Playing Catch-up

I've been a busy little bee in the kitchen the past few days! Friday night I really wanted Chinese food, but we just cannot find a take-out place here that lives up to Jake's standards. So off to the 99 Ranch Market I went to load up on supplies, and then I spent the next 3 hours or so in the kitchen. Unfortunately I did not take pictures, but take my word for it, the food was gorgeous! I made pork and cabbage filled dumplings (also made the dumpling wrappers), stir fried shrimp and snow peas with shitake mushrooms, and egg drop soup. To fill out the meal, I also picked up a roast duck on the way home, along with steaming some white rice. The munchkins loved the dumplings, Jake and I were partial to the stir fry. The egg drop soup has now been requested to start every meal! Below are the recipes I used for the dumplings.

Dumpling Wrappers
(adapted from several recipes)

2 cups white flour
1 cup warm water
1 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp salt

Add salt and oil to the warm water and stir until the salt has dissolved. Place flour in a large bowl and slowly add the warm water. Stop adding water when the dough is slightly sticky. Stir until it forms a big lumpy ball. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until it becomes shiny and elastic (for me, this took about 7 or 8 minutes). Roll the dough into a thin flat sheet and cut out circles (I used the open end of a highball glass since I don't own cookie cutters). Make sure the dough isn't TOO thin, or your filling will burst out. Now you're ready to fill them!

Pork and Cabbage Filling

1 large Long Cabbage (or napa cabbage)
1 inch of YOUNG ginger (young has a milder, less spicy taste than the traditional ginger)
1 pound ground pork
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp dark soy sauce
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions (optional)

First the cabbage needs to be prepared. Mince and/or shred it up nice and small and place in a bowl. Add salt, about 1 tsp per handful of cabbage, and mix well. Let sit about 15 minutes, then using cheesecloth, squeeze out all the excess water. While cabbage is "sweating", combine pork and remaining ingredients. When cabbage is ready, mix it into the pork (I find mixing with your hands to work best).

All that remains is to combine the two. Add a spoonful of filling to each wrapper, seal shut, and boil in salted water for approximately 4 minutes (they should float to the top). Enjoy!

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