Category Archives: Dips Sauces Condiments Spices

Red Thai Tofu

Red Thai Tofu_text

Serve this tofu dish over your favorite rice.  The cookbook this came from suggests a pineapple rice.


Red Thai Tofu
Compliments of JennaDish

from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz


1 block extra-firm tofu (about 14 ounces), cubed
1 teaspoon oil
1 red pepper, seeded and sliced thinly
1/2 cup sliced shallots
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon light agave nectar
15 leaves fresh Thai basil

Preheat a cast iron or heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. Spray with a little cooking spray. Add the tofu and cook for about 10 minutes, flipping it with a thin spatula once in a while, until it is browned on most sides. The thin spatula is important because you should be able to slip it underneat the tofu and flip it easily, keeping the tofu intact. About midway through, drizzle with 2 teaspoons of the soy sauce and toss to coat.

Remove the tofu from the pan and set aside. Saute the red pepper, shallots, garlic, and ginger in the oil, using a little cooking spray if needed. Cook for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the curry paste, water, remaining soy sauce, agave. Add the tofu back the pan along with the curry paste mixture. Cook for another 5 minutes. Add the Thai basil and toss to wilt. Serve! 

The Plant-Based Bowl: Quinoa, Black Beans, Tomatoes, and Caesar Chavez Dressing

Quinoa Bean Bowl with Caesar Chavez Dressing
Well, our 6-Week Vegan Challenge is up, but we are still trying to keep the habit of eating a mainly plant-based diet.

This is a "bowl."  It is very adaptable.

You simply choose a grain or healthy pasta (quinoa, rice, barley, soba noodles), a veggie or two, a bean, and a dressing or sauce.

I tried quinoa, black beans, tomatoes and Caesar Chavez Dressing.

The taste is great!  Not photogenic, but very tastogenic.  There.  I made up a word.


Caesar Chavez Dressing
Compliments of JennaDish

from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Serves 4 (or 2 if you're having a bowl of plain quinoa, which needs more sauce)

I found the cashews difficult to chop in the blender/food processor fully, so soaking them first would help, or even chopping, then mashing with a mortar and pestle. However, even without the prep, you'll have 4-5 teeny pieces of cashew chunks. Not a huge deal.

2 Tablespoons chopped shallot
2 Tablespoons cashew pieces
1 Tablespoon tahini
1 Tablespoon miso
1/3 cup water
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon capers with brine
1/8 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Blend it all in a blender or food processor until well blended, 2-5 minutes.

Pork Tenderloin Grilled with Pineapple Sauce

Pork Tenderloin Grilled with Pineapple Salsa

Did you know that pork is best served Medium Rare?  For us more mature folks, that's scary.  

But evidently things have changed and pork doesn't need to be cooked as long as we used to think.

*WASHINGTON, May 24, 2011 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is updating its recommendation for safely cooking pork, steaks, roasts, and chops. USDA recommends cooking all whole cuts of meat to 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer placed in the thickest part of the meat, then allowing the meat to rest for three minutes before carving or consuming.

This change does not apply to ground meats, including ground beef, veal, lamb, and pork, which should be cooked to 160 °F and do not require a rest time. The safe cooking temperature for all poultry products, including ground chicken and turkey, remains at 165 °F.


Pork Loin

Sweet and Spicy Pineapple Sauce
This is the quick and simple sauce:  fresh pineapple, jalapeno and apricot jam.  Use fresh pineapple – it makes a difference.

Pork with Pineapple Sauce
Stir-Fry Asparagus and Sugar Snap Peas

We had leftover asparagus (about 3/4 bunch), and about 6 oz. sugar snap peas.  So I sauteed them stir-fry style on high heat about 5 minutes, tossed with a teaspoon of Sun Luck Hot Chili Garlic Sauce. Turned out nicely crisp and perfectly spiced.

Pork with Asparagus and Sugar Snap Peas

Notes:  The pork took longer to cook, at least on our grill, than the suggested 10 minutes. Double the time.

