Polpette al sugo (Italian meatballs)

Adapted from Lidia and Recipe Tin Eats Yield: 6 servings, plus about 3 quarts extra (total of about 4 dozen meatballs and 3 quarts sauce)

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoon dried oregano (omitted)
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped (basil sub!)
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano (or parmesan), freshly grated

Sauce ingredients:

  • 2.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • black pepper
  • 1 fresh bay leaves, or 2 small dried bay leaves
  • 3 tsp dried Italian herb mix (parsley, basil, thyme, oregano)
  • 1/2 teaspoon peperoncino flakes
  • 24 oz / 700 g tomato passata, preferably San Marzano
  • 1 cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano, optional to serve

Directions:

  1. Grate the onion using a standard box grater in a large bowl until you have about 1/2 cup of grated onion and juices. 
  2. Add bread, mix to combine so the onion juice soaks the bread and disintegrates. Set aside while you prep the other ingredients (5 min or so).
  3. Add all the remaining Meatball ingredients. Use hands to mix well.
  4. Measure out a heaped tablespoon and roll lightly to form a ball. Repeat with remaining mixture. (Note 5)
  5. Heat 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil in a large non stick fry pan over medium high heat. Add the meatballs and brown all over – about 3 – 4 minutes. 
  6. When they are browned but NOT cooked through, carefully transfer them onto a plate.

Sauce Directions:

  1. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil into the fry pan. 
  2. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until translucent. Add the remaining Sauce ingredients. Bring to a simmer, then turn down to medium low so it bubbles gently rather than splattering everywhere. Let simmer for 2 hours.
  3. Carefully transfer the meatballs and any juices that have pooled on the plate into the Sauce.
  4. Cook the meatballs for 8 – 10 minutes, turning and stirring occasionally. Adjust Sauce salt and pepper to taste.
  5. While the meatballs are cooking, cook your pasta of choice.
  6. Serve the meatballs on pasta, garnished with extra parmesan and parsley if using.

I wanted to cook Lidia’s recipe authentically, but it was so much quantity! And I’m not a fan of beef, much less veal, so… I incorporated another website (she has delicious chicken stew!) that fried the meatballs instead of baking them. These were wildly delicious and approved by all. We didn’t incorporate the carrot and celery (considering the 2 lbs. or meat vs. 3 lbs from Lidia), but we did use the red onion, eggs, and basil instead of parsley (Jesse’s family doesn’t like oregano for some reason). I would throw in a bay leaf into the sauce next time (we forgot). We used gluten-free bread crumbs, and crumbled Grana Padano into the meatball and on top to serve. Grana Padano was not incorporated into the sauce. Ground meat came from the Ossining Farmer’s Market, Sunset View Farm. I also made some garlic bread with EVOO and rubbed garlic to clean up the sauce after, demi baguette from Farmer’s Market too.

~Jessica

Chinese pork dumplings

Adapted from The Woks of Life and this version!

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. green leafy vegetable (we used Napa cabbage)
  • 1 pounds ground pork (or ground chicken, fattier the better)
  • 1 egg
  • ⅔ cup Shaoxing rice wine
  • ½ cup oil
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3-4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper

Dumpling Wrappers:

  • 7 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups water

Directions:

  1. Put the flour in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add the water to the flour and knead into a smooth dough. This process should take about 10 minutes. Cover with a damp cloth and let the dough rest for an hour.
  2. Wash the vegetables thoroughly and blanch them in a pot of boiling water. Transfer them to an ice bath to cool. Ring out all the water from the vegetables and chop very finely. You can also add a little bit of salt to get more water out! Wring it well with a towel after!
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the vegetables, meat, wine, oil, sesame oil, salt, soy sauce, white pepper, and ⅔ cup water. Mix for 6-8 minutes, until very well-combined and almost paste-like in texture.
  4. Begin assembling the dumplings! The best way to do this is to divide the dough into manageable pieces and then rolling each piece into a rope. Cut them into small pieces (in a size similar to if you were cutting gnocchi, or about the size of the top part of your thumb).
  5. Roll the pieces out into circles, and add about 1 1/2 teaspoons of filling to the center (it helps if you have an assembly line going, with one person cutting out the dough pieces, one person rolling it out, and one person filling/folding).
  6. Wrap the dumplings: dampen the edges of each circular dumpling wrapper with some cornstarch-water slurry. Put a little less than a tablespoon of filling in the middle. Fold the circle in half and pinch the wrapper together at the top. Then make two folds on each side, until the dumpling looks like a fan. Make sure it’s completely sealed. Repeat until all the filling is gone, placing the dumplings on a baking sheet lined with parchment so they aren’t touching.
  7. If you’d like to freeze them, wrap the baking sheets tightly in clean plastic grocery bags and put the pans in the freezer. Allow them to freeze overnight. You can then take the sheets out of the freezer, transfer the dumplings to freezer bags, and throw them back in the freezer for use later.
  8. To cook the dumplings, boil them or pan-fry them. We steamed!
  9. Serve with Chinese black vinegar, chili sauce, or your favorite dumpling sauce! (I’ve never been a fan of black vinegar dipping sauce.)

