Tags: apples, caramel, cottage cheese, Egg Noodles, Hanukkah, noodle kugel, sour cream, upside-down noodle kugel
So, it’s the 7th night of Hanukkah and I’m finally putting a Hanukkah post up. Why so late, you ask? (as if ‘late’ isn’t the norm for me) – because Thursday night was the first Hanukkah dinner we had at home and I didn’t cook or bake anything prior to that.
Yes, I know.. Hanukkah is associated with foods fried in oil, such as latkes and sfganiyot (jelly or whatever filling suits your fancy – filled doughnut) to commemorate the miracle of a one-day supply of oil miraculously burning and giving light for eight days. But, obviously we don’t just eat fried foods to celebrate Hanukkah, a misconception a former coworker of mine had for years..resulting in her scolding me for ordering a tuna salad sandwich for lunch several years ago..
“Lisa, give me that sandwich..you’re only supposed to eat fried foods during Hanukkah – get some fries!”
I’m dead serious.
Tags: Ancho Peppers, apples, Brining Turkey, Butter Pecan, Hurricane Sandy, Recipe, Stuffed Turkey Breast, Stuffing, Thanksgiving, Turkey, Whole Boneless Turkey Breast
Damn, I thought Thanksgiving was the 29th because Thanksgiving is usually the last Thursday in November. Oh, boy, this is the trick of the trick of treat for real…the ultimate “Ha ha…you better get your ass in gear, Lisa!” moment. I think Hurricane Sandy left me a little off-kilter, but I’ll get to that later.
You see, for this month’s Daring Cook’s challenge, which is all about brining meat and/or vegetables, then roasting, which I’m late to as usual, I decided to brine a whole turkey breast, then layer it with more flavors – like a a compound butter rub, THEN stuff, roll, and tie it…for a lovely Thanksgiving treat for those who don’t want to roast a whole turkey.
Audax of Audax Artifax was our November 2012 Daring Cooks’ host. Audax has brought us into the world of brining and roasting, where we brined meat and vegetables and roasted them afterwards for a delicious meal!
I didn’t have a bowl or bag big enough to fit the turkey and brine, see left, so I ended up using a huge pot..right.
Well, well, well..this is dinner Friday night, the 16th.. and in less than one week..we will have turkey again..a whole 20 lb turkey. Because of this turkey breast, I would love to just roast some chickens and be done with it.
“Why did you buy such small turkeys?” OK, no one in my family is that dumb.
There’s no way I can break tradition here, so more turkey it is. Yippee.
I love to brine meat, from chicken to pork chops and I most always brine Thanksgiving turkeys. The well-seasoned juicy factor from brining is simply amazing and I can’t think of another method that can give you meat this juicy, unless Thomas Keller is in your kitchen. (Ha ha! I just read the Thomas Keller/Juicy Meat blurb again and realized how it sounds!)
This turkey breast is so loaded with flavor, I don’t know how I can match it and I wish I could make it again for Thanksgiving. First you’ve got the salty maple, brown sugar brine with bay leaves, garlic and peppercorns seasoning it to perfection. Then you have an ancho pepper-scallion-garlic butter rub beneath and on top of the skin. The stuffing is the crème de la crème..with apples, buttered and toasted pecans, and of course..the usual sauté of onions, herbs and whatever else you want to add to your ‘custom’ mirepoix. It’s not always celery, carrots and onions IF you don’t want it to be. No rules!
Oh, what are ancho peppers? Dried poblano peppers and they taste like spicy raisins, but impart such a lovely, slightly spicy/smoky undertone to dishes. You can find them in plastic packages in many supermarkets.
I nixed celery. I almost always nix celery in stuffing, or just add a small amount. I like celery raw and crisp, but I don’t flip over it cooked. I don’t think it adds much to dishes flavor wise when cooked, except chicken soup..and that’s only because I’m superstitious and believe it’s part of the secret penicillin that makes you feel better.
