Friday, February 26, 2010

Vegetarian Kreplach Soup

A Kreplach is just the Yiddish word for dumpling. Were I forced to compare them to something, I would say they are similar to a Won Ton, without the pork filling, of course.

Typically, these would be filled with ground beef. I thought about using a vegetarian meat substitute, but decided to go in another direction and used chick peas instead. I can say that we are all really pleased with the results. Mr. Eat The Blog rarely makes a point of complimenting my cooking, but kept telling me how much he liked the soup. Danny finished his bowl as well.

The recipe made quite a bit of filling. You may wish to do a double batch of the dough, and freeze some uncooked kreplach. The extra filling would also be delicious as a layer in a vegetarian lasagna.

You Will Need:

For the filling:

4 cups cooked chick peas, skins removed
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
(about) 4 tablespoons cooking oil (I used soybean as I wanted a neutral flavour)
Thyme, Salt, Pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped parsley
(about 3/4 cup dry breadcrumbs, possibly more)
2 large eggs

I a large pan, cook the onion and garlic in the oil until they begin to brown. Add the chickpeas, spices and parsley. Add more oil if too dry, and mash in the pan with a wooden spoon. Mix well. Cook a few minutes for flavours to combine and remove from heat. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.

When cooled, add the eggs and mix well. At this point, add the breadcrumbs. You want the mixture to be the consistency of a meatball, or hamburger patty. That sounds impossible with chickpeas, but really, you just want it to hold together without being too mushy wet, or too dry. Don't obsess over it, in the end a little too dry, or a bit too wet won't matter as it is going in a dumpling. I won't tell.

Keep the mixture cooled until you need it.

For The Dough:

for a single batch:

2 cups AP flour
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water

Beat the egg yolks and water together until well mixed. Add the salt and the flour, a half cup at a time until most of it has been incorporated. Then, knead it until smooth, adding more flour as needed. You really want this to be smooth, so give the dough a good five minutes of serious kneading. Then wrap in cling film and let rest ten minutes.

If you have a pasta machine, use it. Otherwise, get out your heaviest rolling pin and start rolling. The dough really should be as paper-thin as you can get it, with as little additional flour used on the rolling surface as possible. Cut the dough into 3 inch squares. Place a small bit of filling in the centre and fold over into a triangle. Pinch the edges closed, then bring the three corners up and together and pinch them sealed. It should look like a little bundle. Place them on a baking sheet lined with wax paper as you work and start boiling a large pot of water. When kreplach are made, place them in boiling water and reduce heat to a not-quite rolling boil (you don't want them to break). Boil about 15-20 minutes or until tender. Gently remove with a slotted spoon and drain before adding to already hot soup.


Purim begins this weekend, and I thought a batch of Hamentaschen were in order. Growing up, the bakery near our house made Hamentaschen that were more like a sweet roll. They were yeast risen, and the filling were concealed within the glazed triangles. Only the ladies behind the counter at Kauffman's knew for certain what you were getting, because there wasn't really any hint from the outside. They did all the traditional apricot, poppyseed, and prune flavours but they also made one with almond paste that I've never run across anywhere else. Obviously, living in nut-allergy central here, I didn't try to re-create that one. In Massachusetts I would see fillings with sesame paste, or chocolate, but they also tended to be available year round. I don't know about you, but I like my Hamentaschen at Purim.

I followed the recipe for the pastry and prune filling HERE. For the poppyseed and apricot I improvised with excellent results. I'll list those below. The only change I made to the original pastry recipe was exchanging orange zest for lemon and using a bit more.

These are without question the very best Hamentaschen I've ever made. The rich, cookie pastry is delicious beyond description, though the dough is a pain in the arse to work with (keep it chilled). I don't think I would ever return to my old recipe after making these-how could I? In fact, they are so good, I might (gasp!) make them when it isn't Purim. I probably wouldn't shape them into triangles, and I might call them Kolaches, which they basically are.

You'll have extra filling, but I doubt you will have much difficulty finding uses for it, and if inspiration fails you, there's always the argument that you need the dried fruit for bowel health. Or you could make more cookie dough. I'm sure it'll all come out all right.

For the poppyseed filling:

1 cup poppy seeds, soaked 3 hours and drained well
1/4 cup chopped raisins
4 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Squeeze of lemon juice

Mix together well, adding more raisins, and honey if needed to bind. Chill until needed. You can grind it in a blender if you like, but I found that necessary (and messy).

For the Apricots:

1 lb. dried apricots
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Squeeze lemon juice

Place the apricots in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cook until apricots are very soft-about 40 minutes. Drain. Chop well (I actually used a hand chopper so I could retain a bit of the fruit texture), mix in everything else and chill before using.

Challah With Prune and Apricot Filling

I had quite a bit of filling left from making Hamentaschen, so I spread some in each of the three sections, pinched them closed and braided as usual. I guess I'll be making French toast tomorrow morning.

For 1 large, or 2 small Challot:

3 teaspoons granulated dry yeast
1 cup warm water
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 tablespoons coarse salt
4-5 cups AP flour
3 eggs
3 tablespoons salad oil
1 egg yolk plus 1 tablespoon water for glaze
Optional-fruit fillings

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in a large mixing bowl with the water. Add salt, 3 cups flour, eggs and oil. Mix well. Add additional flour as needed until you have a dough that is no longer sticky and can be kneaded. Knead well and place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled.

Punch dough down and let rise again for 1 hour.

Punch dough down and let rest ten minutes. Divide in 3 parts, and roll into ropes. Flatten the ropes with a rolling pin and spread with filling down the centre of each strip. Carefully pinch them closed and braid the strips together. Place on a greased baking sheet and let rise again until almost doubled-about 40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush the bread with glaze, keeping the remainder on hand for later. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven and brush all over once more with glaze. return to oven and bake another 20 m,minutes or so-until bread is dark and sounds hollow when rapped with knuckles. Cool completely on rack before slicing.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Upside Down Plum Cake

I wanted a small-ish cake for tonight, and I had two plums sitting on the counter-THIS recipe was perfect. Obviously, prune plums aren't available now, but honestly, this cake didn't suffer at all being made with red plums.

