Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My (LATE!) R2R Dumplings

The September Recipes to Rival Challenge was Chinese Dumplings! Life has gotten in my way of late, so I apologise for the delay in posting. I made them a few weeks back, though.

I have NEVER made anything like this before... no ravioli or anything. I thought they came together well! I dont know that I would regularly go through the effort, but they were easier than expected too.

Some of the other posters had issues with the dough. I saw mine going that way (and I had no chopsticks to stir with too) and dumped it right in the Kitchenaid and let it do all the work! My dough came together perfectly, and my hands and shoulders were saved from all the kneading - win win! I loved how elastic the dough became... very neat! I ended up sticking the dough in hte fridge for a couple days after I made it due to time constraints and it didnt seem to be an issue at all. I followed the given recipe for both the filling and the dipping sauce.

I dont have a steamer, though (and these would NOT have worked in a metal steamer basket like the tamales did!!) so instead I pan-fried them in oil for a couple minutes to brown, then added in a cup of broth and let them steam away. YUM! We both really liked this dish!

Shrimp Dumplings

Prep Time: 20 min,

Cook Time: 20 min,

Makes 24


4 large shiitake mushrooms

3 scallions

1/2 garlic clove

8 ounces shrimp, peeled and deveined

6 ounces ground turkey

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon dark sesame oil

3 dashes of hot red-pepper sauce

24 dumpling wrappers (see recipe below)

Dipping Sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon honey

1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger or 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

1. Coat a steamer basket with a non stick cooking spray and set aside. In a small saucepan, soak the mushrooms in boiling water to cover for 15 minutes, then drain. Remove and discard the stems; cut the caps into quarters.

2. In a food processor, combine the mushroom caps, scallions, and garlic and whirl until coarsely chopped. Add the shrimp and whirl until finely chopped. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the turkey, soy sauce, oil, and red-pepper sauce.

3. Place 1 tablespoon of the shrimp mixture in the center of each dumpling wrapper. Dampen the edges with water, the fold up the sides around the filling, pleating the edges. Place in the steamer basket, leaving 1/2 inch of space between the dumplings for the steam to circulate. Set over boiling water, cover, and steam for 15 minutes.

4. For the dipping sauce, in a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, honey, oil, and ginger. Serve the dumplings hot with the dipping sauce.Personalize it!

For a different flavor, use ground pork in place of the ground turkey. You can also drop a pinch of chopped scallions into the dipping sauce if you like

4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups boiling water

In a stainless steel bowl mix flour and salt. Slowly add hot water to flour in 1/4 cup increments. Mix with chopsticks until a ball is formed and the dough is not too hot to handle. On a floured surface, knead dough until it becomes a smooth, elastic ball. Place back in bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rest for at least 1 hour. Working on a floured surface with floured hands, roll out dough to form a long 'noodle', 1-inch in diameter. Cut 1/2-inch pieces and turn them over so the cut sides are facing up. Flatten with your palm and roll out thin using a rolling pin. The dumpling wrapper should end up about 3 inches in diameter.

(2)Source: Extraordinary Meals from Ordinary Ingredients, ©2007 The Reader's Digest Association, Inc.(1) Wikipedia link for Dumplings(2) Ming's Dumpling Recipe

Friday, October 3, 2008

Daring Bakers: Lavash!

So I am a few days late... I forgot about the early posting date, and then life got in the way a bit. BUT I did complete the challenge well in advance of the deadline.

This was a great challenge. First, because it was savory - finally! Next, it was something I would have never thought to make myself. Finally, the results were so yummy :)

Part of the challenge was to make your own gluten-free and vegan dip to go with the crackers - and while there is no part of me that is vegan, my sister is allergic to wheat so I decided to also attempt the GF lavash (as well as the regular one).

I made two batches of 'normal' lavash, one whole wheat and one white and two batches of GF (my first was quite like cardboard... the instructions for GF told us not to knead the dough but mine did not rise at all. Batch two I kneaded for quite awhile and got a teeny rise out of it, and it tasted much better). I used a variety of toppings including cumin, sesame seeds, dried minced garlic, oregano, with grated parmesan (my fav), chili powder, pepper, and kosher salt on em all of course.

My dips were a black bean and pumpkin dip from my Pumpkin cookbook by DeeDee Stovel (I found it eh but everyone else liked it) and Cooks Illustrated Roasted Garlic Hummus. Not fancy but my first time making hummus myself, and I loved it! I love some garlic hummus though.

This recipe was refreshingly simple, though the GF version was certainly a challenge. I loved the results and am glad to have stretched my repetoire a bit!

RECIPE - Recipe Reference: The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering The Art of Extraordinary Bread, by Peter Reinhart. Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA. Copyright 2001. ISBN-10: 1-58008-268-8, ISBN-13: 978-158008-268-6.

Here's a simple formula for making snappy Armenian-style crackers, perfect for breadbaskets, company and kids...It is similar to the many other Middle Eastern and Northern African flatbreads known by different names, such as mankoush or mannaeesh (Lebanese), barbari (Iranian), khoubiz or khobz (Arabian), aiysh (Egyptian), kesret and mella (Tunisian), pide or pita (Turkish), and pideh (Armenian). The main difference between these breads is either how thick or thin the dough is rolled out, or the type of oven in which they are baked (or on which they are baked, as many of these breads are cooked on stones or red-hot pans with a convex surface)...The key to a crisp lavash, to roll out the dough paper-thin. The sheet can be cut into crackers in advance or snapped into shards after baking. The shards make a nice presentation when arranged in baskets.

Makes 1 sheet pan of crackers*

1 1/2 cups (6.75 oz) unbleached bread flour or gluten free flour blend (If you use a blend without xanthan gum, add 1 tsp xanthan or guar gum to the recipe)*

1/2 tsp (.13 oz) salt* 1/2 tsp (.055 oz) instant yeast*

1 Tb (.75 oz) agave syrup or sugar*

1 Tb (.5 oz) vegetable oil*

1/3 to 1/2 cup + 2 Tb (3 to 4 oz) water, at room temperature*

Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, or kosher salt for toppings

1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt yeast, agave, oil, and just enough water to bring everything together into a ball. You may not need the full 1/2 cup + 2 Tb of water, but be prepared to use it all if needed.

2. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Sprinkle some flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Knead for about 10 minutes, or until the ingredients are evenly distributed. The dough should pass the windowpane test (see for a discription of this) and register 77 degrees to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), satiny to the touch, not tacky, and supple enough to stretch when pulled. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.or

2. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), and slightly tacky. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

3. Ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size. (You can also retard the dough overnight in the refrigerator immediately after kneading or mixing).

4. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Mist the counter lightly with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter. Press the dough into a square with your hand and dust the top of the dough lightly with flour. Roll it out with a rolling pin into a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. You may have to stop from time to time so that the gluten can relax. At these times, lift the dough from the counter and wave it a little, and then lay it back down. Cover it with a towel or plastic wrap while it relaxes. When it is the desired thinness, let the dough relax for 5 minutes. Line a sheet pan with baking parchment. Carefully lift the sheet of dough and lay it on the parchment. If it overlaps the edge of the pan, snip off the excess with scissors. or

4. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Lay out two sheets of parchment paper. Divide the cracker dough in half and then sandwich the dough between the two sheets of parchment. Roll out the dough until it is a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. Slowly peel away the top layer of parchment paper. Then set the bottom layer of parchment paper with the cracker dough on it onto a baking sheet.

5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Mist the top of the dough with water and sprinkle a covering of seeds or spices on the dough (such as alternating rows of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, kosher or pretzel salt, etc.) Be careful with spices and salt - a little goes a long way. If you want to precut the cracker, use a pizza cutter (rolling blade) and cut diamonds or rectangles in the dough. You do not need to separate the pieces, as they will snap apart after baking. If you want to make shards, bake the sheet of dough without cutting it first.

5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crackers begin to brown evenly across the top (the time will depend on how thinly and evenly you rolled the dough).6. When the crackers are baked, remove the pan from the oven and let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. You can then snap them apart or snap off shards and serve.