Tuesday, March 17, 2009

pork and shrimp dumplings

pork and shrimp dumplings
Originally uploaded by d_fornear
When I was a little girl, I used to crawl under the table and sneak raw wonton wrappers while my mom folded pot stickers and watched Young and the Restless. I loved the flour-y dough.
I had a strong craving for these, pork and shrimp were both on sale. What better time to make dumplings than when your six-month old is trying to nap, you have three loads of laundry to do, and a bathroom to clean?
I made the dough, too, because I envy the chewy, delicious mouthfeel of the dumplings at my favorite dim sum place, Jade Garden. I used whole-wheat pastry flour, which gave the dumpling skins a nutty, rich flavor. The skins were so easy to make, I might never buy "alimentary paste" again...although maybe to snack on for old times.

With the whole-wheat flour (which, admittedly, is a little old. I haven't been baking as much since Boone entered the world.), I had to add more water than the recipe called for.  I let it rest for a little over an hour while I made the filling.

Rolling out the dough. Some recipes call for splitting the dough in half, rolling it out and cutting circles out.  I find you waste less if you divide the dough in half, then each half into twelve pieces.  Roll out each piece into an circle-ish shape.  Make sure you have a sheet pan lined with parchment or paper towels dusted with flour.  I fit about twelve skins on the sheet and then add another layer of paper towels for the rest. 

Pleating the tops takes a little practice, but with the thicker, handmade dumpling skins, a little wonkiness adds to their charm!

Shrimp and Pork Pot stickers
Adapted from Gourmet

For the Dumpling Skins:
1 1/2 -1 3/4 c whole-wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose)
1/2 c lukewarm water
All-purpose flour for kneading and rolling

For the Filling:
3 ounces of canned water chestnuts, rinsed (about 4 large)
1/2 lb raw shrimp (peeled, deveined)
1/2 lb fatty ground pork (preferably from shoulder)
1 bunch of scallions, rough chopped (white and green parts)
1 clove garlic, rough chopped
2t peeled ginger, chopped
1 1/2 T soy sauce
1t Maggi Sauce
1t toasted sesame oil
Black pepper to taste

1T peanut oil, for frying

For Dipping Sauce:
1/3 c soy sauce
2T chinese black vinegar
2T water
1T chile-flavored sesame oil
1t ginger, peeled and grated on a microplane

Make dumplings:
Stir together 1 1/2 c flour and 1/2 c water until a shaggy dough forms.  Add water a teaspoon at a time if necessary.  Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Dust dough lightly with flour and cover with an inverted bowl. Let stand 10 minutes to an hour at room temperature. 

While dough is resting, put chestnuts, scallions, garlic, ginger, pork and shrimp in food processor. Pulse briefly until uniformly chopped.  
Remove filling to a bowl, add the rest of the ingredients and mix until combined. Cover and chill at least 10 minutes.

While filling is chilling, line a sheet pan with parchment or paper towels lightly dusted with flour, then dust work surface with flour.  Halve dough and cover unused half with inverted bowl. Shape remaining half into a ball.  Use bench scraper to halve dough and halve again until you have twelve small pieces.  Roll out each piece with a lightly floured rolling pin.  Sprinkle dough with flour as needed. Transfer dough circles to lined sheet pan and cover with additional paper towels.  Repeat with remaining half of dough.

Line another sheet pan with paper towels and lightly flour.  Put one circle of dough on clean work surface.  Put a tablespoon of filling in the center of the dough.  (It helps to wet the spoon before scooping filling.) With a wet finger, moisten the border along the bottom half of round. Fold the unmoistened top half of round against the wet border.  Moisten outside border and pleat 5 or 6 times along the top. Press pleats together.  Stand on lined baking sheet. Form the rest of dumplings and cover loosely with paper towels.  You may place them in the freezer at this point.  Once frozen, they can be placed in a freezer bag. 

Make dipping sauce:
Stir together all ingredients in a small bowl. Restir before serving. 

