Thursday, February 24, 2011


Mmm Pierogies. I have fond memories of making millions of these little morsels at my families' deli, Valley Hungarian Sausage and Meat Co. Maybe not millions, but certainly a lot. The reason? People love 'em, but they take a looong time to make. So its usually just easier to buy them. But if you've got a free afternoon, and want to do a little baking . . . .
Potato and Cheese PierogiesIngredients for one batch (makes approx. 2 dozen)
  • 3 cups of all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 3 medium potatoes
  • 1-2 cups of cheese (medium cheddar works, but use any cheese you enjoy)
  • salt and pepper to taste.
  • Pierogi maker- you can get it from a specialty kitchen supply store. If you can't get one, you can still make these by hand, it just takes longer. 
     Peel and dice the potatoes and put them in a pot of water to boil. As they're cooking, make your dough. In a large bowl or mixer, add the flour, eggs, and sour cream. Mix well. The dough will be a little 'thicker' than bread dough. After kneading for a couple of minutes, let it sit aside wrapped in plastic wrap.
     Grate your cheese, or buy pre-grated cheese from the store. When the potatoes are cooked and can be pierced very easily with a fork, drain and mash. Its so much easier if you have a potato ricer, but a fork will work as well. Sprinkle the cheese on the hot potatoes, and mix it all together until it is a nice orange (or whatever color your cheese is). If it doesn't mix easily, just heat the mixture in the microwave. Mix in salt and pepper to taste (my favorite part).Your filling is finished.
     Cut the dough in half- save the second in the plastic wrap. Roll out the remaining dough until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Using either a circular cookie cutter or the bottom of the pierogi maker, cut out little circles from the dough. Put a circle of dough onto the pierogi maker, and put about a tablespoon of filling on top. Using lukewarm water, wet a finger and moisten the outer edge of the dough (this makes it stick to the other side). Take the two handles and put them together. You have a pierogi!
     When you have used up all your dough and filling (or just a little before to be efficient), put a large pot of water up to boil. When it is at a rolling boil, add about 10 pierogies into the water. When they have all been floating at the top for about 3 minutes, they should be ready. Take them out of the water and onto a dry clean towel. Repeat, until all the pierogies have been boiled.
      Now you can either fry them up with a little bit of butter or margarine until they are golden brown on both sides, or put them into the freezer to fry at a later time (just make sure they defrost before you fry them). Enjoy!
Some tips; When you freeze them, put them onto a sheet of aluminum foil or wax paper, and make sure they don't touch each other. When they're frozen, take them out and put them into freezer bags. That way you can take out as many or little as you want. Not a fan of potato and cheese, or want some variety? You can stuff these things with just about anything. Some suggestions: Thick Jam, Polish Sausage Mushroom & Onion, and Sauerkraut.

Seashell Mosaic Picture Frames

I'm decorating the guest bathroom in the new house that we just moved into, and I wanted to go with a beachy-ocean theme. My mom had given me two wooden picture frames from Michael's craft store, and I thought they would go great in the bathroom with an ocean themed picture.

Seashell Mosaic Picture Frames
  • 2 wooden picture frames, size and shape doesn't matter.
  • 3 different colors of paint. (I used 3 types of blue)
  • Paint brush
  • Glue (all purpose works just fine)
  • Crushed seashells (can be found at your local craft store).
Paint the picture frames how you would like. I used all 3 paints interchangeably; and blended them together where they met. When they are dry, glue pieces of the shell to the frame. It doesn't matter how you do it, close together or far apart, its up to you. This part takes a little bit of time. When you are finished, your project is done. You could spray gloss on the frame to finish, but I am going to leave them without gloss because the shells are shiny enough.

Kelbaposzta Fozelek, or "Hungarian Beef and Cabbage Soup"

Going on my theme of  using unusual meats, here's another recipe from my Grandmother. She made it for me the last time I went home, and I asked her for the recipe. Then I proceed to go home and try to make it myself. It is delicious, and very simple to make. And inexpensive, because it definitely uses a cut of meat that I can honestly say not very many people use. I'm sure it goes back to historical roots, where they didn't have supermarkets and choice cuts of meats that we can easily get today. But its these 'unusual' cuts that sometimes have the best flavor and the most nutrition.By the way, the way it sounds when my Grandmother says it is: cal-kop-posta furz-a-leek.

