23 December 2011

Five Years Gluten Free

Brown Rice Pasta with Bolognese Sauce
Five years ago I jumped off a cliff and went gluten-free.  I was desperate.  I was headed to Detroit for six weeks with my parents (who both smoked) and I was in a panic that my migraines would be non-stop because of the second-hand smoke.  I was reacting to all sorts of things: perfume, smoke, all kinds of foods.  I had facial pain, neck pain, migraine, bloating, gas, constipation, iron-deficiency anemia and other slight problems with vitamin absorption.  I went to a naturapath, who tested me for food allergies (IgG and IgE combined).  The test results were not even back when I happened upon an issue of Living Without Magazine with an article on the cover on how gluten could affect the brain.  Leafing through the magazine, I found an ad suggesting that iron-deficiancy anemia and tooth enamel problems could be signs of celiac and it hit me that the naturapath might be right.  She thought it likely I was at least gluten intolerant, if not celiac.  I also found out what gluten really was and I understood why my attempts to eliminate wheat and dairy from my diet to stop the gas were not effective.  I went gluten-free the next day.  That was December 22, 2006.

Four months later I was tested for celiac, but the test was negative.  I had been gluten-free for four months.  I had a stool test done and that found enough gluten antibodies to suggest that I had a sensitivity to gluten.  I avoided gluten and about 30 other food items for two years.  Gradually, I brought back all but the gluten.  Now I mostly avoid milk too, but not all dairy.  I took a test for cow's milk allergy and it said I had a moderate allergy to it.  I seem to be ok with yogurt, cheese and butter, but not milk in large quantities and not whey protein powder at all.

Well, not all my problems were related to gluten, but I have remained gluten-free with only a few cheats over the years.  Since I do not know if I have celiac, once a year, I try a little gluten to see what happens.  The first few years, I got reactions within two hours.  Then it was 3-4 hours.  Then I tried some bread in France a year ago and got no reaction.  I am not sure what my level of sensitivity is, but since my iron levels came up slightly after a few years gluten free and my osteopenia was unchanged, I decided to stick with it.  I am no longer as sensitive to perfumes and smoke, although I prefer not to be around them (and what's up with all these people who douse themselves with perfume anyway? Don't they know it isn't PC anymore? That people have real issues with it?)   I have to admit that I never lost my anger and sorrow over the loss of regular bread and pastries and the frustration that I live with on almost a daily basis living in a gluten-laden world.  I am particularly angry with Starbucks (although I still go there all the time) for not providing good quality gluten free pastries and sandwiches.  These days, it is so easy to do that I get miffed with companies that can't be bothered.  Tully's, on the other hand,  I love  for providing WOW cookies right up at the cash registers.  Very classy, Tully's.

Last month I had double jaw surgery and had to endure a liquid diet for 10 days and then only semi-liquid since.  I only started chewing a week ago and it's not much, yet.  My experience as a cook and a gluten-free cook saved me.  I made 4 or 5 pots of soups and froze individual servings of them.  Then I taught my husband to make gluten-free high-protein smoothies for me and I survived it.  Thanksgiving was hell, but Christmas is going to make up for it.  I am making my usual Thanksgiving meal for Christmas, using Udi's Gluten-free bread in my stuffing and making my gravy from scratch with potato starch instead of flour (or using Jules' Gluten Free All Purpose Flour).  I am not sure I will be able to chew the turkey much, but the rest of the meal will be fit for a king...or queen.

Here's hoping you all enjoy your holidays...gluten-free.

Karen, herself

12 November 2011

Preparing for a liquid diet

Borscht (beet soup) simmering on the stove
Next week is my big jaw surgery.  I am having both upper and lower jaws advanced to open up my airway and reposition my teeth so that my bite is optimal.  There are all kinds of technical terms for the procedures, but they are lumped into the category of orthognathic surgery.

Bottom line is that my normal soft diet (which is already driving me crazy) will be limited to a liquid diet for 10 days or so.  I will only be drinking my Thanksgiving dinner, so I think I am going nearly meatless this year.  I don't think pureed meat sounds very appetizing, so will be sticking with broths.  I have been making and storing soups and hot cereals thinned out with soy milk or almond milk so that I can easily heat them up for a meal.  My darling husband will also be making me high-protein smoothies, like the ones I have featured on this blog.  They all still have to be gluten free and pretty much free of cow's milk too, as it hasn't been sitting well with me lately.  Yogurt and butter and cheese seem to be ok though.  I made my usual butternut squash and apple soup for the holiday and my plan for dessert is to have hubby liquify some pumpkin pie filling.  Hopefully when it is all over and I can eat real food again, I will be done with the soft diet thing.  I surely hope so.  It has been far too long.

