Daily Archives: October 18, 2011

Homemade Pierogies

So you may recall that I started taking Prednisone last week. It’s a steroid meant to ease the symptoms caused by my chemo-induced lung toxicity (which I explained here). Prednisone is a pretty common drug for a lot of things, but like most of the drugs in my cabinet these days, comes with a slew of side effects. Weight gain, puffy face, low bone density, mood changes, unwanted hair growth, the list of fun possibilities goes on and on.

At first I was really, really bummed at the idea of having even more unwanted side effects. I mean, how cruel would it be if I were to lose the hair on my head and grow a moustache? Not cool universe, not cool at all.

I have since eased up on these fears a little having now noticed the ‘roids are actually doing what they are meant to do. My coughing is almost gone and I’m breathing easier. I didn’t realize how miserable I was with my poor poisoned lungs until I started to get some semblance of normal function back.

I will admit to you however that the biggest perk of the ‘roids thus far has been the boost in energy. I pop a pill and a half along with my morning coffee every day and I am good. to. go. Goodbye chemo fatigue.

It is with this preamble that I share a recipe with you today, inspired by my newfound steroid energy. I never would have attempted this if it weren’t for my chemo brain’s inability to think things through properly, and my false sense of stamina brought on by the steroids. I ended up crashing in the end, but first we’ll start with this:

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My Dad picked this book up for me at the flea market after haggling them down to pay a buck for it. At first I thought it was a funny gift, but I actually ended up devouring it. So many good recipes in here! Classic “foreign” dishes with very basic ingredients and cooking instructions. I have at least a dozen earmarked, but on the day in question I decided to start with “Polish Dumplings,” aka pierogies. I had all the ingredients on hand and my chemo tummy was telling me dumplings were a good idea.

Usually I don’t share recipes from books, but this one is well-known and already all over the internet:

2 cups sour cream (I used Greek yogurt)
4 1/2 cups flour
2 tbsp melted butter
2 eggs plus 1 yolk
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp veggie oil (I used canola)

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Just mix everything in a bowl until the dough is nice and soft (I had to add a tbsp of milk), separate the dough into two pieces and let sit for 10 minutes. Roll dough out thin and cut using a drinking glass. Put <tbsp of filling in the centre and fold in half, using a little water to help the dough seal. Then boil for 10 minutes, and fry to finish.

I know that cheese and potato is what most people associate pierogies with, but we had ground beef in the fridge and that sounded really good to me. So for my filling, I browned one pound of beef with one onion, 1 tsp of smoked paprika, 1 tsp of Trader Joe’s All-Seasoning Salute, and a fair bit of salt and pepper.

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Making the dough and beef was the easy part. It wasn’t until I started rolling out the dough with my 20 lb marble rolling pin and broken left arm (I can’t put weight on it remember!) I realized that this may have been a steroid and chemo fuelled endeavour, and perhaps not very well thought out.

I then proceeded to fill and fold approximately 158 pierogies.

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The only thing that disappointed me about the end product was that I couldn’t get my dough rolled out flat enough so my dumplings were a little too dough-y. With that said, the dough recipe is GOOD and having a little extra wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. I really dug my beef filling because it didn’t make it too carb-y. My sealing technique could also use some work, but as my dad kindly pointed out, I didn’t grow up doing this in Poland so I can get a pass on that one.

Overall, this is a stellar recipe and I can’t wait until my next ‘roid-induced kitchen experiment with the Frugal Gourmet. I’ve got a grape leaves recipe that’s ear-marked that thankfully doesn’t require any rolling pins. Just a lot more folding.

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In other news, Buster and I have been separated for two days now because he was experiencing some tummy upset. My mom took him so I wouldn’t be exposed what he was releasing. But he is on the mend and I should be getting him back today! I went to visit him yesterday and Archie the poodle is still pissed by this new puppy development. He is not very keen on sharing me, and Buster, bless him, is too stupid to realize it. Haha.

Finally, thank you for the feedback on yesterday’s post. My mom and I both read through the comments and were blown away by some of the feedback and honesty in there. You all gave me a lot of food for thought and I feel really lucky to have so many great people standing by my side through the ups and downs of this cancer thing. You are more than welcome to come over for some pierogies. I still have about 87 of them left.

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