Sunday, December 18, 2011

Pan Fried Gyoza


A.K.A. little pockets of awesomeness.

Gyoza used to be one of my favorite things to order when dining at a Japanese restaurant. Typically they would come six to an order and would set me back at least five bucks and they were soooo TINY. As tasty as they were I felt like I was being ripped off, especially when they were stuffed with the cheapest of all vegetables, cabbage.

They may look intimidating to make, but really they are quite simple and way cheaper than ordering them in a restaurant.

Lets get this party started.
First order of business: The wrapper.  I bought some wonton wrappers at the asian market. I think I payed maybe a buck fifty for a hundred wrappers. Cheap.  I'm not sure if wonton wrappers are traditonally used, but they worked for me, so whatevs.

Second order of business: The filling.  The base of my filling contained tempeh, cabbage, carrots and shiitake mushrooms, with lots of garlic, ginger and scallion. You could easily make an all veggie version, but I like the way that the tempeh adds a bit of texture, making the dumpling a bit more substantial.

Third order of business: The dipping sauce. Tamari, rice vinegar, sugar and some chili sesame oil. That's it. Spicy and sweet!

Gyoza Filling (makes enough for 2-2 1/2 dozen)

1 1/2 T. sunflower oil (or any neutral oil)
6 oz. tempeh, finely crumbled (I put mine in a food processor and pulsed a couple times to break it up)
2 c. shredded cabbage
1/2 c. grated carrot
1/2 c. shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped
3 scallions, sliced
1 1/2 T. ginger, minced
1 1/2 T. garlic, minced
1 1/2 T. tamari
1 1/2 T. brown rice vinegar
1 t. chili-sesame oil
sea salt, to taste

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for one minute. Add the tempeh, mushrooms, tamari and rice vinegar and stir to combine.  Cook for two to three minutes, or until the tempeh starts to take on a little color. If the mixture starts to stick to the bottom of the pan, add a splash of water, and give it a stir.  Add the cabbage, cook for one minute, then add the carrots and cook for an additional 30 seconds.  Stir in the scallion and the chili sesame oil and season with sea salt to taste. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature before assembling the gyoza.

The mixture should look a little something like this:

While the mixture is cooling you can make your dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce

3 T. organic sugar
4 T. brown rice vinegar
3T. tamari
1/2 t. chili-sesame oil
1/2 t. grated ginger

Place brown rice vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat, whisking until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and whisk in tamari, chili-sesame oil and ginger. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

When the mixture is cool enough to handle you can start to assemble your gyoza.

In a small bowl mix together 1/2 T. cornstarch and 1/4 c. water. This will act as the glue to hold the gyoza together.

Grab a clean cutting board and lay out six wonton wrappers at a time. Place 3/4 T. filling in the center of each wrapper. Dip a pastry brush (or your finger) into the cornstarch/ water mixture and brush all four sides of the wonton wrapper, just enough to lightly moisten.  Grab one end of the wrapper and fold over like you were sealing an envelope, making sure there is a tight seal. Working along the edge crimp together until you have a little purse.  They don't have to be perfect. You could probably just fold them over and leave them as is and they will still be delicious. Transfer your gyozas to a sheetpan and cover with a damp paper towel to prevent them from drying out. Repeat with the remaining filling.


Heat 1 1/2 T. neutral oil (sunflower, peanut, canola etc..) in a large non stick pan over medium heat.  When the oil is hot (but not smoking), carefully lay your gyoza in the pan in a single layer (I think I was able to fit a dozen in my 12" skillet). Fry for about three minutes until the bottoms of the gyoza are a golden brown.  Pour in 1/3 c. water into the pan (try not to pour directly on the gyoza), cover and cook until all the water is evaporated, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and repeat with the remainder of the gyoza.

Serve hot with dipping sauce.  Eat and Repeat.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Kale Chips

I am one of those people that (on most occasions) would rather dig into a bowl of kale than eat, fresh baked cookies or ice cream or chocolate. For some reason I get fierce cravings for the stuff and can pack away an entire bunch in one sitting.

Why? Because I'm hardcore.

Yeah, I realize I'm pretty much in the minority here. 

Getting people to LIKE kale, let alone choose kale over a bag of kettle krinkle cut salt and pepper potato chips (which I'm currently obsessed with, by the way) is not easy.

Enter kale chips.

Ok, so they don't taste like potato chips, I'm not trying to kid anyone here. But, they are salty and crunchy and addictive. I've been known to inhale an entire batch in ten minutes, flat.

The best part. Zero guilt.

Olive oil, salt and lemon and a buttload of chlorophyll.

