Do you have moments in your life that have made you proud of yourself? Not just happy, but when you felt like you really accomplished something? It could be something you did at work, something you made, or a fear that you have conquered. I have a lot of these moments, but there is one that comes to the forefront of my mind. It’s when my mom asked for my advice on how to cook something for the first time. Me, the girl who could not boil water years ago, was being asked by the best cook she knows, how to do something.
When I was a little girl it always amazed me that my mom knew exactly what to make for dinner each night, and how to do it. Where were the directions? Was there a secret mom's only club that you had to be a member of to get this dinner list? Who got to decide that liver and onions as part of the meal plan? And more importantly, who could you contact to remove that particular entree from the list? How come dad never had to eat the liver and onions and got a to have hamburger instead?
Years later when I became a mom, I found out that there was no secret moms club, and figuring out what to have for dinner each night can be a pain in the butt. It’s also been the most frequently asked question in my house for the last 29 years! “What’s for dinner?” Since there is no rule book, I don’t cook things I don’t like. I make liver and onions once a year for my husband because he loves it. I have a hamburger!
I am one of the luckiest girls on earth! Not only do I have the most wonderful mom on this planet, but she is also an amazing cook! So many of her recipes I have already shared with you, and there are hundreds left in reserve. We share a passion for our family and our heritage. We have laughed, cried, and lamented with one another. She has been my advisor, my rock, my TRUE BLUE best friend! We have walked through Poland twice together, and are getting ready for our third trip. I love that we both collect and use our Polish pottery every day. It’s so exciting when I find a piece for her she doesn’t have yet!

Today’s recipe is a take-off of one I saw on PBS show I was half watching while home in bed with a cold. I know it’s not really what was made because I didn’t have anything to write it down with. I remembered enough to at least get the idea of it, and I love this dish! The best part of this recipe is that my mom asked me for it!
It is being presented in one of the most stunning pieces of Polish pottery I have ever used! True Blue 1.5 Hen casserole dish regularly $231.99, and on sale for 20% off at $184.99. It is such a signature piece! I believe every Polish pottery collector should have at least one in their kitchen! In the background are beautiful medium and large True Blue canisters. Also available at 20% off.
When wanting to purchase one of these amazing pieces, you have to go to the Pottery Avenue by Pangaea website. Use the search button and type in True Blue and it will bring up all the pieces in this stunning pattern. Use discount code Twila or PAF for your 20% discount. Any questions, please send a message!

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY! From my heart to yours, Smacznego!

Chicken and Leeks

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 leeks, thinly sliced and rinsed, so no grit.
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • 12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 4 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons thyme leaves
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 heaping spoon of Better than Bullion chicken stock
  • 1 recipe Provencal Crust (see below)

Provencal Crust

  • 2 cups panko crumbs
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 handfuls parsley leaves
  • 1 tsp coarsely chopped rosemary leaves
  • 60g / 2 oz butter, softened but not melted
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup coarsely grated parmesan

Place garlic, parsley, rosemary, butter and lemon zest in a food processor and whizz to chop finely. Add panko and parmesan and pulse to just combine.

Mix together mustard, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne, thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, add chicken and let sit while leeks are cooking.

Heat butter in a heavy pan, add leeks and season with salt and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring now and then, until softened and no longer bright green (about 15 minutes).

Remove cooked leeks from heat and mix in cream or chicken stock. Spread evenly in the base of a large, shallow baking dish. Arrange chicken thighs on top then cover with Provençal Crust. The gratin can be prepared in advance to this stage and chilled for several hours until needed. ( I would wait and put the Provencal on when I get ready to put it in the oven so it does not get soggy )
When ready to cook, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake uncovered for 1/2 hour until the crust is golden brown. I then lay a piece of foil over the pan and cook for another 1/2 hour. This is a lovely company coming is coming to dinner recipe!