Week 2: Polish – Kotlety Schabowy & Ziemniaki z Cebulą i Koperkiem

…or breaded pork chops and potatoes with onion & dill.

I am around 50% Polish. I have never cooked a traditionally Polish dish in my entire life. Of course, the first thing I think of is pierogi. But I am sure that is what everyone else will think of too. Let’s try something else. After a few minutes of google searching things like: “polish food”, “polish cuisine”, “traditional polish recipes”, and so on, I settled on breaded pork chops, or “Kotlety Schabowy.” They look tasty, and I do love pork chops, but I’d like to add a side! When i stumbled on the potatoes with onion and dill, it definitely reminded me of something my grandmother would make. Perfect. Let’s rock and roll!


I have my breading station all set up. Flour, egg dip, then crumbs! After the chops are breaded, allow them to sit and “rest” for about 10 minutes. They will dry out a bit, and it helps with the end result of the breading. Fry each cutlet in a pan on both sides until cooked thru and browned to your desired color.


In the mean time, start caramelizing your onions and boiling your potatoes. This takes a while. If anyone tries to tell you that it’s possible to caramelize onions in less than 30-40 minutes, don’t listen to them about cooking anything ever again. It’s not possible! (Read this article for more details)

After the potatoes and onions are done, you can put everything together.Image

Throw your potatoes, onions, dill, salt & pepper into a large bowl to toss, and serve immediately.


This was a tasty, easy, simple dish that I think will become part of my regular rotation. Next time I’d like to include another Polish tradition, beet salad. That was part of my original plan, but the supermarket was out of beets!


Kotlety Schabowy

  • 4 boneless center-cut pork chops
  • Salt and black pepper
  • All-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Bread crumbs (seasoned or unseasoned will work)
  • Vegetable oil

Onion & Dill Potatoes

  • 6 large red potatoes
  • 1 cup caramelized onions
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Take pork chops, trim off fat and gristle.  Pound pork between two pieces of plastic wrap to 1/4-inch thickness. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs. Allow cutlets to sit and dry for 10 minutes before frying. Heat oil to a in a large skillet. Fry one at a time by placing cutlets top side down into the pan. Fry 5 to 7 minutes per side until golden. Place on a dish lined with paper towel to drain.

Boil whole potatoes until fork tender. Drain and remove skin, dice into half inch cubes. In a large bowl add potatoes, onion, dill & salt. Toss to combine and serve with chops.



Week 1: Eggs – Bacon & Fontina Quiche and welcome to 2014

Well, I made it farther in 2013 than in 2012. I was able to get about 40 weeks posted on reddit.com, but unfortunately, only about 12 made it here to the blog.

So new year, fresh start! I notice that some of the themes this year are starting to be reused (I remember eggs from one of the weeks in 2012), but that just gives us an opportunity to branch out even further from “core” or “staple” recipes. This is a CHALLENGE, remember. I attempted to recruit some more friends into this year as well, but apparently everyone I know is too lazy to commit to a specific theme/ingredient/etc. ONE TIME A WEEK. Lame. But my two beautiful sisters seem to be giving it a concerted effort!

Anyway, here’s week 1’s egg dish!

Bacon & Fontina Quiche

I made this really amazing breakfast strata recommended by my lovely co-worker, Kayla. She was kind enough to email me her recipe, which I changed slightly, to be more “meat heavy” for the benefit of Shawn 🙂 The strata would have been GREAT for egg week, but, i used it in 2013’s Week 52: Holiday Traditions (yes, it is now our tradition to make this yummy strata for Christmas breakfast!) Ok, back to the quiche…

I looked at a few different recipes to come up with something that I felt incorporated all the things i wanted in my quiche. And as a shortcut, I used a pre-made frozen pie crust. I know, I’m a terrible person. I’ve felt terrible about it for weeks now.


First I chopped up the bacon, and sautéd it in a pan, then I added some chopped sage at the end of the cooking time. Be careful not to burn the sage.


Shred the cheese up, the more, the cheesier!


