Truffled Edamame Potstickers with Shallot White Wine Broth

My dear, imaginary internet friends, I have a confession to make. I’ve lured you here under false pretenses. Yes, I will eventually get to the velvety dumplings I promised you, and yes, you could just scroll down to the recipe. But I hope you’ll read my shameless plug first.

Dumplings
When I’m not cooking up fabulous dishes in my kitchen, I’m cooking up fabulous musicals for the stage. I work with a small theater company in the Twin Cities and we’re creating a new show all about growing up called Are You There, God? It’s a New Musical Revue! The show, inspired by Judy Blume and other YA fiction, will premiere at the Minnesota Fringe Festival in August.

Dumplings 2
And we’re raising funds via Kickstarter to offset the production costs. If you’d like to make a donation—even $5 will help—I’d be incredibly grateful. If you’re unable to make a donation, but you’d like to support the show, please pass along a link to your blog readers, your Facebook friends, your Twitter followers, your barista…anyone you think might be interested in supporting our show.

Ugly Dumpling

The Ugly Dumpling

I’ve been working on this show for the past decade, and it’s truly a labor of love. And I’d love it if you played a part in it.

And now for the recipe I promised. I’m a big fan of edamame—my favorite movie-watching treat is edamame steamed in the shell, then dusted with truffle salt. I promise: it’s better than popcorn. I wanted to give my fave flavor combo an upgrade, and hoo boy, these dumplings did the trick. They’re younger than springtime—bright, fresh, and tender—yet creamy and luxurious. Dip them in the shallot broth for a perfect sweet-and-salty bite.
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Corn and Bacon Empanadas with Orange-Infused Honey Drizzle

Big news, imaginary internet people: I’m having the best week ever!

After eight long months of unemployment, as of this morning I have a job.

I’m the newest member of the marketing team at Free Spirit Publishing, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Everyone I’ve met there over the course of the three (count ‘em, three!) interviews feels like a friend already, and they (we!) do really important work – publishing books on positive youth development and resources for kids and teens.

I start in two weeks, so I guess I’d better get used to waking up before Days of Our Lives.

And there’s another reason I’m on cloud nine these days. I made an Argentinian-inspired dinner for Mom and Handsome Greg on Saturday night, and the corn empanadas with orange-infused honey were – gosh, can I even say it? – the best thing I’ve ever made.

I don’t like to play favorites, and that’s a really big thing to say, but these empanadas with their sweet, sticky sauce deserve the accolades.

The combination of flavors and textures – sweet, succulent corn, biting peppers and onions, salty bacon, gooey cheese, bright cilantro, crispy fried dough, and floral, citrusy honey – absolutely warrants my blatant abuse of tired adjectives.

There was much more orange honey than needed for the 12 empanadas, and it’s been a treat finding other things (besides a spoon) off of which to lick it. For starters, Mom’s popovers:

Continue reading for the recipe for Corn and Bacon Empanadas with Orange-Infused Honey Drizzle

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Parsnip and Potato Pierogi

In addition to the three golden delicious crapples included in this month’s Fare for All groceries Mom shared with me, we also received the usual 5-pound bag of russet potatoes.

Last month I faced Iron Chef: Battle Potato by making gnocchi two ways – Gnocchi with Roast Chicken, Asparagus, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes in Pesto Cream Sauce, and Gnocchi Gratin with Spinach and Gorgonzola. (Yes, you can bake gnocchi. I was shocked, too.)

I have a freckle on my palm. Is that weird?

This month I again resisted my lazy urge to just make mashed potatoes and call it a day. Instead I adapted a recipe by Martha Stewart and made pierogi.

Making pierogi – making pierogi dough – was a natural progression in my breaducation. And really, how can you go wrong with stuffed dough? I love all filled dumplings – ravioli, tortellini, hand pies, won tons.

Stuff you like, wrapped in dough, then baked, boiled, steamed, or fried. Everybody wins.

Using just two parsnips along with the potatoes and leeks in the filling gave the adorable starch pillows the tiniest hint of earthy sweetness. And Martha’s pierogi dough is tender and silky. This one’s a keeper. I have a feeling I’ll be making a lot of pierogi this winter.

Recipe below the fold

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gnocchi gratin with spinach and gorgonzola

You can bake gnocchi. Did you know that? I did not know that. I almost feel a little hurt, like the people who knew that you can bake gnocchi were keeping a VERY IMPORTANT SECRET from me.

A few weeks ago, I made gnocchi from scratch, and I was so proud of myself. While it didn’t turn out perfectly, I think I’ve discovered the perfect application for imperfect gnocchi.

I stashed half of the imperfect homemade gnocchi in the freezer, and it waited there for a cooking method and a gooey sauce that would make it sing. Show tunes.

Sing out, Louise!

The frozen gnocchi is boiled, browned in butter, tossed in cheese sauce, and baked. At that point, you may inquire as to the gnocchi’s status. Is the gnocchi seeing anyone? Does the gnocchi maybe want to get together for drinks?

Recipe below the fold

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gnocchi with roast chicken, asparagus, and sun-dried tomatoes in pesto cream sauce

It’s a little heartbreaking to me that many of my favorite dishes are ones that I’m too terrified to attempt to prepare at home: fish and seafood, baking from scratch, soufflés, most of the French mother sauces—and gnocchi.

Every time Greg and I go to Muffuletta, I order the gnocchi. And every time it’s perfect, and more delicious than I remember, with light pillows of potato, rich duck confit, and fresh tomatoes in a bright lemon-infused olive oil. It just seemed like an awful lot to live up to.

I’m not ready (or rich enough) to tackle duck confit. But when I picked up the monthly Fare for All groceries that Mom and I share, and I stared down a 5-pound bag of russet potatoes, I was emboldened. It was time to take a stand. It was time to make homemade gnocchi.

I used Anne Burrell’s recipe for Light as a Cloud Gnocchi, and sadly, my gnocchi turned out considerably heavier than clouds. Don’t get me wrong – they were a fine vehicle for the killer sauce I made. But they were heavier and doughier than I was hoping for. I’m guessing that the recipe is fine and the issue was USER ERROR. I think that I waited too long after baking the potatoes before passing them through the food mill. A mistake I don’t mean to duplicate. /Princess Bride

And I think I cut them too big.

But I conquered my fear of gnocchi (OOGITY! BOOGITY!). It was a long process, and it didn’t turn out exactly as I’d hoped, and I’m going to try it again. I feel a little less scared of seafood and those French mother sauces now.

The flavors in the sauce are some of my favorites – basil, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon, and asparagus. The only complaint I have about the basil cream sauce accompanying the daredevil gnocchi is the chicken. It was roasted just the way I like it, but it didn’t seem to belong in this dish. Next time I’ll skip the chicken, and keep the focus on the gnocchi, vegetables, and sauce.

Recipe below the fold

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