The Dimpling of Dumplings

Dumplings

After a brilliant jaunt at the Union Square Farmers Market, Sam and Shosh took us back to their apartment to teach us how to make dumplings! We had all kinds of tasty veggies to work with from the market and we made a ridiculously hefty pile that we were encouraged to freeze for later. And for the sake of not looking like repulsive bingers, I’m going to pretend like we still have some left…

But we don’t.Evan Chop

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IMG_7316IMG_7319Dumpling WrapsFirst, Sam, Shosh and Evan chopped a crazy amount of vegetables. Then they decided on three different dumpling varieties:

  • Edamame, mushroom, and onion
  • Carrot, ginger, onion, and cilantro
  • Tofu, bok choy, scallions, and chives

Sam added whichever concoction to his dumpling presser, squeezed the sides together, and presto: dumplings! Well… kinda. That’s a vast simplification that hides just how long it took. For each flavor, we laid out dumpling wraps across a floured counter, twice. To do three flavors it really adds up, but since the longest part is the prep and set-up, it makes sense to do a huge batch and save leftovers.

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Since the wraps are made to resist sticking together, you need a flour/water paste to use as a glue so they stay closed after pressing. It all becomes a bit of a factory line operation, with one person gluing, one person stuffing, and one person pressing (giving dumplings little dimples). But once the process is going it’s just a matter of sticking it through to the end.

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Sam Dumples 2

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Then we pan-fried them in olive oil while preparing a few dipping sauces:

  • mega-lime, cilantro, and honey
  • peanut sauce
  • mango chutney
  • and hoisin sauce
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And then we ate. A lot.

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Obviously, as evidenced from the giant man on the floor, it was an exhausting procedure. But I can tell you a week later, having just eaten the next and final serving, it was well worth it.And done

These Little Piggies Went to Market

I’ve said so before, but I think it’s worth re-mentioning that the Union Square Farmers Market is the best place in New York City on a Saturday.

We met our fabulous friends Sam and Shosh for a lovely wander through the stalls and to procure some ingredients for dinner (details to come). The full array of fall harvest was out, along with all of the Union Sq standards.

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It’s hard not to find a little something for everybody there: freshly baked breads, cheese straight from the goat, sheep, or cow, cozy colored yarns, treats, and for the vegetable-enamored, everything.

There are comical gourds of all shapes, sizes, colors, and degrees of bumpiness, all hailing autumn.

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And copious amounts of kale, which is the super-vegetable when it comes to cold weather! There should be piles of this stuff for weeks, and we can’t wait to make kale chips, kale juice, cooked kale, massaged kale, and kale-kale.

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IMG_7016And while we’re on the subject of juice: mmm wheatgrass.

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And HONEY. Though I am mostly-vegan, I am not terribly convinced that bees are being exploited. I am, however, fairly uncomfortable with the possibility that agave workers are, and thus, I have not forfeited my right to eat honey. We bought some lusciously spreadable raw wildflower honey at the market, thick and butter-like in its consistency. Raw honey is uncooked, so it preserves its pollen, and is less processed, which is the best excuse to spread it on everything.  (But I do promise to keep an ear out for sad bee complaints.)

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Rooftops gardens WILL CHANGE THE COURSE OF HISTORY! (And you’ll attract more naysayers with honey.)IMG_7081IMG_7085

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We found Jerusalem artichokes! I’ve been too nervous to cook them because I haven’t the slightest idea what to pair them with. My cookbooks are void of Jerusalem artichokes entirely and I’ve found zero support on the internet. It’s the purple kohlrabi incident all over again. But that might be a project for tonight.IMG_7207 IMG_7205IMG_7198

The advertising for the revolutionary juicy pears was just too compelling. So we bought a phenomenal pile of Asian pears.IMG_7084 (1)

I mean Don Draper couldn’t argue with that.

Ooh, and ground cherries. They’re a kind of cherry-tomato hybrid with a really zesty sweet flavor – described in this blurry sign as being pineapple-y.  And they come in their own natural wrappers, making them a perfect mid-stroll snack.

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IMG_7117See? Gourds.

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And they weren’t the only bumpy creatures out and about…IMG_7089 IMG_7088IMG_7099

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We walked away with carrots, bok choy, peppers – including a purple one – eggplant, greens, and more. Afterwards we jumped on the L and headed straight to Brooklyn to start stuffing dumplings for dinner.

Union Square Saturdays

The best place in the city to witness farm-to-table foodies is of course the Union Square Farmers Market. And on Saturdays it’s our favorite place to visit and find scrumptious supplements to our share, like farmers cheese and fresh pasta and jams, and all the things to make a CSA-based lifestyle complete.

Summer BerriesYou can waste fantastic hours schmoozing with farmers about their produce and how their season has been, talking about what tastes good with what and swapping recipes. We tasted veggies and got the last of some summer berries, nibbled on cider donuts, and the yarn lady showed me pictures of her sheep!

Hot PeppersTurning PurpleWhile I unceremoniously rubbed my face into newly sheared wool and Evan sneaked away to buy maple candy and ricotta ravioli and apple butter – as if we couldn’t have made apple butter with our obscene quantities of apples from our clearly October share — our brave (possibly insane?) friend Robin tasted hot peppers until she turned purple.

She has since recovered, but only after being warmly reminded by the pepper-seller that beer does not help, but a glass of milk or a spoonful of yogurt might.

But the real joy at Union Square on Saturdays is seeing a whole mess of people who avidly care where their food comes from, varying from shapes and sizes and backgrounds, chatting away about local, organic and sustainable produce. And the background to the bountiful hills of food stands… is New York City skyline.

ESB at the Farmers Market

(I mean is that the ESB steeple I’m glimpsing?) Can’t beat that.

Paige and Robin Say Yum.