The only part that could be considered tricky is carmelising the sugar. Just be careful, and keep an eye on it. Whatever you do, let the hot pan cool before you soak it, or you will splatter caramel syrup everywhere (no, I didn't do that, but I can easily imagine it happening).

I unmoulded mine onto a platter with a ridge to catch any drips and then transferred it to a plate. That worked well. I know some people in the comments had difficulty with the wetness of the fruit. I did not, but perhaps that's one benefit of purchasing summer fruit in February, as it isn't quite as juicy.

I baked mine atop a baking sheet, just in case, but it proved unnecessary. I'd still recommend it anyway. I hate cleaning the oven, and sugar syrup smells terrible burning to the heating element.

I really want to try this recipe with bananas next. This one is a keeper.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lenten Cake Recipes

Here they are, in one place. I should link them in the sidebar, but I probably won't because I'll forget. So what I'm saying is, bookmark them. Or not.

Chocolate Lenten Cake (unless you gave up chocolate)

Lenten Carrot Cake With Fruit

Pumpkin Ginger Lenten Cake

Vanilla Lenten Cake With Blueberry Sauce

Orange Raisin Lenten Cake

Cherry Kirsch Lenten Cake

Applesauce Gingerbread Lenten Cake

Irish Lenten Cake

Lenten Fruitcake

Shoo Fly Lenten Cake

Deep Dish Veggie Pizza

Hey look everyone-pizza! A very large pizza. Yeah, they ate it for a couple days.

Based on my experience, fresh broccoli (and most vegetables for that matter) don't turn out so terrific on pizza. I cook mine first (earlier in the day, in stages) and the results are much nicer.

This is an absurdly rich, heavy pizza and it takes a good thirty minutes (at least) to bake. Obviously, you can adapt it to toppings you like, and your favourite cheeses. What I'll give you here are the broccoli recipe and the dough. I'll leave the rest to you.

For the broccoli:

1 bunch broccoli, stems removed (save them for stir-fry) and cut into florets
1/2 head garlic, minced
Generous splash of olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 teaspoon dried thyme

Blanch the broccoli for a minute in boiling water. Drain, rinse under cold water and let drain until mostly dry.

In a frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the broccoli, garlic, spices and seasonings. Cook for about two minutes until the garlic and spices are fragrant. Reduce heat to low and cook slowly until broccoli is fork tender, and garlic is soft. You can add a good amount of oil to this-it should really be swimming. You'll use the extra oil on the pizza to compensate for the dryness of a pizza without sauce. You can make this hours ahead-just keep chilled until needed.

For the dough:

2 cups lukewarm water
3 teaspoons granulated dry yeast
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon coarse salt (or 2 teaspoons regular table salt)
4-6 cups strong flour (bread flour)

Dissolve the yeast in a large bowl with the water and sugar. Add the salt and the flour, a cup at a time until you have a dough that is able to be kneaded and not sticky. Knead it well and place it in an oiled bowl to rise for about an hour. Punch down, let rise another fifteen minutes before rolling out and fitting into a well-greased round pan.

I like to assemble my pizzas with some of the toppings under the cheese in layers. Do as you like.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. with one rack in the lowest position and the other in the centre.

Bake ten minutes on the lowest rack. Reduce heat to 475 degrees F. and continue baking in the centre until done. This is a very thick pizza, so it really needs to bake a good long while for the inside to dry out. If you cut into it at thirty minutes and it still looks doughy, go ahead and give it more time.

Let stand a few minutes before cutting and serving.

Makes one monstrously large pizza.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Homemade Sky Bar-ish Candy

Sky Bar. That's the original. This is not a genuine Sky Bar, this is an homage to a Sky Bar.

Obviously, I skipped the peanut part due to Danny's allergies. I do think for subsequent attempts, I could make a basic fondant and flavour it with powdered malt and crushed cornflakes to replicate the filling. If anything, it would be close to a Butterfinger. Maybe I'll try that next. Since I was so successful with the Twix experiment, I thought a multi-sectioned candy bar might be fun to try.

Until I had a child with allergies it never would have occurred that these were worth trying. Now, I'm really taken with the idea of replicating my favourite childhood candies in a nut-free environment for my son.

I still can't really get over the fact that this worked. Instead of making a fourth flavour, I simply repeated the fudge because everyone agrees it is exceptional fudge. It still gets four sections which is what I was going for. These are much heavier and substantial than an actual Sky Bar. One bar can easily feed a few people. If you cut it lengthwise, everyone can have a slice including all the flavours.

You will want to do this in stages-the caramel keeps fresh longest, so make that first. The marshmallow really ought to go last, unless you live in a very dry environment. I coated mine in bittersweet chocolate, but you should use whatever you like.

These would make a really lovely addition to an Easter basket, or an impressive hostess gift. Hell, I'd invite people over if they'd bring me homemade chocolate bars.

For The Caramel:

2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 cup unsalted butter
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
Coarse salt

Butter an 8x8x2 pan generously and sprinkle the bottom with coarse salt. Set aside.

In a large, heavy pot combine everything except the vanilla sand salt. Cook, stirring until mixture reaches 248 degrees F.

Remove from heat, beat in vanilla and pour into pan. Sprinkle top with coarse salt. Let set until cool, then turn out on a board and cut into slabs. If you're using this to make Sky Bar knock-off candy, cut the slabs large so you can trim them to size in the mould. Any extra can be cut-up and individually wrapped as caramels.

For The Fudge:

4 tablespoons good quality dark cocoa powder
3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons corn syrup
Generous pinch of salt
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Generously butter an 8x8x2 pan

Combine cocoa, sugar, milk, corn syrup and salt in a heavy pan. Cook, stirring frequently until it reaches the soft-ball stage (236 degrees F.) Remove from heat, cool slightly and then beat in butter and vanilla. Pour into prepared pan. Let harden, then cut into slabs similarly sized with the caramel. Wrap tightly in cling film until needed.

For The Marshmallows:

2 tablespoons gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup water
1 egg white

Line an 8x8x2 pan with parchment.

