Green Eggs and Ham

Standard

And so it begins—-the Tyranny Of The Dumpling.  Today was one of those beautiful days that I had set aside for outdoor fun.

“First I’ll just try this one recipe for corn soup.”  “And I need to make those porcupine meatballs again and see if they are fit for a party.”  “And I really feel like eating those yeast rolls from the Model Bakery cookbook.”  “And I have to make SOMETHING for dinner.”

And, for some time now, I have been thinking about making Green Eggs and Ham Dumplings.  Why not today? Try them and you may, I say.

OBVIOUSLY I would rather have spent the day gardening, or bird watching.  Instead I was compelled to make dumplings.

This dumpling-a-week business has enslaved me.

 

I did make the corn soup and the hardest part was straining it through a fine mesh strainer.  It took forever, but the soup was velvety and luxurious and will be great with some crispy bacon bits—or fried shallots for my vegetarian friends.

I made poolish again–same recipe as the cheeseburger dumplings from last post, but this time I just made yeast rolls.  They looked beautiful but sadly lacked flavor.

IMG_2040

 

The tastiest dish of the day was the roasted pork tenderloin, also the Easiest and Least Time Consuming. I believe there is a teachable moment here somewhere. [Mix 1 tsp each of salt, pepper, paprika, chinese five spice powder, garlic powder, and a heaping tablespoon of brown sugar together.  Rub the spice mixture over the entire surface of the meat, and roast at 375 for 20-25 minutes, till internal temp reaches 140.]

The porcupine meatballs were okay, a little dry—-and the black sticky rice which carries a lovely nutty flavor is just a bit too firm to make this a success, imho.

IMG_2042IMG_2043

But this is a dumpling blog, and here is my tribute to Dr. Seuss:

Green Eggs and Ham Dumplings

Dough:

2 cups raw spinach leaves, washed and packed tightly

1/2 cup water

1/4 tsp salt

2 cups flour

Blend spinach and water in blender till smooth.  Heat spinach puree in small pot till almost boiling.  Mix flour and salt together, then add 3/4 cup of the hot spinach puree and stir together to make the dough.  Knead a few times and let sit for 30 minutes.  This makes a gorgeous bright green dough. Cut dough in half and cover half with plastic wrap.  Form the other half into a log and cut into 10 pieces.  Flatten one piece of dough with palm of your hand, then roll into a round disc, leaving the center thicker than the rest of the wrapper.  Repeat with remaining dough, forming 20 wrappers

IMG_2044

.IMG_2048IMG_2049IMG_2052IMG_2053IMG_2054IMG_2063

Filling:

20 quail eggs

1 pound ham–I used deli sliced ham, cut into 1 inch square

1 pound garlic chives (jiu cai)

1/3 pound ground pork

Boil 2 inches of water in a large pan. Gently lower the eggs into the boiling water, turn down to medium, and boil 4 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice water.  After the eggs are cool, peel.

IMG_2037IMG_2041

Cut 3 inches off the bottom of the jiu cai and discard.  Wash jiu cai at least twice in a large bowl of water.  Shake off excess water and chop.  Heat 2 tsp oil in shallow pan, add the jiu cai and cook over high heat, allowing evaporation till on the dry side, sprinkle with salt.

IMG_2057

Place ham in food processor and pulse a few times till very coarsely chopped.  Add cooked jiu cai and uncooked ground pork, a little pepper and touch of sage.  Since the ham is already salty, and the jiu cai very flavorful, I added very little seasoning. Pulse a few more times till mixed.

IMG_2058

IMG_2059IMG_2060

Take a disc of lovely green dough. These are much larger than potsticker wrappers–since I had only 20 quail eggs I made only 20 wrappers instead of the usual 32.  Put a generous scoop of ham filling in the center of the wrapper, make a little indentation in the center  and place a quail egg in the center.  Wrap as usual (see my Doughboy post).

IMG_2061

IMG_2066IMG_2062

I would like to pause here and mention this was my first time buying and cooking quail eggs.  Yet Another WHY DIDN’T I MAKE THESE BEFORE Moment. First of all, they are unbelievably cute.  Secondly, they are eggs and have all of the egg behaving qualities one would expect from eggs. Third, only $1.29 for a cute little box of 10.

I chose to pan fry these, pot sticker style. Which raises the question:  Would you like them cooked with steam?  Would you like them with Jim Beam?

IMG_2071IMG_2073IMG_2077IMG_2087IMG_2098IMG_2093

Critique:

Made under duress (see above enslavement reference) and purely for whimsy, these taste like breakfast. And I would eat them in a box and I would eat them with a fox and I would eat them here or there and I would eat them Anywhere.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Say ‘cheese’

Standard

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be just like my mom.  Mom worked very hard but never seemed tired.  Every morning she arose at 4am and read in the kitchen till she left for work at 7am.  She was always laughing and was incessantly patient and kind, without a sarcastic bone in her body.  (Needless to say, I am nothing like her.)  Seeking escape from the Richmond district fog, she’d drive us across the Golden Gate Bridge to sunny Marin—to McDonalds off Seminary Drive.

