Did you ever eat a pierogi and think…
… if only it had more carbs?
Ya, I thought so. Probably why I didn’t make it past the first round.
I took a risk this year and auditioned for a cooking/recipe show. Not my first contest (two time podium finisher with these and these if I can be so boastful) but this one was a bit different. It required my face (and neck, waist, legs etc..) be on camera. I am ridiculously comfortable speaking in front of crowd (still a dream to get someone to pay me to do so) YET equally ridiculously uncomfortable looking at (or listening to for that matter) myself. Especially on camera. I have this distorted notion that what I think I look/sound like in real life (eloquent & effortless of course) is miles apart from what I look/sound like on film. (disheveled & disjointed of course)
Regardless, I did it (with tremendous support from family in friends who LITERALLY stood with me for hours waiting my call time. I am forever grateful.) It was a hugely valuable experience. I was fortunate to get far enough to secure a call time AND even got a “golden ticket”. Regrettably my journey came to an abrupt end, however it forced me to put myself out there and thus the
15 10 15 pounds I gained testing the recipe for six weeks was still (sorta) worth it. (The bread is THAT good)
It is my intent to continue to put myself out there and next weekend I will do so at the International Food Bloggers Conference in Seattle, WA. The organizers say it focuses around three themes: (1) food, (2) writing and (3) technology. Based on the dialogue of incredibly talented attendees thus far however, it appears the theme may be… (1) here, eat this amazing food. (2) okay now come here and try this. (3) done yet? great, come sip this.
I jest. But not really. The agenda looks exhilarating and exhausting. Inspiring and intimidating. And delicious.
No question the team behind this knows its audience. They have gone above and beyond in packing in adventure after adventure, learning after learning, and if I haven’t already mentioned, tasting after tasting. The speaker line up is brilliant. There are so many interesting sessions to choose from I am not sure how I will. If this does not inspire me to jump into the deep end with this little space of mine, nothing will. The anxiety is slowing building. I will know not one other person. I am sans a wing (wo)man. I can only hope to just continually stick my hand out, introduce myself and hope I land somewhere between eloquent & effortless and dissolved & disjointed.
The bread. The soft bubbles of warm bread, stuffed with everything that makes a pierogi perfect. Mashed potato, cheese, butter, onions & bacon. It’s meant to be served just as the photos indicate. Throw it on a cutting board with parchment and let everyone dig in. It can be made ahead and frozen or served straight out of the oven. (if you don’t mind 3rd degree mouth tongue burns) It’s rich and heavy no doubt, but I guarantee you this Fall there will be a day when you just need some comfort food. And you will thank me for this one.
This weekend I will be walking into a room full of 300+ pros in community I barely qualify as a freshman.
Wish me luck.
I will be miles away from my comfort zone but maybe if I throw one of these loaves on the table…
… I could bring everyone a little more comfort.
Pull-apart Pierogi Bread
This bubble style bread is stuffed with creamy mashed potatoes, crispy bacon, sautéed onions & sharp white cheddar. Simple ingredients and a naturally beautiful presentation makes it the perfect side dish for Sunday dinner or an appy on game day.
Serves 4. (or one. It’s that good)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup white sugar
1 package Active Dry Yeast
4 cups white flour (plus a bit extra as needed) 2 teaspoons salt
1 (375g/13 oz) package bacon, finely chopped & sautéed 1 cup white onion, finely chopped
4 medium sized potatoes, peeled, quartered & steamed 1/4 cup unsalted butter (melted or cut into cubes)
3 tablespoons cream
1/2 cup 2% cottage cheese
1 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
To make the dough:
1. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
2. Add the milk and bring to about 100F (take the chill off, too hot and yeast dies)
3. Remove from heat and add 1/4 cup of sugar and the yeast. Let stand 7 minutes. It should foam up.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, (or just a large bowl if doing by hand) combine the flour and salt. Attach the dough hook and pour in the yeast mixture. Let the machine knead for about 5 – 7 minutes until the dough comes together. You may need to add a bit more flour to get the right consistency. It should be soft and slightly sticky.
5. When the dough comes together, transfer to a lightly floured countertop and form it into a small ball. Place in a lightly oiled large metal bowl, cover with plastic and let rise for at least one hour in a warm, draft free area (i.e. oven)
To make the filling:
1. In a large heavy frying pan, sauté the bacon and onions until the bacon is cooked through and the onions are translucent. Do not drain the bacon fat. Transfer the cooked onions, bacon and bacon fat into a large metal bowl.
2. Add the steamed potatoes, cream, cottage cheese, sharp white cheddar to the onions & bacon. Mash and stir until well combined. (Note: another option is to first rice the potatoes and then combine everything. I have done it both ways and prefer the various textures that comes with mashing)
3. Lay out a cookie tray lined with parchment. Scoop out 0.4 oz (about a large marble) pieces of mashed potato and roll into a ball. (You can do smaller or larger depending on the size of the “bubbles” you want to make). Refrigerate the potato balls for about 30 minutes or until firm.
To assemble the bread:
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Punch down the dough and knead for a minute or so, perhaps adding a small amount of flour if it’s sticky. Oil your hands slightly and pinch off pieces of dough into about 0.5 oz pieces. You should now have one tray of pieces of dough and one tray of little potato balls. Time to make your bubbles!
3. Flatten out a piece of dough, place a potato ball inside and wrap the dough around it, pinching off any excess. (you will have a large pile of “excess” which you can use to make more bubbles or bake as little extra buns)
4. Once you have all the bread balls stuffed, arrange them in a circle on a pizza pan, touching each other, filling in the inside. Depending on how many balls you have just keep layer on top until you have a mound of pierogi stuffed bread balls.
5. Place in the oven for 30 minutes. (Brushing with butter at the 20 minute mark yields a nice brown crust)