Jiaozi, aka: Chinese Dumplings

 

We are celebrating the chinese new year over here at #VFVY and we want to share our favorite recipe! These tender morsels of deliciousness are way too good to keep to yourself, although you may want to!

If you are just into eating them and not into all the work it takes to make them, then may I suggest “So Inviting”. This little take out food shop located at 876 Dundas St,  in East London, Ontario  is amazing. You have the option to pick up some ready made potstickers or dumplings and eat them straight away, or you can always take some frozen ones home and make them up to share… either way they are So Delicious! You can check out their menu and pricing on their facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/SoInvitinginOEV/menu/?p_ref=pa

If you are like me and want to make or even recreate these beautiful bite sized morsels, then read on my friends! This is going to be delicious!

Let’s begin with the Dumpling wrappers. You can purchase these in the refrigerator section of most asian markets and even some supermarkets, but you can make them yourself. Dumpling wrappers are also called gyoza or potsticker wrappers. They are thin sheets of dough made with flour and water.

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Jiaozi, aka: Chinese Dumplings
Servings
Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Dough Preparation: To a large bowl, measure in the flour and the salt. Pour in the boiled water and stir the flour until the flour resembles loose crumbles. Pour in the cold water. Stir again until a shaggy dough begins to form. Knead the dough for a couple of minutes, tll everything is mixed well. Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface. The dough should be soft and elastic. Continue to knead your dough for another 3-5 minutes. Place the dough into a bowel, cover with a damp towel. Let rest for 20 minutes while you prepare the filling and the dipping sauce.
  2. The middle: In a bowl, mix the shredded cabbage with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Set aside while you move on to next step of recipe.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the ground meat with soy sauce, ground pepper, rice wine and sesame oil. Add in the chives.
  4. Back to the cabbage - grab a handful of cabbage, squeeze hard to expel the water into the sink. Add the dry cabbage into the bowl with the rest of the filling ingredients. Mix well.
  5. Making the potstickers: Turn out the rested dough onto a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough in half, keep unused half under the damp towel to prevent from drying out. Roll out the other half into a long snake, about 1-1/4 inches in diameter. Cut into approximately 20 even pieces. Take 1 piece, roll between palms to form ball. Squash between flat palms to flatten into disk. Use rolling pin to roll out to 3-1/2 inch diameter. Repeat for remaining dough. Fill and fold potstickers. Place folded potstickers on a floured piece of parchment.
  6. The Sauce: Mix together dipping sauce ingredients. Set aside until ready to serve.
  7. Cooking your potstickers: Heat a pan over medium heat, add potstickers, place lid on. Once they have browned on the bottom, add a ¼ cup of water, return lid to top and steam for 4- 6 minutes.
  8. Take out of pan and serve with dipping sauce.
  9. Enjoy!
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The Great Shellfish Cookbook by Matt Dean Pettit!

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for my review and the options in this blog are mine all mine. I was given a review copy of this cookbook from Penguin Random house Canada.

I received a wonderful cookbook from Penguin house! It’s called the Great Shellfish Cookbook, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I have always wondered what it takes to cook wonderful seafood dishes and Matty delivers just that! Wonderful seafood dishes with an explosion of taste.

If you are looking to diversify your repertoire of seafood recipes look no further! This cookbook contains all you need to know about purchasing ,cooking preparing and storing shellfish.

The recipes are diverse and the pictures are beautiful. I went from knowing very little to feeling very confident with preparing shellfish for my guests. Matt does a wonderful job introducing home cooks to the wonderful world of shellfish, a must have for anyone curious about cooking shellfish.

I made the Lobster and Shrimp Ceviche, this recipe is light and simple to make, delicious and so refreshing! I had no idea that citrus juice would actually cook the seafood! What a great idea, that way the meat never gets over cooked. I used less cilantro in this recipe as I am not a huge fan, but didn’t want to leave it completely out as it lend to the flavor of this dish.

“Excerpted from The Great Shellfish Cookbook: From Sea to Table More than 100 Recipes to Cook at Home by Matt Dean Pettit. Copyright © 2018 Matt Dean Pettit. Photography copyright © 2018 Ksenija Hotic. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.”

