food amongst family and friends

Vegetarian Gyoza April 16, 2012

Filed under: Appetizers,Sides,Thrifty,Vegetarian — blisteringlydrunk @ 10:36 pm
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I love gyoza. I will admit that my love affair began in high school in a non-glamourous fashion, chowing down on the pork pot stickers (aka, gyoza) my dad would bring home from every Costco shopping trip, without fail. I now order gyoza at every opportunity. It’s kind of like pizza – even when it’s bad, it’s good.

This recipe uses quinoa instead of pork and it’s much easier and quicker than I anticipated. I  followed the recipe exactly, but I’m going to write it out with the adjustments I’ll make next time. Enjoy!


yields 30 dumplings

1 C cooked quinoa
1 C boiled cabbage, minced
2 boiled carrots, minced (about 1 C)
3 fresh shitakes, minced
1.5 T minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 green onions, minced
2-3 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
2-3 tsp mirin (sweet japanese cooking wine)
1/4 t ground white pepper
salt to taste

1 egg
1 pack gyoza wrappers or small wonton wrappers (the round ones are ideal)

dipping sauce
2 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs rice vinegar
1/4 tsp chili oil (or dried chili flakes mixed with a little oil)

1. Put the quinoa on to cook; bring a pot of water to boil, then add a chunk of cabbage and carrots and boil for 10 minutes. Mince the cabbage and carrot – heap the cabbage onto 3 layers of paper towel and squeeze out the water.

2. Mix the quinoa through pepper in a medium bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Mix in the egg.

3. Bust out the gyoza wrappers. Hold one wrapper in your left hand and plop a spoonful of filling into the centre. Dip your finger in water and wet the whole outer edge of the wrapper, then fold the wrapper in half and pinch the edges together. If you want to be fancy,  you can make pleats as you go. It’s quite similar to folding a perogy.

4. Heat 1 t canola oil in a big pan. Once the oil is hot, lay in the dumplings flat-side down.  Give them enough space that they’re not touching. Let them fry 1 minute, then quickly throw in 2 T water and cover with a lid immediately. Let sit 4 minutes, remove the lid and let fry another minute. Repeat until all the dumplings are cooked.

5. Mix up your dipping sauce and serve.


Spring Treats: Cranberry Lemon Squares April 13, 2012

Filed under: Baking,Bars,Desserts,Make Ahead,Uncategorized,Vegetarian — blisteringlydrunk @ 9:36 pm
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This is the third time I have started this post; twice now my computer has failed me, so I’m hoping this one is the charm, because I used all mine up on the first two posts. So, let me be blunt; these squares rock, easily my baking find of the year; perfect blend of tart and sweet, and if spring had a taste, this is what is would be (yes, I know, cranberries and lemons are more of a Christmas thing, but trust me). Also, they froze beautifully, so they are easy to make ahead. So just make them already. Shout out to ELS for the awesome recipe!


3 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup sugar

1/4 tsp salt

Zest of one big lemon

1 cup butter, cold and cubed

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

2 – 4 Tbsp cold water


2 1/2 – 3 cups frozen cranberries (depending on how tart you like it)

1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp white sugar

Juice from your zested lemon

2 Tbsp corn starch

1. Preheat oven to 400  and spray a 9×13 glass baking dish.

2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest in your food processor or a large bowl. Pulse or whisk to blend. Add butter and pulse (in processor) or use a pastry cutter until crumbly, with no visible hunks of butter.

3. Transfer to a stand mixer (or using a handheld electric) and add egg and vanilla. Once mixed, add water 1 Tbsp at a time until the dough comes together. Mix very well between each addition, as it will take a while for the dough to form even after you add the water. I used about 2 1/2 Tbsp.

4. Press a little more than half (I always seem to have a big half, so use that one) the dough into the bottom of the pan.

5. Combine lemon juice, sugar, and cornstarch in a medium bowl, stirring until smooth. Add the cranberries and mix thoroughly. Pour over the bottom layer, then crumble remaining dough on top.

6. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 and bake for another 25 minutes or until edges and topping are golden brown. Let cool completely (and I mean completely) before cutting.




April Snow Storms bring . . . Beef, Leek, and Pot Barley Soup April 4, 2012

Filed under: Beef,Mains,Make Ahead,Soups — blisteringlydrunk @ 7:58 pm
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I actually made this prior to the snowstorm, based on day 5 of my husband’s voice slowly disappearing. I thought he deserved a soup, and since I’ve been feeling uninspired in the kitchen lately, I used this as an excuse to try a new recipe, which I took straight from Meagan. This is like a grown up version of the hamburger soup my Mom always made when we were kids, and everyone loved it. Apparently the original recipe calls for 2 1/2 lbs of beef short ribs, but Meagan used beef stew meat, so I went for a combo of the two; 1/2 lb of short ribs for flavour and the rest stewing meat. I think if I have time in the future to make this the day before I want to eat it, I’ll try all short ribs, then cool it, so I can skim the fat off, but just having a couple in there added a ton of flavour without all the fat. This was an easy recipe that the whole family loved, plus I froze half of it for an easy dinner later; I can see this becoming a regular in my soup rotation.

2 1/2 lbs cubed stewing beef or short ribs

1 tsp each, salt and fresh ground pepper

1 Tbsp oil

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 large leeks, sliced, white and light green parts only

5 celery sticks, chopped

3 medium carrots, sliced

1 medium onion, chopped

1 L beef broth

1 L water

1 cup red wine (I used a bordeaux)

1, 28 oz can diced tomatoes

1 Tbsp fresh thyme, leaves only (I aimed for a well rounded Tbsp)

3/4 cup pot barley

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1. In a large stock pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Salt and pepper the meat, then add to pot, stirring until browned on all sides.

2. Add garlic, leeks, carrots and onion, lowering heat to medium low, stirring once or twice, then covering. Let veggies ‘sweat’ (cook without browning) for about 10 minutes, without lifting the lid. Then take the lid off and turn up the heat to medium or so and let the veggies get slightly browned.

3. Add broth, water, wine, tomatoes, and thyme and bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and let simmer, mostly covered, for about an hour. Add barley and simmer, covered, for another 45 minutes, or until barley is tender. Stir in balsamic and parsley.

4. At this point it is ready to serve, or if using all short ribs, let cool to room temperature, then cool for several hours, or overnight, in the fridge, or until fat solidifies on top. Scrape fat off the top, then reheat and serve.

Serves 6 – 8 adults




Chicken chorizo pork burgers with grilled Pink Lady apples April 2, 2012

Filed under: Chicken,Mains,Make Ahead,Pork,Quick and easy,Sandwiches — blisteringlydrunk @ 10:22 am
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I decided to try my hand at this after a lovely girls night out at Blue Star Diner, where I was, of course, the only person to go for the giant, fatty pork chorizo burger and homemade shoestring fries. But it was totally worth it, especially when I came home and realized that I had some chicken chorizo (from the amazing Missing Link at the farmer’s market) and lean ground pork sitting in my freezer, which meant I could replicate this using healthier ingredients and smaller portions, thus enabling me to re-enjoy this meal without all the guilt. Here’s what I did:

1 lb lean ground pork

1 lb chicken chorizo sausage (raw), casings removed

Combine pork and sausage in a bowl, mixing with your fingers, but being careful not to squeeze too much (makes the burger tougher).

Form into 8, 1/4 lb patties, set aside.


Pink Lady apple slices – brushed lightly with butter and grilled on the top rack while the burgers were cooking. This is a must, the sweetness is amazing with the spiciness of the chorizo

Cheddar slices (gouda or gruyere would be lovely here as well)



Buns – I used Sour Cream rolls which were soft and perfect, but any old burger buns will do

Once your have everything prepped, preheat your grill to medium high, then cook the burgers for about 6 mins a side, adding the cheese for the last minute if you like it melted. Flip the apple slices when you flip the burgers and they should come out just right. Serve immediately.