Soften gelatin in 1/2 cup cold water. In a large heavy pot, combine sugar, corn syrup, and 1/3 cup water. Cook to 240 degrees F. without stirring. While it cooks, beat the egg white until stiff peaks form.

Remove syrup from heat and add gelatin stirring until dissolved. Let cool ten minutes.

Beat syrup into egg whites with mixer on high speed and beat until it forms soft peaks. Pour into pan and let cool completely. At least 8 hours, or overnight.

When cool, turn out of pan onto board. With a damp cloth, moisten the parchment paper (now on top) and gently peel away. Dust with confectioner's sugar. Cut into similar sized slabs, and coat sides with sugar. Keep pieces in an airtight container between pieces of waxed paper, but use as soon as possible. I took my extra marshmallows and coated them in chocolate.

Assemble that sucker:

I used mini-bread tins lined with parchment, but obviously if you have candy bar moulds, that will work better.

Melt the chocolate of your choice, tempering if you want to get all fancy-n-stuff (tm).

Spread a layer in the bottom of the lined pan. Atop that, cut pieces of candy to size and place them in side-by-side. Top with additional chocolate getting it down the sides with a butter knife, if you can. Let harden. Trim any excess stray chocolate. Store tightly wrapped in cling film.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Pumpkin Raisin Quickbread With Yoghurt

A little of everything in this one. I've been informed that it is "good", but not "as good as banana bread." That was the five year old. The forty nine year old thought it was just dandy.
The recipe makes 1 extra large loaf, or two smaller.

You Will Need:

2 cups AP flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 heaping teaspoon ground ginger (use more or less to your taste)
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons honey
2 large eggs
1 small tin pumpkin (plain pumpkin-not the pie filling) or about 2 cups
1/2 cup plain yoghurt, drained until thick
1 cup raisins or currants

Generously butter one large or two standard loaf pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, and nutmeg. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in eggs. Beat in pumpkin and yoghurt. Gently mix in the dry ingredients. Fold in raisins. Pour into pans and bake until centre tests dry with a toothpick. My large loaf took about 1 hour, 20 min. You should really start checking at around 1 hour for a large loaf.

Cool on rack in pan about 30 minutes, then cool completely on rack before slicing. You should know, we didn't do this-we attacked that bread like we'd been days without food. If you can resist, you should let it ripen a bit before tearing into it. Hard to do though.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Completed Confit of Clementines

Updated 3/6- Here they are after two weeks being completed and stored. The syrup has thickened, and the peel is becoming even more candied. You can see that the interior is still beautifully moist. I'm glad I have a second batch finishing up tomorrow. This was so successful, we'd like to try it with very small grapefruit, or mandarins. I'll have to hurry up and decide before they are all gone for the year. I can't say enough wonderful things about this technique. I know what everyone is getting for Christmas next year.

You may find the recipe at Lucy's Kitchen Notebook.

Aren't they just beautiful? I already started a second batch.

Friday, February 19, 2010


Danny asked what I have planned for dinner, so I told him, "rumbledethumps." That was met with uncontrollable laughter for the better part of an hour, and the insistence that no such dish exists, and surely I'm making it up. So much for immersing him in his Scottish heritage.

If I'd called it "Bubble and Squeak", it would have likely had a similar reaction. I'm not certain what he'd think of "hash." It did get me thinking how very many names there are for essentially the same dish using leftover vegetables and potatoes, and how terribly silly the names are.


Hee, hee, hee.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lenten Carrot Pudding

I just want to establish that no one in my family, or really anyone I know, ever uttered the phrase, "What's for pud." I think that's something people say because they think it has some sort of nostalgic charm, which it might, but not among people I know. Anyway, here we are, the first dessert of Lent.

Over the years, I've built up an archive of Lenten cakes made without butter, eggs or milk. I'll try to get those posted in one place tomorrow for Friday Cake Blogging, but this year, I think I might branch out a bit.

There are so many vegan sites that have cake recipes suitable for Lent that it is almost redundant to do them here. Unless I find something particularly wonderful, I'm going to experiment with Depression-era baking that was done without eggs and butter. Many of those recipes are steamed puddings.

Now I have to be honest here, I'm not a huge fan of spice cake, or carrot cake, and that's essentially what this is-in a pudding. Still, if you're really craving something dessert-like and you're keeping to the traditional Lenten prohibitions, then this might satisfy...something. It isn't terribly sweet, and it isn't rich at all. I guess it might satisfy a craving for carrots and raisins. Or carrot salad, but at least that has some fat in it. Pineapple might have helped this along a bit. You can make hard sauce out of margarine, I guess. That might make it more dessert-like. Funny, because as a somewhat sweet side dish with something like pot roast, I could see this being really perfect.

Get out your 1/3 cup measures because this recipe seems to be a series of ingredients in thirds.

From the Herald tribune Home Institute Cookbook, 1937

You Will Need:

2/3 cup AP flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup dried currants
2/3 cup raisins
2/3 cup grated raw potato
2/3 cup grated raw carrots
1/3 cup "milk" (use either rice, soy or your favourite non-dairy drink)

Sift together dry ingredients. Add fruit and toss well. Add carrots, potatoes and milk and mix well. Pour into a greased 1 quart mould filled 2/3 full. Cover top with parchment and seal securely with a string (if you don't have a self-sealing mould). Cover and steam 2 1/2 hours. Check water once in a while as it will probably need replenishing.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

And The New Phrase I Learned Today Is...

Waffle Stomper

That one comes courtesy of Mr. ETB's friend.

Today's Best Bargains

At the Warehouse Surplus in Wahoo:

10 lbs. potatoes, perfect condition (I went through the whole bag when I got home to check for rotten ones, and there simply weren't any-one was on the verge of rotting, but still OK)

Go on, guess how much I spent. You Can't? OK. I spent a whopping .75 cents! But wait, it gets better...

Iceberg lettuce-10 cents a head. A few outer leaves were wilted, but the interior was just fine.

Guess we'll be eating potatoes for a few days, but really that was just too good a value to pass up.

