Pan-fried Multigrain Calzones with Pork, Eggs and Vegetable Filling

Ok, I know these are not the real authentic calzones you are expecting.  They are more like extra extra extra large pan-fried Asian dumplings.  People make them into these beautiful half moon shape dumplings with pretty wrinkles seal the edges.

Every family has its own unique traditional way to make them.  And probably everyone considers the best ones are made in their grandma’s kitchen.

DSC_8276 2 copy.jpg

I make them at home all the time too.  But this time I substituted regular with freshly ground multigrain flour to make a better healthier version. 

DSC_8252 2 copy.jpg

Like a lot of people, I too, used to hold this biased opinion against multigrain food; thinking they are all rough and tough and taste like cardboard.  However, after I start to make my own multigrain food at home, I realize how wrong I was before.   Multigrain food can be tasty and healthy at the same time!

DSC_8303 2 copy.jpg

Ingredients for pork, eggs and vegetable filling:

400 g ground pork
3 to 4 large eggs
500 g frozen Shepherd’s purse (sold in Asian grocery stores; can be substituted with frozen spinach)
2 tablespoons rice cooking wine
1/4 to 1/3 low sodium soy sauce
1 to 2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon corn starch
1/4 cup chicken stock/ water
salt to taste

For multigrain calzones:

200 g multigrain flour
50 g gluten flour
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
a pinch of salt
3/4 cup water (give or take a couple tablespoons depending on multigrain flour mixture)
2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (for pan frying)

 

Directions:

I usually buy different high fiber whole grains from Sprouts and Wholefoods market and mix everything together in a big jar later.  Top choices are but not limited to kidney beans, split green peas, yellow peas, barley, oats, wheat berries, lentils, wheat bran, flax seeds, and so on.

DSC_7740 2 copy.jpg

Add 2 cups multigrain mixture to a Vitamix blender dry container.

Grind on high speeds for 20 to 30 seconds.

DSC_7762 2 copy.jpg

Add 200g multigrain flour and gluten flour to a large bowl.

DSC_8172 2 copy.jpg

Add water, salt and oil.  Combine everything together in the bowl and knead into a smooth ball of dough.

I use ground oat for dusting.  And of course, ground oat is made by vitamix too.

Cover with plastic wrap.  Let it rest for 10 to 20 minutes.

DSC_8178 2 copy.jpg

Meanwhile, prepare pork filling.

I usually buy large piece of pork shoulder and grind them into ground pork, and then divide and freeze ground pork for later use.  It takes longer than buying ground pork from grocery but the taste and flavor is so much better.

DSC_8133 2 copy.jpg

Add rice cooking wine, soy sauce, ground ginger, ground white peppercorn, oyster sauce, sesame oil and corn starch.

Whisk clock-wise with a pair of chopsticks.

While whisking, add a tablespoon chicken stock/ water.  Whisk until the liquid is absorbed before adding more.

Defrosted shepherd’s purse

 It might be considered weed here in America.  However, shepherd’s purse is sold like any other vegetables.  It is really a seasonal delicacy only found in early spring time.  Asian people love it for its sweet, delicate, refreshing earthy flavors. 

DSC_8147 2 copy.jpg

Make scrambled eggs with a wok.  Add to the pork mixture along with chopped shepherd’s purse.

DSC_8155 2 copy.jpg

Mix until well combined.  Season with salt to taste.  

DSC_8169 2 copy.jpg

Equally divide multigrain dough into 12 pieces. 

DSC_8179 copy.jpg

I grind oat flour with Vitamix too.  And use it to dust the wooden board and the dough.

DSC_8191 2 copy.jpg

With a small rolling pin, flat out each piece as thin as possible.

Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of pork filling.

Wrap it up.

DSC_8206 copy.jpg

Repeat the process until all is done.

DSC_8211 copy.jpg

Preheat a double sided electric griddle skillet.  Add a couple teaspoons vegetable oil and then 4 to 5 pieces of calzones.  Bake for 3 to 5 minutes.

DSC_8238 copy.jpg

You will know they are ready when the tops are golden brown.

Pipping hot off the skillet, yum!

