Monday, October 26, 2009

Hot potato

As a little girl in Minnesota, I knew nothing of pierogies. To me, ethnic food was an anise-flavored Swiss fruit bread my grandmothers made every Christmas.

But then we moved to Pennsylvania, where so many grandmothers are Ukrainian, Polish, Russian, Slavic of all varieties. These are people who understand the value of a good carbohydrate, people who think a potato is good, but a potato wrapped in a noodle is even better.

I’m not much of a noodle maker myself, but when you put creamy mashed potatoes and caramelized onions on a pizza, that’s something to write Eastern Europe about.

1 pizza crust
1 T. butter
1 onion, sliced
Salt and pepper
2 c. mashed potatoes, hot
1 c. cheddar cheese
Optional: parsley, bacon, diced fresh tomato, fresh or cooked broccoli

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place pizza crust on baking sheet.

In skillet over low heat, sauté onions in butter, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Spread potatoes evenly over crust. Scatter cheese over potatoes. Top with onions. If desired, add any optional ingredients, like herbs, bacon or vegetables.

Bake 15-20 minutes, or until crust is crisp and golden and cheese is melted.

Extra Extra!

All’s Fair – While there is some universal fair fare, like corn dogs and snow cones, there are also some things that you can only get in certain areas. In Pennsylvania, no carnival, big or small, is complete without a selection of Eastern European specialties, including pierogies (a thick-doughed dumpling filled with mashed potatoes and sautéed with onions), halupki (rice and meat rolled in a cabbage leaf and simmered in a tangy tomato sauce), and halushki (cabbage and chewy homemade noodles pan-fried together). In the upper Midwest, it’s fried cheese curds; in the Southwest, it’s Native American or Mexican specialties like nopalitos (prickly young cactus pads) and Navajo fry bread. Even the names can be regional. Ask for a candy apple in some parts of America, and you get what someone else would call a caramel apple. To get a sticky red-dipped snack, you might have to ask for a taffy apple.


  1. Yum, I will need to try this. I've never had a pierogie before.

    I would love to see pictures of some of your recipes - I'm totally a visual person.

  2. I know. I am still waiting for my camera to be returned. :(