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Let’s have some gołąbki!

Posted on 25. Nov, 2014 by in cooking, Culture, traditions

I’m not a big cook…but I really enjoy cooking traditional Polish meals! I always kept telling my dad that my future husband will cook for me! He used to say: “You will never find a husband who will cook for you all the time!”

Well..I did…Although I really enjoy making traditional Polish meals! And my husband enjoys these nights when we have Polish dinners! One of his favorites are gołąbki! Gołąbki definitely remind me a lot about Poland..it was always my favorite dish! The history of traditional Polish stuffed cabbage begins in the nineteenth century. It comes from Eastern borderlands, from the vicinity of Tarnopol. Pigeons/Stuffed cabbage (gołąbki) were initially prepared as a Christmas dish with buckwheat and potatoes. Recipes passed from mouth to mouth, from generation to generation has evolved into a well-known forms – wrapped in cabbage minced meat with rice.

So today I would love to share my favorite recipe! It is almost like my mother used to make it…but I made few changes to make it my own:)

Składniki:

  • 1 główka kapusty
  • 1 szklanka ryżu
  • 1 funt mielonego mięsa wieprzowego
  • 1 funt mielonego mięsa wołowego
  • 1 puszka koncentratu pomidorowego (0.5 uncji)
  • 1 cebula
  • 3 liście laurowe
  • 2 łyżeczki vegety
  • 1 łyżeczka pieprzu
  • 1 łyżeczka soli
  • Sos
  • 2 łyżki mąki
  • 1 puszka koncentratu pomidorowego
  • 3 łyżki śmietany

Z kapusty wytnij głąb. W dużym garnku zagotuj osoloną wodę i włóż do niej główkę kapusty. Gotuj przez 10-15 minut. Wyjmij z wody i delikatnie oddziel liść po liściu. Odłóż je na bok (nie wylewaj wody w której kapusta się gotowała).

W międzyczasie ugotuj ryż (ugotuj na pół twardo, reszta ryżu dogotuje się w gołąbkach). Pokrój cebulę w kostkę i przysmaż na maśle.

W misce wymięszaj mięso mielone (wołowinę i wieprzowinę), koncentrat pomidorowy, ryż, sól, pieprz, vegetę , przysmażoną cebulę.

Z masy uformuj kulki (wielkość w zależności od wielkości liści) i zawijaj je w liście kapusty. Ułóż gołąbki w garnku. Teraz wodę pozostałą po gotowaniu kapusty użyj  do zalania gołąbków. Ja przeważnie do tej wody dodaję sól, pieprz i odrobię koncentratu pomidorowego, oraz liście laurowe. Upewnij się że woda zakrywa wszystkie gołąbki. Gotuj na wolnym ogniu przez godzinę.

W międzyczasie zrób sos: mąkę rozmieszaj z obrobiną wody. Dodaj koncentrat pomidorowy i śmietanę, wymieszaj na jednolity sos na gorącej patelni.

Gołąbki podawaj z gotowanymi ziemniakami.

Smacznego!

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Ingredients:

1 cabbage
1 cup of rice
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
1 can tomato paste (0.5 oz)
1 onion
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons of Vegeta (Polish spice of mixed vegetables – can be replaced with any vegetable mix spice)
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt

sauce:
2 tablespoons flour
1 can of tomato paste
3 tablespoons sour cream

Cut the core of the cabbage out. In a large pot boil salted water and add the cabbage to it. Cook for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the water and gently separate leaf by leaf. Put them aside (do not pour out the water in which the cabbage is cooked).

Meanwhile, cook rice (cook half way through, rice will get fully cooked inside the cabbage rolls). Chop the onions and saute them on the butter.

In a bowl, mix the ground meat (beef and pork), tomato paste, rice, salt, pepper, Vegeta, sauteed onions.

Make meat balls (size depending on the size of the leaves) and wrap them in a cabbage leafs. Place them in a large pot. Now use the remaining water after cooking cabbage to pour over gołąbki. I usually add salt, pepper, a little bit of tomato paste, and bay leaves. Make sure the water covers all the gołąbki. Simmer for an hour.

Meanwhile, make the sauce: mix the flour with a little bit of water. Add tomato paste and cream and mix to a sauce in a hot pan.

Stuffed cabbage serve with boiled potatoes. Pour sauce over it.

Have a great meal!

Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)

Dzień Niepodległości:)

Posted on 11. Nov, 2014 by in Countries, Culture, History, Holidays

Poland’s National Independence Day  (Dzień Niepodległości) marks the anniversary of the country’s independence in 1918. It is celebrated as a nationwide holiday on November 11 each year.

Ceremonious gatherings and parades (uroczyste spotkania i parady) are held in Polish towns and cities, including at Piłsudski Square in Warsaw. A change of guards (zmiana strażników) also occurs at midday near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (Grób Nieznanego Żołnierza) in the capital city. Many churches celebrate Independence Day with a special mass. Another highlight is the Race of Independence, which involves thousands of participants.

Independence Day is an official public holiday in Poland, so schools, banks, government offices and most private businesses are closed. There is a trade prohibition on public holidays in Poland. People intending to travel via public transport during public holidays must check with the public transit authorities on any changes to time schedules.

