Category Archives: special occasion

Potato Cheese Perogies

I tried a couple recipes in the 1990s trying to recreate the delicious perogies we had in bar mlecznys or milk bars in Poland.  This recipe via a Pittsburgh Post Gazette food blog seems close (with adaptations). NOTE – stewed onions are essential and the longer you cook them the better. Start them early!

Stewed Onions

2 T butter
2 large onions halved lengthwise and thinly sliced into crescents
1/4 c chicken, beef or vegetable broth

Melt butter in medium skillet over low heat. Stir in onion and cook until starting to soften, about 10 minutes. Add ¼ cup broth and bring to simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are very soft and deeply browned, about 1½ to 2 hours. If onions start to burn before they’re fully caramelized, add 1 to 2 tablespoons additional broth as needed.


Basic Pierogi Dough

1 large egg, beaten
1/2 c sour cream
4 T butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/2 t salt
2 c  unbleached flour

Whisk egg, sour cream or yogurt, butter and salt in bowl. Add flour to large bowl. Gently stir wet ingredients into flour. The dough will initially be very dry and shaggy, seeming as if it will never come together, but have no fear: Keep stirring and it will pull itself into shape.

Once dough starts to come together, press and smash it against the sides of bowl with your palms, picking up dough bits and essentially kneading it within bowl until it forms a ball.

Tip dough and any remaining shaggy flakes out onto a clean work surface. Knead until smooth, about 1 minute. Cover dough with bowl and let rest 15 minutes.


Potato and Cheddar Pierogi Filling *classic*

Don’t use too much flour when rolling out the dough, or the pierogies will be chewy and leaden (but probably still delicious). Boil then pan-fried the dumplings in butter. Yum. 

1/2 lb potatoes (about 1 medium or 2 small), cut into 2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 c finely shredded cheddar cheese
2 T heavy cream or whole milk

Place potatoes in medium saucepan. Add water to cover by 2 inches. Stir in 1 tablespoon salt. Cover and bring to boil over medium heat. Uncover and cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain potatoes and bring back to pan. Place over low heat and stir for about 30 seconds to remove excess moisture. Run potatoes through a ricer or food mill fitted with fine disk into bowl. Stir in remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, cheese and 1 tablespoon cream; consistency should be firm enough to roll into a ball. If filling is too dry, stir in additional 1 tablespoon cream.

To make pierogies: Line a rimmed baking sheet with waxed or parchment paper.

Divide rested dough into 4 equal pieces with a bench scraper or knife. Set aside 3 dough pieces and cover with mixing bowl. Roll remaining dough as thinly as possible into a rough 8-by-12-inch rectangle.

Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut out 6 rounds of dough. Resist the temptation to re-roll dough scraps for additional rounds. It seems wasteful but dough won’t be as tender the second time around. Makes 24 pierogies.

Spoon filling into center of dough rounds.

Using your finger, swipe a scant amount of egg wash — just a light touch — around the dough edge.

Fold into a half-moon shape: Either fold dough over the filling on work surface or gently cup the pierogi in your hand in a U shape and fill.

Gently but firmly seal pierogi by pinching and squeezing edges together with your thumb and pointer finger. Start with 1 pinch at the top, then move to the “corner” of the pierogi and pinch along the edge back to the top. Repeat on opposite side to finish sealing pierogi.

Transfer to baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough rounds and filling.

To cook, pierogies can either be boiled  (2 to 3 minutes for fresh, 4 to 5 minutes for frozen), pan-fried in oil or butter (2 minutes per side), or deep-fried in at least 2 inches of 350-degree vegetable oil (3 minutes for fresh and 5 minutes for frozen).

Deep-fry, boil and/or pan fry pierogies as directed. Serve immediately with onions, sauerkraut and/or sour cream.

Sauerkraut (optional) and sour cream (essential) for serving.

pierogies3-2

“Pierogi Love: New Takes on an Old-World Comfort Food” by Casey barber (Gibbs Smith, July 2015, $19.99)

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Feuilleté Saumon Poireaux

Amazing recipe Anna Schaab brought back from her stay in France in early 2016, comprised of two types of salmon  and leeks in a cream sauce all wrapped up in a puff pastry.  Anna and William made it for us one evening after her return home and it is incredible.

550 g puff pastry (one package, thawed if using frozen)
2.2lb (1 kg) salmon filet, skin removed*
1 package sliced smoked salmon
500g leeks (3 large)
2 T butter, melted
1/2 a lemon, juiced
1/2 cup cream
1 egg, beaten
salt & pepper to taste


Clean and thinly slice the leeks. Mix with melted butter, then add lemon juice, cream, salt and freshly ground pepper. Combine well and set aside.

