Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Vegan Mofo 2015: Day 2

This year's Vegan Mofo is a bit different. We have been given themes to write about each day. I like that, as it can be seriously challenging to come up with new content for 30 days in a row. Today's theme is:

Recreate a meal from your childhood.

That shouldn't be too hard, because I already did that once before on the blog! In fact, this is the most popular post on this blog! I grew up eating pierogies as a kid, and I recreated them into a vegan and gluten-free recipe a few years ago. I was even able to share them with my Polish father before he died.

They are a bit time-consuming to prepare, so it's been a few years since I've made them. However, I wanted to make them again for today's post, and I also wanted to have some on hand in the freezer for those days when I just don't feel like or have the time for cooking (read: during the schoolyear)! I played around with the original recipe, but changed very little (I added buckwheat flour to the flour mixture, substituted chia seeds for flax seeds, and increased the amount of olive oil), so here is the slightly altered recipe with new pictures.


Pierogies - Vegan and Gluten-free
Makes up to 15 dumplings

3/4 c. sweet rice flour
1/4 c. buckwheat flour
2/3 c. potato starch
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. xanthan gum
1/2 c. warm water mixed with 1 T. ground chia seeds and set aside for 5 minutes to create gelatinous "chia egg"
2 T. olive oil
up to 1/2 c. warm water

To Prepare:

  1. Stir dry ingredients first, then slowly add wet ingredients. Mix together well. You may need to knead the dough to keep it from falling apart, and warm water may need to be added to form the dough.
  2. Divide the dough in half. Store the half you are temporarily not using in tight saran wrap so the dough doesn't dry up. Note: you may need to add more water to the dough to make it flexible enough for forming the dumplings.
  3. Place the half of the dough that you're using between two pieces of saran wrap on a cutting board or your counter. Roll the dough until quite thin, but not transparent. At that point, remove the top piece of saran wrap and, using a 3-4" round glass or cookie cutter, cut out pieces that will become the dumplings. Place them on a plate and cover with a warm or slightly damp towel so they don't dry out too much while you prepare the rest of the dough and make the filling(s). 
  4. Bring a pot of water to boil and while you're waiting for it, prepare your filling(s). I've included recipes for caramelized onions, mushrooms and sauerkraut, and creamy mashed potatoes below. 
  5. Grab a disc of dough and place a spoonful of filling in the center of it. With the tiniest bit of water on your finger, dab the perimeter of the circle and then press the sides together, making sure to press them tightly together. Place it into the boiling water and start working on the next one. The dumplings will rise to the top of the water when they are done. 
  6. Drain the dumplings on a plate covered with wax or parchment paper OR on a cooling rack before preceding to the next step, which is either placing them in a plastic bag to store in the freezer** or frying them in a pan. Continue until all the discs are used up. 

**If you freeze these for later, be sure and remove them from the freezer about 5-10 minutes before you start cooking them. During that time, heat some olive oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat. Fry the pierogies in the hot oil until each side is golden brown. The amount of done-ness is completely up to you, but I like mine on the crispier side, so I tend to cook them for at least 5 minutes and even up to 10.

Serve with vegan sour cream, applesauce, plum jam, sauerkraut, and/or mustard.

Filling options:
-caramelized onions: dice onions and saute them in olive oil until very brown and crispy.

-mushrooms and sauerkraut: chop the mushrooms and saute them in olive oil with salt and pepper to taste before mixing with sauerkraut.

-creamy mashed potatoes: 1) cut 3 yukon gold potatoes into quarters and microwave with 1/4 c. water in a small bowl for about 5 minutes, or until a fork can easily go in. 2) drain the potatoes and smash them with a fork or potato masher. 3) add 1/2 t. chopped chives, 1 T. olive oil and 1/2 c. coconut milk (from a can - be sure and shake well before opening), plus salt and pepper to taste. 4) mix all ingredients together.

-fruit jam

-sweet cashew cream

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