I sauteed a handful of leftover mushrooms, tossing them in a teaspoon of hot chile sauce to add to the asparagus saute for those of us who like mushrooms.  Wasn't as spicy as I thought – unimpressive. 

Overall, Alyssa did an awesome job with the pork on the grill.

And the sauteed asparagus and sugar snap peas were yummy.  Just enough though for the four of us.

To summarize:  I love the saucey, slightly spicy sauce for my pork.  The "green" saute was perfect.  Since the pork has a barely detectable mustard glaze, oven fried potatoes tossed in mustard would have also made a nice side.

For meat and salsa only: About $3 per serving and 210 calories, 4 g fat, 390 mg sodium


Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Quick Pineapple Sauce
Compliments of JennaDish

adapted from Cook This Not That: 350-Calorie Meal by Zinczenko & Goulding

1 Tbsp Dijon or grainy mustard
1/2 Tbsp honey
1/2 Tbsp chili powder
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 lb pork tenderloin
4 slices pineapple (1/2" thick), core removed
1/4-1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced
2-3 Tablespoons apricot or peach jam

Preheat the grill. Combine the mustard, honey, chili powder and a good sprinkle of salt and pepper and rub all over the pork.  Place the pork and pineapple slices on the grill.  Grill the pineapple for 2-3 minutes per side, until lightly charred and softened.  Grill the tenderloin, turning once or twice, for about 10 minutes, until lightly charred and firm (but yielding) to the touch. An internal thermometer should read no more than 160oF. (My note: Can remove at 145o and still be safe-see above). Let the pork rest for at least 3-5 minutes.

While the pork rests, chop the pineapple into bite-size pieces. Combine with the jam and jalapeno in a small saucepan and heat on medium low until bubbly and thickened, just a few minutes.  Mash the pineapple with a fork while in the pan.  Slice the pork and serve with the sauce. 


Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

 Homemade Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Dear Alyssa

You made homemade roasted red pepper hummus at my request.  You even roasted your own red

peppers for it.  A first for you on both parts.

This was really nice of you, especially since you immensely dislike hummus and roasted red peppers.


You even took nice photos of the ingredients along the way.

Chickpeas, tahini, minced garlic.



Fresh squeezed lemon juice.

Steam Roasted Peppers

Roasted red peppers.


Homemade Hummus

You even blended it to the right consistency. 

That's not as easy as it looks. 

A little too long and we would have had Hummus soup.  Not long enough and we'd have Chunky chickpea and tahini salsa.  

Good job.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Compliments of JennaDish 

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

2 cloves garlic, minced
15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained
1/3 cup tahini
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup roasted red peppers
1/4 teaspoon dried basil

In food processor, combine garlic, garbanzo beans, tahini, and lemon juice. Process until the mixture is smooth. Add roasted peppers and basil, process until peppers are finely chopped.  Season w salt and pepper.  Transfer hummus to small bowl, cover and chill.


Veggie Burger: Baked Falafel Burger with Tahini-Yogurt Sauce

 First Import 127Baked Falafel Burgers

It's time to start trying some of my veggie burgers from my cookbook, Veggie Burgers Every Which Way by Lucas Volger. 

My first burger, the Baked Falafel Burger, was so tasty! 

Note to self: next time use canned chickpeas.  This recipe uses dry beans that are soaked overnight, but I still thought they could be a little softer.  Plus it will save time.

Look how pretty, though …

First Import 117
First Import 116First Import 115First Import 121


Tip:  When assembling your finished, baked burger, make sure to include sliced tomatoes, pickles or similarly wet and tangy additions to mimick a regular burger, as the tahini sauce could render the sammy dry or pasty without it.

Baked Falafel Burgers
Compliments of JennaDish

from Veggie Burgers Every Which Way by Lucas Volger


1 cup dried chickpeas, rinsed thoroughly (or use canned if no time to soak first)*
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon toasted cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon chickpea or all-purpose flour, if needed

*Cover the chickpeas by 4 to 5 inches of water in a bowl and let sit for 24 hours.  Drain thoroughly.

