A Spotlight on Pierogi

This past Saturday at the Exeter Farmers’ Market located in Exeter High School, the pierogi being sold by Jaju stood out. Believe it or not, locally produced pierogi are rare if nonexistent in Seacoast New Hampshire, a google search even shows that not many local restaurants offer them on their menu. Jaju, out of Lynn, Massachusetts is the closest producer of them and offer a variety of fillings (vegan pierogi can even be special ordered according to their website), you can purchase them from these local stores. I was extremely interested in the varieties offered by Jaju and decided to purchase the sweet potato and caramelized onion variety, yum!

That led me on a search to learn more about them, their origin, and how they are made. Pierogi are a thinly rolled dough dumpling (similar to a ravioli or gyoza) and can be filled with a variety of fillings. Pierogi can be filled with savory foods like meats, potatoes, caramelized onions, cheese or even sweet foods like berries for a tasty dessert. The only variety I have ever tried are the common frozen potato, cheese, and onion variety that come to many people’s minds when the word pierogi is spoken. The common potato and cheese pierogi that many people are familiar with are actually referred to as “ruskie” pierogi.

Pierogi are one of the national foods of Poland and the word pierogi is Slavic for the word festival. It’s actually incorrect to call them “pierogies,” because the word pierogi is already plural. The tasty dumplings first popped up in Poland around the 13th century however, recipes didn’t start to appear in literature until the 17th century. Polish immigrants first brought pierogi to the United States over 100 years ago. The largest pierogi ever created was 92 pounds, and there is a Guinness Book record for making pierogi (in 100 minutes, 1663 dumplings were created)! Pierogi also spelled pyrogy are so popular in Canada, there is even a statue located in Glendon, Alberta dedicated to the dumpling!

Nutritionally, the pierogi varies depending on the filling, but the majority of the pierogi is carbohydrate. To be honest, most people are not eating pierogi because of their health benefits, mostly because of their flavor. Pierogi can be part of a balanced diet. When preparing the dumplings they can be pan fried or boiled depending on your preference and the filling. I pan fried the sweet potato and caramelized onion pierogi in a garlic butter sauce and served with shrimp and they were extremely tasty. Pan frying gives a nice airy, yet crispy texture to the dough which is a treat to bite into. It can be both difficult and time consuming to make these delicious treats from scratch if you are not experienced in the kitchen, but here is a recipe for homemade pierogi if you want to give it a try.

Tasty Kale Guacamole

This guacamole recipe is a great way to incorporate more greens and nutrients into the diet in the up coming colder weather. This would be a wonderful holiday party dish served with tortilla chips, and kale is in season and can be found at your local winter farmers’ market right now.


3 cups chopped kale

4 ripe avocados

1/2 red onion chopped

1/2 jalapeño deseeded and chopped into small pieces

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Juice of two limes

Salt and pepper to taste



Wash and massage the kale and then chop 3 cups.

Cut the avocados in half from stem to base and remove the seed by tapping with a knife. An easy way to get the avocado out is to slide a spoon between the skin and flesh.

Add the kale, avocados, chopped red onion, jalapeño, cilantro and lime juice to a food processor and pulse until smooth, if you want a chunkier dip you can also just mash with a potato masher or fork to your desired consistency.

Remove from the food processor and add to a bowl.

Mix in salt and pepper and any other desired spices.

Enjoy with tortilla chips!

Three Onion Soup

With the Seacoast of New Hampshire just getting its first snowfall of the season yesterday, I thought focusing on a warming recipe would be appropriate. This three onion soup is versatile, and with onions being so easy to find at farms and farmers’ markets right now, it makes it super easy to throw together for a chilly evening’s dinner. You can also throw this in the slow cooker to get the most out of the flavors.


1 pound yellow onion

1 pound white onion

1 cup shallots

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons butter

4 cups vegetable broth

1 Tablespoon coconut aminos or Worcestershire sauce

2 cups water

1 tablespoon flour

Salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon ground thyme

1 teaspoon ground sage

1/2 teaspoon rosemary

Your choice of cheese for melting over the top



Heat the butter in a dutch oven until melted and starting to bubble.

Add chopped onion, garlic, and salt and pepper.

Cover and cook until the onions start to brown and are fork tender.

Take the cover off and continue to cook the onions until they are brown and fully caramelized.

Once the onions start to stick add a little water, about a teaspoon to get them off the bottom.

Add the flour and cook with the onions for 2 minutes.

At this point you can transfer to a slow cooker and add all remaining ingredients or continue with the directions as follows.

Add the broth, water, thyme, sage, and rosemary.

Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pot to get all the bits stuck to the bottom off as it is cooking.

Cook for 30 minutes and then add the Worcestershire sauce, mix well.

Transfer to individual bowls and sprinkle with cheese (you can also put oven safe dishes in the oven to melt the cheese even more if you prefer).



