Valentine's Day Marbled Sugar Cookies

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I. AM. SO. FULL. Of love! Just kidding. Sort of. Love ya, Reuben! Seriously, though... I'm so full, I feel like I'm going to pop. It has been a very big weekend of eating for us. What else is new?? We attended our 3rd annual Dim Sum Beer Brunch on Saturday. It's not a fancy beer pairing where each course has a beer perfectly selected to sip on. It is more like a giant feast where dumplings and peking duck is coming out every minute and everyone is crushing beers like they are college freshman. It's a lot of fun. The beer was provided by Fort Point Beer Company and the event was held at Hong Kong Lounge, which made things pretty convenient for us. It was a 10 minute walk from our apartment, so we were able to burn off like 2 dumplings. That's something! I love this event so much. It combines Reuben's love of beer and my love of dim sum. Plus we get to enjoy it with our friends and meet some kind new strangers too! I think bonding over dumplings is the best way to make new friends : )

On Sunday we feasted again. Where are my stretchy pants?? Our friend, Will, generously prepared for us and about a dozen of his other friends an enormous southern feast. I helped out in the kitchen by doing what I do best... frying balls. Balls of boudin, fried and breaded balls of pork sausage and rice. And I tried turducken for the first time! The concept of turducken sort of disgust me. The idea of an animal being stuffed inside of another animal... and then another animal. I but I tried it for the sake of food research! I liked it! It was an interesting medley of flavors and textures. The meal was big, porky, beany, turduckeny, and pudding-y. There was banana pudding and I almost died. I don't think I have told you this before, but I LOVE BANANA PUDDING. I find it so odd that I love it, because I am not a huge fan of soft desserts. I love me some crunch and crispy bits. But banana pudding is where I make an exception. I love the sweet spot where the custard has just softened the vanilla wafers. The best texture! I've never made banana pudding for myself before, due to fear of me sitting alone all night eating the entire thing until I puke. That's a real fear. So I was super excited when Will told me there would be banana pudding. I scooped myself a big glop of pudding, blissfully enjoyed every bite, and then realized that my stomach had reached it's limit. I'll wait another year to more banana pudding. Too dangerous. 

So this next week will be full of vegetables, low on carbs, and maybe some running. I have I told you I started running?? It's sort of awful but I sort of like it. Valentine's day is this Wednesday though, so we will probably have carbs and a few select vegetables that day. Reuben is making pizza! I'm sort of hopping that he makes it heart shaped, but I think that's too cheesy for him. Did you see what I did there??? hehehehe

Valentine's Day is not a huge event for us. Instead of buying each other presents, we normally make something edible for each other. Reuben makes pizza typically. But for our first Valentine's Day he brought me dim sum in bed and I was like "oh, damn. he's the one." In years past, I've made him crappy gluten free bacon scones, mediocre everything bagels, and a delicious lamb dinner. I've getting a little better with my gifts each year obviously. I'm not exactly sure what I'll make this year... but inspiration can strike at any second! Since we feel so stuffed at the moment, I'm sure he'd be happy if I just made him a salad for Valentines Day.

Cookies! These are a V-Day twist on my Marbled Tahini Sugar Cookies! Instead of regular and black tahini, I kept these as plain old sugar cookies with the added pink color from beet powder. Crushed freeze dried strawberries work as well! That's what I was originally going to use, but my strawberries got a little stale and weren't crushing properly. Food coloring is totally acceptable too, if you don't have random pink powders in your pantry. They are classic cookies, not too sweet, slightly buttery, and soft with a subtle crisp edge. The perfect cookie for an easy stress free Valentines Day! Or Galentines!!


Valentine's Day Marbled Sugar Cookies

makes 28 cookies

steps:

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

In the bowl of your standmixer or with an electric beater, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add in egg and almond extract until combined.

Slowly add in the flour mixture and beat at low speed until dough is evenly mixed. 

Scoop out half to two thirds of the dough into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set in the fridge.

Add in beet powder or pink food coloring into the remaining dough and beat until incorporated. Place in a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge to chill for at least one hour. Chilling the dough helps the cookies keep their shape.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface. Divide both doughs into 3 equal parts. Arrange the dough balls in a 2x3 arrangement, alternating colors. Give it a quick knead to get the marbled affect. Try not to over knead so the color doesn't get too muddy.

Roll out the dough until it is about 1/4" thick. Lightly dust the dough with flour if the dough is sticking. You can divide the dough in half if it is easier for you to work with that way. Lightly flour your cookie cutter and cut out your cookies.

Arrange cookies on parchment lined baking sheets, about 1" apart from each other. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Bake for less time if your cookies are smaller.

