Tuesday, September 30, 2008

R2R: Chinese Dumplings

I am sick, so I will post pictures later when I am up to uploading them. Right now I just want to close my eyes and let someone else take care of everything. So check out the pictures on the official Recipe's to Rival post until I am feeling a bit better.

4 large shiitake mushrooms
3 scallions
1/2 garlic clove
1 pound ground pork
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
3 dashes of hot red-pepper sauce
5 prunes (or as I like to think of them dried plumbs)

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.
2. In a food processor, combine the mushroom caps, scallions, prunes, and garlic and whirl until finely chopped. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the pork, soy sauce, oil, and red-pepper sauce.
3. Place 1 tablespoon of the pork 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.

4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups boiling water

1. In a stainless steel bowl mix flour and salt. Slowly add hot water to flour in 1/4 cup increments.
2. Mix with chopsticks until a ball is formed and the dough is not too hot to handle.
3. On a floured surface, knead dough until it becomes a smooth, elastic ball.
4. Place back in bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rest for at least 1 hour.
5. 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.
6. Flatten with your palm and roll out thin using a rolling pin. The dumpling wrapper should end up about 3 inches in diameter.

Temper's take:
MMM MMMM good....more to follow

DB: Lavash Crackers

I am late posting this month because I had a very bad reaction to some poison ivy, I spent most of this past weekend asleep and when I wasn't asleep I was miserable, heck I was even miserable in my sleep according to Indra. Watch this space as I play catch up this week.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Pineapple Tamales

Ever since we did the tamales for the August Recipes to Rival challenge I have wanted to make a sweet tamale. I had a couple ideas, other than the recipe I found for ones with raisins, I mean chocolate is always good right? What I finally settled on was pineapple and brown sugar, kind of like pineapple upside down cake in a corn husk.

Pineapple Tamales
serves 12
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 can delmonte chunk pineapple, drained
2 cups drained pineapple juice and water
2 cups masa
1/2 cup shortening
1/8 tsp Baking Powder
pinch of salt

1. Heat pineapple juice and water.
2. Combine the masa harina flour with the salt and baking powder.
3. Stir the shortening rapidly until it is creamy.
4. Pour the stock into the masa mix and stir until it is thoroughly combined. Beat the moist masa mix into the shortening until you have a paste that will spread with a knife without breaking apart. You should end up with a semi-thick paste. If you do not have this, you can add more stock in ¼ cup amounts to the mix until you have the right consistency (This recipe actually has more liquid than is usual recommended so just add it till you get the desired consistency).
5. Add drained pineapple and brown sugar to masa mixture mix together.
6. Place masa mixture in tamales and fold. If desired a table spoon of brown sugar can be added before folding.
7. Steam the tamales for 45 minutes. If you have a lot of tamales and a tall steamer, you can place the tamales vertically in the steamer. Because of the extra liquid these will appear slightly soft when they are done.

Temper's take:
These were so good fresh and hot, almost cake like in their texture and delicately sweet (which I ruined by putting Dulce de leche sauce all over it). It was good cold the next day and reheated later in the week. Over all I was very happy with the results.

Chicken Frarej

I was first introduced to this by a friend, and it is only because they are my friends that I tried it. I am not a fan of lemon and meat, Lemon and potatoes was an even further stretch, and this has a heck of alot of lemon in it.

Chicken Frarej or Lebanese chicken is a recipe served at Hedary's in Fort worth TX and the recipe first appeared in the Dallas Morning News in 1988. It is a simply amazing dish, the way the flavors meld together is fantastic. I will admit this recipe has me licking my fingers and scraping the baking dish for the last bit of goodness.

Chicken Frarej
Serves 4, preheat oven to 500 degrees
4 chicken breasts, with skin and ribs
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup olive oil
3 lemons, juiced
2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 white onion, sliced
4 Roma tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Rinse the chicken in cold water. Rub each with 1/2 tsp salt. Mix lemon juice and olive oil.

Place the potatoes, garlic and onion into a 9x13 baking dish; with the lemon/olive oil mixture. Stir the ingredients to coat the potatoes. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

Add the chicken breasts and Roma tomatoes to the baking dish. Generously spoon the hot lemon/oil/garlic mixture over the chicken.

Put the dish back into the oven and cook uncovered for another 20 minutes, or until the skins on the chicken turn a very dark brown and the chicken is firm and juices run clear when poked with a fork. Baste the chicken breasts two or three times in the lemon/oil mixture during cooking.

Serve with pita bread. Serve each breast with a helping of potatoes, some onions, and a tomato.

Tempers Take:
The way the potatoes get all soft and full of flavor is one of my favorite parts of this dish. Followed by the Chicken itself, the skin is so pretty when it blackens. I have had this as a whole roast chicken and let me tell you that was a presentation. Since I like mushy potatoes I actually cooked it longer then 10 minutes before adding the chicken and finishing it, but that really is a personal choice. Once it was done even Indra admitted it smelled grate and tasted good too.

Monday, September 1, 2008

BBD: 100% Whole Grains, Cornbread

This months Bread Baking Daily Challenge was 100% Whole Grains. And you know due to these challenges I am learning more about the grains available for bread making then I ever knew before. This time however I decided to go simple and do Cornbread.

I had a package of Bob's Red Mill 100% Stone Ground Whole Grain Cornmeal, Coarse Grind that I have been dying to use and this was the perfect opportunity. To make matters even simpler I used the recipe on the back of the package.

Golden Cornbread
1 cup Cornmeal (any grind)
1 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
4 tsp Baking Powder
1 tbsp Sugar
1 Egg
1 cup Milk
1/4 cup Butter, softened

shift dry ingredients together
add wet ingredients
beat until smooth (do not overbeat)
bake in greased 8 inch square pan 20-25 minutes at 425 degrees

I was at a friends house who does not bake so I used one of her cast iron frying pans so the corn bread came out a little thinner than I prefer. But the coarse corn meal had a lovely taste and I enjoyed the rough chewy texture. I am thinking about toasting the corn meal next time before using it and doing it half and half with a fine cornmeal.

Temper's Take:
Not quite how I remember that long ago cornbread that turned me onto coarse ground grain, but good. And really does anything ever live up to our memories?