Cook dumplings:
Heat peanut oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until it's almost smoking.  Arrange dumplings, seam side up,  in a tight spiral pattern quickly.  You should be able to fit all dumplings in the skillet.  Fry dumplings until bottoms are golden. Do not move or check bottoms for 2-3 minutes.  Add 1/2c water, tilting pan to distribute evenly. Cover tightly with a lid until liquid is evaporated and bottoms of dumplings are crisp and dark golden brown. 
Serve immediately with sauce.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

tis the season for botulism!

we've been experimenting with christmas pickles. the spicy okra are so addictive. unfortunately, a few of the jars have developed some white cloudiness. it hasn't stopped me from eating them!
pictured clockwise from far right:
pickled okra with fresh dill, korean peppers and mustard seed
green papaya with lime, chles and crushed black pepper, pickled in rice vinegar
sweet and sour gherkins
and little jars of red onion and red wine vinegar marmalade

the okra recipe is from alton brown.
green papaya are a traditional filipino flavor profile, achara. they'll be perfect on bahn mi.
sweet and sour gherkins are a combination of a saveur and a joy of cooking recipe.
red onion marmalade is from joy of cooking. they were supposed to take thirty minutes, and took three hours. i still wasn't happy with the outcome.
in the works:
cherry tomato and ginger marmalade
green apple and cabbage saurkraut
pickled ginger and galangal

canning and pickling resources:
saveur article
the COMPLETE canning guide pdf from university of georgia

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


breakfast at ferry terminal market.
lunch at the french laundry. 

Friday, May 18, 2007


When I was young, my mom was a hostess at Sizzler, and then Golden Corral, a Sizzler knock-off. We went there for "special occasions": report card time (my straight A's, my sister's straight C's), Mother's Day and Father's Day. My dad would always remind us not to fill up on the salad, save some room for the all-you-can-eat roast beef. I didn't develop a meat-tooth until much later in life, and I was obsessed with the salad bar. So many different kinds of things that we never had in our salads at home; I wondered if other people ate these kinds of things, and I just didn't know it: cubed ham, cubed pineapple, canned beets, 3-bean salads, and cottage cheese. After much experimentation, I discovered the perfect combination. A bed of spinach (the only green that can stand up to the weight of the other ingredients), cubes of boiled, pressed turkey, sliced, raw button mushrooms, hard-boiled eggs, baco-bits, sunflower seeds and croutons. Lots and lots of thick ranch dressing. I would eat two of those while the rest of my family stuffed their faces with baked potatoes and carved meat until they were sick. My very last meal with both of my grandparents was a Sizzler meal; a little filipina lady served up iced tea refills, and she reminded me of my mom (not present at the meal). My dad left no tip, and shrugged his shoulders when reminded of it.
"They get paid", was his reply. I thought of someone shorting my mom in the same situation, so I slipped $10 on the table when everyone was leaving.

After a week of disappointing meals: a blah $125 dinner at Union, Domino's Pizza, and crappy tartines, I craved a Sizzler salad, a meal that wouldn't disappoint. My newer, adult version of the Sizzler still contained the requisite spinach (now organic), sliced button mushrooms and sunflower seeds. I also added a perfectly ripe avocado, barely hard-boiled egg, crispy (fake) bacon and (fake) turkey, and slices of fresh tomato. I even made Hidden Valley ranch dressing from the pouch, adding Best Foods Mayo and (soy) milk. Lots of sea salt and fresh black pepper. I was afraid I went a little overboard, but the tomato and avocado made up for the crappy hippy substitutions. I'm eating another one tonight.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

more to life than meat

i talk about meat an offal lot. i really love meat. i want to raise it, kill it, butcher it, cook it and eat it. i want to be a part of the cycle of life. don't get me wrong, i'm not hating on the veggies. i spent the morning in the garden, planting tomato starts that have been flowering on my windowsill. i trying making like a bee and using a q-tip to pollinate the flowers, which may or may have not worked. between third and fourth grade, i spent summer in oklahoma "pollinating" my mom's vegetable garden, catching crawdads and playing with my pet catfish. seriously, i made my mom buy me a live catfish at the farmer's market. he lived in a kiddie pool with some bluegills i caught (mom used to take me fishing, too). i would dig night crawlers out of the compost pile to feed them, and taught the bluegills to jump out of the water for worms. i would put on "fish shows" at the family barbecues. (when i came back from camp, they had unlearned that particular skill.) i also caught tadpoles and kept them in the pool which my mom promptly pickled and jarred. good on sticky rice, she said, but i digress.

