Simple advice for a better life.

Verenyky, Pierogi, Perogy, Dumplings, no matter what you call them, you will find them on every Eastern European menu.

They can be filled with whatever fruit or vegetable is in the season, and even with meat, for a hearty meal.

Those of us who make them on regular basis, are accustomed to preparing the dough with the all-purpose white flour.

However, I have been experimenting lately with other flours, to customize my recipe for those who are allergic to gluten or wheat.

My previous dumplings recipe with White Rice flour was excellent in taste and texture, however next time I am definitely filling them with apples or cherries.  I feel this dough will be perfect for that filling combination, served with caramel, butter, or brown sugar.

This time I used Gluten Free Pizza Crust Whole Grain Mix, and the dumplings turned out awesome.

This flour is a mixture of Whole Grain Brown Rice, Potato Starch, Whole Grain Millet, Whole Grain Sorghum, Tapioca and  Potato, plus other additives.

Since this flour is suitable for pizza crust, it also includes a separate packet of yeast (as pictured above), which you do not use for this dumpling recipe.

This dough has some elasticity, unlike the Rice Flour dough, but not as much as one made with all-purpose white flour.

I was able to roll it out, but I chose to cut it up in strips, then form  2×2 inch squares, rather than cutting out circles, as in the traditional technique posted previously.

I highly recommend this flour for those who love varenyky, but can not tolerate gluten or wheat.

I actually would use it all the time now, if it wasn’t for the more than double price of the regular flour.

This recipe yields 38 dumplings.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Gluten Free Pizza Crust Whole Grain Mix
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 whole egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 Tbs. sour cream
  • 1 cup whole milk (or low fat)

Directions:

  1. Prepare the dough the same way as demonstrated in this post (click on this link).
  2. This dough does not need to rest, like the one made with flour containing gluten.
  3. As soon as your dough is ready, sprinkle the work surface with same flour mix, and roll it out.
  4. Cut into 2 inch strips (pizza cutter is great for this), then cut crosswise to form 2 x 2 inch squares.
  5. Place squares on a tea towel, spread out so they do not touch.
  6. Place 1 tsp of filling on each square (I used potato/cheese filling – see TIP below this post), dip your fingers in same flour mixture, and gently close the edges to fully enclose the filling.
  7. Fill a 6 quart pot with water, add 1 tsp salt, and bring to boil.
  8. Drop 10 dumplings at a time into boiling water.
  9. Stir gently with a wooden spoon, so they do not stick to the bottom of the pot.
  10. Do not cover the pot.
  11. Once they come up to the top and resume boiling, cook for 3 minutes.
  12. Remove with a slotted spoon onto a colander, rinse under running cold water, and set aside to drain off.

    

You can serve them plain, with onions sautéed in butter, as in the picture on the left.

You can also fry them lightly on both sides in oil or butter, and serve with sautéed onions, plus a dollop of sour cream (my favorite), as in the picture on the right.

They are absolutely delicious, no matter how you serve them.

I must say, I was pleasantly surprised of the outcome of these dumplings, since I was not sure how they would hold up during pinching and cooking process.

I had no problem with sealing the sides, and none of them opened up during boiling, which is not always the case with the traditional ones.

These were excellent reheated the next day.  Sooooo good!!

My husband liked the better than the traditional ones, due to the lightness of the dough.

If your family or friends who would benefit from this recipe, please pass it on.

I would love to hear your comments.  Thank you.

 

TIP:  Since this dough resembled very closely my traditional one, I decided to use the potato/cheese filling to make them as close as possible to the original recipe.

I peeled, quartered, and cooked about 8 medium size Red potatoes, with 1 tsp. of salt.  Once they were done, I drained the water, and mashed the potatoes with about 3/4 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, 1/2 onion, chopped and sauteed in butter, and black pepper to taste. When cooled, I used about 1 tsp. of filling for each dumpling square.

I had some filling left over to use as a side dish for another dinner.

