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Thanksgiving Leftovers Sandwich

December 1, 2013 1 comment
Thanksgiving Sandwich

Thanksgiving Sandwich

Thanksgiving Twenty-Thirteen has come and gone.  Unfortunately, the added pounds and leftovers did not go with the change of the calendar.  However, I’m here to help you with one of those problems. Sadly, you’ll have to deal with the pounds yourself.

Last year, I blogged about the Thanksgiving Burrito. That monster is a good way to rid yourself of those Thanksgiving goodies.

The Thanksgiving sandwich, for all intents and purposes, is the same as the burrito, only in sandwich form.  And for my money, its my personal favorite way to eat the Thanksgiving leftovers.

For one, fresh baked bread (homemade or from your local bakery) out weighs a tortilla any day of the week (unless of course you’re eating a mexican style burrito which would be extremely difficult to eat between two slices of bread.  Then again…..hmmmm….).

A burrito might be easier to eat, but I believe that a properly constructed sandwich allows all of the ingredients to meld together and I don’t think you can get the same thing when its rolled up.

And lastly, its grilled.  With butter!!!

Winner by majority decision, the sandwich. (although you can’t go wrong with either).

While I am providing a detailed recipe, please use it very loosely, but I do think the order you assemble it is important.

Also, if you don’t like cranberry sauce, feel free to omit, but it really is, in my opinion, the essence of this sandwich.

Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 slices of freshly baked bread (homestyle or sour dough work well
  • 2 teaspoons cranberry sauce
  • 1/4 cup stuffing/dressing
  • 1/4 cup mashed potatoes
  • A few slices of turkey (thinner is better) (white or dark – your preference)
  • 2 teaspoons turkey gravy

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat a cast iron (or non-stick skillet) over medium-low heat
  2. Butter one side of each slice of bread
  3. Spread 1 teaspoon of cranberry sauce on each slice of bread (the non-buttered side)
  4. Add 2 slices of turkey and top with a teaspoon of gravy (on top of the cranberry sauced piece of bread)
  5. Next, layer the stuffing and potatoes (I spread it as best I can)
  6. Top with the remaining teaspoon of gravy
  7. Top with the remaining turkey
  8. Top with the 2nd piece of bread (which should be already spread with cranberry sauce)
  9. Heat in cast iron pan until all ingredients are warmed through and bread is grilled to your liking
This is another sandwich, but wanted to show the cast iron)

This is another sandwich, but wanted to show the cast iron pan

Pierogi’s (or perogi, pierogy, perogy, pierógi, pyrohy, pirogi, or pyrogy)

May 7, 2012 7 comments
Homemade Pierogi's

Homemade Pierogi’s

Before I started to type this entry, I realized that sometimes I just don’t know the exact measurements that I need for certain recipes.  But the beauty of cooking is you don’t really need exact.  Its not baking, its cooking and sometimes you have to improvise.  That’s what makes it fun for me.  All ingredients listed below are a starting point, but you may to adjust based on how wet or dry the ingredients are. My apologies in advance if you don’t get it right the first time….but keep trying.  Trust me, mistakes in the kitchen happen and the only way to get better is to not give up.

So, not familiar with Pierogi’s?

A pierogi (spelled various ways) is Polish for “dumpling of unleavened dough” (or at least that’s what Wikipedia says they are) usually filled with something savory (but can be made sweet).  Before my mom passed, she probably made thousands of them.  She made them for family.  She made them for friends.  Heck, I’m convinced she made them for people she didn’t even know.  And they were GOOD.  Really, really good!  They are comfort food for me and  I describe a pierogi as a pillow of edible goodness.  Make them from scratch its like a pillowcase with a thousand thread count.

The first time I ever made them without Lucille at the helm was last year.  I was talking food with my buddy Sal and the subject came up. I told him I wanted to give it a shot.   Not having my mom’s recipe, I asked him to get a hold of the recipe that his mother-in-law used.  While the recipe below isn’t her’s exactly (I lost that one), I think it’ s very similar (and most pierogi recipe you find on the internet uses all of the same basic ingredients anyway).

Give it a try, they’re easy and can be filled with anything you can think of.  I’m working on a blue cheese, mushroom, bacon burger pierogi, that I’ll finish on the grill for a nice presentation.

