Recipe: Steamed Ginger, Mushroom and Chicken Dumplings

The majority of my clients like to have an appetizer or hor d ourves before dinner. So when I prepared today's an asian menu, I made some dumplings and a few dipping sauces to enjoy them with.

Recipe: Ginger, Mushroom and Chicken Asian Dumplings
(serves 2-3 as appetizer)
  • 6 oz. ground chicken
  • 1/8 c. diced onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 - 2 inch knob of ginger, peeled, diced
  • 5 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed discarded, julienned
  • 3 T. chopped cilantro
  • 3 T. sliced green onions (scallions)
  • 1 T. oyster sauce
  • 1 T. sesame oil
  • 1 t. hot chile oil
  • 1-2 egg whites
  • 1-2 whole eggs, whisked for eggwash
  • wonton skins (little 2x2 inch squares)
Make Filling:
  1. Saute garlic, ginger, onion.
  2. Add mushrooms.
  3. Add chicken until 90% cooked.
  4. Add cilantro, scallions, oyster sauce, sesame seed oil, hot chile oil, mixing completely.
  5. Remove from heat and let filling cool completely.
Get ready to make dumplings:
  1. Whisk egg wash and set aside.
  2. Whisk egg whites and set aside.
Make Dumplings:
  1. Take completely cooled filling and add 1/3 of egg whites. Mix completely. *TEST MIXTURE.
  2. Lay out wontons on your cutting board and brush each with eggwash.
  3. Spoon into center of wonton about 1 1/2 tablespoon of mixture.
  4. Fold up dumlings.** Lay constructed dumplings on oiled sheet tray/cookie sheet. And continue making wontons until all the filling is used up.
  5. Heat pot with bamboo steamer. If you don't have a bamboo steamer, Place a sieve in a pot and fill the pot with water - leaving about 1/2 inch of space between the sieve and the water in the pot. Place cabbage leaves in the sieve and place the dumplings on top of the cabbage leaves. Cover the pot with a lid and bring to a simmer.
  6. When water comes to a simmer, almost boiling, remove lid and place dumplings in steamer or on top of cabbage leaves. Replace lid and steam dumplings for 10-15 minutes until cooked through.
*TEST MIXTURE: If you take about 2 tablespoons of the filling into the palm of your hand, closing it and forming a ball, does it stick together easily? If not add another egg white and mix the filling and test again. A good rule for dumplings is that you will only need 1 large whisked egg white for every 5-6 oz. of protein, be it ground beef, chicken or pork for dumplings.

**There are so many ways to make the shapes of dumplings, derived from cuisine styles, you can do just about anything. I don't want to take up to 5 pages writing how to fold and construct all the different types of dumplings you can make - so I'll just say to 'google' a few terms to come up with a couple of great websites that discuss the ins-and-outs of process. fold a few websites that I found that go into quite a bit of detail on how to construct them.

  • Dumplings for Dummies: Website Post
  • Cooks Illustrated, Nicole Routhier (Sept/Oct 1994): Article in pdf form

Tip: Peeling Ginger

Like to use ginger in your food, but hate to try and peel it with a potato peeler? Or perhaps you slice off the sides and then end up using only about 40% of what you bought, because you cut off all the little knobs?

A little tip is to use a large serving spoon as a peeler. Just hold the ginger root the same way you would if you were going to peel it with a potato peeler and then turn the spoon upside-down and scrap against the ginger root, away from you, lightly and quickly, to easily remove the unwanted, bitter skin.

It will take you half the time it would take to use a peeler or knife and you get to use about 99% of the ginger that you bought!


Recipe: Potato Croquettes

I love potato croquettes! What could be better that a combination of mashed potatoes, deep fried crunch and some other yummy cheese flavor or perhaps a surprise of crab meat inside!

