Jen / September 2nd, 2012
Jen solemnly swears that she will update the blog this week. That was last week. In my defense, I had finals last week and thus, studying was required. Unfortunately, the blog was neglected so now it’s time to give The Kitchen of Requirement some “good loving”. Without further ado, The Kitchen of Requirement is once again open for business and I humbly present to you my recipe for Mitt Romney Dumplings.
You must be wondering what are Mitt Romney Dumplings. I mean, Mitt Romney is certainly not everyone’s favorite person and no one really knows who Mitt Romney is. If you don’t know this YouTube reference, watch this and educate yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxch-yi14BE. Well, the name of this scroll has quite a bit of a back story. And yes, this story will be a Ted Mosby like scroll where everything will make sense in the end. No scrolling to the bottom for you!
As you know from previous posts, Gabby and I are both in classes so we have yet to host a housewarming, or kitchen warming, party since moving into our new apartment. On one historic weekend, Gabby’s cousin Daniela was in town and wanted to learn how to make dumplings from Gabby’s Taiwanese roommate – me. Thus, we hosted The Kitchen of Requirement’s kitchen warming party by inviting five friends, to a dumpling party. There were just few large problems with this plan:
1) I have no clue how to make dumpling filling.
2) I have no idea how to wrap dumplings.
I believe both the acts of making dumpling filling and wrapping them are the only two crucial steps to creating a dumpling. But no fear, a quest (not an epic quest as it did not have a nose-less villain chasing after me) of creating a perfect dumpling was before me and I was going to bravely see it to the end. After consulting with the powers the be (aka my grandmother), I felt comfortable enough with the theory of making dumplings.
We could not have foreseen that this would become the Battle of the Dumplings. The dumpling filling was made without much mishap, an early win for me, but when it came to wrapping, I had to recruit all the newbies into the dumpling wrapping process. Joe and Rika were amazing dumpling wrappers, while Daniela, Gabby, and I tried on five pathetic looking dumplings and decided to outsource the dumpling wrapping process to Joe and Rika. Here is a sample dialogue of Joe trying to teach Daniela how to make dumplings:
Joe: When you fold it in half, you fold one side to make creases to wrap the filling in.
Daniela: So, it’s like making an empanada!
Oh yes, Daniela went there (#ChileanPride). Thus, these dumplings were known as outsourced dumplings (thank you Joe and Rika). And since all the YouTube ads never fail to remind us that Mitt Romney is notoriously known for outsourcing, they were appropriately named Mitt Romney Dumplings. See, it all made sense in the end!
Now, let’s get down to business to make some dumplings! Here some rules about making dumplings, break any one of them and Huns will hunt you down.
1) Lightly sauté all the vegetables before mixing it into the meat.
This recipe calls for mushroom, chives, spring onions, and cabbage to be mixed in with the meat (no one likes a carnivore, unless if he/she is a Bacon Carnivore – that is perfectly acceptable in The Kitchen of Requirement) for the filling. In order to maximize flavor, you need to sauté the vegetables so that they can release their delicious flavor into the meat when you mix it in together. If you fail to do so, not only will your dumplings burn, but your filling will taste like bits of meat with chunks of vegetables mixed in. No one likes a chunky dumpling. No one. Ever.
2) Do not wrap dumplings like an empanada.
No matter how cute Forge is and how much we love her puppy face, you cannot fold a dumpling like an empanada. Folding dumplings is a formidable task, and I will do my best to break it down for you. When you put a dumpling wrapper on the palm of your hand, you must first dab the edges with water and put a small amount of filling in the middle. Then, you take the middle of one half of the dumpling wrapper, fold it to the other side, and pinch it once shut. The water will act like a glue to keep it shut. From one side to the other of the half crescent shape that you have, pleat the side that you folded over to seal the dumpling. Good, now go – or if you are still unsure (like I am) you can also watch this handy video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=fvwp&v=KmhISekbAuk&NR=1
3) Do not skimp on fat.
When making dumplings, you must get the fattiest ground pork as you are comfortable with. I mean, don’t go all Paula Dean on buying the pork, but please do not get lean ground pork. It’s a violation of the International Code of Dumplings and this is an instance that you don’t want to go all Barium (BA) on me
The Mitt Romney Dumplings
1 cup of finely diced cabbage
8 finely chopped shitake mushrooms
2 cups of chives
3 finely diced spring onions
2 cloves of crushed garlic
1 ¼ pound of ground pork
3 tablespoon of soy sauce
3 tablespoon of sesame oil
3 tablespoon of rice wine
Defrost the dumpling wrappers and leave to the side.
Separately sauté the cabbage, mushrooms, chives, and spring onions in olive oil. Add the cooked vegetables along with the crushed garlic into the ground pork. Season with salt, ground pepper, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice wine. Now, to the down and dirty (girls, don’t forget to take off all your rings), hand mix the meat, vegetables, seasonings, and sauces together.
Wrap the dumplings as directed above and place on a floured tray.
Once you are done wrapping all the dumplings, boil a pot of water and add the dumplings. Once the water is boiling again, add 1 cup of cold water. Repeat this three times. During this time, mix soy sauce with rice vinegar to taste. Serve immediately with dipping sauce.