Dim Sum at Home

I am nostalgic for dim sum.  It reminds me of being young and taking the train into San Francisco’s China Town for sticky rice and dozens of strange looking dumplings filled with delectable treasure. The smell brings back memories of large lazy susan’s, matriarchs flagging down carts filled with pretty little stacked bamboo steam boxes and rolling myself out of the restaurant at the end, stuffed so full and wishing I could have stayed longer.

Unfortunately, where I live now, I have to drive at least a half an hour for good dim sum and finding a good dim sum brunch partner has been near impossible. While I found some great recipes online, not many had good photos, advice for freezing, folding or wraper use. So here, in one place, are a bunch of pictures with two intro recipes for Siu Mai and Pork Wontons as well as the perfect dipping sauce, folding options and freezing instructions.

ready to eat

Siu Mai

Ingredients:

  • 3 dried Chinese black or Shiitake mushrooms
  • 6 oz peeled deveined shrimp (I used medium, feel free to use large)
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • ¾ cup ground pork
  • 1 TB oyster or fish sauce
  • 1 tsp Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry if you must)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp granulated sugar
  • about 20 wonton wrappers (you are supposed to use round gyoza wrappers, but I liked the flared look of the squares) You can find these in the frozen section of most grocery stores or your local Asian market.

peeling wrappers

Directions:

  1. If you are using frozen wrappers, move them from the freezer to the refrigerator. If you forget this step and need them to thaw more quickly, go ahead and thaw on the counter, just make sure to leave them sealed so they don’t dry out.
  2. Soften the mushrooms by soaking in hot water for approximately 15 minutes. Squeeze out excess water.
  3. Soak the shrimp in lightly salted, warm water for 5 minutes and pat dry.
  4. Mince mushrooms, shrimp and green onions.
  5. Add minced ingredients to the ginger and pork and mix thoroughly.
  6. Shu mai fillingRefrigerate for at least an hour to let flavors blend. I like to even leave over night.
  7. Place unused wonton wrappers under a damp cloth to keep them moist. (I don’t have a photo of this, but I just wet a paper towel and drape over the top, just make sure you squeeze out any excess water so it doesn’t make them soggy).
  8. Wet edges of wrapper and place 3 tsp of filling in the center.
  9. moisten wrappersfilling amount 2Gather up the edges and gently fold so that the wrapper forms a basket around the filling with the top part of the filling exposed.
  10. I start by folding in the sides and the pleating the corners aroundstep one shu mai foldshu mai folded
  11. Steam for 5-10 minutes until filling is cooked, or place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to freeze (more on freezing below).
  12. finished shu maiMakes about 20-25 dumplings.

Wontons with Pork and Shrimp

Ingredients:

  • ½ lb ground or chopped pork (the big difference is texture)
  • ½ lb shelled and deveined medium shrimp
  • 3-5 water chestnuts (I used the canned variety from the regular grocery store and they are small so I use more)
  • 1tsp grated ginger, I use a micro plane (if you like ginger you should consider adding a bit more)
  • 1 TB oyster or fish sauce
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 TB Chinese rice wine or rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • a few drops sesame oil
  • Freshly ground white pepper, to taste
  • Wonton wrappers (30-40 ish)

Directions:

  1. Like I said in the Siu Mai recipe, If you are using frozen wrappers, move them from the freezer to the refrigerator. If you forget this step and need them to thaw more quickly, go ahead and thaw on the counter, just make sure to leave them sealed so they don’t dry out.
  2. Finely chop shrimp, pork, water chestnut and ginger.
  3. Combine all filling ingredients (ie everything except the wonton wrappers)
  4. wonton fillingAs with the Siu Mai recipe, refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.
  5. Place unused wonton wrappers under a damp cloth to keep them moist. (I don’t have a photo of this, but I just wet a paper towel and drape over the top, just make sure you squeeze out any excess water so it doesn’t make them soggy).
  6. filling amountWet the edges of the wrapper in use and then place a heaping tsp of filling in the center of the wrapper. (this one was a bit exaggerated so you could see how I wet them).
  7. There are several folding options I tried (and plenty more if you feel like spending some time on the web):

Bring edges together and twist to seal.
pleat one side 3 times from the left and three from the right and press into flat side to create a curved look (pictured ish, it takes practice, I’m not perfect!)

folded wontons8. Cook right away or freeze (directions below).

  • You can boil wontons (5 – 8 minutes) or fry them in a pan with a little oil (about 2 minutes) or steam them (5-8 minutes).
  • I suggest frying and then adding a little steam at the end for a mix. I am not the best at wrapping them and sometimes they tear which makes boiling my least favorite option, however they do taste wonderful boiled.

Freezing for Later

ready for freezing

This step is important to me because I like to make a ton and eat them for breakfast, snack, lunch, whatever for days and days after and if you do it right they can hang out in the freezer for a month or so. This also makes all the work of folding those little buggers worth it.

