Pierogis are time intensive. You can make the sour cream, the dough, and the potato filling the day before. Refrigerate them all, and place the dough on the counter for about an hour before you split the dough into balls.

Makes 32 pierogis!

Sour cream
1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight or boiled twenty minutes
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon pink salt, plus more to taste
juice of one lemonwater

5 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
1/3 cup vegan butter
softened lukewarm water

3 medium potatoes
1/3 cup soy milk
1/3 cup vegan butter
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
juice of one lemon
black pepper
seasoning salt

Peanut oil for frying

Sour cream:
Rinse the cashews and process them, adding the remaining ingredients and water to the consistency you’d like. Process, process, process, using a spatula to scrape down the mix periodically. Be patient. You can get the sour cream very smooth! Salt to taste then set in the refrigerator, covered.

Mix dough ingredients using enough water to make a very soft, tacky dough. Kneading for several minutes; really take your time kneading and add water sparingly. While you don’t want the dough to stick to the table, a softer dough will roll out better and a firm one will be frustrating. Set in an oiled bowl to rise until doubled in size (or refrigerate overnight, removing the bowl two hours before you want to start forming balls for the pierogis).

Potato filling:
Peel and wash potatoes; cut into even chunks about the size of a golf ball. Bring a tureen of salted water to boil. Boil potatoes until tender when pieced with a fork. Drain the potatoes, then rice or mash them well until they are smooth (don’t use a mixer or food processor)! Heat the soy milk and add it as well as the rest of the filling ingredients, whisking and varying the lemon juice to taste.

To assemble:
Clean your counter space and lightly dust with flour. When the dough has warmed to room temperature, split it into 32 even sections (by first splitting the dough into two halves, then each section halves again, and so forth) and roll these 32 blobs into a ball, placing these balls next to one another and covering with a damp cloth or plastic wrap. Let rest thirty minutes and lay out waxed paper for the formed pierogis.

Place a dish of lukewarm water at hand. Heat a large tureen of salted water while you stuff the pierogis. I simply mash each ball with the palm of my hand, and my pierogi partner fills them with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of filling. Before sealing, wet half the dough circle rim with water and really pinch them closed, carefully enclosing all your potato filling (you will get the hang of this quickly). Set each pierogi on wax paper until they are all finished and in a series of rows.

Pinch them closed again right before boiling! A split pierogi is a sad thing. I mean, so I hear. I’ve never split one, myself! :brag:

Carefully add the pierogi to the now-boiling tureen by slipping them in the water. Gently boil the pierogi in batches. Since this is a yeasted dough, they will likely float right away. Carefully turn them in the soft boil and cook about five minutes, until they are glossy and sealed. Remove each one with a slotted spoon, back to a rack so they can drain. You want them as dry as possible for the next stage.

When the pierogi are boiled go ahead and carefully pour out your tureen, wipe down your stovetop, and set your pan(s) out to fry on medium high heat (I use two large cast iron pans). Add a healthy bit of peanut oil and get the pan all warmed up. Carefully add pierogi to the pan(s) – they might sputter a bit – being careful not to overcrowd as you cook in batches. You might fiddle with the heat a bit here; you want them to cook to golden brown relatively quickly. Remove each to a warm plate as you cook.

Serve pierogi with a side of sour cream and watch them disappear! It’s *magic*!


lemon-roasted garbanzo beans

This is one of my favorite snacks of all time! I have been known to make a midnight sandwich by simply stuffing these in a roll and devouring it! Doubltess some will like these hot, but I prefer them room temperature or cold. You are aiming for almost-overdone. These are also really great with a veggie tray, alongside a vegan ranch dip!

2 cans garbanzo beans
2 tablespoons olive oli
1 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon tamari
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper, chili powder, salt, and garlic powder

Preheat oven to 450°F. Drain the cans of garbanzo beans and save the liquid (this liquid is aquafaba, and it is the most magic baking and cooking ingredient).

Next, rinse the beans so they’re easy to handle. Sit down with a friend or your kids and de-hull each bean, setting the hulls aside for compost or the garbage. It is easy to de-hull – simply gently squeeze the pointy end of the bean and the hull slides off. Every bean has a hull, even if it doesn’t look like it! De-hulling two cans takes a few minutes, and there are shortcuts to be found. But I’ve never found a shortcut I liked as much as doing each bean by hand.

The good news is, you’re almost done!

