Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Peach Cobbler

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, as everything else on this blog I got a super easy and simple recipe for one of America's Staple desserts - Peach Cobbler. There is many variations to this dish and in this case we are going to use puff pastry to make things easy on you.


- 1 pack of Puff Pastry
- 3 cups of frozen peaches
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or 1 pack of vanilla sugar
- 3/4 cups of sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp of nutmeg
- 1 tbs softened butter
- 1 scoop of ice cream (optional)


1) Preheat over to 350F
2) Trim the pastry, so it fits into a 1-quart baking dish.
3) In a bowl combine peaches, ground cinnamon, vanilla, sugar, nutmeg and butter. Transfer the mix into the baking dish.
4) Place the puff pastry over the mixture, gently pressing it down. Cut an X on top of the pastry.
5) Bake for 40-50 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

KETO Peanut Butter Cheesecake Balls

You guys know that I am all about the simple and quick recipes, and this one is no different. I have to admit, I have tried the Keto diet a few times, but being surrounded by the very things you are not supposed to eat makes it very difficult. 

One of my customers told me that the Keto Fat bombs were super helpful while on the diet and trying to lose her baby weight. She recommended this very simple recipe that I will share with you below.


- 4oz Peanut butter 
- 8oz cream cheese 
- 4 tbs Swerve or any other type of fake sugar
- 1 cup unsweetened chocolate (chips)

Mix the peanut butter, cream cheese & sugar together and make little balls out of the dough.
Crush the chocolate (chips) and roll the balls in them. Put into freezer for two hours.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Spinach Feta Cheese Turnovers

As many of you, who know me and have been following me for a while, know, my first job in the United States was at a bakery in Mount Clemens, Michigan. Besides working in the front store my job also consisted of helping in the back. 
As a young girl, there were not many options on what I could do, but there was one thing so simple that even I could manage - Turnovers. Delicious triangles made from phyllo dough that consisted mainly out of spinach, apple and cherry. They were such a hit withe the customers in the small town. 
How can you not love these things? They are absolutely great for any occasion or just as a snack. The the past few years I've been making these at home and filling them with various things; ham & cheese, Nutella, beef, feta cheese, you name it. 
They can also be made in advance and frozen. This way you can bake and eat them fresh. 

Below I will share the process with you: 


- 1 stick of butter
- 1 Egg
- 1 tsp salt
- package Phyllo Dough, preferably #4 (use three layers) or #10 (use two layers)
- Feta Cheese Greek or Bulgarian as much as you desire 
- 1 Bag of fresh spinach 
- 1 tbs of sesame (optional) 

1) Melt the butter and put aside
2) cut phyllo dough in half and stack on one another
3) mix together spinach, egg, salt, feta cheese
4) Brush phyllo dough with butter, take one table spoon of spinach mixture and put it on the bottom in the center of the phyllo dough. Fold the sides and keep folding the triangle upward. Repeat three times with #4 dough or twice with #10 dough.


5) Place triangle into pan brushed with butter and brush turnover again with butter after placing it in the pan.

6) Once pan is filled, butter the triangles again and out them in the oven. Bake for 20 min. 

7) Bake at 350F for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

For step by step directions check out out Instagram Profile Under "highlights"  TURNOVER RECIPE.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Popara - Bread Pudding

Every time a customer from the Balkans sees this dish on our menu, their face lights up and they tell us that it immediately takes them back to their childhood. This is every grandma's favorite dish to make, and it's also known as the poor man's dish. It only requires a few simple ingredients that everyone has in their household. Best made with 2-3 days old bread.

The basic recipe calls for the following:

- 5 crusty bread cut into cubes 
- 3-5 cups water or milk
- tbs butter
- pinch of salt
- stick of feta cheese
- green onion for garnish (optional)

1. In a pot bring water, butter and salt shy of a boil
2. add bread pieces, lower temperature and let simmer
3. make sure bread is soaked up and softened, but don't leave it in for too long, so it doesn't get mushy. 
4. serve bread and garnish with feta cheese and green onions. 

Monday, September 2, 2019

Favorite U-Pick Farms

Nothing brings me more happiness than the U-Pick season, which generally starts in the middle of July and goes until Octoberish, depending on what you want to pick.
It's very important to us to have fresh, good quality  ingredients in our dishes. Not only do we provide quality food to our customers, but we also support local farms.

The first time we went picking, we had to learn the hard way that preparation is the key. I ended up sunburned with huge mosquito bites on me. So, before you head out to your local farm, I'd like for you to consider a few things.