The most important thing to remember is DO NOT COOK BEFORE FREEZING.
Did you read that? FREEZE RAW.
It is best to lay them all out on a lined cooking sheet uncovered first and place in the freezer for 30min to an hour.  This gets them set enough for a zip lock bag.
Then, place as many as you like into FREEZER Zip Lock bags (the non-freezer kind don’t protect them from burn very well so if you use those they will not last nearly as long in the freezer).
When you take them out, don’t thaw, just put right in the steamer or boiling water. YUM!

Dipping Sauce

dipping sauce

We can’t get this far without something to dip our dim sum in!

You could go with just soy, or something simple, but this little recipe is real perfection.

Ingredients:

  • 2tbs Soy Sauce
  • 2tbs Chinese Rice Wine or Rice Vinegar
  • 1tbs Red Chilly Oil (from the Asian section at the regular super market)
  • Juice of 1/4 to 1/2 of a lemon (this is really to taste, I like to use less but my husband loves more so what can I say?)
  • ground white or black pepper to taste

Directions:

Whisk together and serve!

The big deal about this recipe is to play with the amounts. I rarely measure but rather start small and taste with my fingers until it gets to my liking. You may like it heavier on the vinegar like I do, heavier on the citrus like my husband or light on the heat (more group friendly for parties) it is totally up to you!

I hope that these beginner recipes have give you the confidence to enjoy dim sum at home. I welcome any additional questions and hope to bring you some more advanced recipes in the near future!

Happy eating.

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Edible Body Lotion

Oook, the title is a bit misleading. You do not actually want to eat this lotion, BUT it is all natural and safe in case the delectable cinnamon cocoa smell entices your infant to take a lick.  It is hydrating for skin and hair, goes on a bit oily but dries beautifully. The mica adds a little glow too, which I adore.

Home made lotionWhat you need:

1/2c Cocoa butter

1/2c Shea butter

1/2c Coconut butter

1/4c Almond oil

1/4c Cinnamon infused Almond Oil*

Mica Powder to your liking (or not at all. this is just for shimmer)

Jars with air tight lids to store it in

*To infuse just let the oil sit with a few cinnamon sticks for at least a week before making the lotion.

**For a stronger sent you could also infuse the whole 1/2c or skip the infusion and  add 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil to the mix.

Infused Almond Oil

Directions:

1. Set up a double boiler on your stove and keep at a simmer.

2. Add Cocoa, Shea, Coconut and the non-infused Almond oil to the bowl.

3. Stir constantly until combined.

4. Remove from heat and let sit on the counter until it returns to room temperature.

5. Whisk in essential oils or infused oil.

Whipped lotion

6. Whisk in mica. START SMALL. A little goes a long way and you can always add more. I suggest testing it on your skin to see how much is shimmers as it drys on your skin before adding more.

Mica

7. Place in jars. I thought I was being clever and I used a pastry piping bag, but as there are not additives in this to keep the texture consistent, it becomes almost liquid when it gets too warm and solid when it gets too cold. Piping it falls under the too warm category and its a bit messy, plus you loose some of your “whip.”

piping lotion

8. Again, because it is temperature sensitive, I suggest keeping it in a consistently 65 degree-ish location. Mine is in the bathroom so its loose after showers and in the summer but hard in the winter, but still lovely to use.

These make amazing gifts – especially for hostess or party favors – Enjoy!

P.S.

These tutorials I found online for salt bath/foot soaks, lip and body scrubs go great with this lotion for gifts or if you just feel like pampering yourself. And for more awesome inspiration you can always check out my Pinterest page.

S’moregasm brownies

This was not actually my idea, but rather a glamping (glamorous camping) kitchen mash-up miracle created by the one and only Caitlin McKenna!

All you need is butter, brownie mix, vanilla, graham crackers and marshmallows. 

brownie prep

You could get a pre-made graham cracker crust but who wants to pass up the opportunity to break out the culinary hammer and a ziplock.  Drizzle melted butter over the crumbs while mixing (4-8tbs) and then press into the bottom of a greased 9×9″ brownie pan.

In the meantime, make your box brownies as instructed (Caitlin adds some extra magic in the form of a dash of vanilla) and pour the brownies into the crust.

smore pie

Then, grab your mallows and push into the brownie mix leaving the top quarter or so exposed.  We used the really big mallows and it worked really well but I imagine minis would be delicious as well.
cooked smoresWe baked at 8000ft of elevation so you may have to experiment, but we baked according to box brownie instructions and removed them a little early using the darkness of the mallows as a guide.  

They came out gooey and the mallows had melted into the brownie batter – sinfully delicious s’more variation. Enjoy!

And thank you to Caitlin again for the post!

