I had a very productive kitchen this Sunday. Especially considering I didn't wake up until noon.
First order of business: Make a HUGE batch of dumplings to store in the freezer for those night when I need a snack and have nothing in the house.
I used the same basic method that I described before here with Pork & Kimchi. This time I made a Thai-style lemongrass chicken filling instead.
1 lb ground chicken
1+ cup finely shredded napa cabbage
1 1/2 tbsp chopped cilantro (I would have used more but that's all I had)
1 tbsp dried chives (use fresh if you have it!)
2 tbsps finely diced lemongrass (I got mine in the freezer section of my local Asian market)
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tsp salt
** optional: I added 1 tbsp sambel oelek for heat
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Use 1 tbsp filling per dumpling. I substituted gyoza wrappers (thanks Katie!) this time instead of making the dough. Worked fine, but I didn't get the same shape.... they look more like ravioli than dumplings.... oh well. This recipe made approx. 40 dumplings.... SWEET! I froze them separated on cookie trays then piled them into a freezer bag for later snacking. Again, cook as mentioned before here.
Second order of business: Make bread. I am challenging myself to learn how to make bread. I'm sick of paying $2 for bread filled with chemicals and/or $5-6 for a loaf from an artisanal bakery. It costs $2 for 3 packages of yeast, $3 for a bag of flour, and water is "free". That's at least 6 loaves of bread for $5 plus some elbow grease minus chemicals, additives, and other needless synthetic ingredients. Oh, and THANK GOD KATIE HAS A KITCHENAID STAND MIXER ... it really cuts out the "elbow grease" part of the equation :) I'm going to have to get myself one of those if we ever stop living together.
Loaf #1: followed Julie Child's french bread recipe mostly... she calls for like 4 rising steps and I'm sorry... I just don't have ALL DAY to be watching bread rise. I had serious issues with her recipe. First, my dough was so so so wet when I (read: kitchenaid) was kneading the initial ingredients together. I couldn't even really get it out of the mixing bowl. I kept adding flour until it freed itself from the mixing bowl (with hesitation, I might add). It DID rise though. When I attempted to punch it down, however, it swallowed up my fist like quicksand. Stupid Julie Child recipe!! I let it rise one more time then POURED it onto a baking sheet and threw it in the oven (450F).
Loaves #2 and #3: Since I was convinced that Loaf #1 was a complete failure, I started another batch with this recipe off the internet. This recipe worked great, makes 2 loaves, and took 1/2 the time of Julia's. So where did it go wrong? I was engrossed in watching "America: The Story of Us" and forgot about my bread in the oven :( I caught it before both loaves were ruined, but since I missed the egg-wash step they didn't get that nice golden brown crust.
RESULTS: Amazingly all 3 loaves turned out completely edible, tasty, and that first loaf wasn't nearly as dense as I had predicted. In fact, between me, Katie, and Reed... we almost finished the first loaf last night. Oh fresh baked bread... it gets you every time!
I forgot to take any pics, but I'll make some sandwiches for lunch this week to showcase my lovely yeasty creations.