Monday, January 10, 2011

Pierogi passion!

Witamy! What is it about pierogi that inspires so many smiles and even passion?  Is it about remembering how they tasted when your Grandma made them? Or is it about today and the amazing combination of tastes and textures when sitting down to a plate of this wonder food, made by a real, honest-to-goodness pierogi expert? For my friend Kim, who just made four dozen for her son’s new in-laws for Christmas, it’s clearly a labor of love because her son says Kim’s pierogi are so good she should sell them! For our son-in-law, BJ - who is not Polish - it’s all about the tastes and flavors he experienced when we all did a “roots trip” to Poland a couple of years ago.  BJ says we should start a pierogi food-cart on the streets of Washington DC  (food carts are the rage these days).

Laura’s Mom and sister, Priscilla are visiting this weekend, from Florida, for our granddaughter Lucy’s baptism.  Mom asked for potato pancakes (Latkes, which are in the new book), and Priscilla asked for pierogi, even though she has never ever had even one (how tragic to be a pierogi-virgin!)  So Laura made about three dozen earlier this week.  We cooked them half way and froze them on trays wrapped in plastic wrap.  Today everyone helped make the garnishes (lightly fried onion, sour cream, bacon crumble).  There were two fillings this time - potato/cheese/onion and sauerkraut/mushroom. Everybody gave them five stars!

For desert we were going to make “Lazy Pierogi” which are really easy to make: prepare the log of dough, cut into squares, boil, drain, pour on the melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.  They’re surely not the healthiest desert we’ve ever made, but very good for the soul.  Once in a while, in moderation, is OK, says my cardiologist!

But we were full and too tired to make anything else. Besides there are still a few un-Polish cupcakes left from the baptism party. Next time!

All these recipes (but not the cupcakes) will be in our book, to be released this March.  Here is a tasty alternative to pierogi from my mother's cookbook, The Art of Polish Cooking:

Cheese Dumplings
Kluski z Sera
Serves 4

1 lb. farmer cheese, ground or 1 lb. dry cottage cheese ground and 1 tbsp. butter
4 boiled potatoes, ground
4 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tbsp. butter

Combine the cheese with potatoes and egg yolks. Beat the egg whites till stiff and add to the cheese mixture alternately with the flour. Mix slightly.

Drop the dough from a spoon in small portions into a kettle with boiling salted water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low heat for 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a warmed serving platter. Dot with butter and serve with salad.

© Copyright 1968 Alina Zeranska. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten, or redistributed without written permission from LoraPeet Ventures LLC

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