Simple dumplings and a special collab!

Dumplings are my favourite to make (and eat) because you can pretty much put anything you like inside, and they’ll turn out amazing. They are also so fun to prepare and feel like origami in the kitchen. As tomorrow is my birthday, I wanted to bring something a bit special: ahoy all crocheters out there, not only will you get a recipe, you’ll also get an amazing crochet tutorial for your very own fantastic yarn-dumplings! This special tutorial was made to order by my cousin over at Yarntastic Vibes. Go check her out: she’s a pretty amazing lady!

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For the recipe, I pretty much use whatever is in my fridge to make the filling paste in my food processor. Of course, you can chop everything up by hand, but I prefer to use my food processor for a faster solution. I’m sharing my basic recipe here, but you’ll also find a list of great additions below.

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Here is what you need:

For the filling:

  • 1/2 block firm tofu (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 green onion stalks
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup cabbage
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • salt, pepper and chili flakes to taste

For the wrapping and cooking:

  • Dumpling wraps, rounds: I find these at my local Asian grocery store. They are very cheap, vegan (flour and water) and very convenient.
  • 1 tbs sesame oil

For the dipping sauce:

  • 1 tsp vinegar (I like to use balsamic, but of course Chinese black vinegar would be ideal)
  • 3 tsp soy sauce

Other possible add-ons:

  • mushrooms: oyster mushrooms give a really nice shew, but any kind will work
  • cooked beans: great substitute for the tofu, if you prefer to go soy-free
  • spinach or other leafy greens: dumplings are a perfect way to hide our greens!
  • kimchi: for dumplings with a kick
  • nuts: for a bitier bite

Here is what you do:

  1. Cut out the ends of your carrot, and pulse in your food processor until you have small chunks. You want to stop just before you get a smooth, homogeneous mixture so that your dumplings have a bit of crunchiness. Transfer the carrots to a bowl.
  2. Place the rest of your filling ingredients in your food processor and process until you have a smooth paste. Transfer to the carrots and mix well.
  3. Form your dumplings by placing one teaspoon of filling in the centre of your wrapper. Circle the rim of your wrapper with some water to help it stick and fold one side over the other. Press firmly to seal, or pleat for a more traditional look. Check out Mary’s Test Kitchen’s tutorial. Repeat until you are out of filling.
  4. To cook, place your sesame oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is warm, place your dumplings. Let cook for a few minutes, and add 1/2 cup of water to the pan. Cover and let cook until all the water has evaporated. You might need to add more water depending on the size of your pan. You know your dumplings are cooked once the wrapper is slightly more translucent on the rim. At that point, uncover and let your dumplings grill until they are nice and golden on their bottoms. Serve hot and enjoy with the dipping sauce!

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Making dumplings might be intimidating, but it’s actually very simple. I find that you don’t really need to cook the filling before you make the dumplings: the vegetables maintain a nice crunch that way! I love how versatile and impressive this looks. Let me know if you try this out!

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If cooking is not quite your thing, check out the following crochet tutorial for another fun dumpling night!

Hi there my Lighthearted friends, it’s SO nice to meet you all! Before we get started with today’s appetizer, I would like to thank my cousin for letting me be her guest on her blog for the day…thank you cousin <3! Anyways I would like to introduce myself to you all before we get started with this delicious appetizer. My name is Annie, and I am the behind the scenes person of Yarntastic Vibes. I love to knit and crochet but mostly am a full-time crocheter. I love to watch my imaginations come to life with the hooks and create my own colour works with the needles. However, I only knit seasonally since knitting takes a little longer for me. Well with that being said, let’s get started with the appetizer, shall we! Don’t worry friends this dish is fairly easy to cook up and it’s delicious as well ;). I will walk you through it step by step, I promise! 

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Here are the main ingredients that you will need in order to make your dumplings:  

  • A size 4.25 hook (or US size G) 
  • A couple of grams of tan coloured yarn  
  • Some stuffing  
  • Yarn needle  
  • And scissors 

Some abbreviations that you will need to know: 

  • ML = Magic Loop  
  • SCS = Single Crochets  
  • DCS = Double Crochets 
  • INC = Increase  
  • CH = Chain  

Now that you’ve gathered all of your ingredients and knowledge, it’s time to make the dumpling wraps!  

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Dumpling Wraps (Make 4):  

Round 1) Create 6 scs in ML (6) 

 [[or you could also chain 2 and then make 6 scs into the second st from the hook]] 

 Round 2) Create 2 scs in each st around (12) 

Round 3) *1 sc in next st, 1 inc* around for 6x (18) 

Round 4) *1 sc in next 2 sts, 1 inc* around for 6x (24 

Round 5) *1 sc in next 3 sts, 1 inc* around for 6x (30 

Round 6) *1 sc in next 4 sts, 1 inc* around for 6x (36 

We’re not done yet, we still have to do the detailing of the fork’s imprint! To do so, fold your dumpling wrap with the tail end on the inside like so… 

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 Now take your hook and insert it into the next st then chain 3 and then turn your work over. 