Borscht (loosely based on the Russian Tea Room recipe)
1 T olive oil
1 onion peeled and chopped
2 large carrots peeled and grated
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1/4 green cabbage, shredded
1 can diced tomatoes
4 cups chicken stock
3 large beets, peeled and diced
1 T each sugar and red wine vinegar

Saute the onion in olive oil while you prepare the other vegetables.  Add them (except the beets) to the pot and season with salt and pepper.  Add the tomatoes and cook a bit, then add the broth and bring to a boil.  Turn down the heat and simmer for 10-20 minutes while you peel the beets.  Add the beets, sugar and vinegar to the soup and simmer another 10-20 minutes until the beets are soft. (you can partially puree at this point with an immersion blender) Serve with sour cream.

I started a new blog to journal my way through the surgery and recovery.  If you're interested, it is www.herjawsurgery.blogspot.com

Karen, herself

12 October 2011

Pear Plum Cobbler, Gluten-free

I have actually been trying to stay away from sweets of late, but I bought some Bosc pears and they ripened so fast that I was forced to cook them somehow.  I thought of making a pear cobbler inspired by an 80's cookbook I love but then realized that I didn't have enough pears.  I did have a couple really large red plums and I thought, “pear and plum would give me that tart/sweet taste” so I forged ahead.  Insanely great.  The tartness of the plums took the edge off the excessively sweet Bosc pears.  It was heaven on earth...and set my diet back big time.

The book is Lee Bailey's Country Weekends, Recipes for Good Food and Easy Living.  Not sure it is still in print, but it is a find if it is.  It is full of great down-home type recipes and gorgeous photography. I used Jules Gluten Free All-purpose Flour which has xanthan gum in it already.  If you are using your own mix, you will want to add xanthan gum.

Pear Plum Cobbler
2 Bosc pears, cored, peeled, and chopped into large pieces
2 large red plums, pitted and chopped into large pieces
1 tablespoon lemon juice
grated rind of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp ginger
3/4 tsp mace

1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 375°.  Grease a 1 1/2 to 2 quart ovenproof dish and set aside.

Place fruit in large bowl and pour lemon juice over.  Add grated rind.  Mix spices and sugar and add to fruit. Mix with spoon.  Put in baking dish.

Mix batter: combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl and whisk together.  Beat egg yolks and milk together and mix with flour.  Add melted butter and then pour batter over fruit.  Bake for 30 minutes or until tester inserted in center comes out clean.  This can take longer than you think.  Turn down the heat if it starts to burn.

Serves 6

Cool and serve alone or with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.  Careful, this is so good it can lead to overindulgence.

Karen, herself

31 August 2011

Arugula Salad with Chicken and Avocado

You haven't had arugula until you've had it fresh from the garden.  My friend gave me some from her garden yesterday and I used it in my lunch today with some spinach leaves, leftover roast chicken, chunks of avocado, and organic Roma tomatoes.  I topped it off with some chick peas and it made a really satisfying meal.  I made my own salad dressing with olive oil, chardonnay vinegar and a bit of dijon mustard. Yum.

Karen, herself

22 August 2011

Stonewall Kitchens Gluten Free Brownies

A few months ago my husband brought home a box mix of gluten free brownies as a treat for me. I've had them in the cupboard waiting for a reason to make them and today was the day. I finished a big freelance design project yesterday and felt like celebrating and my teeth were aching from a braces adjustment. Brownies seemed like the perfect treat.

I have to say, these are the best, bar none, gluten free brownies I have ever tasted. They may be the best brownies of any kind I have ever tasted. If you see these in the store, try them. They are made by Stonewall Kitchens.

17 August 2011

Berry Protein Smoothie

A few months ago I purchased a cool smoothie app for my iPad.  It's from Whole Living and it has collections of recipes for weight loss smoothies, allergen free smoothies, detox smoothies, etc. I tried one from the Meal-in-a-glass collection this morning.

