I burned some donuts. Made some excellent muffins. Had a minor panic attack. Went to a suburban Target for the first time in months. Attempted to go to the library for actual library work. Forgot that spring break was a thing and couldn't get into said library. Frowned. Decided to eat my feelings in Chinese baked goods. Made homemade noodles. Spiced up the noods. Researched cute camera bags for the millionth time. Ate bacon for breakfast two days in a row.
So I would say that my weekend was okay...
I swear that whenever I plan to go on vacation the universe decides to throw every important task or project at me and I have negative days to do them. It feels great to have a lot to do. You know me, I like to stay busy. But I'm also just tired, ya know?
Let me remind you that I'm not a full time blogger! I still work 40 hours a week at my day job and then spend as many hours as I can on the blog and other freelance projects. Lately, I've been struggling with how to give 100% of my energy to every project while also maintaining my relationships. I wish I could spend each night on the couch with Reuben watching all of Law & Order: SVU. I mean, I try to do that as much as I can but there's always a constant nagging feeling at the back of my head remembering there's a recipe to write, photos to edit, or emails to get sent out. Omg, my taxes. Remind me to do my taxes before I leave for Italy!! I wish I could effortlessly say, "Yes, I can totally hang out on Saturday! I have nothing planned!" That's never the case because my weekends are spent testing and photographing recipes or working on project #149742786. It's a lot of sacrifice. Most friends understand and don't hate me when I keep saying "We'll hang out eventually!!!"
I've been side hustling for the last 2-3 years - painting, lettering, cooking, writing, doing lots of things. Reub and I met 5 years ago and obviously didn't live together. Those first 2 years in SF were spent getting to know each other and discovering we loved all the same foods! Except olives and blue cheese… yuck. Reuben and I would spend the weekends exploring the Bay Area and eating out all the time. We didn't really have a great kitchen for us to cook together in, which was sort of a bummer. But I think it was a perfect time for all that exploration! Once we moved in together 3 years ago, I finally felt a bit of stability. I actually had a kitchen and a space to work on all my projects! No craigslist roommates to get in my way!! Although, I do love my Big Green House roommies 4EVER <3 Anyways, that’s the story of how I became a workaholic.
Whoa, sorry to rant about work! I think I just need a vacation... I'm really fine! Dramatic but fine… what else is new? Although, an insurance commercial made me bawl my eyes out the other night... so maybe I'm just extra emotional? Thankfully we're heading to Italy in less than 2 weeks! I'm so ready to get out of the country for a little bit, to explore a brand new country, and to eat ALL THE CARBS. I'm hoping to come back inspired, semi-rested, and full of motivation to keep tackling this hustle!
Let’s chit chat about these dumplings! I love dreaming up of new ways to manipulate dumpling wrappers! It’s literally edible playdough or maybe edible origami? What I like to do is somehow have the exterior of the dumpling hint at whats happening on the inside. Think of a purple dumpling that’s filled with purple cabbage! Or a dumpling filled with bok choy that also looks like bok choy! Whoa. Mind blown! I was pleased as punch with how these cute little dumplings came out! The filling is light and fresh from the bok choy and shramps (that’s how we text shrimps to each other…). The pleating on this dumping is as easy as it can get! I like to call it the “smoosh” technique! You literally smoosh or pinch together the middle portion of the dough together and you get a bunch of adorable bok choy dumps!
I’m going to admit that in order to achieve this look you use double the amount of wrapper for each dumpling. So it’s filling. But I don’t really mind the extra wrapper because in my opinion, the wrapper is the best part of the dumpling! Specifically the part of the dumpling where all the dough is concentrated and pinched together. If that’s also your favorite part then this dumpling is for you! Don’t forget to dip it in some soy sauce and chili oil, you won’t regret the extra carbs!
Bok Choy and Shrimp Dumplings
makes 36 large dumplings
10 oz (slightly less than 2 cups) all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
3/4 cup just boiled water
10 oz (slightly less than 2 cups) all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
5 oz spinach
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 lb shrimp - cleaned and finely chopped
4 heads of bok choy - shredded
4 green onion stalks - chopped
3 large cloves garlic - mince
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp Sriracha
1/4 tsp white pepper
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp cornstarch
olive oil for cooking
to make plain dough:
Add flour and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and slowly pour in just boiled water. Mix dough together with your finger tips or a wooden spoon if the mixture feels too hot. Mix until water is absorbed and the dough is just combine. Knead for 2-3 minutes until dough is round and smooth. Place dough in a medium ziplock bag, seal, and allow to rest and hydrate for at least 30 minutes. Dough can rest for up to 2 hours before being used.
to make spinach dough:
Bring water to a boil in a saucepan. Add spinach and cook until spinach has wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Puree the spinach and water in a blender or immersion blender.
Add flour and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and slowly pour in spinach puree. Mix dough together with your finger tips or a wooden spoon. Mix until puree is absorbed and the dough is just combine. Knead for 2-3 minutes until dough is round, smooth, and evenly green. Place dough in a medium ziplock bag, seal, and allow to rest and hydrate for at least 30 minutes. Dough can rest for up to 2 hours before being used.
Heat about 2 tsp of oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add in garlic and bok choy. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5-6 minutes until bok choy is tender. Scoop in a large bowl and set aside to cool.
Add finely chopped shrimp, chopped green onions, soy sauce, sesame oil, Sriracha, white pepper, oyster sauce, and cornstarch to the bowl of bok choy. Give it a good stir until everything is evenly combined. Allow the filling to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.
To prepare your wrappers, lightly flour your work surface. Take the plain dough and cut it in half. Roll out one half of the plain dough into a 1” thick rope. Take the spinach dough and cut in half. Roll out one half of the spinach dough into a rectangle large enough to wrap around the plain dough. Place the plain dough in the center of the spinach dough. Roll up the dough and pinch the seams of the spinach dough to seal. Give the rope a quick roll to smooth out. Repeat with other half of dough.
Cut each rope of dough into 18 equal pieces, giving you 36 pieces of dough total. Place the piece of dough cut side up on your work surface and gently press it down with the palm of your hand to form a flat disc. Roll out each piece of dough into a 4”-5” round circle. If you want to roll out all the dough at once, you can stack the wrappers with a light dusting of flour between each one. Lightly cover the prepared wrappers with plastic wrap or a towel to avoid drying out.
Take one wrapper and fill with 1 tbsp of filling. “Smoosh” or pinch the middle portion of the wrapper (the space between the filling and the outer edge of the wrapper) together to get the bok choy look. Repeat with remaining dumplings.
Set up your steaming meathod. My method: Bring a pot of water to a boil. Line a bamboo steamer, that’s the same diameter as the pot of boiling water, with perforated parchment paper or cabbage leaves. Fill the steamer with dumplings. Cover the steamer with the lid and steam for 8-9 minutes. Remove the steamer from the pot and lift the lid to allow the steam to release. Allow the dumplings to cool slightly, enjoy with soy sauce!
The spinach dough is speckled from the bits of spinach leaves. I liked this look! But if you prefer a more pure color you can press the pureed spinach through a fine mesh sieve. Just make sure you have a total of 3/4 cup of liquid. Add a bit more water if you need.
This recipe makes double the amount of dough that’s typically used in my other dumpling recipes. This was done to achieve the leafy bok choy look. Plus the wrapper is the best part of dumplings in my opinion!
To freeze, place dumplings on a baking tray and stick in the freezer until frozen solid. Store frozen dumplings in a ziplock bag. When steaming from frozen, do not defrost, and stream for 15-17 minutes.