janradder: (Default)
It is the eve of Christmas Eve and at this point nearly everything (with the exception of the fish, which I'll take care of tomorrow) is done and either waiting to be reheated (like the soups), baked (like the mushrooms), or boiled (like the pierogi). I've been cooking the supper in bits and pieces since just before Thanksgiving and tomorrow night I'll be juggling what feels like several dozen balls while trying to time each dish so that it is ready exactly when it should be. Before that, though, there's still work to be done.

In the morning, I'll go to the fish store to pick up the walleye and tilapia, and then when I get home I'll prepare the walleye right up to the point of baking (I'll leave the tilapia in the fridge until an hour before dinner when I'll dredge it in flour and put it back into the fridge until it's time to fry it). Later in the day, [livejournal.com profile] haddayr , the boys and I will get the Wigilia table ready.

First we'll spread hay on the bare table (to represent the manger)


and then cover it with a plain, white tablecloth (to represent Mary).


We'll then set the table, leaving an extra place setting and seat.


The extra spot is for both the unexpected guest (who the Poles say is Christ) and the spirits of departed relatives who may wish to join the family. In the center of the table, we place the opłatek, which is sort of like a communion wafer except much larger, and it's usually printed with a Christmas scene.


Afterwards, I'll start getting the dinner ready while the boys look for the evening's first star to appear. When it does, we go the table and take the opłatek. Each person at the dinner breaks off a large piece and then we go around and offer one another a piece of our opłatek while wishing them Merry Christmas ("Wesołych Świąt," in Polish). Once everyone has shared the opłatek, we sit down for our meal.

As to the meal, it is tradition to have an odd number of courses (either seven, nine, or eleven), and it should contain things from the fields (poppyseeds, wheat, rice), forests (fruit, nuts, mushrooms) and rivers (fish). It also features many dishes made with honey to symbolize the hope for a sweet new year. Because it is such a large meal, it is extremely important to pace one's self. Here is my menu, complete with links to all the recipes:

To drink with the meal:
Both white and red wine
Sparkling juice for the boys

1st Course: Barszcz with uszka

2nd Course: Creamed herring (śledź w śmietanie) with rye bread and an assortment of pickled vegetables (cucumbers, beets, and bolete mushrooms)

3rd Course: Stuffed mushrooms (pieczarki nadziewane)

4th Course: Noodles with poppyseeds (kluski z makiem)

5th Course: Fried fish fillets with horseradish sauce (filety rybne smażone z sos chrzanowy) and carrots polonaise (marchewka po Polsku)

6th Course: Almond soup (zupa migdałowa)

7th Course: Pierogi and sauerkraut and mushrooms (kapusta z grzybami)

8th Course: Dried Mushroom Soup (zupa grzybowa czysta) with yeast fingers (drożdżowe paluszki)

9th Course: Cabbage rolls with mushroom filling (gołąbki z grzybami)

10th Course: Poached Pike (gotowany szczupak na gorąco) with potatoes with dill (kartofle z koperkowy)

11th Course: Fruit compote (kompot), poppyseed Roll (makowiec), chrusciki, chocolates, nuts, tangerines, cognac, and raspberry cordial

After the kids are in bed, we'll wash dishes for what could be hours, get ready for Santa, and then sit and relax in front of the tree while sipping krupnik. The next day, all I have to do is heat up the bigos (and the Christmas pudding that I decided to try making because I wasn't doing enough this year).
janradder: (Default)
This goes with the fried fish:

Carrots Polonaise (marchewka po Polsku)

1 lb. baby carrots
2 T butter, melted
2 T bread crumbs

Simmer the carrots in boiling water until tender and drain. Mix the bread crumbs with the butter and crumble over the carrots.

Potatoes with dill (kartofle z koperkowy)
1 lb. small potatoes
2 T butter
2 T dil, chopped
dash of salt

Boil potatoes until tender and drain. Toss with butter and chopped dill until all potatoes are coated. Salt to taste.
janradder: (Default)


When I was a kid and someone would ask me what my favorite food was, I always said, "pigs in the blanket." "Eww," was the most common reply as the person would picture mini-frankfurters wrapped in dough. But what I meant was a meat filled version of these cabbage rolls. I haven't eaten one of those in over twenty years now (and each meat substitute I've tried has failed, though I haven't given up trying to find the right blend of fake meats) so this is the closest I ever come to eating them again (although they're cooked in vegetable stock instead of tomato sauce). This is one of the futzy dishes, because you have to wilt the leaves off a head of cabbage in order to make the rolls, and so far I haven't yet found a method that doesn't involve scalding my fingers. In the end, however, when done right, they are quite delicious.