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Ingredients

1 egg (lightly beaten)
2 cups of flour (plus extra based on humidity, plus even more for kneading and rolling)
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt (table salt will work, but try to use kosher)
1/2 cup of sour cream (don’t use fat free, but you could use light)
1/4 cup of softened unsalted butter (half of a stick) cut in to pieces
4 tablespoons of ice water (if necessary)
Plus ingredients to fill your pierogi’s (garlic mashed potatoes and cheese is popular – recipe follows)

In a large bowl, mix the flour with the salt, then pour in the beaten egg and mix gently with a wooden spoon or spatula.  Add the sour cream and butter and work the dough until it isn’t sticky (adding more flour if too wet or some of the ice water if too dry).  Be very careful not to over mix).  The finished dough shouldn’t be tacky but shouldn’t have too much flour either.
Once mixed, take the dough and wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes (or until your ready to use, even overnight).  Your dough ball should look something like this:

Wrapped dough ready for the fridge

Wrapped dough ready for the fridge

After 30 minutes, or when you’re ready, flour your work surface then unwrap the dough and cut in half (I find it easier to work in 2 smaller batches).  Wrap one half and place back in the fridge, put the other half on the work surface.  With a rolling pin, begin to roll the dough until desired thickness (about 1/16″)

*Notice how similar this is to making pasta — almost all of the same ingredients too.

Rolled pierogi dough

Rolled pierogi dough

Once the dough is rolled, you’ll want to cut it in to rounds (the size of a doughnut works best).  If you have a doughnut cutter, use it (don’t forget to remove the doughnut hole part).  I don’t have one so I use what my mom would sometimes use…the screw top of a mason jar (or a cup or glass works good too).  You should get about a bakers dozen of rounds when cut.  Take the unused dough and pack it together, roll that out and make another 4 or 5 rounds.  Place all of your rounds to the side (I put them on a cookie sheet out of the way)

Dough cut in to rounds

Dough cut in to rounds

Once you have your rounds cut, you can start to fill them.  I use a small scoop to get roughly same amount in each pierogi.  Place the filling in the center.

Filled and ready to fold

Filled and ready to fold

Once your rounds are filled, you’re ready to fold.  Take the top half and fold it over to the bottom half.  They should stick together but if not use a very small amount on your finger to help make a seal.  (I keep a bowl of water near by and dip my finger in if needed).  Once folder over, crimp with a fork.  I got 18 with one half of the dough.

Voila!

Voila!

Repeat with the other half  of the dough and remaining mixture.

At this point, the pierogi’s are ready to be cooked.

To cook, bring a pot of water to a boil, then add salt.  Drop the pierogi’s in the salted boiling water until they float (just a few minutes or longer if frozen.  Meanwhile, slice onions and begin to saute’ in a separate pan with melted butter.

When pierogi’s are done boiling, remove them with a slotted spoon (drained thoroughly) and place them in the pan with the butter and onions.  Cook on both sides to desired crispiness.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

However, if you are not ready to cook immediately, pierogi’s freeze very well.

To freeze, place the uncooked pierogi’s in a single layer on a baking sheet and pop the whole thing (uncovered) in to the freezer.  Freezing them this helps to ensure they don’t stick when you package them.
After about 30 minutes, take 6 pierogi’s (or a lesser portion size you like for future use) and put them in a sandwich bag.  Then take the filled sandwich bags and put those in a freezer bag and freeze for 2-3 months.

Garlic & Cheddar Mashed Potatoes Pierogi Filling (or just to eat as a side dish)

Ingredients:

4-6 russet potatoes (skin peeled)
1 or 2 cloves of garlic
4-6 oz. of shredded cheddar
1/2 cup of warm milk
2-3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cut potatoes in to same sized chunks, place in pot and cover with cold water.  Cook until fork tender.  Meanwhile, mince the garlic and shred the cheese.   When potatoes are cooked, drain complete.   Add in a large bowl with the garlic, butter, salt and pepper.  Add a little milk and begin to mash until desired consistancy (adding more milk as needed).  When mashed, mix in cheese and let cool complete.

Garlic and Cheddar Mashed Potatoes

Garlic and Cheddar Mashed Potatoes