MAKES 8-10 DOZEN. If the wrappers start to dry out, wrap them in a damp kitchen towel and put them in a sealed plastic bag for a couple hours to soften back up. 2 cups chopped shiitake mushrooms (with minced ginger, onion, carrot) can also make vegetarian dumplings! We could have alternatively used other greens like baby bok choy, but I was putting that in a stir friend nian gao dish. And originally I wanted to use Chinese chives, but didn’t because they were $5/lb!!

The chicken and zucchini version from Woks of Life

~Jessica

Scallion turkey meatballs with soy-ginger glaze

Adapted from smitten kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce, preferably Japanese or reduced sodium
  • 1/2 cup mirin (sweet rice wine), or 1/2 cup sake with 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup peeled, chopped ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 4 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 4 large or 6 small scallions, finely chopped
  • Half bunch cilantro, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil, toasted if you can find it
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil

Directions:

  1. Make sauce: Bring sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar melts completely. Reduce heat to a medium-low and add soy sauce, mirin, ginger, coriander and peppercorns. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, about 30 minutes, though this took me a bit longer to reduce it until it was syrupy enough that I thought it would coat, and not just dribble off the meatballs. You can keep it on a back burner, stirring it frequently, while browning the meatballs in the next step. Once it has reduced to your satisfaction, strain through a sieve.
  2. Make meatballs: Mix turkey, scallions, cilantro, egg, sesame oil, soy sauce and several grindings of black pepper in a bowl. I like mixing meatballs with a fork; it seems to work the ingredients into each other well. Roll tablespoon-sized knobs of the mixture into balls. The mixture is pretty soft; I find it easiest to roll — eh, more like toss the meatballs from palm to palm until they’re roundish — meatballs with damp hands.
  3. In a skillet over medium-high heat, generously cover bottom of pan with vegetable oil. Working in batches to avoid crowding, place meatballs in pan and cook, turning, until browned all over and cooked inside, about 8 minutes per batch. Arrange on a platter (a heated one will keep them warm longer), spoon a little sauce over each meatball, and serve with toothpicks. Alternatively, you can serve the glaze on the side, to dip the meatballs.

We halved the sugar, so it never became sticky, per Jesse’s preference. H-Mart did not have ground turkey, so we went with the traditional ground pork. It was serendipitously delicious. I accidentally doubled the ginger in the sauce — we’d plenty left over. Because the pork had fat, it really didn’t need much vegetable oil at all to cook (chef’s recommendation: a very light coating of the pan), but the ground turkey definitely would have needed more. Delicious in a halved baguette, with other antipasti to grace the table!

