Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pierogis and You!

I'd like to start off this post with a little history of the pierogi. Historians aren't really sure who to credit with the invention of the pierogi. To save them some time, I'll tell you that is was in fact the Poles who were the masterminds behind it. Why else would they be so damn good?

At this point, you may be asking yourself, what exactly makes a pierogi? In simple terms, they are simply half circular shaped dumplings made of unleavened dough. They can be stuffed with a variety of ingredients. The American way is to stuff it with mashed potatoes and maybe some onions. Let me tell you this. Those are pierogis made for peasants! Real pierogis are made from ground meat, mushrooms and cabbage! Polish dessert variations would have strawberries and or blueberries in them.

Now, there are two special types of pierogis that are served on Christmas eve in Poland. One of them is filled with sauerkraut and dried mushrooms. Another which is made in uszkas (smaller dumplings) and are only filled with dried wild mushrooms. The latter of these is served in a clear borscht (beetroot soup)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

How to eat like a Pole.

The staples of the Polish diet include meat, bread, and potatoes. Like most developed countries, dinner wouldn't be dinner without some form of meat. In poland, it is typically pork. Bread was revered back in the day, (e.g. if a piece of bread fell on the ground, it was picked up, kissed, and then used to make a sign of the cross. Some of you may have already noticed that some loafs of bread have a cross carved into the top of it before slicing. This is also common in Poland. The average Pole consumes about 300 lbs (136kg) of potatoes a year. Other locally grown vegetables include beets, cabbage, carrots, and legumes.

The actual sequence of meals is pretty much the same as most countries that surround Poland. The standard breakfast (between 5 - 8am) will consist of eggs, meat, bread, and cheese. Between 9 - 11am, some may have a second breakfast (equivalent of the bagged lunch in the US). Dinner in Poland is the most important meal of the day. It is served between 1 - 5pm in the afternoon. It will account for 40-45% of the daily calories. Dinner consists of a large bowl of soup, a main course + salad, and dessert. On Sundays, appetizers typically may start the meal off. The very last meal of the day is a light supper between 6 - 8pm. It may be a reiteration of breakfast with the addition of fish, aspic dishes, and or cooked vegetables.

Tea and coffee are usually served after a meal. Tea is consumed more frequently, where as coffee is considered slightly special. Don't let the Russians fool you, Vodka was first distilled in Poland somewhere in the 8th century. By the time vodka was gaining popularity in Poland it had just been introduced as a gift to the Grand Duke of Moscow in 1386.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Whoops, no Poland update today!

Sorry guys and gals. I got distracted today because Civilization V came out. I pretty much spent the whole day playing it. For those who love the series, BUY THIS GAME. For those who have never gotten into it, you can get the demo through steam.

I'll probably get back on topic tomorrow, assuming I don't end up playing it all day again. I can't make any promises. \_(^_^)_\

Monday, September 20, 2010

Check out the Tatra Mountains

The Tatra Mountain Range forms a natural border between Poland and Slovakia. The highest peak in Poland is Rysy @ 2499m above sea level. Temperatures at Mt. Rysy vary from -40C upwards to 33C, depending on the season and elevation. Typically, the summit will be covered by up to 3 meters of snow. The first ascent on Mount Rsys was made by Ede Blasy in 1840.

Wildlife is very abundant on this mountain range. They are home to more than 1000 species of vascular plants, about 450 mosses, 200 liverworts, 700 lichens, 900 fungi, and 70 slime moulds. The Tatra Mountains are home to many species of animals: 54 tardigrades, 22 turbellarians, 100 rotifers, 22 copepods, 162 spiders, 81 molluscs, 43 mammals, 200 birds, 7 amphibians and 2 reptiles. The most notable mammals are the Tatra chamois, marmot, snow vole, brown bear, wolf, Eurasian lynx, red deer, roe deer, and wild boar. Notable fish include the brook trout and alpine bullhead.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

One bad ass Pole. John III Sobieski

Back during the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1559-1795), there was was kick ass Polish man by the name of John III Sobieski. In a nutshell, this man was the King of Poland from 1674-1696. At the beginning of his reign, Poland was pretty much broke and in ruins from 50 some years of various conflicts. Sobieski was an awesome military strategist and made various diplomacy changes early in his reign so he could focus on make Poland not suck so much. He first strengthened Polands southern boarder by reclaiming land that had been taken by the Turks. Around 1676 the tatars decided they wanted to expand into Poland. Well, they failed because Sobieski forced them into a draw at the Battle of Zurano. The next significant military move by Sobieski was at the Battle of Vienna. Poland, being loyal to the pope, helped break the siege of Vienna and drive the Ottoman Empire back.

In summary. Sobieski saved Poland from sucking and was a huge factor in preserving Christendom in Europe. Legend also ties the origin of bagels to John III Sobieski. How awesome is that?

Sobieski at the Battle of Vienna.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Miss Poland!

Check out Miss Poland of 2009, and currently Miss Universe 2010. Her real name is Maria Nowakowska. She is from the city of Legnica, which is located in Lower Silesian which is in the SW portion of Poland.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Polish Currency, (yes, Chopin is on the 5000!)

