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All That Dough Makes a Hungry Girl

With or without knowing Pie Day was upon us two weeks ago, I started accummulating dough-based foods around the house in strange and serendipitious ways. It started because I wanted to make pot pie from leftover roast chicken. I found this recipe for 'easy' dough involving a lot of kneading butter into flour some time back, and this is the route I usually take when I crave something flaky and pastry. Cutting butter into flour is easy enough, but did I mention the kneading? I like kneading dough, but I have to reserve a chunk of some hours for the process. It's not the quickest damn thing I could make. A good shortcut would be roll out and freeze stuff in advance. For that, I need more chunks of time. Probably a weekend.

But there was pot pie, and another half of dough lump I had lying around in the fridge. Then that got turned into jam tarts, because our landlords gave us awesome plum and apricot jam this year. Jam and flaky pastry are things lying around in cookie jars that the husband and I eat way too much of.

And then there was Pie Day, and no flaky pastry. Seth suggested we buy frozen pot pies to celebrate. I trekked down to Duc Loi, where they had decent-looking frozen pot pies from Pacific-something-or-other, but then I wondered if they had the nice flaky pastry with the Spanish packaging I once saw at Evergreen (5 blocks the other way). They didn't, though they did have some commercial frozen pie dough available hidden on a high shelf. I trudged back home, told Seth I calculated the cost of frozen pot pie (about $5 per head) and decided I could make meat pie myself.

I did get the commercial frozen pie dough. It has Crisco in it, which is anathema to everything, but I wasn't able to spend an hour or more waiting for dough to chill and rolling it. The meat filling was fun. I decided I wanted the meat filling of the meat pies from Danny the Champion of the World -- with bits of chopped egg and lunch meat smothered in ground beef. I added a pinch of nutmeg for a bit of zing. Good splash of beer, some soy sauce, generous black pepper and salt. There were carrots, parsley and mushrooms too. I didn't want a wet filling, but did manage to get a nice, moist meat paste with hardboiled egg and turkey ham bits in it. I would totally make that again. There was just enough pie leftover for lunch the next day.

The other thing I got at Duc Loi was Shanghainese wonton wrappers. I thought about getting the yellow Cantonese kind, but the only difference I could tell between them was that the Cantonese variety had yellow food coloring and were round. The week after that, out came the beef potstickers. I have decided that I like making dumplings with square Shanghainese wonton wrappers. It's a cheat, since I can't crimp to save my life, and will eventually need to learn this survival skill properly. Juicy yummy beef potstickers are best made with a splash of rice wine and soy sauce somewhere in the meat. May have vaguely oversalted the beef. The only issue I had with the potstickers was frying them up properly in the pan. There's a couple of brands I've encountered, one a Korean frozen vegetarian potsticker brand we used to have in Australia, and Ajinomoto's frankly overpriced frozen potstickers here, that really survive the panfrying/pan-steaming process without sticking to the pan like superglue. I've tried things like moving the dumplings around when they're still mobile, not moving the dumplings around while cooking at all and using slightly more oil, all to differing levels of stickiness. I know our friends cr0wgrrl and kn1ghtshade steam the dumplings before frying, which seems to help. Experimentation is required.

After snarfing down about fifteen dumplings each over Stargate: Universe (damn you Syfy and your inadvertent last season), I decided I would next make wonton soup noodles, experimenting with vegetarian wontons. I originally wanted to make chicken dumplings, I promise, but Duc Loi didn't have the minced chicken. Some roughly mashed silken tofu (well seasoned), some thick glass noodles, chopped carrots, mushrooms and spring onions, and a bit of tapioca starch for binder. Total vegetarian goodness. Okay, I served the noodles in a strong chicken broth, but the dumplings were totally vegetable.

And now, I plot the next thing of dough. Okonomiyaki is batter, but the flour doesn't know any better.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 23rd, 2011 11:04 pm (UTC)

I am glad you did not include pictures, or I would be gnawing on my keyboard.
Mar. 24th, 2011 03:11 am (UTC)
>>May have vaguely oversalted the beef.

That's when you tell Seth that you made corned beef dumplings. XD

Oooooh, leftover idea! ...actually, how would I want to go about doing that? Just hashing everything and sealing it in a wonton skin? Is that too boring? hmmm. Too bad I don't have wonton skins in the fridge right now.
Mar. 24th, 2011 04:07 am (UTC)
That excuse would work better if I hadn't used minced beef. XD

I read your post about corned beef. I love having that stuff around for leftovers. Mmm.

I would dice the corned beef finely, along with some carrots, possibly celery and cabbage? Maybe add glass noodles for textural effect too.

If you have Vietnamese spring roll wrappers, corned beef strips and your favourite veggies/crunchy fruits make excellent alternative sandwiches.

Corned beef also does ridiculously good things to pies and savoury tarts. And fried rice and fried noodles. Or crumbled into cream sauces. Or...or... hunger! Corned beef!
Mar. 25th, 2011 02:20 pm (UTC)
>>If you have Vietnamese spring roll wrappers, corned beef strips and your favourite veggies/crunchy fruits make excellent alternative sandwiches.

well, I know what I'm doing next year! ;D
Mar. 25th, 2011 07:16 pm (UTC)
Surely you don't have to wait that long! Keep some Vietnamese spring roll wrappers around the house. They are dried and versatile. :P
Mar. 24th, 2011 04:15 am (UTC)
I have a strong desire to go out for Mix Modern Yaki, real-soon-now.
Mar. 24th, 2011 05:28 am (UTC)
This sounds like okonomiyaki, so it is a plan.
Mar. 27th, 2011 02:10 am (UTC)
I thought it was yakimandu, but in any case here's another of your posts making me go upstairs to fix something or other unusual and tasty. Evil vamp hamp. ;-)
Mar. 27th, 2011 06:18 am (UTC)
Prior to this, I had no idea that this was the Korean name for dumplings. I have learned.
Mar. 27th, 2011 10:31 pm (UTC)
I haven't had good yaki since I left South Korea either. Much sadness. I need to go back for a while!
Mar. 27th, 2011 10:35 pm (UTC)
Ack!! I wasn't signed in, how did that happen?
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )