Sunday, February 28, 2010

Pork and chive pot stickers

I got this recipe from my Martha Stewart Everyday Food magazine, October 2009. My family absolutely loves these, but I'll admit they're time-consuming - especially for a side dish. I recommend making them ahead of time then frying them right before it's time to eat. Goes great with a stir-fry and egg drop soup for a fabulous Chinese feast. I'll have to post Dave's soup recipe at some point because it is the best. I've already doubled the amounts, because we found that 1 batch wasn't enough. You can freeze raw dumplings on a cookie sheet, then store in bags up to 3 months. Cook them frozen.
1/2 pound ground pork (hamburger would be good too)
2 Tbsp minced chives/green onions
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp dry sherry (I just use water)
2 tsp minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tsp sesame oil (I don't usually have this, so I just use regular oil)
1 tsp cornstarch
36-40 wonton wrappers (usually in the produce department)
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
In a bowl combine pork, chives, soy sauce, sherry, ginger, oil, cornstarch and 1 Tbsp water. Place a heaping tsp of pork mixture in center of a wonton wraper.Lightly wet edges of wrapper, fold over and press to seal (I usually press edges with a fork). Repeat to form remaining dumplings.

In two batches, cook dumplings in a large pot of boiling water for 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon. Make sure they're not touching or else they'll stick together. Some will fall apart in the process, but you won't mind eating the mess-ups.
4. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Gently pat dumplings dry with paper towel, then cook until browned, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Serve warm with soy-ginger sauce:

Soy-Ginger Dipping Sauce
I've never actually made this b/c the pot stickers are yummy on their own and I'm usually running out of time, but it sounds good:

In a bowl, stir together 1/4 cup soy sauce, 3 Tbsp rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger, 2 tsp sugar and 1/4 tsp sesame oil.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Pizza: so easy even kids can make it

I was really sick yesterday - high fever, sore throat, headache, body aches, etc. I basically didn't get off the couch all day b/c every time I did I got light-headed. Tyler and Dallin offered to make dinner for me. I told them I was planning on making pizza, and they got all excited. I didn't know if they'd be able to, but they did an awesome job. They got this recipe from Dallin's kid cookbook, and they brought it to me on the couch for each step to make sure they were doing it right. The only things I did was pour the oil, since it was too full for them, show them how to knead the dough, and take the finished pizza out of the oven. I was so impressed! When I asked Tyler what he learned from the whole process (which took them over 2 hours), he said dinner is much faster when I do it. Probably most of you already have a pizza dough recipe you like to use, but a friend asked me for mine.

1 1/2 tsp yeast
3 tbsp warm water
2 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
2 tbsp oil, plus more for greasing the pan
pizza sauce
mozzarella cheese
various toppings

1. Mix the yeast with 3 tbsp warm water. Set aside for 10 minutes or until it is frothy.
2. Sift the flour with sugar and salt using a wire whisk. Make a well in the center.
3. Pour the yeast mixture, water and oil into the well. Mix together with wooden spoon.
4. Sprinkle flour on a clean work surface. Knead the dough for 8 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic.
5. Oil a large bowl, add the dough and cover with a towel. Leave in a warm place and let rise for 20 minutes. Punch down with your fists.
6. While the dough is rising, preheat oven to 425 degrees.
7. Spread oil on extra large cookie sheet. Add dough and roll out to fill pan. Poke holes with fork.
8. Bake for 10 minutes.
9. Spread pizza sauce on crust. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and any other toppings you like.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Fun with coconut milk

Sometimes we have coconut rice--which is just jelof rice (I've told you about that one before) with a little coconut milk added. But Uchenna likes only a subtle coconut taste, meaning we use only about 3 or 4 tablespoons of said milk. That leaves me with most of a can to use before it goes bad. So I've been experimenting, and here are a couple of results.

Chocolate coconut cookies

Basically, I just make chocolate cookies and replaced the oil with coconut milk, rolling them in shredded coconut rather than in powdered sugar. Also I cut the recipe in half, since it originally made 6 dozen--too much for me.

I was concerned that the coconut milk would add too much fat, but it actually has a lot fewer grams of fat than the oil it replaces. There's that whole saturated vs unsaturated thing, but I just don't think about that.

1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup shredded coconut

Mix cocoa powder and sugar. Add coconut milk, eggs--one at a time--and vanilla and mix well. Stir in flour, salt, and baking powder. Chill several hours or overnight (I tend to skip chilling in other cookies, but in this case the dough is pretty thin so it's necessary).

Heat oven to 350 deg. Pour shredded coconut into a small bowl. Drop spoonfuls of dough into the shredded coconut and roll them around until they form a coconut-covered ball. Place about 2" apart on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 10 to 12 minutes.

Makes about 3 doz cookies.

Coconut-Curry Chicken Salad Sandwiches

One time I made coconut-curry chicken, but the cooked chicken I used shredded as it mixed into the sauce and looked completely unappealing. Unwilling to waste it all, I strained the chicken back out of the sauce and sauteed new chicken that obediently stayed in docile little chunks. But what to do with the curry-flavored shredded chicken? It made lovely sandwiches! So here's the recipe in a less roundabout way.

1/4 onion, diced
1/2 clove garlic, minced
1 - 3 tsp yellow curry (depending on your taste)
1/2 Tbsp lime juice
1/3 c coconut milk
1/4 tsp chicken base or bullion granules
salt and pepper to taste
2 lb cooked chicken, shredded
wheat toast or toasted croisant
mayonnaise, if desired

Saute onion and garlic in oil. Add curry, lime, coconut milk, chicken bullion, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in shredded chicken. Chicken should be moistened enough to hold together without being overly saucy.

Use as chicken salad on toast or toasted croissants with crisp lettuce and maynnaise, if desired. Makes 4 sandwiches (I think).

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Easy Truffles

Many of you are familiar with Martha Stewart's truffles, which are delicious, but a bit temperamental. I found this recipe in a tea party book I bought for my girls. It is really easy, very stable, and pretty good.

Easy Truffles

1 c. chocolate chips--buy Guittard or Ghiradelli--I like semi-sweet
1/4 c. unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla (or flavoring of your choice)

Topping--choose one or be creative
melted chocolate for dipping--about 1 c.
3 Tbsp cocoa powder and 3 Tbsp powdered sugar mixed together for rolling

Microwave the chocolate and butter together on medium power for 1 minute, stir. Microwave in 30 sec. intervals until the chocolate has melted, stirring between times. Stir in the vanilla. Spread the mix out on a parchment lined plate if you want square truffles. If you want round, just leave it in the bowl. Put the chocolate in the fridge for one hour--don't leave it much longer than that or it will be too hard to work with. Cut your truffles into squares or form into balls. You should have around 12 truffles. Put the truffles back in the fridge for at least another hour. You can also freeze them. Dip the truffles in melted chocolate or roll them in the cocoa/powdered sugar mix.

Happy Valentine's Day!