Ginger and Brussel Sprout Potstickers | Kitchen Notes

I’m on an Asian-flavor kick as of late. For lunch I’ve been making delicious salads with veggies and either a spicy peanut or sesame dressing. We’re rotating in an Asian – fusion dish into almost every week’s dinner rotation. I keep wanting to go to the Asian restaurant near work and order their vermicelli noodle bowl. I’m apparently crushing on Asian flavors.

Which means I took myself on adventure and spent an hour and half of my weekend home making potstickers. (Confession time: cooking time is also where I catch up on all my ABC dramas. Maybe that explains my lack of photography while cooking?). The short of the story is this: potstickers are delicious. Once made, they freeze well and cook up speedy on a weeknight you forgot to plan something. To make them though, it took my inexperienced self one hour to fill 20 little potstickers. Maybe if I hadn’t been catching up on Revenge, this would have gone quicker.

Ginger and Brussel Sprouts | Kitchen Notes

The trickiest part for me was the folding and pinching of the potstickers themselves. Too much water, and the wrapper gets too gummy, sticking to the work surface. Too little water, and the wrapper doesn’t stick together. I managed to get into a routine of making two potstickers, wiping down the work surface to dry it, and restarting the process. In my research, I found The Steamy Kitchen and the source recipe to be helpful in the process of actually folding the potstickers. I defer to their wisdom for directions.

Am I proud of my accomplishment? Absolutely! Will you find me making these by hand again soon? Maybe for a special occasion. Or a potsicker making party with friends.

Ginger and Brussel Sprouts | Kitchen Notes

 

Ginger and Brussel Sprouts Potstickers, loosely adapted from Naturally Ella

  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 1/4 cup of shredded Brussels Sprouts (about 3/4 of bag of the Trader Joe’s pre-shredded)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon freshly minced ginger
  • 2 generous tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 generous tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 20 pot sticker wrappers

For cooking the pot stickers:

  • 1 tablespoon sesame or canola oil
  • Gyoza, soy sauce, or other dipping sauce
  • Garnishes – lettuce, freshly chopped herbs, or sesame seeds

In a large skillet or saute pan, head the sesame oil. Add the onion and cook for about 2-4 minutes on medium heat, until translucent. Add in the next three ingredients. Cook until the Brussels Sprouts are tender (4-10 minutes, depending on if yo shredded the sprouts yourself or went with the pre-shredded).  Stir in the parsley and cilantro. Remove from heat.

For actually making the potstickers, I am no expert. So I’m going to link you to the source recipe and to Steam Kitchen, where Ella and Jaden do a much better job than I of illustrating the steps.

Once the potstickers are folded, we’re at the point of being able to freeze them. If that’s the route we’re taking, line a baking sheet with plastic wrap. Place the potstickers on the sheet, making sure none of them are touching. Freeze for at least 1-2 hours. Once frozen, the potstickers can be transferred to an air tight container. To cook with frozen potstickers, follow the steps below. There is no need to thaw the out.

For cooking, heat the oil over medium heat. Place the potstickers in the pan with space around. Cook for about 2 – 2 1/2 minutes (if using frozen; for unfrozen, take about a minute off).   Your looking for the bottom to be browned. Pour in enough water to simmer the potstickers (1/4 to 1/3 cup, depending on pan size). Place a lid on the pan and simmer for 3-5 minutes, until the wrappers are tender.

Serve with your choice of toppings.

Potstickers |Kitchen Notes

Spelt Muffins |Kitchen Notes

 

 

I’ve been eating store bought spelt bread for about the last year and half. While it’s taken Casey an adjustment period, we’re both now fans of the nutty flavor and decent crunch the bread takes on once toasted.

So there I am – window shopping in the grocery store one weekend – when I decide to actually stop and look through all the different flour options. Spelt flour? Why not — I see it in recipes ranging from breads to tart shells.