Poland regained its independence on November 11, 1918, after 123 years of partitions by Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Russia. On November 11, 1918, the Polish Military Organization’s secret departments, demobilized soldiers, and legionnaires disarmed the Germans in Warsaw and other Polish towns. The Regency Government appointed Józef Piłsudski as commander in chief over the Polish forces and 3 days later he was given complete civil control. He formed a new centralized government which on November 21 issued key measures including a manifesto of agricultural reforms. Pilsudski also brought in more favorable conditions for the workers and called parliamentary elections.

November 11 was announced a national holiday in 1937. However, it was removed as an official holiday from 1939 to 1989. The holiday was restored in 1989 and has since been a national public holiday.

Image by annaspies on Flickr.com

Image by annaspies on Flickr.com

Many houses, buildings, buses and trams display Polish flags on Independence Day. The Polish flag has 2 horizontal stripes of equal width and height – the upper stripe is white and the lower one is red. It was officially recognized in 1919, one year after Poland’s independence was regained.

Józef Pilsudski and George Washington – The Right Men at the Right Time?

Both Piłsudski and Washington played critical pivotal roles (krytyczne kluczowe role) for Poland and the United States, respectively, when Poland on November 11, 1918 and the United States on July 4, 1776 declared their existence as independent political states. They were both commanders-in-chief of their nation’s army and would lead their nations in peacetime. The ultimate survival of a nation rests on its military leadership and the willingness of the people to support them.

In the cases of the United States about 30% of the civilian population supported England and 30% were neutral. In the case of Poland the vast majority of civilians and those Poles who were fighting during the First World War no longer wished to be cannon fodder for the Russians, the Germans or the Austro-Hungarian Empires. Virtually the entire population was tired of being exploited. They were determined to end the exploitation. There was no other choice on the table.

Each of them, both Piłsudski and Washington, was the right person at the right time. Thanks to them and those they led, today we have a strong Poland and United States of America.

Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)

What do I miss the most about Poland?

Posted on 05. Nov, 2014 by in Countries, Culture

I’m a very happy person, I have to admit. Life has taught me to always find positives in every situation, every day! And I really try to! I don’t need a lot…I have wonderful family…A husband I never thought I will meet…Two beautiful, loving, amazing daughters, that are all my life. I have great friends….I have opportunity to make my daughter’s life amazing! Truly amazing.They have a lot of things I never had growing up. They have loving parents (kochających rodziców), beautiful home (śliczny dom), great friends (wspaniałych przyjaciół), loving family (kochającą rodzinę), opportunity to spend every day the way they want : swimming, skiing, painting, playing, relaxing…you name it! (możliwość spędzenia każdego dnia według własnego pomysłu: pływanie, jazda na nartach, malowanie, gry, relaks).  I live in a beautiful place, with mountains, lakes, ocean, rivers close by…I would never trade it for a big city (although I enjoyed living in Warsaw when I was in college!). I never thought my life could be happier! You would think…it’s perfect (możesz pomyśleć, że jest doskonałe). Well…it is. But being so far away from the country I grew up in…from all my high school and college friends, from all my family…from all customs and way to live in Poland…it catches up to me sometimes.

I have to admit , that moving to USA was not my intention…and if I would not have met my future husband here…I would have probably live in Poland now. I had an amazing experience from my first two summers in USA…that’s why I decided to spent 3rd summer in NH after finishing college in Poland. And that was the summer I met Michael…the person who loves me the way I’m, who will be with me for the rest of my life (I know it, don’t try to tell me that true love does not exist! – Wiem o tym, nie próbuj mi powiedzieć, że prawdziwa miłość nie istnieje!).

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Deciding to live in a foreign country is a big step…although sometimes you have to sacrifice some things…(choć czasem trzeba poświęcić pewne rzeczy…) What do I miss the most about my country? My loving family, my friends, the food (this one is sometimes easy to fix – I’m not the best cook, but I try), the way Polish families are ( meaning they will not let you stay at the hotel, but will redesign their own master bedroom, so you can stay with them comfortably, and not book the hotel), I miss Polish language (it feels so good to speak to someone in my native language, it does not happen ofetn in North Conway, NH).

I miss the health system in Poland (because prices of it here in USA overwhelm me -bo ceny tutaj w USA przerastają mnie)!

I miss holidays spent with my family. I miss Polish music, watching TV in Polish, Polish customs.

What else do I miss…?I miss people treating me equally…I know, I’m an immigrant from Europe. I chose to be one. In my mind…this was the best choice! What would I do in Poland now? I don’t know…I had a great carrier just starting after finishing college… But would I be so happy as I’m now? I don’t know…I went through trying to get different jobs here in USA…with some good and not so good results…All because of my accent. I know, that I will get what I want, because I’m really determined. I can prove to people, that I can do, what people think I can’t (Mogę udowodnić ludziom, że mogę zrobić, co ludzie myślą, że nie mogę). Life is like a box of chocolate…You never know what you’re gonna get.”

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So, I’m not complaing. I’m just trying to show you the life from my perspective…I’m not trying to take anybody’s job…I’m just trying to be happy and live my life. You never know what’s going to happen…I pay taxes..I work hard! If I could do it in Poland – I would have….but I decided to do it here, in USA! So please, don’t think, that all immigrants come here for the money!  Because they don’t! I could probably make more money living in Poland! But, I chose to live here! My daughters speak Polish…my husband would not mind moving to Poland…so sometimes it’s just a matter of choice!

Now, all Poles living here, in USA, or any immigrants anywhere in the world, will you please share with me what do you miss the most about your native country?

Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)