Quarantine Make Along: Flatbread

This flatbread recipe is so simple and comes together quickly (like 10-15 minutes). It’s great for making wraps, for dipping, or alongside meals. I like to think of flatbread as a great substitute for when we don’t have bread around or don’t feel like making it.

You can customize these flatbreads to make them garlic and herb, add seeds, etc. Have fun with it!

Flatbread Recipe

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (or just under 1 cup buttermilk)
  1. Mix all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl until well combined.
  2. Make a well in the center and add the yogurt or buttermilk. Stir to create a shaggy dough and then knead until it comes together into a rough ball. Add a bit more yogurt or buttermilk if it’s too dry.
  3. Turn out your dough onto a work surface and knead until smooth (about 30 seconds).
  4. Divide the dough into 6 pieces. Roll out each piece with a rolling pin until about 1/8″ thick.
  5. Heat a cast iron skillet or pan until hot over high heat.
  6. Add the flatbreads one at a time and cook about 1 minute on each side until brown spots appear, slight charring is okay. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
  7. Serve ideally within the next 1-2 hours.

Quarantine Make Along: Potsticker Dumplings (鍋貼, Guōtiē)

There’s much that I appreciate about my Asian heritage, especially the food, more so now than ever. Growing up Asian American was difficult and I felt like I had to subdue my Asian culture in order to be “cooler.” Along with this came me not appreciating a lot of traditional Asian foods that I am now so thankful for. Dumplings fell under that list of things. I have no idea why I didn’t like them that much growing up because now I fricken love them, especially in potsticker form.

Homemade potstickers/dumplings do take a bit of effort to make, but they’re so worth it. They taste SO much better. And they remind me of my childhood. These ones that I made are pork loin and cabbage. My mom always makes them with pork, shrimp, and Chinese chives. No matter what combination you use, they’ll turn out tasty!

A Brief Potsticker/Dumpling History

Dumplings have been around for over 1,800 years and potstickers have been enjoyed since the Song dynasty (960 to 1280 A.D.). According to legend, they were invented by a chef in China’s Imperial Court, who accidentally burnt a batch of dumplings after leaving them on the stove for too long. With no time to prepare a new batch, the chef served the dumplings with the burnt side on top, announcing that they were his own special creation. Fortunately, court members loved them.

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Ingredients

Wrappers

  • 300g all purpose flour
  • 200 ml boiling water
  • Pinch of salt

Filling

  • 2/3 lb (300g) pork, shrimp, beef, or mix (can make vegetarian with tofu or mushrooms)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 tablespoon shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1/2 lb (200g) finely chopped vegetables (cabbage, bok choy, leeks, chives)
  • 2 scallions, finely sliced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely diced

Dipping Sauce

  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon black vinegar (or your favorite Asian vinegar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon laoganma chili crisp or chili oil

Instructions

  1. Mix the flour, salt and boiling water in a large bowl you have a rough ball shape. Remove from the bowl and knead for 10 minutes until smooth. Cover with cling film and rest for 20 minutes.
  2. Combine the protein, baking soda, corn starch, seasonings, and liquid ingredients. Stir vigorously in one direction until all the liquid is absorbed and the pork begins to bind to itself. Mix in the vegetables, spring onions, ginger and garlic.
  3. Lightly flour your work surface. Divide each piece of rested dough into 16 even-sized pieces. Lightly dust the dough pieces with flour. Place a piece onto the work surface with its cut side down, and flatten with a floured palm. Roll each piece of dough into a thin disc, roughly 3″ in diameter.
  4. Place a heaped teaspoon of filling into the center of each wrapper. Fold over into a half moon shape. Cradle the wrapper in one hand and use the other hand to create pleats along the edge furthest away from you, pinching the two edges together after each pleat as you go, to create a crescent shape. Avoid getting any filling on the edges and be sure to pinch firmly as you pleat to create a good seal.
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Fry the dumplings flat side down for about 2 minutes until a golden crust forms on the bottom. Add the cold water and immediately cover with a lid. Let the steam cook the dumplings for 8 minutes or until all the water has evaporated. Remove the lid and let the dumplings to cook for a further minute until they lift off from the bottom of the pan easily.
  6. While the dumplings are cooking, prepare the dipping suace by mixing sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, and laoganma.
  7. Serve the dumplings in a big pile, making sure to show off the golden bottoms. Drizzle the spicy soy sauce on top, or serve on the side for dipping.
  8. You can always freeze the dumplings that you don’t use and pop them out whenever you want to eat them!

Adapted from Dumpling Sisters.

Quarantine Bake Along: Scallion Pancakes (蔥油餅, Cōng Yóu Bǐng)

My late grandpa used to make delicious scallion pancakes for our family. He taught my mom his recipe and she has been making them ever since. Growing up, I would often have them in the freezer at the ready. My mom would also bring them to me during her visits when I was in college. Scallion pancakes have gotten me through plenty of empty refrigerator/pantry times throughout the years.

I introduced these to J when we were dating, and now he probably likes them more than I do. I finally got around to asking my mom for the recipe so now I make them whenever we have extra scallions. They take a bit of time but it’s always nice to have a stack of scallion pancakes in the freezer for when you want a snack. We often eat them for breakfast with a fried egg too.

A Brief Scallion Pancake History

The scallion pancake has been around for so long and its origins have passed into myth, folklore, and guesswork. It’s difficult to tell where it was first created, but many of the tales point to Shanghai, China (where my dad is from!). The scallion pancake greatly resembles an Indian flatbread known as paratha. There is a story in China that suggests pizza is an adaptation of the scallion pancake, brought back to Italy by Marco Polo. Marco Polo missed scallion pancakes so much that when he was back in Italy, he tried to find chefs willing to make the pancake for him. Not finding success, Marco Polo suggested the filling be put on top rather than inside the dough. The change, by chance, created a dish that formed into today’s pizza.

