Ukrainian soul food

Potato and cheese pierogies or varenykyin Ukrainian are the ultimate comfort food. Enveloped in a silky dough of sour cream filled with a variety of simple ingredients, varenyky are a dumpling from Ukraine in Eastern Europe that anyone can enjoy at home. In the United States and Ukraine, or wherever Ukrainian diaspora have created lasting communities, one of the most popular and traditional varenyky filling are caramelized onion, potato, and cheddar cheese.

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This recipe works well with any sharp cheddar available in grocery stores. For further fillings, use the dough recipe below and then complete a simple Google search for mixtures such as sauerkraut, farmer’s cheese, fresh cabbage, mushrooms, berries, plum, and apple.

Varenyky are traditionally consumed in late 19th and 20th-century Ukrainian tradition with sour cream, more hot butter, and caramelized onions.

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Varenyky require a lot of time on your feet, so be sure to set aside 3-4 hours total from the start of the dough and filling, to the boiling of the last varenyk. Approximation and trial/error are techniques that can easily be practice in this recipe.

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Questions? Leave a comment below ☺️ Happy cooking! 🍴🍴🍴

Varenyky

October 11, 2015

This distinctly Ukrainian dumpling recipe can be made absolutely any time of the year, with any type of filling.

  • 65 varenyky

Ingredients

  • 5 c flour
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 c melted butter
  • 1/2 c sour cream
  • 1 c or so  water not cold
  • 2 c grated cheddar
  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 6 onions, diced
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 12 medium yellow potatoes, peeled
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • chopped fresh dill (optional garnish)

Instructions

Dough

  1. Beat eggs lightly, mix with flour. Add (sufficiently cooled) butter then sour cream.
  2. Slowly add water in increments. Set in kneading machine on low setting for 5-7 minutes until dough forms. (If by hand, knead a few minutes longer). Dough should be silky upon completion, not as dense as bread dough. Set dough aside in refrigerator for use later.

Potato Filling

  1. Cook diced onions in a pan with 2 TBS butter until caramelized and lightly brown.
  2. Cut and boil peeled potatoes until done. Drain water and add butter, grated cheddar, half the caramelized onions, and salt & pepper. Cover with lid to melt. Then use a potato masher to combine, not whip, the mixture.

Assemble the varenyky

  1. Roll out a portion of the dough with flour above and beneath the dough to easily pull it up. Use the top of a glass at least 3" in diameter to cut out as many circles in your flattened dough as you can fit. Recombine discarded dough to roll out with a new batch later.
  2. Use a melon baller or small ice-cream scoop to portion even amounts of potato filling into a single dough circle. To make the dumpling, stretch out top and bottom of dough circle to create an oval, place scooped mixture in center, and then attach top and bottom pieces of dough to form a "half-moon" around the potato filling. Finish by pinching the dough closed very tightly from edge to edge. Fold in and pinch in corners. Seal tightly so that no dumplings open during boiling later.
  3. Bring half a large pot of water to boil. Boil varenyky for 8-10 minutes, or until they rise to the top and simmer in the rolling water for a few minutes. Continually top off water and keep it boiling as you cook each batch after punching and sealing, in sums of about a dozen.
  4. Serve freshly boiled with remaining caramelized onions and a new dollop of sour cream. Add fresh chopped dill on top as an optional garnish.
  5. To freeze: organize batches of cooled varenyky into freezer gallon bags. You can easily fit a dozen into a single bag. Freeze, and then reheat by boiling or frying to prepare and eat as if they were just freshly made.

Eggplant parmesan

Eggplant parmesan is a classic casserole dish in the United States. In this recipe, the bread crumbs used are Progresso Italian Style Bread Crumbs, and any seasoned or Italian flavored brand from the store will work.

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The oil used to fry and prepare the eggplant for the casserole is grapeseed oil. There are many other oils that have high smoke points depending on your budget.

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I am so thankful for our access to local, farm fresh produce in the Boston area. If you can’t make it to the farmer’s market, consider a local area CSA or pickup for great deals.

Visit localharvest.org to browse farmer’s market products via e-commerce, or find a local CSA membership program that you and your family or roommates can join.

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Eggplant Parmesan

August 16, 2015

Choose eggplants that have bright green stems and healthy, shiny skin for freshest taste. This dinner can easily be reheated and frozen for even more delicious leftovers anytime you need a quick, filling meal.

