For Sunday lunch this weekend there was a small Supper Club get-together for dim sum. After two hours of dumplings, pork and Asian beer we were all ready to sleep the rest of the afternoon away. We started with char siu pork, which was made in a rotisserie and tasted great (and made me covetous of the rotisserie – why do I not have one of these?) There was some sinus-clearing hot mustard and a homemade plum sauce to go with it.
I made my favorite hum bao recipe, stuffed with Sichuan-style pork and bean sprouts. We ate quite a lot of these.
There was a lettuce wrap filled with rice, oyster mushrooms and kimchi, with a black bean dipping sauce – a really nice, fresh presentation.
And sticky rice with water chestnuts, steamed in banana leaves (this course was almost forgotten entirely, we had so much other food).
I missed getting photos of the vegetable-tofu dumplings or the mushroom wontons, but there were also these lovely little spiced pork meatballs, coated in rice and steamed. They were fantastic – they made me wish I hadn’t eaten quite so many bao.
We’re going to have to do another dim sum party – we ate ourselves silly but barely scratched the surface of possible recipes. What shall we make next time?
Ever since our last cooking class with Casey Schanen, I’ve been thinking fondly of his ravioli stuffed with fresh peas and feta, served in a lemon beurre blanc. We received a ravioli making kit for Christmas, and fresh shelling peas just appeared in the market. Our choice for Sunday dinner was clear.
For the filling, I wanted to use Gothberg Farms fresh chevre, because I am still newly in love with this cheese and I want to use it in everything. This particular ball of cheese had a distinctly grassy note entwined with its sweet milkiness. It seemed made to go with peas.
First, we shelled our peas. I blanched them in boiling water for two minutes, then drained and cooled them. I set aside a few peas to go on top of the ravioli, but mashed the rest lightly with a spoon before adding the goat cheese along with some salt and pepper. In retrospect, a little lemon zest would have been nice as well. And perhaps a little chopped fresh mint. Next time…
Last week at Gretchen’s we helped out with a class on Chinese cooking. Presented by Huiming Hsiao, the daughter of Taiwanese restauranteurs, the food was heavy on the pork, light on the vegetables, and extremely yummy. I’m hardly going to complain about too much pork. Besides, there was also chicken and shrimp.
Most of the food was served at once, but we started the guests off with a curried chicken skewer. Huiming brought the boneless chicken thighs pre-marinated in a lively blend of star anise, Sichuan pepper and curry, and all we had to do was skewer them and stick them in the oven.
Like the regular, cheese-filled khachapuri that I usually make, this bean-filled variation is from the book Flatbreads & Flavors by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid (I’ve only recently discovered Naomi’s evocative personal blog - check it out, it’s wonderful).
I’ve raved about this cookbook repeatedly on this blog (do you have a copy yet? If not, why not?) The only thing I wish is that the first edition had been bound more effectively, because my copy is completely shot. You can tell it’s been well-loved. It’s the only place I’ve found recipes for Georgian food, which is a wonderful savory cuisine full of walnuts, cheese, pomegranates and herbs.
I love cheese-filled khachapuri so much that it was hard to make myself try something new, but I’m glad I made the effort. What I really like about the bean filling is that it really highlights the flavor of the bread, which is very tender and tart. Full of protein from both beans and yogurt, it makes a great vegetarian meal. I made a quick pureed spinach soup to dip the breads in, but a sharp green salad would also be good alongside.
“Maybe I should have started with linguine instead of ravioli.” I was trying to remember how to make pasta, and beginning to wonder if, instead of pumpkin ravioli, our Halloween dinner was going to consist of pasta shreds with mashed pumpkin on top. Fortunately for us, and for those of you looking at the photos of our final product, it did finally come out.
I used to make ravioli and other filled pastas, back when I was young and unemployed and had more time in the kitchen, but it had definitely been a while. And I never did get the hang of squash-filled pastas – it seemed like I always overfilled them or the filling was too watery, and the pastas always self-destructed in the pot. I’m happy to report, though, that this recipe (from Mario Batali’s Babbo Cookbook) worked beautifully. I only had to wad up the pasta scraps and reroll them once! And the pumpkin didn’t cook evenly, so we ran it through the cuisinart to get rid of the hard chunks. But the result was very, very delicious. I did skip the amaretti cookies on top, though, because that just sounded disgusting.
A while back I mentioned a batch of khachapuri that I had made, but I didn’t go into detail about them because I was seriously distracted by the gougères I was making at the same time. Last week I made them again, though, so I thought I’d do some fuller coverage.
Khachapuri are cheese-and-egg filled flatbreads from the Republic of Georgia. The bread itself is a yogurt and white flour dough which is very simple to make and very tasty as well. The variety I always make are the “emeruli khachapuri” out of Flatbreads and Flavors; the book has some variations stuffed with red beans or potatoes, but I haven’t really branched out yet – these are too good.
from Flatbreads and Flavors by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid
The full recipe makes 8 flatbreads. The breads are very filling, so I usually just make a half batch, which works fine. Leftovers are tasty for breakfast, too.
for the dough:
- 3 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups plain yogurt
for the filling:
- 4 oz cheddar or mozzarella cheese, finely grated
- 2 oz feta cheese, crumbled
- 2 Tbsp plain yogurt
- 1 egg
Preheat the oven to 450°. Continue reading