8/20/08

Pork and Chive Dumplings with Dried Shrimp

P8160209

P8160210

Hello! Miss me? Sorry I've been away so long, I've been busy creating! Cooking contest season has swung into full force and I've been coming up with new recipes every few days, getting them down on paper, and submitting them before the deadlines hit. As you saw from my last post, I've entered the Tostitos Rate My Recipe contest (which is ending in the next couple days... haven't rated my recipe yet? Click here to do it!) and that was just the beginning. I just recently entered the Build a Better Burger contest and I'm currently working on my entries for the National Chicken Cooking contest. I'm really having fun with this and even if I don't end up winning anything, or even if I'm not chosen as a finalist, I still had fun creating more original recipes than I ever would have and the competition aspect of it gives me a charge.

So anyway, that was a long drawn-out (the only kind I know!) explanation of why I've been away so long. But I missed you and I've cooked a few things that really came out great (that weren't for contests) that I really want to share with you.

I've been wanting to make this recipe for a really long time but I had the hardest time trying to find dried shrimp. But recently Mark and I and a couple of our friends went on a short trip to Toronto and got a chance to visit their Chinatown.

P8100141

P8100145

We ate really yummy things like this Takoyaki, or Octopus Dumplings. They were SO good.

P8100146

We saw some... interesting things... Coconuts only? Wah??? What do they DO with them?

P8100142

We were also entertained...

P8100150

... and luckily we were able to find some dried shrimp here. Actually, I'm pretty sure they had dried EVERYTHING here.

P8100138

So as soon as I could, I made these dumplings. Thanks to Jaden at Steamy Kitchen for answering all my dumpling questions. This was my first attempt at making dumpling wrappers from scratch. The recipe is from Anita Lo, who in my opinion is the WOMAN when it comes to making dumplings! I've seen her on the Food Network helping Bobby Flay out with a Throwdown and I also got to see her in some VERY helpful videos found on Epicurious.com.

Click here to watch videos of Anita Lo prepare these dumplings step-by-step

Those videos were SO helpful to me when I went to cinch together each dumpling. I made them about twice the size they were supposed to be, but other than that, I think I did pretty well.

To make these DELICIOUS dumplings, start by making the dough. Now, you can use dumpling wrappers, but I wanted to at least try this myself first. I'll have to compare this dough to store-bought dumpling wrappers and decide if it's worth it to make them myself. From the taste of these dumplings I would say yes, but I'll have to let you know. Since I have a big bag of dried shrimp left over, I'm sure I will be making many more batches of these suckers.

The dough is very easy to make. Just boil some water, then add 1 cup of boiling water to 2 cups of flour with 3/4 teaspoon salt.

P8160182

Then stir it together until it looks like this.

P8160183

Then, form it into a dough ball with your hands. It will be pretty hot at first, but it cools off pretty quick.

P8160184

Then knead the dough for about 8 minutes until it's soft and shiny. Add more flour to the dough ball as needed because the dough will be fairly sticky at first. Then just wrap it in plastic wrap and let it sit out on the counter for at least 20 minutes. It'll be nice and soft and easy to work with when the time comes.

P8160185

Next, make the filling. Start by grinding up some pork.

P8160187

Here are the dried shrimp we bought in Toronto. Woh mama do these little guys have a strong smell! But they're a fantastic flavor enhancer!

P8160189

Mix together all of the filling ingredients in a big bowl.

P8160191

P8160192

Once the filling is ready, it's time to get the wrappers ready. First, divide the dough into three sections.

P8160193

Roll each section into a long snake about an inch in diameter.

P8160194

Then cut it into little sections. Mine were about an inch wide, so I would suggest going a bit smaller so you don't end up with huge dumplings. Unless you want huge dumplings; they were still really good, you just had to cut them up to eat them.

P8160195

Now take each little piece of dough and roll it into a thin round circle. Now it's time to fill them. With water, wet the edges of the dough, then fill the middle with some of the pork mixture.

P8160199

Since my dumplings were larger, I found it easier to cinch the dumplings together on the cutting board by first pressing the sides together like a little taco.

P8160197

Then I crimped the dumplings together using the technique Anita Lo uses in her videos.