Here’s a shot of the bacon and sage, after I spooned it out of the pan. Look how pretty those little sage flecks are!


After you combined all the cheese and bacon, into your egg mixture, pour into your pre-baked pie shell. Pre-baking is sup important! Don’t skip this step, unless you want a soggy gross crust bottom.


I added a whole sage leaf to the top for a pretty garnish!


Just out of the oven, and it looks delightful!


I highly recommend trying out this quiche, it was quite delicious.


  • 1 pie shell
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2lb bacon
  • 1 1/2 c of heavy cream (you can sub milk here, or a mixture of both)
  • 2Tbsp chopped sage (1 extra leaf for garnish, optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese (again you can sub here with your favorite type)
  • salt & pepper

Pre-heat oven to 375

Pre-bake your pie shell for about 8-10 min, just until it puffs a bit and is no longer raw, place shell on a baking sheet. Chop up the bacon, and fry until desired doneness. Add your chopped sage to the bacon, about 2 minutes before the bacon is finished cooking. Remove from heat, and set aside. Shred your fontina up and set aside. Scramble eggs in a bowl, add in cream/milk and season with salt & pepper. Add in bacon and cheese to the eggs, give a good stir, and pour into pie shell. Place your garnish on top (if using), and then put the baking sheet with your filled quiche, into the oven. The baking sheet will catch any spillage from the quiche. Bake for 45 minutes, or until center no longer jiggles. Remove quiche from oven and allow to set for about 5-10 minutes. Enjoy!

Week 13: Herbs – Rosemary Rib Roast

This came out so delicious. I decided to make a boneless rib roast for our Passover Seder. I got a 7 pound roast, because we were serving 10 people (9 carnivores, 1 herbivore.) Unfortunately, i was SOOO busy getting all the food ready, I forgot to take pictures of the process. I have one photo, of 1 slice of meat, that was reheated as leftovers a few days later. I know, I’m totally lame.


Week 11: Irish – Whiskey Glazed Corned Beef

Ok, sorry I’m a bit behind with posts, but they’re coming. I promise!

Week 11 was “Irish,” and I had all intentions of doing something less common (and more traditionally Irish, since corned beef, is not), but St. Patrick’s Day just kept creeping closer, and it didn’t feel right not NOT make this! So here we go…

Get one large piece of corned beef


I chose the ‘thin cut’ because when I asked the butcher which one was better, he said this was. The thin cut (or flat cut) has layers of fat through it, giving it more flavor. The thick cut (or point cut) has a layer of fat on top that can easily be removed. Also when slicing the thin cut after it is prepared, the slices will be more uniform and neater looking.


Now place the beef in a large stock pot and cover with water. Add your pickling spices, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook, covered, for 50-60 minutes. Add potatoes and carrots and continue cooking until the vegetables are tender (around another 25-35 minutes.) Now add the cabbage and cook for an additional 15 minutes.



Now, place the vegetable in a bowl and cover, reserve some of the cooking liquid as well. Place the meat on a baking sheet covered with foil, and trim any excess fat off.


Coat one side of the meat with glaze, and place under the broiler for about 8 minutes, or until the glaze starts to bubble and caramelize.


Then slice the beef into thin slices, and serve with the vegetables. Enjoy!



  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup whiskey (I use Jack Daniel’s)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard

Recipe for glaze adapted from The Galley Gourmet

Week 10: Tacos – Beef Barbacoa Tacos

What a coincidence that I would be vacationing in Mexico during the challenge week of Tacos! It was so wonderful to be able to go to the market here, where they have so many different chile peppers available, both fresh and dried. It’s sometimes very difficult to find a good selection at home in New York.

These are the three dried chiles that I chose.  IMG_5388

Start out by preheating your oven to 275°. Take the dried chiles and place them in a sauce pan, over medium high heat, turning them occasionally, until they are toasted and you start to smell their aroma. Add 2 cups of beef broth, and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook chiles until they become tender. About 10 minutes. Remove from heat and reserve for later use.


