Friday, 13 May 2016

Quick Potstickers and Stir Fry Vegetables

Like everyone else, I'm always looking for easy ways to enjoy an exotic dish. This does not require prolonged preparation as most of the ingredients are pre-packaged. The trickiest bits are steam frying the frozen dumplings, and mixing the dumpling sauce, trying to get a good balance of flavors. Alternatively, you can just buy the bottled dumpling sauce and most any Asian supermarket. The brand of frozen dumpling I like to use is shown in the photo above. The vegetables I used are the Costco Sweet Kale Salad as I do like the blend of vegetables that is used.
2-3 cups of Costco Sweet Kale Salad mix
8 frozen, pre-steamed dumplings (see photo)
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed flat with a cleaver
1 inch piece of ginger root, peeled and smashed
4 tablespoons of oil for stir frying (2 for the dumplings and 2 for the vegetables in separate woks or frying pans)
about 4 tablespoons water
Dumpling Sauce (if you decide to make it)
1 tablespoon of white vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Microwave all on high for 45 minutes, stir and set aside.
1. Put 2 tablespoons oil in the wok and heat on high heat. Add the ginger and garlic and stir fry until fragrant, taking care not to burn the garlic. Remove from heat and discard the garlic and ginger. Return the wok to the heat and stir fry the vegetable mix in the flavored oil for 2-3 minutes. Empty into a shallow bowl.
2. Using the same wok or another, add 2 tablespoons oil and heat till smoking. Add the frozen dumplings, flat side down, and fry until bottoms start to brown. At this point add 1 tablespoon water at a time, covering the wok after each addition, and letting the steam heat the dumplings. Remove the cover and add the other tablespoons water, repeating the process as described above. I do this until the dumpling temperature has reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit (yes, I use a thermometer to test). Once the dumplings are cooked, place on top of the stir fried vegetables and pour the dumpling sauce over everything.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Crunchy Puffed Millet and Sesame Squares

These are just wonderful very crisp and crunchy cookie squares. The Carbohydrate count comes back at about 18g per square with 6g of sugar. It's not bad compared to other recipes around but if you are watching the intake of either of these food items, then you will have to exercise some restraint and not gobble them all up at once. WARNING: It's very hard to just stop eating them! They can be made even more irresistible and decadent by dipping them in melted, caramel. butterscotch or dark chocolate!They are just crispy, crunchy, golden bites of wonderfulness! This recipe yields about 24 squares.

1 cup bread flour
1/2 cup durum flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter softened
4 tablespoons shortening
4 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup Raw brown sugar (Panela or Piloncillo), broken into small pieces
1/4 cup warm water
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, coarsely chopped in blender to bread crumb consistency
1 cup puffed millet
1/2 cup sesame seeds

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9 by 13 inch baking pan with parchment paper and set aside. Make sure the parchment paper is cut large enough to hang over the sides of the pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Dissolve the Panela or Piloncillo in the warm water. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  4. In a large bowl (of a stand mixer or with a handheld electric mixer), beat the butter, coconut oil, shortening, tahini, and granulated sugar together until just combined. Increase the mixer speed to medium and continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute longer.  Add the egg, and vanilla and beat on medium-low, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, as needed. Add the flour mixture and mix at low speed. At this point add the water with the dissolved Panela or Piloncillo. Gradually add the oats, puffed millet and sesame seeds and mix until just combined. Do not overmix.
  5. Pour the mixture into a 9 by 13 inch baking pan, lined with parchment paper that hangs over the edge of the pan. 
    Using a flexible spatula, press the mixture in the bottom of the pan. Intermittently moisten the spatula and smooth the mixture till it becomes like a firm slab in the baking pan.
6. Bake 20 minutes and remove from oven. Cut into squares in the pan, cool.
Lift out squares on parchment paper and put on a cookie sheet.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes then gently separate the squares. I find a large, flat sharp Chinese style cleaver works well for this.
Clean the cleaver as you go so that the blade has no batter caught on it. If batter is on the blade, the squares will not separate cleanly, and will break when you try to separate them.
Return the squares to oven that has been decreased to a temperature of 275 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for another hour and forty five minutes until the squares feel dry to the touch and they are nicely browned.  Cool the squares completely on a rack. They will crisp up further as they cool.