Tied up and roasted, this turkey breast is a picnic on the palate (did I really just type that? Boy, I’m worse off than I thought) and as juicy as a warm peach right off the tree (Did I really type that too?)..so all you really need is a side of mashed potatoes and a vegetable..but of course you can add as many sides as you want (I cannot have Thanksgiving without candied sweet potatoes). There will be extra stuffing, but use any stuffing you like for this roast…I’m just giving you the recipe for mine because it’s perfect for this rolled turkey breast, even though I saturated it with chicken stock so the breast would be easier to roll.
By the way…I know I say this a lot, but I’m going to say it again and I can’t say it enough. This is the best stuffed turkey breast I’ve ever had in my life. You know when something tastes so good that no matter how full you are, you keep eating it? This is one of those.
Who says ugly can’t be delicious? I’ve had ‘beautiful’ that tastes like pond scum, or how I imagine pond scum would taste.
OK…a GASP moment. Once again, this turkey breast is so juicy due to the brining, it doesn’t need gravy, the holy grail of Thanksgiving. BUT, you could make a pan gravy out of the drippings with some butter, flour, white wine and/or stock, because I’m sure at least one person might protest.
3 quarts water
1 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup kosher salt
2 turkish bay leaves
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
2 garlic cloves, sliced
One 3 to 3 1/2 lb whole, boneless turkey breast with skin, butterflied, if necessary, and pounded to about 1/2-inch to 1-inch thickness.
If you can’t find a whole, rolled,boneless turkey breast with skin in your meat section, buy a whole turkey and have the butcher cut it off for you (which is what I did..using the rest of the turkey for roasted legs and stock)..or do it yourself if you feel comfortable.
1. Bring all the ingredients, except the turkey breast, to a boil in a pot on the stove..until sugar is dissolved. Let cool completely, then refrigerate until cold.
2. Pour brine into a pot or gallon bag and add turkey breast. Let brine in the refrigerator 4 to 6 hours…no more than 8!
4. Remove turkey breast from brine and rinse well under cold, running water. Pat completely dry and continue with recipe.
Ancho-Scallion Butter Rub
Adapted from Food and Wine
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ancho peppers, stemmed and seeded
6 scallions, chopped
2 garlic cloves
Kosher salt and pepper
1. In a small skillet, toast the ancho chiles until they just start to blister, about 4 minutes. Place the chiles to a small bowl and pour boiling water on top of them to cover. Let stand for 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry.
2. In a food processor, combine the chiles, butter, garlic and the chopped scallions and purée until smooth. Season well with salt and pepper. Carefully loosen the turkey breast skin and rub half of the ancho-scallion butter over the breast meat. I decided not to loosen the turkey skin since I didn’t want to risk tearing it. You need the skin to cover as much as the breast as possible when rolling it, so I rubbed some on the pounded breast meat before spreading the stuffing on top. Let sit until ready to stuff, roll and tie.
Butter Pecan – Apple Stuffing
6 tablespoons of butter, divided 4 and 2.
A few leaves of fresh sage, julienned and chopped
leaves off of 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1/4 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 leek, cleaned well and chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
4 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 to 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
5 cups day old bread of your choice (I used ciabatta, crusts removed), hand torn or cut into 2-inch cubes. If not day old, oven-dry at 200F for about an hour or two, after tearing or cutting into cubes.
1. Stir together chopped pecans and 1/4 cup melted butter. Spread in an even layer on a parchment lined sheet pan. Bake at 350° for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring them round once half way through. until pecans are toasted (you’ll be able to smell them). Remove from oven, and let cool.
2. Place bread cubes or pieces in a large bowl. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large sauté pan and add the onions, leeks and garlic. Saute until soft. Pour on top of bread. Melt two tablespoons of butter in the same pan and sauté the apples until lightly browned. Add the herbs and sauté for another two minutes. Scrape it all into bowl with the bread, onions, leeks and garlic. Stir in buttered pecans.
3. Stir together chicken broth or stock and cream. Warm in a pot on the stove,. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then pour over stuffing mixture in bowl. IMPORTANT – the juices from the turkey will moisten the stuffing, so if you like a really moist stuffing, add all the chicken broth-cream mixture like I did, which makes the turkey breast easier to roll. If not, add liquid until it’s the consistency you prefer, and use less in the turkey.
