Turkey Dumplings with Scallion and Fresh Ginger

turkey dumpling

So it has been a long while since I have posted. Life caught up with me in the form of a move, work, and a few freelance assignments. However I am back again with some cool posts that I have built up in this break!

Let me tell you why I decided to make this recipe. For me, cooking has always been a stress reliever. This is especially the case when the recipe involves repetitive motion. Focusing all my energy on only one repeating task is a great way to get out of my head and mentally decompress.  Dumplings are a great example of this.

Aside from the initial mixing of the meat filling, most of the work only involves three steps. Fill, dampen the dough, and pinch everything together. You just repeat these steps until you run out of filling.  At the end, you have this beautiful plate full of dumplings that are ready to boil. Call me Type A, but having this nicely arranged plate (usually in a spiral shape) is a very relaxing site to see at the end of a hectic day.

Also, this is such a comforting food to eat. Think about it. Warm, soothing chicken broth. A slightly chewy filling with a hint of ginger. Tender dumpling dough. All of these are quite comforting things. This is also a very light recipe, so you won’t feel weighed down after eating it.

If what I just said still hasn’t hooked you in, let me say this is a great food for office lunches as they are the best the day after making them. Much like a good marinara sauce, these dumplings get better as they sit since all the flavors have had a chance to meld together. Now let’s get started:

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Ingredients

  • 1 package lean, ground turkey (you can also use ground pork or chicken)
  • 1 Tbs finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 package fresh wonton wrappers (you can find these at an Asian market or in the health/ethnic food section of your local grocery store)
  • 1 Tbs water, to glue the dumplings together
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 Tbs. sesame oil
  • Chicken broth to serve with (you can also serve dry with a soy dipping sauce)

Step 1: Let’s make the meat filling. Combine the ground turkey, ginger, green onion, egg and salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix until homogenous.

Step 2: Open dumpling wrappers. (Tip, keep a damp towel over your extra wrappers to keep them from drying out while you work. I usually isolate groups of 20 wrappers at a time.) Take one wrapper and dampen half of the edge.

Step 3: Take a teaspoon of meat filling and drop it in the middle of the wrapper. Lift the dry half of the wrapper and press it into the damp side. Before you completely seal the edges together, lightly press any excess air out of the dumpling. (This prevents them from floating to the top of the pan prematurely.

Step 4: Fill and fold all of your dumplings together until you run out of meat. As you fill plates with your raw dumplings, cover the dumplings with plastic wrap to prevent the dumpling skin from drying out.

Step 5: Boil water in a large saucepan. When it’s a rolling boil, place 10-15 dumplings into the pot. Be sure to not overcrowd the pot. Stir the water while dropping the dumplings to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Boil for 5-7 minutes. Break one dumpling in half after cooking and check to see if the meat is white. If it is still pink, continue cooking another 1-2 minutes.

Step 6: When fully cooked, drain and transfer dumplings to an oiled dish. Swirl the dumplings in the sesame oil to keep them from sticking together. Repeat step 5 as necessary. Serve warm with chicken broth.

turkey dumpling

turkey dumpling

Dark chocolate truffles with whiskey and sunflower seed brittle

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This holiday season I was determined to create foodie gifts for my loved ones. For some I made braided bread, which will come in a later post, however for one specific person I created this truffle recipe.

Crunchy, creamy, sweet, and salty (with a subtle kick from the whiskey), this truffle is a great show stopping dessert for those who are hitting holiday gifting late. The key to keeping this recipe simple would be a silicone mold so that the cleanup process is as easy as possible. Also, for those who are hesitant about making brittle, you can instead top the truffle with roasted sunflower seeds to cut out the extra steps.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 shot of whiskey
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tbs. water
  • 1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds
  • Pinch sea salt

Step 1: For the brittle: Sprinkle the sunflower seeds over a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. In a heavy-bottomed pan, stir the sugar and water together until combined. Put the pan on the heat on medium high until the sugar melts. Do not stir at all once the pan hits the heat, only swirl the pan to ensure the sugar mixture heats evenly. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until the sugar mixture turns a light golden brown. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the molten sugar over the nuts. The sugar should be a clear, thick liquid. Sprinkle sea salt over the molten sugar. Let the brittle sit to cool and harden. Once fully set, break into small pieces.

(You can entirely skip this step if you want and simply sprinkle nuts on top if you are wary of making the brittle.)

Step 2: Heat the cream until it is steaming. You can do this over the stove or in the microwave. Add 1 1/2 cups of chocolate and let sit to let the chocolate melt. After a few minutes, stir until the mixture is homogenous – this will be the truffle filling. Add a shot of whiskey and the honey, stir to combine.

