Good August morning to you, year-round good readers. We have questions about Boston butt prepared in the crock pot and filling tucked into perogies ... as well as a question about your kitchen. Yes, yours. So read on.
Betty Domal wrote that she is "interested in the Boston butt that Rhonda McDaniel wrote about. I have one in the freezer. Wonder if it needs to be thawed and browned before putting in the crock pot?"
And here's a request from A.E. and H.B.
A said to H, "I am thinking about making some changes to our kitchen, and I want to know the Best of the Best. Wouldn't you, H, want to know other readers' Bests? What is the best feature in your kitchen? Best appliance? Best design? Best cookbook, recipe, meal, memory: best anything?"
H agreed that she would like to know, and she came up with two possibilities already: a warming drawer and a KitchenAid stand mixer. So take it from there, won't you all? What is the best of the best, in any category, in your kitchen?
Finally, as you read about perogies in the next lines, their sender wondered if you would want a cabbage filling as a variation. Let us know if you want to try the cabbage-filled version.
YOU SAY PEROGIES
Roseann Strazinsky simply had to respond to the request for perogies. "I am sending you a recipe from my mom's Slovak cookbook, called 'pirohy.' They freeze well, and in fact we had cheese pirogy for supper yesterday, and I made them for Christmas." Note that there is more than one way to spell this Slovakian treasure, which is a kind of dumpling with a filling.
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sour cream (optional)
Tablespoons of water, enough to make a medium soft dough as needed
Fillings of choice (directions for three options follow)
1 stick butter
Mix flour, eggs, salt and sour cream, adding water by tablespoons to make the dough medium-soft. Knead well until blisters appear on the dough. The sour cream will make the dough soft.
Divide into two portions, and roll out on floured board, but not too thin or your filling will come through. Cut into 2-inch squares. Place 1 teaspoon of filling in center, and fold dough square over the filling. Pinch edges to keep filling from escaping. Flour your fingers if needed to seal the edges. Place your filled perogy on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper until you've repeated this with the remaining dough.
Drop the perogies into a large pot of boiling salted water, and cook until they rise to the top of the water, about 5 minutes. Drain well.
Melt a stick of butter into a skillet. Then you may pour butter over the perogies in a serving bowl and serve, or brown the butter slightly and add the perogies into the skillet and brown them and serve.
(Depending on how many fillings you desire, you might need to double the dough recipe.)
» Cheese filling: Combine 1/2 pound ricotta cheese, 1 beaten egg and 1/8 teaspoon salt.
» Prune filling: Cook 1/2 pound prunes and mash, or use 1/2 pound lekvar (coarse jam).
» Potato filling: Combine 1 cup mashed potatoes (can be leftover mashed potatoes), 1/2 ounce grated Cheddar cheese and 1 egg yolk. Let cool before using.
If you read about Jim Sparks' lamb dinner last week, you also read that the final two recipes in that dinner menu would be coming today. Here they are: a simple head of broccoli, steamed, and a pecan pie, spirited.
1 large head of broccoli
1 tablespoon water
Cut broccoli into small florets. Place broccoli and water in microwave-proof bowl, and cover with a plate (or use a container such as Corning Ware with a lid). Microwave on high about 3 minutes. Carefully open, and drain water from cooking vessel. Stir butter and salt into broccoli, and serve.
Spirited Brown Sugar Pecan Pie
1 refrigerated pie crust (half of a 15-ounce package) at room temperature
2 cups (packed) dark brown sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon Scotch whisky
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups pecan halves
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch glass or ceramic pie dish with crust. Crimp edges. Whisk sugar, eggs, butter, Scotch, vanilla and cinnamon in large bowl to blend; mix in pecans. Pour filling into crust.
Bake pie until filling is set in center, covering edges with foil if browning too quickly, about 40 minutes. Cool completely.
Note: If you don't keep Scotch on hand, you can usually find a small 50-milliliter "airline-size" bottle at your local liquor store.
We are still hot on the trail of a corn casserole made with frozen logs of corn, and in the meantime Joy Yates of Cleveland, Tennessee, has a substitute. "This Corn Casserole was given to me by a friend over 30 years ago, and I still make it. I know the request today was for frozen corn, but thought this recipe might also work with frozen corn as well."
1 (14-ounce) can cream corn
1 (14-ounce) can whole-kernel corn
1 chopped onion
1 chopped bell pepper
2 ounces chopped pimento (drained)
2/3 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
1 cup cracker crumbs
1 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup margarine, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix together in casserole dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.
Finally, here's a recipe from Barbara Smith's stash, this one attributed to Jules Smith.
Fresh Roasted Brussels Sprouts
1 1/2 to 2 pounds Brussels sprouts
1/4 cup olive oil
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1/2 tablespoon dried dill weed
1 teaspoon mustard seed
Clean and trim Brussels sprouts. Keep them whole if they are small, but halve them if they are large.
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Add all ingredients except mustard seed to a large zipper-lock bag. Toss to combine all the ingredients, then put them on a shallow baking pan and put them in the oven.
Meanwhile, toast mustard seed in a small cast-iron skillet until lightly brown. Brussels sprouts should cook for about 30 minutes. Toss in mustard seeds when cooking is finished.
* Frozen Boston butt
* Best kitchen features
* Cabbage-filled perogies
Thanks to you who make this column: past, present and future. And do come back.
TO REACH US
Fare Exchange is a longtime meeting place for people who love to cook and love to eat. We welcome both your recipes and your requests. Be sure to include precise instructions for every recipe you send.
Mailing address: Jane Henegar, 913 Mount Olive Road, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750