introducing: summer of wednesdays by lana pribic

The past winter was particularly long, cold, and lonely at times for everyone. Me and my friends Alicia and Lucas dealt with it by cooking our way through each Wednesday night (see: here and here). It was always the highlight our our week to get together, get away from our studies and books, and just indulge. We conciously set time aside to think about what we would eat for dinner that night, a  real luxury for the studious type. Our recipes got better and better each week. When Alicia started talking about her dream to one day make a cookbook, this project organically came out of us.The Summer of Wednesdays. A sequel to our wintery Wednesdays.
What can you expect? Mildly Eastern European rooted dishes, broken rolling pins in pictures, lots of mushrooms, perhaps some ice cream, delicious sauces, and - most importantly - growth. We are both pretty excited about this!
We are kicking things off with a tried and true recipe of Alicia's which was born on the night of my epic Birthday dinner. A decadent pastry with smoked salmon and a dilly béchamel sauce makes the perfect appetizer to a special meal.

Alicia has travelled all over allowing herself to become inspired by the flavous of the world. Her insane love for potatoes (seriously, she was a sack of potatoes for Halloween) is just one thing about her that proves she was raised in a Polish culture. She grew up in a family which, like mine, emphasizes homemade everything. Her dad taught her most of the stuff she knows in the kitchen and she is a master of all the cooking fundamentals. Her sister, who I have yet to meet, is a CSA- basket-community-garden type of girl. Alicia is the kind of girl who doesn't follow recipes, but creates them as she goes. At most, she will look at a recipe, love it, and create her own version of it. I love learning from her.Alicia lived in France for a semester in high school where her French mother taught her how to make perfect sauces, cook spontaniously, and make a seriously bad ass quiche. In addition to this, her recent travels to Spain, Portugal, and South America really shine in her recipes.She is as studious, obsessed with food, and Eastern European as I am. Alicia is wrapping up her masters in Biomechanics  this summer. She is the kind of friend I can't wait to introduce to my parents.
I am, admittebly, smitten with raw "capture the action as it unfolds" creative style of Kelsey and Shaun. Happyolks was a main comforting space for my this past winter and so it feels natural for me to use that space as an anchor for creative inspiration as I attempt to emulate a similar storytelling style.
Smoked Salmon Chausson with Dilly Bechamel Sauce
Makes about 10, or one large pastry

Note from Alicia: I call it chausson because it was inspired by my french mother. (It just means pastry).


Puff Pastry:
1 package of puff pastry (about 400 grams) or, homemade.
1 egg

250 grams smoked salmon*
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 cups milk
1/4 cup water
4 tbls fresh dill
1 tbls flour of choice
1 tbls olive oil
pinch of salt

* Look for reduced sodium if possible. If not, be cautious of the amount of salt you add to your overall dish, as smoked salmon can be very salty depending on the brand.


1. For the sauce: Heat a medium sized skillet over high heat with olive oil. Toss in onions when hot. When the onions begin to become translucent, reduce heat to medium and add one clove of minced fresh garlic. Once the onions are totally translucent, turn heat up slightly to get the pan to a high temperate and add water. This will allow all the flavour that is sticking to the pan to loosen and add it to the sauce. Allow this to reduce. Add milk and stir. Once the milk begins to boil and begins to colour from the caramelized onions, you need to slowly whisk in flour, and one more clove of crushed garlic. Allow this mixture to thicken. Finally, remove from heat and add salt to taste, stir in dill. Allow to sauce to cool.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees celcius. Prepare a large baking sheet. Roll out the pastry dough (which should be straight out of the fridge, not room temperature), about 1/2 cm thick. Cut into desired size of squares (for minis) or leave as one large sheet (for one large pastry). Into each square, place a piece of salmon and a generous slab of the cooled down sauce. Here, the pastry might get too warm during folding making it difficult to work with. If this begins to happen, place the formed pastries into the freezer while you work on the rest. This way, they won't lose their shape.