3 T butter
8-12 oz. portobello mushrooms, washed and chopped fine
2 onions, chopped
3 cups, slightly undercooked rice (cooked with 1 mushroom or vegetable bouillon cube)
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1 head of cabbage (that you have to wilt the leaves off of. There's a semi-decent explanation here)
3 cups vegetable stock (to which you add 1 mushroom or vegetable bouillon cube)

Sauté the mushrooms and onions in the butter until the onions and transparent and the mushrooms are thoroughly cooked. Add them to the undercooked rice along with the parsley. Stir and add salt and pepper to taste, then mix in the egg. Put a spoonful of the filling on one end of a cabbage leaf,



fold the sides over the filling,



and roll it up like you would a grape leaf or a burrito



so that it looks like this:



Place the rolls in a baking dish, seam side down, and continue making rolls until either the filling or the leaves are all used up. Cover the rolls with the vegetable stock, and then cover the baking dish with foil. Bake at 340˚ for 1 hour (or until the cabbage leaves are soft all the way through, even at the stem).

Serve gołąbki in bowls, ladling the broth on top (if you wait to reheat them the next day, they will taste even better).
janradder: (Default)


1 lb. mushrooms
2 onions, chopped
3 T butter
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Clean the mushrooms and remove their stems. Chop the stems up and set them aside. Arrange the mushroom caps in a greased baking dish. Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Lightly brown the onion in butter, then add the chopped stems and cook for about 3 minutes. Stir in bread crumbs and sour cream, and mix well. Add parsley, then add salt and pepper to taste. Cook 1 minute more. Fill each cap with stuffing and bake for 15 minutes.
janradder: (Default)
This is the second of the fish dishes I serve. Really, you can choose just about any mild fish you like, from yellow perch to trout to tilapia (which is what I use) or nearly any other fish you can think of. What makes this to die for, though, is the horseradish sauce, which you serve in bowls so that guests can use as much or as little as they want (though, really, the more, the better).

Horseradish sauce:

1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup prepared horseradish
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 t salt
1/8 t pepper
1 t sugar

Blend all the ingredients with a fork.

Now for the fish:

2 lbs. of mild fish
1/2 to 1 cup of flour, for dredging
dash of pepper
dash of salt
pinch of sage
oil, for frying

Mix the flour with pepper, salt and sage. Rinse the fish off and then dredge it in the flour. Fry in hot oil on both sides until golden brown and drain on paper towels. Serve with horseradish sauce.
janradder: (Default)


I serve this right after the fried fish fillets smothered in horseradish sauce, and the sweetness offers a nice compliment to the savory spiciness of the horseradish. Of all the things I make for Christmas Eve, this is the absolute easiest.

2 cups milk
1/4 lb. blanched almonds, finely ground
1 t almond extract
1/4 cup currants
sugar to taste
1 cup white rice, previously cooked
sliced almonds (for garnish)

Combine the first four ingredients and heat gently. Add sugar until the soup has reached just the right amount of sweetness (not overly, sickeningly sweet, but sweet nonetheless). Add rice and continue to heat until the soup is thoroughly hot (but don't boil it). After you ladle it into a bowl to serve, scatter some sliced almonds on top. And that's it.
janradder: (Default)


To me, there are few things more delicious on a cold winter's night than a clear soup made from dried mushrooms. This is the last of the three soups I serve on Christmas Eve, and while it's not as easy to make as the almond soup, it's not all that difficult either.

1/2 oz. dried mushrooms
1/2 an onion
1 leek
2 stalks celery
2 carrots
1 parsnip
7 cups water
2 T butter
splash of white wine
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 vegetable bouillon cube
salt and pepper to taste

Chop all the vegetables (except mushrooms) and sauté them in a large pot with the butter for a few minutes until the leeks and onions just start to turn soft. Add mushrooms and water and bring to a boil the simmer, covered for an hour. Add a splash of wine, the bouillon, and the parsley, and simmer for 10 more minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. If you wish, you can add flat egg noodles or else leave the soup as it is. Serve hot with the yeast fingers.
janradder: (Default)
To prepare the poppyseeds, do the same as you would to make the filling for poppyseed rolls, except omit the egg.