1. Give them a call to make sure they got the crops ready to pick. We like to go on our day off, which is a Monday,  but most farms get busy over the weekend, so there is not much left to pick. I'd hate for you to drive 30-40 mins to find out that they out of your items that you want to pick.

2. If you decide to go on a weekend, go early. Not only will you avoid the crowds, but you'll also avoid the sun and the heat.

3. Check the weather forecast. Driving 30 miles out, wasting gas and then finding out there is a thunder storm coming your way.

4. Most farms only accept cash/check as a form of payment. Make sure you bring enough with you, or call them to verify if credit cards are an options.

5. Dress the part. Keep in mind that most of the farms will be muddy, especially if it rained recently. I always keep a pair of rubber boots in my trunk. A pair of gardening gloves comes very handy. We got ours at the Dollar Tree for a $1, they help keep my manicure in check. Another thing that's available at the Dollar Tree are straw hats, great for keeping the sun out of your face.

6. Bug spray is a must. Especially if the farm has been watering its produce.

7. All the farms that I have recently been to sell their own containers, or provide them for free.

8. Learn how to pick your produce. When picking pickles, I would always go for the biggest ones, well, turns out, bigger is not always better. Pickles need to be 3-4", my mother told me, otherwise they will taste sour.

9. Once you get home, make sure you handle the picked produce properly. You don't want to spend all day in the sun and not store it the right way, letting it go to waste.

Alright, now that we've got everything out of the way, let's talk about some of the farms that we like to visit.


For the berries we like to go to the Johnson Farm & Produce in Hobert, IN.

They provide you with their own buckets, which are $10 to fill. I always recommend filling them as much as possible, because they will charge you the $10 fee regardless how full the buckets are. When you purchase five buckets, you get one for free. The strawberries, which we use the most are very juicy, not dry like the ones you get at the store. Let's face it, farm-to-table will always be a better options, not only do we cut out the middle man, but we also cut down on the travel time from the farm to the grocery store.




We generally go there for the picking only, but if you have children, it's a great place for family entertainment. Besides the kid friendly activities, there is also a garden center for flowers and already picked fruit,  along with a bakery that sells strawberry flavored donuts. Yum!

For more information check out their website:
Johnson's Farm Produce


The farm that we visit most often is Bultema Farm in Lynwood, IL. They are one of the largest u-pick farms in the South East suburbs of Chicago. They offer a variety of vegetables & fruits at very low prices. There is a $2 entry fee per person. At the entrance you're also able to buy mash bags for $0.50 a piece and containers for $1 otherwise the produce is sold and measured by the pound.

Peppers (gypsy & sweet) are our main vegetable.  We use them for many things such as our Sopska Salad and we also stuff them for our "Punjene Paprike" dish (stuffed peppers).


Tomatoes are next, and those we use for pretty much every dish on our menu. The smell is amazing, I always tell my mom that the smell reminds me when we lived in Belgrade, Serbia, she used to take me to Bajlonova Pijaca, which is a farmers market in the city. 
When picking tomatoes, we have recently started picking them while they are still greens, which will make them last longer.

For more information, including pricing, hours and regulations please visit their website at:
Bultema Farm Stand


I actually found this Stade's Farm by search for sunflower fields near Chicago. I thought it would make a great instagramable moment. To my surprise I found a huge apple picking farm along with other great fruits like raspberries. I actually went there for the first time, today a year ago, on Labor Day. I was in my flip flops and it just had rained the day before. No need to tell you more. This particular farm is located in the northern part of Chicago suburbs in McHenry County, close to Wisconsin.

The Sunflowers are huge as you can see and only $1 when you cut them yourself. They provide you with a cutting tool. There is a lot of bees flying around them, so you have to be careful. 

We also picked raspberries that day and I remember them being a bit on the pricier side, or at least I thought so. They had a few different sizes of containers available and we picked the largest one which was $10. Raspberries are a pain to pick, since they are so small and delicate. 

Like the other farms, they also offer kids activities, along with a market and bakery.



We did not pick apples that day, as it started to rain not long after we got to the farm, but their apple season starts each year on August 31st, so now would be the time to do so. Also, the sunflowers won't last for a long time, if you want to have your own "instagramable" moment head out there soon. 

For More Information:

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Cherry Kompot (Homemade Juice)

2954 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago, IL 60618, USA

Hi Everyone,

welcome to my brand new blog for Astoria Cafe & Bakery. People always ask me on social media to share recipes, so here we are. 
I am going to kick this blog of with a very simple recipe for Kompot. Considering that we are in the midst of summer, I figured we all need something refreshing in our lives. 

