Vegetarian dumplings were once a strict equation to me: finely shredded cabbage, minced five-spice tofu, chopped scallions, and maybe some shiitake mushrooms, or clear strands of bean starch noodles. This simple formula I had been raised to identify as the proper filling for a meat-free (and admittedly inferior) version of the favorite comfort food. It wasn’t until more recent years that I realized this colorless, choppy mixture didn’t need to be just so… or just so inferior.
Hold the fries with these: who needs them when you have a crisp on the bottom, chewy on the top homemade noodle encapsulating a juicy nugget of better-than-Grade-A beef, with melted shreds of sharp cheddar and caramelized onions inside? That’s a happy meal for me alone. Alright, and some soy sauce (or ketchup? I can’t decide!) doesn’t hurt for dipping.
Little dumpling, who made thee? I know who did, originally. This dumpling was featured on the menu of the notorious 20-course, $1,500 a plate dinners propelled by two of the world’s greatest working chefs, Thomas Keller of The French Laundry and Per Se and Grant Achatz of Alinea. Their dinners, billed as mentor-protégé collaborations, unfolded in New York, Chicago and Napa, at the duo’s respective restaurants. But this dumpling, shown above, was just made by little old me. And the … Read More
Happy Chinese New Year! Thanks to all the “students” who came to the Brooklyn Kitchen last night for me and Winnie’s dumpling class. I hope you mark a dumpling party on your calendars soon. That was some tight work all around with the homemade dough — this is tricky stuff to roll out and fold when making dumplings for the first time! Be sure to check out the Brooklyn Kitchen blog and Winnie’s blog soon for her braised oxtail filling; … Read More
Chinese New Year is coming up, and as with every holiday save for maybe President’s Day, that means one thing to me: FOOD! Great food. Excesses of food. And the first food that comes to mind for this one is dumplings. But instead of throwing a dumpling party like I did last year, forcing my friends to roll up their sleeves in the wrapping process, the talented food writer Winnie Yang and I are going to teach a class on … Read More
Rats! My friend Karol agreed to come to my impromptu Chinese New Year‘s Eve dinner last night only on the condition that there would be no utterance of the words “rat” or “mouse,” so just getting it out of my system. Ringing in the Year of the Rat is understandably awkward when trodding the sodden confetti and firecracker papered streets of a New Year’s aftermath-stricken Mott St., kicking the occasional half-eaten bun. I’m not sure the ancient Chinese had counted … Read More