Lazy days in Dobrzyn

Tomorrow, Sunday, is my last day in Dobrzyn: on Monday I take the train to Warsaw, and then a cab to the airport hotel, across the street from where I’m leaving Tuesday morning. I’ll be sad to leave my friends, my adopted cat, and, of course, the pies. I’ve relaxed a lot, written my children’s book (only 1500 words; the heavy lifting will be done by the illustrator, Kelly Houle), read Ali Rizvi’s new book, and am halfway through Sean Carroll’s new book The Big Picture.

Speaking of pie, we had a small pie a few days ago, made to use up some leftover crust. But that doesn’t mean I was pie-deprived, because Malgorzata has made good on her promise that I will have cherry pie every day of my visit. (I don’t think I had any in the U.S. since my last visit here a year ago!)

2. Small cherry pie

Lunch: baked Tatra mountain smoked cheese (oscypek), served with salad (I also had blackcurrant juice):

1. baked smoked cheese lunch

Dinner consisted of Elzbieta’s homemade pickles and a Polish dish of kasha (buckwheat groats, popular in Poland) cooked with sausages, cheese, mushrooms, and diced onions. Americans should make more stuff with kasha, as it’s delicious.

3. Kasha

We washed it down with a bottle of “Schweik” beer. You might recognize the figure, taken from from the famous novel The Good Soldier Švejk by Jaroslav Hašek:

4. Schweik beer

An afternoon smooch with The Princess. Most of the day she sleeps beside me while I sit on the couch, reading or working on the computer:
5. Smooching with Hili

Afternoon walkies by the Vistula. Cyrus gets his exercise:
7. Cyrus by river

Later we made another pie. All of us cracked hazelnuts for the crust; we needed 125 grams, and they’re tough little buggers to crack. It took a while:

8. Cracking Hazelnuts for pie

I had picked the cherries earlier in the day, and after they were cooked and the crust was made, Malgorzata filled the bottom crust and then grated the remaining dough for the top:

9. Filling pie

10. Grating dough on pie

The finished product: a culinary masterpiece. As you see, it’s already been nommed.

11. Pie

We each got a small glass of cherry juice, left over from pitting the cherries:

11a. chery juice

Dinner was another Malgorzata invention: braised beef tenderloin that was shredded and baked with mushroom sauce. It was served with Elzbieta’s garden beans, potatoes, and two types of beer: Zubr (“Bison”) beer, our regular tipple, and Warka Premium Strong Beer, weighing in at 6.5% alcohol:

12. Dinner, beef & mushrooms

Yesterday was errand day: visits to two grocery stores, the bank, the butcher’s, and the post office. Here’s the small local grocer that Andrzej and Malgorzata like to patronize because it’s losing business to the newer supermarkets. “Sklep” means “store” in Polish.

13. Small grocery store

We went to the butcher’s to get meat for dinner (the beef dish above), but I also got a nice hunk of beef for Cyrus, who loved it. (I also buy Hili gourmet cat food in the supermarket.) Look at all those sausages! This is typical of Polish fare, for Poland is Sausage Paradise.

14. Butcher's

A market in a nearby parking lot, where cheap goods are sold that come from Russia and Eastern Europe:

15. Market

Three girls at the market, quaffing their sodas. Every child in Poland seems to be blonde!

16. Polish girls at market

Inside the supermarket. The most popular alcoholic drink is, of course, vodka. There are many brands and sizes, and you can buy it cold, too:

17. Vodka

Hili got a ration of milk after a long day roaming the orchard.

18. Hili drinking milk

After her milk, Hili demanded fusses, which makes it hard for Malgorzata to work on the computer:

19. Hili and M.


6. Hili sleeping


  1. largeswope
    Posted August 13, 2016 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    We need a weekly Malgorzata cooking tip post. Love the pies! I like the idea of saving the leftover crust for a smaller pie. My blackberries are coming on so I have made a couple blackberry pies.

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted August 13, 2016 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    I don’t know…looks to me like the perfect retirement location? Home on the cherry ranch.

  3. Peter G. Werner
    Posted August 13, 2016 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Looks yummy! Are those sour cherries? That’s what they look like, anyway. Sour cherries absolutely make the best pies.