Radish Refrigerator Pickles

Radishes are so delicious especially in the summer and they flood the farmers market just begging to be saved for the winter.  The more pickles I make the more I value vegetables that don’t require too much pre-prep and have a brine that doubles as a salad dressing – these definitely fit the mold.

radish boiling

This is based off a Pinterest find that I tweaked after finding there was not quite enough liquid and to add a bit more spice to make the brine more flavorful as a salad dressing.

I grabbed 3 large bunches of radishes from the farmers market – cut the greens off and save for radish green pesto 

Cut radishes in quarters (halves if they are small) and mix with the salt in a large bowl and cover with ice. Set aside.

In a medium size pot bring the rest of the ingredients to a boil.

Rinse off radishes and add to liquid. Bring back to a boil and then remove from heat and add to jars.

You can sterilize and process the cans or throw them into the fridge – your choice.

So beautiful, so delicious!

radishes done

Ingredients:

3 radish bunches

1/4 c salt

2 c  Apple Cider Vinegar

3/4 c sugar

1.5 tsp Coriander Seeds Whole

1tsp Peppercorns

Pickled Peaches

When friends of mine started eating my pickles we got some requests and thanks to those requests we made these delicious peaches.  These, like the cherries, are perfect for salads and the juice works well as a vinegar dressing substitute.

They can turn a bit brown over time (as you can see from the photo of mine), so many recipes suggest adding vitamin C tablets to the mix, but they taste just the same with out it.

Pickled Peaches

What you need (makes 6pts, we doubled the recipe for our purposes):

24 not quite ripe peaches

6 1/2 C water

1 C Sugar (If you like it sweeter you can double or even tripple this)

1 1/4 C White or Apple Cider Vinegar (we used a mix of the two)

1/4 Tsp Salt

1 cinnamon stick

1 Bay leaf

1 tsp ground ginger

1tsp Coriander Seed

1tbs whole Allspice

1tbs whole mustard seed

1tsp whole clove

We started by pitting the peaches and cutting them into wedges, but you can slice them if you like too.  Then fill sanitized jars with the peaches.

Separately, bring the liquid and all the spices together to a boil in a pot then reduce to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and pour over peaches into jars, again leaving space at the top of the jars and wiping the rims dry if you plan to process.

For processing, seal the jars and boil in water for 12 minutes.  Otherwise, seal and refrigerate. Delicious.

Pickled Green Tomatoes

A continuation of the wedding pickles, these were made on a suggestion from our favorite local farmer down at Isabel Farms in Lafayette, CO who let us pick as many green tomatoes as we wanted straight off the vine – Thanks Natalie!

They may sound like they wont be your cup of tea, but believe me, if you make them you won’t be able to stop eating them!  We put them on everything from sandwiches & burger to potato chips and by themselves. They are by far my favorite pickles EVER.

We used a recipe from theHomesick Texan which yields a quart jars worth and just quadrupled the recipe.  We sliced the jalapenos rather than cutting lengthwise, and sliced the garlic rather than putting in whole cloves.  Slicing them allowed us to distribute more evenly though the jars and made those pieces edible and easier to put on sandwiches along with the tomatoes.

If you only make pickles once in your life, make these. Happy Pickling!

Pickled Cherries

For our wedding my Fiance and I decided that we wanted out thank you gifts to be unique and hand made. After dozens of ideas we finally agreed on pickles! To keep it interesting each table at the wedding will be identified by a different pickle rather than a number so we can make many different recipes throughout the year with local, seasonal organic fruit and veg.  

These are all so easy and so delicious I can’t help but make double batches so that we have plenty to keep and eat for ourselves and use as universal environmentally friendly holiday gifts this season.  So far we are about half way through and I thought it would be fun to post recipes and results.

Where better to start than the first pickles we tackled, Cherries.  These I picked from my mom’s cherry tree last july and they are amazing on salads with a little of the  pickling juices poured over  as a dressing.

Pickled Cherries

 

(This recipe is per/jar)

roughly 3 cups Bing cherries pits removed (believe me it’s worth the effort)

 

3/4 cup white vinegar

 

2tsp Suger (you can add more, up to 1/4 cup, if you want extra sweetness but I suggest trying them savory first)

 

4 cardamom pods

 

1 teaspoon peppercorns

 

1 teaspoon whole coriander

 

pinch chili flakes (optional)

bring all the vinegar and suger to a boil in a pot.  Add the spices and cherries to sanitized jars individually and pour the boiling liquid in on top.  

For long lasting storable pickles seal and boil the jars for 12 minutes as store as long as you like.

For an easier ready to eat version,  just shake to mix and refrigerate after adding the liquid. If you make them the refrigerator way, they can be enjoyed a couple hours after mixing and up to one week, maybe a little longer after. In the refrigerator version, the longer they sit the more pickled they taste.