Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Mother Dumpling

Welcome, blog reader. I hope you have taken advantage of all the juicy fruits and bright greenery summer had to offer this year. I spent the (not so) lazy days feeding the masses at the Banff Farmers Market - it was a fantastic success.

It was a never-ending battle for first place between the "Mexican Crepes" and the "Extra Unbaked Cheesecake", the judges are still out (to lunch) on that one.

Here are a few of the fun things that were offered at the Glowfood booth:

Mexican Crepes
(chipotle walnut crumble, cumin kraut tossed in fermented cashew cream cheese, carrot corn "crepe")

Vegetable Pesto Dumplings
(marinated & wilted veg tossed in basil pistachio pesto, mac nut "goat" cheese, tomato & herb wrapper)

Smoked Tomato Pasta
(kelp noodles, smokey tomato cream sauce, black cumin, wilted arugula, black olives, mac nut "goat" cheese)

Various Tree Nut Cheeses
(preserved lemon & thyme, rosemary black pepper, smoked cheddar, goat cheese, truffled goat cheese, vanilla bean smoked salt, preserved lemon & garlic)

Extra Unbaked Cheesecake
(graham crust, fermented cashew, vanilla & coconut cream cheese, various fruit toppings)

Chocolate Bars & Truffles

 Savoury Snack Mix
(piri piri nori chips, preserved lemon thyme zucchini chips, "w" sauce sundried tomato chips, sea salt & olive oil kale chips)

 Well... the list goes on, but I won't.

Today I finally got to try something I've been dreaming up all summer but haven't had a chance because of my busy schedule.
I have come to learn that using psyllium husk in wrappers makes them stand up to liquid, a lesson I learned from the birthday cake experiment last November when I soaked the pieces of mango cake in tequila for hours and they did not degrade. The Mexican Crepes held their shape all summer filled with creamy kraut and the tomato leather stood up to the pesto vegetables.

And so today, an Asian Dumpling Soup was born.
I don't expect you to do all of this, there are quite a few steps, but I hope at least one part of the dish gives you inspiration to make something fun and delicious. Oh, and I didn't do much measuring so... good luck with that.

Ginger Dumpling Wrappers
3 cups yellow patty pan squash
½ tsp Himalayan salt
½ tsp fresh ginger
Blend until smooth.
Add to moving blender: ½ tbsp psyllium husk powder.
Smooth on one teflex sheet and dehydrate until dry.
Cut into small circles using a ring mold as a guide.

Smoked Shitake Mushrooms:
Did I mention I got a smoking gun?! It was a treat to myself for working so hard this summer.
Stem and clean a bunch of shiitake mushrooms
Finely chop and marinate in:
regular sesame oil
a dash of toasted sesame oil
a dash of chili oil (olive oil w/ dried hot chili flakes and dried garlic) - optional
olive oil
lemon juice

Then smoke with cherry wood

Mince a shallot
Fine brunoise ½ or whole peeled apple (or Asian pear)
Finely chop about 1 tbsp or more preserved lemon strips
Toss all together and keep covered on the counter to further marinate.

Fill each dumpling cut-out with a tiny amount of the mushroom mixture.
Be sure to dip your finger in water first and go around the outside of the wrapper so it will seal.

 Fold one half of the wrapper over the other and seal with a ravioli stamp.

Asian Broth:
braggs, about ¼ cup or more
water, about 4+ cups
ginger, about ½ inch
dulse, about 1.5 tbsp
shallot, nice size chunk
1 garlic scape
splash lemon juice
splash sesame oil, regular
tahini, about 3 tsp or more

Blend all until smooth. Place in dehydrator for a few hours in shallow dish without lid to reduce and concentrate flavours.
Strain trough fine mesh strainer. Place in blender with a bit of sunflower lecithin for binding. The lecithin will create a foam on top. Allow the broth to settle for a few minutes so the foam is separate and you can pour just the broth into the serving bowls. (I realize this is not the most beautiful colour, omit the tahini, oil and lecithin for a clear broth with less body)

You can use any vegetables you like, I didn't want to go to the store so I used what I had on hand.
Carrot vermicelli, made with a mandolin attachment.