Step 3: Heat 3/4 cups of the chocolate in a glass bowl resting over a pot of steaming hot water. Melt fully. Take the bowl off of the heat and then add the last 1/4 cup of chocolate. Let the remaining chocolate melt. Gently fold the chocolate together to combine.

Step 4: Take your silicone mold and spoon a teaspoon of chocolate into each opening. Use the back of the spoon to push the chocolate all the way up to the edge. Tap the bottom of the mold against the work surface to ensure there are no bubbles. Let sit for 20 minutes to let the chocolate set.

Step 5: Spoon the ganache into the molds until they are 3/4 of the way full. Let sit for another 20 minutes to let the top set. Top with more melted chocolate (you can return the bowl to the hot water bath to re-melt) and tap the silicone molds against the work surface again to eliminate air bubbles. Let sit to fully cool and set.

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My take on the French chouquette

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After a month-long break, I am back with one of the prettiest posts I have shot in a long time. Let me introduce you to the chouquette, a light, airy pastry that can be decorated any way you wish.

These pastry bites use the same dough as the cream puff, only instead of filling the pastry with cream, you top them with pearl sugar or chocolate to add sweetness and texture. In this post, I wanted to treat them like doughnut holes so that I could offer you guys a healthier alternative to the breakfast staple.

These pastries are a one pot wonder – and they bake up in a flash for those who are impatient bakers. For those starting to look for handmade gift options this holiday season, this is a great option as chouquettes are easy to make and can be decorated quite lavishly. In this post I have created four options for you: the traditional version that is topped with a crunchy homemade pearl sugar, a chouquette topped with chocolate chunks, a cinnamon sugar dusted version, and my personal favorite: a green tea chouquette topped with black sesame.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 4 tbs butter
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 eggs

Toppings:

  • Cinnamon sugar (about 1/4 cup should work)
  • Pearl sugar – you can make this by mixing a cup of sugar with a teaspoon of water and then pressing it into a heated saucepan. Leave it to cook on low heat for 30 minutes, stirring and re-pressing a couple times while waiting. It will harden into lumps as it cools.
  • Green tea icing: 1/4 cup powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons water, 1 teaspoon matcha powder
  • Black sesame seeds
  • Dark chocolate chunks

Step 1: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Melt the butter in a pot with the water until it is entirely liquified. Bring the butter/water mixture to a boil.

Step 2: Add the flour, nutmeg and salt. Stir until the mix forms into a lump. Keep the pot on the heat and stir the dough vigorously for a minute to evaporate any excess water. You want to create a very thick paste.

Step 3: Remove the pot from the heat. Stir the dough vigorously for a few minutes to help cool the dough down. You want it to be cool enough that you can touch it and not be burned. (If it is too hot or your arm gets tired, you can let it sit for a few minutes to cool off.)

Step 4: Add the eggs one at a time. The dough will become lumpy at first, so you will not want to add all the eggs at once. Beat the egg into the paste until it becomes homogenous before adding the next. When all of the eggs are mixed in, transfer the batter to a plastic bag. (You can easily do this by inserting the bag into a mug, and inverting the mouth of the bag over the rim of the cup.)

Step 5: Cut a centimeter sized opening into the corner of your plastic bag – this will be a makeshift pastry bag. Pipe 1 inch-sized mounds onto the sheet, leaving an inch of space between each. Using a dampened finger, lightly tap on the top of the batter to even out any pointed tips. For those making the sugar or chocolate versions, press the sugar or chocolate chunks into the tops of the dough. Bake for 15 minutes.

Step 6: For those making the cinnamon sugar version, while the pastry is fresh out of the oven and steaming hot, dump the pastry puffs into a bag filled with cinnamon sugar. Close it, and shake to coat evenly. For those making the green tea version, mix the powdered sugar, matcha and water until you have a thick paste. Dip the tops of the pastry into the icing and then top with black sesame seeds.

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Chocolate raspberry tart with almond filling

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Here is the first post in my French food series! A few months ago, I returned to Paris to visit my host family and see my old haunts. While there, I had a few posts that showed you what I visited and ate. (Which you can see here, here and here.) I also hinted to launching a French food series where I show you how to make my take on French food. This will be my first post on the topic.

After landing in France, one of the first things I ate was an almond pear tart. These tarts are commonly found in neighborhood bakeries and are one of the more approachable French desserts that someone could make. (Though, if I am completely honest, any French dessert will be a bit tedious in order for it to be pretty and pristine.)

For this recipe, I wanted to use fresh raspberries and dark chocolate to give the otherwise light tart a deeper flavor. Here, I mix melted dark chocolate in the batter to give the almond filling a gooey, creamy texture.