I would get a cheeseburger.

Mom took a lot of overnight call—often twice a week—and on those days Dad would cook.  He had a limited repertoire, mostly involving frozen ground beef patties.  But once a month or so he’d take us to >>Mel’s Junior Drive-In<< on Geary Boulevard.

I would get a cheeseburger.

I always got the cheeseburger. I would fastidiously open the treasured burger and remove the pickles and throw them away.  I LOVED CHEESEBURGERS.  So today I decided to make a cheeseburger dumpling.

These two words really just don’t go together:  cheeseburger. dumpling. bah.

Cheeseburger Dumplings

makes 18

For the dough, I turned to The Model Bakery Cookbook, by Mitchell & Hansen.  Their Buttermilk Biscuit recipe is wonderful, so I tried their recipe for Hamburger Buns.

IMG_1988

Poolish:  Mix together 1/3 cup bread flour + 1/3 cup water +1/8 tsp instant yeast.  I added a tsp of sugar.  cover and let stand in a warm place for 1.5 hours, till foamy on top.

IMG_1970

Scrape poolish into bowl of a Kitchenaid mixer fitted with the paddle, and add

1/3 cup milk

1/3 cup water

2 large eggs

2 1/8 tsp instant yeast

1 tbsp + 1 tsp sugar

1.5 tsp kosher salt (I used 3/4 tsp)

3 1/2 cups bread flour

Turn the mixer on low and mix just until the ingredients are combined.  Let sit 10 minutes.  Change the paddle out for the dough hook.

Add 3 tablespoons of room temperature butter, one tablespoon at a time, waiting until each tablespoon is fully incorporated before adding the next.  At this point, the dough should be kneaded for a long time to develop the gluten.  This is an excellent opportunity to experience therapeutic benefits of kneading; the rhythm and tactile exercise of kneading cause release of happy endorphins and a general feeling of well-being.  I prefer to wallow in misery and instead left it in the mixer on low speed for a full 8 minutes. Gather the dough into a ball, place in a oiled bowl, and let rise for 1 1/2 hours.

IMG_1978

This is a good time to make the cheeseburger filling:

3 large onions, diced.  Caramelize the onions by browning them in a large wide pot, then add a little wine, and turn down to very low heat and let them cook for AT LEAST 30 minutes (45 is better), stirring ever so often.  They should be creamy soft and sweet. I used half the onions–but there is no use in caramelizing just 1 1/2 onions—if you are going to take the time to caramelize onions, make a lot and add the rest to several other dishes because caramelized onions are THE BOMB and make everything taste better.

IMG_1972

1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin.  Buy better ground beef at the butcher.

several squirts of ketchup

2 tsp coarse ground mustard

3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish

2 cups shredded cheese

1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper

IMG_1973

Mix the beef, cheese, ketchup, mustard, relish, salt, pepper and caramelized onions together till well blended (I dumped it in my kitchenaid mixer).  Take a small amount and cook it in the microwave and taste it.  Add more salt and pepper if needed.

IMG_1977

Gather up the risen dough, knead it a few seconds, then cut into 18 pieces, forming each into a ball.  Take one ball of dough and, using both thumbs, form a flat cup.  Using an ice cream scoop (2.5 tablespoon size), scoop a generous amount of beef filling into the cup.  Gather the sides of the dough together and pinch, sealing the top.  Throw the dumpling back and forth between your hands a few times to smooth out the top, then place, sealed side down, on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Flatten with the palm of your hand into a 4 inch disc.  Repeat with remaining balls of dough.  Let rise 30 minutes.  Brush with egg wash, and bake in 375 oven x 16 minutes.  I baked these on a pizza stone that always sits on the bottom rack of my oven (put the baking sheet on top of the stone) which conducts the heat better.

IMG_1979IMG_1980IMG_1981IMG_1982IMG_1984IMG_1986IMG_1989IMG_1992

Critique:

1. These leaked juice out of most of the dumplings, so the bottoms were juicy but fine.

2.  These tasted nothing like cheeseburgers. If you want a cheeseburger I recommend you go to In N Out. These are more like a piroshki except baked, not fried.  The bread is Delicious with good flavor and texture.  The filling is tender and tasty, just nothing like a cb.

3.  dear hubby’s reaction was “WOW, these are good”.

4. I can’t even tell there’s cheese in the filling.

5.  I’m now eating my third cbd and the great thing about these is I can hold one in my left hand while typing with my right; they are not messy. I predict breakfast in the car tomorrow.

6.  I need french fries.  now.

7.  Not sure I’d make these again (I’m going to In N Out) but I will DEFINITELY make this bread dough again–rolls, or a different filling.  Actually, I’m pretty sure if I put the Char Siu Bao filling in these, they’ll turn out like the Baked Char Siu Bao from Clement Street.  Tomorrow. I’m making them tomorrow.

8.  I don’t take call anymore, and I NEVER get up at 4am, but I proudly claim my sloping shoulders and gray hair as mom’s legacy.

9.  I have the Veggie Tales Cheeseburger song stuck in my head