silver glass holders were common with the upper crust and it is still served that way in many restaurants.

This lemon tea cookie is sandwiched with a lemon cream filling and would be ideal for Mother's Day or a ladies' luncheon, bridal shower or anytime a fussy, delicate cookie is the order of the day. The beauty is, they're easy to make and store well. Here is another Polish Tea Cookie recipe made with sieved hard-cooked eggs.

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Try Blueberry-Almond Bundt Cake for Mother's Day

Saturday May 10, 2014
For those in Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, and the United States, Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. While Mother's Day or Dzien Matki is celebrated on May 26 in Poland, March 25 in Slovenia, the first Sunday in May in Hungary and Lithuania, Oct. 14 in Belarus, and the last Sunday in November for Russians.

Blueberry-Almond Cake
Blueberry-Almond Cake
Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
The date doesn't matter, the sentiment does. If you're looking for an easy, moist Bundt-style cake for your celebration, try this Blueberry-Almond Cake Recipe. With its combination of sour cream, almond paste and blueberries, it's sure to please.

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Polish Cloud Torte an Elegant Dessert

Friday May 9, 2014
You don't have to be Polish to appreciate the elegance of this Cloud Torte (Chmura Tort) recipe. It is a multilayered dessert featuring a sponge-cake base, caramel filling, crunchy honey-almond filling, sweetened whipped cream, lady fingers, sweetened chocolate whipped cream and a chocolate-curl garnish.

Polish Cloud Torte
Polish Cloud Torte
Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
It sounds a little daunting, but if you make the sponge cake one day and the fillings another day, it can be assembled in no time flat. I recommend refrigerating it at least 8 hours before serving, but it's even better if left to set overnight. What a spectacular dessert this would make for any special occasion.

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Try Grape Streusel Coffee Cake For A Lazy Day Breakfast

Friday May 9, 2014
This easy recipe for Grape Streusel Coffee Cake is from Maria Reisz Springer, the author of Maja's Kitchen blog.

Maria's Grape Streusel Coffee Cake
Maria's Grape Streusel Coffee Cake
Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
Maria has a fascinating life story. She was born in Croatia, lived for a time in Austria and emigrated to the U.S. with her family in 1951. As you might imagine, her cooking repertoire is quite eclectic. I think you'll like this coffee cake that comes together quickly and would be perfect for a long holiday weekend, Father's Day breakfast in bed or Mother's Day brunch. The possibilities are limitless!

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Slowly Roasted Meats Are a Hit for Special Occasions

Friday May 9, 2014
A dinner built around slowly roasted meats or poultry has always been synonymous with special occasions. And, what's more special than Mother's Day or Mothering Day as they say in Britain.

Roast Duck with Bread Dumplings
Roast Duck with Bread Dumplings
Corvair-Owner on Flickr
Besides, it's the type of meal that allows for multitasking while it cooks, like making a killer dessert!

Here are some ideas for breakfast in bed and here are those roast ideas: Sign up for the Eastern European Food newsletter
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Sweet Endings for Mother's Day

Friday May 9, 2014
It's only Friday. You have two days to make a fabulous dessert for Mom or for the mother figure in your life. Buy the ingredients on Friday, bake and decorate on Saturday, and serve on Sunday. Not only will you have a knock-out sweet ending to a special day, but you're giving the gift of time. A rare commodity in this busy world of ours.

Russian Apricot Torte
Russian Apricot Torte
Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
And here are some recipes that use common ingredients and can be made as late as Mother's Day itself. While you're at it, read about Mother's Day in Eastern Europe. Sign up for the Eastern European Food newsletter
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Strawberries and Chocolate a Match Made in Heaven

Thursday May 8, 2014
Chocolate-dipped strawberries are the requisite dessert for Mother's Day and Valentine's Day, it seems. But why not turn these two taste sensations into separate desserts by offering a slice of each side by side?

Chocolate Espresso Fudge Cake
Chocolate Espresso Fudge Cake
Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
It's not too soon to start planning your Mother's Day menu and these dessert recipes will take pride of place on your sweets table.
Strawberry Torte
Strawberry Torte
Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
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Consider Serving Pheasant for Mother's Day

Thursday May 8, 2014
With its vast number of lush forests, it's no surprise that game hunting and its consumption is so popular in Eastern Europe. My own grandparents and uncles were hunters extraordinaire. My paternal gandfather raised homing pigeons and the ones that didn't cut the mustard ended up IN the mustard, shall we say.

In addition to venison, there was always a steady supply of pheasants. Not only did they flesh out our dinners when the steel-mill strikes were on and money was tight, but their beautiful feathers were turned into striking chapeaux by the women of the family, amateur milliners as they were.

I never liked wild pheasant because of its gamey taste so it was with some reluctance I tried working with a farm-raised pheasant from MacFarlane Pheasants Inc. headquartered in Wisconsin. Wow! What a difference between the flavor of farm-raised and wild pheasant. Some people actually LIKE a wild flavor. But, city girl that I am, it's not for me.

If my mom were still on this earth, I would give her a blast from the past and make a roast pheasant for Mother's Day. If you want to try that, here's my Easy Roast Pheasant Recipe.

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Last-Minute Desserts for Mother's Day

Thursday May 8, 2014
Easy Chocolate Mousse
Easy Chocolate Mousse
2010 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
So you want to serve something special for dessert on Mother's Day, but you don't want to spend a lot of time making it? Here are some recipes that use common ingredients and can be made as late as Mother's Day itself. Read about Mother's Day in Eastern Europe. Sign up for the Eastern European Food newsletter
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