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Ingredients

Crust

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (just so I can pretend this is slightly healthy – but it also gives good texture)
  • 2 tbs cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup cold butter, cut into centimeter-sized cubes
  • 1/8 cup cold water
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Filling

  • 2 tbs butter
  • 3 tbs dark chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs orange liqueur
  • pinch salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Step1: We will start with the crust. Mix all of the crust’s dry ingredients in a bowl, and then massage the butter into the flour with your fingers. It will become mealy, almost like wet sand. Slowly incorporate the cold water into the dough until it comes together. (If by any chance you choose to use an entirely all-purpose flour crust, you will need to double the amount of water.) Knead the dough ball a few times to ensure everything is well mixed, and then shape it into a flattened rectangle. (If you make a round tart, keep the circle shape) Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Step 2: When the dough is fully cooled ( you do this to re-solidify the butter and make the dough easy to roll), roll the dough into a thin sheet big enough to fill your tart pan. In the end, my dough was about half a centimeter thick. Press the dough into a greased tart pan and then prick the bottom of the dough with a fork to prevent air pockets. Cover the dough with parchment paper or foil, and then fill the tart with dry beans. This will ensure the crust stays flat and even.

Step 3: Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes or until the edges have hardened and slightly shrunk away from the pan. Remove the beans and foil, and return the crust back to the oven to brown the surface of the bottom of the crust. This will be another 5 minutes.

Step 4: While the crust is baking, make the filling. Heat the butter in a saucepan on high and cook it until it browns slightly. Then add the chocolate into the hot butter to melt. Mix until homogenous. Mix in the almond flour, sugar, vanilla, liqueur and salt. When fully combined, and the mix is not overly hot, add the eggs. Stir to combine.

Step 5: Pull the tart shell from the oven, and reduce the oven’s temperature to 375. Pour the almond mixture into the shell and then press the raspberries into the filling. Return the tart to the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes. When done, the top of the almond filling should look similar to the top of a brownie, and it should not jiggle when agitated. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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No-churn pumpkin pie ice cream

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Finally, it’s fall! Even if it doesn’t feel like it here in Texas. To cope with the remaining heat until the weather catches up with the season change, I have created an easy pumpkin pie ice cream recipe that will hold you over. Sweet, creamy, spicy and salty; this recipe incorporates a graham cracker crust into the pumpkin base to add some texture.

Also, this ice cream is a no-churn recipe, so anyone could make it at home without hassle. In a rush? You can simplify this recipe even more – I have included some alternate steps to shorten the process.

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups whipped cream, whipped into stiff peaks
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pre-mixed pumpkin pie spice (or 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp each of ground nutmeg and ground cloves)
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (or 4 whole graham crackers broken into bite-sized chunks if you follow the alternate steps)
  • 3 tbs melted butter
  • 1 tbs sugar (for the crust)

Step 1: If you choose to make the accelerated recipe, skip this step. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix the melted butter, graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a bowl. Pour and press the mix into a greased baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until the mix solidifies. It will still be soft, but should hold together. Once it is cooled down, break the crust into small chunks.

Step 2: Fill a large saucepan with about 2-3 inches of water. Heat it on high until it is boiling. In a separate heat-safe bowl, mix the egg yolks, cup of sugar and spices. Whip the egg mix with a whisk until frothy. Stir in the pumpkin purée. Place the bowl over the boiling pan – you are going to use the steam to gently cook the egg mixture. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. After cooking, rest the bowl in an ice bath to cool down.

Step 3: Take the bowl of whipped cream, cooked egg mixture, molasses and graham cracker crust (or graham cracker chunks if you skipped the first step). Fold together the ice cream base in long, gentle swoops until the mixture is homogenous. Pour it into a container and freeze overnight.

*If the mixture is hard after initially taking it out of the freezer, let it sit out for 10 minutes, and use an ice cream scoop heated in boiling water.

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Crispy chive pancakes

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Here is the chive pancake recipe I hinted to last time! Like I said in my last France post, I will launch a series of French inspired recipes, so I know this Asian-inspired post may come as a surprise. However, when I got home, I was a bit tired of all the French food I had enjoyed while traveling. So, my next few posts will not touch on that French-themed series at all.

In fact, after this, I have a pumpkin pie ice cream post already shot for you, followed by a sweet potato mochi recipe.

That being said, I am currently developing recipes for the French food series, so if there is anything I should try out, tell me and leave a comment below!

As for today’s post, this is a great appetizer or snack that comes together in about 30 minutes. Subtle in flavor, this recipe takes traditional asian ingredients and creates a crispy pancake that satisfies any junk food cravings.

