Monday, April 3, 2017

Pelmeni, or Russian Dumplings, or any dumpling really... My version, the live in the freezer so you're only ever 20 minutes away from dumpling happiness


This is my take on the most delicious of Russian food, Pelmeni.  There are probably a million and a half versions and recipes, this is mine.  I make it all the time, I keep bags and bags in the freezer so anytime you want a bowlful, you merely have to boil some water, boil these little darlings and eat them, in a bowl, with a gigantic blob of sour cream AND butter, we're all about the pleasure here, and some herbs if you're so inclined...and you just eat them.

TRACY'S PELMENI  (Russian dumplings)


INGREDIENTS

Dough

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup milk

Meat Filling

1 lb ground beef (you can also make these with pork or veal)
1 grated onion
salt, pepper, thyme,
(garlic if you want but it's not traditional)

METHOD AND PLAY BY PLAY

Dump all the dough ingredients in a standing mixer, with a dough hook, and combine to a smooth dough.  You can also easily do this by hand.  Knead to a ball, leave to rest for a while.

Dump all the filling ingredients in a bowl, mix well.  Leave to rest while the dough rests.

Go have a glass of wine or something.

Roll out the dough,, relatively thin and you have many options for filling... these are my top two methods.

1.  Roll dough thin on a floured surface and cut into 2 inch rounds.  Put a small ball of meat in each round, pull up the sides and pinch closed, put on floured tray and freeze.  Transfer to bags when frozen and grab handfuls when you want a meal. You do not NEED the mold below, just use a glass to cut the circles, the dough seals to itself beautifully.

2.  MY new absolute favorite method. Buy a pelmeni mold (yeah, I have one).
This is the one I have, no, I don't get anything if you click... I wish I did! but I don't





Roll the dough and place on well floured mold.  VERY well floured. Fill each space with a little tiny ball of filling.  Cover with another sheet of dough and use rolling pin to seal.  Flip upside down and shake the completed pelmeni out, put on floured tray and freeze. 

Here's the play by pictures:

Mix the meat and set it aside.  I didn't do pics of the dough, I will add play by plays of that next time.  It's an easy dough.  Mix till smooth :)

  
Dust your mold with flour and set aside.  Roll a piece of dough to a 10 inch circle and place it over the mold, gently settle it on the form. 
    
Put LITTLE ITTY BITTY balls of the meat mixture in each depression... I always start in the middle and work my way around. Roll out another piece of dough (dust the flour off) and put it over the little balls of meat, press down to seal.
    
Flour the top of the mold and roll, with a rolling pin to seal and separate!  isn't this COOL???  Roll firmly then remove the excess from the side, save that dough, you can reroll it!  Then give another roll to the mold to ensure they're sealed.
    

Look at these little nubble balls on the underside of the form.  Turn the form over and WHACK it on the side of a rolling pin or cutting board and they all fall out!!!  LOOK at these little babies!
This is how many I got from the 1 lb of meat. Seriously, talk about totally cheap and delicious food!!
    

So, this sheetpan has gone into the freezer, when they are frozen solid, I'll transfer them to a couple of ziploc bags and leave them in the freezer till I want to eat some.  Just boil in moderately boiling water, when the float, time it for about 7 mins, and there you go.

I have extra dough so I can make more tomorrow with whatever leftover meat I find in my fridge OR if I have leftover mashed potatoes I can mix with cheese and make mini pierogi.

I also love filling them with roasted and chopped vegetables and serve in broth? I've done chicken fillings both with asian flavors and straight up chicken.  Oh there's a million options here. I like to make potsticker filling with pork and asian flavors and the same thing, freeze and use as you will from frozen.

Go get this mold, and fill your freezers with dumplings!!!

I'll post the cooking pics later but I wanted to get this portion up for you now.  Go, make the dough!

/enjoy





Tuesday, March 28, 2017

I had a can of Potatoes and a can of Peas, I made edible food that was actually delicious


 
Recently, I was challenged to make dinner with canned food.  I don't buy canned food. I buy canned tomato products for various recipes.  I have canned chic peas and canned black beans in my pantry at all times.  I keep cans of Niblets.  Really, you can't have a happy life without Niblets. I have canned cream of chicken soup for my fake (delicious) chicken divan.  I have Heinz baked beans (British cans) for my beans on toast meals and I think that's about it.  OH, I keep cans of evaporated milk here for making caramel for any dessert.  I think that's about it for my cans.

I haven't ever eaten (to my knowledge or memory) canned vegetables.  I listened dutifully as a friend told me about various side dishes and meals using canned potatoes and canned peas. I'm always up for a challenge and today I opened the cans. I didn't do the recipes she gave me, I ventured forth on my own,  Well, I was almost on my own, my International Tester was with me via Skype and she watched with a mix of horror and delight as I cooked up two quick dishes, using the canned vegetables.  I have to say, she facetimed me later and told me she'd gone to the store to buy her own canned potatoes and canned peas to try her own culinary experiments.

I will confess right up front, these were not disgusting.  The two recipes I made were, actually, delicious.  I will keep a can of each of these in constant rotation for a quick side.  I will shush the 'recipe' up next time to add a few things but on the whole, as a base, these to rock the boat! 

First, the potatoes: 

There's no recipes here, these are methods... jumping off points.