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Next, yarn over, insert your hook into the next st and pull through, yarn over once more, and pull through for your first double crochet…  

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Since you made the first two double crochets with the chain 3 and your first DC, you would want to make 3 more DCs for a total of 5 DCs for a single bobble stitch.  

 You would want to make a total of 8 bobble stitches along with a sc around the seem to make the dumplings look like this…  

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Remember to stuff your dumpling before you close it off with your last bobble stitch!  

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Here’s my favourite part of crocheting. Cut off about 5 inches of yarn and thread it through your yarn needle. Take the yarn needle and pass it through the stitches on the inside of the dumplings to hide the tail, and voila! You have your very first side dish of dumplings :D! Congratulations you!  

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Well, that was fun! Thanks again Anne for letting me be your guest blogger today :). I’ll pass the baton over to you now so you can sign us off <3.  

Thank you so much for sharing this amazing tutorial, Annie! Go visit her page, and let us know if you try our dumplings out!

Lazy Stuffed Sweet Potatoes \\\ Patates douces farcies faciles

(version française plus bas!)

I love sweet potatoes! They are so delicious and simple to prepare. I really enjoy their colours, and they are a definite staple in my kitchen. This recipe makes for great lunches and amazing dinners. It is simple, easy to prepare and to put together, full of flavours and you can use the bean filling on toast or just on top of a salad.

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Here is what you need:

  • 1 small sweet potato per person
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 can of mixed beans
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 tsp garlic powder or 1 clove of fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 tbs tahini
  • 1 tbs sesame seeds

To serve:

  • Lettuce
  • sesame seeds
  • Lemon juice

Here is what you do:

  1. Wash your sweet potatoes and poke them with a fork all around to help them cook more quickly. Place them in your oven set at 350F for 1 hour or until you can push a fork all the way through them.
  2. For the bean filling, place all the ingredients in a pan set on medium heat and let cook until the tomatoes are cooked. Mix well so that the tahini coats everything nicely.
  3. To serve, place some lettuce at the bottom of your plate. Cut the sweet potato in half and place it on the lettuce. Add some beans on top and garnish with some sesame seeds and a few tablespoons of lemon juice. Enjoy!

This is so delicious! I love the fact that I can just cook some sweet potatoes ahead and whip up the bean filling in no time. The beans are slightly spicy, but the flavours are well balanced between the bitterness of the tahini and the sourness of the lemon juice. I’ve been craving this these last few days, so I hope you give it a try!

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J’adore les patates douces! Elles sont si délicieuses et faciles à préparer. J’ adore leur couleur, et on en trouve toujours dans ma cuisine. Cette recette est parfaite pour des lunchs préparés à l’avance ou pour des dîner savoureux. Elle est simple, facile à préparer et à assembler, pleine de saveurs et il est possible d’utiliser le mélange de légumineuses directement sur une salade ou sur du pain. Miam!

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Voici ce dont vous aurez besoin:

  • 1 petite patate douce par personne
  • 1 conserve de maïs
  • 1 conserve de légumineuse mélangées
  • 2 tomates
  • 1 c. à thé de poudre d’ail ou une gousse d’ail émincée
  • 1 c. à thé de flocons de piment
  • 1 c. à soupe de sauce soja
  • 2 c. à soupe de tahini
  • 1 c. à soupe de graines de sésame

Pour servir

  • Laitue
  • graines de sésame
  • jus de citron

Voici ce qu’il faut faire:

  1. Bien laver les patates douces et faire des trous tour autour à l’aide d’une fourchette pour les aider à cuire. Les placer dans votre four à 350F (180C) et les laisser cuire pour 1 heure ou jusqu’à ce qu’une fourchette puisse les traverser facilement.
  2. Pour la garniture de légumineuses, placer tous les ingrédients dans une poêle sur feu doux. Mélanger le tout et laisser cuire jusqu’à ce que les tomates soient bien cuites. Bien mélanger pour que le tahini recouvre bien le tout.
  3. Pour servir, placer quelques feuilles de laitue dans le fond de votre assiette. Couper une patate douce en deux et la placer sur la laitue. Ajouter la garniture de légumineuse sur le dessus. Garnir avec des graines de sésame et du jus de citron. Savourez!

Une vraie recette pour les chefs paresseux! J’adore le fait que les patates douces se préparent très bien à l’avance et que la garniture de légumineuses est très rapide à préparer, tout en étant savoureuse et légèrement épicée. Les saveurs de ce plat sont bien balancées entre la fraîcheur de la laitue, la texture crémeuse de la patate douce et des légumineuse, l’amertune du tahini et l’acidité du jus de citron. J’espère que vous essayerez cette recette!