4. Let cool completely before stuffing turkey breast ( I refrigerate it for 1 hour after it cools to room temperature)..or, you can bake this stuffing on its own. Spoon into a lightly buttered baking dish, cover with buttered foil, and bake in a 350 F preheated oven for about 35 minutes, then remove foil and bake for 10-15 minutes more to brown the top. Since you will have leftover stuffing, you’ll need to do this anyway.
1. Make sure the two breasts attached to the skin are pounded flat enough that they come together. I recommend you have someone really strong or your butcher do this because I had a hell of a time and never got them pounded together or as flat as I wanted, not to mention, my arm still hurts.
2. Skin side down, rub the meat with half the ancho-scallion butter, then spread about two to three cups of stuffing all over the meat…pushing it to about 1-inch from the ends of the pounded meat. Make sure you don’t spread it to the skin, since it will ooze out when you roll it. Some will ooze out anyway..but don’t worry about it.
3. From the long end..start to roll the breast, pulling the skin so it covers as you roll. It won’t cover completely, but that’s ok. Once rolled as much as you can roll it without losing half your stuffing…using cotton twine, tie the roast at 1 to 2-inch intervals. There are various methods of doing this…like THIS and THIS, but since my stuffing was oozing and the skin wasn’t covering completely, I just made simple double knot ties 2-inches apart, using about 6 pieces of long twine. To make it more secure, I also tied it vertically by taking an extra long piece of twine and weaving it through the horizontal ties on both sides….tying both ends of the twine together, tightly, on one end. Preheat oven to 400F.
3. Place rolled turkey breast on a lightly oiled rack in a roasting pan or on a baking sheet covered with foil. Rub the tied roast..all over..top and bottom, lifting as you go along, with the remaining ancho – scallion butter.
4. Place on the middle rack of your oven, and roast for 20 minutes, or until it starts to brown. Reduce the temperature to 350F and roast for another 35 to 40 minutes or until an instant read thermometer registers 155 degrees F in the middle. If not stuffing the breast…roast until it registers 145 degrees F.
5. Let rolled breast sit for 20 minutes before slicing..then slice into about 1/2 to 1-inch slices and arrange on a platter. Enjoy!
Now to Hurricane Sandy, originally dubbed ‘Frankenstorm’. By now you know the devastation it caused throughout the Northeast. We were lucky, since we’re up on the Palisades, so the water couldn’t touch us, but it was scary. Branches and god knows what else were slamming against the side of my house hard and fast. There were even points where I could feel the whole house shake, like it was going to be lifted off its foundation. I kept waiting for a tree to come through the roof, but thankfully, none did.
We were also lucky that we didn’t lose power for good. We had sporadic power losses, but by midnight, our power stayed on for good. The other side of my town lost power for almost two weeks.
However…the devastation around me and down the shore was of a magnitude I still can’t believe and it’s heartbreaking. Two friends did have trees smash down on their roofs and the sides of their houses, and in the weeks since the hurricane, I’m still hearing of friends whose houses were destroyed or battered to the point of being unlivable, especially old friends who live on the Jersey Shore.
Speaking of the Jersey Shore..my heart is broken. Seaside Heights, the place where my Bad Boy First Love Story began and spanned, and the place of so many wonderful memories, is gone as I knew it. Yes they will rebuild, but to those of us who grew up spending summers at the shore..it will never be the same. Most of Seaside was built before I was even born..including the over 100 year old carousel on the Casino Pier, which is gone forever.
At the top of this page in the right sidebar..I’ve provided a link to donate money to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy via the Red Cross. Here are some other places you can donate to..
Donations will be needed for a long, long time, so I urge you to give what you can. Any amount of money will help.
Speaking of the Jersey Shore...several people read my last draft of the last part of Bad Boy First Love and all agreed everything was squished together in short spurts to try to end it. ”Needs more details” was the general consensus. SO, I’m adding more details and there’s a good possibility the ‘end’ will come in two parts, so part 18 may not be the very last (Oy Ve, right?) I will have part 18 up early next week at the latest. Thanks so much for your patience and understanding.
Finally, thank to Audax for a great Daring Cooks challenge (Sorry it’s 4 days late!). To see what my fellow Daring Bakers brined and roasted, click on the links to their blogs, HERE. To see the recipes and read about the method of brining meats and vegetables, along with charts. click HERE.
