Sunday, March 28, 2010

Damn-Dande-Dumplins (a dandelion greens recipe)

Yup! This is another photo heavy post! Please be patient while it loads and I Thank you for stopping by today ;) . ( There is dairy but no eggs in these noodles)

I am so sorry I didn't get this posted yesterday. Time just simply got away from me.

To me and excluding the baked fruit dumpling ,

a "Dumpling" is something made with a store bought baking mix and dropped into liquid to be "steamed" on top by way of putting a lid on it.
~ and ~

a "Dumplin' " is something mixed from scratch as "by hand as possible" and hand rolled with wood infused and infusing them with love and nurturing , folded in friendship and all the good spice of life all divided into a multitude of blessings.

Yes, that sounds like I prefer one over the other, and I confess that to some extent I do. But, the Dumpling is also a well loved family comfort food and I am not bashing it at all!

These dumplin's are Great! In a good pot of ham and bean soup, in a good, hearty, vegetable soup, and yes, in traditional chicken and dumplin's. This recipe is an adaptation of My Grandma Clara's hand rolled dumpling recipe. As a child I was always intrigued by the things she would do to make such wonderful foods! I was always asking her for recipes and techniques. She really was a magickal cook! I remember her making noodles and watching her strategically tie string to points on the upper doors of her Hooser Kitchen, that had been chosen long ago. I can close my eyes and still see her in her apron, hanging the noodles on the strings and the sun light dancing on her and them from the winda there to her left.

I hope you try them and enjoy them . And you can leave out the dandelion greens and thyme if you choose. They are just as awesome.

I use heavy cream and lemon juice in place of buttermilk. The buttermilk currently sold in the market just doesn't do any thing for the flavor or texture of these dumplins. Short of getting my hands on true buttermilk , this is the closest i have ever gotten to the way these noodles where meant to taste.

You will need:

1 heaping cup firmly but not tightly packed spring dandelion greens.
3 to 5 stems of fresh English (common) garden thyme
Konriko's brand Creole Seasoning ( or your favorite brand)

Must haves:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt ( or standered table salt)
3 tablespoons frozen butter ( or lard or vegetable shortening)
1 and 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
Heavy cream , enough to make 3/4 of a cup including the lemon juice. ( milk is fine too)

Wash and prepare the fresh dandelion greens and fresh thyme as suggested in Dande'Met or a a Lion's Teeth omelet.

Dumplings arn't just about flavor, they are about texture. Don't over work the dough or you will have a tough, flat dumplin!

Blanch the dandelions by putting them in boiling water for 10 second then plunging them into a bowl of ice cold water for 15 seconds . ( Like you would for fresh spinach )

Remove them from the water and place on a clean white towel .

Strip the leaves from the thyme and place on top of the blanched dandelion greens.

Then roll them up in the cloth together and
give 'em a good twist( and maybe a gentle squeeze) in that cloth to remove excess moisture.

open the towel and with a spoon scoop them together and roll them up ( click on the photo for a better view)


Chop the whopschnoddle out of 'em !

Or you can pulse a time or 2 in a food grinder/processor , but I find that it makes them a bit to mushy/liquidy for my tastes.

Let them sit, uncovered, while you prepare the rest of the recipe, so that they dry out just a bit more. ( no one like a slimy dumpling)

Mix together the flour, salt and baking soda with a fork or whisk.

Your butter is best worked with when it has been placed in the freezer about 3 hours. You don't want to handle it to much.
Also, it helps to flour your knife between chops to help keep it from sticking to the blade.

Chop the butter to help incorporate it better.

Using a pastry cutter, or 2 butter knives, or even a few pulses in the food processor if you choose..

Cut the butter into the flour,salt,baking soda mixture.

the size and amount of lil' bit's of butter and flour are what give your dumplin's thier texture. The more uniform the bits - about the diameter of a dried lentil- the lighter and flakyer the dumplin. Larger bits will help you achieve a denser dumplin. A smaller diameter will give you some doughyness to the texture.

Add the dandelion greens-n-thyme to the flour and with a fork, mix them together well, breaking up the bits-o-greens as much as possible with the fork.

Let this rest in the refrigerator about 5 min. in the mean time mix the the cream and lemon juice together and let sit on the counter to sour.

After about 5 minutes use the fork to mix the cream mixture to the flour-greens mixture.

Mix Just until they come together and are sticky.

Flour your well washed hands and form this into a smooth ball

Dump the ball from the bowel onto a well floured, non porous surface.

Roll the dough some place between a hefty 1/8 inch thick and a scat 1/4 inch thick. ( we prefer the scant 1/8th inch thickness).
The use of a long, heavy rolling pin will help achieve the desired thickness in fewer passes.
Don't flip the dough. Instead, run a long flat knife, like a large cake frosting knife, under the dough. Then slightly lift to toss a little flour under it if it starts to stick.

Sprinkle the Creole Seasoning on the dough ( I go light but , you can always add more that photoed here.)

fold 1/3 of the doughs length over on it's self

then fold the opposite 1/3 over on top of that to form a rectangular shape.

sprinkle the top with a bit more of the Creole Seasoning on top of the last fold over

then roll the dough into a log from bottom up. And give it a gentle firming press.

let the dough rest, seam side down, a minute or 3 to let the Creole Seasoning and dough "come together."

Normally I would say to use string or thread to cut this rolled dough, but this time I am going to suggest that you use a sharp knife. The pressure of the slicing will help the dough and the Creole Seasoning make enough contact that they stick to each other.

you can either unroll the noodles and leave them long or slice them in to uniform length pieces.

~ Or ~

Slice each noodle roll into 3 equal portions, which will give a variety of bite sized pieces. Regardless of which way you choose, separate the dumplin' noodles before adding to the pot and dust the noodles lightly with flour to keep them from sticking together.

Now that is the perfect dumplin' thickness (before cooked obviously).

Bring the soup/broth to a rolling boil and drop the noodles in a few at a time, but quickly, stirring in between additions if needed to get them fully into the liquid.

When they are all in reduce the heat to medium- low . Don't cover the pot.

Like I said to night we had them in a vegetable-n-navy bean soup. Just make your best pot of navy beans with some carrots, celery, potatoes, green beans, corn, winter squash, okra, zucchini or any combination of vegetables you have on hand or prefer( mine also has ham in it ). You may want it a bit brothier than you usualy like it as the noodles will absorb moister. This is also an excelent way to thicken up a soup that is a bit to brothy for your current desire.

They usually only take about 8 to 10 minuets.. some times depending on weather and humidity, or weather or not they where prepared a head and dried or frozen for later use, they can take up to about 12 to 15 minutes.
At the 8 minute mark , check you noodles for doneness. ( Some times it may take oh, 2 or 3 to be sure ;P )

and check freequently at this point so you don't over cook them

A hearty dumplin' soup needs a hearty bowl.

I topped ours with a bit more of the Creole Seasoning.

SO, how was it???

Like I said, I hope you will try these Damn-Dande-Dumplin's in something. And maybe, if you have time, you will come back and tell me what you had them in and how they were.

Warm spring memories and blessing every one !
Ma Fey

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