Chinese Dumplings

When I worked at Arizona State University, the chair of the department and I shared the same birthday so we’d go out for lunch annually on our birthday. There was a little Chinese restaurant near campus where we’d devour several orders of pot stickers and a soup bowl of hot and sour soup. I’ve been checking every grocery store I go to and I couldn’t find gluten-free wonton wrappers but a check on-line found a recipe. So, although this process is somewhat lengthy, the dumplings are well worth the effort.

First, make the wonton wrappers by combining:

1/2 cup all purpose gluten-free flour

1/2 cup tapioca flour

1/2 white rice flour

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon guar gum

Whisk together the dry ingredients then stir in:

1/2 cup boiling water

Dough will start to come together. Add:

2 tablespoons cold water

1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil

Stir to combine, kneading with hands if necessary. Form into a ball, cut in half. Place one half under plastic wrap to stay moist while working with the other half. Roll the dough into a log then cut into 12 pieces, about 1 tablespoon each. Roll the pieces into balls and place in a sandwich bag until ready to fill. Repeat with the other half of the dough.

Next, make the filling. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse:

8-10 scallion whites

6 ounces shitake mushrooms

1/2 cup shredded carrots

Pulse until well ground. Put into a medium bowl with:

3/4 pound ground turkey (or pork)

3 teaspoons date sugar

3 tablespoons soy sauce substitute (see recipe under sauces)

1/2 teaspoon ginger juice (or freshly grated ginger)

1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Combine, cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to fill the wontons. Using a bamboo steamer (or a steamer basket or pot but you won’t be able to cook as many at once), place over water on the stove. Take one dough ball, place between two pieces of plastic wrap, and using a small rolling pin (or any can), roll out to about a 3″ circle. Place about 1 tablespoon filling in the middle. Using the plastic wrap, bring the sides of the wonton wrapper together in the middle. Pick up the ball and gently press the edges together to seal the dumpling (these can be either round or rectangular). If the dough is dry, wipe the edges with a small amount of water to moisten and seal. Place in the steamer and repeat until the steamer is filled, without the dumplings touching the edges or each other because they will stick as they cook. Bring the steamer water to a boil and cook the dumplings 10-12 minutes. Serve with a sesame garlic sauce and garnish with the scallion greens.

Sesame Garlic Sauce:

1/4 cup soy sauce substitute

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon date syrup or honey

1/4 teaspoon chili sauce or red pepper flakes

Chickpea Blondies

Easy and quick to make and delicious, nutritious snacks. I’ve been making chickpea carob chip cookies and chickpea brownies for years. I made sweet potato blondies a few weeks ago and those turned out almost fudge-like. These are thicker but every bit as “fudgy”. Feel free to substitute the sweetener as well as the quinoa flakes for quinoa flour. And of course, sunflower butter (or any nut butter if possible) would substitute quite well for the pumpkin seed butter.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a food processor combine:

2, 15 ounce cans of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed (save the aquafaba for another recipe; it’ll store in the refrigerator for a week)

1 cup quinoa flakes (find it in the cereal aisle)

3/4 cup pumpkin seed butter

1 tablespoon avocado oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup date syrup (or honey, agave or coconut nectar, or maple syrup)

1/3 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk

1 teaspoon baking soda

Pulse until the garbanzo beans are creamed and incorporated into the batter. The batter will look mottled because of the quinoa flakes. While it’s pulsing, line an 8″ square baking pan with parchment paper and spray with a non-stick cooking spray. Scoop the batter into the pan and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes. Cool before serving.

