Category Archives: vegetarian main dish

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.

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

Vegetable Lo Mein

 We first made this in the summer of 1998 – adapted from The Cabbagetown Cafe Cookbook.

A very flavorful dish is made with pasta  and vegetables tossed with a garlic sauce. Any vegetables you have on hand are good–these are just suggestions.

Sesame Garlic Sauce

8 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or crushed
1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
1/2 cup peanut butter (the natural kind)
1 T dark sesame oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar or juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
1/4 tsp cayenne

Lo Mein

1/2 pound whole wheat spaghetti or linguini
1 cake extra firm tofu cut into bite-size cubes
1 head broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces (6 cups)
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces (4 cups)
1 medium zucchini or yellow summer squash, cut into bite-size pieces
2 carrots, grated
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives or scallions
1 cup Tamari Roasted Almonds

Tamari Roasted Almonds

1 1/2 c almonds
2 T tamari or soy sauce

Toast the almonds on a baking sheet in a 350º oven for 25 minutes, until lightly browned.  Leave oven on. Remove the nuts from pan and mix them with the soy sauce. Spread them out on the pan again and bake for 5 minutes more. Watch! They’ll burn fast!


1. Prepare the sauce. Mix together the garlic, ginger, peanut butter, sesame oil, vinegar, tamari and cayenne. Set aside.
2. Cook the spaghetti until al dente.
3. Prepare vegetables, either by steaming, blanching, or sauteeing. Mix cooked vegtables together with grated carrots.
4. Mix together all ingredients in a large pot, and reheat for a few minutes, until piping hot.
5. Serve sprinkled with almonds.

Dad’s Sauce

Greg’s famous spaghetti sauce. Recipe makes 12-16 servings and freezes well.

1/2 c olive oil
2 teaspoons basil
2 teaspoons oregano
2 bay leaves
1 bulb garlic
1 large onion
1 green pepper
12 oz mushrooms
8 oz kalamata pitted olives
1/2 c red wine
1 small can tomato paste
3 28 oz cans diced tomatoes
Parmesan or Romano rind


Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium low heat. Add onion and cook until softened. Add garlic, basil and oregano and cook for a few minutes more. Add peppers and cook, stirring often for another 5 minutes or so. Than so the same with the mushrooms, followed by the olives.  Add the wine and let it cook down a bit, then stir in the tomato paste and blend well, stirring constantly. Add the diced tomatoes and raise the heat until the sauce starts to bubble. Toss in the Parmesan rind then lower heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for three hours. Remove any rind that has not dissolved before serving.

Malfatti

“Malfatti” translates to “poorly made” – these dumplings are rustic but delicious, and a long time favorite family recipe. Be careful in varying from the recipe or risk having your dumplings dissolve in their cooking water!

1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach (thawed)
1 c ricotta
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1 c. fine dry bread crumbs (no substitutions!)
1/4 c scallions minced
3 T fresh basil or 2 ½ t dried
2 eggs
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ t nutmeg


½ c flour


pasta of your choice
prepared tomato sauce
Parmesan cheese


Place the 1/2 cup of flour in a wide shallow bowl and set aside.

Press the thawed spinach in a colander to remove as much water as possible. Place in a large bowl and add cheeses, bread crumbs, scallions, eggs, garlic, basic and nutmeg. Mix well using your hands is messy but efficient. Divide into 16 equal portions and form each into 3″ log shapes. Roll each log in the flour and place on a small baking sheet and put it into the freezer for at least an hour.

When ready to eat, put on a pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Gently add malfatti and simmer for 3 minutes after they rise to the top. Serve hot over pasta with your favorite tomato sauce. Garnish with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

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Homemade Paneer

William and Anna made this for us and said it was EASY!  It was certainly delicious. Adapted from full Saag Paneer recipe by Aarti Sequirea at foodnetwork.com 

Cheesecloth
8 cups whole milk
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (more may be needed)

Line a colander with a double layer of cheesecloth, and set it in sink.

In a large wide pot, bring the milk to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring frequently to avoid burning the bottom.