1 cup boiling water
3/4 cup poppyseeds
1 cup lukewarm water
1/2 cup finely chopped blanched almonds
1/3 cup honey
1 t grated lemon peel
1 egg white, stiffly beaten

Pour boiling water over poppyseeds, let sit for a minute or two and drain. Cover the poppyseeds with the lukewarm water and let stand for 30 minutes. Drain thoroughly. Grind the poppyseeds in a food processor. Stir in chopped nuts, honey and lemon peel.

For the noodles, boil a package of egg noodles, drain, and dot with butter. In a small saucepan, heat up the poppyseeds (but don't let them boil), then pour them over the buttered egg noodles. Stir so that the noodles are all nicely coated with poppyseeds, and serve.

Bigos

Dec. 19th, 2009 11:02 am
janradder: (Default)
After going an entire day without meat (a traditional Polish Christmas Eve dinner is "meatless," meaning there's only fish), what you really want -- no, what you need is meat. Lots and lots of meat. Well you're not gonna find it here, though if you want to substitute the real mccoy for the fake-meat ingredients, feel free to go ahead and do so (just make sure to cook them before adding them to the stew).

Bigos is also known as Hunter's Stew, and it uses a variety of meats (chicken, veal, beef, sausage, ham, bacon -- pretty much anything you can think of). It's known as the official dish of Poland -- there's even an official recipe, though each person who makes it seems to have their own version. I make make it about a week or so before Christmas so that it can sit in the fridge and the flavors can mix and meld even longer. It also makes Christmas dinner a hell of a lot easier than Christmas Eve -- all I have to do is get out the crock pot at about noon, stick the bigos in, and let it heat up. Unlike most stews, which tend to use one pot, bigos uses a few, and because of the number of ingredients, it really can't be made in small quantities. This is my very own recipe, adapted to be meat-free. To make it, you need:

1 qt. sauerkraut
1/2 a head of cabbage, shredded
3 onions, chopped
2 tart apples (like Granny Smith), peeled and chopped
4 prunes, also chopped
2 oz. dried mushrooms
butter
2 cups dry red wine
2 bouillon cubes
2 bay leaves
1 can tomato puree (or diced tomatoes that have been crushed)
about 1 T or so of allspice
salt and pepper to taste

Meats (thawed):
2 1/2 pkgs. Morningstar Farms bacon, diced
2 pkgs. Morningstar Farms chicken strips, cut into small pieces
1 tube of Lightlife Gimme Lean sausage, crumbled and lightly browned
8 veggie brat-like sausages (I used to use Boca, but they were discontinued. You can also use Field Roast, or Tofurkey brats), sliced into smaller pieces


1. Drain, rinse and coarsely chop sauerkraut. Add to pot and add 2-3 cups of water (not enough to cover it, but just shy of doing so). Bring to boil, turn heat to low, and cook for 1 hour or until no longer crunchy.

2. While the sauerkraut is cooking, re-hydrate the mushrooms (if they are not already in small pieces, cut them up so they are) and shred the 1/2 head of cabbage. In another pot, melt 3 T of butter. Add the cabbage and sauté for i minute, then add the mushrooms -- liquid and all. Stir it up, then cover the pot and turn heat to low. Cook until the cabbage is well done (about half an hour to forty minutes).

3. While cabbage and kraut are cooking, chop and sauté onions in 2-3 T of butter until they are soft. Then add the chopped onions and prunes and brown them. Once they are lightly browned, add the bacon and cook (while stirring periodically) for 3 more minutes.

4. Add bouillon cubes to the sauerkraut, stir until dissolved, then add the cabbage/mushroom mixture and the onion/apple/prune/bacon mixture. Stir will and add tomatoes, meats (cut up), bay leaves, allspice and 1 cup of wine. Stir well again and turn heat to low. Cook slowly for at least 1 hour. Add salt and pepper to taste, cook half an hour more (slowly), remove from heat and refrigerate. Before reheating, add 2nd cup of wine.

Serve over small boiled potatoes and with rye bread and chilled vodka.


Kompot

Dec. 17th, 2009 12:34 pm
janradder: (Default)

The ingredients.

I love making this dried fruit compote for two reasons: 1) it's easy to make; and 2) the ingredients look so festive. You can make it from most any type of dried fruit and there are many variations of this Wigilia kompot. Some use raisins and prunes, some prunes only, some with prunes and figs, and still others (like this one) with an assortment of dried fruits. However, all of them seem to have two things in common -- lemons and cinnamon (and sometimes cloves).

