Le Boulangerie (3) Pierogi

Le Boulangerie (3) Pierogi

To accompany my novel in progress: Breaking Bread, welcome to Le Boulangerie!

Week three and I’m already sort of going off script. Pierogi are not baked but they are made of dough so…. And I have a good reason for featuring them this week: Pittsburgh. (And don’t be confused, I am from Philadelphia, not Pittsburgh.) For those of you outside the United States and those who pay zero attention to sports, here’s the connection: I am a Pittsburgh Steelers football fan. (Steelers fan in Eagles territory…) The Steelers are in the playoffs. This Sunday they played and won their game against the Kansas City Chiefs in what can only be described as an ugly win. Nevertheless, the playoffs demand a party and a party demands food and drink.

Any city like Pittsburgh with a vibrant Polish and Eastern European community, will certainly be known for the foods of that ethnic origin–pierogi, for example. Pierogi are pockets of dough filled with a variety of ingredients. A traditional pierogi is most often filled with a combination of potatoes and cheese, potatoes and onions or cabbage. In honor of the Steelers, my friend Alexandra, armed with her Ukrainian grandma’s recipe, agreed to show us how to make pierogi from scratch on Sunday afternoon. I feel an annual tradition starting…

Now, right at the beginning I have to warn you, this was neither quick nor easy but it was so totally worth it. The key to this entire process as you might imagine is the dough:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of whole milk, scalded
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon of active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 6 – 7 cups of flour

Method:

Scald milk in saucepan. Put butter in hot milk to melt. Allow to cool for a few minutes. Mix water and yeast in a separate bowl. Let rest 5 minutes. Add salt and egg to milk mixture. Combine thoroughly. Gradually add flour in with mixer. As dough thickens, knead by hand instead (or switch to dough hook if using a stand mixer). Cover bowl with cloth and allow dough to rise about an hour.

Then the dough gets rolled out to about an eighth inch thickness and cut into rounds:

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When the rounds are ready, it’s time to fill them. Ours were stuffed with mashed Yukon gold potatoes, cheddar cheese, green onion and bacon. Fold the round over the stuffing mixture, seal with egg wash and use the tines of a fork to crimp the edges.

The filled pierogi go into a pot of boiling, salted water for a few minutes and then into a pan for frying in butter to a light golden brown.

And no Ukrainian or Polish meal would be complete without kielbasa, img_5004purchased at a butcher shop in northeastern Pennsylvania (coal mining country) another area with a large Eastern European community. We’re calling Pierogi fest 2017 a huge success!

And did I mention the Steelers won? Yeah, that too!

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Breathe Out

Breathe Out

“Breathe out, so I can breathe you in.” Dave Grohl – Everlong

I see him across the room, talking to his friends. I can’t help but stare, he’s breathtakingly handsome. He must feel my eyes on him because he turns, flashes me a wicked grin and says something to the man standing next to him. I close my eyes and take a gulp of my drink, forgetting that I’ve ordered a straight whiskey. I cough from the burn when I swallow too fast. Breathe out.

Suddenly he’s next to me, still smiling. Now I’m embarrassed. He asks me to dance and before I can reply, he takes the tumbler and sets it on a nearby table. His arm goes to the center of my back, to the spot where my evening gown reveals bare flesh. His fingers are warm as they rest softly against my skin. Breathe in. He smells divine. It’s a subtle scent, clean and manly. I rest one hand on his shoulder as he grasps the other one in his and pulls me to the center of the dance floor.  

The lights are low and the other couples around us sway to the romantic ballad. I look into his eyes and see the heat in them. Thank God for the low lighting because I feel myself flush. As the song plays on, he holds me tighter. Our faces nearly touch. His breath is warm against my mouth, his lips close to mine. The fingers on my bare back slowly caress. My heart is hammering in my chest and I’m sure he must know how he’s affecting me. Breathe out.

He moves us to the perimeter of the crowd of swaying bodies as the song ends. Without a word, he draws me out onto the veranda and circles me in his arms. We are alone in the cool, night air and I shiver involuntarily. He gently frames my face with his hands and searches my eyes. “You’re so beautiful,” he murmurs as he lowers his lips to mine. His thumbs caress my jawline as he nibbles and sips. He teases with his tongue, tasting like red wine and I moan softly as he deepens the kiss. When we break apart breathless, I say, “If everything could ever feel this real forever…”

Breathe in. I open my eyes and stare across the room again. He’s still standing there with his friends, laughing at something one of them said. I throw back the rest of my whiskey and fan myself. If anything could ever be that good again…

Writer’s Words

Writer’s Words

That photo is of WB Yeats’ desk at Thoor Ballylee.

I’ve had a difficult week. I’ve been under a lot of pressure both personally and professionally (and when I say professionally, I mean my writing).  The weekend is bringing some positivity, by way of my dear friends and some much needed fun and games. Neverthelesss, my WIP is never far from my mind. The next week I hope to have the fog lifted, the cobwebs cleared and the Muse whispering to me again. (Hear that James? I’m counting on you…)

In the meantime, when I can’t write, I sometimes read about writing and writers. I found these quotes in my travels and figured I’d share. Profound truths in an economy of words:

Poets Speak: Meg Sorick

Three of my poetry readings, gathered in one spot. Thank you, Rob!

Just Ruminating

Welcome to Poets Speak. A feature dedicated to poets performing their poetry in an audio medium. I simply LOVE that we can hear our poets bringing their poetry alive!

I have also created a brand new soundcloud account for justruminating. Here I will be posting all the Poet SpeaksPoets, as well as meditation audio, chillout ambient audio and who knows what else. Check it out HERE, and be sure to follow!

If you would like your readings to be included, simply visit the new Poets Speak Page, and fill in the submission form.

Here is our very own Dr. Meg Sorick with three of her wonderful readings.

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