Now heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a dutch oven. Cook oxtails until they are well browned on both sides. Remove meat and set aside. (Side note: these are not oxtails, they didn’t have that in the market. I don’t know what cut this is because I cannot read or speak spanish. I chose the because they have a bone in, and were moderately priced)


Add the remaining 2 Tbsp of oil, and the onions & garlic. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently until onions start to become translucent and browned.


Add cumin, cloves and oregano, stirring constantly for about 30 seconds. Add chipotle chilis, vinegar, and remaining beef broth. Scrape up browned bits from bottom of pan, simmer until reduced by about half, then transfer entire contents to the pot to a blender. You can use an immersion blender too, as I did. Add soaked chilis and their liquid to the blender along with fish sauce. Start blender on low and slowly increase speed to high. Puree until smooth, about 1 minute. Set aside.

Place beef chuck in Dutch oven. Add oxtails, bay leaves, and pureed sauce. Bring to a boil over high heat. Place lid on pot and transfer to oven. Cook, turning beef occasionally for about 4 hours, or until meat shows no resistance to a skewer inserted.

Discard bay leaves and oxtails. Transfer chuck to a large plate. Continue cooking the sauce that remains in Dutch oven, on stovetop, stirring frequently, over medium-high heat until liquid is reduced to about 1 1/2 cups, about 5 minutes.


Shred beef with 2 forks or you fingers and return to pot, bring to a simmer and cook, gently stirring and folding until beef is hot, tender, and coated in sauce. Serve immediately.





  • 3 whole dried chile de árbol, seeds and stem removed
  • 1 whole chile ancho or pasilla, seeds and stem removed
  • 1 whole chile guajillo, seeds and stem removed
  • 1 quart low sodium store-bought or homemade beef broth, divided
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil, divided
  • 1 pound oxtails
  • 1 small onion, finely sliced
  • 6 medium cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 4 chipotle chilis packed in adobo, roughly chopped, with 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 whole chuck-eye roast (about 4 pounds), or 4 pounds boneless shortribs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 whole bay leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • Warm tortillas and your choice of condiments for serving

Adapted from Serious Eats

Week 9: Tofu – Vegetarian Pad Thai

I’ll admit, I was kinda excited for tofu! There are so many things you can do with it. I ended up making Tofu Pad Thai (or Vegetarian Pad Thai,) although this was not my original intention…

I was going to make my favorite tofu recipe, that I learned from my mom, Maple-Lime Glazed Tofu. But I’ve made it so many time, I figured, why not try something new! I LOVE pad thai, but I have a boyfriend who just isn’t crazy about asian flavors, so it’s not very often I get to go out for Thai (you know, since I’m all about compromise, and stuff.) So, I made this delicious dish, and surprised him with it! And guess what? HE LIKED IT! Now you have to try it too!



First you want to get your tofu ready. You’re going to need to get as much liquid out of it as you can, so drain the water out of the package, and then slice the block of tofu into 3 smaller pieces, and lay them out, and press gently down on them with paper towels. When most of the liquid is removed, cut the tofu into small cubes.



In the men time, get your noodles ready. Place rice noodles in a large bowl and cover with hot tap water. Let them sit to soften in the water for 15-20 minutes, or until soft and pliable.

Prepare  the veggies by cleaning and slicing them into sizes that you like. I chose to slice the onion diagonally and grate the carrots, so they wouldn’t stay to hard since you won’t cook the dish for too long after they are added.


Now heat your oil in a wok until it is very hot, but not smoking, you don’t want to burn the oil. When it’s hot enough, add the tofu and cook for 3 minutes, or until the tofu is a well done as you like it. The add the beaten eggs, and stir around quickly while they cook, so that they break up into tiny pieces instead of having a giant omelet in your pad thai. Add noodles and stir around for another few minutes. Add the soy sauce, fish sauce and pad thai sauce, stirring for 30-60 seconds in between each addition. Add sugar, veggies and bean sprouts, and stir for another 2-3 minutes.



Serve immediately, and enjoy!


