It certainly has been a different week in my kitchen - not a chilli in sight! I wanted to write about this recent period as my cooking has felt entirely different to what is usually on the menu. The man had minor surgery last week (nothing serious) and has needed to eat blander food than usual during his recovery. I usually sway towards spicy meals and probably cook them about 50% of the time so I took this as a perfect opportunity to broaden my horizons a little.
Last weekend I made pierogis which was fun to do but very time consuming. I prepared the dough, a potato-fried onion-dill filling, a sauerkraut-mushroom filling and fried onions for topping ahead of time which was rather simple to do. When it came to putting these little dumplings together, it felt like it took forever and even that was with the aid of a pasta machine to roll out the dough.
I had a few issues with getting the thickness right and initially made the dough too thin which meant that it wasn't robust enough to contain the filling. Another issue I ran into was overstuffing the dumplings which is something I have been guilty of doing in the past with Asian dumplings and really should know better by now. Once those issues were ironed out it was still a lengthy process to manually seal the dumplings and in hindsight I should have used my handy little dumpling press for this task.
The good news was that the pierogis tasted fantastic, the bad news is that I can't share the recipe as it is from Terry Hope Romero's new cookbook that will be released in October. We all preferred the potato and dill filling out of the two and I was especially pleased to find a recipe that made me appreciate this herb as it hasn't been one of my favourites in the past.
With a surplus of dill leftover I investigated other ways to make use of it. Beef stroganoff was something we used to enjoy years ago when we ate meat and then a mushroom version when we were vegetarian. I've been meaning to try a vegan recipe for a while using slices of tempeh and a sour cream replacement so I gave it a shot. I looked up a few different recipes from my cookbooks to get some inspiration but nothing was exactly what I was looking for so I ended up creating my own version inspired from about 3 recipes. I was very happy with the flavour of this meal and the man adored this so I'll have to make it again. I'm going to hold off posting a recipe for now as the consistency of the sauce was too thick and the way I prepared the tempeh needs a little tweaking so stay tuned for this one.
Tonight was the man's birthday and I made him a vegan spanakopita which incorporated baked almond feta which was posted by Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe recently. Johanna mentioned in her post that the cheeze needed more oomph and even with a bit of extra salt, it still wasn't tasty enough. The texture was great as it was creamy and a bit crumbly so I'll be revisiting the feta in the future. The spanakopita was pretty good although a little lacking in salt so once again I'll be tweaking this recipe further before posting my version.
I'm so used to writing up a post with the objective of sharing a recipe so it feels strange to leave you without one this time around. In recent times I've been cooking up way more than I have had time to write about so at least it feels good to share some of my photos and experiences of the previous week. And even though I'm beginning to crave a spicy meal, it has been anything but a bland week of eating.