Recently I made a dish for a dinner party including potato-parmesan croquettes- Pictured Here:

Seared Sockeye Salmon with Potato-Parmesan Croquettes, Roasted Asparagus & Grainy Mustard Beurre Blanc

Recipe: Potato Parmesan Croquettes:
  • 1 & 1/2 Baking Potatoes/Person
  • 1 T. Butter/Person
  • 1-2 egg yolks/person
  • 1/4 c. Ground Parmesan/Person
  • 1/2 c. Panko/Person
  • Veggie Oil for Deep Frying
  1. (Make Mashed Potatoes) Boil Potatoes in salty 'sea' water until soften. Sieve potatoes and return to pot to dry out the potatoes as much as possible. Run through potato ricer. Add butter, salt and pepper.
  2. Add parmesan and mix well.
  3. Add 1 egg yolk and mix in well. Perhaps you need 2 per/person? See too wet or too dry notes below.
  4. Grab about 1/4 cup of mixture and quickly roll into a ball in your hands. Ball should form in about 3-5 seconds in your hand. Continue to 'ball' all the mixture.
  5. Drop each ball in the panko and shake the panko bowl, allowing the potato 'ball' to roll around the panko mixture itself (this keeps the perfect 'ball' shape easier).
  6. Deep fry each ball at 375 degrees in veggie oil until golden brown. Let croquettes sit on papertowel for a minute before serving.
TO WET OR TOO DRY? Here is how you tell: You want the mixture to be 'ballie' - not to wet and not to dry, because you want the mixture to hold up in a deep fryer, but you still want them soft, like little mashed potato pillows. So you should always, add the first yolk, then test the mixture:
TEST: If you grabb a 1/4 of the mixture and roll in around in your hand for about 3 seconds, it should easily form a perfect ball, without cracks and if you dropped it 3-4 inches back into the bowl, it should not flattened and it should keep (at least 90% of) its ball shape.
HYPOTHESIS 1: Therefore, if the mixture had cracks - it is too dry - add another yolk.
HYPOTHESIS 2: If you dropped the ball and it flattened, loosing most of its 'ball' shape, the mixture is too wet. You (1) may not have dried out your potatoes completely when making mashed potatoes; (2) may have added too much butterl (3) may need to dush in through a flour sifter a tablespoon of flour at a time to bring the mixture back to the right 'ball' consistency.


Recipe: Fennel and Orange Salad with Toasted Pistachios

The other day I made a fennel and orange salad for a client, although it wasn't the same o' slivered fennel with orange segments tossed with extra virgin olive oil that every restaurant seems to have on their menu with some salmon item...It had a little twist that turned out a lot better than I thought it would.

It started as a recipe from Eating Well or Vegetarian Times Magazine (I can't recall now? and it seems like all food magazine print the same recipes around the same time of year) - but I pretty much changed the whole recipe. Instead of inserting orange segments, I just made a OJ reduction vinaigrette and tossed that in at the end. It gave it the citrus it needed, but the cilantro, pistachios and jicama give it the o'stand-by another twist!

Recipe: Fennel and Orange Salad with Toasted Pistachios (Serves 1)
  • 1 Fennel Bulb
  • OJ (1 & 1/2 cup)
  • Pistachios
  • Jicama
  • Cilantro
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Make Dressing:
  1. Place about 1-2 cups of OJ (Freshly Squeezed, Not Concentrate) in a pot, bring to boil and reduce until about 1/8 - 1/4th cup and like syrup.
  2. Remove from heat, let cool.
  3. Whisk in salt, pepper and a 3:1 ratio of extra virgin olive oil: OJ reduction.
Toast Pistachios:
  1. Shell pistachios and place on sided cookie sheet. Place in oven and toast for about 5-10 minutes at 400 degrees. Remove from oven and let cool.
  2. Save your self some time next time, and just buy the roasted shelled pistachios from Balducci's for $7.
Prep and Serve:
  1. Julienne jicama and set aside.
  2. Remove all stems, greens and root from fennel, then shave (on the thinniest setting) on mandaline.
  3. Chop cilantro to a rustic chop (so that it is chopped, but you can still tell that it is cilantro).
  4. Toss together jicama, fennel and cilantro and gently toss.
  5. Drizzle in OJ reduction vinaigrette and gently toss, taste for seasoning and serve.


