Halloween cooking fun

                             ”…Double, double, toil and trouble,

                                   Fire burn and cauldron bubble,

                                   Eye of newt and toe of frog,

                                   Wool of bat and tongue of dog.

                                   For a charm of powerful trouble,

                                   Like a hell-broth, boil and bubble.

                                            (Shakespeare’s ‘Song of the Witches’)


   In my mind, the season of Fall and the celebration of Halloween go together just as much as bread goes with butter.  But alas, trick or treating has become just a memory in my neighborhood for the past few years.

   Yesterday I stood in front of the huge candy display in Safeway and I almost reached for a bag of M&Ms.  Drawing back my hand, memories of the past came flooding back, and instead of filling my cart with candy, I walked away, wiping a tear instead.

   In my mind’s eye were my little boys dressed in cowboy hats and cowboy shirts with mini guns in holsters on their hips, and my daughter with a paper ballerina dress, a silver crown and a stick with a star on its end …in the 60’s every little girl wanted to be Cinderella…oh those simple days…where have they gone!

   We really did play Pin the Tail on the Donkey and really did bob for apples in a big aluminum tub filled with water.  The boys coming up for air, hair dripping wet, with that elusive apple between their teeth.  What I would give for just one of those days to relive again.

   Fall and Halloween…both conjure up food, whether it be candy or

Slow Food. 

   Slow Food Movement vs. Fast Food came to the forefront during 1985 when Italy’s culinary expert Carlo Petrini protested the opening of the fast-food chain McDonalds near the historic Piazza de Spagna in Rome.  Carrying bowls of fresh penne pasta, friends, along with Carlos led a group protesting against the globalization of fast food.  This organized protest, called Arcigola, soon after led to what we now know as Slow Food.

   The mission of Arcigola was to protect the interests of small-scale food producers and promote the pleasure and taste of good food and wine…’good, clean and fair food was their motto.’

   Fast food is the antithesis of slow food.  Fast food always tastes the same.  Eating a burger at McDonalds in Italy is the same as eating a burger in the U.S.  Why would anyone travel all the way to eat at McDonalds…but, believe it or not, I know those that do. 

   If Carlo Petrini was the father to Slow Food, Alice Waters of the famed Chez Panisse restaurant is its mother.  Alice’s restaurant in 

Berkeley, California serves simple food, explaining the food’s origin and preparation, all the while promoting the Slow Food movement’s philosophy.

   Tradition is part of slow food.  How your families raised and

prepared the food on their farms and whose recipe we cook from today override the fast food restaurants of today. 

   And now, with Fall upon us, I have been spending countless days preparing traditional food for the holiday season ahead. 

   Pierogies are a Polish dumpling filled with unlimited choices of potatoes, mushrooms, cabbage, cheese, sausage or bacon, boiled and then fried in butter.  Fruit such as plums or blueberries make a wonderful filling. 

   On Halloween eve I always set a platter of these dumplings on our table to be eaten between the doorbell’s ringing and the shouts of ‘Trick or Treat’ from the neighborhood kids.  Try them, you will be glad you did.  HAPPY HALLOWEEN from my kitchen to yours!

Pierogie Dough (Makes 36 Dumplings)  Can be doubled.

Sift together:

1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup cake flour

½ tsp. salt

Add to flour mixture:

¼ cup soft butter

½ cup sour cream

1 large egg

1 tsp. water

   In mixer with dough hook, slowly mix 6 minutes until dough

becomes soft and smooth.  Remove and wrap in saran wrap

and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight works well.

   Bring dough to room temp. and roll out on floured board to

1/8” thickness.  Cut into 3” rounds. 



4 cups hot Russet potatoes

1 cup grated mild cheddar cheese

1 tsp. salt

¼ cup diced sweet onion sautéed in 1 Tbsp. butter

While hot, mash all ingredients together.  Chill.


4 cups diced cremini mushrooms

1/3 cup diced sweet onions

1 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. butter

Sauté all together for 3 minutes.  Chill


5 cups diced white cabbage

¼ cup diced white onion

2 Tbsp. butter

Sauté together until tender and drain well.  Chill and add  

½ cup sour cream.  Chill.

Plum Filling:

2 cans of Plums drained and chopped.

Directions:  Place a tsp. of filling on dough round and fold over

creating a crescent shape.  Keep filling away from edge of dough. Moisten inside edge with finger dipped in water.  Pinch tightly to seal the dough together.  Cover with saran wrap and chill in refrigerator.  These can be frozen in Ziplock bags for up to 3 months.

Bring 5 quarts of water to a slow boil and add dumplings slowly, one by one.  When dumplings rise to top cook one minute more.  With slotted spoon remove onto rack. 

In a frying pan with 3 Tbsp. butter, fry dumplings until lightly browned on each side.  Remove to a dish and sprinkle with 1 Tbsp.

Italian cracker crumbs.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream.   These make wonderful appetizers served at room temp.

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