Edamame Dumplings

Happy Sunday! It’s been a beautiful weekend in Seattle, and I went on two hikes this weekend, to two beautiful lakes. I’m trying to soak up as much Seattle summer as possible when I’m not in class! If you’re in the area, I highly recommend Lake Melakwa, which I hiked with a couple friends yesterday. It’s a great workout to get to the lake, and I jumped in to cool off. The water was quite refreshing (very cold), but it was quite peaceful around the lake, and lots of people had tents or hammocks, and it was nice to just chill for a bit before hiking down. Today, I went with a few other friends to Lake 22, which had very different scenery. We walked through rainforest to get to the lake, and Mount Pilchuck which is beside Lake 22 was shrouded in clouds and mist at the top. I didn’t get into the water on this one, since it was a little colder today, but it was quite a beautiful lake!

Now for the food. Last weekend I had a potluck and game night with some friends, and we all brought various Asian foods. I decided to try and replicate the edamame dumplings I’d had recently at True Food Kitchen when my parents took me, and I was actually quite successful! I used the frozen shelled edamame from Trader Joe’s, which made the process quite easy, then just threw in a bunch of flavors that I thought would taste good, sealed them nice and tight in dumpling wrappers, and boiled them in miso soup, and they turned out wonderfully! The basil flavor really came through, but the ginger and garlic were also great additions. Here’s the recipe.

Edamame Dumplings

Makes 50 dumplings

Ingredients

12 oz shelled edamame (About two cups, I used one Trader Joe’s package)

4 green onions, sliced

2 tbsp miso paste

1 tbsp fresh ginger, sliced

1 tbsp garlic, minced

1 tsp dried basil

1 tbsp marsala wine/cooking wine

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 tsp white pepper

1 package round wonton wrappers (50 wrappers)

Optional broth for cooking (I used miso soup)

Directions

For the filling:

Bring a salted pot of water to a boil, then add the edamame and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.

In a food processor, pulse together the edamame with the rest of the ingredients until a rough paste forms, leaving the edamame slightly chunky.

To form the dumplings, dip your finger in some water and run it around the outside of the wrapper, then place about 1 1/2-2 teaspoons of the filling in the center of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper in half and press the top together, then crimp the wrapper together starting at the sides, and forming a crescent shape. See here for a video of how I do it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjW_ntpIj2E but you can fold them any way you like. Repeat with all 50 wrappers. I got lucky and had exactly enough filling for the 50 wrappers, but depending on how full you stuff your dumplings, there might be slightly too much or too little filling.

To cook the dumplings:

Bring a large pot of water or broth to a boil. Drop the dumplings in, making sure they don’t touch and stick together, and boil for 3-4 minutes, or until they float to the surface. Remove from the water/broth with a slotted spoon and repeat until you have boiled the desired number of dumplings. Serve warm, with on a plate or in bowls with the broth, if you chose to cook them in broth.

If you don’t cook them all at once, lightly dust a baking sheet with flour, place the dumplings on the pan so they are not touching, then freeze. After they have frozen, you can remove them from the pan and place them in a bag or container for easier freezing, and they will keep well for a few months.

To cook these, you can also use the pan frying method, outlined here https://dinewithdeja.wordpress.com/2014/08/01/jiao-zi-chinese-dumplingspotstickers/

Enjoy!

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Sweet Potato Gratin

Happy fall! It’s raining here in SoCal. I hate, hate, hate the rain, but we really need it so I don’t mind too much. One thing though, I really want to swim in the rain, since if you’re getting in the pool, you’re going to be wet anyway, and the droplets make such pretty patterns on the surface of the water, but the weather is just working against me. I’ve gone swimming three times in the rain this week, and every time, I walk to the pool in the rain, but as soon as I get in the water, it stop. Then of course, once I hop out of the pool, it begins to rain again. Go figure.

Anywayyyyy on a side note, the UCLA Women’s Volleyball team is hosting NCAA’s this week! It means quite a few extra hours for me, but it’s pretty exciting! It’s been super fun to watch them this year and to work with them as a team, and they’re a great bunch of girls. I’m excited to watch them rock it this weekend.