Add the lemon juice and turn the heat down to low. Stirring gently, you should almost immediately see the curds (white milk solids) and whey (the thin liquid) separate. If the milk doesn’t separate add another tablespoon or two of lemon juice and turn up the heat slightly. Then it should separate. Stir in a motion that gathers the curds together rather than breaks them up.

Remove the pot from the heat and carefully pour the contents into the cheesecloth-lined colander. Gently rinse with cool water to get rid of the lemon flavor.

Grab the ends of the cheesecloth and twist the ball of cheese to squeeze out the excess whey. Tie the cheesecloth to your kitchen faucet and allow the cheese to drain for about 5 minutes.

Twist the ball to compact the cheese into a firm ball, then place it on a plate with the twisted part of the cheesecloth on the side (this will ensure your block of cheese is nice and smooth!) and set another plate on top. Weigh the second plate down with cans of beans or a heavy pot .Let it sit about 20 minutes in the fridge. While you start preparing Saag or other sauce.

Makes 12 ounces of cheese.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/aarti-sequeira/saag-paneer-spinach-with-indian-cheese-recipe.html?oc=linkback

Paneer

 

Shredded Tofu & Shiitake

Recipe shared by Theodate Lawlor at at a meeting of Greg’s Buddhist Sanga in November 2015, attributed to Melissa Clark, NY Times.

• 1 (15-ounce) package firm tofu, drained
• 2 tablespoons soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon Chinese Shaoxing or dry sherry
• Juice of 1/2 lime, plus lime wedges for serving
• 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
• 2 tablespoons peanut or grape-seed oil
• 7 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps thinly sliced (4 cups)
• ¼ cup sliced scallion
• 1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed, outer leaves removed, inner core finely chopped (optional)
• 1 (1-inch) knob of ginger root, grated
• 1 large garlic clove, grated
• 1 small red chile, seeded and finely chopped
• Salt, as needed
• ½ cup shelled edamame (defrosted if using frozen)
• ¼ cup chopped soft herbs, such as cilantro, chives or basil


1 Using the coarse holes of a box grater, shred the tofu. Spread tofu out on a clean kitchen towel to drain while you prepare the sauce and mushrooms.

2 In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, Shaoxing, lime juice and sesame oil.

3 Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat until it’s very hot, then add the peanut oil; it should thin out on contact. Once the oil is hot, add the mushrooms and cook, tossing occasionally, until most of the mushroom liquid has evaporated and mushrooms are browned and slightly crisp, 8 to 12 minutes. Stir in the scallion, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, chile and a pinch of salt. Cook until softened, about 2 minutes.

4 Carefully transfer the tofu from the towel into the skillet. Toss in the edamame and the soy sauce mixture. Cook until mixture is heated through. Season with salt as needed. Remove from heat and stir in herbs. Serve with lime wedges.

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Green Bean Casserole

My canned-soup-free version of an old 70’s favorite I did not grow up on … except someone used to bring it to holiday family gatherings. I melded a couple of internet recipes into this version this summer because our CSA has been delivering huge bags of green beans weekly. This recipe is delicious even with the big tough ones. –Deb, 2015

2 lb green beans – snap off stems, de-string if needed and snap in half or into thirds or quarters, depending on size
1/2 small can sliced water chestnuts, drained and sliced into matchsticks
1 (6-oz.) can French fried onions, divided
 –
2 T olive oil
2 T flour
3/4 c milk
3/4 c light cream
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 t salt
freshly ground pepper
 –
handful of pecans
olive oil for greasing dish

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Blend olive oil and flour in a small saucepan over medium heat until well blended and just beginning to bubble. Stir in salt and pepper, then add milk and cream and whisk together until the mixture begins to thicken. Mix in garlic and Parmesan and remove from heat.

Grease the casserole dish lightly with olive oil, then load it up with the beans, water chestnuts and half of French fried onions and mix together a bit. Stir in the white sauce and bake for 30 minutes at 350º

Remove from oven and top with the remaining onions, dot with pecans and return to oven for 5-10 minutes, until just toasted. Serve hot.

green bean pile