Sweet Potato Sheet Pancakes

If you’re like me, the only bad thing about making pancakes is standing at the stove cooking 3 or 4 at a time when there’s at least a dozen to cook. Well, this recipe takes that away! These are the lightest, fluffiest pancakes I’ve had since I went gluten-free and oh so mouth-wateringly delicious. Of course, pumpkin or butternut squash can be substituted for the sweet potato puree, just make sure that they aren’t too wet so a drier squash would work best. I used Trader Joe’s frozen sweet potato mash in this recipe thinking canned sweet potato puree might be too wet. And it worked just fine. Also be sure to let the mixture sit in the baking pan for 10-15 minutes after you spread it. Gluten free flours take longer to absorb moisture than regular flour and letting it sit on the counter before cooking gives the flours time to absorb some of the liquid and the end product won’t be gummy.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together:

2 tablespoons ground flax

1/3 cup aquafaba (or 1/3 cup water with 1/2 teaspoon aquafaba powder)

While the flax gel is working, about 5 minutes, prepare an 15×9″ baking sheet by covering with parchment paper and spraying generously with a non-stick spray (I use Chosen Foods Avocado spray because it’s 100% avocado oil).

When the flax gel is set, add:

1/2 cup sweet potato puree

1/4 cup avocado oil

1/4 cup date syrup (or coconut or agave nectar, honey, or maple syrup)

1 1/2 cup non-dairy milk

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

3/4 cup protein powder (I used Probase organic pumpkin seed protein, unflavored)

Whisk to combine before adding:

1 1/2 cups all purpose gluten-free flour

1/2 cup chickpea flour

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup dried cranberries (optional)

1/4 cup carob (or chocolate) chips (optional)

Stir to combine making sure to moisten all the flour but not overmix, batter will be thick. Spread in the prepared baking sheet and let sit 10-15 minutes while the oven heats to 400 degrees. Bake 18-20 minutes until spongy in the middle and golden brown. Cut into 12 pieces and serve with a drizzle of maple syrup. I found 2 pieces were enough for me so 4-6 servings depending on your appetite.

Chicken with Bok Choy and Red Peppers and Crispy Noodle Cake

Here’s another recipe adapted from the Chicken Bible. It’s somewhat spicy due to the abundance of freshly grated ginger as well as just a 1/4 teaspoon Vietnamese chili sauce.* The original recipe called for 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes so use those if you can’t find a chili sauce that works for your family. I also cut back slightly on the amount of freshly grated ginger – the original recipe called for 1 tablespoon but I used only about 1 teaspoon and it was sufficient for my tastes. This is a recipe that may sound difficult and complex but if you follow the steps, it’s really quite easy to make and oh so worth the effort – just as good as any dish in your favorite Chinese restaurant.

First, cut up everything:

1 pound bok choy (I used three medium sized baby), cut off the stems and cut into bitesize pieces and then separately chop the greens and put them in a separate bowl

2 small sweet red peppers, cut in thin slices

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced as thinly as possible (if the breasts are partially frozen, they will slice much easier although the hand holding the meat will get quite chilly!)

1 garlic clove minced

about 1″ of fresh ginger peeled and grated to produce roughly 1-2 teaspoons

2-3 scallions, slice at an angle, add the white parts to the bok choy stems and peppers and set the greens aside in a medium bowl

Next, mix together in a medium bowl:

1 tablespoon soy sauce substitute

2 teaspoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon date syrup

1 teaspoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon cornstarch (or arrowroot)

Whisk together and add the sliced chicken. Mix to ensure all the chicken is coated with the marinade. Refrigerate until needed.

Third, put on a pot of water to boil:

6 quarts water in a large pot

When the water comes to a bowl, add:

1 teaspoon sea salt

9 ounces of noodles (I used brown rice pad Thai noodles)

Cook for only 3 minutes until el dente (or the amount of time on the package of your noodles). Drain and add to the bowl with the green scallion slices. Mix to combine. In a 12″ non-stick skillet, heat over medium high heat:

2 tablespoons olive oil

Add the noodle/scallion mixture and spread out in the pan. Use a strong spatula (or I used a bacon flattener) to flatten the noodle mixture in the pan (see photo below). Cook 5-7 minutes until browned and then using a large spatula, flip and brown again on the second side 5-7 minutes. Remove to an oven proof plate and stick in a 200 degree oven to keep warm.

Now, in a small bowl mix together:

2 tablespoons olive oil

the minced garlic

the grated ginger

In another small bowl make the sauce by combining:

1/3 cup chicken or vegetable stock

2 tablespoons soy sauce substitute

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1/2 tablespoon date syrup

1/4 teaspoon chili sauce or red pepper flakes (or hot sauce!)

