Perogy Patties

Perogy Patties, with fresh chives and a dollop of sour cream

My wife and daughter made a bunch of perogies yesterday from scratch. It was their first attempt at it and I think they did a great job. But more on that in another post. When they were done stuffing the dough, they had some filling left over so my wife decided to split it up into little cakes and pan fry them, just to see how they would turn out.

Leftover perogy filling, shaped into little patties

Perogy Patties, being covered in flour

Perogy Patties, ready for browning

There was just enough to make 6 little patties, about 2.5 inches wide each. She rolled them in flour and then cooked them three at a time in a hot cast iron pan with some butter and olive oil. They crisped up nicely but weren’t as firm as she would have liked, probably because of all the cheese in the filling, but I’m definitely *not* complaining.

Perogy Patties nicely browned

She made up three little plates for us, with 2 patties each, with a dollop of sour cream in between the patties, a dollop on top and some fresh chives from our early garden. It was a perfect light little lunch. Stay tuned for my next post where I share the recipe she used to make the perogies.


Let me preface this by saying that I am by no means an expert on meat rubs. I whipped one up for some steak on Saturday, based on some of the rubs I’ve seen used on cooking shows. I didn’t write down any details but I know this: it was delicious! So I thought I would try creating another rub for our Sunday lambchop dinner. The results were equally good. The spiced char on the outside of the meat was almost the best part of the meal. The flavour it gave the meat was incredible. Why didn’t I know about how wonderful a rub could be? Now that I know, I will never skip this important flavour infusing step.

Lambchops (with spice rub), sauteed mushrooms, steamed baby asparagus, homemade perogies and sour cream

Here is the simple mixture I used for three lambchops:

  • 1/2 tsp multi-colour peppercorns
  • 1 tsp garlic powder with parsley
  • 1 tsp dry minced onion
  • 1 tsp dry oregano
  • 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt

Grind all ingredients in a spice or coffee grinder. Rub the spice mix onto the meat. Wrap the meat in plastic and refrigerate it for a few hours before cooking it.

If you try it, let me know how you like it or what adjustments you make to it.

I went to a local convenience store today to pick up some sour cream. I also wanted some good cookies to go with my evening coffee. I wasn’t impressed by any of the standard convenience store selections. So I went home and looked in my pantry to see what I might be able to whip up instead. I had all the basic ingredients for cookie making, plus some chocolate chips and chocolate chunks, and one banana that had seen better days. A quick search on the I-touch for Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies cake yielded this recipe on AllRecipes that looked good to me.

My daughter helped chop up the chocolate while my wife read me the ingredients, in between making perogies. She’s a true multi-tasker.

The cookies turned out airy and cake-like and cooked perfectly. I’ve had trouble with cookies previously but used parchment paper on my pan this time and it seemed to have made all the difference.

Ready for the oven

Just out of the oven

Moving them to the cooling rack

Mmmm. Yummy cookies.

These cookies were delicious with a nice cold glass of milk and went perfectly later in the evening with my coffee habit.

On Sunday, my wife’s mother and significant other came over. It was a dual purpose day. They had given us a range hood for Christmas and the gift included installation. Seeing as I am going to be cooking more, I thought it was time to install the hood. So they came over and M & I pulled out the stove and made a hole in the wall (and a small one in the floor by mistake- oops. No worries. It will be hidden by the stove.)

In the end end, we spent MUCH longer installing the range hood than I thought we would so our menu had to be modified somewhat. Thankfully, my wife had pre-cut all the vegetables for the ratatouille and I sliced the chicken and she marinated the strips for about 5 hours. So by 6pm, we started whipping up the meal. Well I did the whipping since I was making the whipped cream for the dessert.

Instead of basmati, I cooked a nice sticky rice. My wife skewered the chicken strips, interspersed with little grape tomatoes and button mushrooms. Then she set about browning all the vegetables for the ratatouille a bit at a time, in this order: eggplant slices, zucchini slices, sweet bell pepper chunks, red onions, garlic, and plum tomatoes. She deglazed the pan with a splash of white wine when there was only tomato, onion and garlic left in the pan. All the other veggies had been layered in a casserole dish. Then the tomato onion mixture was poured into the casserole and the whole dish was topped with sliced fresh mozzarella cheese. Yum! The ratatouille was popped into a 350F oven while I grilled the chicken brochettes and the rice took care of itself.

While that was going on, my wife made up a simple layered parfait of fresh whipped cream, fresh raspberries, and Nilla cookies (whole and crushed).

When the chicken was done on the grill outside, everything inside was also ready. We sat down to eat around 7pm. My mother in law and her man loved the meal, as did my wife and daughter. It was a great combo! The ratatouille tasted so fresh and cheesy. The rice was perfect with a bit of soya sauce. The chicken brochettes had great little char marks on them and the little mushrooms and tomatoes were juicy and delicious. The raspberry parfait was nice and light, and just the right thing to end our meal with. Afterwards, we retired to the livingroom to all watch Chef Academy on the Food Network and sipped on coffee or tea. It was a great evening.