Allow the cookies to cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

materials:

3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks (16 Tbsp) butter - softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp beet powder or crushed freeze dried strawberries
(or pink food coloring works too)

Vegetarian Turmeric Potstickers

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I made a different dumpling every weekend for a month and this is what happened.

That is the alternate title for this post. While the rest of the internet was partaking in Whole30 or dry January, I was making dumplings for a whole month. One of my New Year's resolutions was to make more food that I love. Not that I don't love all the recipes that I post on here. I just really wanted to make it priority to share recipes that turn me into the blushing/smiling emoji. That means a lot of dumplings, noodles, and cake. So I decided to spend the entire month of January creating/testing/flopping/eating dumplings leading up to Chinese New Year. Which is 1.5 weeks away! Hooray!

In case you missed any of the recent dumpling recipes, I made Crab and Mushroom Wontons in Chili Oil, Shrimp Dumplings (Har Gow), Spiced Turkey Momos, and these here Vegetarian Turmeric Potstickers. My fingers are twitching just a little thinking about all the dumplings I folded in January. But there is a dumpling recipe for everyone now! So there really isn't a reason why you shouldn't be scheduling a dumpling making session in the near future.

I realized that I actually learned a lot from making a billion dumplings. Okay, I actually only made like 100. 

1. An ugly dumpling is still a delicious dumpling. I'm not going to lie to you guys. Dumpling folds are hard. Who knew there are so many dumpling folds out there?! I made things 100x difficult for myself by doing a different fold for each dumpling. With each recipe the first couple dumplings were always duds. It's sort of like pancakes. The first one is always underdone and slightly burnt at the same time. But as you continue to push through the internal stress building up in you and your fingers start to shake a little, your dumplings will eventually start to look better. It just takes time and patiences. With each fold and each pleat, your fingers will get more comfortable with the motions. Even if your whole batch looks like a bunch of oblong doughy meatballs, they will still taste amazing! Shape does not affect flavor.

2. Enjoy the monotony. When I make dumplings with my family it tends to go by pretty quickly. Mainly because there are at least 3 or 4 of us folding together. In my little SF kitchen there is just me. Reuben helps out more with the cooking aspect. So I find myself alone folding most of the time. I really don't mind it though. It is meditative in a weird way. It feels really great to not have to think about anything other than the little motions of folding a dumpling. I think it is because Monday through Friday, I am constantly trying to solve problems or trying to convince contractors to do things for me. So it feels great for the brain when the only real problem at the moment is trying to get a tight seal on your pleats. And a dumpling doesn't talk back at you and tell you can't move something to where you want to move it.

3. It is okay to use store bought wrappers. It hurts me to say that. Only because I LOVE a thick and doughy dumpling wrapper. My dad's potsticker wrappers are the absolute best and it is because the dough is just so good. You really can't recreate that texture with store bough wrappers. It's just different. Not bad. Just different. I ended up making my own dough for all my recipes, with the exception being the wontons. It is definitely worth it if you have the time and patience to make your own dough. But I realized that sometimes, you just ain't got the time! My day job has been getting more and more hectic, so I've been appreciating any shortcut I can get in the dumpling department. Jumping back to lesson #1, it is still going to taste good!

I'll be taking a little break from making dumplings for a while. I didn't say eating dumplings though. Still eating them on a weekly basis! Before I move on to more noodles and cakes, let me talk about these vegetarian friendly potstickers! The dough is spiced with a bit of turmeric to give it that pretty golden color. It doesn't affect the flavor too much, but you probably get an itty bitty amount of the health benefits from turmeric. The filling is packed with carrots, cabbage, zucchini, and cellophane noodles. The veggies add health, texture, and much needed moister and body to the filling. Cellophane noodles are a traditional filler used in vegetarian dumplings. You might also know them as bean thread noodles. They take like no time to cook and absorb a ton of flavor! You can find them at your local asian market packaged in little bundles. You can fold the potstickers in whatever fold you feel comfortable with. I folded these in a two directional crescent fold, which makes them look like little moons. Link to a helpful video below. The dumplings get a nice sear in a skillet for that characteristic crunchy bottom and then steam for a few minutes in the pan to get everything else all cooked and ready for optimal deliciousness. It seems contradictory, but trust me. It works. You'll have yourself a potsticker!

Oh! I literally just realized that these potstickers are vegan too!! Double health points! Ok, I give you permission to eat as many of these as you want.


