Saturday, August 21, 2010

The "Khan" of Dumplings?

Dumplings, the delicious steamed treat enjoyed throughout Asia. Whether you have them boiled, fried, or steamed they definitely manage to satisfy any hunger. However the history of these little guys always seem to be the subject of debate. Being married to a Mongolian I get my own history lesson on who invented these little guys. According to my wife the dumpling is the creation of Mongolia, the country of origin of Chinggis Khan(otherwise known as Genghis Khan in the West),where it is known as Buuz. Whereas Chinese historians claim that their historical texts trace back dumplings to 1000-1200 AD. Regardless of who created the dumpling they are truly simple yet delicious. It is also a fundamental staple of the Mongolian diet, they can be found almost everywhere, much in the same way pizza can be found in America.
More information on Mongolian cuisine can be found here  Mongolian Cuisine

Recipe For Filling

1 1/2 Pound of Ground beef, must be minimum 90% lean.
1 whole small onion, minced or chopped very finely
1 TBS Black Pepper
1 TBS salt
3 cloves of garlic, minced
The filling recipe should be used as a base and can be adjusted according to personal taste.
* An easy way of checking to see if the seasoning is just right is take a little tablespoon amount of the mixture and fry it. Then you should be able to accurately gauge the flavor of the filling.  

Recipe For Dough

2 cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 cup water


In a large bowl combine the beef, onion, salt, black pepper, and garlic. Use your hand to incorporate
all the ingredients together.

In a separate bowl mix together the flour and the water to form a dough, get it to a nice consistency where it does not stick to your hands. Then just let the dough rest for about 20 minutes. After the dough has rested the hard part begins, creating the round sheets to hold the filling. Take a little piece of the dough and roll it out to form a circle which will have a diameter that is 3-4 inches. Place a tablespoon of filling in the middle of the dough, then pinch an area of the dough and continue to pinch in a clockwise direction till you form a dumpling. If done correctly the dumpling should have a hole in the center just like in the pictures. It may take a little practice, but remember that even if it comes out ugly it will still taste great. Steam them for about 20 minutes in a steamer, then with the lid or a newspaper fan the dumplings till the dumpling starts to slightly change its color to a reddish tint. Then get some ketchup, seasoned sauce, or soy sauce and enjoy with some potato salad and pickles. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Service with a smile.... and a box of mangoes?

Hello Readers,

So funny thing happened recently, this past Sunday I had a late lunch with my wife at a nearby Korean restaurant here in Los Angeles. It was just a small hole in the wall with all the usual dishes you'd find at any Korean restaurant. Nonetheless the food was actually pretty decent and there was also an unexpected surprise, mangoes! I don't know about you but I love mangoes, so walking into the restaurant I was pleasantly surprised, because upon entering the restaurant it's front entrance is just crowded by all these boxes of mangoes. So as we were eating there was only one thing on our minds, "what the hell are those mangoes doing in a Korean Restaurant?". Sure enough the answer was clear, as we asked for the check the waitress informs us to take a box of mangoes on our way out as a "service"(Korean business term for -Freebie). Unfortunately there was a downside, most of the mangoes were past their prime. So out of 7 I had to throw away 3 and freeze the rest, but  I guess there's nothing to complain about since its free right? Anyways thats why I decided to make a refreshing sorbet which I'd like to share with you all today. I'll post the pics and then I'll have the recipe below.

                      1 Ripe frozen Mango(must be ripe)
                      2 Slices of Canned Pineapple(Dole)
                      1 Tablespoon of honey
                      A blender
                      This should make about 2-3 servings


In a blender place the mango cut into 1 inch pieces, the pineapple slices, and the honey. Blend until smooth and creamy, if the sorbet is a bit on the melty side you can put it in the freezer for a few minutes. You can garnish with a candied lemon peel, raspberry, or even a sprig of mint. Enjoy.. 


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Top 10 Foodie Blogs

Since I started this blog I noticed that there a lot of blogs out there just about food. So after reading a few I found some that I really liked  and I just wanted to share some with you. These are in no particular order of preference, they are all really good professional blogs relating to food.

Melted Comfort....

So... with still some left over ingredients from pizza night, I decided to use them to go Italian once again. 
After having been a huge Soprano's fan one dish naturally always comes to mind- Baked Ziti.
Damn you Bobby Baccalieri, thanks to you this dish has been permanently etched into my culinary subconsciousness. Anyways its always a good dish to make and a definite comfort food, equivalent to mac and cheese or meatloaf. Pictures below, recipe at bottom.......


