Mar 5, 2014
oh arctic vortex, i am so tired of you. i am longing for the lush colors, flavors and textures of another time and place. i am often trying to cure whatever ails my family with vital foods. so when the cold and greys get at you, i recommend brightening your day and your week with say a classic dish from vietnam. warm. friendly. delicious brightness. this is one of my favorite foods in the whole wide world. fresh textures. lively flavors, crispy, salty sour sweet. it took me quite a long time to find and then massage a recipe i liked. but after a few years of research, i finally found what i was looking for. it didn't come easy. but it was worth it. so here you go. pour yourself into a new project, get re-energized, fight back against the chill. a whole new season is coming on.
1/2 cup dried mung beans
2 cups warm water
1. assemble ingredients. place dried mung beans in a small glass bowl, add water to cover. allow to soften for 1 hour. make the dipping sauce and set out the garnishes while you wait.
1 cup coconut milk
2 cups rice flour
1 cup rice or potato starch
1 heaping teaspoon tumeric
3 thinly sliced scallions
4 cups water
1 boneless pork chop cut into thin slices
3/4 lb shelled and deveined shrimp, halved
4 cups bean sprouts
2. lightly drain the softened mung beans. place them in a blender with the coconut milk. process until nice and smooth. pour into a medium sized bowl and add the flour, starch, tumeric, and water. whisk until combined. add in the scallions and whisk a bit more. allow the batter to rest while you are cooking the fillings.
3. in a nonstick pan, the same one you are going to use to make the crepes, add a small smattering of olive or rice bran oil and quickly sauté the pork slices over very high heat. make sure the pan is nice and hot. brown the slices on each side and set aside on a platter, they should be seared but lightly cooked, they will cook a little more in the crepe. next add the shrimp halves, again sauté quickly on high heat, sear, but lightly undercook. remove and set aside. now the bean sprouts. sauté quickly for 2 minutes and remove.
4. okay now it is show time. add another drizzle of olive or rice bran oil to the nonstick pan, (incidentally i use an 8 inch pan but a 6 or 9 inch could work in a pinch). stir up the batter and pour about 3/4 up of batter into the pan in a thin layer, swirling it around to cover the bottom of the pan with a few deft circles or your wrist (you can do this and it might even be fun). okay make sure the heat is on medium high or even high depending on your stove. let the batter sizzle in the pan and cover it for a minute, to cook through now add a small handful of bean sprouts and the a few slices of the cooked pork and shrimp, cover and cook another minute, and do not over stuff the crepe or it will be difficult to eat. check to make sure the crepe is nice and crisp. let it cook another minute if you are unsure, you do not want it to be gloppy or soggy, but light and crisp. okay when its ready insert your spatula under half the crepe, gingerly and swiftly fold it over on top of itself. now slide it onto a plate. one by one the crepes will be ready. i have even trained my kids to cook their own so the cook (me) gets to eat.
5. serve immediately. if you are super neat, cut the folded crepe into triangles and wrap in the lettuce leaf garnish and dip in a small dish of sauce. if you are more like me, cut into it haphazardly with fork and wrap in lettuce and dip, spilling some, but not too much. dive in. mmmm. yum.
heirloom, butter, red and green leaf lettuces, shredded carrot, cilantro leaves and nuoc cham dipping sauce.
nuoc cham (basic dipping sauce)
3 Tablespoons lime juice
3 Tablespoons brown sugar or palm sugar
1/2 cup water
3 Tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon minced shallot
(optional minced cilantro stems, grated carrot, minced thai red chili)
whisk together and let rest for 30 minutes or more to combine the flavors. Taste for flavor balance as some limes are sweeter than others and some fish sauce is saltier than others. If it is too strong dilute with an even mixture of water and rice vinegar until desired lightness is achieved.
Jan 30, 2014
Wow, a bright and shiny new year is upon us. If you are anything like me, you are happy to say goodbye to the last one and say hello to a fresh start. I hope you are well and galloping swiftly toward your fondest dreams in the year of the horse.
In honor of the new lunar year below, is my recipe for pork and shrimp potstickers. They are really not too difficult. I would say moderate effort will work. The homemade dough is easy, easier than pie, as most things are. And the filling, well that is not too hard either. If it seems taxing, you can put it off and make them in stages over a few days. Give it a try, fresh, homemade dumplings are one of the best things in the universe, they freeze well, can be steamed or fried, and are especially delicious made to your own specs.