Drizzle the oil on the beans. Place in the oven, single layer in a cookie pan, and roast about thirty minutes. About halfway through roasting, combine the lemon juice, tamari, and spices; add to the pan, stirring well.

Continue roasting. You have to really check the beans out. One minute they’ll be underdone and then next, overdone! But even a little overdone is better than under, in my opinion.


Tacos! Tacos! Tacos! Tacos!

Homemade Taco Seasoning

A few of you lucky fuckers are getting some homeskillet awesomesauce for Christmas. Here are our tags:

Tacos! Tacos! Tacos! Tacos!

And here is the recipe. This makes about a quarter pound of taco seasoning. We use about one to two tablespoons per pound of ground beef.

4 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons paprika
2 tablespoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons sea salt
4 teaspoons black pepper

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Butter Ganache Dark French Silk Pie, Topped With Coconut Custard & Whipped Cream

Double-Layer Chocolate Cream With Roasted Coconut, Topped W/Whipped Cream & Mexican Vanilla

This recipe makes two pies. One for your family, one for a friend’s. It’s kinda half from-scratch and half, awesomely-shortcutty. Everyone loves it.

2 pie crusts, ready to be blind-baked
4 egg yolks, beaten
1 1/2 cups white sugar
5 cups milk, divided
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, Special Dark
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter
1 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate
1 5.1 ounce vanilla instant pudding & pie filling mix (one box)
1 cup flaked coconut
1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Blind bake the pie crusts (I use parchment paper and the same red lentils, over and over again). While they’re cooking, mix the egg yolk and sugar together. Gradually add half the milk, 2 1/2 cups, to the eggs and sugar. Add the cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt. Mix thoroughly, scraping the bowl, and turn the mixture out into a saucepan. Heat to boiling over medium heat, whisking all the while.

As this mixture is heating, melt the butter and baking chocolate over low heat, whisking. When it is fully mixed, turn off the heat and set aside.

When the chocolate pudding mixture comes to a boil, whisk and continue to cook for a few minutes. Then set aside and let cool slightly. Add the butter and baking chocolate, mix thoroughly, and pour into still-warm pie shells. Place them in the oven to cool.

Roast the coconut in the oven on broil. Watch it carefully or it will burn! You can either gently stir the coconut to get an even browning, or roast it so that some is still white and some brown and toasted (which is what I do). After it’s roasted, set it aside to cool.

While the chocolate layer and the coconut is cooling, mix the vanilla pudding mix and the remaining milk (2 1/2 cups) until it starts to thicken. Fold in the whipped topping and the coconut, reserving about 1/4 cup of the coconut to garnish. Spread the pudding mixture on top of the chocolate layer.

Whip the whipping cream. You can add a bit of sugar if you like; I usually don’t. At the very last minute fold the vanilla extract in and spread over the top of the pie. Garnish with the remaining coconut and return to the fridge. It should set for about four hours, but no one will blame you if you can’t wait that long.

Double-Layer Chocolate Cream With Roasted Coconut, Topped W/Whipped Cream & Mexican Vanilla

Goat cheese stuffed mushrooms

h/t to friend and reader Jeanne who served me a version of stuffed mushrooms at her house last week. I came home, did a little research, and developed my own version. These are delicious and very easy to make. Mushroom-shy kids (like mine) may enjoy the filling which is a gateway to one day devouring the whole thing.

I used fresh oregano but most fresh herbs would be delicious; they are offset beautifully by the bite of the mushroom and goat cheese.

8 – 12 whole fresh mushrooms, depending on size
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic
1 stalk celery
1 6 oz. package goat cheese, softened (unwrap the cheese and put in a small bowl with a plate on top, at room temperature for one hour)
1 sprig fresh oregano, washed and de-stemmed
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or use a baking stone). De-stem and gently wash the mushrooms; set aside stems, then place caps on a kitchen towel to drain, dome up.

Cut off the tough end of the stems and chop the remainder very fine, along with the garlic and celery. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat and sauté until the moisture is removed from the mushrooms. Set aside to cool.

When garlic and mushroom mixture is no longer hot, stir in the goat cheese, oregano, parmesan cheese, black pepper, onion powder and cayenne pepper. Mixture should be clumpy like biscuit batter (vary the addition of parmesen cheese to get this effect). Using dampened hands, fill each mushroom cap with an equal amount of stuffing. Arrange the mushroom caps on the baking sheet.

Bake for twenty minutes or until the mushrooms look sufficiently hot and tender.

