Monday, July 20, 2009

Angry Dumplings

Perhaps, Wrathlings...
I came back from Jersey with many things, including a curious pairing of Chinese broccoli and wonton wrappers. My first instinct was to treat both ingredients exclusively. Maybe some sweet dumplings somewhere down the line, and to probably
sauté Chinese broccoli with olive oil, garlic, and sesame seeds: "But that's what what you do with all your vegetables" was the instant complaint. Fine. I'll poke around and pout a bit.
While searching (and pouting), I came across a
Recipe that used both. Flipping through it, I quickly realized I didn't have any of the additional ingredients. No go - more pouting.

So I stared at this

and these

and some odds and ends from my fridge, and came up with:

Angry Dumplings

1 bunch of Chinese Broccoli (8 cups chopped)
1 package of Tempeh (8 oz - chopped / crumbled)
1 package wonton wrappers
1 medium yellow onion (chopped)
4 or 5 cloves garlic
1 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tsp of red pepper flakes (1/2 tsp if you don't like it as hot. More if you do! Hey, that's why I call them angry)

First of all, have you got something else to do today? Also, a comfortable kitchen table / chair combo will come in handy for the copious amounts of dumpling folding. Anyone owe you favors? You might want to call them in for that part. Seriously. A pound of wrappers. Nothing to sneeze at.

For the filling:
Chop the onion and garlic ( I used a garlic press for this recipe) and sauté in olive oil in a deep saucier until translucent.
Add the chopped tempeh and allow to brown. It's okay if it crumbles further in the process.
Once the tempeh is slightly brown, add the soy sauce, vegetable broth, pepper flakes and stir to combine.
Add the chopped Chinese broccoli and cover. Before you stir it, let it wilt a bit. It won't be as dramatic as you'd think, this stuff is hearty. Give it about 2-5 minutes covered, then stir to incorporate all the ingredients.
Do not overcook the Chinese broccoli! You want it to keep green, so keep the cooking time short. About 5 minutes should do it.
Remove from heat and let the filling cool. If you're in a rush, spread it out in a large pyrex.

Folding the dumplings:
Have a small bowl of water on the ready
Take one teaspoon of the filling and place in the center of the wrapper. Do not be tempted to overfill these, it will only end badly. Do not. You were warned.
With a fingertip, wet the edges of the wonton wrapper and fold in half (to for a triangle)
Push any excess air out, and seal the edges.
You can leave them as is, or get fancy. I took the two edges, and folded them into the middle- Woo. Fancy.

Frying the dumplings:
This is the potsticker method that gives you a lovely crust on the bottom.
In a large stainless steel frying pan over medium heat, brush a thin layer of canola oil.
Arrange the dumplings in the pan and allow to quickly sear for 1 to 2 minutes.
Carefully add a few tablespoons to 1/4 a cup of water and quickly cover.
Allow to steam for between 3 to 5 minutes- the dumplings will become translucent.

Other Options?
Steam them the whole way.
Add them to soup.
Freeze them because you have so many dumplings.
So many.
So very many.
I mean: Yay! Dumplings!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Raspberry Cake, Fresh From the Fields

Even if those fields were New Jersey.

This cake was from cradle to belly.
They began here:

Picking berries in the afternoon sun with Emily was lovely, even if the heat makes us (me) grumpy.
Fun as all get out and rewarding, now the question was: I have amazingly fresh berries, what do I do with them? I need something no fail, something I know will be awesome. I need Smitten Kitchen. This is the Raspberry buttermilk cake, and it is phenomenal. In fact, that whole damned site is phenomenal.
To Veganize Said Phenomenal RecipeThe 1/2 cup buttermilk becomes: 1/2 cup soy milk plus 1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice. Do this before hand and set aside until it separates.
The 1/2 stick butter becomes: a half stick (4 Tablespoons) of Earth Balance (from Trader Joe's)
The egg becomes: 1 tsp of Egg Replacer(essentially additional leavening. I omitted the water, and added the tsp directly to the other dry ingredients. You can get this at Whole Foods)

and there you have it! Follow the recipe with the vegan tweaks, scatter the raspberries across the top.