 

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Lobster and Shrimp Ceviche
Instructions
  1. The key to a great ceviche is to always use the freshest ingredients possible. I love how fresh seafood smells just like ocean air and the sea! When I traveled to Chile, I visited a town on the coast called Viña del Mar. It was there that I had the best ceviche I’ve ever tasted. It’s been my goal to recreate that dish, and I think I’m very close!
  2. If using live lobster, place it in the freezer for approximately 20 minutes to put it into a catatonic state. Using a sharp knife, pierce directly through the top of the lobster’s head (this will kill it instantly) and run the knife down through the center of the lobster’s body to split it into two. Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, remove the meat and rinse it thoroughly under cold, running water. Finely chop the lobster meat. If using thawed, frozen lobster tails, remove the meat and finely chop it.
  3. Roughly chop the shrimp.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the lobster meat, shrimp, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, cilantro, citrus juices, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste to combine the flavors and allow the citrus to cook the meat. Cover the bowl tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The lobster and shrimp will be opaque and firm.
  5. Remove the bowl from refrigerator and drain off any liquid. Serve the ceviche with tortilla chips, or use Bibb lettuce to make lettuce wraps.
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Fresh Baked Bread

MMM… is there anything more delicious than the delightful smell of freshly baked bread wafting out of your kitchen? That smells reminds me fondly of my childhood when my mother would bake 8 loaves at a time!

So delicious and heartwarming, I couldn’t wait to get a fresh piece and have that warm butter melt all over it!

 

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Sourdough French bread
Sourdough bread is nutritious and delicious! It contains higher levels of folate and antioxidants than other breads. It’s lower phytate levels allows your body to absorb the nutrients more easily. It also contains lower amounts of gluten and because it is fermented, it contains probiotic and prebiotic properties that are known to be excellent for your gut health. With all these benefits and so many applications what are you waiting for? why not make your sourdough starter today?
Cuisine Sourdough Bread
Keyword french bread
Servings
Ingredients
Cuisine Sourdough Bread
Keyword french bread
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a cup, melt the butter in the hot water and add and dissolve the sugar. Let cool to lukewarm.
  2. Add the starter and the yeast.
  3. Blend in two cups of flour so that you have a sticky well combined mixture.
  4. Stir in next two cups of flour and the salt. This should be enough for firm dough.
  5. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead thoroughly.
  6. Place in a well buttered bowl and let rise til double in size.
  7. Punch dough down and let rise again for 30 minutes.
  8. Turn dough out onto floured surface, let rest 10 mins.
  9. Shape into loaf.
  10. Let the loaf rise again until doubled.
  11. Place in preheated oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 50 minutes.
  12. You can slash the bread with a very sharp knife or razor just prior to putting into oven if desired. If the utensil is very sharp the bread will not fall.
  13. For a shiny crust, blend and egg white with a tablespoon of water and brush several times during baking.
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My favorite food and why

I am food obsessed. I love the texture, the nutrients, the taste. Mother nature is so clever to put all the things we need to keep our bodies healthy right inside all of our food. Nutritious and delicious food.

My favorite food is something I can hold in my hand. Little bite sized morsels of deliciousness!

Tapas, horderves, finger foods… whatever you call them, I call them wonderful.

Why do I love them you ask? Well,fingers were made before forks after all!

Food is not simply stuff that people eat when their hungry. Food is awesome, delicious, inventive, colorful, inspiring, and so much more. A mutual love of food can bring different people together and can make the saddest person feel a little better without even meaning to. I love food and think you should too

Here are some reasons why I love food

It brings people together

Let’s you explore other cultures without travelling the globe

It’s social

It makes any party better

It shows people you care

Inspires creativeness

Makes you feel good

Tastes great!

Here is one of my favorites…..

 

 

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BRIE WITH ROASTED PEAR AND THYME
Instructions
  1. 1. Cut off top rind of Brie and discard. Set Brie aside. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).
  2. 2. Peel and core pears, then slice ¼-inch (1-cm) thick. Lay on a generously buttered baking sheet in a single layer. Roast in oven for 15 minutes. Turn slices and continue roasting 10 to 15 minutes or until edges are caramelized and brown. Arrange pear slices overlapping in a circle overtop Brie. Refrigerate, uncovered, for up to half a day.
  3. 3. When ready to serve, heat in a preheated 350°F (180°C) oven 10 to 12 minutes or until softened. Sprinkle with thyme and serve with slices of fresh baguette and crackers.
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Pickles, pickling and you

You don’t need to get yourself into a pickle. Canning your cukes is easy when you know how!

First, get out to your farmers market and get yourself some beautiful baby cukes.

