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Pierogi and salad

                I came home exhausted from work. I didn’t feel much like cooking but I did. My refrigerator and freezer are full yet I can’t seem to find anything to make for dinner. It’s either some kind of fish that I bought for lent but Jennifer won’t eat or some frozen meat that will take forever to thaw and cook.  What I did have was frozen Pierogi that we had just purchased on sale at the local Shop Rite grocery store. This particular Shop Rite seems to be cleaner than most of them that I have been to so we make it a regular stop now. The prices are usually good and it’s not too far from the house.

                Back to the Pierogi, I have never had Pierogi as a kid. I don’t think I started eating them until a coworker told me he made them. If you have never tried Pierogi, I do recommend them. They are easy to cook and very tasty. Although, I do not think they are meant to be served as a main dish. The ones in my freezer were four cheese potato pierogi.

 I began cooking them by heating up my largest All-Clad Pan over medium heat with a heaping tablespoon or two of olive oil. I did not measure it thus causing dirty a measuring spoon and risking more dirty dishes. I just poured some in the pan and eyeballed it as it spread across the pan. I have one of those olive oil bottles with the liquor spout on top. It reminds me of what you would find on a bottle of Jameson’s behind a bar for pouring shots.  It makes pouring the oil out easy and the bottle itself is tall and thin. This makes it fit nicely into my overstuffed spices cabinet that is next to the stove. I don’t have one of those huge gourmet kitchens like you might think or see on TV but its big enough for one person to cook comfortably in and has a large counter to cook and roll out dough on when it’s not filled with all kinds of different stuff.

As the pierogi cook, they can stick to the pan so every few minutes I move them around with a pair of tongs (are tongs on my gadgets list? If not, I’ll have to add them). When they just started to turn brown on one side, I flip them over to the other side. When that side starts to brown then I add some butter. 1 to 2 tablespoons of salted butter and continue to flip them so the lighter side is always facing the hot pan. I do this until they turn tan or a nice light brown. Like the color of a piece of old varnished maple wood or Douglas-fir like our hard wood floors.

In between flipping and stirring or shaking the pan to make sure the pierogi don’t stick I made two salads. The salads were made up of a head of romaine that I cut up, one of those baby cucumbers that I diced, a few whole black pitted olives, two artichoke hearts that I cut in half, a small tomato I cut into segments, a sliver of raw onion and lastly just a bit of arugula on top. I almost forgot about the arugula in the fridge. I left the onion and tomatoes off Jennifer’s salad. That’s because she is allergic to all night shades. Plus, she does not even like tomatoes. Next, I poured on some Olive Garden salad dressing on them. I love the stuff but I should really start making it myself. I was just too tired last night to even try but salad dressing is easy to make and so much cheaper and better tasting then any bottled stuff.

So there you have it. One lazy man’s dinner. It was pretty good too actually. I guess I wasn’t even that hungry because I don’t even think I finished all of my salad. I was sooo tired I didn’t even have one beer last night! I guess I don’t drink every night, huh. Well as usual, it’s time for me to get to work. So until tomorrow. Stay heathy, be happy, and eat well!

Russ – The Drunken Chef

                I came home exhausted from work. I didn’t feel much like cooking but I did. My refrigerator and freezer are full yet I can’t seem to find anything to make for dinner. It’s either some kind of fish that I bought for lent but Jennifer won’t eat or frozen meat that will take forever to thaw and cook.  What I did have was frozen Pierogi that we had just purchased on sale at the local Shop Rite grocery store. This particular Shop Rite seems to be cleaner than most of them that I have been to so we make it a regular stop now. The prices are usually good and it not too far from the house.

                Back to the Pierogi, I have never had Pierogi as a kid. I don’t think I started eating them until a coworker told me he made them. If you have never tried Pierogi, I do recommend them. They are easy to cook and very tasty. Although, I do not think they are meant to be served as a main dish. The ones in my freezer were four cheese potato pierogi.

 I began cooking them by heating up my largest All-Clad Pan over medium heat with a heaping tablespoon or two of olive oil. I did not measure it thus causing dirty a measuring spoon and risking more dirty dishes. I just poured some in the pan and eyeballed it as it spread across the pan. I have one of those olive oil bottles with the liquor spout on top. It reminds me of what you would find on a bottle of Jameson’s behind a bar for pouring shots.  It makes pouring the oil out easy and the bottle itself is tall and thin. This makes it fit nicely into my overstuffed spices cabinet that is next to the stove. I don’t have one of those huge gourmet kitchens like you might think or see on TV but its big enough for one person to cook comfortably in and has a large counter to cook and roll out dough on when it’s not filled with all kinds of different stuff.

As the pierogi cook, they can stick to the pan so every few minutes I move them around with a pair of tongs (are tongs on my gadgets list? If not, I’ll have to add them). When they just started to turn brown on one side, I flip them over to the other side. When that side starts to brown then I add some butter. 1 to 2 tablespoons of salted butter and continue to flip them so the lighter side is always facing the hot pan. I do this until they turn tan or a nice light brown. Like the color of a piece of old varnished maple wood or Douglas-fir like our hard wood floors.

In between flipping and stirring or shaking the pan to make sure the pierogi don’t stick I made two salads. The salads were made up of a head of romaine that I cut up, one of those baby cucumbers that I diced, a few whole black pitted olives, two artichoke hearts that I cut in half, a small tomato I cut into segments, a sliver of raw onion and lastly just a bit of arugula on top. I almost forgot about the arugula in the fridge. I left the onion and tomatoes off Jennifer’s salad. That’s because she is allergic to all night shades. Plus, she does not even like tomatoes. Next, I poured on some Olive Garden salad dressing on them. I love the stuff but I should really start making it myself. I was just too tired last night to even try but salad dressing is easy to make and so much cheaper and better tasting then any bottled stuff.

