Pork Dumplings

Last night I made pork dumplings that Colton said were better than most of the pork dumplings he’s had in his life. I figured that meant I should write down the recipe before I forgot what I did. 🙂

I made my own dumpling wrappers based on this recipe, and made filling based on this recipe. The dipping sauce was more of a general impression of several dipping sauces. 

Dumpling wrappers

2 cup white flour

1 cup boiling water

Put flour in food processor. While the food processor is running, pour in boiling water in a thin stream. Let it mix until the dough forms a cohesive lump, then for another minute or so. Take it out and knead it until it’s smooth and springy, then let it rest while mixing up the filling.

 

Dumpling filling

1 pound ground pork, raw

1 TBSP minced garlic

1 egg

2 TBSP  fresh parsley

2 TBSP ‘soy sauce

1 1/2 TBSP peanut oil

1 TBSP minced fresh ginger

Mix.

 

 Divide the dough into 4 pieces and roll each out as thin as possible. I would have divided it into 2 pieces to do this, but my counters aren’t that big… Also, the dough didn’t get quite as thin as I thought it should, but it was still bordering on ‘translucent’ about a 1/16”, and the effect was quite good even though it was a little thicker than the wrapper on restaurant dumplings. I cut them into roughly 3 inch squares (some oddly shaped edges) and got almost 40 dumplings out of the dough instead of the predicted 50.

 I put a tsp to a tsp and a half of meat mixture in the middle of each square, folded the dough into a triangle, sealed the edges, and then pinched the two triangle points together at the top of the dumpling. I didn’t find applying water to make any difference in whether the dumpling edges sealed or not. 

 I boiled a big pot of salted water and boiled the dumplings in two batches. I didn’t time how long they took to cook, but I cooked them for a minutes or two after they started floating, for good measure. 

 I served them with a dipping sauce made mostly of ‘soy sauce’ with a sprinkle of garlic powder and ginger powder and a TBSP or so of peanut oil.

 Originally I was going to use this as base recipe to experiment with whole wheat dumpling wrappers, but this turned out so well that Colton said he would be very disappointed if I changed it, so I guess this will remain an unhealthy splurge meal. 🙂

 

Watermelon Relish

The other day I made some watermelon juice. Watermelon juices pretty thoroughly, but I did have some pulp left from running the rind through the juicer along with the flesh. (I peeled off the green part pre-juicing, but left on the white part.)

Sometimes juice pulp baffles me, as you can end up with odd mixtures, and even I rarely think, “Hey, I’ve been wanting a blend of mango, carrot and celery for this recipe I wanted to try!” But juicing a single kind of produce for once? No brainer.

I based this recipe on Paula Dean’s pickled watermelon rind, and it turned out to be some pretty good sweet relish. (If you don’t happen to have juiced any watermelon recently, you could save and peel the rind after you eat your watermelon and run it through a food processor to achieve the needed watermelon rind pulp.)

 

Watermelon Relish

1 ¾ cups watermelon rind pulp

1 tsp salt

Pinch ground mustard

Dash black pepper

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

¾ cup sugar

¾ cup water

Simmer until all ingredients are blended and watermelon pulp has softened to your preferred relish consistency.

Alternatively, you should be able to ferment this, as both apple cider vinegar and salt are used as fermentation kickstarters, but I can’t vouch for the definitive success of this option.

Freezer cooking with meat!

It was good shopping week last week–I found meat on clearance. I’d gone to a store not on my usual route, because they had chuck roast and pork steaks on sale for less than $2 a pound.

Less than $2 a pound is a good deal for meat, but not as good as less than $1 a pound.  When I found ground pork and ground beef on manager’s special for 99 cents a pound I changed my meat buying plans, cut back on on the roast and skipped the pork steaks entirely. Instead I bought 27 pounds of ground meat.

Yes, 27 pounds.

We like our protein around here, can you tell?

Plus, I have this chest freezer sitting our living room, and really, what’s the point of even having a chest freezer if you can’t buy 27 pounds of meat when you find an amazing deal?

Now, I could have just divided all the meat up into one pound portions and frozen them in sandwich bags like I normally do when I buy a three pound roll of ground beef… but that is entirely prosaic way to react to the meat explosion that is 27 pounds of meat.

(Okay, I’m breaking into my raptures for a moment to admit that to those of you who buy half a cow at a time, 27 pounds doesn’t sound like that much. But there are only two of us, and while I like the idea of buying entire sections of dead animal to eat, our grocery budget tends more toward the three pound roll of ground beef at Aldi.  Just imagine how much more I’d rhapsodize over half a cow worth of meat, and be glad it was only 27 pounds.)

