- Archive for the ‘Sweet’ Category -

Vegan Vixen

Jan
8

Sometimes you just need a little help from friends. Even though it has been a while since I last asked friends for their suggestions for their perogies ideas, there has been one idea that has stuck with me and I finally got around to getting it started. A co-worker of mine suggested a recipe that included a plum wine sauce so I began brainstorming a recipe.

Helen is a hard working nurse and also graces the local theatre stages. She is part of the ensemble The Janes. I have had the opportunity to see Helen in a play a while ago and was really impressed by her talent. Not only do you get a glimpse into a co- worker’s life outside of work but you are supporting local artists. I hope to see more of her work! The plum wine sauce she suggested conjured up images of darkness, the colour purple, smoothness of velvet, and warmth. Helen herself has dark features, is smart, has a killer sense of humour, super cheeky, and has a strong knit relationship with her co-workers. To fuel all her energy is a strict vegan diet, therefore this recipe will be vegan friendly.

So I set off on cooking up a plum wine sauce first.  I had left over blue plums from the summer, harvested and delivered by my Mom’s acquaintance who has a property in British Columbia’s interior. I knew I was getting lovely organic goodness! In my family, I am the only one who savours the raw fruit. I just can’t handle 20 lbs worth all on my own. So baked apple plum crumbles became a staple autumn treat for us. But luckily I had some left over to use for this recipe.

I started by slowly cooking down the fruit in a little water. I used just enough plums to cover the base of a medium sized sauce pan. I added half a cup of water and set it to a medium heat.

Frozen, ready to feel the heat!

Frozen, ready to feel the heat!

The fruit began to change colour from a deep purple blue to a warmer deep purple and the sweet scent released was divine!

 

The "sauce"

The “sauce”

 

I then lowered the temperature to a simmer, added 1/2 cup of port wine and a 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger. I did not want to overpower the sauce with a spice like cinnamon, but thought the ginger would give a little flavour and heat. The port wine was a gift good friends brought with them to our place on New Years Eve. It was a 10 year old bottle, very sweet and luckily I had just enough left over to add to the sauce.

After about 20 minutes, the whole concoction had reduced to just under half. I then added 1 tablespoon of dark maple syrup to add a little more sweetness. Perfect.

I strained the sauce, pushing through as much as I could, leaving behind only pulp. As the sauce cooled, it did slightly thicken, enough so to lightly coat a spoon.

Finished product!

Finished product!

When tasting the cooled sauce, I initially sensed wild rose, then the plum, followed by the port and ginger.  I think this sauce will pair well with vegan apple crumble perogy, and non vegan options would potentially include a ricotta with chocolate filling. It’s hard work, but somebody’s gotta do it.

Please stay tuned!

A hearty perogy

Jun
18

 

In our "backyard" - Fish Creek Park

 

This is a much delayed entry, originally started in January of this year. Better late than never!

This is a vegan friendly recipe in that it does not contain any eggs nor dairy products in the dough recipe, nor in the filling. This recipe was inspired by a friend of ours who is a strict vegan and has been for nearly two decades. He was visiting us last summer and at times it was challenging to either cook a vegan friendly meal or look for restaurants that would accommodate this diet. However, the search proved to be enlightening and fun, discovering either new ingredients or replacements and discovering restaurants to experience. By the way, the Buddha’s Veggie vegan friendly dry-ribs are deee-licous!

Flax seed gel is what replaces the egg and I first came across it in a recipe book entitled Health by Chocolate by Victoria Laine. I used her recipe for the flax gel and the dough turned out so soft and so easy to work with! Not too sticky and not too dry or tough. Just right. Definetely a little grainier when cooked but I did roll out the dough a little thinner so as not to have too thick and heavy dough but still strong enough to hold the contents inside.

The filling was fruit of my labour. Last summer I had a chance to visit and take part in some u-pickin’ at The Saskatoon Berry Farm south of Calgary. The  further we got into the orchard, the bigger and juicier the berries got! I am still using the berries to this day for various recipes! Definitely will return this July/August for some more scrumptious berries.

No pics to share but the recipe is easy to follow and make!