Kelbaposzta Fozelek
Ingredients for 2 people
  • 1 medium head of green Savoy cabbage. (make sure its this kind- its the really wrinkled one at the grocery store).
  • 1 beef neck bone, cut into quarters. I found mine at a local butcher, but my mom said that you could find it at the local supermarket, just ask.
  • 1 small onion, peeled and diced.
  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and diced.
  • 1 tbsp salt.
  • 1 tsp marjoram.
  • Flour and oil for thickener

Put the meat in a large pot, add water to cover. add onions, garlic and salt, bring to a boil and then simmer. Cook until the meat is falling off the bone, about 3-5 hours.
Add the potato and marjoram. While that is cooking, cut up the cabbage like you would for a salad (chunks, but not too large, remove the tough stem part). Add the cabbage to the pot.
Put 2 tbsp of oil into a frying pan, and add flour until it is not too thick. Cook it until it is a golden brown. Add a little bit of juice to the mixture, and then add it all to the soup. Stir, and the soup is finished.

Because the husband doesn't like bones ( I might make this for him sometime) I would take the bones out, remove the meat from them, and then stick it all back into the soup (that way he can easily scoop out the soup and not get any bones in his bowl). This soup is also great the next day; gives the flavors time to mix better. And lastly- be careful for little pieces of bone- if the butcher cut it up into smaller pieces.

Kocsonya, or "Hungarian Pig's Feet Soup"

Okay. Now I know most of you looking at this post are thinking "wow that's really gross" but I'm sincerely hoping that a few of you are thinking, "Hmm that's interesting." I love this stuff. My grandmother would make it usually once a year in the winter time, because you could leave it outside to cool. Yes that's right, this is a cold soup. And not only that, when it cools down it turns to gelatin. What do you think most gelatin foods are made from?
This is a very basic soup, the only thing is it takes hours to make. You have to let it cook to break down the feet to gel. I like to eat it usually for breakfast, but I can't eat the whole thing at once. I know I like weird food, but even this one weirds me out after about 20 minutes (Even though its delicious).

Ingredients (for approx 2 people)
  • 2 pigs feet. Ask your butcher to cut them in half lengthwise if it isn't already; you could even ask them to cut it into quarters lengthwise. Make sure there isn't any hair on it, and that it is thoroughly cleaned. 
  • 6 cloves of garlic, just cut in half. You don't want to cut them up any more, because they'll get really mushy anyways and you strain them out at the end. You can always add more or less to taste.
  • About 10 whole peppercorns. Keep them whole for sure. 
  • About 1 tablespoon of salt.

In a large pot, add the above ingredients. Fill with water until the feet are covered.  Set to boil. When it is boiling, turn the heat down to simmer, but still boiling. You will need to let it cook for around 4-6 hours. You might need to add a little bit of water during this time, to keep the feet under water. You can leave it covered or uncovered, I cooked it last time uncovered.
Periodically skim off the fat from the top of the soup (shouldn't be much). Make sure you well ventilate your house when you cook this! I'm not saying the smell is bad, its just not great, haha. When the meat is falling off the bone and you can easily stick a fork through it, the soup is ready.
With a strainer small enough to hold the pepercorns, Strain the juice into a bowl or shallow dish. Making sure no pepper or garlic tag along, add the meat (bones and all) to the juice. Stick this in the fridge (or outside if its cold enough) to gel. Ready to serve when gelled. To eat it use a spoon, but you'll probably be using hands as well when you get the meat off the bone.
Well if you were brave enough to cook this, bravo! I hope you enjoyed it :-)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Miso Soup with Vegetables

Miso soup is one of my favorite types of soups; it just has that interesting taste. Its also healthy and easy to make. A lot of the different ingredients for this soup can be found at the local Asian market, but I've noticed there are more and more unusual ingredients showing up at the local grocery store as well. This soup is usually made with Daikon, which is a white radish, but honestly you can put any type of veggies into it. In the picture I used green beans, cucumber, and mushrooms.

Miso Soup with Vegetables
Serves approx. 4
  • 1 cup daikon, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and sliced 1/8 inch (or carrots, or other root vegetable)
  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 teaspoons instant dashi granules
  • 3 tablespoons miso
  • 8 green beans, cut into approx. 1 inch lengths
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  1. Place the water, dashi granuals and daikon into a saucepan over medium heat, and cook until the daikon softens, about 2 minutes. 
  2. Put the miso into a small bowl and ladle some of the hot stock over it. stir until the miso is dissolved, and pour the mixture back into the soup.
  3. Stir in the beans and soy sauce, and bring to a boil. As soon as it is boiling, remove from heat. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve. 
Pretty easy! You just have to have the ingredients, which could be a little difficult to find. You can also branch off of this easy recipe, including seaweed and other food to the soup.