Ginger/Blood Orange Pepper Steak

I had half a pound of round steak in the freezer waiting for inspiration to strike. It never really did. I looked around on-line, and in cookbooks and once again cobbled something together. Mr. ETB was the only one who ate it, and he enjoyed it. I'll take him at his word.

I served this over homemade noodles because I was turning leftover salmon patties into a sort of glorified Salmon ala King, (except it was in a creamy saffron sauce, rather than a tin of cream of mushroom soup) and had noodles. I do think this would be just dandy over rice.

You can use less stem ginger than I did, and adjust the vegetable to whatever you have. Broccoli would be delicious. It would also make sense to use more meat if making this for more than one person to eat over two meals. A pound of beef would be acceptable, conversely, this could easily be stretched with the inclusion of more vegetables. Do as you like.

You Will Need:

3/4 cup orange juice ( I used blood oranges)
1 tbsp. soy sauce
4 tbsp. finely chopped stem ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
A sprinkle of red pepper flakes
1/2-1 lb. round steak, sliced very thin in strips (this is easier if meat is still slightly frozen)
1 tbsp. sesame oil
3 tbsp. cooking oil ( I used corn)
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 cup sliced red bell pepper
1 cup cooked fresh soybeans
1 cup sliced shallots
1 cup sliced celery
1 tbsp. honey
1 teaspoon cornstarch
toasted sesame seeds for garnish

An hour before cooking, prepare marinade by mixing orange juice, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and red pepper together. Add beef and combine well. cover and chill 1 hour.

In a large wok or pan, heat the oils over medium/high heat and cook the beef (reserve marinade) until it browns-about four minutes. remove to a plate. Add the vegetables and cook until softened to your taste. Mix the marinade with honey and cornstarch until smooth. Add to vegetables and turn heat to high. Cook about a minute until thickened. Reduce heat and return the beef to the pan. Cook a few minutes longer until done. Serve hot over noodles or rice. Toss with toasted sesame seeds.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Study Your Other To Kill Them Better

Brushing my teeth this morning, I heard part of THIS report on the radio. I tuned-in just about the point where the Army guy was describing social scientists as effeminate, communist drug users.

Obviously (or it should be obvious is you've been reading this blog for a while) I find this programme horrifying. What I find particularly disturbing is how absolutely comfortable the people promoting it are with the outright dishonesty of it. I certainly wouldn't care to be a part of it.

When I was an undergraduate, one of the best jobs a newly degreed anthropologist could hope for (a cultural anthropologist anyway) was working at Arthur Andersen (remember them?) teaching accountants how not to offend clients in Asia. I thought that was offensive, and probably unethical. The CIA was recruiting on campus, I thought that was offensive and unethical. The thing is(not that it makes it any better) they were a bit more subtle about it. It wasn't like the CIA was handing out fliers saying: "Hey kids, sign up to be spy and we'll give you a really cool 2 way radio wristwatch and tuition reimbursement if you inform on the foreign students." The thing I heard this morning sounded pretty damn blatant. Again, I'm not sure that's bad-I like to know what I'm dealing with, but it certainly did give me pause.

I'll give the local NPR station credit for not editing out the Mengele comparison (which I think was pretty valid) because I'm sure they are going to be facing a shitstorm of angry letters threatening to cancel memberships.

Dear Classic Rock

I was driving to Omaha today (unfortunately not a joke, or the start of a classic rock song) when I damn near drove off the road laughing at a song I'd probably heard a million times without listening to the lyrics. I don't know, maybe you have to be in your forties before wisecracks about your mother, and old maid, and Army WACS are funny, but really, I couldn't believe I'd missed that set of lyrics in Surrender. It was hilarious.

So tonight, I find a link to THIS piece of inspired brilliance. You know, this is really what the internet is for-not my idiotic stories and recipes for things no one has wanted to cook since 1974. Go ahead and click over-you'll end up reading through the entire archive, but there isn't that much there-yet. You will want to bookmark this one.

I Learn Something New Every Day-NSFW


Or, if you prefer the more common spelling:


Salmon Cakes

There seems to be some sort of salmon cake curse hanging above my head that dooms a single salmon cake to fall miserably apart whenever I make them. Always, just one. Yeah, that's what I think too.

I made a small batch expecting Danny to have them for his lunch tomorrow as well. Mr. ETB despises salmon (weirdo) so I offered him all the sides and told him there were tamales in the freezer to microwave. Wouldn't it figure, he'd decide to try them? He ate one, not raving about it, but not complaining either, which is interesting. I mean, I have an aversion to cucumbers and unless I am being offered them as a guest and feel obligated to consume them, I wouldn't. I always thought that's what a food aversion is. This leads me to think he's just being difficult. Weirdo.

So anyway, these make a small batch-two large burger sized cakes, or four smaller ones. Feel free to play with the fillings/spices/etc. Just don't be too disappointed if one of them falls apart in the pan. That just means they're going to be extra good.

You Will Need:

A 71/2 ounce tin of red salmon(I mush up the bones and use them-good for calcium, but you can pull them out if you prefer)
1 tablespoon preserved lemon peel, finely diced
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
Black pepper to taste
1/4 cup hard cheese, finely grated (I used Romano)
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs (or crumble a few crackers if you don't have any)
3 egg whites

Combine everything in a bowl and mix well. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook the salmon cakes a few minutes on each side until nicely browned. Serve hot or cold (we always ate ours cold growing up, but my dad worked odd, late hours, and my mother didn't like cooking twice).


I finally made Danny his bannocks (not at five AM, and not wrapped round a stick over a campfire) much to his delight. I'm not daring enough to deep fry them, though I hear they are delicious that way.

Mine came out a bit thick in a 9 inch pie plate, and in hindsight, I understood that I should have used my cast iron pan. Oh well, next time (which will probably be something like ten years, but at least I'll leave myself the note here to remember).

So, what to include in your bannocks? We like raisins, so I tossed in a handful of raisins. Dried apricots are nice, but you can omit them completely. I didn't spice mine, but you could add cinnamon. You could make them savoury with garlic and get the idea. I used whole oats, but I don't see any reason quick cooking oats wouldn't work. I couldn't find a single recipe that included all the aspects of what I wanted. This is the result of many offerings, but they all seem to have the common theme that this is not a difficult, fussy food to prepare-don't over-think it.