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Ingredients

  • 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil or neutral oil
  • 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 bunch of scallions, finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Start by preparing the dough. In a medium mixing bowl, mix the flour and cup of boiling water with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until a sticky dough forms. The dough should be sticky, but not wet.
  2. Knead the dough for a few minutes until it forms a cohesive, smooth dough. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes.
  3. Make the flour and oil roux by combining the oil, salt, and flour. It needs to have the consistency of a paste–continue adding more flour if needed to get desired consistency. Set aside.
  4. Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces and roll each piece out into a thin circle. Next, take about 1 teaspoon of the roux and spread it across the entire circle of the dough. Take about 1/4 – 1/2 cup of the chopped scallions and spread them generously and evenly over the roux.
  5. Next, roll the dough up into a log and then shape that log into a spiral (see photos). Using a rolling pin, roll out the spiral to desired thickness of pancake. Be gentle but don’t worry if the scallions tear through the layers. Just stuff them back in and keep rolling. Repeat with the rest.
  6. At this time, I’ll often stack the pancakes with layers of plastic wrap or parchment paper between each, stuff them into a plastic bag, and then freeze them for future use.
  7. When ready to cook, heat a pan over medium low heat until hot. Place the pancake in the pan. The pan should be hot enough so the dough is sizzling, but browning slowly. When the bottom is browned, turn the pancake over gently and let brown on the other side.
  8. Remove pancake and enjoy! If you like, now’s the time to sprinkle some extra salt on top to taste.

Quarantine Bake Along: Pie/Galette Crust

The next recipe in our Quarantine Bake Along lineup is another one with very minimal ingredients: pie/galette crust! All you need is flour, butter, water, salt, and sugar. It’s pretty amazing that just these ingredients can produce the beautifully flaky and buttery crust that we all associate with a good pie. Pie crust need not be limited to traditional pies, however. You can use pie crust to make sweet or savory galettes (rustic, free-form pies), as a base for fruit tarts, or as crackers.

I know that a lot of people are sometimes intimidated by pie crust, but it’s really not hard to make and most people have the ingredients on-hand. Once you have this crust down, you can use it as a base for any pie/galette recipe you’d like to make. If any of you have some canned pie filling sitting around or a bag of frozen berries, those would be perfect here. If not, make a galette with the fresh fruit you have or a savory one for dinner!

A Brief History of Pie Crust

Historians trace pie’s initial origins to the Greeks, who are thought to be the originators of the pastry shell, which they made by combining water and flour. Pies were originally meat-based in Europe, but once the Pilgrims settled in the colonies, the pie’s role as a means to showcase local ingredients took hold and with it came a proliferation of new, sweet pies.

Pie Crust Recipe

The recipe I use is from Stella Parks at Serious Eats. She does an amazing job explaining the whole process and I’d rather not reinvent the wheel. I do halve the recipe if I know I’m only going to make one pie or galette.

Savory Galette Recipe

  • 1 prepared pie crust (above), after its fridge rest
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened (about 3/4 bar),
  • 1/4 teaspoon of all your favorite dried herbs and spices you can find in your pantry
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Odds and ends of hearty vegetables and meats, cut into 1/4in thickness if applicable (asparagus, potatoes, onions, sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots, tomatoes, and chopped up bacon and ham work well)
  • Goat cheese, optional
  • Balsamic vinegar, optional
  • Honey, for drizzling
  • Maldon salt, for finishing
  1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix your spices, salt, and pepper into the cream cheese until well combined.
  3. Place your cold pie crust on the baking sheet. Spread the cream cheese mixture all over the crust, leaving a 1 inch border.
  4. Layer your veggies and meats on top of the cream cheese mixture, no need to be precise about how much, as long as the crust can fold over the center it will be fine.
  5. Fold the edges of the crust towards the center, going all around and gently pressing in place. It will look “rustic!”
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes in preheated oven until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling.
  7. Let cool slightly and serve.

Homemade Hummus

For some reason, homemade hummus has always sounded daunting to me. But whenever I really thought about it, I knew it was probably the easiest thing to just blend everything together in the food processor. My thinking was right, but it does take a lot of time to end up with a batch of hummus (if you used dried chickpeas). I think it’s strictly the convenience of buying a tub of hummus at the store that kept me doing that. Now that I’ve finally made it at home, I think I’ve been converted.

Purists say that you can only used dried and cooked chickpeas to make authentic hummus. Again, for convenience sake, a lot of bloggers say that canned chickpeas work just fine and don’t really make a difference in the outcome. I used dried and cooked chickpeas for this hummus because J bought a ton on sale at the grocery store, but you do you! Whatever works best.

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Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas (15 oz), drained and rinsed or 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup water (and more as needed)
  • 1 large garlic clove or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • juice of 1 or 2 lemons, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • Smoked paprika, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in food processor and blend until desired consistency. Taste as you go and add more garlic, lemon juice, salt, water, tahini, based on your desired tastes and consistency.
  2. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, paprika, and herbs. Serve with pita, veggies, or what have you.
  3. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to a week.

     

    You can easily make this hummus into whatever you want. If you’d like to add roasted garlic, do it! Or add some roasted red peppers. Or substitute some chickpeas for other beans. Honestly, you can experiment with whatever flavors you want.