Sophia Saliwonczyk’s Nut Roll Rocks!

By Barbara Rolek
Sophia says "Dobro nam dosli," which means "good that you came" in Serbian.

Sophia says "dobro nam dosli," which means "good that you came" in Serbian. © 2008 Barbara Rolek

Sophia Sekerez Saliwonczyk, of Crown Point, Ind., is a nut-roll baker extraordinarie. Originally from Gary, Ind., the mother of five — Michael, Gregory, Nicholas, Lisa and Laurie — has been making Serbian nut roll for the past 30 years and has passed the tradition on to her own children.

She welcomes you into her kitchen with “dobro nam dosli” — Serbian for “good that you came” or welcome. The aromas are heavenly as she displays a table spread with pastries of all sorts, including Russian tea cakes, kolachky (a variation of Polish kolaczki,, honey-dipped cookies and her specialty, nut roll! 

Here is a picture of Sophia and her boys as they dive into her homemade nut roll in 1978.

Michael, Gregory, Nicholas and Sophia Saliwonczyk

Michael, Gregory, Nicholas and Sophia © 2008 Barbara Rolek

For the nut roll recipe, pictured below, visit my Web site at

Sophia Saliwonczyk's Serbian Nut Roll © 2008 Barbara Rolek

Sophia Saliwonczyk's Serbian Nut Roll © 2008 Barbara Rolek










For the honey-dipped cookie recipe, pictured below, visit my site at


Sophia Saliwonczyk's Honey-Dipped Cookies © 2008 Barbara Rolek

Sophia Saliwonczyk's Honey-Dipped Cookies © 2008 Barbara Rolek


For the Russian tea cake recipe, pictured below, visit my Web site at
For the kolachky recipe, pictured below, visit my Web site at
Kolachky © 2008 Barbara Rolek

Sophia Saliwonczyk's Kolachky © 2008 Barbara Rolek


Warm up with Potato Sausage Soup

Have you been to Cappo’s at 6656 U.S. 6, in Portage, Ind., yet? The next time you visit the Imax theater, stop there. Owner Dolly Cummins will have your stomach smiling in no time.

The food is reasonable and delish. Consider these: a four-piece crispy chicken dinner, catfish, ocean perch, eggplant Parmesan, homemade lasagna, and more. Build-Your-Own Burgers start with lettuce, tomato, pickle and onion on a 1/2-pound Angus beef patty. A 12-and-younger kids’ menu has five selections for less than $5.

Cappo’s opens at 11 a.m. daily. Beer and wine are available. Don’t have time to sit down and eat? Get one of their take-and-bake pizzas. Call (219) 762-5563 for the soup of the day.

In the meantime, Dolly shared her recipe for Potato Sausage Soup. Enjoy!

Cappo’s Potato Sausage Soup

1 1/2 cups cooked pizza sausage

3/4 cup onions, diced

6 slices bacon

1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons chicken base

1 quart water

2 medium potatoes, cut in half lengthwise, then cut into 1/4-inch slices

2 cups spinach or kale

1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

* Place onions and bacon in large saucepan and cook over medium heat until onions are almost clear. Remove bacon and crumble. Add garlic to onions and cook 1 more minute.

* Add chicken base, water and potatoes. Simmer 15 minutes. Use an immersion blender to roughly puree soup.

* Add crumbled bacon, sausage, spinach or kale and cream. Simmer 4 minutes and serve.

Makes 8 servings.

SOURCE: Dolly Cummins, Cappo’s, Portage, Ind.

Chocolate Espresso Truffles

Nothing says I love you like chocolate. And with Valentine’s Day fast approaching, there’s no better time to try your hand at making truffles. With chocolate’s aphrodisiac qualities, you’ll have a win-win situation!

You don’t have to be female and you don’t have to know how to cook to make truffles. They’re so easy. Try these.

By the way, chili powder is another known aphrodisiac! Check out my Nacho Typical Chili Recipe by clicking the “recipes” button under “What’s on the Menu” to your right.

Babette’s Espresso Truffles
8 ounces best-quality chocolate (at least 60% cacao), chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream, heated to boiling
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder (it must be instant, otherwise you’ll have espresso grounds in your chocolate!)
* Chop chocolate into small chunks. Place in a heatproof bowl.
* Mix espresso powder with boiling cream.
* Pour cream over chocolate and immediately cover with plastic wrap. Let it sit out for 45 minutes or so and stir it until it’s smooth.
* Transfer to the refrigerator until it firms up. Using a cookie scoop, scoop out truffles. They’re delicious unadorned like this or you can roll them in chopped nuts, flaked coconut, cocoa powder, chocolate sprinkles, crushed coffee beans, whatever your heart desires.
Makes about 12 large truffles.
SOURCE: Barb Rolek 

Nacho Typical Chili

Chili is good anytime, but now that it’s so chilly (ha!), the two seem to go hand in hand. Here’s a recipe I developed. It’s a play on words for “Not Your Typical Chili” and you’ll see why. Enjoy!

Nacho Typical Chili (Not Your Typical Chili)
1 (12-ounce) can beer, regular or lite
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 (1-1/4-ounce) package chili seasoning mix
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 (15-ounce) jar processed nacho cheese spread
1 cup milk
1 pound mesquite-grilled chicken breast, diced
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
Diced jalapeno, optional
Corn chips, grated cheese and cilantro for garnish
* Combine beer, broth, Worcestershire and chili seasoning mix in a 3-quart pot. Cook over medium heat for 4 to 6 minutes or until hot.
* Combine half-and-half and cornstarch and stir well. Add to pot along with cheese spread and milk. Cook, stirring constantly, 4 minutes or until thickened and bubbly.
* Add chicken, black beans, corn, tomatoes, and jalapeno, if using. Cook 2 minutes or just until thorougly heated.
* Ladle into warm bowls. Garnish with corn chips, grated cheese and cilantro, if desired.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.
SOURCE: Barb Rolek