Friday, August 1, 2014

Vegetarian Pot Stickers

I love Potstickers.

The end.

Nah, not really, but when I see them offered at a Chinese buffet, I'll usually load a couple or three onto my plate and enjoy them.   And I've even made them from time to time in the past, and they've been good.

I realized this past week that the last time I'd made them was in my pre-blog days.
So I remedied that for Tapas.   And of course when I decided to make Potstickers, I did so with the expectation that I had a half a head of cabbage hiding in the bottom of my veggie drawer in the fridge.  It wasn't there when I looked.   I guess I'd used it up before my trip and forgot to purchase another one.  If I'd realized that when I went to buy the wonton wrappers at the store, I would have picked one up then.

Wait a minute, come to think of it, they were out of wonton wrappers at the store as well, so I bought egg roll wrappers and just cut them up.

Think the universe was trying to tell me something and I just didn't want to listen?

Wouldn't be the first time.

I wanted to make the Potstickers vegetarian anyway, so I cooked up some quinoa,
and since I didn't have any cabbage, I decided to go ahead and chop up some frozen Asian Style veggies, along with a half pound of mushrooms.
  I did a kind of fine dice on all of them, stir fried them in a little coconut oil, and mixed the quinoa in with it.  Set it aside to cool.    And you know, it tasted really good at this point, but I did add a little sesame seed oil, soy sauce and  some grated ginger to it as well.

I got out my egg roll wrappers, cut them into quarters, then decided that I really needed little circles.

   Click here if you want to watch the process of filling and folding and pleating   But if you don't feel like watching, let me try to explain it. 

 First I tried cutting them with my trusty little biscuit cutter.  But it wasn't all that easy. 
So I got a little smarter than the cutter, and turned it upside down, then pressed the wrappers down over it and cut them that way.  It was easier, well, actually prettier, to make the potstickers out of little rounds.   
Take a wonton wrapper, place a scant teaspoonful of filling in the middle.  Wet the edges of the wrapper, fold over the other side of the wrapper, making pleats in it.  You're aiming for a flat bottom and a pretty pleated top.  
Go ahead and try this, I'll wait.  Remember, wrapper, filling, moisten, fold and pleat.  
Got it?
Good, cause I didn't get a picture of the process.
OK, now just go ahead and do it with the rest, or as many as you can fit into a skillet at one time.  I can usually get about two dozen in my pan. 
But don't put them in there yet. 
Next step, add a couple spritz's of cooking spray to the pan, and then a little olive oil, or coconut oil. Heat up, and then add the potstickers, flat side down.  And the picture I took of this was way too blurry to use, so just imagine them browning away.   As soon as they're browned a little, add some water, about a 1/4 cup or so, stick a lid on the pan, let it steam away, then take the lid off after a couple of minutes, and pry the potstickers off of the bottom of the pan.
If you did this right, you won't need to pry, just slip a thin spatula under them, and place them on a plate with some gyoza sauce.  
See how pretty?   I had a few for dinner, giggle.   

Recipe:  Vegetarian Potstickers
1 cup cooked quinoa
8 oz. chopped fresh mushrooms
1 cup frozen Asian Style Vegetables, chopped
1 tsp. sesame seed oil
1 tsp. freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Saute the mushrooms and veggies together, chop finely, if not already chopped mix in with the cooked quinoa, add the sesame seed oil, soy sauce and ginger.  Taste, add more seasonings if needed.  You can also add some Gyoza sauce here if you like.   Set aside to cool for a little bit. 
Take out the gyoza or wonton wrappers, add a scant teaspoon of the filling, fold over, pleat and set aside, continue until you run out of wrappers, then eat the rest of the filling.  Just kidding, but it is tasty.  So if you do have some filling left over, go ahead and eat it.

 And this is how they looked on the Tapas table.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Pork Tenderloin with Oregano and Parsley

One of the many things I love about visiting my siblings is the food, and when I can get a new way of preparing or a new recipe along with all the love and visiting, I figure I'm ahead of the game.

I told you about the stellar meal I had with my sisters' Pork Tenderloin with Herbs and I had to try and recreate it for Tapas this month.

And it worked.   There was just a little of the pork left after Tapas, and I scarfed it down for lunch yesterday, topped with this incredible coconut sauce Leon had made for the chicken drumsticks.  He left me some of the sauce, giggle.  And it was good.

But this post is about how I made the tenderloin.   And even though I didn't make a sauce to go over it, it was tender, flavourful and totally yummy.

 Preheat the oven to 425 deg. 