Take out the puff pastry and separate into two equal parts. Lay out the first on a baking sheet and brush with the beaten egg. Arrange 1/2 the smoked salmon on top, leaving 1/2 and inch border clear around edges. Pour some of the leek mixture over this and then place the prepared (skinless) salmon filet on top of this – you may need to cut the filet and arrange the pieces to fit like a puzzle. Be careful to retain the clear border. Pour the remainder of the leek mixture on top of the salmon, followed by the rest of the smoked salmon. Cover with the second piece of pastry and seal the edges. Brush with egg and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Brush with egg once more before baking at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Lower heat to 350 degrees and back for 15 minutes more. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.


* Skinning salmon is advanced cookery – there are YouTube videos that can show you how. 

Feuillete Sauman-Poireau.JPG

Pam’s Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping

An essential part of Thanksgiving.

3 lb sweet potatoes – bake until soft at 350º  for about anhour

Then mash together with the following and spread in a baking dish.

3/4 c orange juice
2 eggs
2 T butter, melted
2 T sugar
1½ t ground cinnamon
½ t nutmeg

Topping: combine all ingredients except nuts and mix until mixture resembles course crumbs. Stir in pecans and spread on top of potato mixture in baking dish.

½ c flour
¼ c brown sugar
½ t cinnamon
¼ c butter, softened
½ c chopped pecans

Bake until browned and heated through at 350º for about half an hour.

sweet-potato-casserole

Broccoli Feta Pie

Valentine’s Day dinner 2012. Gorgeous, delicious and not difficult to make. You’ll need a 10″ springform pan.

olive oil
1 large onion, sliced thinly
6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 t dried dill or 2 T fresh dill, chopped
1 t marjoram
6 cups fresh broccoli stems & florets, coarsely chopped
1/2 t salt
pepper to taste
4 eggs
1 to 2 c feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 c fresh parsley, minced
phyllo dough (about 1/2 package)
1 T sesame seeds
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Saute onions, garlic, dill and marjoram in olive oil over medium heat until onions begin to soften and brown. Add broccoli, salt & pepper and saute a few minutes more, until broccoli is crisp tender, slightly crunchy but still bright green.

Beat eggs in a large bowl and then add feta, parsley and the broccoli mix.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Brush the bottom and sides of your springform pan with olive oil. Start fitting phyllo dough, one leaf at a time into bottom and up the sides, letting the dough hang over the edge of the pan. Brush each leaf with more olive oil before fitting the next. Do this with 10-12 leaves. Pour filling into the pie. Roll or fold the overhanging dough to form a crust around the pie’s edge, then brush it with olive oil. Sprinkle the top with sesame seeds and bake 40-45 minutes until golden brown. Allow to sit for 10 minutes out of the oven, then remove springform pan sides and serve.

Adapted from Horn of the Moon, page 200

Festive Holiday Salad

Festive photo by Chelsea Lane, Christmas 2010.

SALAD ~
1 bag fresh baby spinach
seeds from one whole pomegranate
1/2 medium sized red onion, finely sliced

1/2 pint fresh raspberries
1/2 c candied pecans (recipe follows)
croutons, optional
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Lightly toss spinach, pomegranate seeds and onion together and drizzle on the dressing or serve on the side. Top with raspberries, candied pecans and croutons.

DRESSING ~
the other half of the red onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 c sugar
2 T vinegar
1/2 t ground mustard
1/2 t salt
1T poppy seeds
1/2 c olive oil
+++++++++
Put all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

CANDIED PECANS ~
1 T olive oil
1 T balsamic vinegar
1/4 c sugar
1/2 c (heaping) whole pecans
+++++++++++
Mix oil, vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan and heat. Add pecans and stir frequently until liquid is crystallized and absorbed by the pecans. Spread out on a plate and allow to cool.

The Best Guacamole

Adapted from Cabbagetown Cafe Cookbook, page 25

1 ripe avocado
2 T sour cream
1/2 small red onion, minced
pinch of salt
1 t fresh lemon juice
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 t ground cumin
—-
Peel avocado, put it in a medium sized bowl and mash with a fork. Beat in sour cream until fluffy. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Taste — add more lemon juice or garlic to taste.

Pecan Balls

A necessary Christmas tradition.

1/2 lb butter
2 c flour
4 T sugar
6 oz pecans, chopped very fine
2t vanilla
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Combine all ingredients and mix well. Roll into small balls (heaping teaspoon each) place on ungreased cookie sheets and bake at 350° for 15 minutes.  Let cool then roll in confectioners sugar to coat.