How can it be better than that? Everybody loved the food, we had great company and I now have a range hood over my stove. I’m a happy guy.

Now I probably wouldn’t serve ratatouille in my diner but I could probably convince people to try a simpler version with sauteed zucchini, tomatoes and mozzarella. I think they might go for that.

A nice little bowl of chicken with rice soup

On Saturday, after closing up my little store uptown for the day (I own a handmade soap shop), I headed to the grocery store to pick up something quick for supper. My wife was in the mood for some supermarket roasted chicken so that’s what I got; a fully-cooked little rotisserie chicken.

We brought it home and had the chicken and some potato wedges, and my wife whipped up some quick coleslaw, complete with chopped dill pickles and a touch of the pickle juice in the creamy dressing. It was delicious.

Making the stock: After supper, my wife took all the meat off the chicken. There was still an entire breast left, as well as a fair bit of dark meat. The bones and all the fat, juices, wing tips, even the string that held the chicken together, all of that went into a small stock pot. We added a chopped carrot, chopped celery, the tops of a few onions that had sprouted in the pantry, two minced cloves of garlic, and some dried herbs (classic parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme). We added some water (about 7 cups) and 1 cup of leftover dry white wine from a previous gathering. I brought it all to a boil and then reduced it to a simmer for 2 hours.

When it was done simmering, the chicken stock was strained and the bones and cooked vegetables were set aside to cool so they could be picked through for any remaining meat the next day. Once the stock and strained veggies were cool, they were refrigerated.

Making the soup: The next day, my wife re-strained the stock through a fine mesh strainer, which did a great job of separating any floating fat globules. In a stockpot, we tossed in 2 large diced carrots, 2 stalks of sliced celery, 3 diced shallots, and 3 cloves of minced garlic, which we then drizzled with olive oil. The veggies were sweated over a medium heat until the onion and celery appeared somewhat translucent.

Our 6 cups of stock plus 6 cups of water were added to the stockpot, as well as more dried parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. The parsley was especially nice because we had recently dried it in our dehydrator and it was still in big natural pieces. I think it was the parsley that really gave it a great rustic soup feel. We added salt and pepper to taste (probably about 2 teaspoons of salt) and let it all simmer for about an hour and a half.

After it had been simmering for 90 minutes, my wife added all the chopped chicken she had salvaged from the bones and body, which was probably about 2 cups. I also tossed in 1/3 cup of raw basmati rice and about 12 mixed peppercorns.

The soup continued to simmer for about another 30 or 40 minutes and then it was ready to serve. It was probably the best chicken and rice soup I have ever had. It was perfectly seasoned and was full of flavour. I was initially concerned about how much salt my wife was adding but it was just right. This is a recipe that I would definitely make again, and could possibly be a keeper for my diner. My wife and I ate it with cheddar sourdough bread, while my daughter had hers with vegetable thin crackers. She loved hers too, especially since she’s been fighting a cold for a few days. I think the loving touch of homemade chicken soup will be just the thing to get her feeling better again.

Fluffy Pancake Re-do

Yesterday morning I made the pancakes again, this time with fresh baking powder, and it seems to have made all the difference. This batch definitely cooked up light and fluffy. I’m not ready to call it a complete success yet though. There were a couple of things that I will improve on next time.

For starters, when I added the hot melter butter to my egg, I didn’t stir it up quickly enough and the heat from the butter cooked the egg a little bit. I don’t think it made a difference in the end product, but I will ensure to stir it up right away next time. The other thing I noticed is that my pan was too hot, and by the time the pancakes had the characteristic bubbles on top, they were a bit overdone on the bottom.

Regardless of my continuing pancake challenges, they still tasted delicious. I popped a nice large pat of butter on the stack and served them up with pancake syrup (instead of the maple we had last time, which my wife finds overly sweet), some sliced bananas (these add a real creamy richness to the breakfast) and some crisp bacon.

I have to say that my bacon is still not where I would like it to be, or at least not the way my wife would like it to be… yet. She is very specific about how she likes her bacon and I rarely succeed in preparing it exactly the way she craves. She likes nice, thinly sliced bacon, that is crisp, and just about melts in your mouth. I tend to prefer my bacon to be thick cut and very meaty. She finds that this always produces a hard, tough bacon that is difficult to eat. I welcome any “perfect” bacon tips you might have.

In the meantime, I will keep working on the pancakes again, possibly another morning this week. Look for more pancake pandemonium from me.

My wife’s mother and significant other are coming over for dinner tomorrow. They eat very little meat but we are actually pretty big fans of it. So the trick here is to strike a balance with something for everybody. Here’s the menu my wife and I came up with:

  • Beer battered veggies and blue cheese dip to snack on in the afternoon
  • Marinated chicken and grape tomatoes on skewers, grilled
  • Ratatouille inspired roasted veggies
  • Fluffy Basmati rice
  • Raspberry soufflé with vanilla wafer cookies

So I’m off to do the shopping now. Should be a good day tomorrow.