You Will Need:

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup AP flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup raisins
2 tbsp. melted butter
3/4-1 cup water (add slowly as you may not need it all)

preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9 inch pie plate or a cast iron pan. Mix together the dry ingredients. Stir in raisins and butter. Mix well. Add the water slowly until you have a sticky dough. Remove, pat into the prepared dish/pan and bake about 25 minutes or until top is golden. Cut into scones to serve.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Veggie Sandwiches on Homemade Onion/Poppyseed Rolls

The rolls are simply made from a standard white bread recipe. After the first rising, I took half the dough and made rolls which I then rolled flat (they puffed-up like pita). The topping is made from dehydrated onions, poppy seeds, salt, and paprika. I rehydrated them with enough water to cover and let it stand an hour before using. So simple, yet I almost never think to do it.

The vegetable filling consists of red pepper, mushrooms, onion, garlic, parsly, thyme, tarragon, salt and pepper, black olives and olive oil. I cooked it all in a large pan until soft. For a spread, I made a dressing of olive oil, paprika and Dijon mustard with a few drops of white wine vinegar and a tablespoon of sugar. Again, any idiot can make this (I just did!) and leftovers can be watered down with more vinegar for an excellent French dressing.

Considering I served these with poutine, they are kind of healthy...well, as healthy as anything can be sitting on the same plate with a heap of poutine.

Coconut Cream Trifile "Pie"

I had quite a bit of poundcake leftover from Friday. I froze half, and I put the rest to use in this.

Danny had been reading a story that mentioned coconut cream pie. he asked if we could make one. I absently told him to go look for a recipe, and he immediately turned to the pie section of my 1950 edition of the Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook.

"OK", I thought, "why not?"

Danny wanted chocolate whipped cream which turned out rather well (I used a few tablespoons of powdered cocoa rather than melting and cooling squares of chocolate). I put everything together earlier in the day and by this evening we had a really delicious dessert. Truthfully, it will be even better tomorrow when the poundcake has really absorbed the custard, but then it won't cut into attractive slices for a photograph on the cooking blog.

I cheated and toasted the coconut in a small frying pan on the stove. You really need to watch it when doing coconut that way, but it did save the hassle of heating the oven-and the house smelled so wonderful.

You Will Need:

Stale poundcake, cut into slices to fit the bottom of a pie plate
Custard (recipe follows)
3/4 cup coconut plus 1/4 cup for toasting as a topping
Whipped cream with optional cocoa and powdered sugar

For the custard:

2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. AP flour
3 cups whole milk
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 tbsp. butter
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup coconut

In a saucepan mix the sugar, salt, cornstarch, and flour. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil over medium heat. When mixture boils, cook one minute longer, then remove from heat. Add about 1 cup of the mixture slowly to the eggs and whisk quickly. Slowly add another 1/2 cup and mix well. Return egg mixture to pot and return to heat. Whisking constantly, return to a boil over medium heat and then cook one minute longer or until mixture is thickened. Remove from heat, stir in butter and vanilla and fold in coconut. Remove to a clean bowl and cool. When slightly cooled, chill before using.

To Assemble:

Pour cooled custard over slices of poundcake in pie plate. Top generously with whipped cream, flavoured and sweetened to your taste, and then toss top with a scattering of toasted coconut. Chill several hours before serving.

Gold Medal Poutine

and I don't mean Gold Medal Flour.

I told Danny that when a Canadian won a gold medal at a home Olympics, I would make poutine. I was so confident it would happen, I bought the cheese curds last week anticipating the event.

Tonight's dinner comes to you courtesy of Alexandre Bilodeau. I dare you to read THIS and not get all teary-eyed.

Now, how in the world did I make vegetarian-friendly poutine, you're wondering. Fortunately, Danny is cool with dairy, so I only needed to adjust the frying fat and replace the gravy with one made from vegetarian stock. Yes, I did think about making a second set of fried potatoes so Mr. ETB could have them fried in duck fat. I thought about it. However, Mr. ETB neglected to bring me so much as a freaking card or cheap chocolate heart for Valentine's Day, so really, I'd say he's damned lucky to be getting dinner cooked for him at all. That's all I'm going to say on that matter, save that the duck fat will keep rather a long time-long enough to see how he does remembering his wife next Valentine's day. Oh no, I'm really not hurt at all. Maybe I can show my appreciation by starching his shorts...

So, poutine. I understand it should have a very dark, spicy gravy and that's what I made. I added mushrooms which I know is not traditional (I mean, the "tradition dates to the late 50's-hardly a terribly long tradition, but you know how funny people get about these things). I also understand that white cheese curds are preferred. The orange ones were all I could find. I did have excellent potatoes. I think that really makes all the difference when frying.

So congratulations Canada-it was a long wait for a gold medal won at home, and we lift our bowl of poutine to you, and toast your victory.

You Will Need:

3 large, starchy potatoes peeled, cut and soaked several hours in a bowl of water in the fridge.
Oil for frying (or lard if you're feeling adventurous and of a strong constitution)
Dark, spicy gravy (recipe follows)
Cheese Curds

Soak the potatoes and before drying drain them and pat dry REALLY well.

Prepare the gravy:

1/2 pound mushrooms, chopped fine
1 large onion, finely minced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
3 tablespoons butter (for the mushroom/onions)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt/Pepper to taste
Splash of full-bodied red wine
2 cups vegetarian broth
4 tablespoons butter (for the roux)
4 tablespoons flour

Cook the mushrooms, onions and garlic in the butter until quite soft. Add thyme and a bit of salt and pepper (you'll want to adjust again after the stock). Cook a few minutes more and then add wine. Turn heat up to high and cook until wine and liquid from mushrooms burns off almost completely. Remove from heat.

