I have been so very busy since we decided to move that I haven't had a minute to myself to blog about dumpling day! This is very very overdue.
In February and March I was "self-employed", which is pretty much a fancy description for having lots of coffee shop meetings, reading a lot of books, and not needing an excuse to skip work for a 10am yoga class. But it also means that I had a lot of time on my hands to cook, which, after sixteen months of "I have five minutes to eat" tomato sandwiches in the NAC's greenroom, was a pretty exciting prospect.
My favourite cooking project of choice is always dumplings, and when a friend asked me how to make them (since I swore they were so easy) I decided the best thing I could do would be to host a group of girlfriends at home to show them how myself! (See - this is what I do when I have free time. Fill it up.)
The planning required for an event like this is pretty much nil, though if you are me, you will make up your own custom-designed recipe cards and package up little take-home containers of homemade garlic-ricewine dipping sauce in advance. If your girlfriends are like mine, they will also roll their eyes slightly and say "of course you did".
Otherwise, it's easy:
- Invite your guests! Figure out how many people your kitchen could reasonably accommodate on your countertop and then subtract one. Don't invite any more people than that number (and include you in that total, too).
- If your friends are like my friends, buy wine. Maybe a lot of it. Just in case. (And snacks, but not too many because you'll soon be eating dumplings).
- Buy all of the ingredients you'll need for two or more (you choose) batches of each recipe you want to make.
- Remind all your guests to bring a tupperware container with them for all of the dumplings they're going to take home for their freezer.
- Follow each recipe - either give everyone their own recipe, or give everyone a step and share in the assembly,
- Make 1/2 of the dumplings, splitting the remaining half between all of your guests.
- Enter dumpling coma.
We made four different kinds of 'dumplings' at Dumpling Day when I hosted it in March, including spinach & water chestnut wontons, edamame and ricotta dumplings based on this recipe from 101 Cookbooks, and some spring rolls, which are definitely not dumplings, but Tanya Skeates of Soupcon had just taught me to make them and maybe I was just showing off a little.
The one we made that I love the most at the moment, though (and the recipe I made tonight - first Montreal dumpling marathon, yay!) is this recipe for veggie dumplings (slightly adapted and adjusted; hint: add 1/4 tsp five spice powder, ignore the egg, use water instead of chicken stock and don't even bother with that oven-heating business) from Smitten Kitchen.
The process can be long, so I highly recommend accompanying it all with a glass (or two) of wine. When it gets warm, add an ice cube or two to cool it off again. Space invader ice cubes optional.
The end result is dinner for two (and a lot of leftovers for lunch - these are great cold), dinner for more if you pair it with something else - a sesame noodle salad and some homemade ginger soda, perhaps?
Everyone who came to dumpling day ended up going home with a hefty container full of freshly made dumplings either ready for the freezer or ready for the next night's dinner. New dumpling converts!
Of course, no cooking session would be complete without angus sneaking in to steal some of the ingredients (after the fact, of course!). Om nom, little kitty. He only likes the greens, but he really likes them.