Preheat the oven to 400oF.

Combine the chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley, lemon zest and juice, cumin, baking soda, salt, black pepper, and cayenne in a food processor.  Pulse until coursely combined.  If the mixture is struggling to come together, add a bit of water, but no more than 2 tablespoons.  (The mixture will fall apart when cooking if there's too much liquid.)  If water is added, stir in the chickpea flour.  Adjust seasonings.  Shape into 6 patties (it will be fairly wet dough).

Place the patties on a liberally oiled baking sheet.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, flipping them once halfway through, until golden and firm.


Tahini-Yogurt Sauce

 First Import 125

Tahini-Yogurt Sauce
Compliments of JennaDish

from Veggie Burgers Every Which Way by Lucas Volger

3/4 cup Greek-style plain yogurt
1/2 cup tahini
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash hot sauce

Combine all ingredients, adjust seasonings to taste.




Baked Buffalo Wings

These are the hot wings Alyssa made this year on New Year's Day.  Delish.


I got fancy with the empty Frank's RedHot bottle.

Baked Buffalo Wings
Compliments of JennaDish

from Leesah on

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
20 chicken wings
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup hot pepper sauce (such as Frank's RedHot®)

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and lightly grease with cooking spray. Place the flour, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and salt into a resealable plastic bag, and shake to mix. Add the chicken wings, seal, and toss until well coated with the flour mixture. Place the wings onto the prepared baking sheet, and place into the refrigerator. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Whisk together the melted butter and hot sauce in a small bowl. Dip the wings into the butter mixture, and place back on the baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, and crispy on the outside, about 45 minutes. Turn the wings over halfway during cooking so they cook evenly.


Banoffee Cheesecake (Banana Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce)


Banana Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce



Slice Banoffee Cheesecake

Evidently banoffee is a British term for a dessert that includes bananas, cream and toffee (we go by caramel in the U.S.).  Bananas + toffee = banoffee.  Unless Wikipedia is wrong. But I don't think so.  When I was in graduate school, we were thoroughly warned about the evil Wikipedia and how it can't be relied upon for research.  But I don't think it's a big stretch to trust that someone in England decided it would be cute to call bananas and toffee ban-offee. 

Either way – this was great.  Didn't have much of a banana taste, which I will take responsibility for.  I was supposed to use overripe bananas but I had none.  I had to buy new ones and hope they would ripen a lot overnight….


They didn't do too bad.  These front bananas looked like the back bananas when I bought them.  To hasten the ripening process, put the bananas in a closed paper bag with an apple.  Put them in a warm place but not necessarily over an open fire, or else you'll have a flaming bag of bananas.

Did you know you can freeze bananas?  Oh yes.  Yes, you can. I toss them in the door of my fridge whole, peel and all.  Turns black.  When ready to use, just thaw on counter for 15 minutes or so and unpeel.  They will be very mushy but perfect for recipes like this one or banana bread. 


 Wow this was close.  I think I might need a bigger food processor.


 This was the star of the show, though.  


The caramel sauce is made from Lyle's Golden Syrup (tastes like a thick, mellow honey) and brown sugar and butter.  Triple yum.

This is a make-the-day-before recipe because it needs to sit in the fridge overnight.  When you are ready to bake, all cold ingredients should be room temperature, so put the cream cheese out in a bowl, sans wrapper, about an hour ahead.  You can take the chill off eggs by putting them in a bowl of lukewarm water for about 10-15 minutes.

