Chef Mike’s Picnic Basket Easter

Hey this is your friend, Mike Baruch, wishing you all good health and cheer. Congratulations to Jaga and Nancy for all their hard work in giving our young generation a forum to toss around  new and refreshing ideas about Polish heritage and culture. I wish we all lived closer together so we could have a true Polish summit centered around food.

With Easter around the corner, I’ve been deluged with e-mails from around the country asking advice about lighter and healthier recipes with which to celebrate the occasion. Hmmm! Good question Thaddeus Kosciusko. What’s a Polish kid to do? Alright, check this out.  I’m going to be on the road over the Easter holiday up North so I’ve decided to do Easter at the beach or any obliging picnic table I can find.  I’m going to entertain a few local wine owners I know so I needed to come up with a menu that could be prepared a day or two ahead of time, packed up in a cooler, and brought to a destination.  Hope you enjoy my Easter menu! 


EASTER BASKET AT THE PARK

SPICED PICKLE SPEARS
BEET PICKLED EGGS
PLUM PIROGI

WHOLE WHEAT EASTER TWIST
COUSIN BOOBKI'S BOOZY HAM
NEW POTATO GREEN BEAN AND CHERRY TOMATO SALAD
GRILLED AND CHILLED ASPARAGUS SALAD
LEMON BUNNY CAKE


Spiced Pickle Spears

Don’t be fooled by the spices for the brine, the pickles turn out crisp and delicious.  This is a quick pickle recipe.

Ingredients

                  • 10 medium pickling cukes
                  • 3 cups water
                  • 2 cups white vinegar
                  • 3 tablespoons pickling salt
                  • 2 tablespoons sugar
                  • ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
                  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
                  • ½ teaspoon ground tumeric
                  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
                  • 2 whole cloves
                  • 1 small bay leaf
                  • 1 teaspoon dill seed
                  • 6 garlic cloves, sliced
                  • 1 small bunch dill

Wash the pickles and dry.  Place the garlic cloves and fresh dill into the bottom of a 2 quart wide mouth pickling jar.  Cut 5 of the pickles in half and leave 5 whole.  Arrange the spears and the whole pickles to fit in the jar.  Place the remaining ingredients into a sauce pan, bring to a boil, stir then remove from the fire to completely cool.  When the brine is completely chilled, pour over the pickles, seal the jar and refrigerate for 2 to 3 days before using.  Be sure to shake the jar every couple of hours.


Beet Pickled Eggs

Polish farmers back in the day used to color Easter eggs with beet juice.  This old and dear recipe needs no intro, just give it a try.

Ingredients

                  • 12 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled
                  • 3 cups white vinegar
                  • 1 cup beet juice
                  • ¼ cup brown sugar
                  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
                  • 8 whole black peppercorns
                  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
                  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
                  • ½ teaspoon whole cloves
                  • ½ small cinnamon stick

Place the hard-boiled eggs into a clean 2-quart pickling jar. Put the remaining ingredients into a small sauce pan, bring to a boil, then simmer slowly for 5 minutes.  Remove from the fire and let sit until completely cooled.  Strain the liquid over the eggs, seal the jar and refrigerate for 3 to 4 days before using.


Plum Pierogi

This Polish, Bohemian, Hungarian recipe has been around for years and is traditionally served at Easter time.  Canned prune plums or thick plum jam can be substituted. 

Ingredients

                  • DOUGH
                    • 1 ½ pounds baking potatoes
                    • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
                    • 1 large whole egg
                    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
                    • 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
                  • FILLING
                    • 12 ripe Italian plums
                    • 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
                    • Dash of lemon juice
                    • 2 dashes cinnamon

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Cook the potatoes in their skins in lightly salted water, peel and rice while still warm. When the riced potatoes are cool, mix with the egg, salt and butter, add the flour and knead the dough until it comes together in a ball.  Let rest 30 minutes. 

Cut the plums into quarters, discard the pit, sprinkle with the vanilla sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon then mix to combine. 

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a big circle.  Using a round cookie cutter, divide the dough into 16 equal pieces. Into the center of each circle place a marinated plum, fold over pierogi style and cook in a pot of lightly salted water for 6 to 7 minutes, then drain. 

Heat in the butter in a large non-stick skillet and sauté the drained pierogi for 2 to 3 minutes until lightly brown and serve cold with a sprinkling of powder sugar. 


PLEASE CONTINUE TO THE NEXT PAGE FOR MORE RECIPES FROM THIS DELICIOUS EASTER MENU!

WHOLE WHEAT EASTER TWIST, COUSIN BOOBKI'S BOOZY HAM, NEW POTATO GREEN BEAN AND CHERRY TOMATO SALAD, GRILLED & CHILLED ASPARAGUS SALAD, and LEMON BUNNY CAKE


This menu and the recipes were provided by Michael Baruch (e-mail Chef Mike)

Chef Mike's wonderful cookbook with recipes is available from Barnes and Noble:
The New Polish Cuisine


See Chef Mike's recipes for Lazy Man's Pierogi and Bigos (Hunter's Stew). Check Polish food Recipes and Polish food stores & link to online sites with recipes in Polish Culture. Look at Polish Cooking Books and Recipes Store. Check also articles about Herbs, Fruit and Vegetables in Polish Cuisine and about the history of Polish food.

Return to the Polish Culture Website or the Polish Culture SITE MAP, which includes all articles classified according to topic. See other Easter articles.