Tags: apples, Challah, Hanukkah, Maggie Glazer, Salted Caramel, Sesame Seeds, Sourdough Challah, Sourdough Starter
Remember how I told you I was going to introduce ‘him’ to all of you once my knee was better and I could start standing to knead some really amazing sourdough breads?
Well, that day never came, because I was a bad mama. Once my knee healed and I was out and about on two legs, no cane, I kind of forgot about him in the back of the refrigerator. When I remembered, it was probably three months since his last feeding. I tried to revive him, but there was mold, and the small amounts I took out, minus the mold, and fed, – eagerly awaiting his bubbles of life, had already been given last rites. It just wasn’t going to happen – it didn’t smell the way it wass supposed to, it was rank. The smell was clearly sourdough starter rigor mortis. I bid Herbie a sad adieu as I poured his thick liquid soul into the trash can.
Of course I later found out that he could have been saved by taking a tablespoon of him from the very center (his *sniff* heart), and giving him mad defibrillation with flour, sugar and water. Just one tablespoon, and Herbie would still be here.
Batter like sourdough starter aka Herbie II
Oh, well..no use crying over trashed sourdough starter. He gave me the best breads of his wild yeasted life. Besides, I could reincarnate him someday. That day has come, and may I introduce you to Herbie II? About 1 month ago, I just decided to do it, once again using Nancy Silverton’s grape starter method. There was no way any commercial yeast will ever step granule or cake in any sourdough starter I make. Capturing wild yeast from everything around us, the air, atmosphere, our kitchens, etc…is the most amazing thing to watch develop – like gestating a baby, although not as wonderous and exciting of course, because this baby is not one you can cuddle and love and well, be human with - just one you can watch grow stronger and stronger, giving you the most complex, wonderful tasting breads, all with a lovely crumb and crust.
Firm sourdough starter
My weird intuition struck again…
Our Daring Bakers Host for December 2011 was Jessica of My Recipe Project and she showed us how fun it is to create sourdough bread in our own kitchens! She provided us with sourdough recipes from Bread Matters by Andrew Whitley as well as delicious recipes to use our sourdough bread in from Tonia George’s Things on Toast and Canteen: Great British Food!
So, I had already started gestating Herbie II, and one week later, it’s announced as the Daring Bakers challenge. Although I loved that the challenge recipe for starter was all about capturing wild yeast, I’d already fermented enough grapes to capture Herbie’s wild yeast. There was no sense in making another one. I’m not a multi-startet type baker – one is enough, and from that one, I can make all kinds of starters for a variety of breads, and whatever is leftover from those, is given away or used to the last drop. You will never see half-filled jars all over my kitchen or in my fridge labeled rye starter, oat starter, potato starter etc. I think it’s cool that people do that, but if I could kill one starter with neglect, could you imagine the massacre of one plus?
I needed to bake a bunch of challah braids for Hanukkah. I wanted to try Maggie Glazer’s recipe for sourdough challah for a long time, so I figured this would be a great time to do it. I had already planned on filling one of the challahs with a homemade salted caramel with apples, which I haven’t been able to get out of my mind for months now, so why not sourdough and salted caramel apples? Tangy, sweet, salty – God, YES.
Maggie Glazer’s dough calls for a firm starter to produce another firm starter for the challah. Fortunately, Maggie has directions on how to convert a batter like starter into a firm starter. I needed to take a tablespoon of Herbie and mix it with some water (I only use bottled) and bread flour until I had a dough that could be kneaded. I surveyed Herbie’s young, unused, not yet powerful, baby bubbles and hoped for the best. The next morning, as you can see in the above ‘firm starter’ photo, I had a risen mass of thick, bubbly, ‘cracked window’, dough. Success! Looks like the original Herbie’s super strength had been passed on to his younger replacement. I proceeded on with the recipe,letting one more starter go to town – ending up with a lovely, silky dough. It smelled wonderful too, like most wild yeast doughs.
I had to stop sniffing from above and let it rise..
While the dough was doing it’s thing, I made the salted caramel, chopped up some apples, added some spice, then stirred the apples into the hot caramel. I think I will always keep a jar of this on hand. I’m in love..I desperately wanted to start eating it right out of the jar I put it in for not only storage, but for the photo above.
