Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pierogi Patience

Okay, here I go, cutting into the first homemade pierogi I've ever made. . . .drum roll....Mmmmmm... that is some good stuff! Excuse me while I consume all five I put on my plate!

Those were delicious! The dough was tender and light. The filling was good, but not great. I have the remainder in the freezer and know just what to do with them!

A guy my boyfriend works with is getting divorced and eats ALL microwavable boxed junk! I think I'll send some his way, do you think he can handle "boil until they rise" and "melt butter?" I sure as hell hope so. Last week I made cinnamon rolls and told him to take some for his kids, he looked at me cross eyed and said "I don't cook!" Um, hello! I already did all the work, put them in the oven for 15 minutes! Of course you do need to know how to turn the oven on! Anyway, here is the recipe and some pictures of the process. Hope you guys enjoy!

Dough: 2 cups flour
1 t salt
1 egg,whisked
2 T sour cream
1/2 C water

The filling recipe is in the text to follow. Very simple!

Sift the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle. Add the egg and sour cream. With a wooden spoon OR your hand start stirring while gradually adding the water. Once the water is incorporated use your hands to gently knead the dough until it comes together and isn't sticky. Cover with a towel and let it rest 30 minutes.

While the dough is resting the potato filling can be prepared. Boil 5 medium potatoes in salted water. I usually add a garlic clove or two and a bay leaf for added flavor. Boil until fork tender, drain well. Transfer to a bowl and IF you have a potato ricer, this would be the time to use it. I used two forks to mash the potatoes. Add 6 oz. cheddar cheese and a little salt and pepper. Filling is done.

Roll the dough 1/8 inch thick and cut circles out with a cookie cutter or a cup. Place one teaspoon of potato in the center of each dough round. Holding in one hand, pull the sides of the dough together, starting in the middle. Pinch the dough closed making sure the filling does not come out. You may want to start with less filling until you get the hang of it. PLEASE flour your cookie sheet or plate before you put the pierogi down, it sure took lots of PATIENCE to peel the pierogi off the wax paper! I didn't realize they were stuck until I had all 22 on the sheet!

Put 5 or 6 pierogi in boiling water and boil until they float to the surface.

You can eat them boiled or you can do what I love to do and fry them in butter! Yum!

Serve with sour cream, sauteed onions and crumbled bacon, or a drizzle of melted butter! Hope you love em!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Family heritage

One of my newest "obsessions" has been tracing my family history. All four of my grandparents have passed away and so have many of their siblings. This leaves much left up to the bits and pieces I have to put together from my mom and dad and aunts and uncles who can't even agree on their mother's real name. The verdict- I am a European MUTT with a touch of the Caribbean! Polish, English, Irish, French, Austrian, Spanish, Puerto Rican, Taino Indian! Even though I am a mix of rich cultures I grew up predominately eating and experiences the culture of my dad's side, the Puerto Rican side. I can make rice and beans with my eyes shut! I am ready for a culinary challenge, both on the chopping board and in my mouth!

This morning I decided to make pierogi. After writing down dozens of dough recipes I finally decided on one. Super easy to put together and needs to rest only 30 minutes, long enough to peel and boil your potatoes and grate some cheese. I went to the fridge to grab some cheddar and found myself disappointed to find manchego, mozzarella, goat cheese, the processed crap my boyfriend loves and a few others, but no cheddar. I have about as much patience as a three year old and waiting until my COSTCO trip tomorrow is not an option. Living in Maui means the "local" grocery stores don't offer the same variety as the mainland.

Success or failure? Stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Shortbread anyone?

From the time I was eleven my weekends would be filled with babysitting and baking, glamorous, I know! I'd fill cellophane bags with an assortment of baked goods and send my younger sisters around the neighborhood selling the treats for $2.00 each. Believe it or not, they'd come back empty handed! The past few years I've spent my time in the kitchen cooking treats of a different variety, the savory kind.
I'm now revisiting the world of baking and find it just as much fun as it use to be!

This recipe for shortbread comes from this month's Cooking Light magazine with a few slight modifications. The shortbread is light and has a much more flaky texture than your typical shortbread. I added a lemon drizzle once they were cut and cooled.

Vanilla shortbread with Lemon Drizzle

2 C Flour
1/4 C Cornstarch
1/4 t salt
1/2 C softened butter
1/2 C vegetable oil
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 C sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease either a 9x13 baking pan, or a 9 inch round spring form.
Combine flour, cornstarch, salt in a bowl. Sift. Beat butter in a separate bowl for 2 minutes. Gradually add the oil and mix another 3 minutes. Add vanilla. On low speed, add the flour mixture and mix until JUST combined. Spoon dough into prepared pan and press to an even thickness. Bake for approximately 30 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Cut into desired size pieces.

To bump up the lemon flavor add the finely grated zest of one lemon to the dough.

Lemon Drizzle

Powdered sugar
Fresh lemon juice

Mix just enough sugar and juice together to make a drizzle the consistency of heavy cream. Spoon over the cookies just before serving.