P8160198

P8160201

Now you can either steam these to cook them, or pan fry them, making them potstickers. I prefer the pan frying method because I love the crust that forms on the bottom of the dumplings. To fry them, start by adding some canola oil to a hot pan, then add the dumplings.

P8160202

Then, carefully add some water to the hot pan until the dumplings are covered halfway. Put the lid on the pan and let them steam until the water evaporates and you start to hear them sizzle. That's when you check the bottoms and as soon as they are golden brown, remove them from the pan. I suggest using a non-stick skillet for these because my first batch pretty much stuck and wouldn't come unstuck, so we at the dumplings with no bottoms.

P8160203

Serve them with the dipping sauce included in the recipe - it's excellent! We poured a little sauce over our dumplings and then at them with a fork. I can't wait to eat them again.

P8160209 P8160210



Pork and Chive Dumplings with Dried Shrimp

Recipe courtesy of Anito Lo

Found on Epicurious.com

See ...

See Pork and Chive Dumplings with Dried Shrimp on Key Ingredient.

8/8/08

Southwestern Shrimp and Avocado Scoops!

tostitos entry 2

Attention all my blogosphere buddies, friends, family, and heck...strangers! I need your help. I've just entered a contest put on by Tostitos® and the Food Network to try and win a trip to NYC and a tour of the Food Network Kitchens. If you know me at all, you know that would make my YEAR!

My submission is pictured above. Like what you see? Then please, click on the following link and rate my recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/foodbytes/text/0,,FOOD_9883_68991,00.html?sortby=recent&pn=1&pageref=Photo_Video-934061

Oh, and tell all your friends! Visit the library and rate it on each PC! Whatever you feel is necessary... :-)

8/1/08

Spreading the Love

Aaawww... I'm so touched! Matt from Addicted To Vinyl named my newbie foodie blog as one of his faves and with that lovely compliment came this award:



Yeah, nice graphic huh? Yikes. But hey, I'll play the game because it's nice to know someone out there appreciates my little adventures in the kitchen and that is just cool. Thanks, Matt, for all your very kind words.

So with this award, I am told that I have to nominate at least 7 of my favorite blogs so they can proudly display this crappy graphic on their beautiful blogs as well. Aren't you all so EXCITED!? Seriously though, this will be a good opportunity for me to give some props to the blogs I'm really enjoying these days. Here are my TEN nominees:

1. Deb from Smitten Kitchen. Deb's blog is one of the reasons that I started food blogging. I didn't even know food blogs existed 9 months ago! I don't know how I managed to miss that little tidbit, but I did. Until one day I came across Deb's blog and her BEYOND beautiful food porn photography. I believe it's her husband, Alex, that does most of the photography, and you just have to go over there and check it out. If you love food that looks good, you'll LOVE this blog. Plus, she makes a lot of cool stuff and her cookies are just perfection.

2. Claudia from cook eat FRET. Claudia is a cool chick, and the other reason why I started food blogging. Hers was the second food blog I came across and I instantly loved this one, too. Her photos are awesome as well and her writing is witty, funny, and in your face. She knows good food, she's not afraid to pay for it when needed, and she's from NYC (currently living in TN), so she knows a thing or two about eating out at kick-ass restaurants.

3. Candace from i shot the chef. She used to be a chef at the Four Seasons and it's very very obvious when you get a load of her plating skills. Every single thing she makes or bakes is perfectly presented on the plate and that is one of my most favorite things about cooking; making it look pretty. She has that market cornered! I try to learn what I can about plating from her photos. Oh, and be sure to click on her About section to see her "babies". They are ADORABLE!!!!

4. Mel from life, liberty & pursuit of your boyfriend. I don't even remember how I found her blog, but the day I did, I read a couple posts and got hooked. I started checking it almost every day to see what she was up to. She reminds me of "Carrie" from Sex and the City and I know she's probably tired of hearing that. She's got her quirks, her vices, MANY crazy drunken weekend stories, and even her "mushy" moments here and there where she really lets you in. She's a chick you can have a beer with while watching the Indians play, yet she also knows how to pick out a cute outfit and whip up a mean pasta dish. AND she's a fellow Clevelander, which makes her instantly cool!

