Cheddar & Onion Pierogis

I'm not sure if there is anything more comforting then a big bowl of starchy goodness in the form of homemade pirogi. Add some sour cream and caramelized onions and you will slip into carb coma of contentment, or CCC as I fondly call it.

Well then, Lets Begin:

For the dough:

3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading and rolling
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons sour cream
3/4 to 1 cup water

For the insides:

1-1/2 lbs baking potatoes, peeled and cut into roughly 1 inch pieces
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic,
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 to 1 cup aged cheddar cheese
2 large onions
Salt and Pepper

I began by caramelizing the onions in 2 tbsp of the butter and a splash of water. I add just a bit of water, this helps the onion to cook evenly and become coated with the butter, by the time the water evaporates off the onions will already be translucent and ready to sweeten up! Once they look delicious to you remove from the heat and allow to cool.

At the same time I added the potatoes into pot of salted water and brought to a boil. Cook until fork tender and drain. Add the remaining ingredients except for the cheese and mash it all up! I like mine just a little chunky. Honestly, after I made this I almost didn't even make the wrappers. I almost ate them all as is. Next time I think I will do a double batch of just the filling!
The filling was pretty hot so I waited for it to cool before I added the cheese, I wanted more of a potato, onion and cheese rather then a cheesy-potato and onion.... if that makes any sense at all!

Next comes the dough. Honestly mix the wet ingredients together and slowly add in the flour until it forms a dough. Knead it until everything is just incorporated; the dough should be smooth and a little sticky. Wrap it in plastic wrap and allow it to chill out in the fridge for 20 - 30 minutes. This will allow it to rest, very important; and give your filling a chance to cool down before you handle it.

Once everything is nice and rested, take the dough out and beat the heck out of it! Just kidding, you will need to roll it out though. You may want to roll it out and then use a cutter to make them all nice and perfect but not me! I divided the dough into 8 equal sections and then continued to divide until they were the size that I liked. I like big rustic looking pierogi and made them as such. Here's a peek:

Looks like they are ready for a soak in a pot of boiling water. Once they float to the top allow them to cook for another 2 - 4 minutes depending on how large yours are. From here I plop them down into a hot skillet with butter and let them get nice and crispy. Top with additional sauteed onions and a little sour cream and you are ready for a CCC! Enjoy!

These fed two of us for 2 dinners and I wish I had've made more to put in the freezer. Don't be scared to double or even triple a batch!


Dulce De Leche Liqueur

In the last post I showed you how the Dulce De Leche caramel complimented a cappuccino cheesecake so I decided to keep going on that theme. I created a Mexican version of an Irish classic.

Here we have Mexican Cream! A Dulce de Leche Liqueur.

It was really simple too! And can be enjoyed in Coffee or as we did as shots at a Cinco de Mayo celebration. All you need to do is get out your blender and add 1 can of Dulce de Leche, 1 cup of cream, and 1/2 cup - 1 cup of Rum. I know you are thinking it should be Tequila, and if you want go right ahead, I just prefer my Tequila straight up,  I don't like to mix it with anything other then lime juice! If that! Blend this until it is combined. I would also suggest that you start with 1/2 Cup of Rum, give it a taste and add more to suite your tastes. I like it sweet and creamy, and I ended up starting off with lots of Rum and I had to keep adding cream and caramel until I like the way it taste. I suggest you do it the other way around!

Creamy Cappuccino Cheesecake

This is serious YUM! I know I've been on a bit of a sweet kick lately which is a little unlike me, I do love sweets but usually me and my sweet can't get through a whole cake or pie etc. But let me tell you, this cheesecake did not last long around our house!

And its no wonder why just look at this delicious confection!

Lets get just a little closer!

  Is that? Did she really? No she didn't! 
Oh Yes! I did! That is Dulce de Leche swirled about!

Here is the recipe

  • 20 graham cracker cookies, crushed
  • 5 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp espresso powder
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 4 teaspoons espresso powder powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla 
  • 3 tbsp Kahlua
  • 4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 can dulce de leche
Dulce de Leche
  •  1 can of sweetened condensed milk

First start by making the Dulce de leche by cracking the can slightly open and  adding it to a small pot with water about 2/3 of the way up.

Bring to a boil and let it go for about 1 & 1/2 hours. You will need to top up the water as it will evaporate so keep an eye on it. Let it cool, crack the lid the rest of the way off and Voila!
Dulce de Leche! You can use this in soo many ways, as simply as dipping apple wedges into it for a caramel apple treat or for a Mexican Baileys liqueur that I will show you soon, or for our purposes the fabulous surprise in a cappuccino cheesecake. This will give the Starbucks Carmel Frap a run for its money!

So anyways....
Mix all of the ingredients for the crust together, grab a handful and make sure that it is sticking together, it should hold its shape, but it is ok if it cracks a little, as long as you know it is going to hold together. Spread evenly into the bottom and sides of a spring form pan (This is a Must for cheesecake making!) And bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Allow to cool while you get onto the filling. Because we all know that a crust is nothing without its filling!

Now onto the creamy goodness:
In a small bowl combine the cream, vanilla, Kahlua and espresso powder. This will help to distribute the espresso powder evenly. I wanted to see the flecks and it is ground so finely that they don't create any sort of textural difference, just add a visual affect, plus you know me! I like the real thing! No instant powders for moi! In a separate and I advise a quite large bowl beat the cream cheese until it is fluffy, incorporate the sugar and then add the eggs one at a time. Slowly add the flour, then add in the cream and Kahlua mixture. Combine until it is one big mess of goodness and slowly pour into the crust.
Remember the dulce de leche? How could you forget, pour it into a swirl around the pan if you can. (If it is warm it should pour alright, I had to use a spoon to coerce it, then the heat had its way with it so it turned out as you saw in the picture above.
Bake for about 1 hour or until the sides start to pull away and the top is brown. If you can avoid it cracking let me know your trick!

Also I added a pan of water in the bottom of the oven to create moisture, I'm sure I just left it in a little to long and that is why it cracked, it did turn out to be very golden! perhaps a little too golden.... whoops... it was still oh so good!

Kale Chips

I had planned a yummy Cinco de Mayo post... but was to late, and while I will share with you the most delicious fish tacos right now I must share something else.

What is is that I am so amazed by...

Kale Chips!

I know! I thought 'Oh, those would make a really good healthy snack' and by healthy I was meaning 'not that great' but honestly I can't make these things fast enough. I made one bunch and had eaten the whole thing before I even took a picture. Then I made a second bunch and I had enough time to take a few pictures, but then I ate them all! I ate 2 bunches of Kale and thought 'wow what a good way to get your greens'

They do wilt down a little, but they get so crispy! And that deep green flavor adds something that a regular potato chip just can't compare too, while being so subtle and satisfying. I have seen these fluttering about the Internet for some time, and now I only wish that I had have tried them right away!

Here's the directions:

Cut the inner stems out of a bunch of Kale and cut them into chip size pieces. Wash and dry well. Lay the pieces on a baking sheet evenly. Drizzle with Olive Oil and sprinkle with Salt and Pepper. Massage it all into the little crevices and then make sure it is laid out evenly (They will get crisper if they are not touching). I baked these in the oven for about 20 minutes. It all depends on the size of the chips so keep an eye on them. You want them to get crisp without being to brown.

I think I will try them out in the dehydrator to preserve nutrients.... but honestly I ate them so fast it might take to long!