In another saucepan, heat the butter until it begins to sizzle over medium heat. With a wooden spoon, add the flour and cook until it foams and darkens. This becomes a matter of taste-I like a darker roux, but I am also quite comfortable making sauces. Most people quit at about the point it looks the colour of peanut butter. That is a reasonable guideline. At most, you're looking at a few minutes. Slowly add the stock with a whisk and keep whisking until it is smooth (it may lump-but it will smooth out). Bring sauce back to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Boil one minute longer and remove from heat. Stir in the mushrooms/onions. Cover, and keep warm until the potatoes are ready to serve.

Fry the potatoes. I like to give mine a quick dunk and then drain them on a rack before increasing the heat for the second pass through the oil. Your technique may vary. I'm a firm believer in doing things the way you like them and fried potatoes are kind of personal that way. You should never let someone tell you how to enjoy your potatoes-those are the sort of heartless bastards that will forget Valentine's Day (and Mother's Day, and your anniversary, and buying you a wedding ring after more than fifteen years and...well you get the idea. You just go ahead and make your potatoes any way your heart desires and if anyone complains, you show them the way to the kitchen to cook their own. Potatoes are sacred.

When the potatoes are done, toss them in a bowl, cover with cheese curds, and then dump on the gravy. Serve hot.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Blood Oranges On Sale

This will only be of interest to local readers-the Hy Vee at 50th and Center has blood oranges on sale for .99 cents a pound. This would be an excellent time to make blood orange jelly or marmalade. I stocked-up, but haven't decided what they are destined for quite yet. That candy brittle was pretty delicious.

While you're there, pick up a ten pound bag of sugar-around five dollars which is the cheapest I've seen for pure cane sugar. You'll need it if you're making marmalade.

I know, who am I kidding? I'll be standing over the sink at three in the morning eating the oranges before they get anywhere near the canner. Really, I'd stop eating all other food for a steady year-round supply of those oranges. I don't think I could bear February were it not for blood oranges.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Chocolate Popcorn Balls

I made a batch of caramel corn for Mr ETB's Valentine's present-and then I thought chocolate popcorn would be nice as well.

I'm not in love with these. They were easy enough to make, but the popcorn got somewhat soggy/chewy.

I wonder, if you just made it as loose popcorn, if baking it in the oven like caramel corn would help dry it and make the coating stick better? I might try it-the flavour is really nice, and as I'm not sure I've ever had a popcorn ball, perhaps this is exactly what they're supposed to be like. They sure do look pretty. I even dressed them up for gift-giving.

OK, Shhhh. Don't tell him what he's getting for his gift ;)

Lavender/Lemon Sour Cream Poundcake

I was getting impatient-a whole jar of lavender sugar that hadn't been used yet. I didn't want to waste it on just any old cake. Actually, why ever make any old cake? You know?

This is a really heavy cake, and there's quite a bit of folding at the end-you'll need your upper arm strength for this. Too bad I don't have any (well, not much). Don't say I didn't warn you.

The decorations are simply egg white and confectioner's sugar with food colouring. I didn't think I had the patience for piping them out, so I moulded them from sugar paste. Cute, I guess. Danny was amused. The icing is confectioner's sugar and water-very simple.

I did go ahead and refill the lavender jar with more sugar-the sachet seemed to still have quite a bit of life left. This could turn out to be a great discovery.

You Will Need:

3 cups AP flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 cups lavender sugar
Grated zest of a lemon
6 eggs, room temperature
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease and lightly flour a 10 inch tube pan. Sift together flour and baking soda.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar and lemon zest until very light. Add eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition. Add flour and sour cream, alternating-do this with a rubber spatula and fold, rather than stir. This is heavy work, I know. I'm sorry.

Stir in vanilla, and pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until it tests done-about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


OK, this isn't really a "recipe", though I will tell you how I make the mashed potatoes. We like kale in our champ-you can use spinach, or leeks, or really whatever green you like. I should have used clarified butter, but I was distracted today by a million things (oh gosh, what a bloody horrible day) and didn't think of it.

For The Potatoes:

peel and quarter your potatoes and place them in boiling water. Cook until soft. Save the water for baking bread or coffeecakes (trust me on this). Put the potatoes through a food mill so you don't have to listen to Mr. Bossy-pants complain about "lumpy potatoes." Then, add a few tablespoons of cut-up butter. Add a bit of heavy cream, and some whole milk (the amount will depend on how many potatoes you cooked). Add a pinch of ground nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste, and that's how I make mashed potatoes. Don't throw out that potato water-I'm not kidding, the stuff has magical properties.

For the kale-strip it off the stems, shred it, toss it in a pot of boiling water and cook it to death. Drain, squeeze dry in a towel. Mix with mashed potatoes.

To Serve:

Mound on the plate, make an indentation in the top and fill with melted butter. Eat from the outer edge inward, dipping as you go. Even Mr. Bossypants declared it, "cool."

For My Allergic Valentine

I gave up trying to find Valentine candy that was guaranteed to be tree nut/peanut free, and made my own instead. I think Danny will like these.

First, sprinkle some festive jimmies in the mould and add a dab of homemade caramel.

Pour in chocolate.

Chill. Wrap. Done.

I have no reason to think this wouldn't work with white chocolate as well.

Cheese Souffles

I took a chance with a Food Network recipe (sometimes, I'm wary) as it sounded routine enough for souffle. They turned out well, and the directions were clear and concise. I like that in a recipe. I hate to admit it, but these were better than my usual cheese souffle (gasp!). I had some Pecorino Romano so I used that in place of the Parmesan, but otherwise I followed the recipe. Excellent results.

Treacle Farls

I've made these before, but this time I used blackstrap molasses in place of treacle/golden syrup-and they were superb. I don't think I would ever bake them another way again. Honestly, I always say that I should make them more often, and then don't. Now that I've happened upon the blackstrap molasses revelation, I likely will be putting this lovely bread into regular menu rotation.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I Think A Cat Just Gave Birth...

...underneath our house.

Our house is on a slab, with the furnace at the front of the house in the ground outside. There's a cover, but you know farm cats (or maybe you don't) they get resourceful when the weather is freezing (and they're pregnant).

So here's my question for all you cat owners out there;

Do cats moan?