Friendly Dinner

Yesterday night one of our friends came over for dinner. As it was really hot, I didn’t want to prepare anything that needed lots of cooking. After going through our fridge, this is what we made, and it was delicious! I love the kind of meals where you can pick from and variety of dishes, mixing and matching flavours and textures. They are also perfect for when it’s super hot outside because you can make different types of salads. Everyone was happy and well nourished!

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Last night, we made some forest mushrooms, a tomato salad, a lazy guacamole, a simple coleslaw and a yummy hummus. We served everything with some freshly made bagels and olives. It was great!

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Forest Mushrooms

This is the only cooked dish of the lot. Some mixed mushrooms sautéed with some pumpkin seeds and rosemary: it reminded me of fall and a walk in the forest. This would be perfect with mashed potatoes or in a sandwich. It was great with the hummus.

Here is what you need:

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 4 cups mushrooms, use the variety you like or a combination of different types
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste

Here is what you do:

  1. In a large sauce pan set on medium-high heat, warm up the oil.
  2. Add the pumpkin seeds and stir until they have a nice golden color.
  3. Add the mushrooms and stir until most of the water is evaporated.
  4. Add the herbs and season to your liking.
  5. Mix well and cook until all the water is gone.

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Tomato Salad

This was fresh and so summery. The walnuts added a bit of crunch to the soft tomatoes, while the sesame seeds added a subtle flavour.

Here is what you need:

  • 5 ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds: you can toast them if you want a more intense flavour
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tbs soy or tamari sauce
  • 1 tbs maple syrup
  • pepper to taste

Here is what you do:

  1. Dice the tomatoes and place them in a a large salad bowl with the walnuts and sesame seeds.
  2. Mix together the lemon juice, tamari, maple syrup and pepper. Pour the sauce on the tomatoes and give a nice stir.

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Simple Coleslaw

This is my current favourite salad. I love red cabbage, but it’s even better once is has been tenderized in some lemon juice. Add some grated jicama, and you have the freshest salad in town!

Here is what you need:

  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 2 cups grated jicama
  • juice on 1 lemon
  • 2 tbs sesame seed oil
  • 1 tbs soy or tamari sauce
  • pepper to taste

Here is what you do:

  1. Mix all the ingredient together and let sit for 30 minutes before eating.

 

I hope these recipes will inspire you for your next dinner with friends. We had a lot of fun mixing and matching everything! It was fresh, simple to prepare and amazing to eat! Let me know if you try any of these out! Oh, and, if you love movies and read French, check out our friend’s blog, Hallu-ciné! It’s amazing!

 

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Sweet Potato Nori Roll

I love purple sweet potatoes! I also really like nori sheets, so why not combine the two? Add a few little things, and BAM! You have a nice, filling, fresh, and colourful meal that you can customize to your liking (or to your fridge’s content)!

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Here is what you need for each roll:

  • 1 Nori sheet (I get my Nori sheets here because it is a lot less expensive than what I find locally)
  • 1/2 cup cooked mashed sweet potato (I used purple, but you can go with orange if you like)
  • 1/4 avocado in strips or mashed
  • 1/3 cup grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup alfalfa sprouts
  • 1/3 cup flat parsley leaves
  • 1 tbs toasted sesame seeds

Here is what you do:

  1. With your fingers or a wet spoon, spread the mashed potato on the nori sheet.
  2. Sprinkle with some sesame seeds
  3. Add the avocado, carrots, parsley and sprouts.
  4. Using your fingers, lift one side of the nori sheet while holding the fillings in and roll it up! You can use a little bit of water to glue the end of the paper. Press gently on the roll to help it stay in place (sushi roll style).
  5. Cut in half to serve.

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Since these rolls are pretty big and the mash I used was cold, I didn’t feel the need to use a rolling mat. The rolls were easy to make and so delicious! They are also very quick if you prepare the ingredients ahead of time. We ate this with some tamari sauce mixed with a little sriracha sauce, and it was amazingly good! I think tomato slices, cilantro, cucumber and kale could also make a great roll!

Let me know if you try it out and how you like it!

 

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Corn Chowder, the ultimate comfort soup?

The weather over here has been a little bit moody: rain, snow and fog. Spring is clearly waiting to make a grand entrance. Any day now! (I really hope!) So, with this going on outside, I really felt like some comfort food. And what is more comforting than some chowder?

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This soup does the trick! It is thick, spicy, creamy and simply amazing! It is also extra easy to make and is fairly quick to prepare. I really like that with the corral lentils, this soup makes for a complete meal. How easy!