However, onto the food! At the very beginning of the school year, my apartment and the next door apartment had a big “family” dinner together. We all made dishes and had a fun meal together, so this recipe is from way back then. But, it would make a great fall meal for these cooler nights! It’s all made in the cast iron skillet, so it’s easy cleanup. It’s also fairly easy preparation. I like to make it look pretty for the pictures and all, but the slices really could just be thrown in and it would taste the same, it just wouldn’t be quite as aesthetically pleasing. But when it’s just going in your stomach anyway, who cares how it looks? This combination of sweet potatoes, caramelized onions, and a sprinkle of cheese is quite delicious. and it would make a lovely side dish for any fall meal.

Sweet Potato Gratin

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil

1 sweet onion, sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 sweet potato (orange)

1 white sweet potato

1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used a mozzarella blend, parmesan would be good too)

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are caramelized. This should take about 10-15 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 400˚F.

While the onions are caramelizing, slice the sweet potatoes into thin coins. Once the onions are done cooking, turn off the heat and place the sweet potato slices in any patter you wish. You can arrange them in a spiral, or just throw them in the pan over the onions. Sprinkle the cheese over the top.

Bake for 25-35 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are soft and the cheese is melted and slightly browned. Serve warm. Enjoy!

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All baked up and ready for a roommate dinner!

Vegetarian Eggplant “Meatballs”

Everyone asks me how I don’t eat meat. Well, it’s pretty easy when I haven’t eaten meat my whole life, and when I can make delicious eggplant meatless balls like these! I found this recipe over at Dash of East and I was inspired. I didn’t use Japanese eggplant since normal eggplant was on sale, but I did use Asian flavorings so I stuck with the Asian theme. These were amazing, and super easy to pull together. I like the fact that they’re baked, which means I don’t have to stand over a hot stove, yay! Although the oven does heat up the house a little… Oh well, you win some you lose some. But these vegetarian meatballs are definitely a win! They’re super flavorful, savory with a touch of sweet, crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. Pure vegetarian goodness. I served them over a healthified coleslaw, (something like this, except without the sugar) and the combination was simply delicious. My meat loving friends enjoyed them as well, so that says something! Here’s the recipe!

Vegetarian Eggplant “Meatballs”

adapted from Dash of East

Ingredients

1 eggplant, sliced

Salt

2 tsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp ginger, minced

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp hoisin sauce

3 green onions, chopped

2 eggs

1 cup breadcrumbs

Directions

Sprinkle the eggplant slices with salt and allow to sit for 10 minutes to draw out water. While the eggplant is resting, chop the garlic, ginger, and onions. Once the eggplant is done resting, dice it into 1/2 inch cubes.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and eggplant and saute until the eggplant is tender.

Preheat the oven to 400˚F and line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, stir together the eggplant, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, green onions, eggs and breadcrumbs. Stir until the mixture becomes sticky and holds together. Drop spoonfuls, about 2 tbsp each (I used a large cookie scoop) of the mixture onto the baking sheets. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the outsides are well-browned and crispy and the insides are tender. I sacrificed one by cutting it open to test for doneness. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Serve over coleslaw. Enjoy!

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Veggie ingredients!

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Crisp on the outside, juicy on the inside. Delicious!

Jiao Zi (Chinese Dumplings/Potstickers)

Well, I survived the great flood of UCLA this week. I was actually working a summer camp in Pauley Pavillion when the water main broke, and when water started coming down the steps to the floor of Pauley, we decided it was time to call it a day and end camp. Walking around campus and seeing the sheer amount of water was pretty overwhelming. Most of our athletic facilities were damaged, and many of them had just been renovated or redone, so it was upsetting to see all the damage. Not only that, but seeing the massive amount of water that was lost, especially with the drought, was just sad. The goal is to get all our facilities back up and running by the time fall quarter starts, which is two months from now. I can only hope that we have the funds and the support to make it happen. In the meantime, I guess I can eat my feelings away… Starting with these jiao zi (Chinese dumplings, or potstickers)!