I planned a freezer cooking afternoon. As  freezer cooking sessions go, it was low key, but I believe I did justice to my meat deal.

First, I put six pounds of ground beef in my large saucepot to brown. (In my head it will forever be the ‘oatmeal sized pot’ despite the fact that currently one batch of oatmeal in that pot would last us about two weeks, even if Colton liked oatmeal.) I’m glad I started with that, because it takes a long time to brown six pounds of ground beef. I stirred it every so often between other tasks, and by the time it cooked and then cooled, it was one of the last things I put away in the freezer.

Then, in my largest metal mixing bowl, I mixed six pounds of ground beef with four pounds of ground pork, plus eggs, oatmeal, onions and other meatloaf ingredients, and discovered that my very largest metal mixing bowl is not really (or is just barely, depending on how you look at it) big enough for making ten pounds of meatloaf mixture.

I only had two foil loaf pans, so I made five more small meatloaves on sheets of parchment paper, meant for cooking on baking sheets after thawing. Somehow I managed to pour ketchup topping over them, wrap them in slightly too small sheets of parchment paper, and stuff them two or three at a time in gallon freezer bags without making a huge mess.

With the rest of the meatloaf mixture I made over three dozen meatballs. I discovered that making meatballs and oven cooking them isn’t nearly as time consuming as I’d always somehow assumed making meatballs would be. But then, that might have just been in comparison to a full afternoon of freezer cooking…

I ran out of time that afternoon, so it wasn’t until the next day that I put five pounds of ground pork in the freezer for future testing of recipes such as this wonton soup with homemade wonton wrappers. I would say that will happen someday when I’m feeling ambitious, but really it will just happen someday after I borrow a pasta machine.

My last five pounds of ground pork (because you were counting and knew how many pounds were left, right?) I turned into sausage. Not sausages, though that would be really cool too, but just pork seasoned up without having to wonder what weird stuff was added for flavor. It turned out having a very mild italian sausage type flavor, and since I liked it, I’ll document the spice blend here for future reference.

2 TBSP sea salt

2 TBSP garlic powder

2TBSP onion powder

2 tsp black pepper

1 TBSP dried parsely

1 TBSP paprika

2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp cayenne

1 tsp cumin

2 tsp basil

1 tsp oregano

2 tsp thyme

Cranberry Sunflower Seed Chocolate Bars

If, like me, you’re looking for more ways to get sprouted sunflower seeds and coconut oil into your diet, you’ll like this post. The rest of you can move on and ignore it. You know, if you hate eating chocolate…

I based this recipe on Three Ingredient Chocolate Bars, but modified it to use turbinado sugar because I’m slightly skeptical of stevia and good raw honey is stinking expensive.

I used sunflower seeds that were halfway between soaked and sprouted. I’ve found that if I soak them is saltwater overnight, drain them and stick them in the fridge, they very slowly sprout with no further attention needed.

For the mixing coconut oil and sugar stage my actual process looked more like, “Try to mix turbinado sugar with coconut oil. Try harder. Leave it for a while and see if turbinado dissolves in oil. Discover that it just doesn’t. Try heating it again. Finally try adding a splash of water and declare the odd, gloopy almost mixed substance a success.” You get the modified version below, and once you mix in the cocoa powder everything blends together just fine.

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Cranberry Sunflower Seed Chocolate Bars

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup turbinado sugar, slightly heaping unless you like very dark chocolate

1 TBSP water

1 cup +2 TBSP cocoa powder (I used raw cocao powder)

2/3 cup dried cranberries

2/3 cup soaked sunflower seeds

Sprinkle cranberries and sunflower seeds across the bottom of an 8×8 pan. (I didn’t actually measure them, just used enough to almost cover the entire bottom of the pan.)

Melt coconut oil in medium saucepan. Remove from heat and mix in sugar and water. Return to heat if necessary get sugar to dissolve. It doesn’t have to mix neatly, but if you still have granules your chocolate will be grainy.

Mix in cocoa powder.

Pour chocolate mixture evenly over cranberries and sunflower seeds, smoothing slightly if necessary.

Freeze for 15-30 minutes.

Remove from freezer and let soften slightly before cutting. (Or I suppose you could just take it out before it gets really hard and cut it then, if you’re an organized person like that.)

Makes 15 ‘fun sized’ bars.

