These are one of our favorites. A bit time consuming to make all the little fellas, but well worth it. Have I mentioned that a bamboo steamer is the best $20 you’ll ever spend? Plus it makes these a healthy treat as opposed to sautÃ©ing them in oil.
Taylor makes a dipping sauce with a bunch of crazy things, soy sauce, siracha hot sauce, brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, and who knows what else. Maybe next time he makes it I’ll try to wrestle a recipe out of him. A simple soy sauce dipping sauce would be perfect though. ;)
Veggie Steamed Dumplings
Makes 35-40 dumplings. Recipe from Alton Brown.
1/2 pound firm tofu
1/2 cup coarsely grated carrots
1/2 cup shredded Napa cabbage
2 tablespoons finely chopped red pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Bowl of water, plus additional water for steamer
35 to 40 small wonton wrappers
Non-stick vegetable spray, for the steamer
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
Cut the tofu in half horizontally and lay between layers of paper towels. Place on a plate, top with another plate, and place a weight on top (a 14-ounce can of vegetables works well). Let stand 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, cut the tofu into 1/4-inch cubes and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the carrots, cabbage, red pepper, scallions, ginger, cilantro, soy sauce, hoisin, sesame oil, egg, salt, and pepper. Lightly stir to combine.
To form the dumplings, remove 1 wonton wrapper from the package, covering the others with a damp cloth. Brush the edges of the wrapper lightly with water. Place 1/2 rounded teaspoon of the tofu mixture in the center of the wrapper. Shape as desired. Set on a sheet pan and cover with a damp cloth. Repeat procedure until all of the filling is gone.
Using a steaming apparatus of your choice, bring 1/4 to 1/2-inch of water to a simmer over medium heat. Spray the steamer’s surface lightly with the non-stick vegetable spray to prevent sticking. Place as many dumplings as will fit into a steamer, without touching each other. Cover and steam for 10 to 12 minutes over medium heat. Remove the dumplings from the steamer to a heatproof platter and place in oven to keep warm. Repeat until all dumplings are cooked.
This dish had potential. The snap peas have a really nice, slightly sweet, but refreshing flavor. I think we might have ruined it by using whole wheat pasta… yes, I know it’s healthy, but it’s just too meaty for me. Regular pasta has a much thinner texture. We’ll definitely try this one again, especially since snap peas are in season right now, but no more whole wheat pasta.
Also, we doubled the garlic (no surprise there – we do that alot), and planned on adding some grape tomatoes, which would have been a good addition, but we forgot. Oops.
Penne with Sugar Snap Peas
Makes 4 servings. Recipe from Epicurious.
1 lb sugar snap peas, trimmed and strings discarded
1 lb penne
1 medium garlic clove, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/2 cup) plus additional for serving
Cook sugar snaps in an 8-quart pot of boiling salted water 2 minutes, then transfer 1 cup sugar snaps to a colander and rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Transfer cooled sugar snaps to a cutting board. Cook sugar snaps remaining in pot until tender, about 2 1/2 minutes more, then transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Measure out and save 1 cup cooking water, reserving remaining water in pot.
Return cooking water in pot to a boil and cook pasta until al dente, then drain in colander. While pasta is cooking, cut 1 cup sugar snaps (on cutting board) crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces. PurÃ©e half of sugar snaps from bowl, half of garlic paste, 2 tablespoons oil, 1/4 cup cheese, and 1/4 cup saved cooking water in a blender (use caution when blending hot liquids), then force purÃ©e with a rubber spatula through a medium-mesh sieve into a large bowl. PurÃ©e another batch in same manner, forcing through sieve into bowl, and add cut sugar snaps.
Toss hot pasta with sugar snap sauce and, if necessary, enough of remaining 1/2 cup saved cooking water to thin sauce to desired consistency, then season pasta with salt and pepper.
To top off the top-notch tapas, we made calamari. We bought a bag of frozen, pre cut calamari, and it was surprisingly good. I like this dry fried version, as it is very light and not saturated in oil like some calamari can be. Goes great dipped in the Paprika Aioli!
Dry Fried Calamari
Makes 4 appetizer servings. Recipe from Alton Brown.
2 quarts peanut oil (we didn’t use this much… you just need enough to cover the calamari)
1 pound squid, tubes and tentacles
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plain cornmeal
Freshly ground black pepper
Place the peanut oil in a 4 to 5-quart Dutch oven and place over medium-high heat. Heat oil until it reaches 375 degrees F.
Rinse the squid thoroughly and pat dry. Cut the tentacles in half lengthwise and the tubes into 1/2-inch rings. Set aside.
Place the flour and the cornmeal into a medium mixing bowl and stir to combine. In small handfuls, dredge the squid in the flour and cornmeal mixture and shake off the excess. In batches, gently lower the squid into the hot oil. Cook for 1 minute. The squid will not be browned, but lightly golden in color. Remove the squid and transfer to a cooling rack turned upside down set over a newspaper-lined sheet pan. Season with salt and pepper, as desired. Repeat until all of the squid is cooked. Make sure to check the temperature of the oil before each batch to ensure it is 375 degrees F. Serve immediately.
Did I mention we love tapas? :) We made a whole night of it on Saturday, and it was quite delicious. Don’t forget the Red Wine Sangria!
Warm Citrus Olives
Take a few jars of mixed olives (we used Niciose, Kalamata, and Garlic Stuffed), and sautÃ© in olive oil with some thyme, rosemary, and citrus zest (orange and/or lemon) for 3-5 minutes. Serve warm
Roasted Garlic Brushetta
Trim the tops off of 2-3 heads of garlic, drizzle with olive oil, wrap in foil, and roast for 45 minutes. Remove cloves from heads, mash, and spread on thinly sliced brushetta bread. Broil until golden.
Roasted Potatoes with Paprika Aioli
Salt, Pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
6 large garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons hot smoked Spanish paprika (PimentÃ³n de la Vera)* or 1 1/4 teaspoons Hungarian sweet paprika and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Chop potatoes, and toss in casserole dish with garlic and onions. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle generously with olive oil. Roast until tender, about 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees F.
For Aioli, combine all ingredients in small bowl; whisk to blend. Season aioli to taste with salt and pepper.