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My Little Dumpling

My Little Dumpling


Low-cost Bites, Recipe, Wine and Beer

Delicious low-cost bites that are even more appealing in these belt-tightening times.

Filling and familiar, meatballs satisfy a need for comfort in this uncertain era and pose infinite possibilities for the creative cook. Mixing ground meat with bread, vegetables, or tofu makes the dish more economical and also makes the meat more tender. Wrap them in dough and you have a ravioli or an Asian dumpling, such as in this recipe, below. For spring, I chose a dish that takes advantage of seasonal sweet peas -- best and least expensive this time of year. And the dumplings freeze well for later consumption, keeping the larder full, the hearth generous and abundant.

RECIPE Pork and pea dumplings

Ingredients: 1 pound ground pork 1 cup firm tofu, well drained and mashed 1 cup shelled sweet peas 8 dried shiitake mushrooms 3 stalks scallion, thinly sliced 1 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped 1/2 teaspoon ginger, finely chopped 1 tablespoon cornstarch 1/4 cup oyster sauce 2 tablespoons sugar 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil salt and pepper to taste 1 package dumpling wrappers

Method: Soak the shiitake mushrooms in hot water, then drain, stem, and dice. Set aside wrappers. In a bowl mix all remaining ingredients together. Taste by frying a small amount, then adjust the seasonings. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of a dumpling skin. Wet the edges and fold in half to form a taco shape. Make two large pleats on one side of the taco shell toward the apex of the semicircle and collate to the other side of the shell to form a crescent-shaped dumpling. Repeat until all filling is used. You may freeze the dumplings if not using immediately. To cook, either steam for five minutes until cooked through, or pan fry: Heat a saute pan on high, add oil to coat the bottom. Arrange dumplings so that they are not touching and add water to come halfway up the sides. Cover and cook on medium-high until the water is evaporated and the bases are brown and crisp.

GADGETAeroccino Plus by Nestle Nespresso

The most trying aspect of making a cafe-quality latte at home is preparing the hot frothed milk. Espresso machines that make a decent froth are most often too cumbersome and costly for home use. Enter the Aeroccino Plus by Nestle Nespresso. This mug-sized, easy-to-clean device makes hot (or cold!) milk froth in about two minutes. Retailing for $129 at Nespresso boutiques (and ), the investment is equivalent to less than a month's worth of cafe-priced cappuccinos. And this baby's no one-trick pony: You can flavor your milk with herbs, cheese, or liqueur and spoon it over your favorite savory or sweet dish.

PAIRINGSDrinks to complement your dumplings

Pieropan "La Rocca" 2005, Soave, Italy The small La Rocca vineyard is named for an adjacent castle and is overseen by Teresita Pieropan and her husband, Nino. Made from 100% garganega grapes, this white wine has a full structure and an earthiness that will stand up to pork and mushrooms, with complex, elegant notes of floral fruit and a slight trace of ginger that make it an ideal pairing for Asian flavors. $29

Hitachino Nest White Ale, Kiuchi Brewery, Ibaraki-ken Naka-gun, Japan One of my favorite beers, this Belgian-style ale is clean, crisp, and refreshing with hints of orange, coriander, and ginger. This is a pairing of contrast: The citrus notes and bitter hops will cleanse your palate between bites of rich, earthy pork and peas. $9

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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