5. POPSUGAR . Dude! I am HOOKED on this blog! I know, the respect some of you may have had for me just dropped a little bit, but hey I admit it! I enjoy the celebrity gossip and I don't care who knows it! I like this one because they're informative and have great pics. They're always on top of all the hot stories and the girls that comment on the blog are fun, too. It's an eye-catching blog and I check it at least once a day. Ok, it's my crack. There I said it.

6. The Superficial. This is actually the first celebrity blog I ever read and had been reading it for a good while before stumbling across POPSUGAR. The Superficial is written by a guy and he is F'ING HILARIOUS. He is SO funny. Just read one post and you'll laugh your ass off. He takes these crazy celebrities to task and sometimes his comments are so off the wall, you'll just burst out laughing. I just love it. Oh, and the commenters are often JUST as funny. The tag line is funny in itself, "The Superficial... Because You're Ugly". I love it.

7. Kevin from Closet Cooking. This guy cooks a beautiful meal EVERY day. I think he actually does post nearly every day and it's one delicious creation after another, beautifully photographed, and seemingly expertly prepared. He makes a lot of things that I myself would make. He's not afraid of cilantro and I LIKE it. Recently he's begun using some more exotic ingredients in his cooking, (well exotic to me anyway), like quinoa, kare (Japanese curry), and garam masala. I've been learning a lot from him and hope he keeps it up! It's a great Canadian blog, eh?!

8. Matt from Addicted To Vinyl. This is the only music blog I currently read. Even though I LOVE good music, I've never really been all THAT into reading about it. Plus, I have my favorites and I kind of stick with them. I'm a HUGE hair metal fan and a proud one. I know that's like announcing you're a Star Trek junky, but I don't care; I LOVE HAIR METAL! I've listened to it since I was 13 years old and always will. The Poison/Dokken/Sebastian Bach concert is rollin' through in a couple weeks and I am THERE bitches! Another band I just will NOT miss live (and neither will Mark) is Dream Theater. That's how I found Matt's blog. He mentioned that they are coming out with a new live CD/DVD and he said it would be good for guys to "annoy their girlfriends" with. I immediately felt compelled to comment because I am IN LOVE with that band, whether they are singing soft, melodic, lovely songs or rockin' out with their... well you know. I'm pumping my fist and shakin' my head around with all the guys at those shows and I made sure Matt knew it. I then realized that he knows a CRAP load about music and seems to have the inside track on when EVERYTHING is being released, happening, touring, etc., so I've become a regular reader. You rock, Matt!

9. Carol from French Laundry at Home. This woman is my hero. She is actually crazy enough to cook every single recipe out of the great Thomas Keller's masterpiece of a cookbook, The French Laundry. You should SEE some of the stuff she cooks! It doesn't matter how many days the recipe takes for her to make... (yes, I said DAYS), she cooks the damn thing and makes it look GOOD! She takes you through step-by-step and shows you how to make these extremely intricate recipes and I'm constantly amazed by her talent and bravery. Plus, her writing is funny as hell. She once cited the song "No Diggity" and at that moment I KNEW she was a cool chick.

10. Jaden from Steamy Kitchen. Do you know how HARD it is to find a good Asian food blog out there??? I still can't believe it, but it is! Jaden's blog fixes all that with her breath-taking photos of the modern Asian cuisine she prepares in her own kitchen. She is my go-to blog when I'm in the mood to learn something new and briefly step away from my Bobby Flay addiction. Want to make authentic dumplings of all varieties? Need a sure-fire egg roll recipe? She's got it all and she plates the food so perfectly. Her blog is eye candy at its finest. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!


So there they are... the places I frequently visit on the web. They are scandalous, hilarious, delicious, and kick ass all rolled up into one. Thanks guys for making the Internet cool for ME.

Now wait, don't go away yet! This award that you've all just won comes with a few rules:

1. Put the (ugly) logo above on your blog.
2. Add a link to the person who awarded it to you.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Add links to these blogs on your blog.
5. Leave a message for your nominee on their blog.

Have fun spreadin' YOUR blog love, too. This was actually really enjoyable to "give thanks" to the blogs I truly love. Thanks!