Food challenge time!
It is amazing how much I still look forward to my food challenge nights. When I started this blog almost a year ago I remember thinking to myself that I would probably get bored with the idea and move on to other hobbies. Luckily, I’m still having a blast and learning so much! For tonight’s challenge, Joe brought me cod, lettuce greens, cherries, and goat cheese. He also brought very specific instructions: “Go wild, go crazy. Don’t leave the fish in a filet form and don’t give me a salad.”
I had wanted to try make chinese style dumplings for quite some time. I remember thinking that the recipe for the dough was very easy and was able to remember it for this challenge without use of the internet. It is just a 2:1 ratio of flour:hot water. Simple enough. I set my mind to turning these into dumplings.
First, I started the cherries. I pitted each cherry which took awhile. Sure enough, there are easier ways to pit a cherry than what I did. I added them to about 2 cups of red wine and let this cook on low while I did everything else.
Next, I added 1 clove of minced garlic, about 1/8 cup of onion, several stems of chopped chives, and fresh grated ginger (I still have ginger from my Chicken Tikka Masala) to a few teaspoons of olive oil.
This is where I seared the cod. It fell apart in the pan but I wasn’t planning on keeping the filet shape so it worked out.
After the fish came out of the pan, I added lettuce torn into bite sized pieces. I left it cooking on medium-low so that the lettuce would slightly wilt. While it wilted, I shredded the fish with two forks.
Next, I mixed the wilted lettuce and 2 ounces of goat cheese into the shredded fish.
This is my dumpling filling. Now, I just needed dumplings. I mixed 2 cups of flour and one cup of boiling water to form the dough. I rolled it into a ball and let it set until the dough had cooled.
I rolled out small circles (with a drinking glass! I rarely bake so I have never owned a rolling pin!). I filled each circle with about a tablespoon of filling, making sure that I got lettuce into every dumpling. At this point, I blanked on how dumplings actually look…I couldn’t remember and with my own no internet rules, just had to make up a way to close them. For the record, this is how they look so I wasn’t too far off in my own interpretation.
Two lessons from the pictures above. First, it takes a lot of flour to keep the dough from sticking. Second, make sure you get all of the lettuce stems out or they poke through the delicate dough.
I fried the dumplings in a wok with olive oil and then added water and covered them to allow them to finish cooking.
Finally, I added the wine reduced cherries. I have to have a moment of complete honesty here. I didn’t want to try them. It sounded good when I started, but the seeing the dumpling mixture kind of grossed me out. I had texture concerns. I thought I would be going to Kroger to get sushi for dinner. And then I thought, I have to blog about this because I promised to blog about all of my challenges including both successes and failures. I made Joe try them first, haha! I finally sucked it up and tried the final dish.
I was pleasantly surprised. I have lots of tips for improvement, but it was good and we did not have to buy dinner. Will I make it again? Probably not. I think I want to try dumplings again but with a different filling. If you want to try this, or some variation of it, here are my suggestions for improvement:
1. get the dumplings a little browner before adding the water
2. add more goat cheese – I couldn’t taste it at all
3. thinner dough – I need a rolling pin or more arm muscle