I have always known that I am Polish, but the older I become the more I have wanted to know about my Polish culture, traditions, and as always with me, the food.
I don’t know if all families have annual family picnics, but we did, and still do. On my grandpa Joe’s side of the family we would go to Schaffer state park. According to my mom, it goes back to before she was born. My great-grandpa Frank worked for Schaffer Brothers logging when he came to the United States, so it seems fitting this is where we would get together. It’s a lovely scenic park, where you can fish, swim and hike. It has running water in the form of the Satsop River to keep the kids entertained, along with swings, and horseshoe pits. I loved watching my grandpa Joe play horseshoes, and I so wish there was a film of these matches. My grandpa Joe was the sweetest man you ever met. He hummed and had this amazing bounce to his steps. I never could throw a horseshoe to even reach the pit, but grandpa Joe was so good at it, clang, the sound of another ringer! The smile on his face, the straw fedora summer hat he wore, the bouncing strut as he went to the other end to collect his horseshoes is one of my prized memories!
There is a beautiful covered structure with lots of picnic tables and a huge river rock fireplace. There would always be a roaring fire in it when we got there courtesy of uncle Tony and auntie Iva. The picnic tables would be piled with so much good food, Polish women can cook! I wish I could step back in time and talk to each auntie and cousin and get their recipes! Its the curse of youth I think, not knowing you need to take the time and ask questions when you are young. After we would eat, there would be serious card tournaments for the adults, and lots of extra cookies, cake, and pie for all of us kids! I love that we still get together every summer. It’s one of my favorite weekends of the year now. My cousin Diane comes in from Atlanta and we get to spend a week with her here, shopping and crafting. A special part of this was driving to Pottery Avenue in Bremerton for our pottery fix with Twila, until she moved to Utah. We all bring yummy food, in gorgeous pottery, we play croquet now instead of horseshoes, eat, laugh and tell stories. It was at one of these picnics when we decided we should go to Poland ourselves. We set a date and worked towards that first trip. Here I am now, 11 years later, getting ready for my third trip to Poland and I’m just as excited as I was the first time. We leave for Poland this year the day after our annual picnic.
I enjoy digging into the many Polish cookbooks I have now and trying new recipes. Some are great, some I won’t make again. This week's recipe is a keeper! It’s perfect with a cup of coffee or tea. It’s being served on this beautiful True Blue cake stand regularly $139.99 and on sale 20% off for $111.99. I use my cake stands all the time. I put the main dish on a round handled platter and elevate it on the cake stand in the middle of the table a lot! It’s a great combo! When wanting to purchase this amazing piece, or any others you see, 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!

From my heart to yours, Smacznego!

Coffee Cake with Fruit

  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups seasonal fruit. Red currants, plums, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, or peaches

I’ve used all of these and they are all good. Today’s recipe is with red currants.

Grease a 9 - 11 inch round baker. I only use Polish Pottery to bake in, but you can use a springform pan too. Place a cut piece of parchment paper in the bottom, and grease again. I use a cake release that I brush into the pan with a pastry brush. Recipe below.

Beat 4 eggs with sugar till light and fluffy. Add oil, flour, and baking powder. Mix on low until incorporated. Add vanilla. Mix well. At this point, I add 1 cup of the berries so they are distributed evenly in the cake. I hand stir them in so they are not crushed. Spoon batter into prepared pan and cover with remaining berries. When using peaches or plums I cut them into wedges and place them only on the top.
Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

Cake release
Equal parts, flour, shortening, and vegetable oil. I use 1/3 cup at a time. Mix until smooth store in a jar in your fridge. It works great!