Vegan Perogy Dough:

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • flax gel (replaces one egg): 1 tbsp ground flax seed mixed in 3 tbsp. warm water
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tbsp. oil (use canola, safflower, sunflower or vegetable oil. Olive oil can have too strong a flavour for the dough)
Saskatoon Berry filling
  • 3 cups saskatoon berries
  • 1 tbsp cane sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla seeds or 1/2 tsp. vanilla seed paste
1. Mix the flax seed and water together; let sit for 10 minutes to soften. Then use a whisk or fork to beat the mixture until becomes lighter in colour and smooth.
2. Wash and dry the berries. Mix all berry filling ingredients and let sit while you prepare the dough, gently stirring every so often. Can also be prepared night before.
3. Place flour and salt in large bowl.
4. Mix water, oil and flax seed gel together. Add to flour mix.
5. Work with hands or mixer to make dough.
6. Turn out on floured surface and knead lightly until you get a soft dough. Let rest 10 minutes.
7. Roll out dough until 1/8” in thickness.
8. Use a glass/cookie cutter 2.5″ in diameter to make perogy cutouts.
9. Add 2 tsp. worth of berries in the middle of dough and pinch around to form a perogy.
10. Cook on med heat in boiling water for 2-3 minutes or until perogies begin to float.
11. Serve hot with soy vanilla yogurt or plain soy yogurt with a little maple syrup drizzle!
Smacznego!

 

Dad’s Crepes

Feb
20

Crepe in the making...

A break from perogies; let’s try some crepes! Also known as nalesniki (pron. nah-lesh-nee-kee), we usually eat them as a second course (soup is always first!). And usually eaten with a sweet filling such as plum butter, dry cottage cheese mixed with plain yogurt and vanilla, as well as homemade apple butter. I use my Dad’s recipe for his crepe batter; he is the crepe king! They always turn out even in thickness and size and are light and oh so tasty! I tweaked an apple filling as well as added some much needed cocoa to a plum filling; chocolate and plums are a common sweet delicacy combo in Poland.

I don’t own a crepe pan right now so I use my large non-stick pan to make large crepes, or I use my smaller pan to make smaller crepes. Crepe pans vary in price and sizes.

Crepe Recipe (makes 6-8 large crepes if a larger 12″ pan is used; approx. 12 smaller crepes if a small 8″ pan is used)

  • 1 cup of milk
  • 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour ( I have not tried using quinoa flour but I think it would fit very well in a crepe recipe; has anyone out there tried this?)
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 2 tsp cane sugar
  • 1 tbsp  vegetable oil or melted butter, + 1/4 cup of oil on the side to grease the pan in between each crepe to prevent the crepe from being too dry as it cooks

Method

  • Whisk all ingredients together adding the milk and flour in smaller batches at a time to make sure the consistency achieved is just slightly runnier than that of pancake batter.
  • Heat a non-stick pan with vegetable oil.
  • Holding the handle of the hot pan in one hand, use a ladle to pour a 3/4 ladle-full amount of batter onto the pan, swirling the pan so as to cover the surface with the batter, making a large full circle.
  • Once bubbles start to appear ( approx. 2 minutes), gently flip the crepe over and cook another minute or so, until both sides have browned lightly.

    Ready to fill!

  • As you remove each crepe from the pan, place on a towel paper on a plate to absorb extra oil.
  • Once cooled, spread your desired filling across the entire surface and roll the crepe or fold in half twice to achieve a triangle of goodness! Dust with icing sugar if you like.

Rolled crepe with apple-cranberry filling

Fillings

  1. Apple Cranberry

  • 2 peeled and finely diced apples
  • 2 tbsp. of butter
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups of fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 tsp orange zest

Method

Melt butter over medium-low heat, watching closely to get butter to brown, which will add great flavour.

butter browned

  • Once the butter has browned  (approx. 3 minutes), add diced apples and cook on medium-low heat for another 3 minutes, until apples are mushy.
  • Add remaining ingredients and cook until cranberries have popped. Then let simmer over low heat for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  • Once cooled, spread over crepe.

2. Chocolate plum filling*

  • 1 cup of pitted prunes
  • 1 cup of figs
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup of cocoa powder
  1. Put the prunes and the figs in a medium saucepan and pour enough water to just cover them; cook covered on medium heat until the dried fruit are soft, approx. 3 minutes. Drain water.
  2. Add the fruit and remainder of ingredients into a processor and blend until all mixed.

* I adapted this recipe from “Health by Chocolate” by Victoria Laine, a book I received from a dear friend. This filling is sweet enough for me with just the prunes and figs so I left out honey or any other sweetener. I really really really like this recipe – my new homemade healthier version of Nutella!

Enjoy and Smacznego!

Lemon vanilla blueberry perogies with maple syrup drizzle

Oct
25

Lemon Vanilla Blueberry Perogies with Maple Syrup and plain yogurt

I had stated in my first perogy recipe entry that some of my favourite flavours are apple, cinnamon, and cloves. Meet the other favourites: lemon (love, love, love), vanilla, and maple (love even more). Blueberries are my favourite berry and I load up on them during the summer, freeze and then enjoy them into Christmas. Alas, this year my frozen supply has diminished early!