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp roasted sesame seeds
  • 1 cup roughly chopped fresh chive
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (for cooking)

Step 1: Mix all above ingredients until you achieve a uniform ball. Separate the ball into 4 – 6 pieces. (You can make them bigger or smaller depending on your preference) Roll the individual pieces into balls.

Step 2: Take two sheets of wax paper, and put one of the dough balls in between. Using a rolling pin, or a long cup if you do not have one on hand, roll the ball into a thin disc. You want it to be about 1/3 of a centimeter thick. Repeat the process for each of the pancakes. Set the pancake aside, and use extra wax paper in between the pancakes to keep the dough from sticking as you roll the rest of the recipe.

Step 3: Heat up a tablespoon or two of cooking oil in a pan. Use a paper towel to evenly distribute the oil in a thin layer. Add a bit more oil to the pan to make up for what may have been absorbed. The key to crisping up the dough in this recipe is not holding back on the cooking oil here. When the oil is well heated, you can throw a little clump of dough in the pan to see if it sizzles to check this, place the disk in the pan. Be careful to not tear the dough when you separate it from the wax paper.

Step 4: Let the pancake cook off on one side, let the bottom crisp up and turn a spotted golden brown. The dough may puff up a little. When the bottom is done, flip over and repeat the process for the other side. Repeat for the rest of the pancakes.

Step 5: Enjoy! This dish is good with a side of soy/vinegar sauce.

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Back in Paris (well, kind of) and visiting Versailles

palais-royale

I’m back with another France post. Like I mentioned in my last post, I am publishing my France trip series a little late since I got sick while I was on vacation. So, I am currently in Texas while writing this. However this post focuses on my days spent at the latter end of my trip. My friend and I centered ourselves around Paris and Versailles.

Photographed above is Palais Royal. This was one of my favorite places to hang out when I studied abroad as my preferred study café was near there. However, this area is also a very popular location for photo shoots – in fact, if you look into the background of the photo, you will see the crew of a photoshoot taking a selfie. You can probably see the photographic appeal of Palais Royal, with all of the striped columns. If you ever visit, look for the railing in the ground. You can see it in the midground of the photo. If you look through the railing, you will see that the columns extend underground. There’s your fun fact for the day.

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Of course, if you visit Paris, Versailles will be a tempting day break away from the city. It is a quick 20 minute ride away, not to mention that it is also a cheap trip. If you take the RER, one of Paris’ commuter trains, the round trip will only cost around 8 euro. Sasha and I have both already been here, so we decided to only come for the gardens as visiting the interior of the castle can take hours of waiting in line.

Fortunately for us, the gardens were free that day. There was also an art exhibit taking place, which would explain the circular mirror in my second photo.

*Also, one more fun fact, there was a bit of breaking news while I was abroad. It was announced that part of the palace grounds would be turned into a luxury hotel. So if you ever want to sleep like royalty, that’s now a possibility. What are your thoughts on that?

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For our remaining days in Paris, we spent most of our time wandering around the city. The main photo in the mosaic was a goat cheese salad I made for my friend. Since she is vegetarian, it was a bit hard to find food that she could eat in the city, so we spent a good amount of time eating in. With that being said, it was incredibly fun to cook over there and eat on my host parent’s terrace. Photographed is a goat cheese salad with strawberries and balsamic dressing. I also found a loaf of fig bread that we used to dip in the leftover dressing.

The photo at the top right corner shows one of my favorite foodie hot spots in Paris. When I was abroad, a friend of mine took me to this café and bakery as it was her favorite place to take a pause and have a coffee or tea. I have since adopted it as my favorite as well. It’s on Rue de Rivoli and sits almost a block or two from the Louvre. Why was it our favorite café in the city? Because it’ s cheap. Well, at least for the neighborhood it is in. You can stop in for a snack and mint tea for under 10 euro. The staff is also very friendly.

Lastly, on my Instagram, you guys might have seen that I visited Père Lachaise cemetery and Parc Buttes Chaumont. The photo on the bottom left corner of the mosaic was my snack while wandering the park. Chouquettes are airy puffs of pastry topped with crunchy chunks of sugar. I will also be recreating this recipe in a future blog post – I just need to figure out how to get my hands on the sugar sprinkles as I have yet to find something similar in the US.

Well, that’s it for my travel posts. I already have some recipes lined up for publication for you guys – one being a flakey chive pancake. However, I will announce that I will launch a series of French-inspired posts influenced by the foods I ate while on vacation. I did hint at it a little, but here is the official notice for it. Anticipate it!