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Posts Tagged ‘winter’

This is my Mom, together we worked (with the help of Dad) to make many stuffed perogies for our Christmas Eve (Wigilia) dinner.

Mixing and rolling out the pastry/pasta dough is extremely sensitive and important! Never try to roll out the whole batch at once.

Recipe for Dough:

6 cups flour

6 eggs

1 container of sour cream (not light sour cream folks – this is holiday fare!)

Measure flour into large mixing bowl and create a well into the middle, set aside. In another bowl, beat eggs and sour cream together until everything is smooth. Pour the egg & cream mixture into the flour well. Stir to incorporate all the egg mixture into the flour, do NOT over mix! Dough will be slightly sticky, turn out onto a floured surface and knead gently. Do NOT over knead. It will result in a tough chewy dough – not what we want!

See? It's really sticking to Mom's hands.

Now please don't ask how thick to roll out the dough, because I'm just gonna tell you to roll it out 'not too thick and not too thin'. Too thick and your perogies will be chewy-al dente all over, too thin and the filling will explode when you boil them.

Now for the fillings: our family prefers two choices = sauerkraut with mushrooms, and cheese. Mom cooked the sauerkraut with mushrooms  and mixed up the farmers cheese with ricotta the night before so we could just work on the process of rolling out, filling & boiling for one day.

I highly recommend refrigerating the sauerkraut overnight. It was easier to spoon onto the dough circles and seal up the little pouches of tastiness. That mixture can be quite greasy and little pieces of cabbage can inhibit the perfect seal.

It takes a very special tool to seal the perogies. Perhaps there's still time for you to ask for one for Christmas. It's called a 'fork'! Pretty new & unique! Go get yourself one if you don't have one yet - it's all the rage!

To seal a perogi properly: dip a finger in some water and rim half of the circle of dough, fold over dough with filling inside, press firmly, and then proceed to fork seal, then flip and fork seal the other side. After you have quite a few stuffed and sealed, bring a large pot of salted water to almost-boiling. If you put the perogies in a rolling boil you will most certainly cause the fragile pockets to burst!

Gently remove the perogies from the almost-boiling water after the dough has begun to cook. You really will be able to tell, they become more rigid. Run them under cool water, but be careful not to let the water stream burrow a hole in it. Once cooled and mostly dry, the perogies are ready for the freezer bags (our preferred method of stashing them so we won’t eat them all before Christmas Eve).

Of course there will always be a few that break or explode in the cooking process, so you will be forced to taste test along the way. Quality control is a good thing. There are many bonuses to making these: working with family, carrying on a Polish family tradition, learning the tradition, and sharing the tradition with my kids.

On Christmas Eve we cook the defrosted perogies up in a frying pan with some butter and olive oil along with chopped onions. Served along side monk fish, sweet rice, lazy perogi (unstuffed) and sauerkraut with split peas we pass around the traditional oplatki.

Me & Mom just starting out... many thanks to Dad the photographer, barista, and perogi boiler!

This is only half of the dining room table. I did marry an Italian, so unbeknownst to me when we first started really getting serious it really is ok to eat meat on Christmas Eve! I was so shocked my first CE dinner with Mr. Monkey (not yet my Mister) to see all sorts of pasta in red sauce, meat balls, bricihole and not a piece of seafood to be seen. So the other half of our dining room table is loaded with foods covered in red sauce! Have a blessed Christmas Eve.

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The request came out loud and clear: “Mama, I need a new hat. Green and really soft.” So off to the stash we went. Monkey Boy chose a turquoise alpaca, not for the color but for the softness (my kind of fiber lover). So the process began…. I shopped for a nice blend that would match his color requirements: avocado green (to match his coat), and started on the designing with him.

I thought I had it. The first try was too small after three inches of knitting: rip! Second try… too big… rip! Third try – not the charm: RIP!! Mama was getting very frustrated…..   SO after casting on FIVE times, I finally had success with doubled yarn on size 5 needles.