 

Zesty Beans and Rice

I came up with this recipe yesterday, based on a Thai dipping sauce, and some boring pinto beans and rice left over in the fridge. Result: very unboring beans and rice. I’m going to try to come up with a version that uses only dry pantry ingredients so I can mix up the spices ahead of time and keep them on hand for an easy beans and rice meal.

 

1/4 cup lime juice

1/4 cup molasses

1-1 1/2  tsp salt

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

2 pinches ginger

dash of pepper

dash of cayenne

3 cups cooked beans and rice, mixed

1 cup shredded chicken

2 TBSP lard (or olive oil)

Warm cast iron skillet, then turn off. Add lime juice to skillet, then add molasses and seasonings. Mix thoroughly, then add beans and rice, chicken and lard. Heat through until bubbly and most or all of the liquid has been absorbed. Can be served as a casserole style main dish or as burrito filling.

If you like spicy food you’ll want a lot more than a dash of cayenne. If you don’t like even a hint of spiciness in your food, you can replace the cayenne with cumin.

Orange Kiss Me Muffins

Here’s a recipe from Thursday’s baking session that’s distinctly *not* GAPS friendly. It’s a cross between this lemon muffin recipe and my (fairly vague) memories of orange kiss me cake. These muffins are Colton approved, even with whole wheat flour, but that may be because I used white sugar and they came out sweeter than I intended…

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(I can’t decide if putting pictures in my posts makes this like a real cooking blog, or proves that I’m not because my food had crumbs.) 🙂

 

Orange Kiss Me Muffins

2 cups flour (I used fresh ground soft white wheat)

3/4-1 cup sugar (1 cup was cake level sweeteness; cut back to 3/4 or less for normal muffin level sweetness)

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1/2-3/4 tsp cinnamon

2 oranges

2 eggs

1 cup pineapple juice

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2-1 cup walnuts

1/2-1 cup raisins

(I used roughly half a cup each of walnuts and raisins, and they were present but low key in the finished product)

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin tin(s). Mix flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in medium sized bowl.

Quarter oranges and blend in blender or food processor until finely chopped. Mixture will look like the most pulpy orange juice ever. Since your blender/food processor is being used anyway, throw the rest of the ingredients in with the oranges and let it mix them for you.

Add the orange mixture to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined.

This mixture makes 12-18 muffins. I made 12, so they were large, but they came out very flat and spread across the top of the muffin pan. To deal with this I pushed the tops back with a knife while they were still hot and soft so they’d come out of the pan in one piece when cool, but next time I’d probably just fill the muffin tins to 2/3 full and make more muffins.

Bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

As usual, I put the muffins in a gallon freezer bag after they cooled and froze them to reheat individually as needed for breakfasts. We tried them this morning and they reheated very nicely, and we decided the recipe needed to be documented before I forgot it. 🙂

Next time I might try sweetening with half a cup of honey and cutting the pineapple juice back to 3/4 of a cup.

Pineapple Breakfast Cake (gluten free, grain free)

I revisited a GAPS recipe today. I’m always looking for more high protein breakfast ideas, and I also happened to be trying to use up the rest of a #10 can of pineapple before it went bad. We’re fans of pineapple around here, but not to the point that I can be confident that the two of us will eat an entire #10 can of it before it goes bad.

Enter, GAPS pineapple upside down cake. I might adjust the name to ‘pineapple cobbler’ now, but it’s essentially the same recipe.

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Since I originally just posted links to all the recipe components I put together to make my recipe, I’m posting the entire recipe here, in one place.

1/2 cup butter

1 cup honey

1 15 oz can pineapple, or 2 cups

 

3 cups sunflower seed flour (or other nut flour)

1 cup coconut flour

1/8 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

4 eggs

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup pineapple juice

1/2 cup melted butter

 

Melt 1/2 cup butter in 9×13 pan in 300 degree oven.

Mix flours, salt and baking soda. Add eggs, pineapple juice and other 1/2 cup melted butter.

Add honey to 9×13 pan and mix with melted butter. Add pineapple. Return to oven for 5 minutes.

Pour batter over pineapple mixture and cook at 300 degrees for 60 minutes or more, until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

 

You can use other ratios of sunflower seed flour to coconut flour–using just sunflower seed flour will produce a very dense cake, using just coconut flour will produce a lower protein, lighter textured cake. Adjust ratio according to your desired outcome, or to what flour you happen to have on hand.

You can substitute a cup of applesauce for the eggs to make it egg free. (If you do, you can probably also cut back on the honey, if desired.)

You can substitute agave for part or all of the honey.

You can substitute coconut oil or other neutral flavored oil for the butter to make it dairy free.