Saturday, September 17, 2011

When life gives you Potatoes

This year was a fine year for Potatoes at our lil Homestead. Thanks to our Kitty "Bluegrass" there was minimal damage from the moles (They prefer to sample each n every potato, taking only one bite.. just enough to ruin the potato for storage, but still edible in the next few days )

We ended up pulling about 120 lbs of potatoes this year.! which is great,,, as long as you have a place to store them ; root cellar, basement.. which we have neither of. In the years past I have stored them in my pantry, which usually works great, although I have never had this many, so they usually got eaten before they had the chance to go bad.

So what do you do, when life gives you 100+ pounds of potatoes?
Make PIEROGIES of course!! In addition to canning potatoes, and canning stew, it would not be a winter at the Cool residence if Pierogies were not on the meal plan atleast a couple of times a month....

Ive been asked this quite a bit. so to make it easy,, here is the official definition

Pierogi (Polish pronunciation: [pjɛˈrɔɡʲi]; also spelled perogi, Börek, pierogy, perogy, pierógi, pyrohy, or pyrogy) or Varenyky are boiled, baked or fried dumplings of unleavened dough traditionally stuffed with potato filling, sauerkraut, ground meat, cheese, or fruit. Of central and eastern European provenance, they are usually semicircular, but are rectangular or triangular in some cuisines.[1

I have only ever made mine with potato and cheese, but plan on making some saurkraut ones this yr. You can really add whatever you like.. Hubby likes me to add Jalapenos to the potato n cheese ones. Ive even thought about taking this dough recipe and filling these babies with apple pie filling.. fried up and served with ice cream, yummmmmmmmmmm..

Ok, on to the RECIPE.... I have used other recipies in the past, but this one ROCKED, the dough was very easy to work with. and the end result was fabulous.

Potato and Cheese Pierogie
4 Cups All Purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 Cup Plus 2 Tbsp cold water
3 Large Egg Yolks

Potato Filling
4 Medium potatoes peeled and cut into small chunks ( I would say more like 6)
2 Tbsp Butter, plus extra for frying
1 Small Onion
1/4-1/2 Grated Cheddar Cheese , or more, depending on what ya like

1. TO make the dough, combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.
2. Make a well in the center and add the water and egg yolks. With a wooden spoon, stir constantly, until the dough holds together, adding a litte more water if necesary.
3. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for 2 minutes. Put the dough back in the bowl , cover it with plastic wrap and set aside
4. For the filling, boil the potatoes in a large saucepan of salted water for about 10 minutes or until the potatoes are soft
5. Drain the potatoes and mash them by hand
6. Meanwhile, melt 2 tbsps of butter in a small skillet. add the onion and saute for 5 minutes, stirring often.
7. add the Onion, cheese and salt to the potatoes and mash them in.
8. Break the dough into quarters. Roll one out thin on a lightly floured surface
9. Use a biscuit cutter or a water glass, cut the dough into 3-3.5" circles. roll out and cut the scraps, repeat until all dough is used.
10. Put a heaping teaspoon full of filling in the center of the circle.
11.. moisten the edge of the circle with a wet finger tip, then fold it in half and press the edges together firmly to seal

***IF YOU ARE FREEZING THE PIEROGIES FOR LATER USE, place them on a cookie sheet, place in freezer until frozen, remove, place in plastic freezer bag. remove air with straw( to prevent freezer burn) label, date and put in freezer. If you are ready to enjoy,, continue on to step 12 :)

12. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
13. Drop the Pierogies 8-10 at a time, into the boiling water, simmer until they rise to the surface, and continue to simmer for an additional 4 minutes. remove from water and set aside on papertowl or kitchen towel.
14. Melt a little butter( we use olive oil) in a large skillet ( we prefer cast iron;). using a slotted spoon place them in the skillet and fry lightly over medium high heat for several minutes.
15. Serve hot with melted butter, sour cream, or extra cheese, if you so desire! Comfort food at its finest.........

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Autumn : A Time For Reflection

I awoke this morning to what seemed to be the first cool morning in close to 6 Months. 65 degrees , overcast, slight breeze, ABsolutely Beautiful... It was definetaly an Autumn Morning....
I yearn for this time of year, cool mornings, Fall foliage in the Mountains, starting up the first fire in the cookstove, but most of all,,, MOST OF ALL,, finally slowing down here at The Cool Homestead.
Its been an extremely hectic Spring and Summer.. we went from 6 hives to 25 Hives this yr, experienced quite a few swarms, pulled close to 300 lbs of honey, tended to close to 1200 sq ft of garden space, grew hundreds of veggies starts and herbs to sell,vended honey , veggies and plants at the farmers market once a week, canned my behind off ( over 200 jars and still canning, that goes on until about October ;), cleaning coops, butchering chickens, standard yardwork, hive inspections, building hives, splitting hives, chopping wood for winter( with a maul, no log splitter here), weeding,trying to manage my sewing business, ( or lack there of! ) all while husband was gone 50 hours a week at day job! and I had a 4 yr old In tow at all times here at home... you get the picture....hehehe
WHY? why? why?.. seems to be a question ( or a look) I get when people ask us what we do in our spare time... We dont go out to the movies, or out to eat, or out to the bar... We dont have lunch with friends much or go to the mall. We dont spend our entire summers at music festivals or bonfires, or have friends over every weekend...

SO what DO WE do for fun??? we Jump in the creek, run through the forest, turn up the music and have a beer while we extract and bottle honey, meet and talk to fabulous people at the farmers market, enjoy the solitude of the national forest,watch chicken TV,.(we do go see some live music and we do have your standard FUN too ;)
Living as secluded as we do( we live an hour from absolutely anything), and working as much as we do, is hard for some to understand... Its not a life for everyone , but it is the life of a Homesteader, and I feel a Intensly great sense of accomplishment,satisfaction and contenment looking back on 2011...

Autumn still has its work cut out for us.. chopping wood, planting fruit Trees, fall gardening... but things are slowing down...a time to **REFLECT, learn, grow and Plan for a Fantastic 2012 at Bee Kind Family Farm :)

The Cool Family