Fine strips of red pepper
Fine brunoise cucumber and apple (Asian pear would be perfect in this dish).

Asparagus – in plastic zip lock with olive oil, sesame oil, lemon juice, water and salt. “Sous Vide” for 3+ hours in dehydrator.

Assemble however you like in the serving bowls and garnish with black sesame seeds and chili oil.

It's nice to submerge the dumplings in the broth before you eat them, they take on enough liquid to become dough-like.

Well folks, there you have it, another blog post. Hope it inspires you.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Grandma's Kitchen

Greetings from the land of long legs, fancy cars and perpetually sunny days!

Can you believe it's been a whole month of school already? My friend and I graduated from Level 1 at Matthew Kenney Academy in Santa Monica on Friday, so... yay for us!

Many skills were acquired at the academy, such as plating food so it doesn't look like the cat rolled around in it and learning to use a knife like a grown-up. We ate like true Americans and learned some fantastic recipes. Our instructor Cristina was an absolute delight and excessively knowledgeable.

Week 4 was super-duper awesome. Each day we worked on our individual final projects - creating a three course menu with the intention of executing two of the courses. Because I'm a keener and I wanted to push myself, I decided to execute all three courses with the theme of "Grandma's Kitchen". Turns out I'm a little old lady trapped inside this super-model body.

Preservation played a major role in the theme. Preserving food (fermenting, pickling, dehydrating), preserving tradition, preserving recipes and preserving memories. Who doesn't love their Grandma's home cooking? Huh? That's right, no one. So in the name of Polish and Dutch home cookin' I fermented cabbage into kraut, dehydrated apples into pie, crafted pierogies out of raw yams and pickled everything in sight. Somehow, a deviled egg appeared. I guess these things just happen when you are in a Grandma frame of mind.

I can't seem to make these photos bigger, sorry about that - just click to enlarge. This is my menu.

I telephoned my better half full of excitement and said "I made a deviled egg!". He said "So, you had a perfectly good egg. You threw it's contents out and created a fake egg?".

1st Course "The Delicatessen"
Deviled Egg, House Pickles, Olives, Bread Rolls & Butter.

Mini breads ready for the dehydrator

2nd Course "The Secret Recipe" (because grandmas never share their best recipes)
Three Cheese Pierogies (goat cheese & preserved lemon, goat cheese & fresh dill, red bell pepper cheddar), Smoked Tomato, Sweet Potato, Crispy Kraut, Borscht, "Bacon" Cream.

3rd Course "The Oven"
Pink Apples, Earl Grey Whipped Cream, Orange Muscat Reduction. The whipped cream needs some work. I think Earl Grey ice cream would have been amazing. I was also thinking about white chocolate rosemary ice cream. Next time?

So I guess you probably want a recipe, eh? Ok here is the recipe for the pierogi pastry and mash.

Pierogi Pastry

2 cups roughly chopped garnet yam. Process in food processor or blender until fine. Strain through nut milk bag to
eliminate starchy water. Make sure you squeeze out as much as you can. Discard the water and place pulp in blender (should yeild 1 cup pulp)

Add to blender:
1/2 cup soaked cashews
1/4 tsp Himalayan salt or more to taste
1/4 cup water, increase to 1/2 cup if needed
2 tsp psyllium powder

Blend all ingredients except psyllium until very creamy and smooth. Add psyllium and blend lightly to incorporate or stir in by hand. Spread evenly on two teflex sheets and dry for 2-4 hours, or until the top is pretty dry but not crispy. Flip over onto mesh screens and peel teflex off. Dehydrate for approx. 1/2 hour or until dry enough to handle. Using a 3 - 3.5 inch ring mold, cut circles. You should get about 6 per sheet.