  • 45m
  • 45m
  • 1h 30m
  • 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 medium eggplants
  • 1 egg
  • 2 c milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 c italian bread crumbs
  • 2 c grapeseed oil
  • chopped fresh basil leaves (garnish)
  • 1 jar italian tomato sauce
  • 1 c shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 pkg mozzarella (sliced)
  • ground fresh black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Peel and slice eggplants into 3/4" sices. Beat egg and mix with milk and salt in a bowl for dipping. In another bowl, pour breadcrumbs.
  2. Dip each eggplant slice into the egg and milk mixture. Then, dip the slice into the breadcrumbs. Repeat this process for all eggplant slices and discard leftover milk, egg, and bread crumbs.
  3. Heat approximately 3 tablespoons oil in a cast iron skillet to medium. Once oil is hot, fill pan discs to fry. Flip after golden brown on each side. Set finished and fried eggplant slices on a plate or pan lined with paper towel for cooling.
  4. With completed fried eggplant, fill 9x13" pan with a bottom layer of tomato sauce, placing the eggplant on top in a single layer. Then, cover with tomato sauce again. Cover with half of parmesan cheese, and half of sliced mozzarella cheese. Place another layer of eggplant on top of the cheese layer, and cover that with tomato sauce. Repeat by covering with parmesan cheese, then the remaining sliced mozarella cheese.
  5. Cover with fresh ground pepper, and set to bake in a 350°F oven for 30-45 minutes, until bubbly. Garnish with fresh sliced basil to serve with a spatula.

12 of the most eclectic food blogging businesses on WordPress

The future of technology for food entrepreneurship and small businesses is a bright one. From $135 million funding rounds to innovative ways to generate revenue from recipe content, food is having a moment online.

At Simmer, we started with one of the easiest ways to achieve the unmet software needs of food businesses today with our recipe publishing plugin. Whether it’s rustic food styling and presentation or innovative cross-cultural fusion, food blogging is here to stay. Today you can find a food blog for nearly every kind of dietary preference or restriction, too. The selection has never been wider. To help you sift through the noise in the food blogging world, here’s a list of 13 of the most eclectic food blogs online today, with most focusing on vegan and vegetarian recipes on a plant based diet.

Each of these businesses are powered through WordPress, an open source website (including mobile) and app framework. Instagram is the preferred network and social media tool for culinary artists who want to generate strong community engagement with their recipe content, too.


What Clark Cooked

What Clark Cooked is a new recipe blog by Melissa Fairchild-Clark. Hailing originally from Brooklyn, NY, this chef now lives in the Bay Area after attending culinary school. Her recipes are focused on a wide variety of seasonal produce, and are fresh, rustic, and eclectic. Follow @mfairchildclark on Instagram  📷

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Continue reading 12 of the most eclectic food blogging businesses on WordPress

June strawberries & sweet treats

June’s fruitful bounty is one of the sweetest of the summer thanks to 🍓 strawberry season.

This vanilla cake base is exceptionally easy to prepare. When this cake is combined with fresh fruit like these strawberries befor going in the oven, it becomes a perfect, well-balanced sweet treat.

What are your favorite fruits to bake when in season?

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This is the exact 9″ pie plate photographed in this recipe. It’s held up over many years of continual baking and serving.

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Continue reading June strawberries & sweet treats

Zucchini fritters with lemon garlic white sauce

Meat isn’t just expensive and unhealthy if eaten nightly; it can complex and challenging to prepare, too! An abundance of summer zucchini around this time of year means this recipe is referenced often. ☀️

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Add in spices to personalize these fritters or substitute scallions instead of onions depending on your preference. This same recipe can also be used for potato pancakes, too: just use grated potato instead of zucchini.

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No fritter is complete without a dipping sauce, and ? This zesty white sauce is the perfect accompaniment to any type of savory dish.

I used grapeseed oil to fry these fritters because it has a high smoke point. You can also easily use vegetable oil, peanut oil, or coconut oil depending on what you prefer.

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Zucchini Fritters Frying in a Pan

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Zucchini Fritters

June 22, 2015

Fritters can be made 30 minutes ahead; keep warm in a 200°F oven. Fritters can also be frozen and reheated at 350°F for 8 minutes for up to 1 month.

  • 25m
  • 15m
  • 40m
  • 4 pancakes each

Ingredients

  • 1/3 c grapeseed oil or vegetable oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • 1 1/2 lb zucchini (about 3 medium or 2 large), grated

Instructions

  1. Place zucchini in a colander set in the sink and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Let stand 10 minutes, then press grated zucchini into edges of colander to expel remaining liquid.
  2. Place zucchini in a large bowl and gently mix in egg, flour, onions, and cornstarch. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Drop tablespoon fulls of zucchini mixture into skillet, flattening them as you go. As you scoop and place the mixture into the pan, be sure to keep the size of your fritters small so that they do not fall apart when you flip them. Smaller fritters are easier to store and re-heat in the oven later, too!
  4. Cook until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes per side.
  5. Transfer fritters to a paper towel-lined plate; season with salt. Serve with garlic lemon sour cream.

Nutrition

  • 4 people
  • 300
  • 4g

Garlic Lemon Sour Cream

June 22, 2015

This recipes makes a great white sauce for nearly any meat or savory vegetable dish.

  • 5m
  • 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 pinch dried dill
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 c sour cream

Instructions

  1. Mince or use a garlic press to combine garlic and sour cream.
  2. Squeeze juice from lemon, add salt and dried dill. Mix thoroughly and serve.