Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Shrimp Dumplings

Dumplings (or potstickers, depending on how you cook them) are one of my absolute favorite made-in-mass meals. If you happen to have a lovely chest freezer (or any freezer, really) in your basement -- like we do -- they make a great, quick weeknight meal after an initial time investment.

On a different but related note, the vegetarian/pescetarian (including fish) diet is going well. I'm not sure how long it's been, but I suppose it's a good thing that I'm not feeling the need to count the days. And we are cheating a bit; since we eat out so rarely, we are allowing ourselves meat when at a restaurant.

*Side note: I never really explained my reasons for moving to a more plant-based diet but it's really as simple as wanting to get back to the veggie-full diet (that included meat but was mostly veggie-centric) that we enjoyed while living in France. Not only are we consuming less saturated fat but we'll also be saving a few bucks with the switch.

For the most part though, when the craving for meat hits, fish has been a satisfying alternative.

So, when the urge hit last week, I started researching common shrimp dumpling recipes. I also pulled some prior dumpling knowledge from our Chinese friend Chen (which you can read a bit about here and here) and made this recipe up after a quick trip to our favorite Asian grocery.

Shrimp Potstickers

Yield: about 50

2 c thinly sliced green cabbage (about ¼ head)
1 T salt
1” chunk of ginger cut into 4 pieces
4 chinese leeks (or 1 large normal leek) cut into chunks
½ lb raw shrimp
3 T light soy sauce
1 T rice wine
1 t toasted sesame oil
1 egg white
1 package dumpling wrappers (found in any Asian market freezer section)

  1. Allow wrappers to thaw for 40 mins at room temp.
  2. Place green cabbage in colander over a bowl or the sink and mix with the salt.
  3. Allow cabbage to release it’s excess water for 15-30 mins then place the salted cabbage in an old dish towel or rag and squeeze out as much water as possible.
  4. In a food processor pulse the ginger until it is finely minced. Add in the leeks and pulsed until finely chopped. Then add in the salted and squeezed cabbage, shrimp, soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil and the egg white and pulse until the shrimp is chopped up but still in pea-sized pieces.
  5. Fill wrappers and freeze (photo tutorial below) or cook as desired. You can either boil them (for 3 minutes), steam them (for 10 minutes), or cook them potsticker style (place in a saute pan over medium high heat with 1 T oil and cook for 2 minutes until brown, add 1/4 c of water, cover pan tightly, reduce heat to low and steam for 5 minutes). 

And now

How to: Crimped Dumplings

1. Lay wrapper on a dry, clean surface

2. Brush the outside edge of the wrapper with water and fill with approximately 1 T of filling

3. Bring up two sides and firmly press to attach the dough

4. Move to one side and crimp over one side of the dough

5. Moving towards the edge, do two more crimps for a total of 3 per side

 6. Move to the opposite side and make three more crimps

7. Admire your handiwork

8. Line a sheet pan or cookie sheet with a silicon baking mat or parchment paper, line up the finished dumplings and freeze for an hour(unless you're going to cook them all up) on the pan then move them to a resealable freezer bag.

And stay tuned for a Pinterest inspired demo of this vintage vanity.

It involves the purchase of multiple power tools. Fun!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Vegetarian Yum: Super Slaw

I mentioned in my last post that Michael and I have decided that -- in an attempt to get back to our more veggie-focused diet from our time in Metz -- we will be eating (mostly) vegetarian for the near future. 

Over the years we have accumulated quite the collection of favorite recipes and I'd like to spotlight a few. Even though most of you, my dear readers, are not vegetarian, many of these recipes would be great as BBQ side-dishes, lunches, or Friday night dinners (for those Catholics in the audience). 

*Side note: this is also a great chance for me to play around with the settings on our fun, new DSLR!

My current obsession is more of a side-dish:

It's Super Slaw (I don't get the name either) from one of my favorite recipe websites, Epicurious. Super slaw has been my go-to lunch along with a big glass of milk the past few days. 

I spent a long time searching for this particular Asian-inspired peanut dressing recipe and even then, I have to make a few alterations: I usually use just a splash more vinegar than the recipe calls for and if I have some on hand, I tend to add in a bit of finely-minced jalapeƱo pepper. 

I throw in whatever raw veggies on hand (today I happened to have some Chinese cabbage as opposed to the red and green called for) and next week I'm hoping to make it up to the Asian market for some fresh egg noodles for a cold past and cabbage slaw. 

Really, this dressing is to die for.