Filled Dumplings, also known as Varenyky – in Ukrainian, or Pierogi (Perogy)- in Polish, grew in popularity all over the globe, as well as here in the US.

You can easily find them at Eastern European places, such as parish picnics, ethnic festivals, specialty delicatessen, or even in the freezer section of your favorite grocer.

They all don’t taste the same, because “you get what you pay for”, as the old saying goes, but if you can’t have the original, you have to settle for a copy.

I already posted homemade varenyky made out of all-purpose white flour, as well as from whole wheat flour, and now I am testing other flours suitable to make the dough.

Recently one of my readers inquired about some possibilities of creating varenyky dough from gluten-free flour, as they love these dumplings, but are seriously allergic to wheat.

I took their suggestion as a challenge for myself, and today I used White Rice flour to make the dough, and mashed Sweet Potatoes (see TIP below the post) for the filling.

The process had to be slightly altered, but the final results were quite pleasing.

I can’t wait to test the Gluten Free Pizza Crust Whole Grain Mix, which, according to the list of ingredients, contains several different grain flours, and sounds absolutely amazing.

Stay tuned to the next post, if this interests you, or pass the word on to anyone you know who would benefit from this information.

This recipe yields 27 dumplings.

 

    

 

Dough Ingredients:

  • 2 cups White Rice flour
  • 1 Tbs. corn starch
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 whole egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 Tbs. sour cream
  • 1 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1/2 cup milk (whole or low fat)
  • 1/4 cup water

Directions:

  1. Place the Rice flour, corn starch and salt, on a work surface.
  2. Make a well in the middle of the flour ( same technique as in  this post ).
  3. Add egg, sour cream, and canola oil.
  4. Work it in as shown in the previous post.
  5. Mix milk with water, and gradually mix it in with the flour.
  6. Once all the ingredients are incorporated into the flour, knead it to form a ball of dough.
  7. This dough does not have the elasticity like the regular white flour dough, and it does not need to rest (since it does not contain gluten).
  8. Since this dough is difficult to roll out,  I was pinching it piece by piece, and formed walnut size balls (27 in total).
  9. Working with one dough ball at a time, using your fingers and palm of your hand, flatten it to form a circle (about 2 inches in diameter).
  10. Place your favorite filling in the middle, and gently pinch sides together (watch the technique in the previous post).
  11. Use corn flour to dip your fingers in, if you find the dough too sticky for pinching.
  12. I also pressed down the pinched edges, to prevent them from over cooking and opening up.
  13. Fill a 6 quarts pot halfway with water, add 1 tsp salt and 1 Tbs. canola oil, bring to boil.
  14. Drop about 10 pieces of varenyky into boiling water, loosen them around gently with a wooden spoon.
  15. Bring back to boil, and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  16. Remove cooked varenyky with a slotted spoon, onto a strainer, to drip off.
  17. Place them on a plate to cool off for later use, or serve them hot with melted butter.

Since I used Sweet Potato filling, I served my dumplings with a mixture of melted butter and brown sugar.

This dough is a little bit firmer, and it has a light rice flavor to it.  Something to get used to, if you always only had the traditional ones.  However, I feel it is much lighter to digest, and  great for those of you with wheat (gluten) allergies.

These dumplings would not pair well with white potato filling, but I can almost taste the goodness of fruity fillings:

chopped fresh cherries, plums, apples, apricots; or veggie fillings of cabbage, spinach, or sauerkraut.

The non-fruit varenyky would taste better served the traditional way, with onions sautéed in butter.

If you like them crunchy, you can fry them on both sides to a golden color , in oil or butter, just before serving.

So if you love varenyky (perogy), but can not tolerate the wheat, or gluten, you will be happy with this recipe.

 

TIP:  To prepare the filling, I used one large Sweet Potato. 

           Peeled and cut up the potato.

         Boiled until soft.

       Drained the water.

      Added 1 Tbs. of butter, and mashed well.

    Cooled off, before filing dumplings.