One can of sliced potatoes, some fat of some sort, a little chopped onion, salt, pepper and a little fresh green onion for after...  damn, these are good

Open the can, drain, rinse! and dry
    

Shush some onions in some fat and when they're slightly browned, toss in the potatoes.  Shush those around on a relatively high heat until they're gorgeous.  I cut mine in half with a fork purely because I can already tell, I want more pieces of this!
    

Cook, toss, plate, throw some green onions on and serve.  These are AMAZING with a fried or poached egg on top.  I'm gobsmacked at how good these are.  I'm keeping canned potatoes in my larder for the rest of my life.  wow
   


Now, the peas; in a can.  Wow.
So in a bowl, add a blob of mayonnaise, either homemade or store bought.  Add some chopped white onion.  I will admit, I did chop then rinse and dry the onions.  I didn't want the acidity of raw onions but did want the crunch.  Add a little pepper if you're so inclined.  I happened to find, about my person, one beautifully boiled egg.  This might be good.
    


Open, drain and rinse the peas.  Drain them well.  Add the chopped egg and mix.  Chill
    

I the to admit, I didn't think either would be good but, I have to confess... they are both yummy.  The peas is a nice alternative to potato salad on the side of some grilled chicken.

I think they're both worth a try... there you go, I coked with canned food and didn't throw it away.

Let me know, try them!

/tracy


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

MY take on paratha, roti or just flaky pully bread for sopping up curry, stew, soup, eggs, or just eating :)

I love bread with a meal, I love dunking, sopping and scooping with bread or a flaky bread like item, this is MY take on paratha, the flaky, shattered loose flatbread eaten all over the world, but not nearly enough in the usa... cmon americans, let's start dunking, sopping, scooping and enjoying the experience of eating with our hands

This is my take so please don't be haters, I'm just cooking dinner after all.  This recipe makes 4 breads but you'll see there sort of turned to rags so I put them all in a big bowl in the middle of the table and you just reach in and rip off hunks to eat with your dinner.

Hope you enjoy it!!

**There's a link to the youtube video at the end of the post for clarification of the two techniques*

TRACY'S PARATHA (ROTI) FLAKY FLATBREAD


INGREDIENTS

DOUGH
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 TB brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 cup milk/water combo (or just plain water but use the combo)
dribble of plain oil

FOR ROLLING AND COOKING
2 TB shortening (or 1 each butter and shortening)
plain oil
flour for dusting and rollling

METHOD

Mix dough ingredients, all together, at once. to form a smooth (ish), soft dough.
Divide into 4, roll into balls, cover with damp cloth or put in plastic bag, leave to rest 15 mins

Roll each ball to a 10 inch circle (ish), spread some shortening on each and split from the middle to look like pacman.
Roll into a spiral, tuck in tops and bottoms.
Cover with damp towel, leave at least 1 hour, longer is better

Preheat comal or tawa or giant frying pan to medium.  Coat lightly with oil.  Roll one dough ball out to the size of the pan.  Brush lightly with oil.

Cook over medium heat until brown and cooked through, flip a few times.
Transfer to a flat surface and scrunch with your hands, flip and scrunch again.
Put in a lined bowl with foil, to keep warm.

Repeat with other balls,
tear and eat, tear and eat, tear and dunk and dip and scoop and eat eat eat


PLAY BY PLAY WITH ALL THE PICS AND A LITTLE VIDEO TOO 

Combine all dough ingredients in a bowl, you can do this easily by hand, btw, I was just feeling lazy today.
    

It makes a soft, slightly sticky dough, that's what you want. Give it a little knead on a lightly floured board.
    

Divide the dough into 4 little balls.  Cover with a wet cloth or put in a plastic bag, leave about 15 mins.
    

Mix some shortening and some butter, or just use shortening, or just use lard OR you can use oil but don't, it's better with shortening and butter. Roll the dough on a floured surface.
    

Roll out pretty thin, this is how big I do it. Cover with a light coating of the shortening and sprinkle LIGHTLY with flour.  Cut a slit from the middle to the outside.
    

Take one side and start rolling, follow the slice down, around the corner and back up,  Tuck both ends inside.
    

Flatten on the board, just with your hand and pop the balls somewhere to rest, I throw them back in the bowl, with a wet paper towel and a tea towel and forget about them.
     

AHHHHH, now the best part.  Preheat a frying pan or comal or tawa, whatever you have thats BIG and flat.  Hmmm, I wonder if you could use an electric griddle, I think so...  maybe next time.

Ok here we go, after they've rested, roll the balls, with flour, to the size of whatever pan you have, drizzle a little plain oil
    

lightly oil the pan, I use a comal on medium high heat, if it's browning too fast, turn it down.
    

Flip back and forth until it's cooked through.
    

oh lovely and even, flip back and forth another minute or so then transfer to a flat surface...  this is where it gets weird
  

On a flat surface, use both hands and clap together, squashing the bread between, I am having to do it one handed to take pics hahaha
    

roll it like a snowball, loosely until the layers explode and it almost shreds, oh my how lovely and light and flaky and delicious... use it to dip, scoop or just eat...  so so so so good 
   

so, THAT is how I make my paratha, flaky and light and delicious and pully and stretchy and tender and chewy.  

Make this, let me know how much you love it.

HERE is the video that shows the roll and the cook and the squash :) 





/enjoy!