Banoffee Cheesecake
Compliments of JennaDish

from Nigella Kitchen by Nigella Lawson


for the base:
18 sheets graham crackers, crushed (for 2 1/2 cups crumbs)
6 Tablespoons soft unsalted butter

for the cheesecake:
4 overripe medium-sized bananas
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 8-ounce bars cream cheese, room temperature
6 eggs
3/4 cup (packed) plus 1 Tablespoon light brown sugar

for the caramel sauce:
7 Tablespoons soft unsalted butter
1/2 cup golden syrup (such as Lyle's Golden Syrup)
1/3 cup light brown sugar

A 9-inch springform cake pan
A roasting pan, for a water bath

Preheat the oven to 325o and put a full kettle on to boil (measure amount of water you'll need for water to go 1/2 way up the round pan in your roasting pan- I need more like 2 kettles full).  Wrap the outside (underneath and sides) of your springform pan with a double layer of plastic wrap, then cover that with a double layer of aluminum foil.  (No, the plastic wrap will not melt.)  This will act as a waterproof casing to protect the cheesecake as it sits in its water bath.

Process the graham crackers (I put them in a plastic zip bag and crushed them with a rolling pin first because my current food processor doesn't do a great job with crackers) with the 6 Tablespoons of butter until you have a sandy rubble that is beginning to clump, and press into the bottom of the prepard pan.  Set this in the refrigerator and clean out, thoroughly, the processor bowl – no crumbs.

Mash the bananas well with a fork (I used a potato masher), add the fresh lemon juice, and set aside.

Process the cream cheese until smooth, then add the eggs and sugar.  Last, add the mashed bananas with lemon juice, processing until you have a smooth mixture.

Put the wrapped springform pan in the middle of the roasting pan, and pour the cheesecake filling into your springform.

Now put the roasting pan with springform into the oven and pour the recently boiled water into the roasting pan so that it comes halfway up the springform.  Cook for 1 hour and 10 minutes, checking after 1 hour.  The very center of the cheesecake should still have a hint of a wobble, but should seem set on top.  (In my oven, this took 1 hour and 15 minutes total – heed the "hint of a wobble" more than the exact time).

Remove from the oven and, still wearing your oven mitts, take the springform out of the water bath and place on a cooling rack.  Gently and carefully peel away the outside layers of plastic wrap and foil, and let the cheesecake continue cooling on the rack. (Do not unmold until after refrigerated overnight).

Put the cheesecake into the refrigerator but dont' cover it till it's fully chilled, then leave overnight – and remember to remove it from the refrigerator about 1/2 hour before you want to eat it. (Actually mine sat out only 10-15 minutes and it unmolded beautifully.)

To make the sauce, melt the butter with the golden syrup and sugar in a saucepan over a gentle heat until everything comes to a bubble, then let it bubble, keeping an eye on it for 1-2 minutes.  It will be a foamy, amber mixture like liquid honeycomb.  Then let it cool slighly before pouring into a small pitcher and leaving to cool further; it will thicken as it cools.

To help unmold the cheesecake, work a thin, flexible spatula around the top edge, before unspringing from the pan, then put it on a serving plate, preferably one with a lip.  Whisk the caramel sauce in the pitcher and drizzle some over the cheesecake, leaving the rest for people to add greedily as they eat.

Spiced Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Spiced Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

This soup tastes great, and is one of the dishes that has helped me eat and feel full, while losing weight.

Also makes a great sauce for dry foods such as a baked potato or rice.


Butternut Squash Apple Soup



Spiced Butternut Squash Soup
Compliments of JennaDish

from Whole Living Magazine Jan/Feb 2012

Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add 1 chopped onion and 2 chopped garlic cloves and cook until tender, 6-8 minutes.  Add 1-inch grated fresh ginger (2 Tbsp), 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/8 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp cardamom, and dash ground cloves and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. 

Add 2 peeled and chopped carrots, 1 peeled, quartered, and chopped tart apple, 4 cups chopped butternut squash, and 3 cups water.  Bring to a boil; cover partially and reduce to a simmer.  Season with coarse salt and pepper. 

Cook until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.  Let cool slightly

Working in batches, puree until smooth in a blender.  Adjust seasoning, if necessary. 

