Saturday, July 27, 2013


I should not have been full of any ambition today - not after last night.

After work yesterday, Gina and her co-worker decided that after a stressful day/week it would be a good idea to have "a drink or two" at this bar in Robinson.  I was into the idea, having suggested that we got to the Tower Lounge after work anyway - Downey's House in Robinson worked just fine for me.

One drink led to another and before we knew it more co-workers were showing up and the army of empties on the table was growing rank by rank.

When I woke up this morning I braced myself for what I knew would certainly be nothing less than a terrible hangover only to find that I felt oddly (impossibly) totally fine.

Gina, perhaps, did not fare so well.

While she napped this afternoon I was talking to my mom on the phone and leafing through Terry Hope Romero's Vegan Eats World which, for some unknown reason, was lying out on the dining room table.

Flipping through I happened across her recipe for Potato Pierogi with Fried Onions and said aloud, to my mom - totally on a whim:  "I'm going to try making pierogi's from scratch today."

This was met with brief silence during which, I'm sure, my mom was trying to think of a nice way to say that we all would like to make homemade pierogi's, but no one on this planet actually has time to do it.  Go buy a box of Mrs. T's.

"Oh, pierogi's sound good..."  She began, hesitantly, "But dont those take all day to do?"

I didn't know, but I suddenly could not shake image of glistening, buttery pierogi's.  I needed them.  I needed them today.

Let me make something very clear before I continue:  If you are reading this and have ever thought to yourself, "I'd like to make homemade pierogi's but either (A) I am not an Eastern European Grandmother, or (B) those definitely take hours and hours and hours and I will never possibly have that kind of time, in the words of the dear Sweet Brown, "Aint nobody got time for that.".  - Or some variation or combination of options A and B, please tell those voices in your head to hit the road, take a hike, pack their bags for a trip to Eastern Europe where some polish grandmother can show them that pierogi making, while not a great option to start from scratch after work on a work night, definitely will not consume your entire saturday.

An hour and a half and you'll be in pierogi heaven.

Here's a run down on what happened - I could give you a history lesson on pierogis carefully researched via this page on wikipedia, but instead I will assume that we all live in a city where you can go to a baseball game and watch people dressed as what I'm about to show you run a race, so you'd probs find the history lesson pointless and boring.  Moving on:

First, Terry Hope Romero directs in the production of a very simple dough which can be used with pretty cool versatility for the dumplings of varying nationalities  (Here's lookin' at you potstickers, you're next on the list).

Mine looked like the humble blob below:

Wrap the dough in plastic an let it sit for at least an hour.

During this time you chop up about 2 pounds of potatos and a pound of onions.  Good luck figuring those measurements out.  I just used 9 smallish Idaho potatoes and decided it'd be enough, and 2 mediumish red onions - because we had them.

You put the potatoes in water and turn the heat up to bring them to a boil.  In the meantime, fry the onions in a bunch of butter (Earth Balance) for like 15 minutes.  (The part of me that sort of obsesses over healthy food was kind of freaking out about the amount of butter in this recipe  (3 tablesppons for just the dough, then another 3 tablespoons to try the onions in), but then the voice in my head which typically pulls through and allows me to actually have fun chimed in and pointed out: "You have no room to talk about living healthy my friend of a thousand beers last night."  and I was humbled.)

You don't really need to see a picture of frying onions to understand this concept but I took one anyway for some reason:

Set aside the onions once they/re done and let the potatoes boil for what ever's left of 20 minutes at this point.  Does that make sense?  Terry Hope Romero explained it a lot better.

Anyway, once the potatos are done you mash them along with 1/4 cup of the fried onions, salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast.  She called for fresh dill but I was determined to make this without going to the store (we had leftover potatoes already), I did an internet search on things you can replace dill with and everyone was pretty much like, "nothing."  but one person suggested maybe Tarragon if you're really in a bind so I just used that.

By now your dough should have been sitting wrapped in plastic for about an hour.

Terry (I guess we can be on a first name basis now?) then says to put a large pot on the stove, crank the heat, and fill it with 4 quarts of water (which I had no idea how to measure so I Googled it and discovered that this is 16 cups of water, in case you also didn't know.)   Add in salt an a little oil and allow this to come to a boil while you do the steps below.

Divide the dough into 4 parts, take one and re-wrap the remaining dough in plastic.  Lightly flour a surface and roll out your dough:

She then say's to use a 3 inch circular cookie cutter to cut out circles of dough.  I didn't have one, so I found the closest round tupperware container we had to 3 inches and used that:

Then I cut out circles.  It was oddly calming:

You then scoop 1 tablespoon of the potato mixture and plop it with an airy, Eastern European indifference somewhere in the middle of one of the dough disks, then carefully stretch the dough over the potatoes and pinch the edges together.

When you have them all filled you dump them carefully into the pot on the stove which, by now, should be boiling unless you are insanely fast at rolling out your dough and filling the disks.  Weirdo.

She says to only put 6 in at a time and boil them for 4 minutes.  I would boil six, then use a slotted spoon to put them into a casserole dish with a lid to keep them warm while I boiled the  next round:

When they were all made I contacted Gina in the Land of the Mythical Head Ache and willed her to eat telling her, in partial truth, that these are the best hangover food.  She loved it - and I think it really did help her head:

Try it!  It seriously took give or take an hour and a half.  You end up with a billion tons of leftover's too. Just place the leftover pierogis in rows on a baking sheet with parchment paper on it and freeze them, once they're frozen you can put them in tupperware and put them back in the freezer and they wont all stick together.

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