Berry Protein Smoothie
1/2 cup frozen cherries
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/8 cup GF rolled oats
1/4 cup lowfat cottage cheese
1/2 cup lowfat milk
1 tsp lemon juice
1 T unsalted sunflower seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons honey

As usual, I didn't have all the ingredients, so I improvised a bit.  It called for a cup of frozen strawberries and I substituted 1/2 cup frozen cherries and 1/2 cup fresh blueberries. It was filling and sweet and great way to start the day. Try it for breakfast or for a high-protein mid-afternoon snack. It will keep you going until your next meal.

Serves 1, 8 Weight Watcher Points Plus

Karen, herself

05 August 2011

Gluten Free Veggie Wrap

Veggie Wrap in Chia-Corn Tortilla
2 Chia-corn tortilla, heated in the microwave
2 Tablespoons of Lilly's Red Pepper Hummus
1/2 cup grated zucchini
1/3 cup grated carrot
spinach leaves

I tried a new gluten-free tortilla the other day, a Chia Corn Tortilla that I found at Whole Foods in the refrigerator section. They are really tasty and filling. I was in a hurry for lunch today and threw together a quick wrap with them.  Because I am still sporting braces, I grated my zucchini and carrot to make them easier to chew. It turns out it makes them more suitable for a wrap too. Only takes a minute to grate them with a box grater, although take care not to nick a finger!

Heat the tortillas between two sheets of paper towels for 15 seconds on high.  Turn and heat for another 15 seconds. Place the tortillas on a plate and spread one tablespoon of hummus on each. Over that layer the spinach leaves, then spoon on half the grated veggies.  Roll them up and cut them in half. Serve with sliced cucumber and cherry tomatoes. Great, delicious high-fiber lunch, free of gluten.


Karen, herself

12 July 2011

Gluten Free in Japan

Just returned from nearly two weeks in Japan and feel compelled to say two things: 1) a big thank you to the cooks in the sports center we stayed at in Nishionomiya for taking care of my gluten-free requirements for four days and 2) why can’t Delta Airlines provide a better gluten-free breakfast on outbound flights from Japan?

So if you need to avoid gluten and have to travel to Japan, here are the things that are easy:

Japanese breakfast is pretty much gluten-free:  Rice, Miso soup, fish, salad, pickles, tea. Sushi and Sashimi are gluten-free.  Just bring your own soy sauce if you are really sensitive. Avoid the tempura, katsu, udon, really any kind of noodle unless it is cellophane or rice.  The buckwheat  noodles in Soba usually contain 20% wheat. Sadly, avoid the beer...but you can have all the sake you want!

Luckily, I do not have a reaction to regular soy sauce, although when at home, I use the wheat-free, but when dining out in Japan, I just tried not to overdo it.  I even tried some soba once and it did not cause a reaction.  Otherwise, I was good and had no problems.

I got so sick of fish that we ate in a Chinese restaurant in Itami nearly every night for dinner because I could have some beef and chicken and pork.  Granted, they all had some soy sauce on them, but I suppose if you were really sensitive, you could have them leave it off.

On the flight going to Japan my gluten free meal on Delta was ok, not cuisine by any means, but ok.  On the way back it was fish and rice with a rice cracker.  The breakfast is what set me off.  I had to smell the pastries everyone else got while I had a prison diet of a banana, fruit cup and water and...jelly!  Everyone else got yogurt, but for some reason, that was left off the GF meal.  My hubby was nice enough to give me his so I could have some protein for breakfast and avoid a sugar crash from all that fruit.

My last tip is to always take food with you.  This trip I didn't need to survive on it, but it was nice to have the GF snacks for the plane.  I took homemade banana muffins, Udi's Bagels, peanut butter, Lucy’s Sugar Cookies, Lara Bars, my own Chex mix with dried blueberries and pecans and GF honey nut chex cereal.  I also bought a bag of mixed nuts in Japan for the trip back.  And when all else fails, there is always chocolate!

So be prepared and have a good trip this Summer.

