Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sauerkraut and Potato Cheddar Pierogi

Today is January 25th and it is a day to be celebrated!!  I got to call my Dad for his birthday!! In August, that was something that I feared would never happen again.

This is the reason that you have not heard from me in a while. As you know, I started this blog in a time that I was going through some hard issues. I have blogged through the separation of my marriage, my divorce and all the heartache that comes with separating that life. I have blogged through finding new love and all the greatness and adoration that goes with that. You have seen me in my highs, my lows and my appreciation of multiple people in my life. I have held little back!! That was the reason for starting this blog. From the very beginning, I have said that cooking is my therapy and MY LOVE begins in the kitchen. This blog has been an outlet for me to speak in times when I needed to get thoughts out and until this time, I have not had any problems with that.

 I have learned to realize that a lot of people don't deal with feeling and emotions well and can not express to others what they want and need. I see this daily with my patients who hold things in until their problems express themselves physically and this lack of feelings has been a problem in the relationships of my past. I have worked diligently to be able to say what I feel when it is pertinent, but, nothing has stopped me in my emotional tracks like this August.

This August my family experienced an event that shook who we were. With out much detail, my Dad became incredibly sick very suddenly and was hospitalized for a significant time. The details are not important and quite honestly too much for me to talk about. But since that time, I have not been the same person. None of us have! In just a few days in August, everything changed for me. Since August, we, as a family have been collectively holding our breath... waiting, hoping, praying and whatever else it took! I have learned there is one thing that happens when you hold your breath. You lose passion and desire to do anything... but wait and hope. That is where I have been. Kind of suspended in time... waiting! I am afraid when my phone rings. I am worried when it doesn't. A lot has happened since August. And most of it I have had little influence on nor have I had the power to create (which I hate to say.) Time has passed, for me relationships have been lost and we are still taking it day by day. I am in no way saying that this struggle has been mine alone. My Dad has had the biggest fight and once again in his life has come out strong, but we have all taken some burden in this ordeal.

In some ways, this past month has been healing for me. I feel like I have rejoined a part of my life. Since I live a far distance away, I was able to take a breath in this situation when I got to spend an extended Christmas holiday at home. It was so empowering to see the progress firsthand. It was good to talk and appreciate and love the people most important in life- family.  It was good to just be present in someone else's life who has done so much for me. There are things that will never be the same and I am careful to not say some things will be better, because we don't really know yet. But there are some things in life that will just be and how you deal with them will determine your character. If there is nothing else I have learned from him; that is it. We can't control everything, we can't change fate but we can deal with in the most powerful way we know.

Today on my Dad's birthday, I celebrate him and everything he has taught me. I appreciate all the times he stood by me and hope in some way, I have supported him in this past few months. And lastly, I hope he knows I am proud of him. He has come back to us in a way we never would have imagined and has shown us again what strength is.

Sauerkraut and Potato Cheddar Pierogi

This recipe, I actually made last year about this time. For whatever reason, it got pushed into the archives of "soon to be published recipes." Well, with this story, I think it shines. I have not been cooking much, other than to keep myself nourished. I have not baked for any holiday and I have not made anything noteworthy. I really felt like I just couldn't.  

As I said, I made this recipe last year. My Dad and I love homemade pierogi and I made them for us. I took some to their home in PA after I made them and they were a hit. 


3 cups of flour
4 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups sour cream (full fat needed)
1/4 tsp. salt

Put flour and salt in a bowl. Make a well in the center and add the egg yolks and the sour cream. Knead all ingredients until the flour is mixed into the dough. On a floured board, divide the dough into thirds. Take 1/3 of the dough and roll it out to a thickness of 1/8 of an inch. Cut into circles using a large mug or a pierogi cutter. Fill centers of the circles with 1 heaping teaspoonful of desired filling (see below.) Fold dough over filling and pinch ends closed to seal well. If you do not close completely, when you boil them the filling will come out. Let pierogi dry on parchment or floured wax paper for at least 1 hour before boiling. At this point pierogi can be frozen on the wax paper lined baking sheets. Make sure they are in one single layer. After they are frozen they can be placed in ziptop bags for storage.
If you wish to cook them immediately, let them dry for 1 hour. You will need to bring a large pot of water to boiling. When it is at a rolling boil, add the pierogi. Boil them for 10-12 minutes; stirring carefully if needed. When pierogi float to the top they are done. Drain. While the pierogi are boiling, sauté chopped onion in butter. Get butter very hot and place the pierogi in the butter. Turn pierogi once allowing them to brown slightly on each side (about 2 minutes per side.)

Potato and Cheese Filling
4-5 russet potatoes
1 cup mild cheddar cheese, shredded
salt and pepper to taste
Peel the potatoes. Cut the potatoes and boil in water until tender (like you would for mashed potatoes.) Drain. In a large mixing bowl mash potatoes as you always would. Add the cheddar cheese; mixing thoroughly. Allow to cool before you use to fill the pierogi.

Sauerkraut Filling
1 large can sauerkraut
1 large onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Cook sauerkraut in a large skillet for 10 minutes. Saute onion in butter. Drain sauerkraut well. Add to sauteed onions and mix thoroughly. Allow to cool before you use to fill the pierogi.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dad read this and it was very emotional for him. He and I had tried to talk about this on Saturday and we had gotten very tearful. August events haunt us daily, but he is pushing forward...I need to follow his example, but it is difficult. Thanks Rebecca, you said a lot of what we all feel.

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