Sweet Potato Mash

2 cups roughly chopped garnet yam. Process in food processor or blender until fine. Strain through nut milk bag to
eliminate starchy water. Make sure you squeeze out as much as you can. Discard the water and place pulp in blender (should yeild 1 cup pulp) - Yes, this is the exact same process as above. Feel free to do these steps together, but it will be more difficult to first process all 4 cups and then squeeze all of the starchy water out of 4 cups at once.

Add to blender:
1/2 cup soaked cashews
1/4 - 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 - 1/2 garlic clove
1/4 - 1/2 cup homemade almond milk (start with 1/4). To make milk: 2 cups water to 1 cup soaked almonds. Blend, strain.
1/4 tsp nutritional yeast
1 - 2 tbsp olive oil
A few turns of fresh black pepper

Blend until smooth and creamy. Taste for salt and whatnot.

I assume you already have several homemade nut cheeses on hand. Go ahead and separate your mash into a few different bowls and crumble in your favorite cheeses, making each bowl a different flavor. Add herbs and fun stuff. Lightly fold the cheeses with each mash, taking care not to fully combine. You want to taste the bits of cheese when you bite into the pierogi.

Assembly (sorry there aren't any photos for this, but you are smart, I know you'll get it)
Take a round pierogi pastry and lay it flat. Spoon about 1 tbsp of cheese mash onto the pastry starting in the center and to one side. Fold the non-mash side over top to match the edges and seal.

Serve with your favorite tomato sauce and the smoked cream from a previous post on this blog called Tocino Crudo Mexicano (Fat Mexicans).

It's been fun, MK Culinary.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Snacks & Slavery

Do you think that to gift is to enslave? Sometimes I think that this is true, and maybe that is why I prefer to gift- I sure do love me them slaves. No wait, that's not true. I just love giving. Makes me feel good and all that.

Ummm, I'll just skip to the point and tell you about the tasty gifts that I made for some special people in my life.

Best Savoury Snack Mix (Good for Gifting)


1/2 cup Hawaiian mac nuts (slice nuts down the natural center crease)
1/2 cup dry sundried tomato slices
W SAUCE (rough recipe)
Vegan Worcestershire sauce found at Asian markets or health stores or (make your own if you have a good recipe)
A bit of chipotle powder
A bit of olive oil
A few slices of green onion
A bit of cumin powder
A bit of smoked paprika
Blend W sauce with a hand blender and pour over mac nuts and sun toms and soak for at least an hour. Make sure the tomatoes soak up the sauce and get soft.


In a separate bowl:
1-2 bunches of curly kale or baby kale, or heck, any kale, washed, de-stemmed, torn into pieces and tossed with sea salt, black pepper & good extra virgin olive oil


In a separate bowl:
4-6 raw nori sheets, coated in a mixture of homemade piri piri (recipe a few posts down), garlic ferment brine & a dash of water (basically make a thick mixture of blended hot peppers, garlic, a dash of cider vinegar & salt and coat the nori sheets, if you don't have piri piri and garlic brine)


In a separate bowl:
Make a mixture of raw honey and a dash of water (enough to make the honey a bit more liquid but not too runny)
In a spice grinder bust up lapsang souchong tea into a powder. Empty into a bowl.
In a spice grinder bust up almonds into almond flour. Empty into the bowl with the tea powder.
Add sea salt to taste. I didn't measure the amounts of tea-to-almonds but don't over-do the tea, it's strong.
Thinly slice 1 red onion into rings and coat in the honey-water mixture, then coat in the almond tea mixture.

Place each component of the snack mix on a teflx sheet and dry overnight or perhaps longer for the onions. When dry, break the nori sheets into pieces relative to the size of the rest of the snack mix goodies.

If giving this as a gift, layer in a clear jar with instructions to toss together in a bowl before digging in.

Homemade gifts are the best, don't you think? Someone took a lot of time out of their busy schedule to think about you and tailor a gift to cater to your personality and tastes - so you better like it and you better be indebted to that thoughtful, wonderful person.