Pork and Shrimp Potstickers
makes 32 dumplings
2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup luke warm water
1 pound napa cabbage
1 cup chopped chinese chives (available in asian grocery stores)
1.5 teaspoons salt
4 large shrimp, raw, peeled, deveined, lightly chopped
1/2 pound ground pork
(or pork loin or tenderloin cut into chunks and processed in a food processor with a little olive or sesame oil to make up for the lack of pork fat in these lean cuts)
1 T dry sherry
1.5 Tablespoons soy sauce
olive oil and or rice bran oil
Tangy Citrus Soy Dipping Sauce
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons brown rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1. Mix the flour and water together in a medium mixing bowl with a dough whisk or wooden spoon. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead lightly on a lightly floured board for a couple of minutes until the dough becomes smoother and more elastic, add a few drops of water if too dry (as mine was this winter) or a little xtra flour if too sticky (as mine was last summer). Form the dough into a smooth ball, it should bounce back if you poke it, and place back in the mixing bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rest for 1 hour.
2. Slice the napa cabbage and then chop fine. Sprinkle a teaspoon of salt over the cabbage and allow to rest in a strainer lined with cheesecloth. Allow to rest for 30 minutes and then squeeze out the water, you will be able to remove a lot of water, maybe a cup. Discard the cabbage water.
3. Place the cabbage, the chopped shrimp, the ground pork, the sherry the soy sauce and a tablespoon of oil in a large mixing bowl and mix well with the spoon, dough whisk, or your hand. Cover and set aside while you roll out the dough.
4. Divide the well-rested dough in two and roll between your hands, making 2 even ropes 16 inches long, use a ruler for best results. Cut the dough ropes into 1 inch pieces and roll the 32 pieces into balls. Cover with the damp towel to keep moist, this is important. With a rolling pin, roll each piece into a 3 inch circle. Dust the circles with a little flour and stack. Keep the stacks covered with the damp towel.
5. Place a circle in the palm of your left hand and place a heaping teaspoon of the mixed filling in an oblong shape in the center of the dough circle. Fold the dough over and seal the edges, making half circle shapes. Pinch the seams together and place four small folds in each dumpling as above in the photos. Keep the finished dumplings under the cloth to keep them from drying out.
6. The dumplings can be boiled or fried at this point. To boil fill a medium stock pot half full and bring to boil on high heat. Slip up to 8 dumplings into the water, one at a time, and gently. Make sure they don't stick together or to the bottom of the pot. Allow the water to come back to a boil and then add 1 cup of cold water. Bring to a boil again and add another cup cold water. Bring to boil one last time, at that point the dumplings are ready to eat. To fry, heat a 9 inch nonstick pan over medium high heat. Add 1Tablespoon rice bran oil, add dumplings, again about 8, make sure they do not touch. Saute for a minute. Then add 1/2 cup cold water and cover. Cook for another 5 or 6 minutes until the water has evaporated. At this point you will want to shake them in the pan, lower the heat and cook for another 2 minutes until they are nicely browned, but not blackened.
6. Measure out the dipping sauce ingredients into a small bowl.
7. Serve the dumplings immediately with the dipping sauce.
Enjoy. I wish you and your family a prosperous new year with good fortune and good health. And remember, sometimes a little extra effort pays off handsomely. So grab some friends or family members and have them help you roll out these little nuggets of deliciousness.
Nov 7, 2013
well the day has arrived, or nearly. friday night i am having the opening reception for a show of my paintings @ crome architeture in marin county california. i've been working on this for a while now and it was not so easy shipping all the work across the country, but i am thrilled with the space and how it all came together so easily despite the distance. wish me luck tomorrow and check out the show if you find yourself in the bay area. natural states will be up november 7 2013 through january 7 2014. will post some photos from the opening next week. here's a link to my painting site www.gretchenkish.com and an announcement about the show from crome architecture http://goo.gl/YDEQCS i'm serving an assortment of crackers and small grapes on toothpicks that look like little grape kabobs, chocolate covered raisins, california pistachios, plus wine and sparkling water as refreshment, but that is the closest i've made it to cooking all week, takeout food is a great timesaver when you are working late every night.
Oct 23, 2013
what have i been up to? well a lot really. we sold the house and dispersed. my daughter has gone off to college, in the UK no less, and my son has gone off to school in massachusetts, we sold the big house and i have moved into a beautifully renovated barn, lovingly relocated from new hampshire. i am really excited about living in a barn, and the best part is the renovation was done prior to my arrival, and not by me this time, no construction this time. my gorgeous little gem of a kitchen is tiny but highly functional and i am cooking for a much smaller crowd.
it's been an adjustment, but i am rolling with it. my big brother was out for a visit from nyc yesterdayand took this photo while i roasted some acorn squash for lunch.
i have also been busy painting and creating a new website for my artwork. please check it out here if you get the chance. i am having a solo show in a couple of weeks out in marin county, california and have lots to do to get ready.
as always, i am still cooking and eating lots of great regular dishes and i am cooking a lot of roast vegetables. i have several posts shot and will be writing them up and posting soon. in the meantime enjoy the fall and of course apple season, one of the very best times of the year. crunch crunch yum. i'm enjoying 3 or 4 apples a day myself, mostly jonathans and macouns. mmm.