Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Latvian Pierogies

This past Easter I went to my mom's house in Rochester, NY and I had share some pictures of my mom's famous pierogies. I had forgotten they were on my memory card until I recently photographed the cookies in my previous post. While I can't share the recipe because it's a family secret, I can share with you the differences between Latvian and Polish pierogies. The only other time I've tasted a pierogie like my mom's has been in Latvia.

So if anyone is at all curious, the main difference is that they are better. :-) Yes, I've tried various iterations at Veselka and Kiev in NYC's East Village but they don't compare. Another difference is that they're baked and not boiled or pan-fried. They don't require the accroutrements often paired with the Polish version like sour cream or apple sauce. These are enjoyed on their own, slightly warmed. Vegetarians beware b/c my mom never diverges from the traditional carniverous filling of bacon, ham and onions. Anyway, if you ever do find the Latvian version of the recipe, give it a shot. You won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

How to Please a Crowd

My favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe is not a secret. It hasn't been handed down by generations in the Serdans family, nor does it include any quirky instructions or a pinch of this and dash of that. The only specification I would include is getting a higher quality chocolate b/c it makes for better "sampling." Sometimes I'll be festive and throw in some cranberries or walnuts but they're just as good plain. I recently brought these cookies to my friend's housewarming BBQ party and they were gone in a matter of minutes! Anyway, you can find the recipe on the back of most chocolate chip bags.

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 package chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls and bake for 8-10 minutes. My oven prefers 10 minutes, yielding a moist and chewy cookie. Enjoy!