Pork Dumplings with Ginger Soy Dipping Sauce

Well, I am doing a little catching up! This is a recipe that we made back in the winter and I never got around to posting, there are a few more that I still have to post.  My summer to do list is catch up with all of the posts that I have sitting in draft.

These are so easy and fun to make and they are delicious also. Evie had fun pinching the seams together, it was like cooking and crafting all in one! You can even prepare a big batch and freeze them. I have done that and it worked out well.

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For the Dumplings (also known as potstickers):

1/4 lb ground pork

1Tbsp finely chopped chives

1&1/2 tsp soy sauce

1&1/2 tsp dry sherry

1tsp minced fresh ginger

1/2 tsp sesame oil

1/2 tsp cornstarch

20 wonton wrappers

1Tbsp vegetable oil

In a bowl mix pork, soy sauce, sherry, ginger, chives, sesame oil cornstarch and 1Tbsp water.

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Mix this really well.

Place a tsp of the pork mixture in the centre of a wonton wrapper.  Lightly wet the edges of the wrapper and fold over, press to seal. Do this until all of the mixture has been used.

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Cook dumplings (in two batches) in a large pot of boiling water until cooked through, about 5 minutes then transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon (you do not want much water left on them). Be very gentle as the wrappers are delicate.

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Once all of the dumplings have been boiled heat a large skillet with vegetable oil, cook about 1-2 minutes per side until they are lightly browned.  Again I usually do this in two batches so they are not too crowded in the pan.  As you can see mine were a little to crowded, I was impatient in a hurry, and did not brown quite enough to my liking, but they were still good.

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For the Ginger Soy dipping sauce:

In a small bowl stir together 1/4 cup soy sauce, 3 Tbsp rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger, 2 tsp sugar and 1/4 tsp sesame oil.  I give this a whisk and it is done.

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Dig in!

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NOTE :  I have prepared these and frozen the raw dumplings in ziptop bags. Once you have prepared the raw dumplings place them on a baking sheet to freeze. Once frozen transfer to tiptop bags and freeze.  When you are ready to eat, cook from frozen.  Just pop the frozen dumplings into the boiling water and cook as above.

Source: The original recipe was found in Everyday Food magazine.

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Fresh Homemade Salsa

This is a nice fresh salsa, that can be mild to hot depending on how much jalapeño you put in.  My version is mild to be more child friendly, but you can make to to suit your own taste. This is also really economical, you get a lot from a few very affordable ingredients.  It is perfect for summer gatherings when you need a lot.  It is also very quick to put together, it may look like a lot of steps but it isn’t, I was showing everything for this post.

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1 – 28oz can of diced tomatoes

4 medium tomatoes, chopped

3/4 cup chopped red onion

2-3 Tbsp finely chopped jalapeno (or more if you want spicy)

1 tsp garlic powder (or garlic salt)

2 tsp fresh minced garlic

1 small can tomato paste

2 tsp salt

2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

I blitz the canned tomatoes in the food processor to break them up a little more.

You can omit the food processor  steps if you want it chunkier (I tailored my version of the recipe to suit Evie not wanting onion or jalapeño chunks)

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Chop jalapeño and red onion

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I blitz the jalapeño and onion together too

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Give this a whirl to get it all finely chopped. I do this so the onion and jalapeño gets really incorporated into the tomatoes.  Evie will not want to get a chunk of onion or jalapeño in her mouth, this takes care of that.

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Add to the tomatoes along with minced garlic.

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Add the salt and garlic powder ( I use granulated garlic,I like the flavour in recipes more than powder)

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Finely chop fresh tomatoes (a great way to use up ripening tomatoes from your garden)

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Give all of this a stir and add in tomato paste and stir

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Add in chopped cilantro (this is optional if you dislike cilantro, some people really hate it)

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Stir again

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Taste test to make sure the flavours are good (yup, it is good)

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Just to show you how frugal this recipe is, I got a little over 6 cups of salsa from those few ingredients!