Karen, herself

28 April 2011

Buckwheat Banana Muffins, Gluten-Free

Buckwheat Banana Muffins

2 ripe bananas, broken into 4 pieces each
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup Jules All Purpose GF Flour
3/4 cup Bob's Red Mill Buckwheat Flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) Earth Balance Shortening Sticks (room temp., cut into pieces)
2 eggs (room temp)
1/3 cup milk (I used 2%)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 400° F.  Put bananas and lemon juice in bowl of food processor and pulse a few times.  Combine flours, sugar and baking soda and salt in a bowl with a whisk.  Add dry ingredients, eggs, shortening and milk to banana mixture and pulse until blended.  Take care not to over process.  It is ok if you have lumps in the batter.

Spoon batter into muffin cups or a greased muffin pan.  Place in preheated oven and bake for 20-25 mins.  Cool.

I have been making a variation of these banana muffins for nearly 30 years.  The basic recipe came from a 70's era bread baking book for the first food processors.  Now I make them gluten-free and I experiment with different mixes of flours.  I really like this buckwheat one.  They come out looking like chocolate muffins and they taste so good I start thinking they really have chocolate inside! Not sure why buckwheat has that faint chocolate-like taste, but it really seems to (to me, anyway).

I have also made these muffins sugar-free, egg free, dairy-free, or nearly fat-free.  Just be careful not to try to do all variations at once.  I find they work better when you only substitute one or two things at a time.  If you use butter, try using only half the butter called for and substitute 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce.  They seem too greasy to me with 1/2 cup of butter. The shortening in this version is fine.

Karen, herself

24 February 2011

Gluten-Free Pita Pockets

Thanks to Living Without Magazine, I was able to have a tuna salad sandwich on whole grain pita bread...gluten-free!  At last, a gluten-free pita.  I don't know about you, but I haven't eaten pita bread since I went gluten-free, over four long years ago.  I got this recipe in an email today from Living Without and I decided to try it immediately.  I thought I had all the ingredients it called for, but when I started assembling things, I realized that I had run out of sorghum flour.  Rats! What to do?  What I did have was teff flour, so I substituted it for the sorghum.  I also used their egg substitution (ground flaxseed + water).  Luckily, it worked and the result was awfully tasty...and pretty to boot, don't you think?  Try it yourself and see.  Here is the recipe as I modified it:

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Pita Bread
makes 10-12 (I only got 8, but who's counting?)
1 pkg.  quick-rising yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1  1/2 cups brown rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1 cup Teff flour
2 tsp. xanthan gum
1  1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 to 1 cup warm water
1 Tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed with 3 Tablespoons warm water

Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup warm water (115° F).  Add sugar and stir.  Let sit 10-15 mins until water is frothy.  Combine flours, xanthan gum and salt in large bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment.  Pour in yeast and flaxseed mixture.   Mix on medium speed.  Slowly add 1/2 to 1 cup warm water and mix on medium for 2 minutes. Use enough water so that dough is soft and tacky, not liquid (I didn't need as much water as they said and I think this is how I ended up with only 8 pitas, but better to have correct-looking dough, I say).

Coat large bowl with cooking spray and place dough inside, turning to coat on all sides.  Put in a warm spot and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise (2-3 hours).

Preheat oven to 500 ° F.  Place a cookie sheet inside oven while preheating (I sprayed mine with cooking spray).  Pinch off 8 pieces of dough and form into balls.  Roll out on a floured surface.  Roll each piece into a circle with a rolling pin to about 1/4" thick.  Place 3-4 circles on the preheated cookie sheet and bake for 6 minutes.  Turn them over and bake another 2 minutes.  Remove and cool on rack.  Repeat baking for remaining circles of dough.

If you make the dough after breakfast, you can have these babies for lunch, hot out of the oven.  The baking of them doesn't take long.  When finished, slice a pocket in half, open it up and fill with your favorite sandwich filling.  I found them quite tasty and filling.  They tasted very similar to whole wheat pitas, only better!


Karen, herself

24 January 2011

Pulled Pork Soft Tacos

Pulled Pork Tacos

Our local market was having a sale on pork shoulder butt roasts this week and featured a recipe for Carnitas Tacos.  I thought I would try it since it would be another meal that would be easy on me with my braces...messy, but not too hard to chew.

