Sunday, June 16, 2013

Summer Lovin

A delicious and even fast dinner if two are cooking together.  An early summer salad and Beijing-inspired dumplings.  All vegetables in season at the market... we had a fresh mushroom medley in our dumplings from the nice mushroom man.  (Apologies on the poor quality photos.)

Green Salad
Asparagus, sugar snap peas and cucumbers in avocado mint dressing.  Four side dish servings.

Small bunch asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
Pint sugar snap peas, cut into 1 inch pieces
Large hunk of cucumber, cut into small cubes
1/2 avocado
Mint leaves, a few
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest from half a lemon
Salt, generous pinch

Blanch the asparagus and the pea pods, separately, in boiling water.  (I did the pea pods for about 30 seconds and the asparagus for about 2 mins.)  Dunk immediately in an ice bath. Prep the cucumbers.  Make the dressing-- combine the remaining ingredients in a blender.  Stir everything together in a boil, test for salt.  Set aside in the fridge until ready to serve.

Mushroom Tempeh Dumplings with Delicious Sauce
Two main dish servings for very hungry people.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
1 cup of finely diced mushroom, whatever varieties you like
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1/3 block of tempeh, crumbled/cut into very small grain-sized pieces
Ginger powder (or grated fresh)
Splash of rice wine vinegar and ginger beer if you have on hand
20 or so wonton wrappers

Chili garlic sauce, jarred
Rice wine vinegar
Soy sauce
Lime juice
Dark sesame oil

Heat the oil in a wok or deep cast iron skillet.  The onion, mushrooms and garlic should be so fine they are nearly shredded or grated.  Start sauteing the onions first for a minute or two, then add the mushrooms, garlic and tempeh.  Stir fry at medium high heat for several minutes.  Dust with ginger powder, a generous pinch of salt, add the vinegar and ginger beer and stir.  The tempeh will absorb much liquid so add some water if you need to keep things from sticking.  Cook until everything is browned and soft.  Turn off the heat, unload the mixture into a bowl and set aside.

Get a large pot of water bowling.  Brush one wrapper at a time with water, then put a spoonful of the tempeh mixture into the wrapper.  Follow the package instructions to make into dumplings--you basically fold into a triangle and stick the corners together.  This recipe should make about 20 dumplings.  Boil them 10 at a time, placing them gently into the boiling water and boil for 2 minutes until they start to become translucent then fish out with a slotted spoon.

To make the sauce, add a few heaping teaspoons of chili garlic sauce into a small bowl.  Add about a tablespoon of soy sauce, a generous amount of vinegar, a splash of lime juice and a splash of sesame oil.  Stir or whisk together.  Add a generous splash of water and taste the mixture for spicy, tartness and salt levels.  If too salty add a splash more of vinegar and water.  If not spicy enough add more chili sauce.  If too vinegary or generally intense, add more water.  Taste again until you get it right.

Serve the dumplings with small personal dipping bowls of sauce.

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