Year in review: mushroom hunting, beet soup, and a trip to Ukraine

 

Often, my attitude toward New Year's resolutions...

Often, my attitude toward New Year’s resolutions…

I get torn about New Year’s Resolutions. On one hand, it’s a convenient spot to stop and reflect on things, but on the other, there’s a lot of pressure to suddenly reform and change yourself for the better. While giving up bad habits is a positive thing, there’s no particular reason why you gotta do it in January. Our Gregorian calendar is an easy but arbitrary way to keep track of time. Why not have a fresh start in July, or in the middle of March? Which is why I feel more like reflecting on the past year— like that Tori Amos song, it’s been a pretty good year.

Despite 2016 being terrible for celebrity deaths, I feel like this past year was a great one for me, personally. I feel a lot more settled, both in terms of my job and to living in Poland. And my blog reflects this: Most of my blog posts are about Polish recipes, and a little bit of traveling (back to my home in Michigan, and to Ukraine.)

Without further adieu, these are my favorite posts from the past year:

Mushroom hunting in Poland

An annual autumn tradition, I was lucky to have a friend who showed me which mushrooms are delicious— and which ones to avoid. While I can always buy a bag of my favorite wild mushrooms in the market Hala Targowa in town, there’s nothing quite like spending a fall morning traipsing around in the woods.

Sauteed prawdziwek.

Sauteed prawdziwek.

Ukraine’s Lviv

An unexpectedly pretty city, this was my birthday present to myself. In addition to lovely museums and a famous cemetery, there was also a great vegetarian restaurant, Green, with an attentive staff and delicious food.

These things are really tasty.

These things are really tasty.

Self-catering, and buying something based on pictures (like this buckwheat and mushroom salad.)

Self-catering, and buying something based on pictures (like this buckwheat and mushroom salad.)

Baking: pumpkin pie

This was also the year I rediscovering American dishes. It started when my flatmate asked me if I could bake a pumpkin pie. I hadn’t before, but it turned out to be very easy. The tricky bit is cutting a pumpkin in half, particularly if it’s a burly one. Pumpkin spice may have spread to Europe, thanks to Starbucks, but few people here had tried real pumpkin pie before— and I was happy to be the one to introduce it to them!

First, assemble your ingredients.

First, assemble your ingredients.

Discovering the joys of beets

I’d never cooked with beets before, and I don’t know why I waited so long. Beets are delicious, nutritious, and a very pretty vegetable. Warning: you do have to be careful, as beet juice will dye everything: your hands, your cat, your kitchen rugs. Chłodnik and barszcz Ukrainski are great soups for summer and winter, respectively.

Chilled beet soup.

Chilled beet soup.

Here’s to a great New Year! Do you have any resolutions, or are you awesome enough already? 😉

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