Blueberry perogies were my favourite perogies growing up! More often a dessert perogy, but sometimes we would have them as a main course! In Poland, traditionally the smaller wild blueberry is used for the filling. More intense in flavour and sweeter! For the filling, we would use fresh blueberries, sprinkled with a little sugar. Frozen blueberries were also used  but when thawed they needed to be drained to get rid of excess moisture and with that went the natural sweet juices. Also, the wetter blueberries made it a little more difficult to keep the dough dry enough to ensure a good seal. Not impossible to make with the frozen berries, just a little more work. Can be a little sticky; just make sure to have that extra flour “on hand” to help with the sealing of the dough.

Traditionally, the topping for perogies is sour cream. I chose plain yogurt or vanilla yogurt as a topping. I love maple syrup. Use it as a sweetener where recipes call for it, use it in my coffee from time to time as a special treat, add it to whipping cream for a sweeter, richer topping. And the darker the colour of the syrup, the more flavourful it is.

Here is my version of the traditional blueberry perogy:

  • Basic Perogy Dough
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 of 1 vanilla bean pod, with the seeds scraped out
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp sugar

Topping:

  • pure maple syrup
  • plain or vanilla yogurt

Alternate topping:

  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp. pure maple syrup

Method:

1. Mix the blueberries with the vanilla seeds, lemon zest and sprinkle with sugar. Set aside while you make the perogy dough, stirring the filling from time to time. The filling can also be made and refrigerated overnight.

2. To make the alternate topping, melt the butter over medium-low heat, add the lemon zest and cook for about a minute. Remove from heat and add the maple syrup.

2. Fill each individual perogy dough circle with 4-5 blueberries. Seal, pinching well and using flour as needed to ensure a good seal.

3. Continue to cooking procedure as per Basic Perogy Dough Recipe.

4. Top with plain or vanilla yogurt, or put topping on the side. Drizzle pure maple syrup overtop. Alternatively, drizzle with the butter lemon maple topping.

Smacznego!

Apple and Sweet Potato Perogy with Browned Butter Pecan Bread Crumb Topping

Oct
21

Apple and Sweet Potato perogy with Browned Butter Pecan Bread Crumb topping

A mouthful, I know. But a tasty one!

I was hoping to have posted this recipe in time for Thanksgiving weekend. A little late but still very fitting for this time of year! These season-appropriate perogies can even be prepared and served at Christmas!

The traditional apple perogy filling is made with fresh apples, sprinkled with some fresh squeezed lemon juice and sugar. The fresh apple filling is added to the perogy dough and cooked. Atop the cooked perogies will be a sweet buttery bread crumb topping.

I initially made these perogies with whole wheat flour for the dough (not recommended nor tasty) and had diced the cooked sweet potato and apple for the filling ( too dry). I went back to my wooden board and decided on sticking with the all purpose flour for the dough and changed the filling consistency to be of a mushy and grated one. MUCH tastier. I roasted the sweet potato and peeled the skin off afterward – much easier than fiddling around and peeling when raw. Also, I find the roasted sweet potato retains much more moisture and sweetness, as well as nutrients, when roasted. Browning the butter is a technique my Mother taught me and it adds so much flavour to dishes. Just be very careful not to burn it!

The flavours are ones that are some of my favorite: cinnamon, apple pie, cloves, butter. You’ll see for yourself! To help enhance these flavours, I made the filling the night before.

Here is my version of the traditional Apple Perogy:

  • Basic Perogy Dough
  • 2 small sweet potatoes/yams, roasted
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 3 Golden Delicious apples
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup of chopped pecans
  • 4 tbsp. of butter
  • 2 tbsp. bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 400F. Scrub and clean the sweet potatoes, leaving the skin on. Rub with oil and place on baking sheet, covering with aluminum foil. Bake for close to an hour, until soft. Set aside and let cool.
  • Peel and grate the apples, adding the lemon juice and spices. Set aside.
  • Once potatoes have cooled, use your fingers to peel away the skins.
  • Mash the potatoes, add the apple mixture and combine.
  • Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least for 3 hours.
  • Prepare Basic Perogy Dough once you are ready to make the perogies.
  • Cook the perogies and set aside.

Method for Topping:

  • Toast the pecans over medium-high heat on a pan for 3 minutes or until the fragrance of the toasted nuts makes your mouth water! Whatever you do, stay and watch the nuts! They can burn very easily!
  • Remove the nuts and turn the heat to medium. Add the butter and  let it brown,turning a darker amber colour, approximately 1 minute. Add the bread crumbs, brown sugar and pecans.
  • Dot over the hot perogies and enjoy!  Smacznego!