food gluten- free vegan

[Poland] Memories of pierogi / vegan gluten-free pierogi

When I think of pierogi, I think of Sunday afternoons with my grandma, in northern Poland, when my age was a one-digit number. She would make the dough and let me roll and shape it and then carve little circles out of it using a glass, while she’d be making the potato and cottage cheese filling. Then I’d be folding them in half and connecting the halves pressing them with my fingers, based on her instructions. Now she’s over eighty years old and doesn’t make pierogi any more, it is, therefore, my turn in the circle of life.

But I did it my way.

GLUTEN-FREE VEGAN PIEROGI WITH SPINACH
Ingredients 
to make about 30-35 pierogi 
in about 1,5 hrs

Dough: 
80g potato starch
70g gluten-free oats blended to flour consistency
70g buckwheat flour
50g flaxseeds blended to a powder
1 tablespoon of olive or grapeseed oil
half a cup of hot water (but not boiling)

Filling:
4 large spinach cubes
1 large white or yellow onion
30g firm tofu (you can skip this)
a drop of oil of your choice
a clove of garlic or a hearty spoonful of dried garlic powder

Instructions:
Start by preparing the filling. Thaw the spinach and throw it on a frying pan with a drop of oil and diced onion. Fry it on low heat, mixing often, until the excess water evaporates from the spinach and onion turns golden. When it’s ready, add crumbled tofu in and mix well, still frying for a few minutes. Then take it off the stove and leave aside.

Now to make the dough, throw all ingredients into a food processor and mix well. Assess the consistency – it should be fairly easy to form, and not too sticky. If it’s too sticky, add a little bit of flour (a teaspoon or two), but if it seems too solid, add a tiny splash of water.

Put some oat flour on your table and roll the dough out. I would suggest making it slightly thicker (~1/8″) because it is gluten-free and vegan, which makes it less flexible as regular dough, and more prone to tearing.

You can only make a portion of pierogi and freeze the remaining dough, or make them in phases while keeping the remaining dough wrapped in cotton cloth.

Cut circles out of the rolled out dough using a glass or a jar, and then add filling. I would suggest using about a half of the filling amount that you see in the picture above: I had to remove some of it because the pierogi would be too thick and the halves wouldn’t stick. When you’re done, wet your hands with clean water, fold the pierogi in half and press the dough together with two fingers in 4-5 spots around the rim. That’s the way my grandma did it.

I divided them into 6 portions of 5-7 pierogi and froze each portion. There were several which were torn and I decided to boil these to try the flavor. To be safe, I laid them out in a frying pan and covered in water just so that they would stay in place safely and not fall apart. I boiled them just for about a minute: until I saw that the dough softened. Their flavor was great: the filling was really delicious and the dough was slightly harder than regular, but its flavor was good.

Navjot Altaf “Untitled”, 2002 from the Royal Ontario Museum

It was International Women’s Day yesterday, which brought many thoughts and conversations upon me, based on which I would like to share with you these wishes, not just for women or myself, but for anyone:

I wish for us to practice what we preach. Let’s not judge, and we won’t be judged, or at least it won’t matter. Let’s be less critical of ourselves and each other. Let’s stop looking for fault in others to feel better about ourselves. Let’s work on feeling good by taking responsibility for our actions. Let’s be supportive of others and allow ourselves to get emotional support.

I wish for us to be in meaningful relationships, with partners who are proud of being with us, and who help us grow and not bring us down, who love our minds and bodies. Let’s be that partner that we want for ourselves: insightful, focused, open-minded, active, uplifting.

I wish for us to stop romanticizing, or belittling depression, trauma, anxiety, and other mental disorders. To know that it’s not a sign of weakness to get help and live a happy fulfilling life, and giving ourselves to others.

No matter what your gender is. Rock on!

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