Taste, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the new Greenpointers food series Gastronaut. Its continuing mission: to explore strange, new ingredients; to seek out new flavors and new techniques; to boldly go where no food has gone before.
Grilling season is upon us and, since Greenpoint is home to at least seven meat markets, it’s high time you upped your grilling game.
Walking into a Polish meat market can be a bit overwhelming. For starters, most, if not all, of the signage is in Polish and, at least in my experience, not everyone behind the counter speaks English. Don’t be discouraged. With a little patience and this decoder key, you’ll be the star of your summer bbq or picnic in the park. Continue reading →
The air is crisp and chill, puffer-coated pooches are roaming the streets of Greenpoint and it’s dark by 5pm. It’s exactly the time of year to hole-up in a cozy drinking den and spend the evening getting intimate with an extensive menu of local craft beers and delicious bar snacks.
“A staple of traditional Polish cuisine, Kaszanka (also called Kiszka) is a blood sausage made with a mixture of pig’s blood, buckwheat or barley, and pig offal – usually liver, lungs, skin, fat – flavored with pepper, onions, marjoram, and stuffed in pig intestine.
Coming from the word kasza, which is one of the main ingredients, Kaszanka can be eaten cold, but are traditionally (and taste better) grilled or fried. Eat it with a liberal side of onions, potato and sauerkrat.
While picking up special cat food for my obese tuxedo at Greenpoint Vet Hospital, I grabbed a coffee across the street at Cafe Pistachio (114 Nassau Ave), which contributor Jen H. raved about a few months ago.
It was late in the afternoon and the drip coffee looked like it had been sitting out all day so I ordered a short espresso, which was way too long and not something I would go back for. I did notice something I would return for, though.
For a while I’d been very curious about Borek after seeing the frozen variety at a European deli. (I’ve also seen it spelled Burek.) The Borek on display at Pistachio looked fresh and delicious and since we were starving it was a great take home appetizer before cooking dinner. The server said they make them in house, too.
There were a few varieties to chose from: cheese, potato, ground meat and spinach, and I went with Spinach. It was a flakey, buttery and moist phylo dough pastry stuffed with spinach and salty feta, served with dill sour cream on the side. It was really satisfying and makes for a really cheap snack or small lunch at only $4. That is cheap!
Can you recommend any other spots in Greenpoint for delicious Borek?
One of the many benefits of living in Greenpoint is the variety of delicious Polish vodkas and liqueurs available at most liquor stores. As everyone knows, vodka’s origins can be traced back to Poland (go ahead, look it up), and it’s nice to see that the strong tradition of soul-warming spirits continues here.
All this Greenpointers talk of hot toddies reminded me of one of my favorite ways to warm up during freezing Polish winters – krupnik na gorąco (KROOP-neek na go-RON-tso, or hot krupnik).
Krupnik is a traditional Polish drink that can be found in several formats: honey; lemon; and plain vodka. For this recipe, it is important to use the honey-hued old krupnik, which is clearly labeled “Polish Honey Liqueur” on the bottle.