How to: Make your own Short-Cut Pierogi with Potato and Caramelized Onion

I love a good kitchen shortcut.

Especially one that makes traditional pierogi so light and delicate, I can eat twice as many.

Guys. TWICE as many!

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The secret is pre-made wonton wrappers. If you’ve ever made real-deal pierogi, you’d know preparing, rolling and cutting the dough is at least half the battle.

The circular wonton wrappers look a bit more pierogi-like, but i couldn’t find them so triangle pierogi it is. Shockingly, they taste the same. ;p

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This recipe is lightly adapted from one of my favourite cookbooks – Bonnie Stern’s Friday Night Dinners. If I haven’t mentioned I love Bonnie Stern before, I will now. I love her. There.  She writes a terrific column in the National Post and I just love her food vibe. She uses fresh, often seasonal, high quality ingredients and simple cooking techniques to make her recipes just shine. Bright like a diamond.

These pierogi are a perfect example.  The humble potato and onion are transformed into perfect little pockets of savoury, sweet and smokey.

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The photo above is meant to show you my tear-free onion chopping technique! Set your chopping board up next the stove, turn on the exhaust fan, turn on a burner (no need to be cooking anything) and chop those babies to your heart’s content.  The heat and exhaust fan will draw away all of the offending fumes and your eyes will remain clear and bright throughout dinner prep! Booya.

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Speaking of onions. Caramelizing them is just the bee’s knees isn’t it? Sometimes I’ll take a bag of onions and caramelize them on the weekend with nothing in particular planned for them.  I’ll use them throughout the week in sandwiches, salads, pastas, on pizza or whatever calls for a little extra some’n some’n. They make these pierogi.

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Yukon gold potatoes have a beautiful, smooth buttery texture.  I used a large whisk to ‘mash’ them.

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Once you have a nice little work station prepped, you’ll be done in no time.

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Type-A much?

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Enjoy these.  They’re a damn delight.

Erin

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Short-cut Pierogi

Ingredients

  • 1 ½lb yukon gold potatoes (peeled and cut into chunks)
  • 6 Small onions (peeled and sliced)
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt (divided)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 Large egg
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • Approximately 50wonton wrappers (400g package)

Directions

1. In a medium saucepan, cover potatoes in cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to simmer and cook for 30 minutes until very tender.
2. Meanwhile, in a deep skillet, heat canola oil over medium high heat. Add onions and ½ tsp salt. Stir occasionally as onions start to brown, scraping any brown bits off bottom of skillet as you go. If pan is dry, add 1 Tbsp water at a time. Cook for 20-25 minutes until onions are a deep brown colour.
3. Remove ½ cup browned onions from skillet and chop. Drain potatoes well and mash along with onions, butter, egg, remaining salt and pepper.
4. On a clean, dry surface lay out wonton wrappers (10-12 at a time; cover remaining ones with a slightly damp cloth while you work). Place 1½ tsp of potato filling in the centre of each wrapper. Dab a little water around edge of each wrapper and fold over to make a triangle. Press edges together to seal them. Transfer to parchment lined baking sheet. At this point, you can freeze them if desired.
Allow them to freeze on baking sheet and transfer to a freezer bag once frozen.
5. To cook pierogi, bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook in 2 batches for 4-5 minutes. In a separate skillet, reheat remaining onions. Transfer boiled, drained pierogi to skillet and toss gently to combine. Serve over your favourite baby greens alongside sour cream or greek yogurt.

How to: Recipe Makeover – Grilled Potato Poutine with Mushroom Gravy

IMG_5516I’m not even sure where to start.  I am without words.

Ok, one word.

Poutine (drops mic, walks off stage)

IMG_5437This one’s killer, guys.

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It’s potato salad season and I’ve been looking for something new and cutting-edge. A real crowd pleaser.

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Things that please crowds:

  • Gravy
  • Cheese
  • Grill marks

This, I can work with.

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This gravy recipe is out of this world.  I’m going to make it and put it on everything from now until forever, amen.

It’s super complex and ‘meaty’ with the perfect amount of sweetness and acid from the balsamic vinegar.  A perfect complement to the cheese curds.

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And yes, fries are traditional.  I’m telling you though, the grilled potatoes…boomshalaka. Also, there’s the improved healthiness factor. So, bonus.

IMG_5464This can be served on individual plates as a side, or even as a meal with a little side salad.  It’s super impressive on a big platter served family style too.  You’ll want to make sure no one else is bringing potato salad if this is for a potluck, lest you shame them from the party.

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Holy cannoli that looks awesome.