~Jessica

Dry fried string beans

Adapted from Woks of Life

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound string beans (I only had ½ lb)
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns (didn’t have)
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • A few dried red chilies, deseeded and chopped (optional)
  • 4 ounces ground pork (or chicken) — I didn’t have…
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon dark soy sauce (optional, mostly for color)
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Trim the tough ends off the string beans, and then cut them in half (each piece should be about 3 inches long). Wash them and pat them thoroughly dry with a kitchen towel to get rid of any water.
  2. Heat ¼ cup of oil in a wok over medium high heat, and shallow fry the string beans in two batches. They are done once they appear wrinkled and slightly scorched. Use a strainer to remove the string beans from the wok and set aside.
  3. Once all the string beans are shallow fried, turn off the heat. Scoop the oil out of the pan, except for 1 tablespoon. Turn the heat down to low, and add in the Sichuan peppercorns, ginger, garlic and dried chilies (if using). Stir-fry for about 1 minute, until fragrant.
  4. Next, add in the ground pork, turn up the heat to high, and stir-fry quickly to break up the pork and brown the meat slightly. Add in the fried string beans, Shaoxing wine, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and sugar. Toss everything well, and season with salt to taste. Stir-fry everything over high heat until any excess liquid has cooked off, and serve!

I had leftover string beans from when I thought I would cook them in the coconut curry. For the meat, ground pork (or chicken) — I didn’t have any, so I cooked some of my grandmother’s Shanghai-Style soy sauce-braised Pork Belly (Hong Shao Rou) alongside. My grandmother comes from Sichuan province, though.

Cheers,
Jessie

Bao-zi

A recipe from Steamy Kitchen but this recipe comes from Magic Ingredients YouTube

“Baozi (Chinese: 包子), or bao, is a type of filled bun or bread-like (i.e. made with yeast) dumpling in various Chinese cuisines.” ~Wikipedia

Ingredients:

  • all-purpose flour 400g little bit more than 2.5 cups
  • 160 °F – warm water 250g ( 1 cup)
  • water 250g 1 cup
  • Sichuan peppercorns 1g 1/2 teaspoon
  • star anise 1g
  • big green onions 200g – 3 of them
  • salt 6g = 3/4 teaspoon
  • ground pork 500g
  • Sichuan peppercorn powder 1g = 1/2 teaspoon
  • white pepper powder less than 1g = 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1 egg white

Directions:

  1. Dough – Mix all purpose flour and warm water, knead for 3 minutes then cover let it rest for 20 minutes, then knead it again so it looks smooth … let it rest for an hour.
  2. Filling – I boil a small pot of water on the stove then put the first 3 ingredients in the pot, cook for 15 minutes, after it cools off then pour in a big bowl with pork in it, add salt, pepper, egg, stir in a circular direction one way only …. after 5 minutes then add chopped green onions …. difficult task for me because it’s my first time to make this, I watched Youtube so I learned how to shape them like a pro, mine doesn’t look professional but not too ugly I think.

Recipe was for soup dumplings (xiao long bao), but I did not want to make soup (as it takes more work and time). I used ground pork. The hard part was that this was my first time making this recipe. They are not pretty like what is sold in stores, but once I practice a few more times, then they will be better probably. I only used half of her recipe, because it was my first time and I did not want to waste flour if I messed up. I used a non-bleached flour, therefore it was not as white as what is sold in stores. I need to learn more about kneading dough, because she made it look so easy, I think she has a lot of experience…
~Kai-ling

Risi e bisi

IMG_20180804_180040.jpgAdapted from NYTimes and Simply Recipes

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced fine (or 3 shallots, if you have them)
  • 1/2 carrot, minced
  • 2 cups arborio (or carnaroli) rice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1.5 boxes of hot chicken broth
  • some pancetta, diced (we used cooked pulled pork)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
  • shucked English peas, about 1-2 cups
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 2-3 brown mushrooms (porcini preferable)
  • pea tendrils or shoots (or use baby spinach) — didn’t use but sounds fab
  • chopped parsley
  • grated Parmesan

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in a heavy, wide saucepan over medium high heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Or cook at lower heat for longer time.
  2. Stir in rice and season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking for 2 minutes, until translucent. Add the minced carrot and sliced garlic.
  3. Add the white wine, stirring, until it evaporates.
  4. Add 2 ladles of hot chicken broth (simmering in a separate pot, you can also dilute by rinsing the container with water) and bring to a brisk simmer. Cook 6 minutes, stirring regularly as broth is absorbed. Add 2 more ladles of broth and cook for another 6 minutes, until rice is cooked through, but firm. Every time all of the liquid is absorbed, add more stock — do not let dry out!
  5. Add pancetta (or prosciutto or pork of your choice) and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add minced bell pepper, stir to coat and cook 1 minute. When you get to this last cup of water, add the peas and chopped mushrooms. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add 1/2 cup broth and simmer until peas are done, about 2 minutes. Add pea tendrils and cook until just wilted, about 1 minute.
  6. if the rice is still crunchy, don’t stop – you want the rice to be a little al dente, but not so much you’re gnawing on raw grain.
  7. Mix pea mixture with rice mixture and gently stir together. Add enough broth to keep rice a bit soupy. Check seasoning. Stir in parsley, lemon zest and Parmesan.
  8. Serve immediately.

