Thursday, January 13, 2011

'Poor Man's Supper' inspired by Babca!

Ben's mother, the farm's Matriarch, Sophie Sosnicki deserves some praise.  This woman has worked hard her entire life. And she's still going.  She comes to help out on the farm year round.  She mentioned some comfort food meals that she grew up on in Poland when money was tight.  At first I thought they sounded odd and not very good, but then I made them!  Potato Cabbage Rolls are fantastic!  Rendering down a lot of onions with a good quality fat (I'm sure they used lard in Poland, but I opted for organic sunflower oil), then mixed with raw shredded potato, (squeeze out all the starchy liquid!!) egg and a touch of flour to bind, sea salt and pepper.  Roll this mixture into prepped boiled cabbage and roast for an hour or so!  No sauce, just topped each layer with a drizzle of oil and salt and pepper.  It is like a savory potato pancake wrapped in soft spicy roasted cabbage!  They are even better the next day as ultimate leftovers!  I will be adding sweet potato and carrots to the next batch and some different spices too!  Whatever storage crops you have, you may as well experiment with! The next recipe from Poland is Bean Burgers.  She is specific about using 'big white beans'.  I've used the white kidney and also navy beans and they are both good.  Soak overnight then boil out the next day with some unrefined sea salt. Process until smooth.  Add rendered down onions cooked in a fat of your choice. (I opt for a good quality organic butter or oil), egg and flour to bind once again and use your hands to create patties.  Coat both sides of patties in bread crumbs and fry in a good quality fat.  (Butter tends to burn so I use organic sunflower oil and olive oil).  A great kick of protein and great as leftovers for lunch.  Ben gives both recipes 'thumbs up'! This however is not saying much as he pretty much eats anything!  If you notice both these recipes are vegetarian (if you exclude the lard) and made with food products they would grow themselves and store for the winter.  We have a lot of these ingredients available at the markets this winter!!  I love hearing Sophie's stories, specifically about her father and how they lived in Poland.  I think Ben is a reincarnation of his grandfather!
Sophie is a downright kind woman with a huge heart.  She loves her family and always puts herself second and her family first.  You can tell that her life is not about 'herself', it's about everyone else.  She is also very quiet and if something is bothering her, she'll usually keep it to herself to save others feelings.  Ben's like this too, genetics can't lie.  This can be a blessing or a curse, as she's been manipulated over the years by family members because of her kind disposition.  She's got Ben and I watching over her now.   She is getting older and winters are tougher on her joints, but she's still heading over to grade potatoes and trim cabbage!  You can find her out in the field tackling the weeds with her hoe that rides along with her in the her in her minivan each spring and summer!  She loves to laugh, so we usually have quite a good time grading and sorting vegetables. We all make quite the team and over the years I've learned to appreciate and respect her.  It's a great feeling to have my own family: my mom, dad, grandma Stella, all my siblings - all able to get together with Sophie for celebrations and holidays - one big family!  It will not be the same farm without her, so we will value each day she is able to come to help out.  Make sure to say 'hi' to Sophie at market this year, as we expect to bring her along again! Enjoy making her recipes in the meantime.