14 June 2010

Kto je jeden pieróg?

Pierogi... Eastern Europe's gift to the world. With the Polish population in Chicago being the largest outside of Poland, Pierogi are practically a food group and nothing is less vegan than pierogi... Just mention pierogi and Chicagoans think of butter. And yet today I present you with the vegan Pierogi. I made mine with shallot and garlic with potato. They're pretty freaking amazing, but like all Pierogi cooking you have to start with a fat; I chose olive oil and melted Earth Balance.

Here's the recipe:

3 sm russet potatoes

egg replacer for 2 eggs

2 c flour (I used whole wheat... untraditional, I know, but really good and hearty)

1 med sized shallot piece

3 cloves of garlic

1 ½ earth balance sticks

2-3 T olive oil

½ med. onion


Nutritional Yeast flakes, chili powder and Parmesan flavor grated vegan topping to taste

Milk substitute (I used almond milk for this one)

Large dice the potatoes and boil as if to make mashed potatoes. Mince the shallot and garlic and put off to the side. In a large bowl, mix the flour, egg replacer, a couple tablespoons of the Earth Balance and a bit of water and mix with a fork. Mix in only enough water to create a dense ball of dough (sorry, I never measure). Once all is well incorporated, cover with a damp towel and let sit.
Once the potatoes are ready, drain and mash with shallot and garlic (DO NOT SAUTÉ THE GARLIC OR SHALLOT the garlic will start to go rancid, this way, you just warm the garlic up when warming the pierog) (At this point, I would also suggest adding silken tofu or Better than Sour Cream, I just didn't have any in the house when I was making it, it's not necessary, but it would give the filling a creamier texture) then add the Nutritional Yeast, parmesan topping and chili powder, incorporate well. Make 2 inch diameter balls and flatten out first with the bottom of a flat glass and then with the palm and side of your hand. Once thin, take one, place a spoonful of the mashed potato mixture in the middle, cover with another circle, fold over the edges and crimp with a fork. The other way you can do this is making a bigger ball, flattening it out into a circle, put the potato mixture in the middle, fold over and crimp the edges leaving one smooth edge at the fold. Get the rest of the Earth Balance into a frying pan with the olive oil and start caramelizing the onion. Fry the pierog until golden brown.
Yields about 16 pierogi.
Try out the recipe, tell me what you think.
Another variation: for a sweet pierogi, use vanilla flavored milk substitute, it's a bit sweeter but can accentuate the sweet filling. Even a sweet-tasting potato can be delicious! Experiment, fail, get up and try again! Use my recipe as a base and think, there IS a reason why I never measure anything...
Amusez-vous bien!

Restaurant Review

Hi everyone,
I'm thinking of trying a new method for the next review. I want to review the Diner next and I'd like to bring someone or people along to help me review it. What do you think? If you're in the Chicago Area and would like to help me review the Diner, let me know and we can get something started for the next review.

13 June 2010

Curry and chili potatoes over jasmine rice

Okay, I posted a teaser on Thursday and I thought I'd better post the recipe while I have time. So see here my recipe for Curry and chili potatoes over jasmine rice. Please note that I never measure ingredients and everything is to taste.

3-4 potatoes (for the picture, I did a mix of one red potato and three russets I think I prefered the russet potato for this one as it's starchier and incorporates the flavors quicker)
2-3 T olive oil
Hot curry powder
Chili Powder
Thai seasoning mix
1 bay leaf
Garlic powder
1 t Vegan vegetable soup base
1 c water
1 T whole wheat flour

Cut potatoes into eighths lengthwise. Heat oil in a pan on low-medium heat and add potatoes and cover, stirring occaisionally just to heat up just before they start to brown.
Start the jasmine rice cooking (I use a rice cooker, I really suggest it as you can just throw the ingredients in there and leave it to focus on the other components)
In a sauce pan, create the soup base for 1 cup of soup according directions, add the spices and mix well. Once the spices are well incorporated into the soup, remove the bay leaf and slowly add 1 T of flour and incorporate well, I suggest using a wisk. Let the sauce thicken up a little and remove from heat. Cover (the sauce will continue to thicken up). Once the potatoes are cooked through but not brown, pour the sauce over them and let rest. Once the rice is done, plate and serve.

Serves 2-3 or enough for substantial leftovers.

As this is my first recipe posing, please note that I don't even follow my own recipes. I'm always changing something and no dish I make is ever the same twice (unless I'm hosting, then I'll know what works well and stick with that). I encourage all who read to experiment, use my recipes as a guide and take your own route. Knowing how spices and ingredients work is what makes you a good cook and creating your own recipes and making it to your liking is the beauty of the art of cooking and the intrigue your dishes create will bring people back to your dining table for more, asking for the recipe and trying things out for themselves. I made this recipe to be incredibly easy and incredibly good and I hope you enjoy it. Try it out and tell me what you think!

Amusez-vous bien!

10 June 2010

Weekend teaser

Hey all,
Sorry I haven't been updating lately. Just thought I'd give a teaser of a post I'll do this weekend. The recipe for Curry & Chili potatoes with Jasmine rice.