The muffins picture above used the recipe on the back of Bob’s Red Mill Spelt Flour, with some tasty additions: macintosh apple, chopped walnut, and cranberries. Overall, they were a little drier than your standard white flour muffin, but enjoyable with coffee or tea in the morning.

Spelt Muffins, adapted from Bob’s Red Mill recipe

  • 2 and 1/4 cups spelt flour
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 and 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 macintosh apple, diced

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Prep 12 muffin tins with liners.

Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, beat together the whet ingredients. Mix wet and dry ingredients, then gently add the cranberries, walnuts, and apple.

Fill the muffin tins about 2/3 way full. Bake for ~17 minutes.

 

 

If I were being graded on blogging for the month of March, I’d receive a less than passing grade. Every how to/tip/best practice out there regarding blogging highlights consistent posting as a hallmark of a great blog and consistent posting this March has been a struggle. No apologies though. Just the facts: I’m okay with not getting a passing mark in March.

Here’s what I’m reading:

  • Balaboosta: quick, fun, and a touch of exotic. Balaboosta’s collection of recipes have had me adding a bit of Moroccan and Middle Eastern flair to my dinners. The recipes I’ve marked as “Try Me!” in this book are quite extensive, and I’m pretty sure my library wants the book back soon. Some standouts: Turkish Coffee Brownies, Homemade Kit Kat Bars, Spiced Carrots, Lamb with Persian Lime sauce.
  • Vegetarian Everyday: This is the cookbook of the couple behind Green Kitchen Stories. Full of vegetarian and wholesome recipes, this book has helped me incorporate different nuts and seeds into my diet more regularly (I’m usually a die hard almond snacker, but almonds get boring after a while). Some recipes I’m looking forward to making are a breakfast crumble with blackberries and pepitas, a nutty, dark Danish rye bread, and a gluten free cake for the birthday of our GF cousin.

Outside of the reading, it was Casey’s birthday this month. We started March with an impromptu ski trip to Colorado, pictured below. We ended the birthday celebration with a cake of his choice. This year: chocolate peanut butter cheesecake. Despite baking at the wrong temperature for the entire time, it turned out rich, delicious and weighing in at slightly over 5 lbs. No photos made it through of the cake (oops, blog fail #2 for March), but you can find the recipe from Deb at The Smitten Kitchen, where she is unapologetic about the amount of chocolate in the dessert. I’m unapologetic too, but now I’m out of chocolate…

IMG_0521 IMG_0507

Some reading I’ve enjoyed this month, with a cooking lens:

  • Vegetable Literacy, Deborah Madison. Focused on cooking all varieties of vegetables in the plant kingdom, with short introductions on the plants history in human culture. Robust and full of ideas. Bottom line: a longer read, but many of the recipes are straight forward for even a less experience cook to begin experimenting.
  • It’s that time of year again: Apartment Therapy’s Homies 2014! Looking for a home doctor or diy website? Maybe an additional cooking or baking blog? Check out the lists compiled through their annual process. I haven’t made it through all the lists yet, but some of my new favorites:

Reading I’m looking forward to:

  • Whole Grain Mornings. This book as been all over the blogosphere lately. I’m not a big breakfast maker. I can pour cereal pretty well, scramble eggs, make toast, and recently oatmeal. Excited to see what this book has to offer.
  • The New Persian Kitchen. No explanation needed. Doesn’t the cover look good enough to make you want to read (or eat!) more?

Hoping everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day and President’s Day weekend!

Roasted Chickpeas | Kitchen Notes

If I had to pick just one food weakness – and I have many, therefore picking just one is difficult – I would sum it up as this: salty, crunch foods. Kettle Chips. Doritos. Pretty much all chips.

To outsmart this weakness, I try not to purchase chips at the store. Which hasn’t been working, because (and we’ve all been there!) picture this: you’re at the grocery store. You tried your damnedest to make a comprehensive list. You’re pretty sure you ate something (a few hours ago) so you wouldn’t be at the store hungry. You told yourself “no wiggle room” regarding the list before you excited the car. Yet here you are.