Visiting family, wanted to use up the arborio rice I found in the back of their cupboard. They also had bought chicken stock in bulk so…

~Jessica

How to pan-fry frozen dumplings

IMG_20180327_194010.jpg

With frozen dumplings, either prepared or homemade, you can boil the dumplings by 1) adding the dumplings to the pot, waiting for the water to re-simmer, adding a cup of water, wait to re-simmer, repeat again with another cup of water, then serve immediately as they float to the surface.

But the tastier version is to fry-steam them. Following Amber’s methods, pour some vegetable oil in a non-stick pan, coating the bottom thinly. Add your dumplings (I usually eat seven at a time) and allow them to fry over medium heat until golden brown on the bottom. Get your lid ready. Add a couple spoonfuls of water per dumplings, or enough to cover the bottom of the pan, and cover immediately, as splattering will commence. Steam them until most of the water is gone, which you will be able to hear. Serve immediately with dipping sauce.

Shou-wen’s Dipping Sauce
For the dipping sauce, I chop some garlic, boil some peanut oil until sizzling, then add the garlic to the oil. Pour the sizzling garlic oil on some dry chilli powder. Serve.

My dipping sauce
Slice thin some ginger, add some sesame oil, sliced scallions, and enough soy sauce.

~Jessica

Stir-fried cabbage, Chinese style

imag0899Adapted from The Woks of Life

vegetable oil
a bit of pork belly (optional)
5 cloves garlic, smashed and cut in half
5 dried red chilies, deseeded and very roughly chopped
1/2 head of cabbage, sliced for slaw
Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, sugar, water, Chinese black vinegar (didn’t have this one)
2 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths

Heat oil and sear meat, if including. Add garlic and chilies, cook until fragrant. Add the cabbage and sauce ingredients. Cook until softened and cabbage edges are searing. Stir in the scallions and a pinch of salt.

~Jessica

Pork stir-fry

Similar to Rasa Malaysia

pork (cut into bite-size cubes)
Sauce: oyster sauce, cornstarch, 3 dashes white pepper, soy sauce,  Shaoxing wine, sugar
2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
8 slices ginger, grated
2 scallions, trimmed and chopped
2 red chilies, seeded and finely sliced (optional)
Oil for frying
tomatoes, etc. vegetables of your choice!

img_6801Marinate pork in sauce (add a little water). Chop vegetables (edamame, celery, cilantro was in the fridge). Fry aromatics (garlic, ginger, scallions). Fry vegetables. Remove. Fry pork. Combine. Serve over rice.

~Kai-ling

Jianbing

jiānbǐng (traditional Chinese: 煎餅; literally: “fried pancake”) is a traditional Chinese street food similar to crepes. The main ingredients are a batter of wheat and grain flour, eggs and sauce. I forgot to put in the eggs and used wheat tortillas to wrap them instead.

tortilla
1 clove of garlic, minced
meat of your choice (we used pork)
red wine, soy sauce, oyster sauce
pepper, garlic powder
vegetables of your choice, julienned
scallions and cilantro
chili sauce or hoisin sauce

Marinate the meat in red wine, black pepper, garlic powder, soy sauce and oyster sauce. Set aside. Julienne the vegetables. Pan fry the garlic in oil, then add the meat, then the vegetables. Fry until done. Let cool (don’t let it get too wet). Add scallions and cilantro, chili sauce or hoisin sauce to taste. Serve in a tortilla and fold like a burrito.

I would probably leave out the carrots, cabbage, and celery next time (I just used what was in the fridge, but cabbage is too wet for the filling). Next time I would put in tomatoes, potatoes, rice, bell peppers, eggs, mushrooms and chopped onions instead.

~Kai-ling