Erin

Grilled Potato Poutine with Mushroom Gravy

Serves 4-6
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 45 minutes
Website Gravy adapted from Epicurious.com

Ingredients

  • 1 ½lb new potatoes (halved or quartered into 1 inch pieces)
  • 1 bunch green onion (washed)
  • 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil (divided)
  • salt & pepper
  • 200g cheese curds

Gravy

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1lb cremini mushrooms (or a combination of any other varieties)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Directions

1. Preheat barbecue to medium-high, about 350F.
Toss potatoes in 1½ Tbsp of oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss green onion with remaining oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. Transfer potatoes to a grilling basket or wrap in aluminum foil. Place on indirect heat on the grill. Place green onion on direct heat and grill for about 2 minutes, flipping once, until slightly softened and charred. Remove onions, cool slightly and slice.
Close barbecue and continue to cook potatoes for 20-25 minutes on indirect heat, stirring once halfway through.
Move potatoes over to direct heat (if you're using aluminum foil and you want a grilled flavour, put potatoes directly onto grill). Continue cooking over direct heat for additional 10 minutes, stirring/flipping potatoes every minute or two for even grilling.
3. While potatoes are cooking, in a 10" heavy bottom skillet heat butter over medium heat. Add onions, cook for 3-4 minute until soft. Add garlic and cook for 1 additional minute.
4. Add mushrooms and soy sauce. Cook over medium-high heat until all liquid is evaporated and mushrooms begin to brown, about 7-9 minutes. Add broth and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil and simmer until most of the liquid is evaporated.
5. Add corn starch to cold water, stir until completely dissolved and add slowly to mushrooms. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 1-2 minutes until gravy consistency reached. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
6. Top warm grilled potatoes with cheese curds, hot gravy and green onions. Serve immediately.

How to: Recipe Makeover – Corn and Cheddar Chowder

 

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I’m kind of on the edge of a nervous breakdown.

This winter is killing me and I’m down to exactly zero patience with bundling up for subzero  temps.

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Thankfully, tucking in to a bowl of the this chowder has temporarily pulled me back from the brink.

It’s a little bit of summer in a bowl.

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I’ve cooked up the original recipe for this chowder by Ina Garten a few times and while it’s insanely delicious, it is not insanely (or even remotely) healthy.

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Here I’ve tweaked it to drastically reduce the amount of fat by cutting out the bacon (and it’s rendered fat), halving the butter and cheese and replacing the half & half with 2% evaporated milk.

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I cross my heart it still tastes luxurious though.

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Enjoy,

Erin

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Corn and Cheddar Chowder

Serves 5-6
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 25 minutes
Total time 40 minutes
Website Adapted from Ina Garten's Cheddar Corn Chowder

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 Medium yellow onion (finely chopped)
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon tumeric
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 Medium yellow or white potatoes (about 3 cups, diced)
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 4 cups frozen or fresh corn kernels
  • 340 mL can 2% evaporated milk
  • 1 cup finely grated old cheddar cheese
  • additional salt and pepper to taste
  • chopped parsley or chives for garnish

Directions

1. Heat butter and canola oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 7-8 minutes until translucent.
2. Add flour, turmeric and pepper and sauté for an additional minute.
3. Add chicken broth and potatoes and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer for about 15 minutes until potatoes are tender.
4. Add corn, evaporated milk and cheddar and cook for another 2 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted.
5. Season with additional s&p as needed and garnish with parsley or chives.

How to: Make Ahead Meal – Niçoise Salad

When this year’s feast is finally over, this may be the most perfect post-holiday meal there is.

Fresh and light yet still satisfying enough to keep that craving for a triple decker turkey/stuffing/cranberry sauce sandwich at bay.

Unless of course there’s gravy involved. In which case, game over.

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I haven’t a clue if this would qualify as a ‘classic’ niçoise salad but these are the ingredients I typically see when I find one on a menu or when I’m perusing Food Gawker.

When choosing a canned tuna my preference is to go for a sustainable option (MSC certified). The only one I know of available in Ontario for an affordable price is the President’s Choice albacore tuna packed in water.

To learn about the importance of making sustainable seafood choices and to find sustainable options near you, click here.

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While I feel good about my choice from an environmental perspective, there is also health to consider.

Albacore tuna are a large variety of tuna and therefore contain a higher concentration of mercury than ‘light’ tuna such as skip jack or yellowfin.  Health Canada recommends limiting intake of high mercury fish, especially for children and women of child bearing age.

My solution is to limit the canned tuna we buy to a few times per month which would fall well below the recommended limit of 2 cans per week.

