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Mandu: Korean vegetable dumpling

Mandu: Korean Vegetable Dumplings

Mandu: Korean vegetable dumpling

MANDU is the Korean word for dumpling. And they are one of the most delicious things I have ever tasted. Ever.

Ever.

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I went to South Korea thinking I liked spicy food. Yeah right!  A couple bites of anything red over there would put my whole GI track in over drive, would keep my system cleaned out for weeks, and burn my tongue for dayssss.  Apparently every child grows up eating super super spicy food so that their tolerance for spicy food is off the charts by the time adulthood rolls around. I am not exaggerating. I quickly learned to avoid anything that was red, aka coated in the spiciest spicy red chili pepper sauce in the world. Ok, I may be exaggerating, but just a little.

Dumplings however were zero spicy.

P1040107 P1040168 P1040218 P1040269 P1040271 P1040284 P1040293 P1040297 P1040305 P1040376 P1040385P1040326My time in South Korea, for an exchange program during college, was a simply amazing once in a lifetime experience. I was able to meet some beautiful people (inside & out) whom I miss dearly, learn about an ancient fascinating culture, see the landscape of a most beautiful country, and try some really good food (that wasn’t red).  My favorites were pumpkin soup, doughnuts filled with sweet bean paste, bulgogi, pajeon,and of course my #1 favorite was mandu-Korean dumplings!  Whenever I had the chance to eat dumplings, I was all over it.  So of course, when I came home, I wanted to reproduce and share that amazing tasting food with my family.  I searched high and low for a good Mandu recipe, but none were exactly what I was looking for.   Combining ideas from several recipes and remembering some specific ingredients from the little dumplings I loved, I made the Mandu of my dreams.

I’ve always held this belief when it comes to cooking; if I love the ingredients, then I will almost definitely love the results. So it follows that I am in love with these dumplings.

The first time I made dumplings, I used equal parts ground pork, ground beef, and tofu for the base and that was oh-so-delicious, but this time I wanted wanted to make a vegetable dumpling.  It is partly because I want to be healthier, partly because my husband doesn’t like pork, and mostly because I despise touching raw ground meat. The nurse-germaphobe in me does not want to touch anything gross without some nice latex gloves on.  I will touch any and absolutely anything with gloves on, but I am fresh out of those on the home front.

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I also consulted my dear friend Seo Yeon for some extra Mandu making tips to make the perfect Korean Dumplings.

 

 

These dumplings were pretty easy to make, but take a good bit of time to   individually fold each dumpling.   The dumpling skin packs in the store come with 60 so that does indeed make for quite a bit of folding, but the good news is they can be frozen for later and are just as delicious!

IMG_2347IMG_2349IMG_2350Just mix up all the prepared ingredientsIMG_2355 and start folding.  Put a heaping teaspoon in the center of the skin then rub some water with a finger along the two top edges.  Then, fold in half and press the edges together.  When sealed, turn the dumpling upright and wrinkle the edges towards the center, making them look wavy.IMG_2358
After making the dumplings, you can boil, steam, pan sear, or add them to soup.  They are versatile and make a quick easy meal when frozen.  To freeze, just put dumplings on a floured pan in the freezer, making sure each dumpling is not touching another. Once completely frozen, an hour or two, throw them all in a freezer bag and removed desired amount when ready to eat.  Just add a couple minutes to cooking time, about 3-5 minutes for all methods.

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The dipping sauce is almost as important as the dumplings.  Just mix equal parts water, soy sauce, and rice vinegar then sprinkle top with sesame seeds and ginger.

I doubled this recipe and mixed the other half of the filling in chicken stock and water to make an Asian soup to go with the dumplings for dinner.

Mandu: Korean Vegetable Dumplings
Author: 
Cuisine: Korean
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Korean Vegetable Dumplings. Makes 60 dumplings
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup shredded carrots
  • 1 pack mushrooms, 8 oz
  • ½ cup cooked chopped vermicelli rice
  • ½ cup finely chopped cabbage
  • ½ cup green onions/chives
  • ½ tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 oz tofu
  • 1 pack dumpling skins (about 60)
Instructions
  1. Microwave tofu 1 minute and squeeze out liquid in paper towels. Add tofu to bowl and mash with fork.
  2. Add garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sesame seeds, sesame oil, finely chopped cabbage, shredded carrots, cooked & finely chopped vermicelli rice, diced mushrooms, and finely diced green onions and then mix well.
  3. Place heaping teaspoon full of mixture in center of dumpling skin and rub wet finger over two adjacent sides a couple times. Fold dry edges over on top of wet edges and pinch closed. For looks, press the two opposite corners ups towards the center, which makes the edges look wavy.
  4. Boil desired amount of finished dumplings for 2 minutes and serve with dipping sauce (sauce recipe in notes).
  5. For extra dumplings, place on floured pan (not touching each other) in freezer for 1-2 hours. Once frozen completely, transfer to freezer bag. Good for 4 months.
Notes
The dip: mix equal parts water, soy sauce, and rice vinegar then sprinkle top with sesame seeds and ginger.

