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Archive for July, 2007

I keep a file with fun dumpling fillings ideas collected over several years from the posts made by Jinmyo, my dear cooking teacher by correspondence, on various food boards. One of the interesting fillings that i always wanted to try was of steelhead trout with chinese celery which i approximated tonight using wild alaskan king salmon and celery root to a very good result.

Salmon_celery_dumplings

Discoveries made? I had a packet of Nasoya large (6") eggroll skins bought for some near future cannelloni. On a whim i decided to give them a try as boiled dumpling skins – they were thinner and as such more appropriate for boiling than wonton skins i got. Now eggroll skins were too big, but then i remembered about a simple contraption called dumpling press that i bought a long ago in several sizes but never had a chance to use. And it worked like a charm. In no time we had a tray full of perfectly looking and sealed dumplings.

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Grilling, Eastern Mediterranean Style

I was sort of blah most of the day but fortunately H. took the dinner action to the Weber. Wolfert’s Eastern Med book was the inspiration, yet again. So grilled lamb marinated in turkish baharat and tomato/red pepper pastes, grilled okra with pomegranate glaze, spinach/walnut pate and onion/parsley salad with sumac. Everything was beyond delicious!

Grilled_okra

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Fugue in Burnt Orange

Deep frying technique got further perfected by revisiting  familiar ingredients – sweet potatoes and salt-n-pepper shrimp. Served with manchego/tomato pate (shown below) and avocado/tomatillo salsa. Total bliss…

Salt_pepper_shrimp_2

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Slow Roasted Chicken Wings

The initial plan was to marinade chicken wings for a slow grilling. Unfortunately the pit master was a bit late so i decided to roast them instead. The result was very good; worth writing the recipe down.

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Bell peppers cooked yesterday in Marcella’s way provoked cravings for her pan roasted artichokes. For the appropriate side i conveniently had Kremezi’s Foods of Greece bookmarked at taramosalata recipe (a can of tarama in the fridge made the decision quite easy).

Artichokes_taramosalata

Artichokes were as good as ever or even better thanks to my smart idea of adding lemon skin slivers that at the end of the cooking turned into wonderful caramelized chips (ditto for slightly squashed garlic cloves). As for the taramosalata, one more excellent dip to add to my repertoire – made of whole wheat bread, scallions, tarama, parsley, capers, lemon juice and olive oil it was complex but balanced in flavor – sharp, creamy and light.

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Saganaki, no Opa!

It felt like shrimp and since i was contemplating the coming dinner while on a treadmill it also felt like healthy. Now by a total accident i had a copy of Sortun’s Spice book in my sport bag. And saganaki sounded like a perfect idea. I even decided to get a bottle of ouzo for a final flambee step.

Saganaki_1

Well ouzo price was prohibitive, and upon checking our bar i thought of using cointreau instead. It has a similar sweetness and an interesting flavor matching a greek theme.

Basically the preparation involves making some base of slowly braised onion, red and green peppers and plum tomatoes, with oregano and garlic added at the end. Then vegetables are topped with shrimp and feta and baked. I usually peel raw bell peppers – makes them so sweet and melting when cooked. Used canned San Marzano tomatoes so added them at the last moment with garlic and oregano (a real greek one from my backyard).

And i know the presentation would  be more dramatic in cazuela but this gratin dish was of the right shallowness.

As expected cointreau worked fine – the only problem i couldn’t get it flame – so no Opa! happened. But nonetheless the dinner was very good.

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The dinner preparation was mostly around assembling. Strips of papaya, steamed large gulf shrimp, some mint and cilantro leaves with a dash of sweet chili sauce were wrapped in rice paper. That was it.

Shrimp_papaya_spring_rolls

Very nice. And btw my first experience dealing with papaya.

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