Recipe: Vanilla Cherry Ice Cream

Vanilla Cherry Ice Cream
  • 2 vanilla beans, split
  • 4 Tablespoons of fine quality vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of creme
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup of granulated white sugar
  • 1 cup cherries
  • 1/2 c. simple syrup (1:1)

Recipe and Discussion: Ice Cream Making 101

The summer months bring ice cream and sorbets to the forefront of everyones minds. Over the past few weeks, I have prepared several ice creams and sorbets, including my previous post on watermelon sorbet.

Therefore, I have decided to post my favorite (Ginger Ice Cream), my husbands favorite (Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream), our favorite 'once in a while' ice cream (Basil Ice Cream) and the o'stand by (Vanilla Ice Cream).

Making Ice Cream is a lot easier than people would assume, it takes only about 15 minutes (not including freezing time for 10 hours or 2 hours if you like soft serve ice cream). Its about using a basic recipe and then just switching the main flavor - be it ginger, basil or even cherry vanilla.

The most difficult part (which isn't difficult at all) to making ice cream, has to do with how you insert the flavors into it. There are a few different ways to insert flavors, which depend on the type of flavor that you are inserting. Be it in the creme itself or at the end of the ice cream process, right before you put it in the freezer. Combining techniques makes the best ice cream, by making cherry vanilla ice cream you combine 'extracts or alcohols' with 'chunks or pieces' and 'ribbons', making a very vanilla bean ice cream you combine 'extracts or alcohols' with 'steeping' or making rocky road ice cream involves 'steeping' with 'chunks and pieces'. Noted below is a more defined explanation of the differences.

I'll go into a bit of detail with the 'technical' aspects involved in ice cream making - and then you can just apply them to the other recipes below.

And the differences between store bought (even the speciality brands) ice cream are amazing. All you need (to make your cooking life easier) is an ice creme maker (available at Sur La Table or even Bed, Bath & Beyond for less than $60) and possibly an extra ice cream maker bowl (so you can make more than one ice cream or sorbet in 1 day) will make you ice cream maker days easy and open for assured 'thank you's'.

Basic Ice Cream Recipe:

  • 2 cups creme
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • Flavor you want here!

Recipe Time: 15 minutes; Servings: 2-3 cups

  1. Make sure that ice cream maker freezer bowl has frozen completly, for at least 24 hours. Then, remove from freezer and place in ice cream maker, plugged in and ready to go.
    Place 3-4 cups of ice cubes and 2 cups of water in a large bowl and set aside.
    Place yolks and half the sugar in a medium bowl, preferrible metal. Whisk them together until egg yolks lighten and therefore the sugar will start to dissolve, about 15 seconds.
  2. Turn a stove-top burner on high.
  3. Ice Cream flavor instructions here. (Since inserting flavor changes from recipe to recipe - I won't say anything here and just leave an * on the other recipes below to discuss the way you insert certain types of flavors.)
  4. Place the creme and the other half of the sugar in a pot (a smaller pot that you are able to hold with one hand, with the creme in it and the pot is filled no more than half way up the sides). Whisk the creme-sugar mixture for a few seconds so the sugar doesn't stick to the bottom when heated.
  5. Heat the creme until the creme starts to boil up - Looking like it will about to overflow. Pull the pot off the burner and let creme settle and bubbles - bubble down. Turn the heat of the burner down to medium.
  6. Roll up kitchen towel into a log and place in a small circle on counter. Place egg yolk-sugar bowl in center of towel, slightly a top the towel and against sides of bowl - so the bowl has a 'coaster' and doesn't slip around the counter if you were to whisk or stir the egg-sugar mixture.
  7. With one hand, grab the pot with creme and start to pour in a slow stream, the creme into the egg yolks. With the other hand, whisk the egg-sugar mixture while you pour the creme, making sure that the mixture is completly emulsified the entire time you are pouring. If you notice the egg-sugar mixture isn't completely mixing, stop pouring the creme and mix the eggs, then continue with the creme.
  8. Once you have combined the sugar-creme mixture with the egg-sugar mixture, return it to the stove until it registers the 'back of the spoon'. This is where you dive the spoon into the mixture, pull it out and whipe your finger across the back of the spoon. If the mixture left on the spoon creates a 'path' left by your finger, with defined sides and pathway (only the length of you finger) then you know that the mixture is ready. If the mixture isn't ready, there won't be a clear definition in between your finger mark and the ice cream solution.
  9. Once it has been 'back of the spoon', pour it back into the metal bowl and place the metal bowl into the ice bath 'large bowl'. Stir the mixture around with a wooden spoon until it is cold. Once it is cold, pour it into the ice cream maker bowl and let the ice cream maker do its work for about 20-30 minutes.
  10. Once the ice cream maker has done its work for 20-30 minutes the ice cream should be at soft-serve and readly for other directions.

