Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dumpling Party!

This weekend we had a great little dumpling gathering! The theme was any sort of dumpling or pocket-of-goodness type item (think spring rolls, egg rolls, calzones, samosas, etc). Here's some of what was had... although in hindsight it appears that I didn't photo document a few of the tastiest items! Bad Amey!

Sophia brought these beautifully perfect little mochi daifukus! They were so cute and yummy. Very impressive thing to make from scratch (she used kittee's recipe). It was only my second time having a mochi sweetie, and I really like their smooth, velvety texture and understated sweetness. I also especially liked this little ones that Sophia made... not too big, but just a few perfect little nibbles.

Sophia's partner-in-crime Max has just freshly arrived home after two weeks form Germany, so he went with the Germanic theme and made Sommelknodel (best name!) with tomato herb gravy. These dumplings were dense and bready, and perfectly balanced with the sweet acidity of the tomato sauce. I think there were only two left at the end of the day!

I made mini-empanadas. I used a recipe for empanada dough from one of the Spanish cookbooks I got from the library, and free-formed a Spanish-style filling made with caramelized onions, ground up seitan, smoked pimenton, tomato sauce and potato chunks. Pretty yummy, but not my favorite ever. The recipe would need some tweaking before I would bother to share it... we'll see if I ever decide to revisit it.

Next up, I made a big batch of little mini Farmer's Market Tamales. I used the masa from "Voluptuous Vegan" but the filling and concept from "Viva Vegan." This was a great tamale recipe, chock full of fresh veggies and flavors. Also, this turned out to be an especially great tamale recipe for making mini tamales, because in this recipe the filling and masa are mixed together, rolled up, and steamed... rather than first laying out the masa and then spooning in the filling and all that. Why don't we always just mix together the filling and the masa?! It was super easy that way!

My final contribution was mini cherry pies with bing cherries & marzipan. Do I really need to explain to you that these were delicious? I didn't think so. Not necessarily beautiful, but definitely tasty.

Unfortunately, I didn't photograph one of my favorite dishes of the afternoon - Erin's "Chicken" & Dumplings - a totally delicious concoction of seitan and dumplings in a thick, savory gravy. Man, it was crazy good. I was probably too busy rushing back for seconds to reach for my camera. Put it in my pie hole!

Speaking of pie holes, Kylie brought this amazing pie. Wow. It was a mixed berry pie with a vegan cream cheese layer and a lavender crust. Served up with vanilla ice cream. I've never had anything like this, so I wasn't sure what to expect. But, I took one bite and I was totally amazed. The combinations of flavors were so beautiful and unexpected and harmonious. MAN. That lavender crust, with the berries, with the ice cream... ahhh.

Alana brought these Chinese BBQ Seitan Buns with Spicey Soy-Ginger dipping sauce. The dough encasing the filling was just perfect - flavorful enough to be delicious, but mild enough to complement the filling. And the filling was a sweet-salty combo of goodness - especially with that beautiful dipping sauce. I think she said this was from Bryanna Clark Grogan's book "Authentic Chinese Cuisine." These buns even had fermented tofu as one of the ingredients - Alana is a real odd-ingredient connoisseur, which I truly admire!

All of our little doggies were having a great time - they were so stoked for more friendly faces and all the friendly company... but none more so than Snoopy. Snoopy LOVES cuddles. In fact, as I type this, he is all curled up in a little ball on my lap. So, naturally, he was making many friends at the potluck. I know it's not a food shot, but I couldn't resist this cute picture of the Super Duper Snooper Pooper and Alana snuggling together. Look at those little paws!

After all that carby feasting, I was looking for a lot of veggies and plentiful colors for dinner that night. So, I whipped up these three quick dishes, which turned out to be a truly complementary and compelling dinner. First up, Moroccan Carrots (from this recipe on about.com, minus the added olive oil). I love this recipe and I think it is quickly becoming one of my favorites. It takes about 10 minutes to throw together and it's totally delicious.

