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By Laura Stec

Just Stuff Me and Wrap Me Up

Uploaded: Dec 19, 2014

Most (all?) cultures have some type of dumpling (dough cooked alone or wrapped around a filling) as a part of their cuisine. There is the Asian wonton, Indian pakora, Italian ravioli, and Jewish matzo ball, just to name a few.

Because of the extra work involved, these wraps naturally become the special holiday dishes. And they're the perfect reason to gather your besties together for a Food Party! Many hands make light work. I just finished a private tamale fest (Don't be like me - too nervous to invite anyone over), using the recently published recipes in Sunset for Pulled Pork, Roasted Poblano and Cheese, and Pineapple. Thought I'd make everything from scratch, but the gals at Mercadito Latino in Redwood City told me "everyone buys the premade masa because it's really good and easy," and they were right. I forget the brand name, but I bought their more expensive mix (5# for $8.99) and it was surprisingly fresh tasting and not too salty. Next time though, I'll make the Sunset fillings less traditional. More than just Guajillo pepper seasoning for the pork, and maybe some roasted carrot, cilantro and green onion to zazz-up the cheese and poblano.

Question: Does anyone know how to seal the tamales at the top so that the cheese doesn't seep out?

By the way, you don't need special equipment to steam. A pasta pot works perfectly. Also, recipes say soak corn husks one hour, but I found it's better to soak over night.

Polish girl did bastante bueno on the tamales, but daj mi pierogies. I've learned from the master Helen (Helcha) Stec. We make for Wigilia, the Polish Christmas Eve seven course meal. One dish per course - placed center of table - that everyone eats from. Two bowls per table; eight spoons.

When making pierogies or even tamales, it's smart to start with the filling. Pictured below is Polish sauerkraut and prune, but we also fill with potato and onion.

Make the pierogi dough.

Roll and cut.

Boil like a bagel.

Here's a holiday gift to you ? my mom's handwritten pierogi dough recipe. If you do it, make sure you invite me over when it's time to fill.

Me meter y me concluir, or rzeczy mnie i owinąć mnie.

I like it any way you dish it out.

Mercadito Latino
1726 El Camino Real, Redwood City