Potstickers and Purple Brussel Sprouts with Browned Butter and Lemon!

Happy (Chinese) New Year!

I am back my foodie friends!  We had a busy, but wonderful, holiday season and now I am trying to get caught up with real life.  I’m a bit behind on posts, but here are a few you can look forward to: Kalbi (Korean short ribs), Artichoke Pie, Arancini, Swedish Meatballs, Baked Potato Soup, Goat Cheese Quiche, and much, much more!

For now, let’s talk about Pork and Shrimp Potstickers (made in honor of the Chinese New Year), and Purple Brussel Sprouts with Browned Butter and Lemon.  When I took the kids to the farmers market last week, I asked them to find fruits and veggies from every color of the rainbow, and to our surprise and delight, we found purple brussel sprouts!  I trimmed the bottom, quartered them, and drizzled them with olive oil and kosher salt and roasted them on a sheet pan in a 425 degree oven for about 20 minutes.  Then I took 2 Tablespoons of butter, and browned it over medium heat in a small skillet, and poured it over the brussel sprouts in a bowl.  I squeezed some lemon juice until it tasted yummy and added a little bit more kosher salt.  Simple and SO delicious.  We all scarfed them down and my kids even asked for seconds.  I’m not sure there was a discernable difference between the purple brussel sprouts and the green ones, but my husband was convinced these were less bitter.  And the reason I’m talking about them before the potstickers is because those purple brussel sprouts stole the show!

Okay, now onto potstickers, which I got the recipe from FineCooking.com.  The mixture of pork, shrimp, and other yummy stuff was easy to mix up – you can easily substitute the pork with ground chicken.  Also, next time I would do either pork or shrimp because I didn’t feel like the shrimp flavor really came through.  I do wish I had ground my own pork shoulder in the food processor (next time!), because my 95% fat free ground pork that I got at the market, made the dumplings not as moist as I would like.

A few more recipe notes: I did not make my own dumpling dough – just bought the round dumpling wrappers from the market.  Also, I did not have rice wine or sherry, so I used marsala.  The scallion-soy dipping sauce took the potstickers over the top (salty, sour, and sweet), I’m only sorry I forgot to take a picture of it!  If using store-bought dumpling wrappers, dab a little water around the edges, or if you have a 4-year-old kid, they would be happy to do that for you.

Assembling them was pretty easy and this particular recipe made tons!

So, I froze half of them and can’t wait to put them into broth with some veggies, for won ton soup!

Kale and Brussel Sprout Chips

‘Tis the season for brussel sprouts and kale.  Think you don’t like these green veggies?  Then you must give them a try roasted in the oven, where they transform into crispy delights.  For the kale: break off large pieces and toss the hard center veins, drizzle with olive oil and kosher salt (don’t overdo it, keeping in mind that the kale shrinks), toss everything around with your hands and roast for about 15 minutes or so, tossing once.  You want to make sure they are crisp and not chewy, yet not burnt.  Get ready to eat a whole bunch of kale in one sitting.  Seriously.  Even my preschoolers love these.

For the brussel sprout chips: Cut off the base of the sprouts and pull off the leaves (this does take some time to do, but it’s not so bad if you have a little person helping you out, and I am lucky enough to have one of those little people who likes helping me in the kitchen). Drizzle with olive oil and kosher salt and toss everything around with your hands and roast for about 20 minutes or so, tossing a few times.  Welcome to brussel sprout heaven!

Pumpkin Stuffed w/ Everything Good

Run, don’t walk, to the market to get yourself a pumpkin or other squash to make this recipe!  I’ve made it a few times for friends and everyone loves it and is surprised at how much they love it.  What’s not to love with bacon, cream, and cheese?  I’m making this for Thanksgiving and you might want to consider doing that too.

Here is a link to the recipe, and here are my recipe notes: make sure to salt the inside of the pumpkin pretty liberally with kosher salt, before you stuff the pumpkin.  Also, make sure you add enough cream so that it is really moist and the bread is floating in the cream a bit.   Cheese: please buy Emmentaler (which you can get for a great price at Trader Joes) or Gryuere and cube it– do not buy pre-shredded Swiss cheese, which will taste bad.  Also, fresh thyme is a must – do not use the crappy, dry stuff.  I prefer to serve it scooped rather than sliced – just dig a spoon in and make sure to get some pumpkin and some of the stuffing – a match made in heaven.

This recipe is from the cookbook, Around My French Table, by Dorie Greenspan.  This is not your boring French cookbook, including not only recipes, but also many great anecdotes.  This book is an absolutely wonderful and substantial collection of simple, yet delicious recipes and I highly recommend it for anyone that loves to cook.  Go ahead and get it from the library and give it a look-see, and then after you decide you have to have it, head to Amazon.com for the best price.  Bon appetit!

Potato Corn Cakes and Grilled Okra

Okay, I’m a little behind on blogging because I made these on Labor Day and am just getting to writing about them.  But they are worth the wait.  First, grilled okra – now I know what you’re saying, “Okra is slimy!”  Last summer I got a big bag of okra in my CSA box and had no idea what to do with it; I, too, was concerned about the dreaded slime.  After doing some research on the net, I found that if you cut the okra in half – not all the way in half, just up to the stem part – then drizzle with olive oil and kosher salt, and grill until charred a bit, you have some great tasting okra that is not slimy.  It really is so good, and every single person who I make it for, loves it.  I saw some okra at the farmers market the other day, so go out and get some and give it a try!

My friend Jess brought over some spicy potato corn cakes from Whole Foods, 2 Labor Days ago.  Two years later I am still obsessing over them – yes, I realize I have issues.  Anyway, after never finding them again at WF, I decided to make my own.  I baked a bunch of potatoes and let them cool and then peeled and diced them.  I also cut the corn off a few cobs and sautéed the kernels in a pan.  I mixed up some diced potatoes, corn, chopped scallions, chopped jalapeno, kosher salt and an egg to bind it together.  Then I carefully made patties and pan-fried them in some canola oil.  Yum!  The combination of potatoes, corn, and a little bit of heat was so damn good!