we went on a little roadtrip through poland early 2008, visiting wrocław and krakow. among the many nice things we ate were pierogi ruskie. i, and i guess most people, thought this means russian pierogi, which is kind of funny since in russia pierogi (or rather piroshki) are something that is baked in the oven. but as i learned here, ruskie is actually an old Polish word meaning Ukrainian. In old Polish Ukraine was called Rus [from the word Ruthenia], and Ukrainians Rusini. Therefore the name pierogi ruskie would translate as Ukrainian pierogis. you live, you learn.
- 200 g flour
- 75 ml water
- 1 tsp soft butter
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 200 g cooked potatoes
- 120 g quark (white cheese)
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 tbsp butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- brown butter, or breadcrumbs fried in butter
- sour cream or yoghurt
mix salt and flour, add butter and water and knead well for about 8 minutes. chill in the fridge for an hour.
cook onion in butter until soft and golden. mash potatoes with a fork, then mix with quark and onion. season with salt and pepper.
roll out the dough very thin, cut out round shapes, place a teaspoon of filling in the middle. then brush the edges of the circle with cold water, fold into a semicircle and seal. (i used my new set of pasta makers to do this, and it worked great.)
cook for 3-5 minutes in boiling salted water. the pierogi are done when puffed and floating atop.
put in a bowl and cover with brown butter to prevent sticking.
serve with breadcrumbs fried in butter and sour cream or yoghurt. another version is to serve them with onions and diced bacon, fried in oil.
i think this is the easiest way to enjoy asparagus:
- 500g green asparagus
- 1 tbsp butter oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tbsp toasted pine nuts
- 3 tbsp grated parmesan
trim asparagus, heat butter oil in a large pan. cook asparagus until tender. when it is almost done, sprinkle with lemon juice and season with salt and black pepper. transfer to a plate, sprinkle with pine nuts and parmesan.
a few dashes of pumpkin seed oil will make it even better.
and since it is so quick, easy and tasty, i’m submitting it to cucina rapida.
i don’t like fennel. this is a fact i never questioned, although i could not tell a single occasion where i ever tasted fennel so far (that is, as a vegetable). it must be a late effect from the fennel tea i was forced to drink as a kid. but i also used to hate eggplant – up until i ate parmigiana di melanzane. so why not try to overcome the fear of fennel as well? i started cautiosly by using in a vegetable soup. it was not bad, though i have to admit that i had difficulties telling it apart from other vegetables. but today i entered the next level: fennel as the main ingredient in a (great!!!) pasta dish.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 600 g fennel
- 6 mini tomatoes
- 3 slices smoked Black Forest ham
- 50g grated parmesan
- 2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp sugar
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- 200 g pasta of your choice
toast pine nuts in a dry pan. set aside. cut ham in small stripes and fry (without additional grease) until it is crisp. set also aside.
wash and prepare the fennel, cut it up into small pieces. keep fennel green for decoration.
saute fennel in olive oil about 20 minutes until it is tender, add some salted water (in which the pasta will be cooked) as needed. quarter the tomatoes, add and cook for a few minutes. add some more salted water – overall it should be about a ladle full. season with lemon juice, sugar, a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper and maybe some more salt.
meanwhile cook the pasta, then pour it over the sauce. mix and let it stand on the hot stovetop for a few minutes – the pasta should soak up some of the sauce. transfer to a large bowl and mix with grated cheese and ham stripes. top with pine nuts and fennel green.
so yes, i think fennel can be added to my list of edible greens.
there is nothing in the fridge except an aging zucchini, half an onion and a bit of leftover heavy cream? oh, and in the freezer are still some peas. dinner is saved:
- 1 tbsp sun flower oil
- half an onion (or more)
- one zucchini
- 150g frozen green peas
- 100ml vegetable stock
- 100 ml heavy cream
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- salt, freshly ground black pepper
- 200g pasta of your choice
sauté the diced onion in a pan with sun flower oil, add diced zucchini and cook for a few minutes. add peas, stir a few times, then add vegetable stock. let it simmer until the peas are done. add heavy cream and let it simmer again for 2-3 minutes. season with lemon juice, salt and black pepper. meanwhile cook the pasta, strain and mix with the sauce. quick and easy and quite good.
