Monday, June 29, 2015

Pork and Shrimp Dumplings

The theme for our latest dinner with our friends C & T was Asian food. We usually pick one recipe to make at T's house and this time we chose Steamed Dumplings. I've never made dumplings before and incorrectly assumed they'd be a lot of work. Nope!

Asian night
(all photos by T. Casey)

T always cons me into doing all the work (just kidding, I love cooking in her gorgeous kitchen). After I mixed up the filling we assembled the first batch, placing up a little bit of filling onto each dumpling wrapper, wiping the edges with water, and then folding the dough into a triangle. Then we pinched the two edges together to make little packages.

Asian night

SP and I got a bamboo steamer as a wedding present and had never used it. Oops! We lined the bottom with cabbage leaves, placed the dumplings on top and set it over a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes.

Asian night

These dumplings were outstanding. They had great flavor from the filling and the dipping sauce (which mirrored those same flavors) was perfect. We all gobbled them up. We doubled the recipe below so we had 40+ dumplings for 6 adults and 2 kids and it wasn't enough. Thankfully we had extra filling and T had more wrappers in her fridge, so I quickly assembled another 20 dumplings. The kids would run into the room, grab a handful of dumplings off the platter and run off to play, then come back for more. So, so good.

Asian night

I can't wait to make these again. My mom has already put her in request.

Pork and Shrimp Dumplings
From Rasa Malaysia
Makes about 20-24 steamed dumplings

1/2 pound ground pork
8-10 medium-sized shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cut into small pieces
1 scallion, finely chopped
3 dashes white pepper
1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine or sherry
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 inch ginger, peeled and grated
1 pack potsticker/dumpling wrappers

Combine the ground pork, shrimp, chopped scallions, ginger, and all the seasonings together. Mix well and set aside.

To make dumplings, place a small spoonful of the filling in the center of a wrapper. Dab a little water with your finger and circle around the edge of the skin, and then fold and pleat the dumpling accordingly. Repeat the same for the rest.

Arrange the dumplings in a bamboo steamer (lined with parchment paper or cabbage leaves at the bottom) and steam for 8-10 minutes. Serve immediately with dipping sauce.

To pan fry the dumplings: heat a large skillet and swirl some oil around to coat the pan. Add a single layer of pot stickers. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until they begin to turn golden on the underside. Don't move them. Add 1/4 cup of water to the pan and cover immediately. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the meat is cooked through and the dumplings release from the pan. Serve immediately with the dipping sauce.

Soy-Vinegar Dipping Sauce
From Martha Stewart

1/2 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1 scallion, trimmed and sliced
2 tablespoons water

Combine all ingredients for the dipping sauce in a small bowl.
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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Quick Stir-Fried Snow Peas or Sugar Snap Peas

Baby Girl loves snow peas. Usually she eats them raw but I wanted to try cooking them as a side dish for dinner one night. After a quick Google search I found this recipe for Quick Stir-Fried Snow Peas or Sugar Snap Peas. The ingredients closely mirrored my main dish (a family favorite - Cheater Korean Beef) so I thought it would be perfect

Snow peas

Sadly, I overcooked the snow peas, but they were still tasty. Baby Girl told me she loved the flavor but wished they were still crispy like when she eats them raw. Next time (and there will definitely be a next time) I won't let them go too far.

Snow peas

Quick Stir-Fried Snow Peas or Sugar Snap Peas
As seen on Diner's Journal from the NY Times

2 tablespoons canola, vegetable or peanut oil
1 1/2 pounds snow or sugar snap peas, washed and trimmed
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 to 2 tablespoons soy sauce

Place 2 tablespoons oil in a large, deep skillet or wok and turn heat to high. When it begins to smoke, toss in peas and cook, stirring almost constantly, until they are glossy, bright green and begin to show a few brown spots, about 5 minutes.

When peas are almost done, stir in ginger and garlic, and cook another minute or so. Turn off heat and remove peas to a platter. Drizzle with dark sesame oil and soy sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning, and serve.
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Monday, June 08, 2015

Cut-Out Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

::waves hi:: I hope you guys are still with me. I didn't realize I'd taken such a long break. It was completely unintentional, actually. Here's the short explanation before I tell you about these cookies I made for Christmas.

Long story short, blogging isn't as much fun for me as it used to be. I've never been a big-name blogger but I started to get annoyed that my photos aren't that good, that I always had to try new recipes instead of remaking old favorites, that I wasn't interested in food trends like spiralizers and zoodles. Frankly, blogging became a chore so I just stopped doing it. I can't remember the last time I photographed a meal with the intention of blogging about it. I started remaking dishes I hadn't made in years and just enjoyed eating with my family every night.

Last night I realized it had been more than a month since I blogged and I figured I should see if I had any recipes in my draft folder that I could write about. And I found these Cut-Out Sour Cream Sugar Cookies that I made for Christmas.

Sour cream sugar cookies

I never even grabbed a shot of these frosted so you'll just have to take my word for it that the frosting was awesome. Baby Girl and I made these together and they were so easy and so delicious. Definitely my go-to cookie recipe for the holidays from now on.

I don't know how often I'll blog in the coming weeks/months, but I'm actually making a new recipe tonight. If it's good, I'll blog about it. If you want to follow me on Instagram you can see all the food photos I do take, although it's not always of things I've cooked.

Cut-Out Sour Cream Sugar Cookies
By Monica

2 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

FOR FROSTING (makes 1/2 cup of frosting):
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons half and half
food coloring

In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In second large bowl, with an electric mixer, cream the sour cream and butter at low speed; add sugar, eggs, and vanilla and mix until combined. (It's okay if it's a little lumpy as long as no butter chunks are visible.) Gradually add the flour mixture to the sour cream mixture, mixing until well combined. Dough will be sticky. (You can stir it by hand with a wooden spoon.) Divide dough onto two pieces of plastic wrap; flatten dough, wrap tightly, and refrigerate 1-2 hours. (Make ahead tip: Dough may be made to this point and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

Generously flour your counter and rolling pin. Sprinkle the top of the dough with more flour. Starting at the center, roll the dough out until dough is an even 1/4" thick all over. Dip cookie cutter in flour and cut out dough shapes. Transfer dough shapes to baking sheets.

Bake 2 sheets at a time for 8-10 minutes, rotating and switching pans half way through cooking time. Bake just until they are cooked all the way through but haven't started browning on the bottom. Transfer hot cookies to a baking rack to cool completely.

Combine powdered sugar, softened butter, vanilla, and half of the half and half in a large bowl. Use an electric mixer to combine ingredients on a low speed until you have a thick paste and all of the lumps are gone. Gradually add remaining half and half and continue mixing on medium speed until frosting is a smooth, silky, spreadable consistency. If it's still too thick, add more cream 1/2 teaspoon at a time. Mix in food coloring, if desired. Frost each cookie and decorate with sprinkles while frosting is still wet. Leave out to dry for several hours until dry to touch before storing in an airtight container. If stacking frosted cookies, put waxed or parchment paper between layers.
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