Freezes well.

Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter


"This is the simplest of all sauces to make, and none has a purer, more irresistibly sweet tomato taste.   I have known people to skip the pasta and eat the sauce directly out of the pot with a spoon.  
– Marcella Hazan

This is true.  Delicious.  A game changer (finally!) for pasta.  So good, I even forgot to add the freshly grated cheese.  I ground some herbs de provence over it and it was wonderful.

And this is what Alyssa was doing while I was finishing up the sauce…


Steering her new remote-controlled helicopter toward my head…


Nice job Alyssa.

Recommended pasta with this sauce: Potato Gnocchi (prounounced like NYO' KEY).  The best gnocchi, beside homemade, that I've had is frozen.  I've had the vacuum-packed kind and it was rubbery.
UPDATE: I made this sauce a second time and tossed it with a pound of campanelle pasta which was NOT great.  If there's a lot of pasta, and the pasta has grooves in which the sauce hides to make it even worse, then the sauce is too sparse and tasteless.  You need the dish to be saucy to taste the subtleness of the butter, onion flavors.

Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter
Compliments of JennaDish


from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan

2 pounds fresh, ripe tomatoes,prepared as described below* OR 2 cups canned imported Italian plum tomatoes, cut up with their juices (I used canned, certified San Marzano tomatoes)
5 Tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half
1 to 1 1/2 pounds pasta
Freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese for the table

Put tomatoes in a saucepan, add the butter, onion, and salt, and cook uncovered at a very slow, but steady simmer for 45 minutes, or until the fat floats fre from the tomato.  Stir from time to time, mashing any large piece of tomato in the pan with the back of a wooden spoon.  Taste and correct for salt.  Discard the onion before tossing the sauce with pasta.

Great the next day also.  Leftover sauce is good for supplementing other tomato-based dishes such the Cioppino I made.  Really took it up a notch.

* To blanche tomatoes, plunge tomatoes in boiling water for a minute or less.  Drain them and , as soon as they are cool enough to handle, skin them, and cut them up in coarse pieces.  Some people like to lightly cut an X in the top of the tomato before boiling, to make it easier to peel.


Japanese Pork and Shrimp Pot Stickers

Japanese Pork and Shrimp Potstickers
Pork and Shrimp Pot Stickers

I wanted to take on the project of learning how to make Pot Stickers the old fashioned way.  No store-bought wrappers.  Went to the library and borrowed Asian Dumplings by Andrea Nguyen.  Since I'm a total newbie at this, it took a total of about 2 1/2 hours with constantly reading the cookbook and checking myself, so in the future the time should be cut way down.  Overall, I didn't mind spending the time on this project – it was actually fun.  

I made the filling first, then made the dough.  In the future, I will do the opposite.  If you make the dough first, it can sit in a bag softening while you make the filling.  The recipe says to let the filling sit out for 30 minutes at room temperature to allow the flavors to meld, but believe me, it will sit out and meld as you make the wrappers. 

The following photo captions won't make much sense until you read through the recipe.  But if you try the recipe, looking back at these photos may help to make sense of the instructions.  


After water was drawn out of this Napa cabbage, squeezed by hand and then with a clean cotton cloth.


If you are thinking of leaving out the shrimp, that's fine, but don't even think about leaving out the pork. It's fat is necessary for the method of cooking it requires.

My dough is probably a little on the dry side, probably because I used King Arthur's flour which oftentimes requires a bit more liquid than other flours would need.  But it still worked out fine…


Although I was concerned about my dough being dry, the recipe author explains that the dough should bounce back slowly when you press it with your finger, which it did.  


And what I didn't realize was that because the dough is made with hot water, when you leave it in the bag with the air expelled, it softens from the moisture and becomes easy to work with.


I cut the top off a zip-top bag and put a little flour in it or otherwise the dough sticks.  Then I put the little dough ball in the bag and used a saucepan to flatten the disk as flat as I could, about 1/8".  


