For the Love of Pierogi

The women in my husband’s family were expert pierogi makers. His late aunts were part of a still ongoing brigade of the tasty Polish dumpling makers at St. Stanislaus Parish - a church so beautiful it is designated a minor Basilica. 
More savory cabbage and sweet cheese pierogi are sold the weeks before Easter and Christmas than the ladies ( and a few talented men) at our parish can keep up with. It helps to have an “in” with the pierogi making crowd for advance notice of when there’s a batch ready for sale. A successful pierogi purchase feels like a Pat’s touchdown in the last moments of a tie game. And if you’re really lucky enough to be the recipient of your Polish aunt’s cookbook with a variety of sweet and savory pierogi recipes to be cherished, and celebrated by making them at home. Thank you, Cioce (pronounced Chutchee) for your lifetime love of cooking and us.
Blueberry PierogiDOUGH2 cups plain, all-purpose flour1 tbsp powdered sugar1 egg + 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten together1 c…

Lemon Love!

Luscious lemon flavor that's one helluva science experiment ... you mix up a batter, pour it in a baking dish. Forty-five minutes later the miracle happens every time, somehow it separates into a creamy lemon pudding on the bottom of your pan, topped with a light sweet-tart sponge cake. Sift a little powdered sugar for lovely finish, and there you have it.

For a low sugar version, a good Stevia baking blend does the trick with no loss of flavor or texture. If you're a lemon lover, be prepared to fall head over heels!

LEMON PUDDING CAKE 4 large eggs, separated 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest  1/3 cup lemon juice 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted  1 cup sugar 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 1/4 teaspoon salt 1-1/2 cups whole milk
Place a roasting pan large enough to accommodate an 8-inch square baking dish on a rack in the center of the oven. Fill the pan with about 1-1/2 inches of water. With the pan inside, heat the oven to 350 degrees. 
Butter the 8-inch square baking dish. Set aside.

Best Belgian Waffles EVER!

The secret? Seltzer instead of water or milk. Our favorite for sweet morning brunch waffles is Polar raspberry lime flavored ... but when fried chicken and waffles are on our supper menu, there's nothing quite as good as Spindrift seltzer with cucumber!

If soft cake waffles are your bag, this recipe is not for you ...

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 
1 teaspoon Truvia baking blend
2 teaspoon baking powder 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled 
1 large egg
1 (12 fl oz can) seltzer or club soda, plain or flavored
coconut oil spray for waffle iron 

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.  Add butter, egg, and seltzer and whisk until smooth.  Lightly spray a preheated Belgian waffle iron coconut oil.  Pour about 2/3 cup of batter (should barely fill the bottom grid).  Cook according to appliance manufacturer’s instructions. Makes 3-4 waffles, depending on the size of your waffle maker.

The politics of broccoli ...

“I do not like broccoli. And I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m President of the United States and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli.” George H. W. Bush

Remember that quote?

Seriously, #41 ... you should never have dissed the glories of broccoli.

"Let's put broccoli in the White House again."

Broccoli lovers everywhere believe that Hillary Clinton hit on something with that sign in 1992. After all, her husband, #42 ended your presidency.

Ten years later, your own son #43 feebly attempted to defend the family honor by flashing a thumbs down on broccoli. He had to think fast and instead tossed cauliflower under the bus when he remembered that his host Mexican President Vincente Fox was a broccoli farmer.

Finally, broccoli has found real love from #44 with President Obama claiming broccoli as his favorite vegetable. Coming full circle, he's endorsed fellow broccoli lover Hillary Clinton. Her position on the beautifu…

REALLY good rice pudding.

The news from U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark that Nazda Alam was to be her guest at President Obama’s State of the Union address brought a round of cheers in Democratic party circles here in Massachusetts. 
My first introduction to Nazda started with a phone call. She was running for Democratic State Committee and hoping I would consider voting for her as an Affirmative Action add on candidate. She talked about the importance of encouraging civic and electoral participation in immigrant populations and communities of faith. She talked about her own experiences as a Muslim American and her love of this country that she chose to pledge her allegiance to as a new citizen. She was gently insistent and passionately sincere. I said yes. Her hard work and advocacy has led to an appointment to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Immigration and Refugee Policy and the State Treasurer’s Diversity Council. Nazda is a great Democrat and even more impressive she is a faithful American patriot. She says he…

Apples make more than pies!

This perfect harvest time chicken and sides complete meal is special enough for a small dinner party - not so fussy that it can't be served on a weeknight. Prep time is in the brining, which can be done in the morning and will be ready to roast at the end of a busy day.

Luscious aromas coming from your kitchen will delight and tickle your appetite. So pour yourself a cup of warm apple cider (maybe spiked with a little bourbon) and nibble a slice of local cheddar to tide you over until dinner is served!


3 cups apple cider
2 tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons sea salt

1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon bourbon

1 whole chicken (3 to 4 pounds)

Cold water

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup brown sugar 

3 apples, quartered

2 large shallots, quartered
4 quartered sweet potatoes 
Heat the cider in a 5-6-quart stockpot over medium heat until warm to the touch.  Remove from heat. Whisk …

Who needs pasta noodles for yummy lasagna?

Wishing for a low-carb dinner that satisfies your Italian food craving.  This lasagna is the perfect solution, especially in the summer with homegrown garden-fresh veggies and herbs. That said, don't underestimate its appeal in the winter when only comfort food will do.

You won't even miss the noodles!

Eggplant “Noodles”
2 large eggplants peeled, sliced lengthwise into 1/4 inch noodle-like strips
cooking spray (olive oil spray is best)
1 cup flavored breadcrumbs


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove grated garlic
1 red pepper, chopped
1 (8 ounce) package mushrooms, chopped
1 tablespoon italian seasoning (or mix of oregano, basil and thyme)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
1/2 cup red wine
1 (28 ounce) can tomato puree
2 cups fresh (or one 15 ounce can) diced tomatoes

Cheese Mixture
2 cups ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1⁄2 cup grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Spray cookie shee…