6.20.2016

Perogies (Polish Dumplings)


In my quest to narrow down my recipes to those that are 1) inexpensive, 2) easy, and 3) healthy this recipe has held strong.

For the past few years I have been making large batches of freezer-friendly meals every 3 months so I don't have to spend so much time cooking and I don't have to resort to store-bought freezer meals (which are unhealthy and expensive).
This one freezes so well and just needs to be boiled for a few minutes to serve! It takes me a whole afternoon nap (a mom's unit of time) to make a few bags of these little darlings, but it is well worth it!

They are delicious with served with applesauce (either on the side or on top). I love the sauerkraut filling, but the men in the family like the potato-cheese much better. If you don't want the sauerkraut filling, simply omit the ingredients and double the potato filling.

Perogies

makes 60-75 perogies (depending on how thin you roll the dough)
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour*
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups sour cream
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
2 cups sauerkraut, rinsed (or alternatively you can shred fresh cabbage and saute)
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons sour cream
salt and pepper to taste


1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter, sour cream, eggs, egg yolk and oil. Stir the wet ingredients into the flour until well blended. Cover the bowl with a towel, and let stand for 15 to 20 minutes.

2. Place potatoes into a pot, and fill with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, and mash with shredded cheese and cheese sauce while still hot. Season with onion salt, salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.

3. Separate the perogie dough into three balls. Roll out one piece at a time on a lightly floured surface until it is thin enough to work with, but not too thin so that it tears. You may need to use flour to keep it from sticking. Cut into circles using a cookie cutter, perogie cutter, or a glass. Brush a little water around the edges of the circles, and spoon some filling into the center. Fold the circles over into half-circles, and press to seal the edges. Place perogies on a cookie sheet, and freeze. Once frozen, transfer to freezer storage bags or containers.

4. To cook perogies: Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Drop perogies in one at a time. They are done when they float to the top. Do not boil too long, or they will be soggy! Remove with a slotted spoon. You can also saute the perogies in butter after they are done boiling. This is our favorite way to eat them!

*I've had good luck substituting 2 cups of the flour with whole wheat pastry flour

4.23.2016

Creamy, Dreamy Mayonnaise



I love to use this mayo when making homemade ranch dressing, tuna salad and salmon salad sandwiches. You can also add some minced garlic to make garlic aioli, or add fresh herbs as a spread for sandwiches. The possibilities are endless!

As far as quality of ingredients, I like to use eggs from a local farm and I use avocado oil from Costco and sunflower oil from Trader Joes. I've used olive oil in the past, but it was just too strong for our family's taste. Experiment and find what works best for your family. The mayonnaise lasts between 7-10 days in the refrigerator.

Mayonnaise 

Makes 3 cups
3 Pastured egg yolks ,room temperature
1 ½ - 2  cups natural oil
3-5 teaspoons Lemon juice or wine vinegar
½ teaspoon Sea salt
¼ teaspoon Mustard
2-3 tablespoons Whey, from kefir or yogurt (optional, it makes the mayonnaise last longer, up to two months)

1. Mix the egg yolks for 1-2 minutes. If using cold (not room temperature), mix a few minutes more. This is the key to mayonnaise that will set. If you use cold egg yolks, the mayo will not set unless they are warmed up in the blender (or whisked long enough in a warmed bowl).

2. Add the lemon juice (or vinegar), sea salt, and mustard. Mix for 30 seconds more.

3. With the blender running, add the olive oil drop by drop. When I say drop by drop, I mean drop by drop. Or at least a very thin, slow stream. This is the other very important element for making a mayo that will emulsify. If you go too fast, you’ll end up with runny mayonnaise.

4. Once you’ve added about 1/2 a cup of olive oil, the sauce should have thickened into a heavy cream, and now you can add the oil in a thicker stream. Not too fast, though (especially if you are a beginner). If the mayo becomes too thick, add a few more drops of lemon juice or vinegar. Spoon into mason jars and store in fridge.

5. If using whey: Blend the whey into mayo. Spoon into a mason jar, cover with a lid, and leave it on the counter or in a cupboard (at room temperature) for several hours. Then transfer to the fridge.