If you don’t want to make sourdough challah, traditional challah, or any doughy vessel to place some of these glorious salted caramel apples in, I beg you to just make the salted caramel apples. I’ve already had it over ice cream and well, straight out of the jar, but no double dipping, honest! It’s..it’s…just amazing..I can’t even put it into words.
SO, like my Unique Twist on Challah back in ’09. in which I made a 6-strand braid challah, each strand filled with chocolate raisins and cinnamon sugar, I set out to reproduce something similar with the salted caramel apple filling. This time I was only doing a 4-strand braid because I wanted thick ribbons and pockets of the caramel. This is where I made my first mistake. This filling is wet…a small amount should be used for each strand to prevent any seepage and trouble braiding. I used 1/4 cup full for each strand. Bad idea, I couldn’t roll the sealed strands to the 16 to 18-inches in length I wanted it to be for braiding, and the braiding was difficult, heavy, and there were several tears in between. I ended up with a very sloppy, lopsided, wide braid. Normally, this wouldn’t bother me, but I was presenting it to guests.
Dark circles under the eyes? Concealer. Lopsided, fat, lumpy challah braid? Sesame seeds.
Next time I will be using only 2 tablespoons of the filling per strand..IF it’s for guests. If not, who cares about lopsided, lumpy braids? It was delicious, and thanks to the wonderful ‘new’ Herbie, it rose like Mary Poppin’s umbrella with a turbo engine in each spoke - not to mention the beautiful oven spring, and just look at that crumb! I love how the gooey part of the salted caramel melts into it’s bready pocket, while the spiced apples kind of hang out, dropping into your hand occasionally when you tear off pieces.
You love challah french toast? Wait until you try salted caramel apple challah french toast (hopefully, a photo coming soon – if the few slices left are not eaten before this can happen). The sourdough has kept this bread silky soft and moist for 2 days now!
If you get a chance, please check out my fellow Daring Baker’s sourdough starters and creations by clicking on the links to their blogs HERE. For the challenge sourdough starter recipe, and some great breads to make with it, click HERE.
I’m also submitting it to Bread Baking Day #45, hosted by Cindy of Cindystar.
The GIVEAWAY winner of the six jars of Bonne Maman preserves and the $25.00 gift certificate to use at OhNuts.com is Katrina of Baking with Boys, who was #38! Congrats Katrina! Will send you an email to get your info ASAP.
My recipe for salted caramel apples will be posted soon. I’ve been a bit lazy when it comes to typing it out LOL
Maggie Glazer’s Sourdough Challah Recipe (you can use any challah recipe you like, it doesn’t have to be sourdough)
Salted Caramel Apple Filling
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
3 medium apples, peeled, cored and cubed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
!/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon flour
Squeeze of lemon juice
1. In a bowl, Combine the chopped apples with the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, lemon juice and flour. Set aside.
2. Pour the water around and over the sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cover and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves (I prefer this over the brushing the sugar off the sides with a wet pastry brush).
3. When the sugar dissolves, turn to high heat, and boil uncovered until the sugar turns a medium brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Watch it carefully at the end, as it will go from caramel to burnt very quickly. Stand back to avoid splattering, and gradually add the cream and the butter – it will bubble vigorously. Simmer and stir with a wooden spoon until the sauce is smooth and thick, about 2 minutes. Stir in the sea salt.
4. Take pot off heat, let sit about 3 minutes, then stir in the chopped, spiced apples while caramel is still very hot. Let cool to room temperature. If not using immediately, refrigerate in an airtight jar or container.
5. You will not use all of the salted caramel apples for the challah or challahs (if making two), so enjoy it over ice cream, pound cake – use as a cake filling etc. The ideas are endless!
1, Divide dough into 4 equal pieces. I used a scale for this. Take one piece (covering the other three pieces with plastic wrap) and roll into a flat, oblong 12-inch disk. Spoon two tablespoons of the salted caramel apple filling down the length of the disk, as shown in photos above.