Matzoh Ball Soup*

My friend Abi recently emailed me she was making a version of this soup (often called “New York Penicillin” for it’s restorative and nurturing properties). I’d never felt intrigued previously, seeing canned versions in the supermarket and having little familiarity with the concept. A foray on the internet convinced me I had to try it!

The dill is an interesting element but works very well (I think dried dill would not be fun). The part of the soup that involves any degree of finesse for your average kitchener are the matzoh balls themselves. I can see how a mis-step would leave hard balls or ones that fall apart (there are tutorials on YouTube etc. instructing one in technique). Due to my experience with dumplings I grew up on, I nailed it right out of the gate. More on matzoh balls at the end of the recipe.

1 chicken breast bone-in and skin-on, roasted w/salt and pepper and olive oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons diced fresh parsley (Italian or flat-leaf)
1/2 – 1 cup matzo meal (or cracker meal)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced fine
6 cups chicken broth
1 cup water and two vegetable boullion cubes
2 medium carrots and two ribs celery, cut into 1” matchsticks
Five sprigs fresh dill, carefully washed and clipped into 1” pieces
salt and fresh black pepper
1/2 stick butter

Dice up the crispy chicken skin as finely as you can and set aside. In a small bowl, mix eggs with two tablespoons of the chicken fat from the roasting pan or two tablespoons melted butter or margarine. Stir in the diced chicken skin, salt, parsley, then add matzo meal to form a soft dough – mix briskly and add matzo until the mixture is the consistency of cake batter. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Shred the chicken breast and set aside. Heat a bit of olive oil in a medium-large saucepan. Saute the garlic until soft. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Add the matchsticked carrots, celery, shredded chicken and dill and return to a simmer. Immediately stir and correct the seasonings (salt and pepper). Remove the matzoh from the fridge, shape into ping pong sized balls and drop in. If the batter is firm this should be easy; if soft you may want to coat hands with water or oil first and then simmer the balls gently. When all the matzoh is added, cover and cook for about thirty minutes (the balls will fluff up). Matzoh balls are a bit tricky, like dumplings. Experience will lend them to perfection.

Turn the heat off and add the half stick butter. Wait a few minutes, covered, before serving; or reheat the next day and serve.

Alternatively, you can cook the matzoh balls separately in boiling salted water. This has the advantages of allowing a shorter simmer on the veggies if you desire.

People will likely load up on the balls but you can always cook more and add to the soup. Enjoy!

* I’ve been told this soup is not kosher, then told it’s not kosher, by practicing Jews. So.

Spicy Dill Pickle Action

Turns out I’m getting heckled for my pickle recipe! These are tasty, beautiful, and a wonderful gift. For the pickle uninitiate, this is the “before” – because yes… you have to wait a while until you can eat them. But it’s worth it!


12 medium-sized pickling cucumbers
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh dill
1 whole jalapeño, sliced thinly as possible
8 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon whole allspice
1 1/2 teaspoons dill seed
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Wash and slice the cucumbers lengthwise. In a large bowl combine all ingredients. Stir, and let stand at room temperature for a couple hours so the sugar and salt dissolve and the cucumbers shrink slightly. Add cucumbers to jars, stuffing semi-tightly, and pour remaining ingredients over them. Refrigerate for 10 days before eating. Use within 1 month.

Kelly’s Crumpets

I just made these; they were so good I thought I should post a recipe right away. If you do not have access to or interest in fermented oats or coconut flour, go ahead and omit them. These aren’t so much fried as they are slow-cooked on the griddle.

September 17th, 2010

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2/3 cup warm milk
1 teaspoon sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup coconut flour (if you don’t use this, just use 1 cup total of the AP flour)
1/4 cup fermented oats
1/2 teaspoon salt
butter, ghee, or coconut oil for frying

In a mixing bowl whisk yeast, milk, and sugar. Whisk in the egg, melted butter, flours, oats, and salt. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Heat a griddle to 300 °F. Brush griddle and 3 inch metal rings – or open-topped metal cookie cutters, or clean tin cans – with butter, ghee, or coconut oil. Place rings on griddle and allow them to warm for a couple minutes. Ladle batter in until the molds are half-full (about 1/2″ – 3/4″ inch is ideal). Cook until bubbles begin to form (it may take ten minutes or so). Turn crumpets and remove molds (don’t burn your fingers!); cook a few minutes longer or until the second side is golden brown. Serve immediately or let cool to toast later.