This is my version of a family recipe for jiao zi that my mom gave to me. All the measurements are very rough, and the batch I made ended up making way too much filling compared to the number of wrappers I had, so this recipe is an attempt at making adjustments to the amounts. I can’t promise it will be exactly correct, but it should be fairly close. I mostly go by taste to adjust the amount of sauces I put in, so those measurements are also approximated.

I love the filling for these dumplings, since the sesame oil and green onions give it a distinct flavor, and while you can make your own pi (wrapper), it’s much easier to just get the storebought kind. I got mine at an asian market, where they were significantly cheaper than the local Ralph’s, but I have seen them there in the refrigerated section near the produce, sold with the tofu. Anyway, stuff these wrappers with this delicious, vegetarian filling, boil them or pan-fry them, whichever way you prefer, then sit down and enjoy your delicious dumplings!

Recipes like this make me appreciate my food processor so, so much! Without it, this recipe would take forever, but with my trusty Cuisinart, it only took 10-15 minutes to make the filling. Making dumplings with friends is the way to go, since everyone can help, and it makes the wrapping step go much quicker. I had several of my friends over for dinner, so we had lots of fun wrapping the dumplings, and it made less work for me! Win win 🙂 Here’s the recipe!

Jiao Zi (Chinese Dumplings/Potstickers)

Ingredients

12-14 oz extra firm high protein tofu, or baked tofu

1 bunch green onions(about 6-7)

1/2 head green cabbage

1 cup carrots

8 oz mushrooms

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 tbsp hoisin sauce (optional, but adds a touch of sweetness)

2 packs gyoza/potsticker wrappers (about 100 wrappers)

Olive oil, for cooking

Directions

Remove the tofu from packaging and place on paper towels to drain. In a food processor, pulse the the green onions, tofu, cabbage, carrots, and mushrooms individually until in coarse crumbs, then place in a large bowl and mix together until well combined. Add the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and hoisin sauce, if using, and stir until all the flavors are incorporated.

To wrap the dumplings, place shallow bowls of water on the table. Dip your finger in the water and run it around the edge of a wrapper to moisten it, which allows you to create a seal. Place about 1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons of the filling in the center of the wrapper, then fold in half and pinch together in the middle. Starting from one side, pleat together the edges of the wrapper until you reach the middle, then do the same with the other side. This should make the dumpling end up in a half moon shape. It’s hard to explain, but here’s a good video of the method I use. Honestly, it’s not a huge deal how you close them, as long as their wellsealed. As you wrap them, place the dumplings on a baking sheet. At this point, you can cook them all, or cook as many as you wish and freeze the rest on the baking sheet, then remove and place in freezer bags until ready to cook.

To cook the dumplings, there are two methods.

1) Boiling

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Place the jiao zi in the boiling water and boil for a few minutes, until they float. Remove and drain, then serve warm. Note: To do this method, the jiao zi must be very well sealed. If there are any that aren’t tightly sealed, they will simply burst during boiling and you will have boiled wrappers and filling soup. Not as delicious, so seal your jiao zi well.

2) Pan-frying (Potstickers)

Heat a skillet with a lid over medium heat. Lightly coat with olive oil. Place the dumplings in the pan and allow to cook for a few minutes, until the bottoms are golden brown. Then, working quickly, pour 2-3 tablespoons of water in the pan and cover immediately. Do not remove the lid until all the water has cooked into the jiao zi, then remove from the pan and serve warm. This method is more forgiving in terms of how well your jiao zi are sealed, but make sure you don’t take the lid off before the water is cooked off, or you’ll let all the moisture that’s supposed to be cooking your jiao zi out before they’re done.

Both of these methods yield delicious jiao zi, it just depends on how you like them. I love both methods, so I did some of both! Either way, they taste great! Enjoy!

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Boiled method

Boiled method

Pan-fried method

Yum!

Curried Chickpea Salad

Here’s the second post I wrote at nationals, along with a great curry salad recipe!