1 teaspoon cornstarch (or arrowroot)

Stir to combine. Set aside until needed. Pour into the empty skillet and heat:

2 teaspoons olive oil

Add:

sliced chicken (and marinade)

Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly and turning frequently until the meat is cooked, about 2 minutes. Remove to a dish and set aside. Into the same skillet heat over medium heat:

the olive oil mixture with the garlic and ginger

When hot, add:

the bok choy stems

red pepper slices

scallion whites

Cook over medium high heat stirring frequently until they just begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add:

the bok choy greens

Cook just until the greens begin to wilt, add the cooked chicken along with any juice in the dish. Whisk the sauce mixture to be sure it’s still combined and pour over the chicken in the skillet. Stir continuously until the sauce thickens about 30 seconds and the chicken is reheated. Remove the noodle cake from the oven and cut into wedges. Serves 2.

*I had a lot of difficulty finding a chili sauce that didn’t contain either sugar or soy. I finally located one (at the 4th store I checked!) – Tuong Ot Toi Viet-Nam Chili Garlic Sauce. It’s VERY hot so the amount used should be to the level of your taste buds. I don’t mind spicy but super hot is not to my liking therefore the recipe calls for just 1/4 teaspoon.

Oatmeal Cookies

My husband’s favorite cookie was oatmeal raisin. These are very easy to make (if you have a food processor) and very tasty. And they don’t have very many ingredients, also a pretty good thing. If you have dried dates which most of us do since fresh dates are not always available, soak them in boiling water for 5-10 minutes to soften them before using them in this recipe.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread a medium size cookie sheet with parchment paper. In the bowl of a food processor, add:

1 1/2 cups gluten-free old fashioned oats, preferably organic

1/2 cup seed butter like sunflower or pumpkin butter or tahini

10-12 softened dates, medium sized

1/4 cup date syrup (or if you don’t have date syrup, use some of the water from soaking the dates just increase the number of dates if you want a sweeter cookie)

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Blend until combined and the oatmeal is partly ground and a dough forms. This should take only about a minute. Remove from the food processor to a bowl and stir in:

1/2 cup carob chips (optional)

1/4 cup raisins or dried cranberries (optional)

Scoop out several tablespoons (to a 1/4 cup depending on how large you’d like the cookies) of the dough and form into a flat, round disc. Repeat with the remaining dough. The recipe should make approximately 12 cookies. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes before removing from the baking sheet.

Pork Chops with Pear Sauce and Sautéed Endive

Mostly I eat chicken but occasionally I’ve have some pork and I find it difficult to find creative ways to cook it, a plain pork chop can be so boring. Here’s one I adjusted from one I found online. I added the endive which goes great with both the pork chop and the pear sauce.

First, make a batch of pear sauce (see recipe under sauces) except instead of adding the ginger, add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon of allspice (per cup of pear sauce/about 1 pear). Additionally, add about 1 tablespoon of date syrup (or 2 teaspoons of honey or agave nectar).

In a 10″ skillet, heat over medium high:

1 tablespoon olive oil

Blot dry:

2 1″ thick pork chops (or a little thinner or thicker if preferred just adjust the cooking time)

Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder (granulated works best). Add to the hot oil and sear on each side (about 1-2 minutes per side) then reduce heat to medium low and cook, uncovered, for about 5-6 minutes per side or until the pork is firm to the touch. Set aside and let sit off the heat for approximately 10 minutes to rest.

While the pork rests, heat in 12″ skillet over medium heat:

1 tablespoon olive oil

Add:

1/2 medium sweet onion, dice

6-8 medium to large endive (slice off the lower stem end and then quarter)

Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder then cook stirring occasionally so that the onion doesn’t burn. After about 3-4 minutes, reduce heat to medium low and cover so that the lower cores of the endive soften and continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes or until the endive cores are softened.

If you’ve premade the pear sauce as I did, heat in a small pot until hot. Pour half the mixture (about 1/2 cup) over each pork chop. Serves 2.