I started off this dish by going out into the garden and harvesting some herbs.  My oregano is going great guns, so I grabbed some of that, as well as some parsley and a little rosemary.   I took the leaves off of the oregano, I didn't want the stems, as well as cutting the stems off of the parsley.  I also took the leaves off the rosemary, and gave them a rough chop.  Stems are not fun to bite into, trust me on this, they don't soften enough to eat.  

To start with, take out your tenderloin, and very carefully remove as much of the silverskin.  It just gets tough anyway and why not take it off?

*Hint*  Take out your meat at least  45 min. to an hour before cooking it, it cuts the cooking time a little, and helps to keep the meat moist.   Because it has already come almost to room temp, or at least warmed up a little, it doesn't 'shock' it as much when you put it in a hot pan, or on the grill or in the oven. 

Then take a sharp knife and cut a slit the length of the tenderloin.  Sprinkle or place your herbs into the slit,

and then take a long bamboo skewer and thread it through the tenderloin, kinda sewing it together.  You want it to stay in one piece. 
Heat a pan with a little oil, I used olive oil and coconut oil, not much, just a little and sear the tenderloin on both sides.  You want a little browning action going on here.
Put the tenderloin on a baking sheet and place in the oven for about 25 minutes.  That's all.

After 25 minutes I did check with a meat thermometer and it registered 155 degrees, which was almost too high, but the meat was cooked all the way through.    I then placed the tenderloins in some aluminum foil.  I wanted them to stay warm, as my guests weren't coming for another half hour.   I did place them back into the oven, but by that time the temp in there was down to around 170 degrees.

Just as people started coming, I pulled the tenderloin out, unwrapped it, and cut it into slices,

and put it on the table.   And even though I didn't 'pynt' up the plate, I noticed people were helping themselves to it in short order.

I have two more tenderloins in the freezer and I think I might just do this again.

 And if I can get the recipe for the coconut sauce from Leon, I'm good to go.  A little tenderloin, some Basmati rice, and that sauce.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Tapas Night for July

I'm tired this morning, but it is worth it.   We had another great turnout last night for Tapas, lots and lots and lots of great food, wonderful company, lots of laughs and conversations.  
All in all, another great night.

Even though it's a bit of work for me, I do enjoy having these parties.  

And when I say work, I mean the housework part, cause the cooking part is just plain fun. 

That being said, here's the round up of all the food that was brought.
At least I think it was all, I do get busy visiting and talking and sometimes I fall short in the picture taking department.  And if I missed your dish, I'm sorry.  You'll just have to come again and bring something fun.

Potato Salad, and it looked good. 
 Watermelon, locally grown and it was tasty.

Nibbles and look at that bowl.  I do love a pretty serving dish.

  Pasta salad and again, look at that cute bowl. 

Coleslaw and at the risk of repeating myself, wow, take a look at that bowl.

 Taquitos and Salsa.  And the salsa was served in another pretty bowl. 
 There was a name for this, but I can't remember it now.  However, this was a hollowed out bread stuffed with a cheese filling.   So pretty and tasty.
 Trust the vegetarians to come up with the tasty veggie dishes.  This was a superb veggie casserole.  By the time I got around to sampling it, there was only a tiny spoonful left.
 Eggplant Parmesan, and again, by the time I got to it, it was gone. But it looked good.  And judging from the scraped clean dish, it was also tasty.
 I'm not too sure what to call these, but they were good.  A hamburger/taco filling in a pastry shell
 Veggies and dip, always good. 
 Crab Cakes.  Nuf said, they were yummy.
 Look at this platter.   OMG, fresh figs, an incredible coconut sauce and chicken legs.   I could have licked the platter.  (I did score some of the leftover sauce, I'm having some over the leftover pork from last night.)
 Wings.  Always a winner.   And they did disappear, fast. 
 Quiche cups.   I managed to snag one.   I do love me some quiche. 
Pot Roast with Veggies.  Really good.  
  And I made an Herb Stuffed Pork Tenderloin.   Just like the one my sister made, but I'll tell you all about how I did it later on.
 I also made some Samosa's, the ones on the left were gluten free, and really good.  I'll tell you all about it later on.
Veggie Potstickers with Quinoa, again, I'll tell you all about them later on.   Gotta keep you reading...
 And then there were the desserts.    I didn't get a chance to taste this one, but it looked good.
 I'll just let you drool as you look at the pictures.
 I mean, there was so many desserts, it was hard to taste them all. 