Nationals Day 2 Recap: I just got back from College Ultimate D1 Nationals this past weekend, and it was like coming back from a mini vacation. It was a blast, five straight days playing and watching ultimate with the best team I could ask for. We came into the tournament seeded sixteenth and left tied for ninth, so we are stoked about that. I’m sad that the season is over, but I’m so glad that we got the opportunity to play at nationals together, and extend our season past regionals for a few weeks. I love this team so much, and I’m already looking forward to the 2015 season!

Anyway, onto the food. Last week we had a little heat wave in LA, so I was looking for cool foods to eat in the hot weather. There was a curry chicken salad they serve in the dining halls that I really enjoyed before I stopped eating chicken, so I looked around for something like it, but vegetarian. I decided to try this curried chickpea salad, and I’m so glad I did! Something interesting that I never would have thought of is using hummus to get the creamy texture of the curry salad. It worked wonderfully, just by adding curry powder to plain hummus, then adding some water to thin it out a bit. It was delicious, and I think I might just make curry hummus in the future to dip vegetables in. I love curry flavor, and the raisins add a little pop of sweetness to this salad, which is great. I also love the crisp crunch of all the fresh vegetables in this salad. This takes about 10 minutes to whip together, and doesn’t require turning on the stove or oven at all! This is a great summer recipe, which I will be making again this summer, maybe with some vegetable variations. Here’s the recipe!

Curried Chickpea Salad

Adapted from The Simple Veganista

Ingredients

1 15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained

1-1 1/2 cups carrots or baby carrots, sliced

4 green onions, sliced

2 bell peppers, chopped

1/2 cup raisins

6 oz hummus

3-4 tbsp water

juice of one lemon, about 2-3 tbsp

1 tbsp curry powder

Mixed greens

Directions

Thin the hummus by adding 3-4 tablespoons of water. Stir in the curry powder until completely combined. Toss together the garbanzo beans, carrots, green onions, bell peppers, and raisins. Add the curry sauce and toss to coat. Serve chilled over greens. Enjoy!

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This makes a great summer meal for those hot days when you don’t want to turn on the stove or oven

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Look at all those delicious fresh veggies!

Quinoa Salad with Beans, Cauliflower, and Caramelized Onions with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Guess what? BLU is going to Nationals!!!!! This last weekend, our team competed in D1 Southwest Regionals, and we secured the third bid to Nationals, so we’re headed to Mason, Ohio! Our whole team is SUPER stoked to have three more weeks of practice together, and compete in Natties 2014!

Here are a couple photos from the weekend!

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My wonderful roommates!

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My rookie class after winning the game to go to nationals!

Other highlight photos can be seen here.

On the food front, I haven’t been particularly active in the kitchen, but the weather has been hot, hot, hot, so I’ve been making cooling foods. This quinoa salad can be eaten warm or cool, and it’s a healthy, filling meal that’s super quick to pull together, and quite tasty! I used leftover cauliflower and caramelized onions from my pasta with sweet potato cauliflower sauce, so I used that, then I threw in some frozen green beans (although you could use fresh) and some canned kidney beans, whisked together a honey mustard vinaigrette and I was done! The final product was a nice, colorful dish, which I enjoyed for many lunches throughout the week. Here’s the recipe!

Quinoa Salad with Beans, Cauliflower, and Caramelized Onions with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Makes 6 servings

Salad

Olive oil

1/2 head cauliflower, broken into florets

1 tbsp chopped garlic

1/2 onion, sliced

1 cup uncooked quinoa

1 15oz can kidney beans

1 lb frozen or fresh green beans, cut and trimmed

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp olive oil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Toss the cauliflower florets in olive oil and spread on a baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes, or until tender.

Meanwhile, caramelize the onions. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, then add the garlic and onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are brown and caramelized, about 20-30 minutes.

While the onions and cauliflower are cooking, make the quinoa according to package instructions. Once the quinoa is cooked, stir in the green beans and kidney beans, and stir to combine.

To make the vinaigrette, stir or shake together all the ingredients. You can add more or less of the ingredients to taste. Toss all salad ingredients together, then drizzle with vinaigrette. Serve warm or chilled. Enjoy!

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Colorful and healthy!

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