 

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Dark Chocolate Brownies

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When you think of Valentine’s Day, what is the first thing that pops into your head?

Is it cupid flying around shooting little love arrows? The sweetheart candies? A couple holding hands? Red roses?

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One of the first thing that pops in my head is chocolate! Sorry Scott, I love you everyday anyway so you are not necessarily the first thing that pops in my head 😉

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So when Valentine’s Day rolls around every year, the craving for rich decadent gooey chocolate hits hard.

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When only the best of the best will do, I make these brownies.        They are intensely chocolate with semi sweet mini chocolate chips in every bite, a nice crumbly crust on the top (thanks to a little baking powder), and drum roll please……… rich chocolate fudgy goodness in the middle (thanks to not letting them cook quite all the way).  Toothpick should come out almost clean when judging for done-ness.

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Dark Chocolate Brownies
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Dark Chocolate brownies with a nice crust, fudge inside, and mini chocolate chips in every bite.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 2½ cup white sugar
  • 1½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¾ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 tbls vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Mix dry ingredients together: cocoa powder, sugar, flour, baking powder, mini chocolate chips, and salt
  3. Melt butter and mix with other wet ingredients: eggs and vanilla
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir well
  5. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners and pour in batter almost to the top of each. About 1-2 cm away.
  6. Bake at 350 for 20-24 minutes.
Notes
Yields 14-16 brownies, using regular size muffin tin.

Brownies are done when toothpick comes out mostly clean or according to your preference for how fudgey or done like your brownies. For me, it took 22 minutes in a silicone muffin tin with cupcake liners.
Alternatively, bake for 30-35 minutes in buttered casserole dish.

 

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Gnocchi: Italian Potato Dumplings

Gnocchi: Italian Potato Dumplings
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Potato Dumplings
Ingredients
  • 1lb. potatoes ( about 3 small/medium or 2 large potatoes)
  • egg white
  • 1 tsp. salt (optional)
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
Instructions
  1. Cut potatoes in halves and boil until soft when poked with fork, about 20-30 minutes. Be careful not to over boil as to make the potatoes full of water. This will make the dough very sticky later and trying to compensate with more flour will just make them too dense. Set potatoes aside in bowl to cool. Keep the pot of boiling water on the stove for later use. Take skins off and mash thoroughly.
  2. get that pot of potato water boiling again. Then put mashed potatoes in mound and pour egg on it. Mix in with hands and then knead in salt and flour, adding a little bit at a time, knead thoroughly. Dough should feel slightly sticky.
  3. Separate dough into 5 handfuls and roll each into long ropes, about 1 inch diameter. You may need up to ¼ cup more flour, to dust your hands and the dough, while rolling out.
  4. Cut the dough ropes into ½ inch pieces. To prevent the dough from sticking to the knife, coat knife with a little olive oil. Optionally, you many press a fork coated in oil in the side to make indentations to help it hold sauce
  5. Drop about 20 of the dumplings into the boiling water, crowding will make them stick. When it floats to the top, about 1 minute, it is done! Remove from water with slotted spoon into empty bowl. Repeat until all dumplings are boiled, then pour off any remaining water from bowl of dumplings.

 

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IMG_1141These little lumps have a really nice texture and are versatile. They go great with all kinds of sauces: cheese sauce, tomato, basil, and so on. I put them to use in a casserole.

