Monday, February 28, 2011

Stovetop Pizza Bites

Pizza's oddly expensive in Shanghai, and it doesn't even taste right. I only have a small conventional oven, so making a pizza from scratch would likely be more effort that it's worth. I figured I'd try something else - so I decided to make pizza over a stove. It actually worked out pretty well. My supermarket sells freshly made dumpling wrappers, noodles, wonton wrappers, and the like, so I just got some fresh dumpling wrappers for the purpose of this experiment. You can get packaged ones from Asian supermarkets in the US as well.

1 package dumpling wrappers
1 cup Roma tomatoes
1/4 medium onion, sliced
1/4 cup mushrooms, sliced
grated cheese of your choice (I used chedder and pepper jack)
olive oil
garlic powder (use fresh garlic if you have it; I don't like garlic, so I prefer keeping it in powdered form for occasional use)

Preheat oven to 450F. Quarter the tomatoes. Put on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder and bake for 45-60min, until caramelized. (Add oregano if you have it; I unfortunately do not). If you have fresh garlic, roast that, too.

Saute onions until caramelized. Saute mushrooms until it releases water and browns. Blend onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes in a food processor. Adjust seasonings to taste

Heat a nonstick saucepan (preferably with a lid) over high heat. Cover the bottom with a single layer of flat dumpling wrappers. When they turn a slightly translucent color and no longer stick to the pan, flip them immediately (you may want to try with just one or two wrappers at first so you don't burn them). Turn down the heat to a medium flame. Spoon the tomato sauce on the wrapper, then cover with grated cheese. Cover saucepan with lid and "bake" until the cheese melts. It should be just about when the wrappers start browning on the bottom. Plate and serve!

Mushroom Yogurt Soup

So I got a new immersion blender and immediately started playing around with it. One of the first actual recipes I made was a modified cream of mushroom soup. There are plenty of mushrooms in China (you can get them at the Asian supermarkets in the States as well), so I decided to use a nice mix.

1/4 cup enoki mushrooms, chopped
1/4 cup shiitake mushrooms, chopped
1/4 cup oyster mushrooms, chopped
1/4 medium yellow onion, sliced
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 bay leaf
white pepper

2 Tbsp butter

Saute the onion with some olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add the mushrooms and saute until mushrooms start to brown and release water. Cover with chicken stock, add some salt, pepper, and the bay leaf, and simmer for 10-12min. Remove the bay leaf and blend with immersion blender. Return the bay leaf.

Optional: In another skillet, make a roux by melting the butter and stirring in flour until it becomes a thick, smooth paste that separates from the pan easily. Add to the soup.

Simmer for another 20min or so, stirring or whisking to mix the roux in and thicken the soup. Remove from heat and add the yogurt (don't add it to the heat directly or it might curdle). Season to taste.