I'm serious. It isn't making "cat noises" like "meow, meow" but it sounds rather like a ghost with a bellyache. More of a "whoooooooo. ohhhhhhh.....oooooooohhhh." Funny, I never thought I'd be sitting at a keyboard typing out the sounds of an unidentified animal's cries being carried through the heating ducts, but here I am. Isn't life funny that way?

I suppose if it isn't a cat then, god only knows what has taken up residence down there. We had a squirrel in the wall earlier this month who was only convinced to vacate through the use of a very loud radio tuned to the local death metal station. Squirrels hate that. FYI. Thank you, Megadeath.

Anyhoo, I'd be ever so grateful if anyone has some insights into what the hell is moaning under our house. I'm not about to go down there, but I'd feel a bit foolish calling out a wildlife warden for a feral cat. Do moles or possums moan and groan? Again, I just marvel at the fact that I'm typing these sentences. I don't know, this sort of thing just never came up in Boston (though heaven knows, there were a million cats roaming the neighbourhood).

Thanks in advance for your help.

Icebox Cake

These chocolate wafer cookies are so good, they may never make it to the may wish to bake a second batch, just in case. The dough is very soft, so I will caution you to chill it very well, and handle it as little as possible. I use a flexible cutting board for rolling them out, and then lift them off with the help of a sharp, thin knife. I am able to roll them without any additional dusting with flour, which really helps keep them from being tough. I have extremely cold, arthritic hands-if you have hands of a normal temperature, you may wish to use a rolling pin cover, flour, and other things designed to help keep dough from getting warmed and overworked. At the very least, try to work fast.

The cookies don't spread, so place them close on baking sheets. You should be able to get them baked in two batches. Cool on racks (where they will continue to crisp) and store in airtight containers (I use an old coffee tin).

I wish I could give credit for this recipe (as it is well-deserved!) but I've long-since lost the source. It is a wonderful recipe, but I can't take the credit for it.

For The Chocolate Wafer Cookies:

1 1/2 cups AP flour
1/4 cup powdered cocoa (I used Hershey's Special Dark (not a paid endorsement) but any dark cocoa will do)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup +2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sift the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Set aside. In another bowl, beat the butter until light, add sugar slowly and then the egg, water and vanilla. Beat until it has turned a lighter colour and texture. Add dry ingredients and mix well.

Shape into a flattened disk, wrap in clingfilm and chill several hours (really, it needs to be quite cold and firm).

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silpats (or in a worst-case scenario (gasp) you can butter the pan (that was sarcasm, which i shouldn't need to point out).

Roll that sucker out, handling it as little as possible and cut into rounds with a biscuit cutter (or a round cutter, or really, whatever shape you like. I'm not dictatorial that way). You must roll them very thin-1/8 inch thickness. Sometimes it is easier to give them a bit of an extra press after you've cut them. Do as you wish-but make certain they are thin.

Bake the cookies 17-18 minutes. You won't be able to tell if the edges are browning, so you really need to keep an eye on the puffiness of the tops and whether you smell burning. I know, that's helpful.

Remove the cookies to a rack and cool completely before assembling cake.

For the whipped cream:

No really, you don't need a recipe. Beat the ice-cold heavy cream in a cold bowl, when it forms peaks, add the confectioner's/icing sugar and vanilla extract to taste. Difficult, huh?

Grab yourself some cookies and spread whipped cream between the, Place the stack on a plate sideways, and frost the outside with whipped cream. Invert a bowl over the plate and chill in the icebox overnight. Next day, you have cake.

Next day, you have cake...and it is a million times better than store-bought whipped cream and chocolate wafer cookies. Really, it is. Once you master the cookie recipe, you'll find all sorts of uses for the wafers from cheesecake crusts to ice cream sandwiches.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Today's Most Absurd Homeschool-Hysteria Article

Oh no, the scary, "They're not being properly socialised" argument.

So let me get this straight-not letting teenage girls wear makeup, dye their hair, pierce their ears, have sleepovers or date is cause to call children's protective services?

So who wants to break the news to the Amish?

I don't want to make light of this (although it is truly absurd) because it appeared in a syndicated advice column in a major newspaper. Based on the small amount of information in the letter, by a daughter that sounds awfully estranged from her mother, is it really sound advice to recommend calling in the authorities to "save" these poor teenage girls that aren't being exposed to late capitalist society because they don't care about fashion and might get "made fun of" later on? Yeah, I don't think so either. The advice columnist describes the mother as "selfish", and "disturbed", and praises the daughter for having "escaped."

The only thing "selfish and disturbing" here is a columnist that thinks her snarky responses and employment as some sort of expert takes precedence over putting a family through the hell of being investigated for something that in my part of the country would be called good parenting. How can anyone so casually, in such a public forum suggest an act that might well result in tearing apart a family based on any number of factors from who gets sent to their home, to how well the house was picked up that day?

There's very real, documented "abuse" that takes place every single day-to suggest that any of what was cited in the article warrants investigation, let alone intervention is outrageous. She's essentailly given an estranged daughter the encouragement to interfere with the parenting decisions of a mother she disapproves of. Well gee, isn't that swell? At the same time, the columnist gets to use her awfully broad brush to paint homeschoolers as weirdos that don't let their children outside of the house, or permit them to read a book published after 1920.

What if you don't want your children socialised into a a world (or as it is called so often in these arguments "the real world") where it is acceptable to dress your teenage daughters as trollops, dye their hair, send them off to spend the night away from home unchaperoned, and spend time with people that do not share your values? In the "real world", of adulthood, you get to choose people who share your interests, values etc. to spend time with. Yes, you will have to work with bullies and terrible people-but they generally don't stroll up to your desk and belt you in the mouth for kicks either. The "real world" of adulthood has ways of working these things out, mostly through a desire for continued employment. See, you've been socilaised to deal with bullies and didn't even know it.