2. Cover filling with both sides of dough, pimching to seal and making sure none of the filling gets into your seal..it won’t seal if that happens. Gently roll and taper the ends, to about 16 to 18-inches in length. Cover and repeat with remaining three pieces of dough. Once you have all 4 filled strands, pinch them together at the top and braid using this 4-strand weaving method. In a bowl or cup, beat one egg until uniform – this will be your egg wash.
3. Place loaf on a parchment lined pan and brush with egg wash (I don’t use all of the white in the egg. I let some spill out into a cup so my egg wash is more yolk than white – this gives it that nice burnished look)). Brush loaf all over and let rise until doubled in size – about an hour. Preheat oven to 350 F.
4. Once risen, brush again with remaining egg wash, getting into all the crevices that opened during the rise. Sprinkle with poppy seeds or sesame seeds, or nothing at all – your choice. Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 35-45 minutes. Let cool a few minutes, then carefully lift off of pan, and place on a wire rack to cool fully.
Tags: 5-Spice, apples, caramel, Chinese, Daring Cooks, Dumplings, gyoza, Japanese, mousse, Pork, Potstickers, Shrimp
With the advent of Daring Cooks, it seems every entry at this rate will either be a Daring Bakers or Daring Cooks entry, especially considering that the posting date between each is two weeks. Regardless, it’s cooking and baking, two of my most favorite things in the world..so what’s to complain about, right? I’ll still try to squeeze in non-DB and DC creations because…..I FINALLY GOT INTO THE KITCHEN AND COOKED!
I still have trouble retrieving and transferring stuff since I need to hold onto a walker or cane, and I still have a ways to go before I’m scuttling around the kitchen like a headless chicken, but hey, it’s a start, and once I’m a headless chicken again, you’ll see a lot more entries – since my obsession with cooking and baking can strike at any time, whether it be 8 am or 4 am! I have to thank my new physical therapist, Dorothy, for all of this, since she has me working that knee like a candy factory machine, not to mention sweating like a pig in (the) heat! This woman is a drill sergeant , but in a good way – and one that men would go ga ga for! I truly believe this woman should be making work-out videos!
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, this month’s Daring Cooks challenge is something I’ve had a love affair with years…something I NEVER fail to order when it’s Chinese take-out night, OR at any Chinese restaurant (Japanese take-out or restaurant- gyoza). DUMPLINGS, whether they be steamed or fried (aka potstickers), filled with pork, shrimp, veggies or what-ev-er. It doesn’t matter..I adore them any which way possible, and it’s always the first thing I dig into..that first bite, trying to catch the juices dripping down my chin, is sheer heaven. Now, I’m a dumpling person in general, whether it be spaetzle, chicken and dumplings, matzo balls, gnocchi, gnudi..you name it, but something about Asian dumplings always sends me to the moon.
5-Spice Caramel Apple
I’ve made homemade dumplings and potstickers before, but I always used the pre-made wonton or dumpling skins. For this months challenge, the challenge was to make the dough from scratch, knead it, let it rest, cut it, flatten it, roll it, fill it and pleat away! I’ve never been a great dumpling pleater, most of my dumplings ending up looking like little packets of cellulite, but this challenge turned me into one, and now dumpling making with homemade dough is another technique I can add to my list.
The host of this month’s challenge is jen yu from use real butter. The fact that she’s one tough cookie and tells it like it is, NO BS, endears me to her blog – not to mention her amazing recipes and STUNNING photography. Because of that, instead of posting the full recipe, with two fillings, and step-by-step dough making, rolling and pleating instructions, I’m going to send you over to the entry in her blog that covers it all. She’ll have you mastering dumplings in no time with her clear and concise instructions, along with (again) gorgeous photos that’ll turn you into a dumpling/potsticker Queen/King in no time! Click jen yu’s amazing dumpling/potsticker recipe and instructions for the whole NINE yards of dumpling perfection, and then some. But come back here to try my apple filling!
Having said all that, since we were given creative freedom when it came to fillings, I will post or supply links to the fillings I used in my three dumpling preparations. I used jen’s delicious pork filling to make potstickers, a fantastic recipe for Shrimp Mousse with White Truffle Oil by Ming Tsai, in which I added fresh chives from my little terrace garden, toasted sesame oil, and steamed them, serving them with a chili-garlic dipping sauce to add a little heat.