So there you have it. One lazy man’s dinner. It was pretty good too actually. I guess I wasn’t even that hungry because I don’t even think I finished all of my salad. I was sooo tired I didn’t even have one beer last night! I guess I don’t drink every night, huh. Well as usual, it’s time for me to get to work. So until tomorrow. Stay heathy, be happy, and eat well!

Russ – The Drunken Chef

Ice Cream Sunday

April 25, 2021

                So yesterday, I was gardening for the first time in what felt like a year. We put a whole bunch of flowering plants in the ground. If they live, Ill post pictures later in the year. Jennifer could not do much because of her back but at least she could work on planting some pots at a table and keep me company.

                By the time I was done, I was way too tired to even think about cooking so I called and ordered Chinese food. However, I did make us ice cream Sundays for dessert. I will leave it to you then, is the making of the ice cream Sundays on a Saturday cooking? Even if used caned whip cream, premade ice cream, Maraschino Cherries from a jar and chocolate syrup from a plastic bottle? I did crush the nuts myself in a zip top bag and using my meat tenderizer and put the whole thing together.

                So yesterday, I was gardening for the first time in what felt like a year. We put a whole bunch of flowering plants in the ground. If they live, Ill post pictures later in the year. Jennifer could not do much because of her back but at least she could work on planting some pots at a table and keep me company.

                By the time I was done, I was way too tired to even think about cooking so I called and ordered Chinese food. However, I did make us ice cream Sundays for dessert. I will leave it to you then, is the making of the ice cream Sundays on a Saturday cooking? Even if used caned whip cream, premade ice cream, Maraschino Cherries from a jar and chocolate syrup from a plastic bottle? I did crush the nuts myself in a zip top bag and using my meat tenderizer and put the whole thing together.

April 25, 2021

© Russ Ahrens and The Magic of a Perfect Pairing, 2021

Boneless Buffalo Wings

April 24, 2021

                It’s the weekend… Yea!  The beginning of my weekend is my favorite part because I have weekends off, except for cooking. (Unless we go out to eat.) That’s okay though, because I love cooking.

                Last night I suggested boneless Buffalo wings and Jennifer quickly agreed. I asked her to text our friend Alyssa to see if she would like to join us but my lovely wife was already texting away. I know Alyssa likes my boneless wings, so we didn’t want her to miss out. Alyssa confirmed with Jennifer, saying she would be here about 7-ish.

                Perfect! I thought. After the timing was confirmed and opened a beer and started cooking. I know what you must be thinking about my cooking and beer related activity, but I do not always drink beer while I cook. Sometimes its wine if my wine drinking friends are over. Sometimes its lemonade and vodka if its a particularly hot summer day. Look, it’s a blog by the Drunken Chef what do you expect? Mr. Rogers? No just me, no servants, no sous chefs. No dishwashers. Well I do have a dishwasher but no one rising the dishes or washing the pots. I am usually just the one to wash the dishes and rinse the pots, I am really quite multifaceted, being dishwasher, sous-chef and head chef all in one! This is, of course, a very wordy way to say that whatever mess I make, I have to clean-up.

                Completely off-topic: I get a few questions about how did I get this nickname? The Drunken Chef. Well, I think it was a co-worker that started calling me The  Drunken Chef after one of my many summertime BBQ adventures where I had the entire department attending in my back yard. After all the stories that they heard, they were there to see and taste my culinary skills in person.

                Back to last night: I preheated the oven to keep the wings warm once they were done. After-all, what goes better with beer than bar food – particularly wings? Most of the important people in my life prefer their wings to be boneless, but I adapted this style especially for Jennifer. I start with chicken cutlets that I cut into 1 to 1 ½ inch strips. Those strips get tossed into some beaten eggs followed by a wonderful flour mixture with some spices that I added breadcrumbs too. Sometimes (when I not so lazy) I flour them and then dip the back into the egg and then the breadcrumbs. I find it gives the chicken that extra crunch, which just elevates them to a whole new level.

                Next, as the oil heated, I cut celery and carrots into strips or sticks 1/2 inch wide. You have to have vegetables with dinner!

                When frying anything it is important to watch the temperature of your oil and how fast it’s cooking. Too hot and to fast, it burns, too slow and it tastes like oil. By learning to make potato pancakes that all come out the same golden brown, on both sides, (not hiding the burnt ones face down) is an excellent way to learn how to control the temperature and cooking time on your stove. Figuring out how to cook bacon will have a similar effect. Who doesn’t love bacon? Many times, I make it in the microwave, but when I want the bacon grease for something else like a spinach salad, I make it in a pan on the stove. That takes time and patience not to burn it. If you like crispy bacon that is. Those kinds of skills are best taught in a video if anyone is interested recording me in my kitchen and editing and so on and so on. There is a free meal in for you…just sayin.

                Well the wings came out good. I also made my famous buffalo wing sauce, and no it’s not just butter and Frank’s Red Hot but those are just two of the ingredients. Patients people…. The recipes are coming. Sure, even this one, with my famous sauce included.

                ENJOY your Saturday! THE DRUNKEN CHEF

April 24, 2021

© Russ Ahrens and The Magic of a Perfect Pairing,2021