Then you take each wrapper and, leaving a thicker "belly" in the center, roll the edges toward you while rotating the circle around 1/4 turn.  


Mine turned out to be somewhat irregular circles but it worked out just fine, especially for a beginner.  Pot stickers don't have to be pretty, nor perfect, to taste good.  The smaller disk in the back of this photo is one that hasn't been rolled out yet.  This shows the size difference you can expect.

The flavors of this filling were awesome.  Bought many of my Asian ingredients at Jungle Jim's over the weekend.

Pot Stickers

Not as beautiful as some, but certainly tasty.

Japanese Pork and Shrimp Pot Stickers
Compliments of JennaDish

from Asian Dumplings by Andrea Nguyen

MAKES 32 DUMPLINGS (4 as main course, 6-8 as appetizer)

2 cups lightly packed, finely chopped napa cabbage, cut from whole leaves (about 7 ounces or 3 leaves)
1/2 teaspoon plus 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, minced and crushed into a paste (I minced only)
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 Tablespoons chopped Chinese chives or scallions (white and green parts)
6 ounces ground pork, fattier kind preferred, coarsely chopped to loosen
1/3 pound medium shrimp, shelled, deveined, and chopped (4 1/2 ounces net weight)
 Scant 1/4 teaspoon sugar
Generous 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 Tablespoons Japanese soy sauce or light (regular) soy sauce
1 Tablespoon sake (I used Sherry)
1 teaspoon sesame oil

10 ounces (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
About 3/4 cup boiling water 

Canola oil or sesame oil or a combination of both, for pan frying

5 Tablespoons Japanese soy sauce or light (regular) soy sauce
2 1/2 Tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon chile oil (optional)

Japanese hot mustard, Chinese hot mustard, or Colman's English mustard for dipping (optional)

In a large bowl, toss the cabbage with the 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Set aside for about 15 minutes to draw excess moisture from the cabbage.  Drain n a fine-mesh strainer, rinse with water, and drain again.  To remove more moisture, squeeze the cabbage in your hands over the sink, or put into a cotton (not terry cloth) kitchen towel and wring out the moisture over the sink.  You should have about 1/2 cup firmly packed cabbage.

TRANSFER THE CABBAGE to a bowl and add the garlic, ginger, Chinese chives, pork, and shrimp.  Stir and lightly mash the ingredients so that they start coming together.

IN A SMALL BOWL, stir together the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, the sugar, pepper, soy sauce, sake, and sesame oil.  Pour these seasonings over the meat and cabbage mixture, and then stir and fold the ingredients together.  Once you have broken up the large chunks of pork so none are visible, briskly stir to blend the ingredients into a cohesive, thick mixture.  To develop the flavors, cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes.  You should have about 2 cups of filling.  (Can prepare filling 1 day ahead – bring to room temperature before assembling the dumplings.)

MEANWHILE, form 16 wrappers from 1/2 the dough.  Aim for wrappers that are about 3 1/4 inches in diameter.  (This is where I found a glitch in this recipe.  It never mentions again to make another 16 wrappers with the remaining dough – but you WILL need to do this to use up all dough and filling.  When using only half the dough in the beginning, place the other half back in the plastic bag and remove all air, letting sit until needed.)

BEFORE ASSEMBLING the dumplings, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  (If you plan to refrigerate the dumplings for several hours, or freeze them, lightly dust the paper with flour to avoid sticking.)  For each dumpling, hold a wrapper in a slightly cupped hand. My simplified instructions: Scoop up about 1 tablespoon of filling and place in the center leaving just enough edge to pinch together – no fancy pattern.  I chose to make 24 fat dumplings so I put at least 1 tablespoon in each 3 1/4" diameter wrapper, and even when the filling oozed to the edge, the dough still pinched together just fine.

When finished with the first half, cover with a dry kitchen towel while making the other 16 (or 8) wrappers and filling.