Kirby or Persian cucumbers are the best variety to choose as they hold up their crunch factor without becoming soft and mushy. No one wants a soft or mushy pickle.

So why pickle you ask? Well first, you will know exactly what is going into your pickles, there will be no weird additives or unlabelled shenanigans in your final product.

Second, fermentation. This gives your gut the healthy bacteria that it needs to flourish and keep your immune system healthy.

Third, it is easy!

You can can your pickles using a hot water bath method, or you can just jar them and put them in the fridge. Canning will allow you to store them for about a year.

Did you know that you can also pickle other veg? Okra and green beans are always favorites, but garlic scapes and carrots work well too. Get creative and try pickling other veg from your garden. What ever veg you choose should be ripe and firm to the touch.

Grab some dill, some garlic, vinegar and cukes and let’s get into a pickle!

The Brine

A basic brine will be made of equal parts vinegar and water mixed with salt. It then gets poured over the cucumbers and turns your veg into pickley goodness! You can of course eat them straight away, but the longer you leave them soaking in the brine, the better the flavor!

Keeping the ratios the same you will be able to make more or less brine depending on the amount of veg you would like to ferment. You can also play around with different spices and vinegars. Experiment with cider or homemade vinegars, mustard seed, red pepper flakes.. .the possibilities are endless!

To Process or Not to Process

If you want to keep your pickles for up to a year, you will need to process them. If you just want to reach into the fridge and grab some on the go you will not.

You can make the recipe below and decide which you will want to do, process or not. If you want to keep them for up to a year, then you will need to hot water bathe them for about 5 minutes. The only downside is that the hot water will cook the pickles a little bit and sometimes make your pickles a bit soft. If you would like them to stay crunchy, just skip the hot water bath and them in the fridge. They will keep for several weeks in the fridge.

So there you have it, easy breezy pickle making. What kinds of veg will you try to get into a pickle?

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Make Dill Pickles!
Course preserves
Cuisine Pickling
Servings
Ingredients
Course preserves
Cuisine Pickling
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Get your jars ready: If you are going to can your pickles you will need to boil and sterilize the jars and their lids. If you are planning to make refrigerator pickles, washing the jars and lids is fine.
  2. Prepare the cukes: Wash and dry the cucumbers. Be sure to trim away the blossom end of the cucumber, as it contains enzymes that can lead to limp pickles. You can leave the cucumbers whole,  or cut them into spears, or whichever shape you like.
  3. Spice up your veg: Divide the spices of your choice between the jars
  4. Pack the cucumbers: Pack the cucumbers  into the jars. Leaving about 1/2 inch below the top of the jar. Pack them in as tightly.
  5. Pickling brine: Combine the vinegar, water, salt and other spices in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil. Pour the brine over the cucumbers. Fill each jar to within 1/4-inch of the top.
  6. Remove the air bubbles: Gently tap your jars against the counter a few times to remove all the air bubbles. Top off with more brine if needed.
  7. Tighten the lids: Place the lids over the jars and screw on the rings until tight.
  8. If Processing: For longer shelf life your pickles will need a hot water bath. Fill your canner with enough water to cover the jars by a full inch. Boil the water, place jars into boiling water, wait for water to return to a boil and keep them in there for 10 minutes. Once they are finished, use tongs and carefully take jars out and let them cool.  
  9. Cool and refrigerate: Let the jars cool to room temperature. If you processed the jars, they can be stored on the shelf. If unprocessed, store the pickles in the fridge. The pickles will improve with flavor as they age — try to wait at least 48 hours before cracking them open.
Recipe Notes

Storing canned pickles: Canned pickles will keep for at least a year on the shelf and for several weeks in the refrigerator once opened; refrigerator pickles will keep for several weeks.

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Sourdough Banana Bread

Love my sourdough!

Finding new ways to use my starter every weekend! This past weekend I made sourdough banana bread. It is vegan and delish! Why not try it yourself?

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Sourdough Banana Bread
Course snack
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
loaves
Course snack
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
loaves
Instructions
  1. Cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla.
  2. Mix in the sourdough starter and mashed bananas.
  3. In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt, and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to banana mixture and mix just until combined. Do not over-mix.
  4. Pour the batter into two greased 9x5-inch bread pan. Bake at 350°F for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool completely prior to slicing.
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Ah, Christmas parties!

mmm delicious chicken

Tis the season to get together with friends and family to celebrate the season! I went to celebrate with family and was asked to bring a main dish. This buttermilk baked chicken is what I decided to bring to the festivities! It is delicious and juicy.

