Friday, April 20, 2012

Pierogies and Phil Collins

Hello All! I got the bug in my head a few months ago to make pierogies when I had dinner at the Habit Lounge here in Vancouver with my good friend Lena. We shared an amazing plate of carrot and brie pierogies, or is it pierogi? as well as a tasty salad and a slice of heavenly cheesecake. But it's those pierogies that I haven't stopped thinking about!

Usually for me, the idea of pierogies conjours up terrible thoughts of tasteless, greasy, mushy potato pierogies cooked from a frozen bag during my cooking-challenged university years. But these little carrot and brie nuggets were a world part. Sweet and creamy and packed packed full of flavour, it was the ultimate comfort food for this pregnant gal.

I found this recipe in one of my favourite go-to cookbooks of all time, the Rebar Modern Food Cookbook from one of my childhood favourite restaurants in Victoria, BC. The smoked gouda gives a wonderful bacon-like flavour which pairs perfectly with sweet yams and leeks. Yum! Serve with a big spoonful of caramelized onions and sour cream (or plain greek yoghurt as we did) and you've got yourself a fantastic comfort food meal.

I have to admit that this is definitely a two man job and it does in fact take several hours to complete so only attempt this if you've got several hours and some serious patience on your hands. This recipe made TONS and so we ended up freezing several bags for future dinners, which isn't a bad thing. Oh, and with all the time we spend rolling dough and painstakingly filling and folding dough, Phil Collins for music proved to be the perfect soundtrack for this long evening.

Roasted Yam and Gouda Perogies (3 dozen pierogi)
from the Rebar Cookbook

2.5 pounds yams
1 Tbsp butter
1-2 large leeks, mostly whites, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 pound smoked gouda cheese grated
1/4 cup minced chives
1/4 tsp cracked pepper
1/4 tsp caraway seed (optional)

Pierogi Dough
4 cups unbleached flour
3/4 tsp salt
4 egg yolks
1 cup boiling water
2 tbsp vegetable oil


Filling can be prepared up to 1 day in advance. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and roast yams in oven until soft and puffy.

While the yams roast, heat butter in a skillet and add leeks and salt and sautee until golden brown. Combine leeks, mashed yams, grated cheese and chives. Season with cracked pepper, caraway seeds and salt. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Next, make the dough. Mix the flour and salt in a bowl. Add remaining ingredients and beat with a spoon until a smooth dough forms. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes. Divide the dough into quarters and roll out into 1/8" thick or less. Use an approximately 3" round glass or jar lid or cookie cutter if you have it and cut circles out of the dough.

Place a good teaspoon or more in the centre of each dough circle and then press the edges to seal. I dipped my finger in water and ran it along the edge before sealing to help it stick better. I then used the ends of a fork to make a crimped edge.

To serve, boil in water until they begin to rise to the surface (about 5 minutes). Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Remove with slotted spoon and toss in butter and chives. Serve with fried onions and sour cream.

 FYI, I halved the filling amounts above since the full amount made a totally outrageous amount of filling that in now way would ever fit into the amount of dough made.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hello Pinkberry!

So I just tried Pinkberry frozen yoghurt for the first time! and I have to say it was pretty darn good! It also happens to be my birthday and what better way to splurge than on a tasty frozen yoghurt. I've heard nothing but amazing things about this stuff over the years, some even call it the "crack" of frozen yoghurt.  And so when I noticed one had opened in Metrotown close to where I live in Burnaby, B.C. I really had no choice but to try it. I went for the original flavour with fresh mango and strawberries which is practically health food I kept telling myself. This could become addictive....