I know there were some who tried. 
 You were waiting for this little guy, weren't you?  He appeared along side the pineapple again.
 I will mention one dessert by name.  This was an Eclair cake.   And the dish was scraped clean.  I didn't even get a taste, but that's OK, we used to get this one a lot when I lived elsewhere.   If you see one, get a taste, it's worth it.
 Chocolate, always a good choice, especially with all the chocoholics around here.
And last, but not least Pumpkin Cheese cake bites. 

Heaven, well, close to it. 

I hope I got pictures of everything.    But you know, if I missed something, I'm sorry.   And as I write this I realized I didn't get a shot of one dish, but I got the recipe and I'm going to make it. 
Just thought I'd add a level of suspense here. 
Hope you all had a great Saturday as well.  

Friday, July 25, 2014

Smorg, family style.

I love it when my family does a smorgasbord, especially when I get to join them.  One of the hardest things for me is living so far away and not being able to visit often.   Distance does take its toll, sometimes.

Luckily for me, I have a great family.  I got to take over one sister's kitchen to make a Low Country Boil, and then went to visit my other sister, and she decided we needed to have a Smorgasbord.  As I said, lucky me.

I'll share a couple of recipes with you, later on, cause you know I got some that I'm just dying to make and share here, but for now, let me lead you through our lunch.

To start with the table must be set correctly.   And you must serve the food in the correct order.   This is a given, and not negotiable.
 If you look at the above picture, there is a small plate on top of a larger plate.  And very, very important, there is also a snaps glass as well as a beer glass at the top.
 And the beer is already on the table.

 And also very important for the meal, the right ambiance or table decorations.  We Danes like our fresh flowers and candles on a table.   How about combining them?  This was so pretty.

First you have the pickled herring, and a glass of aquavit, the fish needs to swim, after all.

Then the next course is the hot fish serving, in this case a lovely sole and some Cod Roe, OMG, my tongue and tummy were in heaven.  I haven't had fried Cod Roe in years.   And to think I used to dislike it.  Silly me.  

Pickled herring tends to flavour everything else on your plate, which is why we let it have its very own plate.  As well as the rest of the fish as well.

So, now that we have that sticky little how-to out of the way.   Here's the Herring.   And yes, I did capitalize it.  On purpose.

I got to sample four different varieties, giggle.  And they were all good.
My sister made some Carry Sild  (curried herring), then there was this spiced herring as well as a wine herring and regular.   I savored every single bite, and went back for seconds on a couple.

And then as I said before, the fish.      And it must be served with a remoulade.  Which we usually make from some mayonnaise and hot dog relish (the kind with mustard), and a little lemon.  Don't worry, I'll show you how to do it in another post, cause I'm really craving some lovely sole. Again.  And if you notice, I'm still eating my fish on the small plate.  The pink stuff you see is from some Sildsalat.

Then the next course is the hot stuff.

No, not the spicy kind of hot, but a hot entree.

We had some Frikadeller, a chicken made the danish way, with Parsley, and I've shown you how to make both those dishes before.
Then of course there is always the 'pålæg'.   Which is basically various cold cuts or toppings for your bread,  some ham with Italiensk Salat, which I told you about not that long ago.   And of course you have to have Sildsalat as well, and my sister also made a Fransk Salat, and I got the recipe, giggle.  I'll be showing you how to make that in a future post. 
And on my plate there, clockwise from the pink stuff.  That is the Fransk Salat, a little rye bread, some chicken, a frikadeller, some red cabbage, and one of my own personal favourites.  Makral i Tomat Sauce.  (Mackeral in Tomato Sauce.  I kinda broke the rules here, I put fish on the big plate, don't tell anyone, OK?)  And a slice of my brother's cheese bread.  And you know I think I need to make some so I can share the recipe.  I have the cook book he got the recipe out of. Great minds do think alike or at least cook alike. 
Did that make sense?
Another thing we always have on the table is a plate of hard cooked eggs and quartered tomatoes.  In the past my mom would put a strip of anchovy on each egg half, but you can serve them plain.

I also had some lovely shrimp.  And it went so well on the cheese bread. You just add a touch of mayonnaise to the shrimp and serve it.

My brother made his famous (in our family at least) cheese bread to go with the meal. 

And we had rye bread, I took the leftover rye bread home and it is currently residing in my freezer, and as soon as I get to the big city I'm getting some herring so I can eat it properly. 

And somewhere along the way we forgot to put out the platter of  cold cuts.  Some salami, Lyoner sausage and Mortadella.   We ate it the next day though.

 I also forgot to mention the cheese plate, that's also a 'must' for a Smorgasbord.

And we finished it off in style with a wonderful chocolate truffle cake.  Which I still need the recipe for. 

There was plenty of stuff left over for dinner the following night.

OK, I'm now making myself hungry...