    Here in California sour cherries are hard to find fresh, and only available for a few weeks in June. I always make a point of finding them then and making a few seasonal delicacies – sour cherry crisp, as well as pan-fried pork with port and sour cherry sauce.

  4. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 13, 2016 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Looking at all the pictures of delicious food you post, Jerry, I’ve got to think there’s a fat man aching to invade that lean body of yours (as George Plimpton once observed about Muhammad Ali, while watching the champ chow down at training camp).

  5. Posted August 13, 2016 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    “Americans should make more stuff with kasha, as it’s delicious.”

    Hear, hear.

    A nutty, fluffy grain with a low glycemic index and a very healthy food, as link below details.

    I use it like rice or potatoes. Also makes a very tasty, filling hot cereal; great for cold grain salads. And, if you have a cheap coffee grinder, you can make buckwheat flour from kasha in just a few seconds. Use it just like regular flour for pancakes, or in breads.

    I changed my eating habits back in October, pretty much replacing white starches like bread, potatoes, pasta with kasha, quinoa, and bulgar. Cravings for sweets are WAY down, and I have lost ~ 45 pounds yet I eat a LOT of food and still have desserts twice a week. – very seldom hungry between meals.

    • George
      Posted August 13, 2016 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

      I am lucky to have Polish delis nearby and am lucky that I can get kasza (Polish spelling – pronounced kasha). Kasza is the general named for crushed cereal grain – not milled to the size of flour. I think what Jerry is eating is kasza jęczmienna – barley groats. Buckwheat is kasza gryczana. It is not as popular as barley groats. But I am not there so what do I know.

      It is sometimes used as a filler in sausage or golabki (cabbage rolls). I think it adds a great deal of flavor and is more than filler.

      Polish Wikipedia has good articles – Chrome’s translate feature works fairly well.
      Kasza in general
      Barley groats

  6. Dimitris Klaras
    Posted August 13, 2016 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    When I see all this food in my mind first comes a nightmare of calories. We can eat as much as we like but not all in one day!

  7. Posted August 13, 2016 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Love those pink pads on Hili.

  8. barn owl
    Posted August 13, 2016 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    I think I’ll try making the kasha dish with sausage, cheese, etc. – it looks delicious! Should I just wing it, or does Malgorzata have any special recommendations? (There’s a possibility that my version will end up being rather Tex-Mex, with jalapeño kielbasa and Mexican queso).

  9. Scientifik
    Posted August 13, 2016 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    [q]“Sklep” means “store” in Polish.[/q]

    Btw, if anyone on here fancies learning Polish, be warned 😉

  10. Posted August 13, 2016 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    would Elzbieta be willing to give a recipe for the kasha dish?

    • Malgorzata Koraszews
      Posted August 13, 2016 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      Fry buckwheat grains in a tiny amount of butter for 5 minutes. In the meantime boil double volume of water to the volume of buckwkeat grains. Pour boiling water over the buckwheat, add some salt and half of stock cube. Boil slowly with the lid on until all water disappears (20-30 minutes depending on the amount of buckwheat).
      Fry one big sliced onion. Fry sausage cut into cubes. Mix with boiled buckwheat.
      Mushroom sauce: 400 gr mushrooms, 100 ml cream, 200 ml milk, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, salt peppar.
      Fry sliced mushrooms and at the end sprinkle them with 1 tablespoon flour. Add to cream/milk nixture, cook up, add salt, peppar and soy sauce, mix well.
      Pour mushroom sauce over buckwheat/sausage/onion mixture and sprinkle with grated cheese.
      Bake 15 minutes in 200C.
      The recipe looks more complicated and time consuming than the cooking of this dish really is.

      • George
        Posted August 13, 2016 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

        Are you using barley (kasza jęczmienna) or buckwheat (kasza gryczana)?

        What kind of mushrooms do you use?

        • Malgorzata
          Posted August 14, 2016 at 12:31 am | Permalink

          I use buckwheat and button mushrooms. But the sauce is even better made on wilde mushrooms, especially Boletus boletus.

  11. ChrisH
    Posted August 13, 2016 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Unless I’m mistaken Zubr is almost as strong, 6% I think!

    • Posted August 13, 2016 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

      JAC will let you know when he comes around.

  12. Posted August 15, 2016 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Kasha was popular a while back (90s I think) here … dunno why.

    And man, that’s a lot of sausage …

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