 

 

Taco Soup

IMG_1352My dad brought this recipe home from work one day. I honestly don’t know where it orignially came from, but it has been a family favorite for at least a decade now.  It has a HUGE number of pros and very few cons. In fact, it is like green eggs and ham, there are no cons. Once you try it, you will love it.  It can be made stove top or in a crock pot. It can be served with cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips or it can be eaten plain and still delicious. It is very easy to make, is filling, has protein and vegetables, serves a lot of people or can be frozen, and is most important, is ridiculously delicious.  My sister-in-law, who does not like ground beef, even liked this. Whew.  The flavor is so good. Okay, that’s enough of that, now go make this soup 😀

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Taco Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground meat
  • 1 onion
  • 1 pack Taco Seasoning
  • 1 pack Ranch Seasoning (dry mix)
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can pinto beans or chili beans
  • 1 can yellow whole kernel corn
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes (all cans are standard size)
  • optional- shredded cheese, sour cream, & tortilla chips
Instructions
  1. In non stick pan, brown diced onion until caramelized and then add meat and brown until no pink is left in the meat.
  2. Add taco and ranch seasoning to pan, brown 5 more minutes.
  3. Add cans including all juices , 2 cups of water, and browned meat/onion/seasoning mixture to crock pot or soup pot. Simmer 4-6 hours. *
  4. Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips.
Notes
*Note: Technically, you don't have to wait 4-6 hours for the soup to cook. Since the meat is cooked, as soon as everything is warmed up in the pot, you can eat it. However, I think it tastes better after simmering half a day and the spices have had a chance to saturate everything with flavor.

 

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Cream Cheese Pound Cake

I Didn’t Know I Liked Pound Cake

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

IMG_2666I seriously didn’t think I liked pound cake until my mother in-law made Grammie’s pound cake recipe for my husband’s (then boyfriend’s) birthday.  Chocolate has always been in first place for me, but one piece of this cake changed everything.  It is so moist and rich and really I could go on and on.  This is also my husband’s favorite dessert of ALL TIME.   Of course I love to make it for him (and myself), but it is not the healthiest, so I only make it when we have the opportunity to share.  It is so much fun to see the delighted smiles of others after just one bite, and inevitably someone always seems to want the recipe.  Therefore; I bestow upon you the recipe to the most delicious dessert on the planet.

Ingredients:

1 ½ cup butter (I use earth balance, it has less saturated fat than butter)
8 oz cream cheese
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
3 cup all purpose flour
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 cup powdered Sugar
1 container of cream cheese icing

Directions:

1. Beat butter and cream cheese 3 minutes in a stand mixer (or use hand mixer)

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2. Gradually add sugar, beat 5 minutes (no less!)

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3. Add eggs one at a time, add vanilla, and slowly add flour and salt, beating on low until just blended. (The batter tastes AMAZING)

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4. Grease pan, coat greased-pan with powdered sugar. Pour sugar on bottom and shake pan.

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5. Pour mixture in bunt pan and put in COLD oven on upper rack. Put another pan of water on lower rack (keeps cake really moist). Turn oven on to 325 and bake for about 80 (plus 10 minutes depending on how fast your oven heats up). Cake is finished when light brown top.

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6. Dump cake out of bunt pan onto plate within 5 minutes to prevent sides from sticking, then let cool completely on uncovered plate, about  2 hours.

7. Microwave cream cheese icing 15+ seconds, mix icing with knife until smooth and slightly runny, then pour over top of cake letting it run down the sides.

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Cream Cheese Pound Cake

For easy printing:

I Didn't Know I Liked Pound Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ cup butter (I use earth balance, it has less saturated fat than butter)
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 ½ tsp. vanilla
  • 3 cup all purpose flour
  • ⅛ tsp. salt
  • ⅛ cup powdered Sugar
  • 1 container of cream cheese icing
Instructions
  1. Beat butter and cream cheese 3 minutes in a stand mixer (or use hand mixer)
  2. Gradually add sugar, beat 5 minutes (no less!)
  3. Add eggs one at a time, add vanilla, and slowly add flour and salt, beating on low until just blended. (The batter tastes AMAZING)
  4. Grease pan, coat greased-pan with powdered sugar. Pour sugar on bottom and shake pan.
  5. Pour mixture in bunt pan and put in COLD oven on upper rack. Put another pan of water on lower rack (keeps cake really moist). Turn oven on to 325 and bake for about 70 minutes (plus or minus 10 minutes depending on how fast your oven heats up). Cake is finished when light brown on top.
  6. Dump cake out of bunt pan onto plate within 5 minutes to prevent sides from sticking, then let cool completely on uncovered plate, about 2 hours.
  7. Microwave cream cheese icing 15+ seconds, mix icing with knife until smooth and slightly runny, then pour over top of cake letting it run down the sides.

 

Cream Cheese Pound Cake