Thursday, February 22, 2007

Jiao Zi (dumplings)

Jiao Zi

Typically, when making jiao zi dough, I like to use about 3 cups of flour for every 1 cup of cold water. And of those 3 cups of flour, I use 2 cups bleached All Purpose White Flour, and 1 cup unbleached. The unbleached gives a little more gluten to the dough, makes the dough a bit stretchier and easier to wrap, and makes it taste sweeter.

For dough requiring hot water (like bao bing [moo shi pork], sweet scallion rolls, chiveboxes, etc..), just the same ratio of flour to water, but use boiling, instead of cold water.

Those are just general ratios- just add water as you mix, until you achieve the right consistency.

Filling: Ground turkey + diced Chinese white radish + green onions + oyster mushrooms
Don't forget salt!

Skin: I like a variation using white whole wheat flour substituted for the unbleached flour. It gives a slightly coarser texture.

  1. Knead dough.
  2. Form into cylinder, cut into rounds.
  3. Roll out into roughly 3" diameter flat rounds.
  4. Wrap with meat.
  5. Serve with sauce, or lightly pan fry if you wish.

Jiao zi waiting for the boiling water.

Sister Dinner Recipes

Butternut Squash Soup

Seared Scallops with Calvados Shallot Cream, Fresh Spinach

- 1 pack of ~ 1 dozen fresh sea scallops (wash and dry before using).
- Calvados (apple brandy)
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 medium shallots
- apple juice (use some from the butternut squash soup recipe)
- fresh spinach

  1. Sear scallops on high, ~ 1-2 minutes per side. Flip scallops when top side appears cracked. Don't overcook!
  2. Deglaze pot with apple juice.
  3. Make sauce base of sauteed shallots, cream, Calvados.
  4. Add deglazed juice to sauce base.
  5. Lightly cook spinach.
  6. Add scallops to spinach, top with sauce.

Sirloin Steak with Whiskey Pan Sauce

Not much to this recipe. Sear steaks, deglaze pan with some whiskey, sweet vidalia onions, and add to a cream base. Serve with green beans.

The key to better presentation is to serve smaller chunks of steak, which I did not do. Hence mine looks a bit messy.

Grand Marnier Creme Brulees

Used the recipe from Fine Cooking. I would increase the cream amount slightly.

- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 vanilla bean sliced lengthwise
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1-2 Tbsp Grand Marnier

  1. Heat cream in saucepan, scrape vanilla beans into pan. Simmer, and remove from heat. Add in Grand Marnier.
  2. Whisk yolks and sugar together, and pinch of salt.
  3. Add slightly cooled cream mixture to yolks. Temper carefully. Try not to beat too much air into the resulting mix.
  4. Prepare a baking pan by filling it with boiling water.
  5. Pour creme brulee mixture into ramekins, and place into pan with boiling water.
  6. Cover with aluminum foil, and bake in oven at 300 F for 40-55 minutes, or until set on the sides.
  7. Let cool on wire rack.
  8. Refrigerate overnight, or up to 2 days.
  9. Sprinkle with sugar, glaze with chef's torch.
  10. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  11. Serve!

The Microtorch from Oggi works great! Feels nice, not too cheap in the hand.

Very tasty too!

Chai Cheesecake with Ginger Spice Crust

I made a pate sucree ginger crust for the cheesecake, but it didn't turn out as well as I was hoping, so I just used gingersnaps for the crust instead. Or ginger powder with graham cracker crust works well too!

From Bon Appetit, Feb. 2007 issue.

- 4 x 8 oz cheesecake bricks
- 1 x 8 oz mascarpone cheese (I added extra creme fraiche)
- 5 large eggs
- 2 large yolks
- 2 cups sugar (increase sugar, b/c mine was not sweet enough)

And for the chai

- 2.5 tsp ground ginger
- 2.5 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 slice vanilla bean
- 1/4 tsp ground all spice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper

And for the icing:

- 1.5 cups sour cream
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract

Bake in water bath.

Fruit Tarts with Vanilla Bean Creme Patissiere

This was my best ever pastry cream yet. The vanilla beans made it extra special, and the ginger pate sucree that I had originally used for the cheesecake crust worked well here too.

Basic pastry cream:

- 2.5 cups half and half or light cream
- 1/2 to 1 whole vanilla bean
- 5 egg yolks
- 6 Tbsp sugar
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/8 cup cornstarch

  1. Combine in the usual manner like all custard bases.
  2. Boil for 1 minute- when heating, heat over a small, even flame, or risk over-cooking the eggs.
  3. Remove, refrigerate overnight.
  4. Prepare tart, glaze with apricot jam.

On a plate...

No plate.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Sister Dinner Menu

Here's the dinner plan. Making the desserts this weekend, had a practice run with the scallops and steak. All turned out great, except for my ginger crust which shrunk more than expected.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Sister dinner part I

Went ahead to make the quichettes, and butternut squash soup, which I will freeze until needed later.


- 1 Sweet organic Italian Sausage
- 1 Red pepper
- 1 pack Dufour Puff Pastry dough
- 3-4 small shallots
- 1 cup half & half
- 2 jumbo eggs
- 1/3 cup shredded cheese

  1. Combine shallots, peppers, sausage, and gently sautee for a few minutes.
  2. Cut ~ 3" diameter circles out of the puff pastry dough, and line a muffin pan or tartlet pan with them.
  3. Mix half & half, eggs, and cheese together.
  4. Spoon shallot mixture into each puff pastry lined quichette.
  5. Fill to top with egg/half & half mixture.
  6. Bake ~ 400 degrees F for 25-30 min.
  7. Remove, and cool on wire rack.

Butternut Squash Soup

- 1 butternut squash, ~ 2-3 lbs.
- 3-4 large carrots
- shallots or onions
- 1 apple
- several stalks celery
- 1 small potato
- 1 quart 365 chicken stock (or make your own, but I didn't have time.)
- sliced ginger

For the cider creme fraiche reduction:

unfiltered apple juice (I just used a pressed apple juice from Nantucket Nectar)
- creme fraiche

  1. First, dice all raw vegetables. Then sautee on medium-high heat until softened.
  2. Add in chicken stock, and boil until everything is softened. Add salt and pepper to taste. I didn't have enough raw ginger to begin with, so I added in some ginger powder at this point.
  3. Puree mixture in small batches, by adding to a food processor.
  4. Lastly, blend everything with an immersion blender.
  5. Add water as necessary to increase liquid content.
  6. Prepare cider reduction sauce, and drizzle over soup. Serve and enjoy.

Cutting butternut squash.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Sister dinner plan

The theme will be surf & turf.

  1. Appetizer- Quichettes
  2. Soup: Butternut squash soup with cider creme fraiche reduction
  3. Main Courses: Seared Scallops with Apple Brandy Cream Sauce ( and a sirloin steak with whiskey cream pan sauce (fine cooking).
  4. Vegetable: Green beans (which will go with the steak).
  5. Dessert: Creme Brulee (will have to look for a torch) + a Vanilla bean Chai spiced Cheesecake with Ginger Crust.