Pierogi and Borsch a Polish Tradition

My Mom’s side of the family is Polish so each year we make pierogi and borsch. I’ve grown up making these every year and enjoying every part of the tradition.  This tradition is one I don’t question but washing with silver on Christmas Eve for wealth is one I do, but of course you have to do it because to risk not getting that extra bit of luck because of skepticism is just not worth it.  Simply put we are Polish.  Below you will see pictures of cheese pierogi  that the filling is made with farmer cheese and a kapusta filling which is made of sauerkraut and mushroom.  The borsch is a mushroom borsch that had eight pounds of mushroom in it; yes you read correctly, eight pounds.  The main ingredient in everything below is sour cream and of course butter.  This is a Julia Child approved recipe because of the amount of butter we used.  You will see the perfect bite below, one part sour cream to two parts pierogi.

Below you will see the process of making the dough, stuffing, boiling and then frying the pierogi.  We had left over dough so we decided to make kluski which are homemade noodles.

Enjoy the pictures below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos courtesy of John Tagle.

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Italian Christmas

I can’t believe the eve of Christmas Eve is upon us already!   I think part of the reason why it doesn’t feel like Christmas is because I am in Texas and there isn’t any snow but good ole’ Michigan couldn’t get it together either to make it a white Christmas so I think I just need to eat more cookies and drink more eggnog to get into the spirit. My family is normally all over for the holidays so we spend it with different people each year.  It’s typical that my Dad, being a pilot, works this holiday.  When we were kids we got used to always having two Christmases, one before Dad left and the other actually on the 24th.  We got lucky last year and he didn’t have to go to work till the 25th and my family celebrates on Christmas Eve so this was perfect.  This year we weren’t as lucky; but on a positive note my little sister was able to join him on his trip to Tokyo and Manila in the Philippines.  She is somewhere over the Pacific right now sleeping on the upper level of a 747 in their lie-flat chairs.  I think its safe to say I’m a tad bit jealous :).  But my mom is visiting and tonight we are making our Polish tradition food pierogi and borsch, which is a mushroom soup (stay tuned for those pictures).

Most people have been busy in the kitchen making holiday treats to give away to coworkers and friends.  Of course gingerbread cookies are a fan favorite for Christmas so I knew I wanted to make something that incorporated gingerbread.  I was looking for recipes when I came across a gingerbread biscotti recipe.  This was the one!  I was so excited to make them.  The recipe is easy and they are delicious. Oh and the best part was I was able to use the dough hook for my KitchenAid for the first time! Everyone thought they were from Starbucks.   Make these for Christmas morning or even better as cookies to leave for Santa!

Gingerbread Biscotti Recipe

 

 

 

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Photo’s courtesy of John Tagle

Triple Berry Threat

I’ve never been a baker; well let me clarify this statement.  I’ve never been a baker till this year.  In high school the closes to baking I ever got was my sister making cookie dough.  This sounds quite a bit different from how I am now.  Now I am always looking for opportunities to bake anything; as you can see in previous posts.  Birthdays are the perfect opportunity to bake and then I also get to benefit.  My Dad’s birthday was December 15th and he was visiting Kara and I so I wanted to make his favorite dessert.  Tough one but we figured out what was probably one of his favorites; berry pie.  I’ve only once before made a homemade pie when I was 13 and it was for the 4-H fair so I was really excited to try again now that I am a more experienced baker.  I tried to discreetly slip in the fact that I entered my pie in the 4-H fair with the hope that people would read over this but if you were one who caught on, go a head and judge and no I will not post a picture of my 4-H years.

The pie was a triple threat pie; strawberry, raspberry and blackberry.  When I think of berry pies I think of them as a summer dessert.  But since it’s my Dad’s favorite desert I didn’t care what time of year I was making it.  To all of our surprise this pie was perfect for a cold winter evening.  It was berry goodness.  Lets just say I’m already booked for next December 15th.

Pie Crust Recipe- Makes a little extra

Pie filling recipe - Since my family and I all love the sweet and tartness of berries I think the next time I would use ¾ cup of sugar instead of one.  It also doesn’t tell you what to do with the butter, so we cut the butter into the sugar mixture.  Below is a picture.

 

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Jamming Beets

 

The only time I really ever ate beets growing up was in a Greek Salad, which fyi should not be in a Greek Salad.  I studied abroad in Greece so I have the scoop on what a real Greek salad consists of; cucumbers, tomatoes, green peppers, onions, feta and olive oil.  So I don’t really know how the American version of a Greek salad came to be.  The vegetables in Greece are so fresh and seriously those were the best salads I’ve ever had. Anyways back to beets, which are the star of this post, even though they are not supposed to be in a Greek Salad I have always loved them.  They don’t have that strong of a flavor but I think the thing I like so much about them is their texture.

Living with my dad this summer I was able to eat a lot of his new recipes he has learned since I went away to college and he found a beets recipe that is amazing.  It is beets with raspberry jam. This recipe is so simple and delicious, but making it even better, it’s extremely nutritious.

This recipe can be used as a side dish or even as a dessert.  I have had it both ways and everyone loves it.  One little thing to know before cooking beets; they stain things very easily.  Make sure to wash your cutting board or your counter, immediately after if it gets on it, and even your hands.  If you do that then you won’t have any problems.

How to Bake a Beet

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Rinse the beet with cool water, trim the stalks down to about 1 inch long. Pat dry, then wrap in tin foil twice.  Place on baking sheet and bake for one hour until the beets should be tender and fully cooked.  Let cool for 10 minutes.  Remove foil and take damp paper towel and rub off skin (it will come off very easily).

Beets with Jam

Once all the skin is removed cut into bite sized cubes.  For two beets add 1 tbs of raspberry jam.

Beets with Jam for Dessert

Whip crème fraiche till light and airy.  Add vanilla to taste.  Dollop on top of beets.

 

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Kara Appreciation Day

 

(Kara in her amazing Halloween costume)

Not to leave my little sister out, because she is amazing as well, but this post is about my older sister, and of course food.  Kara, my older sister, is such a great older sister that she earned her own day, which I titled “Kara Appreciation Day.”  This day was created because I bought Kara’s Christmas present early, but could only get a refund for 30 days after I bought it, and I bought it on November 10th. I started to think about how I could justify giving her the Christmas present early and it got me thinking; I realized how much Kara does for me. I literally would not be where I am today without her.  She helped me get my internship, she is letting me stay with her and share her car, and she has honestly guided me through life. She has been there for me through everything.  She is my person.  Ok enough with the sappy stuff, I think you guys get it, I love my sister blah blah blah :). So “Kara Appreciation Day” was created to be celebrated on November 13th; it’s still in negotiation as to whether it will be annual. I decided I would have a night where I cook her favorite food, play Christmas music and give her the present.

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Kara’s favorite food is crab Rangoon.  Kara and the Rangoon’s go way back but that’s a long story she probably wouldn’t want me to share on my blog.  I found this crab Rangoon recipe and  instead of using regular onions I used green onions.  They were so easy and prefect!  Make sure you get duck sauce for dipping; no crab Rangoon is complete without it.  I also decided to make egg drop soup, which Kara loves, but I must admit I love more.  I found a Tyler Florence egg drop soup recipe and literally this is the easiest and best egg drop soup I have ever tasted.  If you are a lover of egg drop soup, stop reading my blog, go to the store and make this recipe immediately, if not sooner.  It was a richer Asian broth for the soup because of the ginger and that really takes it to the next level.

I hope everyone who has siblings has taken the time to appreciate them, and if they are anything like Kara, cook them this meal; they will love it!

 

 

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