Baking is science and I don't like formulas, but cooking is art and anything goes...and the simpler the better. It's all about less time at the stove and more time at the table. With a forty year passion for food I'm excited to share what I do in the kitchen nearly every day.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Pork and Scallions Dumplings

These dumplings don’t exactly abide by my mantra of, less time at the stove, more time at the table...but they’re worth the extra effort. You might want to even double the batch so you have lots of extra for the freezer. This is a recipe I adapted from the Good Fork cookbook; you can find fresh dumpling wrappers locally.

To prepare the dipping sauce, combine equal parts soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, and a star anise pod if you have it. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves then let cool.

For the pork mixture, sauté a diced onion until translucent. Add a bunch of chopped scallions, four minced garlic cloves, and a heaping tablespoon of minced ginger, cook for another minute then scrape into a large bowl and let cool.

Into the same bowl, stir in three quarters of a cup of crumbled soft tofu, a third of a cup of hoisin sauce, a pound and a half of ground pork, a teaspoon of kosher salt, and a quarter teaspoon of black pepper. Mix well.

Line a few cookie sheets with parchment paper and fill a small bowl with water. Take a dumpling wrapper and fill it with about a tablespoon of the pork mixture, then with your finger wet the edges of the wrapper. You can simply fold the wrapper in half and press the sides together. Or if you want to get authentic, watch a Youtube video on crimping a dumpling. Lay the folded dumplings out on the cookie sheets.

To cook, heat a little bit of oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat and add enough dumplings without crowding the pan. Brown for a few minutes on one side, add a quarter inch of water, cover, and steam about five minutes or until the water evaporates. Remove the cover, flip, and brown the other side. Serve immediately with the dipping sauce.

Freeze any uneaten dumplings on the cookie sheets for about fifteen minutes, then transfer into freezer bags. Once frozen, they’ll last for several months.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Pan Fried Sole

Delicately flakey, flavorful, and ready in less than ten minutes, this pan-fried sole makes for the perfect weeknight dinner. To start, liberally season your fillets with salt and pepper, cut them in half if they’re on the larger side. Then, in a big bowl, dust them thoroughly with flour being sure to shake off any excess.

Set a large frying pan over medium heat and melt a few tablespoons of butter, olive oil, or a combination of both. Once hot, quickly fry the fillets until golden, it won’t take more than a couple of minutes per side. Remove using a spatula and transfer them to a warm plate while you finish cooking all of the fish. Depending on how much you have, you may need to add some additional butter and oil to the pan.

Serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon. Or with a spoonful of pureed spinach, garlic, olive oil, and salt, as shown here.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Cucumber Radish Salad

Five years ago, I never saw a Persian cucumber on a supermarket shelf, now they’re everywhere. How’s that? While I have no idea how these baby cukes climbed to the top of the salad veggie charts so quickly, I’m thrilled to have them readily available.

For the dressing, whisk together equal parts extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar, a minced shallot, and a couple pinches of salt and pepper. Next, cut your Persian cucumbers into half inch chunks and put in a large bowl with thinly sliced radishes and a healthy handful of coarsely chopped parsley. Toss with the dressing, then salt and pepper to taste.

Sounds too easy, but this salad is more complex then it lets on. And it works equally well for a weeknight meal as it does for Easter lunch.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Korean Chicken and Peanuts

A no-cook three ingredient sauce, now that’s my kind of cooking. And no worries about finding the Korean chili paste, I've see it everywhere these days. And you’ll want to use it for lots more after you experience it on this chicken.

For the sauce, stir together a few tablespoons of the gochujang fermented chili paste with a quarter cup of orange juice and a splash of rice wine vinegar or mirin. You’re after a French dressing type consistency, so adjust the amount of chili paste and juice as needed.

Over medium heat, toss a few handfuls of dry roasted peanuts in a dry pan until they start to brown. Immediately toss them together in a bowl with a tablespoon of toasted sesame oil and some chile powder until well coated, then set aside.

After broiling, barbequing, or pan frying your lightly salted chicken, toss in the sauce and serve with the peanuts on top.