Vendor Spotlight: 45 Market Street Bakery and Cafe

45 Market Street Bakery and Cafe out of Somersworth, New Hampshire is well known for all the amazing treats and goodies they serve at the cafe and bring to local farmers’ markets. The bakery owned by Cheryl Arsenault and Seacoast Eat Local’s very own Celeste Gingras has been in business for over 15 years, but the recent newlyweds have a combined over 75 years restaurant experience! The experience shows when you take a bite into any of the items they have for sale. The bakery and cafe has a wonderful selection of baked goods, but also offers a breakfast and lunch menu. Everything is scratch made at the bakery from the bread for the sandwiches to the sought after whoopie pies that are always flying off the shelf. They have a passion for sourcing local food and often many of their ingredients are purchased from the very farms you see at the farmers’ markets and in our local area. You may have also heard of them before because they were featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, a television show on the Food Network (2016-“Turkey-giving”).

You can stop into their brick and mortar location in Somersworth, New Hampshire, as the name suggests, on 45 Market Street. Upon entering, you will always be greeted with a smile by the knowledgable and talented staff. They are open Tuesday-Saturday, and take call-in orders a head of time too, whether it be for catering or breakfast/lunch. On any given day you can walk into the bakery and find fresh baked cookies, tea breads, muffins, scones, breads, coffee cakes, whoopie pies, and so much more. You can also find them this winter at the Seacoast Eat Local Rollinsford and Exeter farmers’ markets. Make sure you stop by their table to say hello and grab a tasty treat, the cookies and beverages are always very popular!

Online you can find them on Facebook, Instagram, and featured on the Food Network website.

Easy Butternut Squash Soup

This butternut squash soup is super simple to make, and stores great in the refrigerator for the week! The soup is vegan and gluten-free, and can be modified to your tastes. If you want to make this super simple by not peeling the butternut squash, you can cut the tops and bottoms off, remove the seeds, bake and scrape out the cooked squash. However, the taste that comes with roasting the cubes is more flavorful in my opinion.
2 Medium Butternut Squash
1 small yellow onion
1 carton vegetable stock
1 can coconut milk
2 tablespoons oil (olive, coconut, or avocado oil)
Salt and pepper to taste
Set oven to 400 degrees.
Chop tops and bottoms off of butternut squash off, and peel.
Once peeled, remove the seeds and chop the squash into cubes.
Lay the squash on lined a baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil.
Sprinkle salt, pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until fork tender.
In a soup pot, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and add chopped onion.
Cook the onion until translucent.
Add the butternut squash, onion, coconut milk, and broth to a blender in batches, blend until smooth.
Pour the soup into the pot and heat for 10 minutes stirring frequently making sure not to burn the soup.
Add salt, pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg to taste.
This can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week.

Vendor Spotlight: Vernon Family Farm

Vernon Family Farm is a family owned farm out of Newfields, New Hampshire. It’s located on 33 acres of conserved land along the Piscassic River. The farm was founded in 2014 by Jeremiah and Nicole Vernon and has a focus on providing the local community with healthy and nutrient dense food choices. Vernon Family Farm sells a variety of products including mushrooms, chicken, and vegetables.
The farm provides food to many local restaurants and you can find their products at these restaurants. The farm also offers flexible debit CSA opportunities that you can learn more about by clicking here. There is an event happening tomorrow, Friday November 1st, on the Wicked Chicken Patio, called Rotisserie and Noodlephant reading with local children’s author Jacob Kramer. Entry only costs $5 per child!
The farm store is open daily from 9:00am-6:00pm year round and you can find them at Summer Exeter and Portsmouth farmers’ markets and the winter Exeter and Rollinsford farmers’ markets. Make sure you stop by their tent at the next farmers’ market to say hello and check out the products they have to offer.
You can find them online one their website, Facebook, and Instagram.

Creamy Purple Cauliflower Rice

This creamy purple cauliflower rice is vegan and gluten free! It’s a perfect side dish for any meal or it can serve as a meal on its own with a couple additions thrown in. This works just as well with regular cauliflower or broccoli and is both tasty and filling. I chose to use the purple variety because of its vibrant color and availability at the farmers’ market.

Serves: 2 as a side, or 1 as a meal


1 head of purple cauliflower

1 tablespoon oil or butter

1/2 cup of cashews (soaked for 30 minutes or more in water)

1/2 cup almond milk

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 cup cherry tomatoes

Kalamata olives

Salt and pepper to taste


Wash the cauliflower.

Chop the base of the cauliflower off, remove the leaves, and chop the cauliflower into florets that can be held in the palm of the hand. If you are using a grater this just makes it easier, if using a food processor the cauliflower can be chopped into rough pieces.

Put the cauliflower in a food processor and blend until the texture resembles rice. You can also use a grater if you don’t have a food processor.

Drain the soaked cashews and add to a blender with almond milk and lemon juice. Blend well and it should resemble a smooth cream sauce, if you need to loosen it, you can add more almond milk. Set aside.

Heat a tablespoon of butter or oil in a pan. Bring down to medium heat.

Add the riced cauliflower to the pan and let it heat up, mixing it around so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom. Do this for 5-10 minutes then add chopped cherry tomatoes and kalamata olives.

Remove from the heat and add the cashew cream making sure to mix well.

Add salt and pepper to taste, if you like garlic you may also add garlic powder at this stage as well.

You can squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top to freshen it up.