These couldn't be easier to make. I used my food dehydrator, but I'm sure you could make them in the oven.  Just follow the directions below and bake 'em.  I'm guessing maybe 300 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Then again, I've never made them this way so keep your eye on them. Some blackened foods are delicious, but kale isn't one of them!

Remove the stem and cut into small pieces (about 2-3" in size).

Break out some lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and sea salt.

Place kale in a large bowl. Drizzle some olive oil on the kale (enough to moisten) along with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Massage the kale with your hands until nice and soft (about a minute or so). Taste and add more lemon and salt if desired. 

Spread kale in a single layer onto mesh dehydrator trays (I used three trays for one large bunch of kale). Dehydrate for one hour at 145 degrees.  Turn the heat down to 115 degrees and continue to dehydrate until kale is nice and crispy (about 4-5 hours).

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Little Quinoa Patties

Quinoa in patty form.


I've made patties with lots of different grains: millet, oats, bulgar and couscous, but never thought of using quinoa.

I stumbled upon a recipe for quinoa patties in Supernatural Everyday and had to make them at once!

Little quinoa patties (makes 12) supernatural everyday

2 1/2 c. cooked quinoa at room temperature
4 large eggs, beaten
1/2 t. salt
1/3 c. chives
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 c. fresh parmesan
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 c. whole grain bread crumbs
water if needed
1 T. extra virgin olive oil or butter

Combine quinoa, eggs and salt in a medium sized bowl. Stir in chives, onion, cheese and garlic. Add breadcrumbs and let sit for a few minutes to absorb some of the moisture. (err on the very moist side.. add more breadcrumbs if too wet, more egg or water to moisten).
Heat oil in large heavy skillet over medium low heat. Add 6 patties, cover and cook 7-10 minues, until bottoms are deeply browned. Carefully flip and cook for another 7 minutes, until golden. Remove and cool on a wire rack. Quinoa mixture keeps well in the fridge for a few days.

First time around I served 'em with some fresh pea shoots from the farmers market and some feta cheese with a little champagne vinaigrette drizzled on top.  Perfection.  Filling but not too heavy.

The next day I served them along a huge salad with spicy mesclun mix and mustard roasted potatoes.  The potatoes were like crack, thanks Deb from Smitten Kitchen!

Mustard Roasted Potatoes (from Smitten Kitchen) 

Makes 10 servings
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1/2 cup whole grain Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick or 1/2 ounce) butter, melted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
3 pounds 1- to 1 1/2-inch-diameter mixed unpeeled red-skinned and white-skinned potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch-wide wedges

Position 1 rack in top third of oven and 1 rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 425°F. Spray 2 large rimmed baking sheets with nonstick spray. Whisk mustard, olive oil, butter, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, lemon peel, and salt in large bowl to blend. Add potatoes; sprinkle generously with freshly ground black pepper and toss to coat. Divide potatoes between prepared baking sheets, leaving any excess mustard mixture behind in bowl. Spread potatoes in single layer. Roast potatoes 20 minutes. Reverse baking sheets and roast until potatoes are crusty outside and tender inside, turning occasionally, about 25 minutes longer.

Transfer potatoes to serving bowl.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Fresh Cranberry Cream Scones with Candied Ginger

Fresh cranberries.
Crystalized ginger.
Heavy cream.



Really, it can't get any better.

Cranberry sauce is great, as is cranberry juice mixed with vodka.

But.. eating a warm scone bursting with fresh cranberries and crystalized ginger with a hot mug of tea... THAT is where it's at.

Fresh Cranberry Cream Scones with candied ginger

Makes 6 scones

Recipe from Joy the Baker (she is amazeballs, check her out!)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup raw (turbinado) sugar (you can also use brown sugar or granulated if you have that on hand)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
1 heaping cup coarsely chopped fresh cranberries
1/2 cup coarsely chopped candied ginger
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy cream, cold
cream and sugar for topping

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees R.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together  flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Add the cold butter and quickly work the butter into the flour mixture.  Break up the butter until well incorporated into the flour.  Some butter bits will be the size of peas, others will be as small as oat flakes. Toss in the cranberries and ginger and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together egg, vanilla extract, and heavy cream.  Add the cream mixture all at once to the flour mixture.  Stir quickly to ensure that all of the flour mixture is moistened by the cream mixture.  Dump the shaggy dough mixture out onto a lightly floured work surface and work together, kneading lightly, into a 1 1/2-inch thick disk.

Cut the disk into 6 wedges.
Place 2-inches apart on baking sheet and brush with cream and sprinkle generously with sugar.
Bake for 15 minutes until just cooked through.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Scones are best served the day they are made, but these scones will last well wrapped at room temperature for up to 3 days.