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Here is what you need:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 3 cans of corn niblets, drained ( I use 341mL/ 12 oz cans, about 5 cups)
  • 2 cups of red corral lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tbsp dark miso paste
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp of red chili pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Toasted sesame seeds to garnish

Here is what you do:

  1. In a large pot, sauté the onion and garlic with 1/3 cup water.
  2. Add the potato chunks and mix well. Let cook for a few minutes.
  3. Add the corn and mix well. Pour some water so that the vegetables are just covered. Bring to a boil.
  4. Add the lentils and the hot pepper flakes. Give a quick stir. Add 4 cups of water. Let boil on medium heat until the lentils are completely cooked. Remove from the heat. Mix in the miso paste, and add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. With a wand mixer, pulse until most of the potato chunks are creamed. I like to leave some corn and potato chunks whole, but you could of course grind everything up.
  6. Serve hot with some sesame seeds.

You really have to try it out! It is so simple and incredibly delicious! This will definitively be a staple in our house from now on. I made enough so that we could bring some for lunch this week: yum!

Let me know if you try this out and what’s your favourite soup!

Vietnamese recipe:Che Chuoi, Banana pudding

Another dessert! Again with bananas! This is a little bit different, but definitely in the same flavour combinations. I really enjoy this because, again, it is so easy to make and so delicious too! It is also very comforting as you can eat this warm. Perfect dessert for a cold day!

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As a kid, I would take only one banana piece and fill my dessert bowl with the coconut tapioca and add a few spoonfuls of sesame seeds: this was my favourite way of eating this dessert (and sometimes, it still is).

Here is what you need:

  • 1/4 cup tapioca pearls
  • 3 cups of water
  • 500 mL coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 just-ripe bananas (we don’t want any spots)
  • dash of salt

Sesame Garnish:

  • 1/2 cup white sesame seeds

Here is what you do:

  1. Bring the water to a boil.
  2. Pour the small tapioca pearls and give a quick stir. Let the beads expand and cook until there is only a little white dot in the middle of each pearl. Set on medium heat. Use a non-stick sauce pan because this is sticky!
  3. In a different sauce pan, pour the coconut milk and bring to a boil.
  4. Pour the tapioca pearls and their remaining cooking water into the coconut milk. Mix well and add some water until you reach the desired consistency (we added 2 cups).
  5. Taste and add the sugar accordingly (you might add less if your bananas are really sweet).
  6. Peel the bananas and cut in 3 parts diagonally. In a large bowl, add water and the pinch of salt. Dip the banana pieces in this salty water to avoid browning. Add them to the coconut milk. IMG_2426
  7. Bring back to a boil and remove from heat. IMG_2427
  8. For the sesame garnish: Rinse the sesame seeds and put them in a metal sauce pan set on medium heat. Shake the pan often to avoid burning. You want the seeds to be golden, so keep an eye on them.IMG_2436
  9. Serve hot.IMG_2439

This is so good! The sesame seeds bring out the sweetness of the bananas and add a great flavour to the perfect banana-coconut combo. Let me know if you try this out!

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Daikon Cakes Recipe Trial

When I was a kid, my mom would sometimes bring back Lo Bak Go (or daikon cake) from Chinatown. She would cut the round steamed cake into squares that she then fried with a little bit of oil in a skillet. Crispy on the outside, tender in the inside, I would always devour these in a matter of minutes.

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I really wanted to recreate this cake because it is savoury and rich in flavours, but not vegan. Usually, dried shrimps and Chinese sausages are part of the mix. I had already tried to make some, but it is a long process: you have to prepare the dough, steam it, cool it down, and then fry it up. Way too long for Tuesday night.

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So when I saw this video from Cooking with Dog, I was really excited and I wanted to try it out. However, they too use shrimps. So I changed it up a little bit.

Here is what I used:

  • 600g daikon radish (make sure you choose one that is white, as the green ones have a very pungent flavour)
  • 200 g rice flour
  • 200 g glutinous rice flour (mochiko)
  • 6 king oyster mushrooms
  • 6 shiitake mushrooms with the stems
  • 3 green onion stalks
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • sesame oil
  • water

Following Francis’ instructions, you grate (or put in your food processor) the daikon radish. Then, instead of working on the shrimps, I pulsed the mushrooms and green onions and stir-fried them with sesame oil. For the rest, I followed the instructions.

The result is a crispy daikon cake that is reminiscent of the original one. The shiitake mushroom stems really give a lot of texture and remind me of the shrimps. The inside of the cake is not as tender as the steamed version, but this is a lot quicker to make.

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As a sauce, I like to eat turnip cake with some tamari (or soy sauce) mixed with a little bit of sriracha hot sauce: very simple, yet effective!

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Overall, I have to say that I am happy with this recipe as it is quick, has a lot of flavour and is easy to bring with you as lunch. However, I have yet to find something quite as good as what my mom prepared for me as a kid.

Let me know if you have your own version of Lo Bak Go! 🙂