for dinner on sunday evening i gathered all the vegetables remaining in the fridge and put them together into a vegetable lasagna. i found: 2 celery stalks, 3 carrots and one shallot in questionable state, about 100g baby peas, one tomato, half an onion, 150g mushrooms, one zucchini. slice, dice, cut all the vegetables, then sauté for a few minutes each, throwing them in the pan in the following order: onion & shallot > carrots > celery > peas > mushrooms > zucchini > tomato. some origano can go in there as well. add 500ml vegetable stock and let it simmer for another few minutes. add 2 cans (à 400 ml) crushed tomatoes, let it again simmer. finally add 100ml heavy cream and season with salt and black pepper. it is quite runny by now, but that’s ok. i don’t like the bechamél that goes usually into lasagna, so all the liquid needed for the pasta comes from the sauce. assemble the lasagna with about 250g lasagna sheets and lay 125g mozzarella slices on top. ( i also sprinkled a bit grated parmesan – another leftover – between three of the layers.) bake at 175° for 25 minutes.
here i made for the first time a real pâte brisée out of this book and i must say that the extra effort (i.e. 1 hour cooling time, fraiser, again 30 minutes cooling time, blind-baking) was really worth it. very delicate pastry, not at all stale like your ordinary shortcrust sometimes. i used for a 23cm baking pan 200g flour, 80g cold butter, 1/4 tsp salt and 3 Tbsp cold water. the filling was made like this: cut one potato in small cubes, fry in 2 Tbsp olive oil for about 10 minutes. add about 10 medium-sized mushrooms, finely sliced, and one peeled clove of garlic. sauté with closed lid for 5 minutes. add about 200g leaf spinach (i used the frozen stuff) and saute for another 10 minutes or until the spinach is done. remove garlic clove, season with salt & pepper. prepare about 1 cup of grated cheese – i used some parmesan and two slices Edam. in a seperate bowl, whisk together 3 eggs, 3 Tbsp of cream cheese (well, i just found it in the fridge and thought it might fit) and about 1/2 cup of milk. mix the cheese first with 1 tsp flour, then add as well. pour the vegetables on the meanwhile blind-baked pastry, and then the egg-cheese-milk-mix. bake at 175° for about 35 minutes or until golden brown and set.
after the pancake disaster this morning i was not in the mood for any further experiments. so we had one of our all time classics for dinner. it’s easy and very fast: cook the spaghetti. at the same time fry some grated parmesan cheese in olive oil, deglaze either with white wine or some of the water the pasta is cooking in. add zucchini and thyme, let it simmer for a few minutes (until the spaghetti are done). add another ladle of the – generously salted! – pasta water and the juice of half a lemon. strain the spaghetti and mix with the sauce. ready to eat – with more parmesan and freshly ground black pepper. for two and a half people we had 230g spaghetti, about 50g of parmesan and 3 small zucchini.
something similar, but with tomatoes, is described in detail here.
a new asian food shop has recently opened in our neighbourhood and yesterday i went to check it out. i got fresh cilantro, ginger, 4 pak choi and noodles (3.50 – quite cheap i think) and got inspired by this post (in german) for the following “somehow asian” dish:
sweat finely chopped ginger, garlic and onion for a few minutes in sunflower oil, add diced sweet potatoe and a cup of vegetable stock, let it simmer for another few minutes. add small strips of a carrot and celery stalks, some cilantro, a tsp kurkuma and after yet another few minutes four more cups of vegetable stock. next comes a can (400 ml) of coconut cream. then the white parts of the pak choi, sliced, and finally the green parts, also sliced. season with 2 tsp sugar and salt to taste. served with asian instant noodles and fresh cilantro. some chili would have been nice, but was omitted since we had a little eater at the table. who liked it, by the way.
it’s done like this: fry minced meat (plus chopped onions if you like) in a bit olive oil, cook some rice. mix it together, add parsley and feta cheese. season to taste with salt and pepper. optionally you might want to add a tsp. tomato puree. that’s about the filling. wash and prepare the zucchini, removing its core with a tsp. now put the chunky crushed tomatoes in an ovenproof dish, mix it with a bit olive oil, oregano, salt, pepper. stuff zucchini with the filling, place it on the tomato sauce. bake for about 30 minutes at 175°C, until the zucchini is done. served with pita bread.
for four medium-sized zucchini we used 250g meat, 50g rice, 2 Tbsp chopped parsley, 200g feta cheese, and a can (450g) crushed tomatoes.