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This salad is a great option for lunch, brunch or a light dinner and can be prepared well in advance and stored in the fridge.  Keep the dressing on the side and drizzle over everything just before serving.

Niçoise Salad

Serves 4
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 5 minutes
Total time 25 minutes

Ingredients

Salad

  • 1 can water packed tuna, drained (if possible, a sustainable option)
  • 8 mini red or white potatoes (about 1.5 - 2 inches in diameter)
  • 1 large handful of fresh green beans (trimmed)
  • 1 head bib or boston lettuce (whatever you like will work just dandy though - washed and chopped)
  • 2 - 4 large eggs (hard cooked)
  • 1.5 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 12 kalamata olives

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup wine white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Medium shallot (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon liquid honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea or kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Note

For perfect hard cooked eggs, see our post on that very topic HERE!

Directions

1. In a pot with a steaming basket, bring water to a boil and steam potatoes for 10 minutes until just cooked through. They can also be boiled. Remove from heat, allow to cool before slicing each one in two.
2. Meanwhile in a medium pot, bring water to a boil over high heat. Drop green beans into boiling water and cook for 1.5 - 2 minutes. Strain and plunge immediately into ice water to stop the cooking.
3. Prepare the salad by arranging each of the ingredients in rows on a large plate or platter.
4. Prepare the dressing by combing all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisking thoroughly.
5. Drizzle the dressing over top of the salad ingredients. Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve family-style.

With only one week left until Christmas I want to wish you all a happy, healthy and most importantly delicious holiday season!

Erin

How to: Potato Salad

I’m certain I was Irish in a previous life. And if I do finally manage to take that trip out to the east coast, when I set foot on PEI, there’s an excellent chance I won’t come home.

Advantage: potato. My most favourite starch.

This time of year, new potatoes abound at farmers’ markets.  I can’t seem to get enough of the delicate papery skins and sweet tender flesh.  While I love eating them simply steamed with butter, s&p, I also find these are the very best potato salad potatoes.

Not your gloppy square plastic container potato salad though.  I like to taste genuine potato flavour in my potato salads. Go figure.

These two recipes are light and summery, and most importantly – potato-y.

I’ve made this first recipe about a dozen times – always a potluck hit.

Warm New Potato Salad with Whole Grain Mustard Vinaigrette

Serves 4
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 20 minutes
Website Adapted from Epicurious/ Gourmet

Ingredients

  • 2lb new potatoes (about 15-20 or 1-1.5)
  • 1 shallot (minced)
  • 1.5 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons parsley (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 freshly ground black pepper

Directions

1. Wash potatoes thoroughly
2. In a large pot, bring 1" of salted water to a boil
3. Add potatoes, reduce heat to medium and cover pot
4. Simmer for 8-10 minutes, until a sharp knife poke can barely reach the centre of the potatoes
5. Remove from heat, drain water and allow to cool until comfortable to touch (I often pre-steam the potatoes the day before, so I can throw the salad together in minutes when it's game time. The potatoes can be warmed in the microwave)
6. Slice each potato in half
7. Whisk together remainder of ingredients in a small bowl
8. Toss warm potatoes with vinaigrette before serving

 

This one is a little more work, but the summer flavour of smokey BBQ goodness with a ton of fresh herbs is irresistible

Grilled Summer New Potato Salad

Serves 6
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 35 minutes
Website Adapted from My Recipes/ Cooking Light

Ingredients

  • 2lb new potatoes (about 15-20, 1-1.5 inch potatoes )
  • 3/4 cups cooked sweet corn (fresh grilled is amazing, but frozen heated would work just fine)
  • 1/2 Large red onion (sliced into 1/2 inch rounds)
  • 1 red bell pepper (halved and seeded)
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh basil (finely chopped)
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh chives (finely chopped)
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh parsley (finely chopped)
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided (use 1 Tbsp for grilling)
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Note

Grilling fresh corn on the cob is dynamite in this recipe.  It's worth the extra prep time in my opinion.  Here's how.

Directions

1. In a large pot, bring 1" of salted water to a boil
2. Add potatoes, cover and reduce heat to medium
3. Cook potatoes for 6 minutes. Potatoes will be slightly undercooked
4. Slice each potato in half when cool enough to handle
5. Brush potatoes, red pepper, onion with olive oil and grill over medium heat - about 5 minutes per side.
6. Allow veggies to cool, slice pepper and onion
7. Combine remainder of ingredients in a small bowl
8. When potatoes and veggies are still warm, toss with vinaigrette

Potato, potahto. Let’s call the whole thing off. Except don’t do that, because you should seriously make these. 😉

Erin