Kompot is very popular in the Slavic speaking countries and it's non alcoholic drink made out of fruits and water. It can served hot or cold, depending on the season.  I'd say it's kind of the Eastern European version of Iced Tea. Compared to the store bought juices, this is very healthy option since it only uses three simple ingredients and it has half of the sugar used in soda.

 My very good customer & friend Dr Dragana Dakic recently went cherry picking with her family in Wisconsin's Door Country. She brought me back a few pounds of cherries, so I figured what better way use to use them and kick off my blog.

The basic recipe for Kompot includes a gallon of water, a cup of sugar and a pound to pound and a half fruit of choice.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add fruits to the boiling water and let simmer for 15 minutes. Add sugar or/and honey to sweeten it. Use Swerve or any other artifical sugar if you're on the keto diet. You can store the Kompot in a glass container in the fridge for about five days.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Russian Salad/ Olivier Salad

No celebration in Serbia is complete without the Russian Salad and it's only known as the Russian Salad outside of the former USSR countries, there they refer to it as "Olivye Salad", named after the Belgian chef who invented it.

This simple recipe is made out of six equal parts of simple ingredients; ham (or left-over chicken), potatoes, pickles, carrots, pease and boiled egg. 

- bring potatoes and carrots to a boil, until tender, don't over cook .. drain and set aside.
- cut all the ingredients into small cubes and combine in a bowl
- add mayonnaise as needed, depending on you preference 
- season with salt & pepper
- refrigerate before serving 

Tufahije - Poached Apples filled w/ Walnuts

We are kicking off our "Sweet Tooth Fridays" series soon and one of the desserts that we like to feature is the Tufahija, which is a poached apple filled with a walnut mixture. 

Like most of the food in the Balkans, the Tufahija was brought to the region during the Ottoman rule in the 14th century. The word itself comes from the Arabic word tuffah which means "apple". 
The dessert is very easy and quick to make. It's also gluten-free and vegan (if you use vegan whip cream). Besides being delicious, Tufahija also looks great.

  • 6 medium Golden Delicious apples
  • 2 cups sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Whipped cream
  • 6 Maraschino cherries

- Peel the apples, remove core and in a large pot bring the apples, lemon juice & sugar to a boil,  let simmer for a few minutes until sugar has dissolved.
- remove the apples from the pot when they are tender, but still firm. Let them cool.
- in a medium sized bowl, mix ground walnuts, cinnamon and whipped cream; stuff apples and refrigerate. 
- place apple onto small plate, simmer syrup (the water you boiled the apples in) over it, garnish with more whipped cream and a cherry on top.

Tufahije are best enjoyed with a cup of coffee & your girlfriends. 

Friday, August 23, 2019

Ledene Kocke

When it comes to traditional Balkan dessert, I figured we start off with the basics .. and there is no better dish than the Ledene Kocke, which translates into Ice Cubes. It's a delicious dessert made out of juicy chocolate sponge cake, covered with vanilla custard and topped off with dark chocolate.
For the custard topping
3 cups milk
2/3 cups sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2/3 cups flour
16 Tbsp unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
For the cake
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
6 eggs, separated
1/3 cup sugar
vegetable oil, for greasing pan
For the Syrup
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Water

Chocolate Topping
8oz semi-sweet baking chocolate
6 tbsp vegetable  
*CAKE                                                                                                                                                            Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 13×9 cake pan generously with vegetable oil. In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour, and baking powder.Next, beat the egg whites until foamy, then gradually add the sugar until stiff peaks form. Add egg yolk to the mixture. Once the egg yolks are slowly mixed into the egg whites, fold in the cocoa mixture into the egg whites mix. Spread the cake batter into the pan evenly.
*CUSTARD                                                                                                                                                        Heat up the milk, sugar and vanilla extract until steaming. Meanwhile, add enough milk into the flour to create a thick slurry. Pour it back into the milk mixture and heat until it resembles thick vanilla pudding. Be sure to whisk well as you go, so that lumps do not form. Let cool completely, then beat in the butter.
*SYRUP                                                                                                                                                      Simmer the sugar & water until the sugar dissolves, about five minutes. Once you get the cake batter out of the oven, use a fork to add holes to it. Pour the syrup over the hot cake and let it sit until it all absorbs.
*CHOCOLATE TOPPING                                                                                                                              Melt the chocolate over a double boiler (or in a regular pan) and stir in the vegetable oil. Once the custard has cooled, spread it over the cake batter evenly with a spatula. Pour over the chocolate topping and smooth it out. Put it in the fridge for a few hours and serve once the chocolate has hardened. 
We added whip cream and chocolate sprinkles for garnish, but it't optional.

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