butter lettuce from our garden was the only lettuce other than iceberg i had ever tasted. i couldn't understand why they were so different, and why we couldn't have butter lettuce all the time. the thought of lettuce made of butter really appealed to me, but it's still my favorite lettuce (and on my menu right now). i haven't been to my garden in two weeks and it's out of control. favas and orca beans (my term, i think they're technically called calypso beans), radishes, spring onions, beets and huge heads of lettuce. the micro greens have turned to macro greens, due to neglect. and i planted the tomatoes, although it seems a little early. i'm really excited about the Mexican Midget tomato plant. i imagine it sprouting fat, juicy little luchadores. i guess my thought process hasn't changed much from lettuce made of butter...
i also planted Black Krim tomatoes. they make me think of a Yugoslavian woman in a babushka, picking tomatoes as dark as the black sea. and Beaver Dam peppers? just plain funny.
i've harvested beets, pounds and pounds of kale, snail-laden leeks and one beautiful head of cauliflower. i wish i had some chickens or quail. i wish i was a farmer.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

roast beef curtains

after reading angela's eat and tell about the whopper jr. and a recent discussion of arby's with a minnesotan friend of mine, i got to thinking. while i love a whopper, burger king's fries are a travesty. (i harbor a secret love of chicken fries, and sometimes flexcar to ballard when luke is at work to have some, with honey mustard, while publicly denouncing the bk advertisements that urge you to substitute the chicken for potato fries.) my perfect fast-food meal is arby's. it brings back memories of mom working late; dad would get the two-times the 5 for $5 sandwiches and we'd eat arby's for a week. i was oddly repulsed by the iridescent, slightly green-tinge of the meat(from the slicer, says my dad). the sweet, wonder bread bun would be steamy warm, soft and soaking with roast beef juice by the time we opened them at home.
when i was old enough to my own ordering, i tried the GIANT (double the meat), SUPER (tomatoes, lettuce, special sauce), Beef & Cheddar (onion bun, cheez sauce), but i always came back to that paragon of beef, the Regular. The double messes up the perfect meat to bread ratio. The super is superfluous. and cheez sauce? need i explain?
2 Regulars (2 packets of horsey, 1 of bbq sauce for each) and curly fries (ketchup and horsey sauce to dip). a medium orange soda; i've discovered orange soda is the only pairing for arby's and subway.
and if you're in the money and not hating your thighs, a small jamocha shake and a coke. You cannot order the shake without the coke. Shakes especially, and ice cream, too, require a coca-cola palate cleanser. it'd be like ordering a Regular and no curly fries.
the biggest crime of all, the closest arby's has no drive-thru.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

i DO cook at home, too.

sunday, sunshine, ballard's farmers' market after brunch.
sample of cider from rock ridge farms (awesome hard cider)
grilled oysters
tiny beautiful turnips
wood sorrel from foraged and found
duck eggs, so much fresher than the ones at pike place market creamery
cirrus, camembert style cheese-Mount Townsend Creamery
pineapple sage plant
to complete my full-out martha stewart day, i dusted off the sewing machine, sewed curtains for the living room and scrubbed a year-old taro bubble tea stain out of the bedroom (always put the top back on the bubble tea before you start fooling around).

i was actually excited to make dinner. the turnips were picked on a whim, and i had to consult alice waters' Chez Panisse Vegetables for an idea: turnip and greens soup. i needed a little more substance for my weakling vegetarian man-boy: poached duck egg on roasted garlic crostini (la brea bread) in the soup: puree of veg stock, onions and turnips. a handful of kale (from MY garden) and wood sorrel, finished with sel gris, chervil (from MY windowsill) and extra virgin olive oil.

it makes me feel better to cook a nice meal after i've had a crappy day at work. i like to prove to myself that i really can cook. then i dropped a glass on my foot and made my left pinkie toe bleed.