But it ended up too short, but he liked the ridges, they were his input, and the decreases  mathematically speaking were a mess, but I  had a happy customer.

So I chatted with Monkey Boy about our options…. how to make it longer, rip it out again, start it all over, ear flaps, ahhh ear flaps! “But ones that protect my neck too!” was the cry. So I consulted with Elizabeth Zimmermann and knitted on the flap!

And away I began knitting, of course not without comment, because at this point in this project I realized I am just the slave labor….. The flap now needs to look like something that would go under a knight’s armored helmet… Me= grumble grumble (okay hunny – BIG SMILE) {yeah right, this will work, and there’s no way I will want to blog about his hat!}

WELL…… Ta Daaa!!!

Monkey Boy testing the hat in frigid temps.

 

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This is where I have been finding myself most bitter cold winter nights with major players surrounding me. Of course I just realized I forgot something – it is whistling in the background…..

Cannot forget the tea! The avocado green you see is an alpaca hat designed to order for the Monkey Boy, alpaca was the number one request on his list! There’s a baby surprise on the needles getting ready for its first white stripe. It’s my first and I’m loving the mitered corners. The cones need to be hanked up. Not sure is ‘hanked’ is really a term or not, but they are destined for the dye pot. Crafter Monkey has chosen a pattern and colors, now it’s time to get dyeing and knitting!

I’m a bit worried that I do not have enough yarn left of this ball to finish the hat, which is why I needed to extract myself from the afghan and sofa to scale the stairs and find another ball. Such tough work this knitting. I may catch a chill along the way.

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Tea with friends

The best part of winter is actually getting out of the house to savour time with good friends. The Wee Monkey and I took time to brave the below freezing temps to head out to the local coffee shop for lunch and treats with Mother & Daughter friends we have had to reschedule with time and again for one reason or another. (you know the drill – sometimes life just seems to conspire against us)

 

Cafe Mocha & Red Pepper Gouda Bisque

I treated myself and the girls to wonderfulness, of course mine was all hot, I asked for foot warmers, and the counter person looked at me a bit odd, but then seemed to realized there could be some profit to be made there.

I want to send out a HUGE sincere thank you to out to all my new subscribers and a Warm Hug to my regular readers of this blog. I have been doing some reaching out and marketing of myself to family and friends, especially to those who didn’t even have a clue this place in cyberspace existed. Everyone needs cheerleaders in their life. Big and small, words of encouragement still mean a lot even when you are #%&* years old. The path of my life is changing, I’m not exactly which direction it is leading me, but I know in my heart and soul it is the right path, the less traveled path. I am listening more, taking more time to smell the flowers, hug my children, hold my husband’s hand and just be in the moment.

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Two of my favorite magazines to really read & study cover to cover. Interweave Knits and Living Crafts. I like to make a special pot of tea (usually something peppermint) and devour each page including the advertising. I make notes, research patterns, designers, bloggers, suppliers, techniques, fabrics, yarns, …….

Yes, it can get obsessive, especially when I get ravelry involved, checking on who is knitting which project, any errata? different yarns? modifications?

Similar technique used by a loved designer…..

 

Fred + Ginger cardigan from Cosmicpluto's Laura Chau

I love the combo of a lace weight yarn with a sport or worsted weight for the body of the sweater, using orange will always get my attention too! I do love the cape cabled sweater below too.

The story teller in me wants to attempt my version of the mitten too. Goodness knows we have enough felt in the house to make a few sets.

Nothing is more classic than paper snowflakes, I just adore the simplicity of this project. Even in the bitter cold of January I still pause to enjoy the still moments of snow falling, swirling, swaying ever so softly as I sip my tea and enjoy my magazines.

Living Crafts started a blog not too long ago and I love tuning in. Check it out!

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Another warm head

Mr. M's Hat is complete and Wee Monkey is on the lookout for hat-snatchers!

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