To make this kompot:
1 cup of dried fruit containing the following: golden raisins, currants, figs, dates, pears, apples, apricots, peaches, cherries, and prunes.
1/4 of a fresh lemon, cut into small wedges
1/4 of a fresh orange, cut into wedges
1 cinnamon stick
3-5 whole cloves
2 cups of water
1 T white sugar

Chop the dried fruit into small, bite-sized pieces, then add it to a pot along with all the other ingredients. Cover and let sit for several hours so that the dried fruit plumps up (at least 2 hours, but you can also leave it in the fridge overnight if you want).


In the pot and ready for the water.

Place the pot on a burner and bring it to a boil. Turn down the heat to a slow boil and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool, then chill in the refrigerator overnight. Serve chilled over a bit of white rice.


All ready to eat.
janradder: (Default)


Years back, when she heard that I was doing a Polish Christmas Eve dinner, my grandmother sent me this recipe that she found in a Polish-American newspaper. The recipe called for a jar of marinated herring and I made it like that the first few years. Last year, though, I decided to try a different herring -- one packed in oil -- and decided I liked it much better because the herring is almost like butter. You serve the herring with rye bread. Here's what you need:

1 pkg. of herring in oil (or a jar of marinated non-creamed herring, in which case you discard all the onions and spices)
a few slices of onion, sliced wafer thin
1/2 apple, finely diced
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1-2 t brown mustard (something spicy like Polish or Düsseldorf style, but not sweet like Bavarian)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
dash of pepper
paprika (for dusting)
lettuce (like Romaine or Boston)

Fork blend the sour cream, mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice and pepper, then taste and maybe add a little more mustard if you like it spicier. Lay the lettuce leaves on a serving plate then cut the herring up into smaller pieces and lay them on the bed of lettuce. Sprinkle the sliced onions and diced apple among the herring. Right before serving, pour the cream sauce over the herring, onions and apple and dust it with paprika.
janradder: (Default)


If it were possible to distill the sunshine of a perfect summer afternoon into a single elixir, it would be this raspberry cordial. I found it online a few years back listed as "Anne of Green Gables Raspberry Cordial" and have been making it each year for our Christmas Eve dinner, not because it's a Polish tradition but because while the adults are enjoying a nice glass of cognac I thought it would be nice for the kids to have a special drink as well. It's quite easy to make, and wonderful to sip during the cold winter days. Close your eyes and you can almost feel the sun on your face as the cordial slides over your tongue.

19 oz. frozen raspberries
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 lemons
4 cups boiling water

Add the frozen raspberries and sugar to a pot and cook them for about twenty minutes or until all the sugar is dissolved and the raspberries have disintegrated to pulp, seeds and juice. Pour everything through a fine mesh sieve (you can throw the seeds and pulp away) and add the strained juice of 2 lemons. Add the boiling water, then let the drink sit until it's cooled off. When it has, put it in the refrigerator and serve it cold.
janradder: (Default)
There's no picture with this one because there's really nothing pretty about fermented cabbage. When it comes to sauerkraut, though, it's not about how it looks -- it's about how it tastes, and this recipe taste pretty damn tasty, if I do say so myself. Here's what you need:

1 quart of sauerkraut (don't get Polish or German style, just get plain old sauerkraut)
1 onion
12 oz. fresh portobello mushrooms (I use the small ones)
3 T butter
3 T flour
2 bay leaves
1 mushroom bullion cube (or vegetable bullion if you can't find mushroom)
2 t caraway seeds
1 t sugar
a little salt and pepper to taste

Drain and rinse the sauerkraut off in a colander, then chop it coarsely on a board. Put the rinsed and chopped sauerkraut into a pot, cover it with cold water, and bring it to a boil. Cover it with a lid, turn the heat down low, and simmer it for 1 hour. While that's cooking, dice the onion and mushrooms and brown them with the butter (I mean really brown them, so the onions are almost caramelized). When they look nice and yummy, add the flour and lightly brown that. By now the sauerkraut should be done cooking for an hour. If so, slowly spoon the liquid from the sauerkraut into the onion/mushroom/flour mixture. Keep adding liquid until the flour mixture is nice and smooth, then pour it all into the pot with the sauerkraut. Add the bay leaves, bullion, sugar, caraway seeds and salt and pepper, mix it up, and cook it over a low flame for another hour.