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Baked Buttermilk chicken
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Grease your pan well or add parchment paper.
  2. Mix together buttermilk, lemon juice, spices, garlic, salt, and pepper to a large freezer bag. Add chicken and coat with mixture. Seal bag ensuring all air is removed from bag and place in the refrigerator for 3 hours or up 12 hours.
  3. Mix Panko bread crumbs and seasoning of your choice together.
  4. Beat egg in separate bowl.
  5. Remove chicken from the marinade, letting the excess drip off.
  6. Dip in egg mixture to coat, then into the panko bread crumbs. Doing this in small batches I find works best to keep the coating adhering to the chicken.
  7. Place in the pan and bake for 45 minutes until golden and crisp.
Recipe Notes

Enjoy this juicy and flavorful chicken.

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Bold and Pungent day!

Happy bold and pungent day!
Pungent taste is sharp, concentrated, and intense. It spreads quickly throughout the mouth and digestive tract. Chillies and black pepper are common pungent tastes.

So to celebrate the day, let’s be bold and make something pungent!

For today I have adapted Christine Cushing’s recipe from the food network. The original recipe can be found here: http://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipe/spicy-green-mango-and-cucumber-salad/6904/

Another wonderful salad that is bold and pungent can be found here: http://www.vibrantfoodvibrantyou.com/recipe/watermelon-jalapeno-with-feta-salad/
Enjoy!

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Spicy mango and cucumber Salad
Instructions
  1. Dice cucumber, remove seeds. Dice mango. Add chillies of your choice, mint and cilantro. In a small bowl mix the rice wine vinegar, sugar, ginger and fish sauce. Stir. Pour mixture over cucumber and mango, toss to combine and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Voila!
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An Apple a day!

MMM. nothing like ontario apples to make snacks, ciders, pies and even added into your mains. Apples are so diverse there are many recipes to try them in!
When baking with apples you want to stick with apples that will stand up to the heat in the kitchen. For the best results when baking with apples try Gala, Fuji, Cortland, golden delicious, granny smith or Northern spy apples.

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APPLE SQUASH SOUP
Instructions
  1. Cut you butternut squash in half. Remove seeds. Save seeds to plant for next year.
  2. Place cut side down in baking dish. Bake on 350 for 1 hour or until soft.
  3. While the squash is baking, you want to caramelize your onions. Add oil to cast iron frying pan, add onions, cook on medium heat for about a half hour. The onions will sweeten and get brown.
  4. Add squash, apples, onions, chicken stock, apple juice and spices to your slow cooker. and cook on low for a couple of hours. Blend well with a hand blender.
  5. Serve with a dollop of plain yogurt or cream. Chopped apples and candied walnuts also work well on top.
  6. Enjoy.
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Blueberry Pizza

Who would have know that blueberries on pizza would be so delicious!
I went blueberry picking with my girlfriend over the weekend and I have so many blueberries that I needed something new to do with them. After all, new recipes are my favorite kind of recipe!
So I scoured the internet and a few of our family cookbooks and found many pies, jams and smoothies, lots of dessert items for sure, but it was the pizza that caught my attention. Can you really put blueberries on pizza? The answer is you sure can! And it is not a dessert but a main or an appetizer. You can switch out the shallots for an onion of your choice and feel free to get creative with the cheeses as well. You can also replace the bacon with pancetta, prosciutto or spinach if you don’t feel like a meat option. There are so many choices out there that you could make this over and over without making the same pizza twice!

This pizza is colorful, delicious and versatile I will definitely be making this again! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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Blueberry Pizza
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Heat a skillet over low heat, add a little oil and the thinly sliced shallots and garlic, cover and cook 20-30 minutes until golden brown, stirring occasionally.
  3. Lightly flour a work surface.
  4. Stretch and roll the dough into desired shape then place on pizza stone if you have one if not a large baking sheet will do.
  5. Using a fork, pierce dough in several places.
  6. Spread the ricotta cheese evenly over the surface of the dough.
  7. Then sprinkle dough with half the mozzarella, bacon or pancetta and golden brown shallots and garlic mixture.
  8. Bake until crust is golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes.
  9. Sprinkle blueberries and remaining mozzarella (and spinach if you are using) over pizza; bake until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown, about 2 - 3 minutes longer.
  10. Remove pizza from oven; top with micro mustard greens and pepper.
  11. Enjoy!
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