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It keeps well for a few days refrigerated.

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Rolo Cookies

Want a chewy, gooey caramely, decadent chocolate treat?  These cookies are so good, they were about 20 years in the making after all!

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They are kind of like a cross between a brownie and a soft gooey chocolate cookie with a Rolo (caramel chocolate) baked in the centre.  I started playing around with this cookie approximately 20 years ago, I was in university and was a nerd needed to get my mind off school work and also needed a really good study snack.  That is what all 19 year old uni students do for fun right?

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The first couple of versions were to runny and the caramel leaked all over the place, then it was too thin, cooked too long and was just too hard and chewy.  I think after many trials, many cookies eaten, this is a keeper.

Ingredients:

4 pkgs Rolo

1/2 cup butter softened to room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1/4 cup cocoa

1 cup flour

Cream butter and sugar, add in cocoa and mix until incorporated, then beat in 1 egg.

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Add flour and continue to beat on low speed until it is mixed in and the batter is sort of a play-doh consistency

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Pinch off a piece of dough, flatten it a little

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This is where the Rolo comes in, add Rolo to it, fold the dough over the rolo

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once the role is inside the dough it looks like this, do this with the remaining and place on a cookies sheet lined with parchment.  I found they baked best on parchment. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.

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Once they are baked they are like brownie cookies but with a surprise center

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Delicious gooey caramel and melted chocolate

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You will definitely need a glass of milk

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Beet and Feta Salad

This salad is a regular at our dinner table in summer.  It pairs well with grilled food and picnics.

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I used about 2lbs of beets.

leave a little bit of the root end and stem end attached to the beets,  boil them in a large pot of water until a knife can slide easily through the beet, probably takes about 20 minutes depending on the side of the beets,  I try to use smallish sized beets.  Once cooked drain the beet.

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Now comes the messy part.  Once the beets are cool enough to handle, cut off the root end and stem end.  Then slip off the skins.  You will have to use a little bit of force but it should yield pretty easily.  The you can cup beet into bite sized chunks. If you want to be  little fancier you can slice them.

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Chill in the fridge.

While the beets are chilling make the dressing, whisk together 2 Tbsp olive oil, 4 tsp white wine vinegar, large pinch of salt and pepper to taste and a couple pinches of sugar.

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Drizzle with the dressing and toss to coat.  Arrange beets in serving dish.

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Just before serving (otherwise the feta will turn pink) sprinkle with crumbled feta.  Sometimes I also sprinkle with chopped fresh mint.  Today I got lazy as I was making several recipes at once, so I didn’t use the mint.

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Vanilla Bean Cake with Buttercream Icing

This post is for Mandy, who said that she was looking for a vanilla cake.  I hope you like it, we sure did!  This cake gets better a day or two after is has been made.  I find it best to make the cake and frost it, then keep well covered in the fridge for a day before eating it…if you can wait that long.

This cake was a promised gift for a friend as a congratulations for a huge career accomplishment.  Her favourite is vanilla cake and this cake has got vanilla!

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Preheat oven to 350F and grease two 8″ cake pans and line with parchment.  I forgot to line and had a little trouble getting them out, but they came out fine in the end.  My round and are 9″ and they baked fine but I just caught them from getting too dark.  I would say, whether you use 8″ or 9″ and keep a close eye towards the end of the baking time.

For the cake

3 cups of cake flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 vanilla bean, split with the seeds scraped out

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups sugar

5 large eggs, room temperature

1 & 1/4 cups buttermilk

1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.

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Take 1 cup of room temperature cubed butter

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Place in bowl of mixer.

Split a vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds.

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Add the vanilla seeds to the butter and beat until well mixed, 2-3 minutes on medium speed until the butter is light and creamy.

You get this beautiful butter mixture flecked with vanilla seeds.

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Add 2 cups of white granulated sugar, I beat in 1/4 cup at a time, scraping down the sides after each addition and beating for about 1 minute after each addition.

Add the eggs, one at a time. Continue beating until incorporated. Reduce speed to low.