Words of Wisdom

 

It has been a while since I posted some “words of wisdom”.

I did not create these myself, but rather received them from my caring friends who have the time to search the internet, then share them via email.

Now it’s my turn to share some of these with you.

 

  • Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

  • A sharp tongue can cut your own throat.  
  • If you want your dreams to come true, you mustn’t oversleep.

  • Of all the things you wear, your expression is the most important.

  • The best vitamin for making friends…  B1.

  • The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.

  • The heaviest thing you can carry is a grudge.
  • One thing you can give and still keep…   is your word.
  • You lie the loudest, when you lie to yourself.

  • If you lack the courage to start, you have already finished

  • One thing you can’t recycle is wasted time.

  • Ideas won’t work unless ‘ You’ do.

  • Your mind is like a parachute…   it functions only when open.

 

I hope you enjoyed reading this, and agree that there is a lot to learn from it.

Please share your own words of wisdom, or some you might have received from others.

Thank you.


Filled Dumplings,  Varenyky (in Ukrainian), or  Perogy (Pierogi – in Polish), are absolutely delectable, and there are myriad of filling choices to select from.

Yes, I will dedicate a separate post to introduce you to recipes of several different fillings.

Today I will share my recipe for Blueberry Filled Varenyky, which are so delicious served with blueberry syrup  and whipped cream, or brown sugar mixed with melted unsalted butter, and topped with heavy or whipped cream.

My mom served her blueberry varenyky sprinkled generously with sugar, and “swimming” in heavy cream, as whipped cream was not available that time in Europe.  My dad LOVED them this way as his summertime lunch.

 

Blueberry Filling Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of blueberries
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbs. Corn Starch (or white all-purpose flour)

Filling Preparation:

  1. Place blueberries in a colander, and rinse under running water.
  2. Remove any remaining stems.
  3. Let the water drip off.
  4. Place blueberries on a paper towel to absorb any remaining water.
  5. Place blueberries in a medium bowl, add sugar and corn starch.
  6. Toss  them gently to coat evenly with the sugar/corn starch mixture.

Please click  on my previous post  for dough ingredients, and the step-by-step preparation instructions.

  

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Please note that for the blueberry varenyky, I do not cut out circles, but use a pizza cutter and cut 2 inch wide strips, then cut each strip across, to form  2 x 2 inch squares, as shown above.
  2. Then place 4-5 medium size blueberries in the middle of each square, fold the side over to form a triangle, pinch both sides together, well enough to encase the filling.
  3. Cook them the same way as in previous post.
  4. Overcooking will open them up, and the filling will boil out.

Instead of blueberries, you can use any other fresh fruits (strawberries, cherries, apples, plums, rhubarb).

Blueberry varenyky can be served as a meal in itself, or as a dessert.

I love mine topped off with a dollop of whipped cream. Yummm…

 

How to Repair Your Drought Damaged Lawn


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I enjoy vegetable and flower gardening, and my husband takes care of the lawn, which I think it is more of a “man thing”, based on my observation of seeing more men working with their lawn, while more women tending to other gardening projects.  Don’t you agree?

The above pictures are of our lawn in May (0n the left, as you probably guessed it), and to the right is the current issue with this lawn in August, after being scorched by the hot summer sun.

We are lucky to only have few spots of burnt out grass throughout our lawn, but nonetheless, these need to be restored to its original appearance.

If you are facing the same issue with your lawn, and are looking for ways to remedy it, I found a perfect article on this very subject, which is very interesting and helpful.

“Doing  Spot Repair To Drought Damaged Lawn” - by Mike McGroarty, who is a fountain of knowledge on all gardening subjects.

Also, if you are planning to reseed your lawn, or start a new one, check out his article on, “How to Plant Grass Seeds”, where you find many suggestions on the type of grass seeds to use, and the best way to plant grass.

Good Luck with your lawn refurbishing project!

Please share your tips and suggestions, so the thousands of readers of Suburbangrandma.com will benefit from your input, and love you for it.

Thank you.

 

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