Cooking Day

Now that I’ve finished the last of the seven Sookie Stackhouse books that my neighbor lent me, I’m having a breather while the eighth book arrives at my local library branch. I’d almost decided to start REREADING the fourth book, Dead to the World, which I had enjoyed the most so far, but then realized that there were too many things in my life I had been neglecting (not Christian – but the hubby and the teenager maybe…)

Got over to my friend Sierra’s house on Saturday and made a double batch of flax muffins (well, she’d already made the batter when I got there at 9 am – talk about hardcore!), one batch of banana bread, two shepherd pies (with the lamb meat Sierra’s family bought direct from the farm last month), and many many Korean dumplings (otherwise known as “mandoo”). Additionally, I went home with a container of bolognese (leftovers from her dinner the night prior) AND bean soup (made before I arrived!).

So my stomach is happy. We almost polished off that entire shepherd’s pie this evening. Christian especially loved it. I think the rosemary from our CSA basket really pushed it over the top. It was scrumptious. We used the recipe from Williams-Sonoma as a general guide.

As for the mandoo, I tripled or quadrupled my mother’s basic recipe.

Mandoo (Korean Dumplings)

1 package dumpling wrappers (square or round – if you can only find the eggroll wrappers, cut them into fourths)

1 1/2 pound ground beef (my mother would also add 1/2 pound pork or more)

1 bag of bean sprouts, rinsed and roughly chopped

salt and pepper to taste

1 egg

oil (if you are going to deepfry them – you can also panfry or simply boil them in water or chicken stock)

1. Put a heavy plate or bowl on the tofu and let it sit. You want to get rid of as much of the liquid in it as possible. (Especially if you are going to deepfry a batch, you want to reduce scary hot oil splatter.)

2. Sauté the bean sprouts just until they are limp. Season with salt and pepper. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible.

3. Add tofu, bean sprouts, and meat to a large mixing bowl. Salt and pepper to taste. Use your hands to firmly mix it all up. I keep my hand in a plastic bag.

4. Then prepare your workspace for making dumplings. You’ll need a clean flat spot to work on, either a plate or a cutting board; another cutting board or cookie tray for the finished ones, a small saucer of egg white, a soup spoon for the meat filling and, and, I think that’s it.

5. Tie your hair back and get comfortable. Once you get started, you’ll want to make as many as you can without stopping. Dumpling making is pleasant repetitive handwork and perfect for long catch-up conversations with girlfriends.

6. To make a dumpling: take one wrapper and put it down in front of you. Using your finger(s) like a paintbrush, dab egg white all along two adjacent sides of the wrapper square. Put one spoon of meat in the middle. Fold the wrapper in half –

and gently from the meat filling bump, use your fingers to seal the wrapper closed. You don’t want there to be any air pockets.

7. Repeat about a million more times.

8. Serve with a dipping sauce : one part rice vinegar to 3 parts soy sauce.

Dumplings can be individually frozen directly on the cookie sheets and then put into a large freezer ziplock baggie.


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