I had never made pulled pork before and had my usual pre-cooking jitters.  Will it work or will it be tough and inedible? Like the beef shank a couple weeks ago, it surpassed my wildest dreams.  My husband was in heaven. The only warning I have to give is that is smells so incredible while cooking that it will drive you crazy.  I had to suppress the desire to make like a cat and curl up on the floor in front of the oven door, sniffing the heavenly aroma.

Pulled Pork
1 2 lb. Pork Shoulder Butt Roast
2 T chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1/4 cup red wine

Carnitas Tacos
pulled pork
1/2 head of red cabbage, thinly shredded
soft corn tortillas, taco size

Ok, here's what I did.  The recipe from the market called for using a slow cooker, which I do not have.  I started by mixing a couple tablespoons of chili powder and a teaspoon or so of cumin and spreading it on a 2 lb. pork shoulder butt roast (after patting it dry).  Then I sprinkled some salt and pepper on it and set it on a plate while I sauteed one onion (diced) and one carrot (diced) in about a tablespoon or less of olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. When the onions were translucent, I pushed them and the carrots to the side and put the roast in the dutch oven, turned the temperature up to high and seared it on all sides. Then I added 1/4 cup of dry red wine and turned the heat back down a bit while it cooked down for about a minute or so.  Then I covered the dutch oven and put it into a preheated 250° oven and left it in there for 5 hours.

When it was done, I took it out of the oven, put the roast on a plate and shredded the meat with two forks. That's it. Anyone can do it and for less than $8 we had enough pulled pork for a whole lot of tacos...and two containers of leftovers.

I had sauteed shredded red cabbage in olive oil and added a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar to it.  We heated up some corn tortillas in the microwave, added the pork, cabbage, salsa and avocado slices to make our tacos.  They were great and are now a new standard in our house. Try them and see if you don't agree.

Karen, herself

13 January 2011

Braised Beef Shank

Braising Beef Shanks

The idea of making a lamb or beef shank came into my head the other day. Not really sure why, but with my braces on my teeth and my TMJ issues, eating meat that is very tender is essential.  Since my husband is not wild about lamb (although I adore it), I went looking for beef.  The butcher at Whole Foods had some in the back of the store and brought out two whole beef shanks on a tray to show me.  I nearly passed out...each one is as long as my thigh! He said he could slice off a couple pieces that I could cook like Osso Bucco, so that is what I did.

I researched some recipes online for beef shank and got the main idea of how to cook it.  Even though the butcher told me browning or searing the meat first was redundant, I browned the meat first in olive oil in a dutch oven.  Some French recipes recommended it (as did Emeril Lagasse!) so I went for it. After browning the meat, I removed it while I sauteed the vegetables, added wine and tomato paste. Then I brought the shanks back, added beef broth and herbs and put it in a slow oven for nearly 4 hours.  I took the meat out to rest while I reduced the broth on the stove to a dark, delicious sauce, which I poured over mashed potatoes and the meat itself.

It was incredible.  Meat falling off the bone, so tender and so delicious.  But after smelling it cooking all afternoon, I was too hungry and anxious to eat it to snap a photo of the final result!  You will have to do with the process photos above.  My advice to those who want to try it: do it on a day when you have about 5 hours available.  It took me about an hour to assemble my ingredients, chop the vegetables and get the dish to the stage where it goes in the oven.  It took 3 3/4 hours to cook the meat and about 15 minutes to reduce the sauce.  I made a sauteed cauliflower and tomato dish to accompany the meat and potatoes.

Braised Beef Shanks
2 thick slices beef shank (about 1" thick)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tsp each paprika and allspice, salt and pepper
1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
2 small shallots, peeled and minced
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 large carrot, peeled and roughly sliced
2 stalks celery, roughly sliced
half a package sliced fresh mushrooms
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 cup red wine ( I used Bogle Petite Syrah)
1 heaping Tablespoon tomato paste
3-4 cups organic beef broth ( I used Pacific brand)

(Preheat oven to 325°) Heat olive oil in heavy, ovenproof dutch oven on top of stove on medium-high heat.  Pat beef dry and season with salt, pepper, paprika and allspice.  Brown in dutch oven until meat develops a bit of a crust.  Remove meat to platter.  Add onion and shallot to pan and saute, adding a bit more oil, if necessary. After the onions and shallots are translucent, add the garlic, carrot, celery and mushrooms and cook for a few minutes.  Season the vegetables with salt and pepper as you add them to the pot.  Pour in the wine and cook for 5 minutes or so until it reduces a bit.  Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute or so.  Return the beef to the pot, moving away the vegetables so the meat sits on the bottom. Arrange vegetables around and on top of meat.  Add enough beef broth to cover the meat and bring to boil.