Again, I don't want to sound glib (difficult, I admit given the idiocy of this), If someone is opposed to homeschooling, they need to be honest about their reasons rather than resorting to the tired accusation of poor socilaisation. It amazes me how such a weak accusation (cliche, actually) gets repeated as often as it does. Accusing homeschoolers of isolating their children and then applauding parents who refuse to let their children go to a playground alone based on some irrational and unfounded fear of strangers waiting to abduct them-you tell me, what is isolating? I don't hear anyone suggesting calling a state agency to investigate families because the parents only permit arranged "playdates" with vetted individuals. That's not strange and controlling? Can't let junior have tools-might get hurt! As parents we are encouraged to monitor every morsel of food that passes their lips, clock every minute of screen-time they are exposed to, micro-manage every play activity so that nary a second of "teachable time" be lost to the recklessness of unsupervised play. We are told to negotiate with toddlers, to never take our eyes off them until they've reached the age of majority, to call their friend's parents to double check their whereabouts. and in the newest scenario-to stick a goddamned microchip with a GPS in their clothing, so to better observe them. Funny, the mother in the column is starting to sound less fanatical, isn't she?

The columnist has done little but encourage the adult daughter to engage in harassment. If that's the sort of reasoning one gets from being properly socialised to live in the "real world", we're all in very deep shit as a society.

No. No I Won't

Danny: Mama? Mama? Will you get up early tomorrow morning and make us bannocks?

I mean, gee whiz-yesterday I made 50 tamales for the freezer. Today I made dozens of potstickers...and they want me up at 5 Am making bannocks? I'm not really one to say "no" to the boys when they want something, but I don't think they even know what bannocks are. I'm pretty sure Danny wouldn't like them.

Get up at 5 Am to make bannocks. Why don't I fry some doughnuts and potatoes while I'm at it?

Stir-Fry With Soybeans, Tofu, and Kale

Oh, I know-it sounds terrible. It was actually a nice combination, but I can see where it might be a bit on the odd side to a non-vegetarian. The advantage was that most of this was prepared the night before and set in the fridge until today. I literally used whatever I had-which turned out to be half a bag of frozen soybeans, wilted kale and some celery that had seen better days.

The tofu needs at least eight hours to soak before baking (and that takes an hour) so plan ahead. It keeps well, tightly wrapped in cling film, so it can be made a day or so in advance.

You Will Need:

For the tofu:

1 block extra firm tofu, pressed dry of as much water as possible between dishtowels. Slice into 4 slabs.

In a baking dish, combine 6 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons cooking oil
2 tablespoons minced stem ginger
3 cloves of minced garlic

Lay the slabs on top, turn once and cover with plastic. Turn again in four hours and let sit for a total of at least eight.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place pan in oven and bake tofu for 30 minutes. Turn, bake another 30 minutes and continue baking until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the colour is dark and crispy. Remove to a plate, chill, and wrap tightly when cool. Cut into dice and use half for stir fry, and the other half as you like (see potsticker recipe below for ideas).

For the stir fry:

1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
1 cup sliced shallots
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups shredded kale
2 cups cooked soybeans
1 red bell pepper, sliced
3 stalks celery, finely sliced
4 carrots, thinly sliced on diagonal
1 tablespoon minced ginger
4 tablespoons hoisan sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce 2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/2 cup cooking oil
2 teaspoons five spice powder

Cook everything in a hot wok/pan until softened to your taste. Serve hot, over rice.

Vegetarian Pot Stickers

Sure, these are time consuming, but the recipe makes quite a bit, and now I have thirty pot stickers in the freezer for future use. There's no point making only a few, besides, I always end up with too much filling. If you're really determined to do a small batch, the recipe for the dough will work in half-but really, if you're going to roll out dough, you might as well make it worth the effort.

For The Filling:

1 cup frozen soybeans, boiled and drained
1 package pot noodles cooked, drained and tossed lightly with oil (save the seasoning packet for later)
1 carrot, finely diced
3 stalks celery, trimmed and finely chopped
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup kale, finely sliced in shreds
1/2 cup baked tofu cut into very tiny dice
1/2 seasoning packet from noodles
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2-3 tablespoons cooking oil

Cook everything except noodles and spice packet in a large pan in oil until quite soft. Toss in noodles, adding more oil if needed to prevent sticking and toss with the seasoning packet. Remove to a bowl to cool.

Prepare Dough:

2 cups warm water (you may need more)
4 cups AP flour

Place flour in a large bowl and add water slowly, mixing with your hand as you go. The dough should be pliable without being sticky. Knead lightly, then cover with a damp dishtowel and let rest twenty minutes.

Divide dough into 8 parts. Roll each part into a long strand and then cut into balls (about ten per part, but that's going to vary depending how big you want the dumplings). Roll out as thin as possible, leaving the centre of the dumpling slightly thicker.

Place a teaspoon of filling in the centre, bring up the sides and pinch closed. Then, crimp together and set on a tray that has been lined with waxed paper and a generous coating of oil. I mean, generous. Spray isn't going to cut it here.

When you are finished, grease another piece of paper and lay it over the top. Chill the tray until you are ready to cook. If freezing, do a few at a time on a greased paper lined plate in the freezer. Transfer to freezer bags when firm, using the waxed paper as a divider between layers. Repeat until bag is filled. Lay flat in freezer.

To Cook:


line your steamer with cabbage leaves (Napa, regular old cabbage, even lettuce will do in a pinch) and oil it (they call 'em "potstickers" 'ya know?) well. Place the potstickers into the steamer over boiling water and cover. Cook until the dumplings are translucent-about five minutes. Remove and let drain/dry while you heat the oil.

Heat a small amount of oil in a wok/pan and stir fry the dumplings until they are slightly browned, but still chewy textured (you don't want to deep fry them-well, perhaps you do, but I don't). Serve immediately with dipping sauce.

For dipping sauce you can use plum sauce if you have it (we finally finished the last of my homemade plum sauce-boo hoo. I made two very nice sauces tonight with the following:

Brown sauce:

4 tablespoons hoisan sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon dried shallots
Splash water
Splash soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon Five Spice powder

Mix well and let onions re-hydrate before serving

Red Sauce:

Juice of a lime
4 teaspoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons garlic chili sauce
]1 clove minced garlic
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 cup water

Mix well