  • 8 oz rice noodles
  • 1 large handful of bean sprouts
  • 1 block of firm tofu
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 green onions (green part only)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tbs peanut or vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbs soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs fish sauce
  • 2 Tbs pad thai sauce
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • Lime wedges (optional)
  • Peanuts, crushed and toasted (optional)


Week 8: Mother Sauce – Lasagna Bolognese with Béchamel Sauce

So for this weeks challenge, I got to whip out this baby!


Mother sauces. According to traditional french cuisine, there are 5 mother sauces, of which all other sauce (small sauces) are derived from.

Sauce Béchamel

Sauce Espagnole

Sauce Velouté

Sauce Hollandaise

Sauce Tomat0


For this lasagne, I used a Béchamel, and a Bolognese which is a small sauce derived from Tomato Sauce. This is a “plan ahead” recipe, as it will take you many hours to prepare the Bolognese. I’ll be honest, this is the best lasagna I’ve ever made. It was amazing how creamy it was without the addition of any mozzarella or ricotta, which is the way most Americans prepare this dish. It made it so much lighter, while still being very much comfort food.

Bolognese Ingredients:

2 Tbsp olive oil
¼ cup butter1 large yellow onion, finely and evenly diced
4 small carrots finely diced
4 stalks celery heart finely diced
4 garlic cloves, very finely diced
4.5 oz diced pancetta (¼-inch cubes)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 lb ground beef
3/4 lb ground veal
3/4 lb ground pork
1 cup red wine (you can use white if you prefer)
2 cups milk
1 28-oz can whole San Marzano tomatoes, diced with liquid
1 cup beef stock
1 bay leaf


Heat butter and oil in large stock pot over medium heat, add celery, onions, carrots & garlic and big pinch of salt. After about 5 minutes when veggies begin to soften, add diced pancetta and sauté for another 10 minutes.

Increase heat to high and add meat in small portions, allowing to cook before adding the next. Stir and break into very small pieces after each meat addition. Keep cooking until no pink remains and some caramelization starts to happen in the bottom of the pot. When this starts to happen you can lower the heat to medium and cook for about 15 minutes.


Now pour in your wine and deglaze the bottom of the pot. Get all those good brown bits mixed into everything. Cook for about 2 or 3 more minutes and then you can add the milk, broth, tomatoes, 1 tsp salt and pepper & bay leaf. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 4 hours, with the pot half covered, stirring occasionally. Towards the end, if the sauce seems too thick, you can add some more broth or water, even a splash of wine. I ended up adding all three, but that is mainly because I left the lid off the entire cooking time. You can add more salt and/or pepper, tasting as you go along. Don’t forget to discard the bay leaf after the sauce is complete.

Béchamel sauce ingredients:

1/2 c butter
1/2 c flour
4 c milk
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp salt
pepper & nutmeg to taste


Begin by making a roux. Melt butter in a heavy bottom medium sauce pan, add flour and whisk together. Cook for about a minute, whisking continuously. Add milk VERY SLOWLY & STIRRING CONSTANTLY. If you add cold milk too quickly, the roux will seize and your sauce will not work. After the first 2 cups are added, you can start adding the next 2 cups a little faster, still stirring constantly. Add the garlic, salt, pepper & nutmeg. Bring to a low simmer, stirring very frequently, for about 8-10 minutes.

Now it’s time to assemble!


Remaining ingredients for lasagna:

5 sheets of fresh pasta
1 1/2 c shredded parmesan & pecorino cheeses

Preheat oven to 400°

In a 9×13 baking dish (glass or ceramic, not metal), spread 1/4 c of béchamel sauce in the bottom of the dish. Then place 1 sheet of pasta, topped with 1 c of bolognese sauce, drizzle 1/2 c béchamel sauce and sprinkle with one quarter of the cheese mixture. Repeat 3 more times, and top with the final, 5th sheet of pasta. Smooth béchamel sauce over the top layer, and sprinkle the remaining cheese evenly. Place in over and cook for 35-40 minutes, checking to make sure to isn’t overcooking.

Allow to cool slightly before cutting, so that lasagne will hold it’s shape.




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