In the chip aisle. Losing a staring contest with those kettle cooked barbecue chips (or these chips, dear me!). And you cave.

Well, at least I do. Shamed to admit, but then I eat that bag in relatively short order. All of this revelation prompted me to start thinking about food I could make that delivered a similar crunch and saltiness I enjoyed in chips.

Crispy Chickpeas | Kitchen Notes

Crispy Spiced Chickpeas

Double recipe. Feel free to cut in half.

  • 2 15-ounce cans no salt or low sodium chickpeas, rinsed, drained, and patted dry with a paper towel
  • 2 Tablespoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground fenugreek
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon all spice
  • Small pinch cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon corse salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Measure out your spices into a large bowl and combine to gather. Add the chickpeas, followed by the oil. Stir gently until all chickpeas look evenly coated.

Prep a large baking sheet with tin foil. Spread chickpea mixture evenly out on the cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheet the the oven. Bake for 30-45 minutes, string chickpeas every 10-15. Chickpeas should be firm to the touch. *I’ve also seen recipes cook the chickpeas for longer than 45, so pay attention to your oven. If at 45 minutes, the chickpeas aren’t the desired crunchiness/firmness you want, continue cooking them in 10 minute intervals.

Some variations to consider: Cumin, lime zest, and ginger. Salt and cracked black pepper with parmesan. Parsley, shallot pepper, lime, chili flakes. Experiment and enjoy!

Crispy Chickpeas | Kitchen Notes

Asian Noodles | Kitchen Notes

Who is in disbelief at how quickly January disappeared? Don’t be shy…raise your hand. You can bet that I’m raising mine. Despite it’s speed, January did provide some pleasantries. Especially a near constant craving for Asian inspired flavors.  Enter these Asian inspired pork noodles from Pinch of Yum.

I followed the recipe almost to a “t”. My additions: I doubled the sauce and cooked veggies in the it. Overall, the sauce paired well over both boiled rice and and rice noodles. I loved the array of vegetables that worked well in this dish. The variety certainly made it easy for my to meet one of my resolutions of doubling the veggies.

Asian Noodles | Kitchen Notes

And yes, I’m completely aware that I’ve failed my blogging resolution for January. The good news: I’ve spent every weekend available hiking the McDowell Mountains. In February, maybe I’ll find my blogging/hiking/living/working balance?

We kicked off the first week of the new year with soup variations for the entire week. Partly brought on by sinus infection (me) and cold (Casey); partly in hopes that making cold weather food might encourage the temperature to dip below highs in the 70s. Aside: All my east coast peeps: now is the time to visit! Alas, the weather hasn’t changed, but we’re feeling much better. 

Here’s a rotation of the soup’s we made, which weren’t all photographed due to that groggy feeling of head not being attached to body. You know the one.

Curried Red Lentil and Potato Soup | Kitchen Notes

We also decided to think about making some new years resolutions for 2014, with high hopes of keeping them. I’m considering the resolutions below to be entirely doable, given their general ease of remembering:

  • Double the veggies: In cooking many recipes over the years, I always find myself wanting more vegetables when the dish is complete. Goal for 2014: always (generally) double the vegetables
  • Get outside: No more than 10-15 drive from us is a beautiful desert preserve with hiking trails of all levels. To complement the trail shoes Casey gifted me for Christmas, this year – while the weather is with us – we plan on being there once a week.
  • Apply to grad school: There. I’ve declared it publicly in the blogosphere, therefore it must happen and I can no longer put it off.

I’ve also resolved to commit myself to the following blog goals for 2014:

  • Consistent posting. My goal for Q1 2014 is twice a month.
  • Enhanced photography. This will take some time, but I’d like to continue to hone the photography on the website. It’s grown leaps and bounds since the first posts to to recent posts

What resolutions did you make for yourself this year?

Hiking on New Year's Day. Starting the resolutions off right.

Hiking on New Year’s Day. Starting the resolutions off right.

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