Mom’s Banana Bread

Mom's Banana Bread | The Solstice Table
There is one simple thing wrong with you – you think you have plenty of time. If you don’t think your life is going to last forever, what are you waiting for?

 I was harshly reminded this past month that there are no guarantees. We go through our lives assuming we have almost endless tomorrows but the sad fact is that we don’t. Our lives can change in an instant and we may have less time than we would have ever imagined.

Mom's Banana Bread | The Solstice Table
There were some health scares recently that brought this to the forefront of my mind, both for me personally and for my family. It’s hard to know what to do when your loved ones are in crisis; especially when you’re not physically there. The only thing I could think of was to cook because when you cook for people they feel cared for and I wanted so badly to let my family know that I care for them. (more…)

Paczki – The Polish Donuts of Your Dreams

Paczki RecipePaczki Recipe
Back when I lived in Old Irving Park I used to pick up orders at a small Polish bakery on my way to work. Delightful Pastries was in Jefferson Park so it was a straight shot for me on my way to Niles. Delightful Pastries makes some seriously good treats! It’s run by a mother daughter team but really the whole family seems to be involved. Dobra & Stasia focus on using local, natural ingredients in all of their baked goods and the quality of the finished product definitely reflects this.

I would come in to pick up orders and there was always donuts, croissants or danishes waiting for me with the order. Often times the sunflower rye bread would be just finished baking and need to cool before being sliced so they would sit me down with some milk and a pastry while I waited. I took that time to peruse all of their different offerings and people watch all of the ladies coming into the bakery to order their morning treats. They would speak Polish and it would remind me of my childhood as my best friend growing up was Polish. I was always fascinated when I would hear her mother speaking Polish to relatives over the phone. We never spoke different languages to any of our relatives (they’re Irish Catholics through and through) so I found the Polish language wonderfully exotic and romantic. I no longer pick up from Delightful Pastries. We get deliveries from Dobra’s father once a week now but I occasionally find myself missing this simple morning ritual. (more…)