Dumpling Making 101

DSC_0069This week, I was lucky to spend an evening with my mixology-master and dumpling-loving partner in crime Eliza. A while back, she’d purchased two tickets for a dumpling class, and after many scheduling conflicts we made it happen. I’d made dumplings twice before, but after this tutorial,  I’m ready to whip up a dim sum feast!DSC_0049The class took place at Chinese Mirch, one of a chain of Indo-Chinese restaurants. Sipping on Kingfisher beer (apparently imbibing beer is essential in the production of satisfactory dumplings), DSC_0050we handcrafted three varieties of the stuffed treat: Spinach and Cheese, Chicken and Ginger and Chopped Duck “Peking Style.” DSC_0051The vegetarian dumplings were in the “momo” style, native to Nepal. This was one of mine. Not bad, eh?DSC_0052We moved onto chicken and ginger:DSC_0057Eliza was an expert mixer:DSC_0058These were formed in a more traditional dumpling shape. Apparently my pleating still needs some work…DSC_0060Lastly, duck in wonton style:DSC_0063DSC_0065We steamed all of our dumplings and a few got a visit to a hot sear pan for some added texture. I prefer mine steamed, though. DSC_0068DSC_0071

Happy eating to us!

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Summer Peach Crostata

DSC_0063I recently posted my favorite galette dough recipe and used it this weekend for a fresh summer peach crostata (an Italian version of a galette, essentially a rustic free-form fruit tart). It really is the most versatile dough recipe and although it can be a bit temperamental during the dough-rolling process, persevere and you shall reap crunchy, buttery benefits. I made a few additions to the recipe this time: sprinkle a teaspoon or two of sugar on the base of the dough before putting the fruit on, using one egg and a tablespoon of water make an eggwash and brush it onto the pastry before baking, drizzle a teaspoon or two of fruit jam (I used redcurrant) onto the fruit before baking.DSC_0051Persevere with the dough:DSC_0057Pre-fold:

peachPost-Fold: (I love making crostatas because they are rustic and easy yet gorgeous and tasty. The dough simply needs to be folded over the fruit, so there’s no pressure for perfection!)DSC_0058Et voilà: DSC_0060

A day in Vacationland

DSC_0117This past weekend my family and I took a day trip to Southern Maine for an afternoon of sunshine and lots of lobster. Our first stop was Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier in Kittery, Maine. This local’s joint serves up fresh lobster (from one to four pounds) and other wonderful seafood in a quaint waterfront setting. DSC_0136The restaurant seems to be a staple, with diners bringing their own side dishes, alcohol and even tablecloths. We picked up some local IPA beers, a bottle of wine, and dug in to a multi-course shellfish feast in a lovely picturesque locale.

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Peel-and-Eat Shrimp and some local OystersDSC_0081_2Lobsters (and chicken?) for Sale

DSC_0088Fresh for the eatingDSC_0095Rapidly accumulated detritus…

DSC_0097 Our chosen tippleDSC_0103Steamed Clams. We soon learned that the clam water is the key to a non-gritty bite. And, of course, butter is the key to everything.DSC_0110Some of the best fries I’ve had in recent memory. Hot and crunchy, with no greasy feeling or aftertaste. DSC_0118Lobster Roll. While the meat was tasty–sweet and fresh, I realized that I prefer the mayo-celery lobster roll variety.

DSC_0116Hot summer sunshine, drawn butter and tender lobster meat. Dare I say more?DSC_0121

Going…DSC_0130

Going…DSC_0132 GONE!DSC_0137

Lobster BuoysDSC_0142

York BeachDSC_0151

And, of course, some ice cream!

Pickle Pantry Essential #12

Pickle Pantry Essential #12:  Doctor Kracker Pumpkin Seed & Cheddar Crispbreads

I love cheese, I love crackers and I love pretending to be a crunchy-healthnut-hippie type. Well, the last part is a lie, but these crackers do make me feel that way even when I continue to mistakenly refer to them as “Uncle Kracker” in remembrance of a one-hit wonder of note. They’re fairly healthy, organic (praise the lawd) and very tasty. They’ve got a lovely cheesy flavor to them, and are a perfect accompaniment to a salad or hummus. I go through a box a week and couldn’t recommend them more highly. While they may adorn your floor with pumpkin seeds, they’re a great pantry staple for snacking or crostini-ing.

(image courtesy of Doctorkracker.com)