ONCE ALL The dumplings are assembled, they can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for several hours; they can be cooked straight from the refrigerator.  For longer storage, freeze them on their tray until hard (about 1 hour), transfer them to a zip-top freezer bag, seal well, and keep them frozen for up to 1 month; partially thaw, using your finger to smooth over any cracks that may have formed during freezing, before cooking.

TO PANFRY the dumplings, use a medium or large nonstick skillet (using skillets or pan with fitted lids work best), if both sizes are handy, cook two batches at the same time.  Heat the skillet over medium-high heat and put 1 1/2 – 2 Tablespoons oil (canola or 2 parts canola to 1 part sesame oil) in each pan.  Add the dumplings one at a time, placing them sealed edges up in a winding circle pattern or straight rows.  The dumplings may touch.  Fry 1-2 minutes until they're golden brown on the bottom.

HOLDING THE LID over the skillet (ready to protect yourself from the steam that is to come) add about 1/3 hot water to each skillet.  It will boil and sputter dramatically.  Put the lid on each skillet and lower the heat to medium and let the water bubble away until it si mostly gone, 8 to 10 minutes.  After 6-8 minutes, move the lid or foil so that is is slightly ajar to allow the steam to shoot out from underneath. This lessens the drama of condensation dripping down onto the hot oil when you remove the lid.

WHILE THE DUMPLINGS cook, combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, and chile oil in a small bowl to create a dipping sauce.  Taste and make any flavor adjustments.

WHEN THE BUBBLING noise in the skillet turns into a gently frying sound (a sign that most of the water is gone), remove the lid.  Allow the dumplings to fry for another 1 to 2 minutes, or until the bottoms are brwon and crisp.  Turn off the heat and wait until the sizzling stops before transferring the dumplings to a serving plate, using a spatula to lift up a few of them at a time.  Display them with the bottoms up so that they remain crisp.

SERVE IMMEDIATELY with dipping sauce in a communal bowl or divided up among individual rice bowls or dipping bowls.  If serving hot mustard, use a separate bowl for this.


TO MAKE THE DOUGH (with food processor)

Put the 10 ounces (or 2 cups) flour in the work bowl of the food processor.  With the machine running, add 3/4 cup of water just-boiled water in a steady stream through the feed tube.  As soon as all the water has been added, stop the machine and check the dough.  It should look rough and feel soft but firm enough to hold its shape when pinched.  If necessary, add water by the teaspoon or flour by the tablespoon.  When satisfied, run the machine for another 5 to 10 seconds to further knead and form a ball around the blade.  Avoid overworking the dough.

Transfer the dough and any bits to a work surface; flour your work surface only if necessary, and then sparingly.  Knead the dough with the heel of your hand for about 30 seconds.  The result should be nearly smooth and somewhat elastic; press on the dough; it should slowly bounce back, with a light impression of your finger remaining. Place the dough in a zip-top bag and seal tightly closed, expelling excess air.  Set aside to rest at room temperture for at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours.  The dough will steam up the plastic bag and become earlobe soft, making wrappers easy to work with.

After resting, the dough can be used right away to form the wrappers.  Or, refrigerate it overnight and return to room temperature before using.

When the dough is ready, take out, cut in half and work with the first half while the 2nd half goes back in the bag to keep soft.  Roll the dough you are starting to work with into a 1" log as even as possible.  Cut into 16 even pieces, shaping the dough into somewhat of a ball.  One by one, put the ball of dough between two pieces of wax paper or in a freezer bag dusted with a little flour, place on table and find a flat item such as a saucepan to flatten into a circle 1/8" thick.  Lay aside each round on non-stick paper until all are finished. 

Going back to each round, take a small rolling pin or dowel and, keeping away from the very center (leaving a nickel or quarter size area of thickness in the center), roll the wrapper from near center toward you, spin 1/4 turn, do the same all the way around until it's about 3 1/4" in diameter with a slightly thicker "belly" than the rest of the circle.