I’ve been missing in action writing here, and cooking in general. I went on a last minute trip to Armenia with Gevork. It was mainly to see his family, but I had a lovely time being somewhere different and learning about the culture. It’s a beautiful place that many people do not know much about, and I encourage people to visit, there is a lot of history there and it is a very unique place. The food was really great, since it is such a small country it seems that much of the food is very local and fresh. We ate a lot with Gevork’s aunt, she would make very simple dishes and they were all so good! Lamb patties with herbs, lamb chops with tomatoes and herbs, eggplant and other veges slow cooked, chicken with mushrooms or again with tomatoes and herbs, meatballs without anything basically (really gotta learn this trick!). My favorite salad was just simple tomatoes, peppers, red onions, and cucumbers cut thick with oil, salt and again lots of herbs (cilantro, dill, parsley, and some other ones I am not sure because they were not translated to me in English – one was purple, maybe purple basel or lovage?). Everything was served with fresh lavash that she would get every morning. It was so delicious, I am not sure I will ever find the same kind of lavash in America. Also Armenian wine is very good, most of the wineries are quite new, after Soviet era, but apparently they also have the oldest winery ever!?
Fall is slowly making it’s way into the city, the first cool day was actually such a treat! I have finally turned on the oven again!
This recipe is similar to the lazy dumpling in my last post, however these might be my favorite dumplings, although I might be saying that too soon. I didn’t eat these much growing up but they stick in my memory from somewhere. On my last trip to Poland I went to a restaurant in Krakow and ordered these because I wasn’t eating meat and I was so happy I did, they were delicious! I also remember eating one of the best mushroom soups I’ve ever had there.
What I love about food blogs is that professionals sometimes forget to tell you the little things that matter, for people who don’t know better, which I feel like sometimes. I tried to make these dumplings last week and they didn’t turn out so well. And you know why? Because the plums need to be ripe, which maybe someone said in all the different recipes I read but I didn’t see that emphasized. So I cooked them beautifully and cut them down the middle and the plum was not soft and squishy like I remember, and that is really the best part. I will blame myself because OBVIOUSLY they should be ripe!
Another thing about these kinds of recipes is that traditional Polish women don’t really use traditional measurements. So I tried that the first time, because it’s my goal to be able to cook like a Polish babushka one day. For the dough I tried to mash my potatoes and then cut one third out and fill the hole with flour, so that is was one third flour to potatoes, by eye. It might have worked honestly, but since the whole thing was a disaster with the plums I went safe this time and used some weight measurements, which I am going to recommend.
I’m going to try this with sweet potatoes next. It would be beautiful. Tasty maybe too?
Here is a simple knedle recipe.
500 g potatoes – pick a sturdy cooking potato (once peeled and cooked will weigh 400 g – even if it doesn’t, just use that much for the dough
100-150g unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tbsp potato flour (it makes for a softer dough)
15-20 very RIPE Italian plums (not so ripe that they are rotten, just with a nice squish when tested)
2 1/2 tbsp powdered sugar
1 cup sour cream
-peel and chop your potatoes into cubes. boil in a pot of salted water until cooked. drain and mash them very well so there are no clumps, however you like to mash your potatoes. let them cool.
-cut each plum longways on one side. if they are ripe the pit should come out really easy, so that is a good test. remove all pits and set aside, plum should still be whole just cut on the side.
-once the potatoes are cool mix them with 100g of flour and the potato flour in a bowl. mix well with hands or with spoon if too sticky. it will be very sticky but if it is not coming together add more flour. every potato is different so you have to figure it out as you go. the more flour you use the denser the dough will be. let it sit for a bit. flour your work surface well.
-fill a big pot with water and salt well. turn on heat and bring to a boil while you do the next part.
-make sure you have very well floured hands for the next part. take a third of the dough and roll it into a log about two inches thick and six inches long, cut it into pieces and flatten out a piece. you want to be able to fit a plum in there so use your own judgement on how big your plums are. fill a plum with a little powdered sugar and place it into the dough with the cut side facing side. pick it up in your hands and gently start pushing the dough up so it covers the plum. seal it with your fingers, keep flouring those hands if you need. roll it around in your hands so it seals shut and let it sit on a floured surface or plate while you repeat. repeat until you run out of dough or plums…
-once the water is boiling gently place the dumplings in the water, in batches or all at once. once they float to the top let them cook another 5 minutes. take them out with a slotted spoon and let them drain for a second and them place them on a plate.
-mix about 1 cup of sour cream with 1 1/2 tbsp of powdered sugar. serve with the knedle. there is also the option of sautéing them in butter and sprinkling with sugar, or even bread crumbs, but I was quite satisfied with the sour cream 🙂