Vegetarian Turmeric Potstickers

makes 24 dumplings

for the dumpling dough:

2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup just boiled water
2 tsp turmeric

for the filling:

1 bundle of dried cellophane/bean thread noodles
1 large carrot finely chopped
1 zucchini finely chopped
1 cup finely chopped cabbage
1/4 cup chopped green onions (whites + greens)
2 garlic cloves finely minced
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tsp sesame oil

olive oil
1/4 cup water

filling:

Place one bundle of dried cellophane/bean thread in a heat proof bowl. Pour boiling water over the noodles until the noodles are submerged. Steep the noodles in the hot water for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse noodles under cold water. Place noodles back in a dry mixing bowl. Cut up the noodles into smaller pieces with kitchen scissors or a knife.

Finely chop the carrot, zucchini and cabbage. Alternatively, you can process all the vegetables in a food processor to get nice consistent sizes and save loads of time.

Add the vegetables, green onions, garlic, oyster sauce, salt, white pepper, and sesame oil to the bowl of noodles. Give everything a good mix and allow the filling to sit for at least 15 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.

dough:

To prepare your dough, place flour and turmeric in a large bowl. Give it a good mix. Create a well in center and slowly pour in the just boiled water. Stir the water into the flour with a wooden spoon. Once all the water has been absorbed, start kneading by hand. Knead either in the bowl or on a lightly floured surface for 4 minutes until you get a smooth and consistent ball of dough. Place dough ball in a ziplock bag and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes. The dough will slightly steam in the bag and make it easier to work with.

assemble:

Once your dough has rested, take out of the ziplock bag and knead your dough again for 10 seconds. Divide the dough in half. Keep 1 half in the ziplock bag so it doesn't dry out.

Roll out the other half into a 1" think rope. Divide the rope into 12 equal pieces. With a small rolling pin, roll out each piece into 3" to 3 1/2" discs. If the dough starts to stick just sprinkle some flour on your surface and the rolling pin. Alternatively, you could use a tortilla press to make your wrappers. I find that you still have to using the rolling pin a little to get it thin enough.

Place a heaping teaspoon of filling (you can adjust based on the size of your wrappers) in the middle of the wrapper. The noodles can get a little fussy but just be patient and try to make tight bundles. Fold the dumpling by creating pleats on one side of the dumpling. Firming pinching each pleat for a tight seal. Here is a helpful folding video! These dumplings are the two directional crescent fold at the end of the video.

Place folded dumplings on a flour dusted baking sheet and cover with a kitchen towel while you fold the rest.

cook:

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet (with fitted lid) over medium high heat. Arrange dumplings in the skillet with the flat side down. Sear the bottoms of the dumplings for 2 minutes. Do not tough them. Add in 1/4 cup water and cover the skillet with the lid. Allow the dumplings to steam for 5 minutes, until all the water has evaporated. Remove the lid and let the dumplings sear in the pan for another minute. The bottoms of the dumplings should be golden brown and crispy.

Remove from pan and allow to slightly cool before eating. Serve with dark soy and hot sauce.

Enjoy!

Spiced Turkey Momos

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Did you guys know I have a real job???? Yep. When I'm not folding a bajillion dumplings or working on questionable baking experiments, I'm working away as an architect/interior designer. About 90% of the time it's really fun and I'm able to balance my day job with my every-other-minute-of-the-day job as dumpling maker and cake baker. Except for this week. I'm in that 10% when it's not super fun and I have a million fires to put out and not enough time in the day to catch up with everything. I've been waking up before 6:30 am all week. Today I was up at 5am! JESUS. If you know me personally or have ever lived with me, you know that the idea of me waking up early sounds literally impossible. I could sleep for 12 hours straight if I never had to wake up to pee or if no one was around to check if I was still alive. But I'm doing it. The one thing that I like about being a busy bee is that once this wave of craziness passes, you feel like a strong independent woman who gets shit done. It's a great feeling!

So, the small amount of energy I normally reserve for Eat Cho Food things has been slightly drained. Thankfully, I folded my last dumpling this past weekend! Well my last dumpling for a while. I definitely overdid it with the dumplings this past month. I NEVER thought I would say that. But dumplings are a lot of work! I can't imagine being a dumpling folding lady as my full time job. Those ladies must have great fingers. I'll share my last dumpling next week. I'm considering titling that post I made dumplings every weekend for a month and this is what happened. Seems very on trend... what does that even mean? Gosh, I'm so sleepy. My point is I should now be able to work on some less labor intensive recipes like oolong tea blondies and pineapple buns!