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Add the vanilla extract to the buttermilk

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Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture alternately with the buttermilk.  Mix just until incorporated.  Sharpe sides of bold and mix for about 20 seconds to make sure everything is all mixed together well.

Add batter to prepared pans and bake for about 35 minutes or until done.

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Let cool completely before removing from pan.

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Once the cakes are completely cool you can prepare the Vanilla Bean Buttercream Frosting.

1 cup butter at room temperature

4 cups icing sugar (powdered sugar) (you can add mote if needed, but I didn’t want it too sweet)

1/2 cup milk

1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

In mixing bowl cream butter with vanilla seeds until smooth and creamy.  Add icing sugar a cup at a time, add milk and vanilla extract, continue beating until light and fluffy.

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Mint Thins

I mentioned in my post earlier this week that we had a lot of mint in our garden, so we are finding ways to use it.  This is a nice little thin butter cookie with fresh chopped mint baked in to give a subtle mint flavour.

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They really are a nice cookie and I make it once a year when our fresh mint is plentiful.

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I found the original recipe in an old copy of a Taste of Home magazine.  Of course, when I was ready to make the recipe  I could not find which magazine it was in.  I went to the Taste of Home website (www.tasteofhome.com) and searched et voila there it was!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons 2% milk
1 cup fresh mint, finely chopped

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolk and vanilla.

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Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition.

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Stir in chopped fresh mint.

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Shape into two 8-in. rolls; wrap each in plastic wrap.

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Refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm.

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Unwrap and cut into 1/4-in. slices.

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Place 1 inch apart on greased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 8-12 minutes or until edges are golden. Remove to wire racks to cool.

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These are nice dipped in dark chocolate, but they are also nice plain.  If you want to dip in chocolate, in a microwave, melt about 2/3 cup chocolate chips with 1 Tbsp of shortening or butter,  stir until smooth. Dip each cookie halfway; allow excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper (or Silpat), let stand until set. I usually store these in the refrigerator.

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If you have mint in your garden, or if you know someone with an abundance of mint to share with you, I recommend that you try these.  This recipe makes a few dozen at least (I think the original recipe says 4-5 dozen).  Maybe you could trade a few cookies for a bunch of mint!

In My Kitchen June 2015

I can’t believe it is June already and we are joining Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for the June edition of IMK.   I am still waiting for it to warm up here, the garden is slowly growing.  The rhubarb is great and we have a ton of mint back there.  I just made mint cookies, which I will be posting a little later this week, hopefully.  Today was a busy day, Evie had karate grading, she is now officially a blue belt, but she was exhausted tonight!

This book was in my kitchen in May and I am still reading and looking at the pictures. I have renewed it from the library and I think I may renew again, I still haven’t had time to bake anything from it.

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Made a buttermilk pie and with the extra filling made some little buttermilk tarts.IMG_3518

Fresh cheese curds, so squeaky and just the right amount of saltiness, this brand is my favourite. We don’t make poutine with them we just eat them as they are, right out of the bag.

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Fresh sheep’s milk yogurt, this was some serious yogurt

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Truffle pate, tried it on baguette and I found it a little strong that way. I am going to toss it with some pasta and see how that turns out.

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A lovely strawberry loaf, it was really good we ate it in two days.

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We cut some of our rhubarb to make our strawberry rhubarb apple crisp (aka crumble) recipe.  It was sooooo good topped with vanilla ice cream.

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This is Fang, the newest addition to our household.  He is a Venus Flytrap and he helps control the fruit fly and mosquito population around here.  Though it has been too cold lately, poor Fang is getting hungry.

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We also have lily of the valley in the garden and I love it , just a few sprigs on the table and the room smells amazing.  IMG_3778

We also enjoyed this ice cold cream soda, along with a root beer too.

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Now I am off to bed.  Tomorrow we are leaving bright and early to go to a medieval festival and having a picnic there for lunch.  Maybe we will find some medieval kitchen treats for my next post!