Sunday, July 13, 2008

Pierogi and Vareniki Dough (Page 242)

RECIPE #780

  • Date: Sunday, July 6, 2008 -- 8pm
  • Location: Somerville, MA
  • Kitchen: Matty's Apartment
  • Fellow Chef: Rachel
  • Dining Companions: Matty and Eric
  • Recipe Rating: A-

I forgot to take a picture of the dough alone, but this recipe was a component of the pierogi you see above (which will be the next blog entry). This dough was awesome. It was easy to deal with, made beautiful little dumplings that didn't break open when boiled, and tasted great! As far as doughs go, it was a winner. It was also easy to throw together, and very quick to make! In addition to being the dough for pierogi (delicious savory Ukranian dumplings), this dough apparently also doubles as the dough for vareniki (sweet Ukranian dumplings which I have never made/eaten before). There is one vareniki recipe in The Book and I am looking forward to making it and seeing if this dough works equally beautifully in that context. It is very trendy these days for home cooks to substitute wonton wrappers for homemade dough when making dumplings. If you are going to make pierogi though, I highly recommend making this dough rather than doing that. The dough is easy to make, and much better than those store-bought wonton wrappers!

Here is the recipe.

I went to the homeless shelter today to work the lunch shift, as I did every Sunday for the last two and half years that I lived in Boston. I miss it there a lot when I am in Indiana. Not only do I think it is a fabulous place that is doing amazing work, but after years working the same shift there are several people that I volunteer with who I consider good friends. So when I am in Boston I go back to my Sunday lunch shift whenever I can!

The dining room at the shelter has undergone a major change since I moved away. The board of directors passed a five-year plan to make the food healthier. When I first heard about this I didn't realize how seriously they would take it. But the menus have been radically altered. It's a lot of work to cook two meals per day for 50 - 150 people, and consequently it used to be the case that a decent proportion of the food we served was pre-made frozen or canned food (think: Swanson's chicken pot pies, or Dinty Moore beef stew). That stuff is TERRIBLE for you though, and under the new plan it is completely gone. Almost everything is made fresh and almost every meal comes paired with a huge salad. Today we made whole wheat penne with a tomato-based meat sauce (ground turkey instead of ground beef!), garlic bread, fresh fruit, vegetable soup, and a lovely green salad. The food was great! There are certain meals that I will miss of course (Mmmm.... hot dogs and potato chips!), but overall I think this new change is fantastic! It is labor-intensive to chop up all those fresh fruits and vegetables, but that's what the volunteers are for!

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