Poland uses the złoty, which have been in circulation since the 14th and 15th centuries. The złoty will not be around for too much longer since Poland will eventually adopt the euro.

Out of all of the bills, the 5000 zł note is my favorite. Why you ask? Because Chopin is on it! How OG is that? He is also on a commemorative 2010 20zł note.

The most recent series (1994) of the Złoty bill include the denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 (rare)

For anyone who cares, here are some current exchange rates.
1 euro = 3.93 złotys
1 USD = 3.02 złotys
1 złoty = 494,300 old turkish liras
1 złoty = 27.53 JPN yen

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Polish National Anthem (with english subs)

Lyrics in English

Poland has not perished yet
So long as we still live
That which alien force has seized
We at sabrepoint shall retrieve

March, march, Dąbrowski
From Italy to Poland
Under thy command
Let us now rejoin the nation

Cross the Vistula and Warta
And Poles we shall be
We've been shown by Bonaparte
Ways to victory

March, march...

Like Czarniecki Poznań regains
Fighting with the Swede,
To free our fatherland from chains
We shall return by sea

March, march...

Father, in tears
Says to his Basia
Just listen, it seems that our people
Are beating the drums

March, march...

Lyrics were written in 1797 by Jozef Wybicki and was adopted in 1926.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Check out the Chojnik (Chojnasty) Castle!

Let's face it, castles are awesome. So are badass stories revolving around them.

The ruins of Chojnik are tied to the myth of Kunigunde, a castle lord's daughter desired by many knights. As she had no intention to enter into marriage she promised to espouse the bold man who would complete a circuit along the castle's walls on a horseback, knowing that on the steep slopes horse and rider must fall into the chasm. Many tried and perished until a proud nobleman came along, who appealed to Kunigunde's eyes. Though she declared to abandon the precondition and to marry him right away, the knight insisted to take the risk and he succeeded. Instead of accepting her proposal he scolded her for her cruelty and departed. Kunigunde however, deeply humiliated, lunged into the abyss herself.

Bahaha. ^_^

(Non-Poland) I just feel like rambling today... : )

As I was shaving today, I realized that I must tell the world of the mysterious money saving methods I have for shaving. No one wants to spend $20 on fancy shaving oils, or waste $3-$4 on shaving cream on gel. So why not try something that will last forever, get you a close shave, and only cost you around $2? Try baby oil. I bought myself a big ass bottle of it about 6 months ago. I've only gone through about 1/3 of it since, while shaving everyday. How awesome is that? On top of that, I get a closer and less irritating shave with baby oil. Oh yeah!

While I'm talking about saving money, I've found that making your own beer is super cheap/fun also. After splurging on equipment ($150 or so), you can make halfway decent beer as low as 20-30 cents per 12oz bottle. Heck, I just made an Imperial Stout that will be around 9.4% ABV, and only end up costing me around 60 cents a beer. I'd go into more details, but I have a busy day ahead of me.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Guess who else is Polish? Kasia!

Kasia (Kassia) is from Poland. She's a freaking hot porn actress.

Check out her myspace for more SFW pics and such.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

An Awesome Sauerkraut and Kielbasa Recipe

What's more Polish than the good ol' kielbasa? Here is a recipe I've been modifying for a while now. It's great for those who aren't a big fan of plain sauerkraut.

Ingredients (In Imperial Units)
-2lbs of sauerkraut
-1lb of your favorite kielbasa or equivalent sausage
-1/4 cup of brown sugar
-a pinch of caraway seeds
-a pinch of paprika
-a few diced garlic cloves or garlic powder
-a small diced onion, or onion powder

-preheat oven to around 300-325 F
*optional* - rinse the sauerkraut to reduce sodium content
-cut the kielbasa into 1" pieces
-in a large pan or any oven-safe container that can fit a lid, throw in the sauerkraut and kielbasa
-add spices and brown sugar, no need to mix it yet
-throw it in the oven until the kielbasa is done, depends on the depth of the dish you are cooking it in, it may take 40 minutes, it may take over an hour

The brown sugar will give a nice molasses flavor which will balance out the sourness of the sauerkraut. The onion and garlic will help spice the sauerkraut up.

Overall, this dish is cheap to make, easy to make, and very tasty.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Behold, the finest beer in Poland.

Zywiec Brewery has claim to the finest beer in Poland, their Baltic Porter. At 9.5% ABV, it is surprisingly balanced.

The aroma starts off a tad roasty, a little chocolate and nuts, and a tad boozy.

Color is deep brown/dark with an tan head.

Flavor is very bold, so much so that you cannot detect the alcohol. There is a certain sweetness to this beer, probably from the large amount of specialty grains used. Note of coffee and chocolate come to mind. There is hint of cream too, probably either from caramel malts or malto dextrine.

The mouthfeel for this beer is heavy to say the least. Almost syrup like, it had a tendency to lace the glass. The carbonation has very tiny bubbles that maintains the a steady head from beginning to the end.

Overall, I'd say this is one hell of a porter. It's heavy enough to be considered an Imperial Stout, but the flavor profile is more suited for a porter. I'd give this beer a solid B+.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Poland Information!

Learn why Poland is so freaking awesome!

The History of Poland!


I fucking love POLAND!