3. In a small bowl, whisk one egg. Brush each pastry with the mixture. At this point, you can add sea salt flakes, seasame seeds, or fresh herbs atop, if desired. 

4. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown.

spring pizza with asparagus & mushroom by lana pribic

Since my time in Italy, I have preferred white pizza - pizza with no tomato sauce. In fact, all I need is some fresh dough, a simple cheese, an oil for drizzle, and a brick oven (if I'm lucky). 

I finished this one off with some truffle oil and arugula. Total Italian flash backs.

Spring Pizza with Asparagus & Mushroom
Personal size, or can shared with a side salad 

Pizza dough (I got mine at an excellent bakery, but you can also try this or this recipe)
3/4 cup provolone cheese (or mozzarella)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
4-5 stocks of asparagus 
1/2 cup mushrooms (I used button & shiitake. anything will do)
handful of arugula
1 tbls truffle oil 

1) If you have a pizza stone (and I really hope you do), preheat the oven with it inside for a good 20 minutes at 550 degrees celsius. It needs to get really hot.

2) Shave the asparagus using a potato peeler. Grate the provolone and shave the parmesan. Slice mushrooms. 

2) Using your hands, squeeze all the air out of the dough as you rotate it between your hands as you would plate (think Italian grandmother). Toss it back and forth between your hands until its thin in the middle and semi-thick on the outsides. Or, you know, just use a rolling pin.

4) Remove the heated pizza stone from the oven and place pizza dough on it. Use caution! Work quickly to construct the pizza: drizzle with a little bit of olive oil, then sprinkle cheeses, then asparagus, and finally the mushrooms.

5) Bake for about 8-15 minutes, depending on your oven temperature/stone/pizza thickness.

6) Drizzle with truffle oil and sprinkle with fresh arugula.

Anndddd this might be the best thing I have ever posted on here. The key is the stone, the high temperature, and the simplicity of the ingredients. Buon Appetito!

granola (and then there's school) by lana pribic

I am a proud girl, I really am. I take my accomplishments very seriously, and that's mostly because I don't attempt to accomplish many things unless I really want to. The results are for the most part favourable.

And then there's school, where we are all forced to accomplish things single everyday. Some of these things interest us, some do not - studying for tests, completing assignments, going to lectures, keeping up with readings, forming relationships with professors. Believe it or not, I actually love school (or at least, I love studying Economics). But I have to, as all students do, take classes that barely interest me at all. Last semester I took Financial Management and I could feel my insides scream with discomfort every time I sat down to "study". I did not enjoy it at all. Sure enough, my final mark in that class was my worst mark in University. Ever. I was not proud of that one.