I serve this on the side with the pierogi I make -- between the cooking and all the added ingredients, it no longer has that crunchy harsh vinegary taste that kraut straight from a can has. Instead it's savory and quite delicious, and as my oldest son will attest, good enough to eat on it's own.

Rye Bread

Dec. 10th, 2009 09:35 pm
janradder: (Default)


To go with the herring

2 pkg active dry yeast
1 t white sugar
2 cups water
4 cups rye flour
1 cup buttermilk (room temp.)
1 t baking soda
1 T salt
8 cups white flour
1 T caraway seeds

Dissolve 1 packet of yeast with sugar and s cups of water, let stand until creamy (10 minutes). Stir in the rye flour until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel, and let stand overnight in a draft-free area.

The next day, dissolve the second packet of yeast in buttermilk. Add the rye mixture, baking soda, salt, 4 cups of white flour, and caraway seeds. Stir to combine. Add remaining flour a 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each (you may not need all the flour). When the dough is smooth and coherent, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead until it is supple (about 8 minutes), then form into a ball.

Lightly oil a large bowl. Put ball of dough into the bowl, turn it to coat it with oil, then cover it with a damp cloth and let it rise for 1 hour in a warm place.

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Turn dough onto floured board and divide into 3 pieces. Form each into a loaf and place each on a lightly greased sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled (about 1 hour)

Bake for 35 minutes or until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
janradder: (Default)


There are two parts to this recipe -- the filling and the dough. Make the filling first.

Filling:

1 cup boiling water
3/4 cup poppyseeds
1 cup lukewarm water
1/2 cup finely chopped blanched almonds
1/3 cup honey
1 t grated lemon peel
1 egg white, stiffly beaten

Pour boiling water over poppyseeds, let sit for a minute or two and drain. Cover the poppyseeds with the lukewarm water and let stand for 30 minutes. Drain thoroughly. Grind the poppyseeds in a food processor (or I suppose you could use a mortal and pestle, if you like that sort of thing). Stir in chopped nuts, honey and lemon peel. Fold in stiffly beaten egg white. Set aside and make the dough.

Dough:

6-7 cups unsifted flour
3 T sugar
1 t salt
2 pkg. active dry yeast
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup water
1 cup butter
3 eggs (room temperature)

In large bowl, mix 2 cups of flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Combine sour cream, water, and butter in saucepan and heat to 120˚-130˚F. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and beat in egg and dry ingredients. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in remaining flour one cup at a time until you have a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured board and knead a few times. Form dough into a ball, cover it with a towel, and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Divide dough into four pieces. Roll each out into a 14"x12" rectangle. Spread poppyseed filling on each to 1/2 inch from the edge. Roll up each from the long side as you would a jelly roll. Seal the edges and place on a greased baking sheet, sealed edges down. Cover with a towel and let the rolls rise in a warm place until they double in bulk (about 1 hour)

Bake at 350˚F for 35 minutes (check to make sure they aren't browning too quickly. If they are, turn the oven down to 325˚F). The poppyseed rolls should be nice and golden when they're done. Put them on a rack to cool (or eat them while they're still warm).
janradder: (Default)

(The picture isn't mine, by the way, but this is how they should look)

Of all the dishes and cookies I make for Christmas, chrusciki (hroos-CHEE-kee) have to be the biggest pain of ass of them all. Mixing up the dough for the cookies is easy enough. It's rolling them out thin enough that's the problem. But when you make them right and the chrusciki literally melt in your mouth, it makes all the trouble almost seem worth it. This recipe comes from my grandmother, who got it from her mother, who got it from their next door neighbor in Union City, CT, Mrs. Karaba.

6 egg yolks
6 t sugar
2 t sour cream
1-1/2 oz. apricot brandy (or plain brandy if that's all you have)
2 cups flour

Beat yolks and sugar, add cream and brandy. Add flour and mix until workable. Cut the dough in half. Leave one half under a damp cloth and put the other on a board dusted with flour.

Now here's the hard part: roll it to within an inch of its life and then keep rolling it some more. Don't stop until it is as close to paper thin as is humanly possible (leave it too thick and they're no good).

When the dough is as thin as you can get it, cut it into long thin strips (about 3 inches long). Cut a slit in the middle of each strip and pull one end all the way through it so that you have something that approximates wings. Fry the strips in fat (or vegetable shortening) about 5-10 seconds on each side (don't let them brown). Drain the cookies on paper towels. Right before serving, dust them with powdered sugar.
janradder: (Default)


1/2 cup butter
2 1/4 cups flour, sifted
2 oz. fresh yeast
1 T sugar
1/2 t salt
1 egg
2 egg yolks
2 T sour cream
1 egg white
2 T caraway or poppy seeds

Cut butter into flour and rub in with fingertips. Add yeast combined with sugar. Add salt, egg, egg yolks and sour cream. Knead dough for a few minutes.

