I haven't had the time to blog this week because I was completely occupied with the pierogi party. Back in January, when we first moved in our new and improved apartment--bigger space! dining room table!--we convinced ourselves that we would get our apartment and act together to have some kind of housewarming party with our friends by February. Last day of May, we were finally ready. Only it seemed strange to have a housewarming now, so I decided it would be better to invite some friends over to indulge in some homemade Polish cooking.
I've been tinkering with the idea of a Polish dinner for a long while. Especially after I learned how to make pierogi. One to have fun with friends, two to improve my cooking skill set and three, spread the Polish word with the Americanski people. So we invited Brett and Emily, who always bring the fun (and who have made dinner for us at their place more times than I can name) and Adam and Nell, who we happen to like and who happen to like to eat (perfect combo!)
My priorities this week: Plan the menu, clean the apartment, get some "entertaining-ware" for the apartment (we never invite people over and we had not a single serving platter to our names), and oh cooking. Lots and lots of cooking. Dan's priority: The music playlist. What else?
So that is what I have been up to all week. I enlisted my mom's help to assist me with the cooking, and we spent the greater part of Friday in her New Jersey kitchen making everything and I had the chance to learn how she makes all of our family recipes. Before transporting everything to New York, we stopped by the Polish bakery and butcher and picked up the essential hams and bread and pickles and things. Because what kind of Polish party would it be without the ham?
Twenty minutes before guests arrived, Dan was hanging up the rest of our pictures on the wall (finishing touches!) Yet all the planning and preparation was worth it because we had a really nice evening with our friends and some really great food (and LOTS of leftovers). It was funny to watch everyone take a vodka shot (some people, this was their first time) or see everyone experiment the food. (I have a strong mental picture of Brett gobbling down some Polish vegetable salad ( even I don't like that salad!). And yes, most importantly, everyone liked the music.
Preparation before the party.
The menu included: red borscht, ham plate, vegetable salad, kielbasa, stuffed cabbage, piergogi, and for dessert szarlotka apple cake and ice cream, kolaczki cookies, and E. Wedel chocolates.
Emily gravitated towards the stuffed cabbage. She also was the first to try to scary "pasztet" on the ham plate.
There was some controversy about the label on the Zywiec bottle. It had a beer thermometer that was supposed to indicate ideal temperature, but it never seemed to change no matter what the temperature. We think the Poles are trying to trick us.
Desserts! (and Adam!)
Brett and Emily sink lower and lower into our couch through the evening. Suffering, I think, from a case of Polish food coma.
I celebrated (here, with Nell) and (multiple) drinks.
Dan experiences shoulder pain from overeating. The evening is officially deemed a success.