Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy 2014

I hope your New Year's celebration is everything you wish for!  I'm going to sip on a Champagne Cocktail (or two) and enjoy the company of some wonderful friends. 

Here's hoping for 2014:

What are your resolutions?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Mushroom & Onion Pierogies

I have to admit, I've always been a bit put off by pierogies.  The idea of pasta stuffed with potatoes?  Sounds too starchy for me.  That is, until I had Mike's mom, Nadine's, pierogies.

Mike's mom is Russian and every year we celebrate Russian Christmas with a feast of a variety of pierogies and beef stroganoff.  Turns out, you can stuff pierogies with whatever your heart desires! My favorite are Nadine's sauerkraut and mushroom and onion, so I thought i'd give the latter a try.

Pierogies are great for a party because you can make them a few days in advance.  After you boil them, just cool them, refrigerate, then fry them up when you're ready to serve.  

Ingredients (1 dozen pierogies):
* 2 c. flour
* 1/2 tsp. salt
* 1/2 c. sour cream
* 2 eggs
* 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced and chopped
* 4 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced and chopped
* 2 tbsp. olive oil
Butter, for frying

To prepare the dough, whisk together eggs and sour cream.  In a separate bowl, combine flour and salt. Add the sour cream mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined (if the dough isn't coming together, add a bit more sour cream, one tablespoon at a time).  Form the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes to an hour. 

Meanwhile, prepare the filling.  Heat a sauce pan over medium heat and add 1 tbsp. olive oil.  Add the onions and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and sauté until soft, 2-3 more minutes (if the pan looks dry, add the second tablespoon of olive oil). 

Divide the dough in half and return half to the refrigerator.  Lightly flour your surface and roll out the dough to roughly 1/8 in. thickness.  Use a 4 inch round biscuit cutter to cut the circles.  Fill each circle with 1 tbsp. of the mushroom mixture (careful not to overstuff or they may burst open) and carefully fold the circles, pinching the edges to seal.  Repeat with the second half dough. 

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and boil the pierogies in two batches.  Boil for 2-3 minutes, or until the pierogies float (stop after this point if making in advance).  After the pierogies are boiled, heat a sauté pan to medium heat and add 1 tbsp. butter.  Fry the pierogies for 2 minutes per side, or until golden brown.  Serve with sour cream and ketchup.  Enjoy! 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Y&E: Holiday Home Edition

I'm just getting back in the swing of things after our beautiful wedding and a few much needed days of relaxation at the Grove Park Inn. I can't wait to share some pictures with all of you as soon as I get them!  The wedding was a winter-wonderland of sorts, complete with a beautiful gift-like cake, wonderful food, and of course champagne was flowing - what more could a girl ask for?  

I also can't wait to share some awesome new cooking products (no, i'm not paid for this) as I start to test out some amazing wedding gifts! So far I'm most excited about our outdoor pizza oven, bread maker, and ice cream maker..stay tuned for updates. 

In the meantime, I have not had one second to get settled or cook anything, but I wanted to share some of my holiday decorations! Thank heavens we decided to decorate pre-wedding so we have plenty of time to enjoy the holidays.

I'm in love with this gorgeous silver and lucite Kate Spade tray we recieved as a gift.  It looks fabulous with my Pottery Barn accessories (both the decanter and faux fur wine wrap).

I found these jingle bell napkin rings at C.Wonder- so fun!

Don't forget to dress up your bar cart for the holidays too. My friend Stephanie gave me the fabulously tacky Christmas sweater for my wine, and also the "Joy to the World" tidbit plates (also Pottery Barn).

Mike found us the perfect tree this year - its ginormous, and I love it! 

Fortunately, we have a separate living room for my little tree.  I collect all things sweet and I demand they have their own sweet-tree!
This is my original sweet-inspration: a hand painted 'sweet shop' that I snagged from my mom's Dickens Village. My Auntie Jane even hand painted the tiny sweets in the window.

I hope your holiday season is warm, wonderful and sweet!  Be back soon with a new recipe!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Maple Balsamic Candied Bacon

So as it turns out, wedding planning has a way of taking over your life.  I have done more advanced planning than I thought possible, but here I am going nuts with last minute details 4 days before the wedding!

I must apologize for the scattered posts lately, and I do promise to get back to blogging (and also plan to do less complaining about my healthy diet) later next week when I'm officially wifed-up and it will be time to relax!  BUT..before I go, I want to leave you with this gem of a recipe.  

You may remember me writing about the candied bacon pops I had at the Olive Cafe during restaurant week?  Well, I was determined to make them at home and I must say - I came pretty close!  I do realize, in retrospect, why they skewer the bacon, which I did not do.  It is incredibly sticky and you will be a mess if you eat it sans stick- but it's so worth it! 

For this project, I purchased a small bottle of Taste the Olive's Maple Balsamic Vinegar.  It adds that subtle maple flavor that goes so well with bacon, but if you don't want to invest in a bottle (it's about $12), you could always whisk a bit of maple syrup in plain balsamic for a similar effect.

I find that the absolute best way to cook bacon is in the oven.  I always start with a cold oven, turn it on 400 degrees, then walk away. 17-20 minutes later (watch closely) you will have crispy, mess-free bacon. 

This candied bacon is perfect on its own, but also made a great pizza topping with caramelized onions and bleu cheese.  Enjoy!

*8 strips thick cut bacon
*1/4 c. light brown sugar, packed
*1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
*2 tbsp. maple balsamic vinegar

Combine brown sugar and crushed red pepper in a shallow dish.  Lightly dredge the bacon in the sugar mixture and place on a foil lined cookie sheet.  Brush on a light coating of balsamic onto the bacon.  Transfer the bacon to a cold oven and turn the temperature to 400.  After 17 minutes, remove the bacon, use a fork to flip it, paint a bit more balsamic on, and return it to the oven for another 2-3 minutes.  Serve warm. 

Happy cooking and I'll get back to it when I'm MARRIED! eek!