Extracts or Alcohols: Examples: Vanilla Ice Cream or Kahlua & Creme Ice Cream.

What you do is when you combine the sugar and creme together you add the extract or alcohol. Combine the creme, sugar and extract or alcohol (usually 3-4 Tablespoons). Then you heat it (according to the basic recipe directions above). Just to note, when deciding to add alcohol as one of your flavors, you should limit it to 2-3 Tablespoons. This isn't to reflect on the overall taste of the ice cream, this is because the chemical make-up of alcohol doesn't freeze and therefore if you add 4 or more tablespoons of alcohol in your ice cream it may never freezer completely, it will be too runny and more like a milkshake.

Steeping: Examples: Ginger Ice Cream, Basil Ice Cream, Coffee Ice Cream or Green Tea Ice Cream. *And the Chocolate or Double Chocolate ice cream expection with steeping.

What you do is when you heat the creme you add this flavor, be it a knob of peeled ginger, a chiffonade of basil, freshly ground coffee beans or green tea bags. You heat the milk with the 'steeping' flavor in it (to same as noted below in the basic ice cream recipe), but when you remove it from the heat you let it sit for 10-20 minutes, depending on how 'intense' you want the flavor of the addition to be. Keep tasting it, every 3-4 minutes, to note how you like the intensity of the flavor. Once the flavor is apparent enough for you, strain the ice cream through a sieve or chinois (anything that will take the basil leaves, coffee grounds or tea bags out). Then you reheat it again, until it starts to bubble (like the basic ice cream directions above) and continue with the ice cream making process.

*Chocolate Ice Cream is kinda the exception to the rule for 'steeping'. The only difference is that you don't strain it after it has steeped and you don't reheat it as much. What you do is when you heat the cream you add the chocolate and gently stir the milk-sugar-chocolate mixture until the chocolate is dissolved. You want to keep the milk at a simmer, so the chocolate dissolves, but you don't want it to boil because boiling chocolate will make it leave a 'burnt' chocolate taste in the ice cream and burnt chocolate will not emulsify. It will leave random little pieces of burnt chocolate, floating in the creme - yuck! * After melting the chocolate, keep simmering the creme then combine with egg-sugar mixture (as in the basic ice cream recipe above).

Chunks & Pieces: Example: Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream, Rocky Road Ice Cream or Oreo Cookie Ice Cream.

You make the basic ice recipe according to the directions above - all the way until you take it out of the ice cream maker and are ready to put it in the freezer. When you are at this stage of making ice cream-it is 'ready to go' for chunk and pieces style ice cream. What you do is remove the basic ice cream recipe from the ice cream maker bowl and place it in a large mixing bowl. Pour in 1-2 cups of whatever you want to add (be it cherries, chocolate, marshmallow, nuts, etc.). Gently fold in the chunch/pieces, then pour or scoop into a freezing container and place in the freezer to finish the basic ice cream recipe above.

Just make sure that whatever you are adding is very small. You want to chop it up so that it is 'ice cream-able'. You don't want people to be able to 'slurp' their ice cream and you don't want anyone to choke on a large piece of chocolate-you want them to be able to nibble on a small piece. A good rule is to only add things to the ice cream that are a 1/4 size of the spoon that is going to be used to eat the ice cream.

Ribbons: Example: Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream and Pralines Ice Cream.