Let me tell you about these momos though, before I fall asleep at the keyboard. If you never had a momo before, you need to! They are Nepalese/Tibetan dumplings. Similar to a classic chinese dumpling or potsticker, but packed with a bunch of warm spices. Think potsticker with indian spices: cumin, coriander, garam masala. They are so good! I had my very first momo in San Francisco at Little Nepal in Bernal Heights. I had honestly never heard of them or even ate Nepalese food before living in San Francisco. I just googled "nepalese restaurant ohio" and there are about 10 options in the whole state of Ohio. I'm actually sort of surprised there are that many. None in Cleveland though.... go figure.

These momos are filled with ground turkey (health!) and yummy spices, and lay on a bed of spicy tomato sauce. They have just the right amount of heat. Not too spicy that it makes your mouth feel like its on fire. But more like a gentle, slow, and pleasant warming sensation that makes you want to eat more. The tomato sauce adds a little bit more heat and also acid to help balance everything out. Honestly, I would throw this sauce over some pasta and call that dinner. Again, as with all dumplings they are labor intensive. But a freshly steamed, fried, or boiled dumpling is just on another level! So worth it.

You can fold momos in a bunch of different ways, but I like to fold them into these cute little bundles. I want to tell you that I am a dumpling folding master now, but I'm not. One day! I feel like I'm getting better and better with each dumpling recipe I try. But I'm still about 2 thousand dumplings away from being able to fold dumplings without any anxiety. Don't forget to freeze your extra uncooked dumplings and stock them up in the freezer!

I hope you all have a rejuvenating weekend full of sleep, not thinking about work, free time to make dumplings, and football! Are you having a party?! We have our Eagles beanies ready and chicken wings ready to be fried up. I'll probably end up half watching the game, reading my new cookbook, and cheering when Reuben cheers. Woo!


Spiced Turkey Momos

makes 24 dumplings

for the dumpling dough:

2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup just boiled water

for the filling:

3/4 lb ground turkey
1/2 small yellow onion finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped green onions (white and green parts)
1 serrano chile finely chopped
1 tsp fresh minced ginger
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp garam masala
1 /2 tsp dried chili flakes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
6 tbsp water

for the spicy tomato sauce:

3/4 lb tomatoes
1 serrano chili
4 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp water
1/4 tsp cumin
olive oil

filling:

To make your filling, combine turkey, onion, green onion, serrano chile, ginger, and garlic in a medium bowl. Give it a good mix with a fork until evenly combined.

Mix together all your spices, olive oil, and water in a small bowl. Pour the spice mixture into the meat mixture and give it another good mix. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the filling to rest and let the flavors develop for at least 30 minutes.

dough:

To prepare your dough, place flour in a large bowl. Create a well in center and slowly pour in the just boiled water. Stir the water into the flour with a wooden spoon. Once all the water has been absorbed, start kneading by hand. Knead either in the bowl or on a lightly floured surface for 4 minutes until you get a smooth and consistent ball of dough. Place dough ball in a ziplock bag and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes. The dough will slightly steam in the bag and make it easier to work with.

sauce:

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Place tomatoes, serrano chili, and garlic cloves on a baking tray. Toss with a light drizzle of olive oil and roast in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove serrano chili and garlic from the tray and continue roasting the tomatoes for another 15 minutes. 

In a food processor, pulse the tomatoes, garlic, serrano chili, salt, water and cumin for about 30 seconds until you get a fine salsa like texture. Taste and add more salt if you prefer. Set aside for dumplings.

assembly:

Once your dough has rested, take out of the ziplock bag and knead your dough again for 10 seconds. Divide the dough in half. Keep 1 half in the ziplock bag so it doesn't dry out.

Roll out the other half into a 1" think rope. Divide the rope into 12 equal pieces. With a small rolling pin, roll out each piece into 3" to 3 1/2" discs. If the dough starts to stick just sprinkle some flour on your surface and the rolling pin. Alternatively you could use a tortilla press to make your wrappers. I find that you still have to using the rolling pin a little to get it thin enough.

Place a heaping teaspoon of filling (you can adjust based on the size of your wrappers) in the middle of the wrapper. Fold the dumpling in counter clockwise circular motion, pinching tightly with each crease. Here is a link to a helpful folding video! Just note that the dumpling wrapper they are using is much thinner than the one we are making.

Place complete dumpling on a lightly floured baking tray and repeat the folding until all the wrappers have been used.

To steam the dumplings, boil a large pot of water. Line a bamboo steamer (that fits snuggly over your pot of water) with cabbage leaves or parchment paper. Once the water is boiling, place the dumplings in the steamer. Place the steamer with lid over the pot of boiling water and allow the dumplings steam for 8 minutes.

After 8 minutes the dumplings should have slightly plumped up. Allow to cool and serve with the spicy tomato sauce.

recipe adapted from the Spiced Lamb Momos in the Asian Dumplings cookbook