Form long, thin rolls and place on greased cookie sheets. Let rise in warm place until doubled in size. WHen doubled, brush with egg white and sprinkle with seeds.

Bake at 375˚F for 15 minutes. Remove from sheets immediately.

I serve these with mushroom soup.
janradder: (Default)
To go in the Wigilia barszcz.



2 oz. dried bolete mushrooms
1 heel of whole wheat bread
1 onion
2 T butter
1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
1 egg white
salt
pepper
1 cup flour
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup water (or less)

Re-hydrate mushrooms in hot water. Remove mushrooms from water and soak bread in mushroom liquid. Sauté coarsely chopped onion in butter until tender and lightly browned, add mushrooms and cook for 1 minute longer. Pass mushrooms, onions, and squeezed out bread in food processor. Add 1/4 bread crumbs, stir in egg white, then add salt and pepper to taste. Filling should be on the stiff side. If too mushy, stir in more bread crumbs.

Sift flour onto breadboard, cut in egg yolk until flour/egg mixture is crumbly. Stir in just enough water to bind the dough. Knead until smooth. Roll out thinly and cut into 1-1/2" squares. Place a tiny amount of filling at the center of each square (about 1/2 t or so), then fold 2 opposite points of the square together to form a triangle and pinch the edges shut. Gently pull 2 ends of the triangle together into a ring and pinch them together.

To cook:
Drop in lightly salted boiling water until uszka float to the top. Remove with slotted spoon and serve with clear barszcz.
janradder: (Default)
It took me years to perfect (seriously!) and now I'm sharing it with the interwebs. Here it is:

4 c. flour
4 eggs
3 T oil (the secret ingregient -- it will make rolling the dough so much easier)
1/2 c. cold water

Mound the flour on a large cutting board and make a big well in the middle. Add the eggs, oil and salt to the well then use a large chef's knife to cut them into the flour. Keep cutting until all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and slowly pour the water in while you stir with a fork (sort of like you'd mix water when making pie crust), then knead until the dough is firm (but don't knead too long or else the dough will become too elastic). Wrap the dough in a damp towel, put it in a warm bowl, and let it sit for 10 minutes. While you're waiting, make the filling:

(this is a cheese filling -- there are plenty others, though)
2 c. white farmer's cheese (Baltic style, otherwise use the driest cottage cheese you can find)
Couple dashes of salt
2 t lemon juice
2 T sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks (set aside the whites for later in the recipe)

Break up the cheese then mix the rest of the ingredients.

Now, cut the dough into quarters. Take one quarter (leaving the rest wrapped in the towel so they won't dry out) and roll it out as thin as you can (about 1/16th of an inch or less) and then use a 3 1/2 inch biscuit cutter to cut out circles. Put a dollop of filling in the center of each circle (a little less than 1 tablespoon). Now here's the big trick -- get a pastry brush and brush the egg white you set aside around the outside edge of each circle (but just do one at a time, otherwise the egg dries out). Fold the dough in half and pinch it shut. Viola! You have a pierogi. You should have enough dough and filling to make about 72 of them.

Now, you can either freeze them or cook them right away. To do the latter, drop the pierogi in a pot of salted boiling water and boil them gently for 3-5 minutes. They may stick to the bottom, so us a slotted spoon to knock them off. When they float they should be done. If you want to eat them like that (with a little butter) go ahead. Otherwise, fry them in a pan with butter and onions and enjoy.
janradder: (axe man)
I prepare an eleven course meal for Christmas Eve each year, and because it's eleven courses, I usually start cooking it at the beginning of December. This year, though, I've decided that I'd like to enjoy some of my December and not spend it cooking the entire month, so I've started making some of the various holiday treats early. Also, because I've started early, I thought I'd post the recipes. Tonight I made Krupnik, a honeyed vodka drink that is traditionally served warm (though it can be served cold as well). Since I posted this recipe last year, I'll just provide a link to it here. If you like it a little sweeter feel free to add more honey. Likewise, decrease it if you don't. You can do the same with any of the other ingredients as well (I often add a little more lemon peel than the recipe calls for. Same goes for the cloves.)

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