Pierogies! The Daring Cooks Challenge.

 Golden. Delicious. And mine, all mine.

If you know me in real life, which you may, then you may know my love of pierogies. It's a lot like my love of samosas. I want to eat a zillion of them and would, if only I were able. It's like I don't like wraps or things - seriously, guys, I cut them open like surgery - because I say I "don't like compressed food" which sounds stupid, when you realize that things like grilled cheeses and sammich presses and quesadillas/enchiladas/taquitos are all compressed foods as well. But seriously, no, I don't like things that feel too layery or something in my mouth. Or maybe I ate some bad wraps once and now the memory stays, but either way, if I eat a wrap - even a delicious one - I tend to feel like I'm gonna be sick.

But a samosa or a pieroi? Those are not under the "compressed foods" category.

I don't know why I've shared this story with you, but I have, so onward and upward. Do you feel closer to me? Let's hold hands.


The August 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make pierogi from scratch and an optional challenge to provide one filling that best represents their locale.

I'll be honest. I shrieked and told my roommate who, in a manlier way, shrieked as well. We were super excited and I tackled it fairly early, excited to press on and create all sorts of things.

I made two types and, as I wrote this, managed to put together in my head like four other delicious ideas and you best believe I am going to do at least one of them.

Using the traditional Russian style dough, I made a filling of potato and cheese as well as a filling of sausage/carmelized onions/mushrooms. And that second one was pretty bangin'. I also felt that it wasn't a poor choice for a Chicago one, although I just thought of pizza (we're a deep dish town! sorry!) and that's gonna be a fun little attempt.

I will blog you all about it.


These keep really well, actually, in the freezer before being finished up or after being cooked for leftovers. Well played! 

The dough recipe I used was the one given in the challenge and happened to be Anula's family recipe, which I found to be pretty awesome. I don't know why I had a hard time working with it at first, but later it snapped to me, and even after being (wrapped tightly in plastic wrap) kept in the fridge for a day or two. I was spacing it out since I kept doing late night ones and would get tired.

A portrait of hard work.


2 to 2 1/2 cups (300 to 375 g) all-purpose (plain) flour
1 large egg
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
About 1 cup (250 ml) lukewarm water

Instructions (as directly copied from the post, entirely, even the parenthesis - well, not these ones, but those ones.)

"Place 2 cups flour in a large bowl or on a work surface and make a well in the center. Break the egg into it, add the salt and a little lukewarm at a time (in my situation 1/2 cup was enough). Bring the dough together, kneading well and adding more flour or water as necessary. Cover the dough with a bowl or towel. You’re aiming for soft dough. Let it rest 20 minutes.

On a floured work surface, roll the dough out thinly (1/8” or about 3 millimeters) cut with a 2-inch (5 cm) round or glass (personally I used 4-inch/10 cm cutter as it makes nice size pierogi - this way I got around 30 of them and 1 full, heaped teaspoon of filling is perfect for that size). Spoon a portion (teaspoon will be the best) of the filling into the middle of each circle. Fold dough in half and pinch edges together. Gather scraps, re-roll and fill. Repeat with remaining dough."

Now. For the first filling, potato and cheese, I boiled a few red potatoes and then used a mixture of butter, sour cream, and milk to make them delicious mashed potatoes that I totally ate some of first. Then, I mixed in a few handfuls shredded cheddar cheese. Then, I shooed away my roommate from eating it all.

Now. Follow the instructions given ("Spoon a portion (teaspoon will be the best) of the filling into the middle of each circle. Fold dough in half and pinch edges together. Gather scraps, re-roll and fill." if you forgot), and make however many you'd like. Then boil them in salted water, then, if you like, pan fry. I like to pan fry.

Sausagey and Delicious.
Not so much healthy though. 
But the mushrooms help, right? Right?

My sausage ones were

- half a packet of sasuage
- pepper, salt, oregano
- half an onion, thinly sliced, then cut those in half so make them each short
- a handful of mushrooms, chopped up quite well
- three cloves garlic, smashed and chopped to pieces. minced. shall we say.

I cooked the onions down in some butter and cooked and cooked and cooked until they were soft and gold and delicious. Then I added the mushrooms and some pepper and salt.

In a seperate pan, I cooked the sausage with oregano and pepper, until it was well cooked, and mixed them all together before filling my pierogies and tossing them in the buttered pan to cook them up.

Serve with sour cream.

I realize these are not the best filling instructions but firmly think that it's better that way. What do you want to eat? Make it! Put it in! Eat it!

Although I will work on the other ideas I have much more dillegently. I have a notebook now. Which is bangerang.



Come to mama, sweet delicious baby. 
'Cause Mama wants to devour you. 

Now, I'm a fan of vintage - which is not rare or special, but merely true, and you might know that about me if you've ever heard me gush over my 1950's cookbooks or my amazing vintage finds or Mad Men or any number of things. Especially if you've ever heard me bitch about how my hands are waaaay too big for cute gloves I find at places like Lenny's. I never really hunt for vintage dishes, with few exceptions, but would love to find adorable avocado dishes because - while I've always loved me some 'cado - I have recently discovered putting something in your half? EVEN BETTER.

This time, I went super Betty Draper on it and made a light, refreshing crab salad then heaped that on top of my perfectly ripe avocado. Then died happy.

Because, friends, let's face it. Maybe it isn't crazy hot where you are, but until today? Chicago has been pretty high on humidity and anger-inducing heat. Not a lot has really stepped in to save the day on that front. You want something to eat, but you want it to be easy and not millionty-degree-kitchen-making. (which is why I made pork roast last week, ha ha, naturally)

This is fantastically simple. Now, I had crab to start with 'cause of a wicked awesome sale at Jewel, but I imagine you could put a lot of things in an avocado and be happy.

 I'll say it loud and proud:
But will not keep the tequila from getting you. Maybe Gloria should've sung about THAT.


- half cup of crab meat (or however much you would like, depending), shredded
- haf a lime
- salt, pepper
- half a small onion, chopped very fine (I used a yellow one 'cause I had it, but red would probably be even better)
- a stalk of celery, chopped very fine
- maybe a bell pepper or something, again, dice this finely, I didn't have this. So really any veg you'd like.
- avocado, halved

Mix your onion, crab, celery, salt and pepper together. Mix in any veg that you are using. Squeeze the lime half over it and mix more. You could let it sit for a few (let's say ten) minutes or so to let everything really come together but if you're being impatient, like I was, it won't kill you.

Cut your avocado in half and then remove the pit. Use the knife to seperate the avocado meat from the skin and place on a plate, then scoop some of the crab salad into the space where the pit used to be. If you'd like to make it larger, just spoon out some of the avocado meat.

It's really weird to say "avocado meat", you guys. Seriously.

Now. You've got your salad in your avocado and you can feel super retro and fancy. This would make a fantastic first course, a great light lunch/dinner, a snack, etc.

Naturally, you can add mayo if you want. I just found that I prefered mine without. And for you healthy people, avocados are supposed to be a healthy fat. Exxxcellent.