3 cups  Penne, Shell macaroni, or Ziti pasta
2 cups Spaghetti sauce
2 tbs EVOO
1 cup Ricotta cheese
1 tbs oregano
2 tbs parmesan
1 cup Shredded Mozzarella 
 Baking Pan
With all the ingredients listed the better the quality the better the dish will be.
 In a large pot, fill it with water and some salt. After it gets to a rolling boil dump the pasta in, cook till its tender or Al Dente. Then drain the water from the pasta while keeping the pasta in the pot. Add all the ingredients to the pot and mix. Then take the pasta mixture and pour it into a baking pan. Sprinkle Mozzarella all over to cover the pasta, then put it into the oven at 400F for about 10-15 minutes or until the cheese has become golden brown.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

En Napoli...

So last night me and the wife felt like having pizza, being the foodies that we are Pizza Hut or Dominoes just doesn't cut it. We had a lot of vegetables to get rid of so we decided to make our own pizza. Not just your typical homemade style pizza, but the king of all pizzas the Neapolitan style pizza. I can't say it was authentic because of the ingredients I used, but it looked and tasted just as good. I'll post the recipe after this post. Here are some pictures for you to feast on.......

These were the toppings we had: Pepperoni, mushrooms, spinach,  and green bell peppers

The three key elements to get the proper crust flavor: A little EVOO, Pure Honey, and Salt

I find that this yeast works best for pizza, obviously right?

And here is the finished product, took less than 2 minutes to bake this, I'll tell you why in the recipe.
Absolutely beautiful don't you think?

Recipe for Neapolitan Style Pizza

Ingredients- Dough
 1 tbs EVOO
 1 Package of yeast
 1 tsp Salt
 1 tbs Pure Honey
 2/3 cup Very warm water
 1 1/2 cup Flour

Ingredients- Sauce
Remember how I said my pizza wasn't authentic heres one of the reasons why, I actually used Prego for my sauce( I was lazy) but normally i would have made my sauce here are the ingredients.....
1 cup finely chopped basil
1 14 oz. can of whole peeled tomatoes
3 tbs olive oil
1 tbs oregano
1 tbs salt
All you have to do is mash and break up the tomatoes by hand until you have  small chunks of tomatoes.
Then you mix together all the other ingredients and you can definitely adjust the sauce to your own personal tastes. Then all you do after mixing the ingredients together is to just leave it aside till your dough is ready. The only cooking done to the sauce will be in the oven on your pizza.


To make the dough its standard procedure, first you mix the water, oil, yeast, salt, and honey till they're all familiar with each other, then you gradually add in the flour till you get a consistency that doesn't stick to your fingers. You leave it resting covered for 30-40 minutes. As you let the dough rest you wanna get a pizza stone or if you don't have one available a cast iron pan works just as well to produce the proper crust. Crank up the heat on your oven to the max which is usually 500-550 degrees.

Now that the dough has rested enough the key to getting the proper crust for your pizza is thickness and temperature which is the reason why your pizza should not take more than 2-2 1/2 minutes to cook depending on the size of your pizza. You can choose to make your pizza as larger and as small as you wish just make sure to keep the dough at a thickness of about 5 sheets of paper. Then just lightly apply some sauce, put on some muzzarell, some toppings of your choice, then in she goes. Importantly, make sure to keep an eye on the pizza  till its done, as it can easily burn.




Lets Get It Started

Insert Black Eyed Peas Song- "Lets get it Started"

Can you hear the crickets in here?
Anyways its all good, if there is anybody reading this welcome to the birth of my blog.
This is officially the first post, just one of many to come.

So I'm sure you're wondering what this blog will be about, right?
Well I'm glad you asked because this blog will be the compendium of my culinary knowledge and skill.
It will showcase what I know and can do as a student of the culinary arts.
Now don't get me wrong I'm not a student at the CIU or Le Cordon Bleu.
I'm just an average guy with a passion for cooking and if I may say so myself  I am talented as well.
I am constantly learning and researching dishes that I find interesting so that I can recreate them.
So basically I will be cooking, writing, posting pictures, and creating a entertaining blog to keep you coming back for more. If that sounds like your cup of tea then get comfortable.

Now that there is no mystery to what this blog will be about, lets get started.
In the words of the Chairman(Iron Chef)-  "ALLEZ CUISINE!"