Sunday, September 28, 2008
Sunday Supper: Pirogis Bastardo
It must be Fall because Sunday Supper is in full swing now that everyone works weekdays, vacations are over and the kitchen is the warmest place in the house. A little confession, dear reader...we actually relaunched Sunday Supper a couple weeks ago at The Chef Mansion but Second Edition got so incredibly, unbelievably DRUNK that none of the food pictures came out. But I do have some awesome shots of Aussie Girl's butt and The Chef's seemingly large nostrils. So sorry.
So let's try this again. This time with honored guests: Mama Ranger and Papa Ranger. Who flew all the way from the Hill-Country-of-Western-Pennsylvania just for Sunday Supper. Okay, not exactly. I'm sure their Baby Boy being shacked up with an Old-Mexican-Hippie probably sparked some curiosity, que no?
In honor of our honorees, we went Polish. That's right, traditional pigs in a blanket, cabbage stuffed with beef, pork, onions and rice and simmered in tomato soup with sauerkraut and Kielbasa.
One of Second Edition's all-time favorite foods. Great for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a midnight snack (with cold beer) when sneaking into the kitchen under the cover of darkness while the Ranger mutters work-related dreams, "Put your helmet on! Put your helmet on! It's the law."
Mama Ranger took control of the Piggies while the three Mexicans ran rough-shod over the pirogis. Ah, and here is our moment of truth. When we broke the news to Papa Ranger that "well...Sunday Supper is about NOT following the recipe, changing tradition, pleasantly fucking things up in new and different ways" we were met with a furrowed brow. And since he looks EXACTLY like the Ranger (just older, grayer and um, more voluptuous), I'm OH-SO familiar with this furrowed brow business.
Of course, traditionally pirogis are stuffed with mashed Idaho potatoes and cheddar cheese. But the three Mexicans agreed that this sounded awful...what's the word? Oh yeah...Honkie. So, we changed it up. The Chef rolled out the dough...under the strict supervision of Mama Ranger, I might add, while I made the stuffing: roasted sweet potatoes, roasted garlic, a lot of sage, chopped jalapeno, asiago cheese and toasted pine nuts. Finger licking good. Aussie Girl and friends got busy stuffing, sealing, boiling and finally, sauteing those little bastards in browned butter and leeks.
I swear there was a hushed silence when Papa Ranger ate his first Mexican Pirogi. He chewed. He swallowed. He took another bite. Then held up his wine glass (a fine Beaujolais) and declared them delicious. He had seconds. Then thirds! I swear I now know how Sally Fields felt at the Oscars..."He loves me! He loves me! He really loves me!" Ah come on, Papa Ranger, you know you do...even if we DID grow up watching the same television shows, eating Ding-Dongs and eschewing the hoola-hoop.
And on that happy note, I'll leave you with some snaps of that memorable evening...when the Poles, the Croatians, the French, the Mexicans, the Guatemalans, the Swedes and the mutts gathered round, mixed-bloods all of us, to enjoy Pirogis Bastardo.
Yes, the olives were lovely, but what I really wanted to show you was the incredibly beautiful cutting board The Gardener made for me for my birthday. Using woods indigenous to Oregon, he sanded and oiled this puppy till it was as smooth as a baby's butt. He also brought over a tasty simmer of squash, zucchini, spring onions and herbs, all from his garden. We love people who eat like him. Every time we run into him at the Farmer's Market, he holds out an apple, a peach, or a plum and says, "Take a bite of this. You won't believe it. Your mouth. It just won't be able to handle it." So nice to finally be at a point in my life where I hear this in public and not in the back of a darkened movie theater. Married...with appetizers. Speaking of:
Aussie Girl delivered quite a tasty spread of eats for the hungry troops. (It's impossible to cook without wine and snacks at the ready). That yellow stuff is a tofu dip we both love. And the hummus...it was Papa Ranger's first experience with such a schmear. He declared the garbanzo bean delectable. We'll make a Mexican out of him yet.
When Mama Ranger inquired as to the origins of Sunday Supper, we had to pause and consider. Finally..."We love to eat. So do our friends. And neighbors. Why not do it together?"