Yesterday I wrote a midterm that made me sweat, shake and have anxiety attacks while studying for it. Game Theory - the class which I am sure will be the true test of my intelligence. Nevertheless, the class I was actually ecstatic about taking (I know, I have a problem). Me and my friend spent a whole week chewing on an assignment for this class, and we easily went from thinking it was impossible to thinking that it was a joke. Clearly we had learned a lot that week... Yet I was still sure I was going to have a hard time with the midterm.
The professor for this class is totally and completely a privilege to be learning from, but tough. In fact, I was warned by many, but decided to stay fearless. All I could think about was how much I would regret it if I didn't take advantage of learning under the guidance of such an intelligent person. That would be just silly of me!15 minutes before test time my friend and I were just repeating "We don't know anything! We don't know anything!" We were truly terrified of what this test would be like.Then all my hours of studying and thinking were tested. We had 1.5 hours to complete the test and I finished 4/7 questions. During the last 15 minutes I just stared at the last three questions with a sore hand expecting the answers to just come out of the page as me while trying to hold back tears. I just felt so stupid - I was utterly dumbfounded, and it felt terrible. I felt like I was letting myself down and like all my previous accomplishments didn't matter to me anymore because of this one stupid test.I blame part of it on not getting enough sleep that day week. I blame the other part of it on the way the University has always tested us. We are taught to memorize formulas and think linearly from textbooks in order to pass examinations. Yesterday, this professor threw questions at us that involved us to dig into the part of our brain where we had to think, and not just recall. While I respect these intentions, I was left feeling so disappointed in myself and when I left the room I started to laugh/cry at the same time because I had no idea what had just happened in there. I had never experienced this feeling after a test.I can't tell if I let myself down, or if I was just thrown something I was not equipped to fight. Either way, I think I'm being too hard on myself for this. But I can't help it, it's who I am.I slept for 14 hours last night, without disturbances.
I made this granola the weekend before and munched on it throughout this hellish week. I woke up last Sunday and went straight to the kitchen to make it in my PJ's. When I went to bed that night, all I could smell on my sleeves was cinnamon and oats.It's crunchy (a must for me when it comes to granola) and slightly sweet. The coconut shavings seriously have the best crunch.Sunday GranolaIngredients:3 cups quick oats1/2 cup pecans, walnuts, or almonds, roughly chopped1 cup unsweetened coconut shavings1/2 cup superfood seeds mixture (hemp, chia, flax, buckwheat, etc)1/2 cup pumpkin seeds3/4 cup maple syrup1/2 cup coconut oil, melted1 large egg white, beaten1 tsp cinnamon1/2 tsp nutmeg1/2 tsp saltMethod:Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients up to maple syrup. Mix in the egg white. In a separate bowl, whisk together coconut oil and maple syrup (to the best of your ability, it does not work too well). Pour this in with the rest and mix. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Bake in the lower third of your oven for 30-45 minutes until dark golden brown. Stir it constantly to prevent burning, about every 7-10 minutes. Optional: + 1 cup dried cranberries or raisons after you take it out of the oven. I'm not just of a dried fruit girl myself, but I know a lot of people love it in their granola. + 1/3 cup of cacao nibs+ 2 tbls of brown sugar added into the maple syrup mixture

Enjoy with greek yogurt, berries, and a drizzle of honey.
Well, I am off to British Columbia for "reading" week. I've never been to the West Coast before and me and my new rain coat are all ready to go. 

truffle oil mushroom quiche in a cornmeal crust by lana pribic

I have been making up for lost time with mushrooms. It was only this summer that they stopped grossing me out and I really can't believe I've ever been anything but crazy for them. It makes my heart hurt that they have next to no nutritional value (someone please correct me and tell me that I am wrong?) So, I decided to try out a quiche version of my favourite omelette scrambled egg. 
In addition to the mushroom craze I am going through, me and my mom have also been addicted to truffle oil ever since I brought some home from Denmark in the summer. We just replished our supply, so it was obviously begging to be used. If you don't have truffle oil, just use regular olive oil. It's really just for a kick of extra flavour. But, if you don't have any and you're curious, get out there and buy some! You'll thank me later.Mushroom, Spinach and Feta Cheese Quiche in a Cornmeal Crust

2 cups mushrooms, heaping and sliced
1 1/2 handfuls spinach, roughly chopped
1/2 to 2/3 cup feta, according to preference 
1/4 medium onion, finely diced
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk (or soy)
1 tbls truffle oil, plus more for drizzling 
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Follow Sara's instructions to make the cornmeal crust. As she says, it does not rise so set it as you'd like. I used a wooden flat spatula to roughly smooth it and then used wet hands to soften the edges a bit. Also, I only used 1/4 cup of parmesan (but made up for it in the filling).

2. Heat a pan over medium-high heat with truffle oil. When hot, throw in onion with a pinch of salt until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add mushrooms and stir continuously as they begin to release their oils. Finish with a good pinch of pepper. 

3. Beat eggs together. Add milk, stir. Add mushroom mixture (every last drop), spinach, and feta. Add salt and pepper according to your taste but don't overdo it for the sake of the truffle flavour. You can add another teaspoon of truffle oil here, too, if desired. Pour the mixture into the crust shell.

4. Bake in a hot oven for about 30 mins, until set. Drizzle with truffle oil when cooled, and enjoy.