Groovin' in the kitchen, dancin' in Missoula.

Tag: Ethnic Cuisine

Eggplant Mykonos

Eggplant Mykonos

I got to use my kitchen. It was fantastic. I’m definitely not used to the stove though. It was a learning process last night, but the good news is that I didn’t burn anything! I moved my cutting boards around. Moved them back. Sighed with […]

Citrus Glaze with Pork

Citrus Glaze with Pork

I know, I know. I’m not supposed to like pork. Here’s the thing–I can admit when I’m wrong.  About food.  I can totally admit when I’m wrong about food. This was one of those recipes that I’ve never tried before, and hadn’t really put much […]

Nara

Nara

I love sushi! There, I’ve said it. Now everyone knows.
Right now the vast majority of my family is cringing in disgust. If only they knew!

How on earth do I know about sushi, seeing as how I live in a land-locked state? Fortunately for us, Missoula has not one, but two excellent sushi joints. And each has not one, but two dollar nights–making dollar sushi possible four nights a week, if one is so inclined.

Of the two fine establishments, Nara Korean Barbecue & Sushi has us coming back again and again. It may have something to do with the amazing sushi:
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Or getting to watch very small people use chopsticks:
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Or getting to watch very small people not use chopsticks:
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Both of these photos were taken with a camera phone several years ago. Does that tell you how long we’ve been eating at Nara?

The staff is amazing, too. More often then not, Nick will ask the server to surprise him, rather than just ordering from the menu. They don’t get flustered or angry at him, they just smile and nod and bring something amazing from the kitchen. Now that’s service! I wouldn’t recommend doing this every time you go in, but when you’re feeling adventurous it’s definitely worth the mystery.

There are some places that, despite being a business or restaurant, make you feel like family. We walk in and we know we’re going to get an excellent meal, but we also know they won’t glare at us if we have a fussy kid–he might just get rice candy or a toy to borrow. We know that they won’t rush us out of our table, even if it’s a dollar night in July and there’s a line out the door. We know that after a hard day, nothing beats great sushi and a shot of warm sake.

Don’t feel bad if you’ve never tried sushi. Just go visit Nara out on Reserve.
Go ahead, I’ll wait. No really, go eat some sushi!

What food makes your family shudder?

A Review of Helena

A Review of Helena

Ok, so not Helena, exactly.  A review of a few places we visited when we were there recently.  Generally, I’m pretty biased against Helena.  Not that there’s anything wrong with it per se, I’m just so in love with Missoula that it’s hard for me […]

Rematch

Rematch

Ok, so the first post was called Pierogies.  I was informed (by Nick) shortly after publishing the post that it’s actually Perogies.  Subtle, but different.  I swear I looked it up!  But, I’m going to go with the “spelling that has been used for three […]

Pierogies

Pierogies

Boiling Perogies
I remember that first bite vividly.  The whole family was staring at me, waiting with bated breath to see my reaction.  This was an extremely important dinner, as it would be the deciding factor in shaping my future.  You think I’m kidding, but I was specifically told that I couldn’t marry into the family unless I liked pierogies.  It’s a lot of pressure for someone who’d never had sauerkraut, let alone heard of a pierogi.

I knew about pasties and pot pies (I am Irish, after all), but pierogies?  My husband’s family is Polish by descent, and celebrates by eating pierogies every Christmas Eve.

And so I poured a little butter over the top, added a few shakes of salt and pepper, cut off a small corner piece and cautiously took a bite…

It was amazing, needless to say (as anything drenched in melted butter tends to be).  I was surprised by the contrasting flavors–vinegary sauerkraut, moist, chewy shell.  It was what I thought it would be:  simple, recognizable; but I was surprised at how well the few ingredients complimented each other.

We’ve tried pierogies a few times on our own, to great success.  But nothing compares to that family meal.  During the holiday season when everything is so sweet-centered, it’s nice to have a meal that’s tart and savory.

And now I have some bad news.  My mother in law starts this process first thing in the morning.  And she’s a very early riser.  I came up the stairs and the dough had already been assembled and she was rolling it out and cutting it into triangles.  I don’t have the photo step-by-step that I normally include.  The good news is that this means I’ll just have to make pierogies sometime soon.  Darn, huh?

It starts with eggs and flour.  A lot.  To quadruple/billionuple her normal recipe, she used two dozen eggs and 12 cups of flour!! (Don’t worry though, we seriously love our pierogies, and that amount of eggs and flour gave us about 80 of them. You can use 3 cups of flour and 6 eggs to start)  She also added a bit of salt and pepper to taste.  You can start with a wooden spoon, but eventually combine with your hands to make a pie crust like consistency.
Dough Mound

Roll it out pretty thinly, and then slice into triangles.
Rolled

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While that’s going on, start your sauerkraut in a frying pan with some buttah. We usually use a whole, very large, jar.
Saur Kraut
The frying time of the sauerkraut is a bit of a debate between my husband and his mother. She likes to cook it for quite awhile, but my husband likes to cook it just until the kraut absorbs the butter and is heated through. I tend to side with my husband, because I really like the flavor of the kraut to burst.

Assembly
Fill each triangle with kraut, and pinch the edges to close. The kraut will be moist enough that you shouldn’t need to add water or egg wash to the edges. Make sure they’re really sealed though! You don’t want any of the good stuff to escape.

So many Perogies!
Place sealed pierogies on a slightly damp towel. Repeat the process again and again until you run out of dough. If you run out of sauerkraut, make more, silly!

Here’s another point of “contention” between my husband and his mother. When she’s finished stuffing all the dough, she lets the pierogies rest between two damp towels for several hours (until dinner time) like so:
Resting

My husband is ready to go as soon as the last pierogi is stuffed. This usually results in a few of the resting pierogies disappearing.
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Yum
I may or may not have consumed a few of these a little early too. Can you blame me?

When it’s actually dinner time, bring a big pot of water to a boil. Add the pierogies in batches. You’ll know when they’re ready because the dough will change color and harden. Before you pull them out of the water, melt “some” butter.
So much butter

To serve, place hot pierogies on a plate.  Drizzle with butter, flavor with salt and pepper, and then keep track of how many you eat to know who the winner is.  Oh wait, maybe that’s just us…

And now I have more bad/good news. We were in such a hurry to eat that I didn’t snap any photos of these beauties plated and ready for eating. Further reason to make them again, yes? I’ll just have to post a follow-up…and buy more butter.