Of course, I HAD to make a dessert dumpling, AND deep fry it! I decided on a 5-spice caramel apple filling, which I served with a homemade Triple Cream Vanilla Brie Ice Cream. Well…with all the links to the recipes, it looks like the only recipe I’ll have to post is for my 5-spice caramel apple filling. Cool, less type and more room for my less than stellar photos
Although all three dumplings were spectacular, the shrimp mousse was so light and airy, that it was like biting into a delicious cloud of buttery, briny sea. If not for the truffle oil, chives and sesame oil, your palate might rise to your maxillary sinus as if you inhaled a bottle of Fizzy Lifting Drink. In fact, if you look at the cross-section photo in the chopsticks, you can barely see the filling against the steamed dough. Without the dabs of chili-garlic sauce/oil, you might not even see it at all, unless you happen to carry a magnifying glass with you at all times. So light and airy, it’s almost invisible to the naked eye.
This mousse by Ming Tsai is a must try..and it rhymes.
OK, I need to find some more things to talk about since this entry is more of a photo gallery than actual text entry at this juncture. Let’s see, let’s see..OH, according to the Urban dictionary, there are many definitions for dumpling, some of which are quite a hoot. For instance, it can refer to someone who needs to take a dump. It also refers to dumpling as the aforementioned poop that won’t flush no matter how many times you try (I thought those were called floaters?). Hmm..interesting “Hey, who left a dumpling in the toilet?”.
I know, those are not exactly hunger inducing words, but they are funny, right? Dumpling, apparently, is also a term used to describe a chubby, dumpy kid with an emo type of personality. Great, a pessimistic potsticker. If my dumpling cries, it just means my filling was too watery – although I do like ‘em nice and fat.
Geeeez, where do they come up with this stuff?
To me and most, a dumpling is either a doughy, yummy treat, or a term of affection, so I’ll record those two into Lisa’s ‘DUH-Urban’ Dictionary. Wait, is that the dessert bell I hear? Ding Ding Ding! I now present you with sweet, caramely, spicy, deep fried goodness – along with a big, fat scoop of cool, creamy, CHEESY ice cream and more spicy caramel!
Let’s cut one open…
Mmmm…hot, crispy, sticky, gooey, full of spicy apples. This is a really fun take on your typical apple dumpling or fritter. I think all Chinese restaurants should add something like this to their dessert menu, along with the fortune cookies, almond cookies, green tea ice cream and uhh, fried banana. What’s with the fried banana? How about wrapping those suckers up in some dumpling dough and THEN frying them? Now that’s something I’d order!
OK, I admit it, this challenge was so enjoyable, that I want to wrap, pleat, steam, fry etc.. almost anything in a dumpling wrapper right now *watches kitty dash away with an extreme sense of urgency* Wow, anyone remember the silly rumors about the meat they use in Chinese restaurants….?
5-Spice Caramel Apple Cinnamon Sugar Dumplings (‘Churro’Apple Dumplings)
3 cups cubed tart apples
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon 5-spice powder (optional..you can use just cinnamon and/or nutmeg/allspice etc)
1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon salt
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons heavy cream
4 tablespoons butter
15-20 Homemade dumpling wrappers, linked above, or store bought gyoza or dumpling wrappers
1. Squeeze the fresh lemon juice over the cubed apples. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl and add apples. Toss to mix. Add vanilla and cream. Melt butter in heavy skillet. Add apple mixture and cook approximately 8 minutes, to soften apples.
2. Fill each dumpling circle with about a tablespoon or a little less, making sure not to get the filling where you’ll be sealing the wrapper. Seal dumplings with a little water or beaten egg.
3. Heat a pot of neutral oil such as canola or vegetable oil to 375F. Drop in dumplings, making sure not to crowd the pot, a few at a time, and fry until golden brown. Immediately remove with a strainer..shake off the oil and roll in cinnamon sugar. Top with powdered sugar, if desired and serve with ice cream and caramel sauce.
Makes about 16-20 dumplings
Don’t forget to check out some really amazing dumplings by the other Daring Cooks by clicking on the links to their blogs at the temporary Daring Cooks Blogroll.