When everything has reached a rolling boil, remove from the stove and place dutch oven in the preheated oven uncovered.  Set timer for 4 hours.  After one hour, take dutch oven out and turn beef over in pot.  Continue to cook, checking occasionally to make sure the liquid does not evaporate too much and expose too much of the beef.  I turned it about once an hour to make sure one side did not dry out, or you can add more liquid.

In the last hour, make mashed potatoes and get other side dishes ready.  When the meat is falling off the bone, remove the dutch oven from the oven and remove the beef with a slotted spoon or tongs to a platter and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.  Place the dutch oven with the remaining vegetables and broth on the stove on high (remove the bay leaves and rosemary) and cook, stirring until the sauce reduces.  Serve the beef with mashed potatoes and a vegetable side dish.  Pour sauce over meat and potatoes.  Have a glass of red wine with it...you deserve it!

Serves 4

Karen, herself

09 January 2011

Gluten Free Pierogi: A Dream Realized

Tvorog and Potato Filled GF Pierogi with Melted Butter

I did it.  For the last four years since going gluten-free I have mourned the loss of my favorite family foods, but none more than homemade pierogi filled with a cottage cheese and potato mixture, with melted butter drizzled over them and a dollop of sour cream. They were a staple in my family (Polish and Ukrainian in origin), especially around the holidays.  We used to spend Christmas Eve at my Ukrainian Grandmother's house where she served them with roasted kielbasa, pickled herring on rye bread, head cheese (never was brave enough to try that) and various pickled vegetables.  I loved them best the next day fried in butter.  My Mom (Polish side of the family) learned to make the Ukrainian version when I was little and she had a hard time with the dough, possibly because my Grandmother forgot to tell her to add a little oil to it.

I made them once before going gluten free and had trouble with the dough too, so the thought of making them with GF flour really scared the living daylights out of me.  But, after having much success with GF baking with Jules GF All Purpose Flour, I decided to have a go at it this year. Mom came for Christmas and we made these Christmas Eve and served them with Polish Kielbasa from George's Deli in Seattle and with homemade borscht (The Russian Tea Room Cookbook recipe). I used Jules' flour and substituted tvorog (an East European version of Farmer's cheese, which is not as wet as cottage cheese) for the cottage cheese in the recipe.  I got the tvorog from an Armenian Deli in Bellevue, WA.

The recipe I used for the pierogi dough is a modified version of my Ukrainian Grandmother's Pyrohy (Ukrainian version of pierogi).  I used the instructions from the recipe for Varenyky (Pyrohy) recipe from the Ukrainian Daughter's Cookbook, because they seemed more fool-proof.

4 1/2 cups of flour (I used Jules All Purpose GF)
1 Tablespoon salt
1  1/2 cups cold water
1 egg
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil

6 cups of mashed potatoes
1 carton regular cottage cheese (or equivalent amount Farmer's cheese or tvorog)

Whisk together water, oil and egg (use a large bowl).  Blend well, then add 3 1/2 cups of the flour.  Knead dough, while adding the last cup of flour. Knead until smooth and soft.  Put in a lightly oiled bowl and cover. Let rest 20 minutes ( I put the bowl in the fridge).

Roll out a small amount of the dough on a floured board (I used marble) until thinner than pie crust and cut out circles with a 3" biscuit cutter.  (I rolled out enough dough for 5-6 circles at a time).  Place a teaspoon of filling in the center of the dough circle and fold in half, crimping the edges with your fingers. Place completed ones on a linen towel and cover with another towel to keep them from drying out. When you have rolled out, cut out and filled all the pyrohy, cook them in boiling water.  They will float to the top when done. Stir them with a wooden spoon while cooking so they do not stick to the bottom.  When done, remove them with a slotted spoon (I used a Chinese skimmer) and place them in a bowl and drizzle with melted butter.  Serve with sour cream.  You can refrigerate or freeze leftovers and reheat again without loss of flavor.  Take care to put butter over them before storing so they do not stick together.

Pierogi Making Process