Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pierogi Recipes from my kitchen to yours

My Pierogi making partners 2011
I want to share my family's pierogi recipe with all of you. It wouldn't be Christmas in my house without that favorite traditional Polish food, the pierogi. For those of you who don't know what a pierogi is, think of it as a large, stuffed dumpling. In our family we made 3 kinds of pierogi, potato-cheese pierogi, sauerkraut pierogi and plum pierogi. The dough is the same for all of the pierogi-only the pierogi filling recipe changes.

Pierogi dough:
4 cups white flour
4 whole eggs plus 2 egg yolks
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream

Measure flour into a large bowl. Add eggs, salt and sour cream. Mix together. I use a mixer just to get the dough started and then hand knead to finish. You don't want to overwork the dough or it will be tough. The dough will begin to form a ball as you knead the dough. If the dough is sticky, add a little additional flour and knead a bit more. Cover with a towel and let rest about 10 minutes.

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface-a counter or kitchen table is a great place to use. I roll the dough about 1/4 thick and then cut dough in circles with a lightly floured glass or biscuit cutter. I then roll the circles out again to about 1/8 inch think and a slightly oval shape.

Put the filling in the center of your dough. Fold over and seal the edges. Here's a tip save the water from your potaoes and use the starchy water on your fingertip to run around the inner edges of the dough. Pinch and crimp well to seal the edges.

Drop into a pot of boiling salted water until the pierogi float. About 5-7 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water. To prevent the pierogi from sticking to each other butter the boiled pierogi and stack between sheets of waxed paper.

To serve the pierogi, saute in butter until they just start to brown. As Aunt Sophie always said to me, don't let them get brown! Serve with sour cream. Smacznego!

Pierogi Filling Recipes:
Potato-Cheese Pierogi Filling

2 lbs peeled potatoes-about 6 cups-boiled, mashed and cooled.
1 cup of minced onion
1/4 cup butter
1 lb farmers cheese if you can't find farmers cheese in you market, you can use 2 lbs cottage cheese that has been well drained in a cheese cloth.
 salt and pepper.

Saute the minced onion in butter until soft and lightly golden. Add to mashed potatoes, mix in farmers cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper. Use about 2 Tablespoons of filling to each pierogi.
Okay-I used 10 lbs of potatoes!

Sauerkraut Pierogi Filling:

1 large can or jar of sauerkraut
1 oz dried Polish mushrooms (you can substitute any dried mushrooms)
1 cup minced onion
1/4 cup butter

Rinse and drain sauerkraut. you can chop it if you like it finer. Simmer dried mushrooms in water until soft-about 15 minutes. Drain and rinse well to remove any grit. Chop until finely minced. Saute chopped onions in butter until light golden yellow. Combine all ingredients together. Use about 2 tablespoons of filling per pierogi.

Plum Pierogi Recipe:
1 large can of plums.

Drain plums. Remove pits from plums. Use 1 plum per pierogi. My Aunt Kay would dip the boiled pierogi into butter and then into fine white bread crumbs and then saute them in butter.

Sweet Cheese Pierogi Filling Recipe:
1 lb farmers cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. grated orange rind
Mix together ingredients. If you can't find farmers cheese, you can substitute 2 lbs of small curd cottage cheese that has been pressed through a cheesecloth to make a dry cottage cheese. Use about 2 tablespoons of filling per pierogi.

I'd like to thank my brother Adam, who compiled a recipe book of our family's traditional family recipes. Thanks to his hard work, those memories, stories and recipes are preserved for future generations of our family.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

How to remove tarnish from silver naturally

Have you ever wondered how to remove tarnish from silver without using chemicals? I don't have anything horrible against commercial tarnish removers, I just try to subscribe to a philosophy of living a simpler, more natural life.

You can easily remove tarnish from silver using a few ordinary items that can be found in your kitchen.  All you need to remove tarnish from sterling silver are: aluminum foil, baking soda and some hot water. That's it!  Take a look at this tarnished sterling silver that I had in my studio:

Pretty ugly-right?

Here's the same sterling silver beads and ear wires afterwards :

Amazing isn't it? What a difference. In less than a minute the sterling silver went from unusable to bright and shiny as new! Here's the steps to remove the tarnish.

1. Place a piece of aluminum foil in a shallow dish. I used a glass cake dish, but a shallow bowl or plastic container would work just fine. Just line it with the foil.
2. Put in your tarnished silver. Add about 2-3 teaspoons of baking soda.
3. Cover with very hot water.

The water will foam up a little -it's the action of the baking soda. I shake around the container a few times. If all the tarnish doesn't come off right away, you can repeat this a couple of times. I use a fresh piece of foil each time I repeat the process.

Finally just rinse and dry. Your sterling will be bright and shiny. This works just as great on your tarnished jewelry too! The only caution is using this on dyed pearls and stones-you might want to test this first to be sure you don't lose any color. I have used this on my dyed stones and pearls without any trouble, I just use warm water and don't let the pearls and stones soak to long, and dry them promptly.

Please let me know if you have tried to clean your silver with this method. I'd love to hear about your results.

If you share this natural method of cleaning your silver, please cite my blog. I hope you will share my tipsand leave me a comment!

Thanks Friends!