Ribbons are the exception to the rule for 'chunks and pieces'. The difference is you have to make th e ribbon and cool it, before you make the ice cream. By making syrup solutions or caramel, is how you make 'ribbons'. To make a ribbon solution for something like 'Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream', all you do is combine 1 cup cherries with 1:1 simple syrup. Bring to a boil and let it boil for about 15 mintues, until cherries are soften. Strain the cherries and return the syrup to heat. Let it 'cook out' until the syrup becomes thick (about 15 minutes), almost like chocolate or caramel syrup. Pour the syrup/sauce into a bowl and cool completely. When ice cream is removed from ice cream maker and ready to go through the 'chunks & pieces' addition technique, that is when you would carefully fold in the syrup/sauce. Being carefully not to separate or break up the sauce, keeping it in a ribbon within the ice cream and not oven mixing so that it becomes 'caramel ice cream' instead of vanilla ice cream with caramel ribbons.

Recipe: Basil Ice Cream

Basil Ice Cream Recipe:
  • 2 cups creme
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 cups of basil leaves (whole)


Watermelon Sorbet

The other day I made some watermelon sorbet for a client - and it looked/tasted so refreshing that I have been thinking about it ever since and finally caved when I saw some perfect watermelon yesterday at the Old Town Balducci's.

(Click Here) for Watermelon Sorbet Recipe

"It Girl" Tiramisu

I like to help out my friends by making stuff for them to take to dinner parties or pot-lucks - and a friend asked me to put together something for her to take to a their in-laws 4th of July BBQ. She is a friend of true 'style' and her in-laws are really the 'in crowd' to the DC 'power politics' crowd. She is going to one of DC's "it" 4th of July picnic's on a manicured backyard on the Potomac...so what would I bring if I was her?...how about Tiramisu.

So after my first cup of coffee (making sure my husband got some too), I made haste to the Tiramisu into little disposable tupperwares so that she could throw them in a cooler, like a can of pop--therefore allowing people to enjoy them individually at the picnic.

Drizzle the coffee over the lady fingers. Whip whites with a little sugar to soft meringue. Whip marscapone and fold in egg whites. Layer lady fingers, marscapone-meringue mixture (mousse), chocolate shavings, then layer same again, ending with mousse this time. Top with coco powder, then some chocolate shavings and chill.

Things to note:

  • coffee should be chilled when poured over lady fingers, otherwise the lady fingers will disintergrate. Doing this at the beginning of the recipe means that you have to quick with everything else or your lady fingers will be way to soggy. If you are slow, before you layer, just pour the chilled coffee in a bowl and quickly dip the lady fingers in one at a time, placing directly in trifle.
  • egg whites always need to be at room temperature before attempting to make meringue. Believe me, it just won't work right, and will take you twice as long.
  • I love to use a microplane or a zester for everything, cheese for risotto, lemon zest for salads, fresh nutmeg in mashed potatoes and yes, even chocolate curls in tiramisu. It is a great habit (I believe) I picked up in restaurant kitchens. It adds a little bit of whatever you need to add, therefore adding flavor carefully instead of just dumping a mass amount of whatever you are trying to add.
  • Things I would change: (1) I don't know if little kids are going to eat these and I don't know if their parents let their kids drink alcohol. So I omitted it all, marsala and grappa. If this was a dinner party, I would have probably added some marsala (1-2 oz./8-10 servings to taste) to the coffee and some grappa (1/2-2 oz. to taste) to the mousse.(2)Because I am a big cheese fan, I would add a little more mascarpone, perhaps 3-4 oz. It was very sweet and since it is a 'dessert' for a picnic, I thought that would be okay - I saved a couple and my husband already ate one. He said it wasn't too sweet at all and tasted great. He likes the sweet stuff...so I guess it's whatever floats your boat.


About Me

My name is Shanna and welcome to my blog, providing an insiders look at the daily routine of a personal chef in the DC Metro area; a place to go to see what I am cooking for my weekly clients and dinner parties, get recipes, read local market reviews and my personal reviews of restaurants.