Obviously I have not been doing very well at keeping up with the meals we create. I was supposed to be writing this up last weekend when it was made.
These are a weekend favorite. Chicken dumplings. It’s been a few years that we’ve been perfecting these. It used to take a cookbook and a long time. We’ve got it down to a science now. No cookbook, no measurements. We have gone through a couple bamboo steamers, but they are pretty inexpensive.
Dumpling night is by all means a joint effort. Nathan steams the cabbage leaves to line the steamer so it’s easier to fit the 8,000,000 little purses that will soon fill it. I’m in charge of mixing the meat, which consists of beating one egg white with some soy sauce, sesame oil, and cornstarch. Nate shreds the carrot and cabbage, minces the garlic and ginger and I get to get my hands all sticky with ground chicken goo. Once the prep is taken care of the assembly ensues. I lay out the wonton wrappers, Nate quickly wets the outer edges to ensure a good seal, I get to spoon the meat mix teaspoon by teaspoon onto all the wrappers. Nathan purses them all up and pops them in the bamboo basket.
To cook them, it takes about 7-9 minutes per steamer layer. We usually have two stories to our dumpling fiasco. Normally we steam off some baby bok choy on the side, make a spicy thai chile soy dipping sauce and plop some hot chinese mustard on a plate and then proceed to eat the 8,000,000 dumplings in front of the T.V. most likely watching Cops (if nathan has anything to do with it).
So Friday was dear Nathan’s birthday. I like to do fish on birthdays so I brought home a monster swordfish steak. I wanted to keep it pretty simple so I didn’t have to spend all day in the kitchen making side dishes and such. So the swordfish with white beans, arugula and pesto was born. The sword was cooked beautifully, thanks Nate.
And this is what he got himself for his birthday. Bike #5938477239949. And he rode it in the kitchen. Notice the dog running away in fear.
And this my friends is the coconut cake that I made for him. I’ve been promising this cake for what he says is 10 years. I beg to differ. We’ve only been cooking well for 4 or 5 years. It was good. Probably could have used cake flour to make it a bit more tender. It had a pretty big crumb to it, but with enough frosting it was better. I’m also very critical of myself, at least when it comes to cooking. I will say not bad for my first “from scratch” cake.
Grilled pizza is a fantastic thing here at our house. It is hands down the best pizza ever. In fact we never ever order pizza out anymore because nothing ever compares to ours. Not to toot our own horn or anything. (toot? we don’t even own a horn). Nathan is our resident dough master. I have been left to make pizza dough once and it came out very bad. I blamed it on the 400% humidity and 98 degree weather of that day, however Nathan isn’t so sure. Funny though I can make a mean baguette, ciabatta, or any other yeasted bread without a problem. But I digress….pizza.
This round consisted of a “taco pizza” and an artichoke heart, green olive and chicken sausage variety. The taco had salsa, smashed black beans, ground beef and queso fresco courtesy of Narragansett Creamery. The latter had artichoke hearts, green olives with marinated in lemon and garlic, hot italian chicken sausage and fresh mozzarella also courtesy of my favorite cheese people, Narragansett Creamery.
If you’ve never tried grilled pizza I highly recommend it. It takes some skill to get the crust right, but my good god it really is quite fantastic.
For the weekly eating experience I tried to recreate an eggplant dish that Last Night’s Dinner
inspired me to try. The eggplant and cheese did me in and I had to have it for myself. So my version took eggplant sliced lengthwise, roasted for a few minutes to get soft. I also tossed some more chicken sausage in the oven (it was on sale at Whole Foods) because Nathan really likes his protein. Once the eggplant was softened sufficiently I topped it with slice fresh mozzarella, again Narragansett Creamery, and some grated pecorino romano and popped those babies in the broiler to get super toasty. Nothing is complete in this house without some kind of sauce. To satisfy that I chopped up a whole mess of garlic, softly sauteed it in olive oil and right as the eggplant was done threw in some chopped fresh tomato. To give it all a bed to lie on until being devoured I cooked a bunch of swiss chard, because I could eat greens with everything.
So for the month of September we’re a part of a local eating thing that is put together by someone that my sister went to high school with. Everyone that participates has to make one meal a week that is 100% local, then email her with the results.
So this is my week 2 actually that I have to email her by tomorrow. It was quite possibly the best piece of beef I’ve ever had. The picture does not do it justice, but I don’t think any picture would.
The beef is a ribeye from Beaverhead Farms in Jamestown RI that we got from Pat’s Pastured at the farmers market. There are pattypans on the side and a fresh herb chimichurri type thing that I put together from some parsley, oregano and mint from the backyard. It makes such a big difference if you can get your hands on a good piece of beef. I don’t eat a lot of red meat, but when I do I want it to be like this!
After the fabulous meal I still had some weekend left as it was the holiday, so I decided to pick up some plums and put ’em in some jars. Thus I have Italian plums in honey syrup. Hopefully in the middle of winter they will make a very nice something. God only knows what, I don’t think I’ve ever made anything with plums before.
Then I still had more time and decided I needed to make some sweet potato zucchini bread with chocolate chips of course. There was so much batter that I ended up with 2 loaf pans and these mini muffins.
I’m not a writer, I’m not a photographer but I do like to cook good food and try to take pictures of it and share it with people for whatever reason. I know that in real life seeing good food sometimes inspires others to make it themselves. I guess that’s what I want to do here, showcase some of the great creations that come out of our kitchen.
We try to have a local based food repertoire whenever we can, however with the fall/winter fast approaching that always gets to be increasingly difficult. Thus I’ve found a new obsession with canning things. So far it’s just been pickles and jam. In fact as I sit here I am supposed to be making brine for today’s pickle batch, I should also put away yesterday’s jam production. 14 more pints of peach jam, to add to the other 8 jars I have. Plus based on this post I bought some plums and must also tend to them. Canning doesn’t ever seem like it should take all day, yet somehow it always does. Just think how nice it’ll be to have fresh white peach jam in February though.
I have renewed my interest in my ice cream machine. I had gotten it a few years back and never had much success. I’m sure that this is due at least in part to my inability to follow recipes very well.
Today however I made raspberry chocolate chip frozen yogurt. It’s pretty damn good. I used greek yogurt and I think that helped a whole lot. Using regular lowfat yogurt always leaves you with an icy catastrophe. Plus it’s a beautiful color.
Sorry the pics a bit blurry. This salad was so good though. Local greens from Arcadian Farms, I love their spicy mustard mix. It’s so spicy it will clear your sinuses and make your eyes water! Homemade pesto with the first of my backyard basil thinned out with some red wine vinegar to make a pesto vinaigrette topped the salad. A few grilled potatoes on the side roundout the meal.
I also made a little biga for some ciabatta rolls that I finished off today. A little non-uniform in size but crispy on the outside and tender on the inside! The Kitchenaid really got a workout this morning with the dough.