Bake at 400° F for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean- (I found for a 9 inch pan, you'll get a beautifully done cake in about 20-22 minutes)
It'll look a little something like this
Help yourself to a piece

And know that we are not messing around here. You need to make this. Your life, so far, has been incomplete without this. Fix that.

In the meantime, Hungryface is now open! 

Thursday, July 2, 2009


It is time for vegan training wheels, also known as: scrambled tofu.

Yeah, it's no Tofu Wellington- but it is the building block of vegan cuisine. Or, you know, possibly proof that I do in fact, make more than just sweets.
It's a good staple to have, regardless. Sometimes you want to whip up a crazy strudel, sometimes not so much. This can be as simple or as complicated as you like, (virtually) anything knocking around your fridge can go in this. I ran with zucchini, because they were in season, and we had a ton.

The most important step to this dish is: draining the tofu. You see that puddle that the (extra firm) tofu is swimming in? That is not flavor, you don't want that.

Cut the tofu in half:

Then cut the halves in half. Now that you've got it into manageable chunks, you want to get rid of as much water as possible. This is the setup I use:
Fold a clean kitchen towel in half and place half of the towel on the cutting board, draping some excess off. On top of that, put a layer of paper towels, and place the tofu pieces on that. Put a paper towel on top of of the tofu, and fold the excess kitchen towel over the top. The tofu is now sandwiched in between paper towels & kitchen towels to absorb any water that comes out. Now you need to apply pressure. I use a 9x9 glass baking dish with four cans of beans for weight- as an extra bit, I put a heavy book on top of it all.
Still there?
It looks like this:


Anywho, actually making this stuff:


Oil for frying
2 Cloves of garlic (to taste)
1 Medium yellow onion
1 Tub (16 oz) of the drained extra firm tofu
2 zucchini (or any combo of veggies you like)


Fresh Parsley

Chop the garlic and onions, and whatever veg you've decided on. Set the veg aside for later.
In a large sauté pan, add enough oil to cover the bottom and add the onions and garlic.
Cook on medium low until the onions are translucent, careful not to let the garlic burn
Scootch the onions etc to the sides of the pan and add the tofu.
Up the flame to medium and let the tofu get a bit of a nice color going.
Add the spices. As far as spices go for this: I like a lot of cumin, a little less thyme, and enough turmeric for color, It's not an exact science. Add a bit of salt.
Scootch the tofu aside and add the veg to the center of the pan.
Let cook on it's on until slightly softened, then stir to incorporate
Salt & pepper to taste.
Shred a bunch of fresh parsley over the top and enjoy!

It's Summer...right?

And it almost feels like it these days. Almost.
I've only gotten into smoothies within the last year. I had associated them with the overly sweet, somehow frozen yogurt involved, mall creations. I've been introduced to something entirely different by this awesome little place in my town called The Stand (they really ought to have a website, but they do not.)

One of their offerings is an unusual combination of Mangoes and Basil from the owner, Carissa. I had it one summer, and couldn't get it out of my head. Don't be frightened. And don't give me that look. It's delicious.

This is my interpretation -
It's more of 'a little bit of this, a little bit of that' kind of a deal. Go with your gut on this one.

Mango Basil Smoothie

1/2 bag of frozen mangoes (16 oz bag- you can find them at Trader Joe's!)
A bunch of basil (to taste, you can add a hint, a handful, or a whole lot)
Unsweetened vanilla almond milk
Agave to taste

In a blender, add the frozen mango and basil.
Add at least enough almond milk to cover the frozen fruit, so that it can blend properly. Add more depending on how thick/thin you like your smoothies.
Over all this, squeeze some Agave. I usually add about a tablespoon.
Blend until there are no solid chunks of mango left.

There you have it! Refreshing, summery, and tasty as all get out.
If you ever have the opportunity, go to The Stand! They're extremely friendly, knowledgeable, and make delicious things.