I also made two wonderful dishes from one of my other library books: Arabesque. Zucchini with Garlic, Mint, and Vinegar ~ I'm not a huge zucchini fan (uhh... so, exactly why did I plant a big, thriving zucchini in my garden?!), but I think this recipe may have single handedly changed my stance on the zucchini issue. I love that it required almost no oil, and the flavor of the dried mint was a new and unexpected pairing with the zucchini... definitely successful, and definitely something I'll make again. I also made Beans with Caramelized Onions and Spinach - except that I used some of the blanched kale from our freezer in place of spinach. I cut the oil dramatically and still this dish was so full of flavor and so fun to eat. Mr. Vegan Eats and Treats was all dressed up to go out for dinner, but took one pass through the kitchen and decided to stay home and eat with me... mwahahaha! evil laughter! Looks like "Arabesque" is another book bound for my wishlist!

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One last little thing... while we're on the topic of dumplings and such, I'll include these pictures from a delicious dinner that we had last week. My Project Freezer efforts are going along quite nicely, and this meal was part of that effort. These are the Pumpkin-Pecan Wonton Ravioli from "The Healthy Hedonist" - and they were so tasty, and pretty easy too. The filling is made with pumpkin, pecans, & caramelized onions and is CRAZY YUMMY.

The author gives two options for serving - either with Sage & Butter Sauce, or with Porcini Broth. I went for the high-flavor & low-fat option of the cooked down Porcini Broth and it was delicious. The broth was light but added moisture and a touch of umami depth. I know this picture isn't the prettiest food porn pic you've ever seen (BRAINZ!), but trust me when I tell you that the flavors were incredible. Back in the freezer, I've still got one more pack of wonton wrappers and a few more cups of frozen pumpkin... so now I think I know what I"ll do with them!

22 comments:

  1. O - M - G!!! Why was I not invited to this party?!? That all looks SO GOOD! We demand a repeat performance of at least some of those items for family!

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  2. awww, snoopy dumpling.

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  3. it all looks so good..what a great party! and your doggie is super cute!

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  4. A dumpling party is such a great idea!

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  5. I love it! What a great idea for a party!

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  6. That is a super-fun theme for a party! And I'm so jealous about those mini tamales. I've never made fresh tamales, and I REALLY WANT TOO! Maybe I should start out by mixing everything together like you did.

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  7. This is a super delicious looking party! I'm going to make mochi for the next party I'm going to!

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  8. So jealous. I love the dumpling in all of its vegan forms. These are often the best part of a meal--and you've just excised all the other stuff getting in the way. And as a potluck--perfect! They're too much work to create in so many different varieties on your own...and you avoid the age-old potluck-slacker-conundrum. There are few easy pockets.

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  9. Anonymous4:45 PM

    This all looks amazing & great idea for a potluck! Hope the bing cherry marzipan pies are destined for this year's recipe book.
    And I always smile when I hear of another success with Mr. VE&T deciding not to order out :-) jen e.

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  10. Oh gosh, I only wish I had been invited. Great spread. Dumplings rule!

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  11. That was so fun! Thanks again for being such a great host Amey! Looking forward to more fun times and yummy vegan potlucks...

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  12. What a fantastic idea! Everything looks amazing. I love the idea of the mini tamales too!

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  13. That is the best topic ever! I'd love to try all those dumplings. I love semmelknödel so much! (By the way, the name means dumplings made from bread rolls (semmel = bread roll, knödel = dumpling) I had to laugh a bit about "Germanic". Sounds a bit archaic and like we'd come over to invade the country in a second. ;)

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  14. I wish I could've been a guest at that party!! Seriously, it all looks amazing.

    I've been on a tamale kick lately, although I'm lazy and haven't made my own. This weekend I'm gonna do it - finally!! :)

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  15. Wow, everything looks super yummy. A dumpling party is such a great idea! Love the mini tamales. :-)

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  16. WISH I WAS THERE! Looks lush!

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  17. Woah! All those dumplings look delicious! And mini cherry pies...with marzipan! LOVE!

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  18. Woah! All those dumplings look delicious! And mini cherry pies...with marzipan! LOVE!

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  19. Looks fabulous! Some friends and I had a dumpling party about a year ago and this post is making me want to plan round 2!

    http://ordinaryandtheextraordinary.blogspot.com/

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  20. I love the theme for that party, all dumplings! And awwwwwwww at the doggy... :D

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  21. michele3:28 PM

    have you (or could you please???) posted your adapted version of the gf vegan tamales you keep mentioning? I would love your experienced take on the masa in particular! Thanks for all the lovely posts.

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