DSC_8275 2 copy.jpg

Stir-fried Beef with Bamboo Shoots and Pickled Peppers

中文菜谱: 泡椒春笋炒牛肉

Bamboo shoot has been an important part of Chinese cuisine for thousands of years.  The best season to eat it is late winter and early spring.   The ones sold in winter are more tender, juicer and a lot expensive because they have to be dug out from underground by hand.  

Bamboo shoot hunt in spring time is very fun.  I went on a few such trips with my family when I was little.  We hiked into high mountain area where wild bamboos grew into a forest.   A couple days’ spring rain may expedite bamboo shoot growing.  At the right timing, we could harvest between 60 to 80 lbs bamboo shoots on one single trip.  

Good old times...

And now my family is still doing their traditional annual bamboo shoot hunt in spring for fun.  I do mine too, here in China town O(∩_∩)O~

DSC_4450 2 copy.jpg

Pickled vegetable is an old traditional way to preserve food when food was scarce.  There is a pickle jar in my kitchen which I brought back from China so that I can make my own pickled peppers and other vegetables at home. 

They taste great straight out of the pickle jar.  Sometimes I sauté pickled peppers with pork or beef.  The combination is amazing! 

Ingredients for beef marinating:

200 g beef chuckeye roast
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon corn starch
1 teaspoon rice cooking wine
1 to 2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 to 3 tablespoons water/ chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon sugar

Ingredients for stir fry:

200 g bamboo shoots (sold in most Asian grocery stores, fresh & frozen)  
a handful pickled red chili peppers
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1 to 2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 gloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
salt to taste
vegetable oil for cooking

 

Directions:

Thinly slice the beef

Add the beef to a bowl, along with soy sauce, ground ginger, corn starch, oyster sauce, oil, rice cooking wine, ground white pepper, sugar, chicken stock/ water. 

DSC_4351 2 copy.jpg

Mix everything together.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. 

Thinly slice the bamboo shoots.  Blanch them in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds.  Drain well.

Homemade pickled chili peppers straight out of the pickle jar

Heat a cast iron wok over high heat.  Add oil, along with pickled peppers, garlic and Sichuan peppercorns.

Add marinated beef

Stir fry the beef just until they turn colors.

DSC_4411 2 copy.jpg

Add bamboo shoots, along with soy sauce, oyster sauce, dark soy sauce and salt.

Continue stir frying for another couple minutes.  Remove from heat and serve hot immediately.

Pickled chili peppers are essential to the dish.  They add a surprisingly nice delicate flavor to the beef; spicy, a little bit savory and sour.  It well balances the richness of beef flavor.  Love it! O(∩_∩)O~

DSC_4481 2 copy.jpg

Pan-fried Mini Potatoes with Bacon and Spices

I always have a special enthusiasm for potatoes, especially the mini ones.  When I was living in Michigan, we always visited the local farmers market twice a week to buy some freshly roasted coffee beans and newly harvested potatoes.  Those were two highlights during the week.  

If you have ever tried the freshest potatoes dug out the soil the very same day you cook them, it would be really hard to go back to the ones sold in super market stores.  They are so fresh, starchy, hearty, and earthy with a nutty aroma and super creamy texture.  

DSC_6010 2 copy.jpg

One of my favorite ways to cook mini potatoes is to pan fry them with bacons.  The fat rendered from bacons would add a rich porky fatty flavor to the potatoes, which is exactly why they taste so amazingly good.

DSC_6057 2 copy.jpg

Ingredients:

1 lb mini rainbow potatoes
6 to 8 slices of bacons, cut into small pieces
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper
white sesame seeds
chopped green onion
spicy chili dry mix *

 

Directions:

Rainbow mini potatoes are sold in most grocery stores.  If you can’t find them, the yellow or red mini ones will be almost equally tasty too.

Rinse the potatoes under running water.  Add to a pot of boiling water along with a couple teaspoons of salt in it.  Cook the potatoes over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until you can easily piece them in the center with a fork.

BTW, the potato skins can help them to stay in shape. I like to leave them on the potatoes.  

DSC_5932 2 copy.jpg

Cut every potato into two halves.

DSC_5946 2 copy.jpg

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.

Add bacons. 

Sauté the bacons until slightly golden brown.

DSC_5952 2 copy.jpg

Add potatoes

Reduce the heat to medium low.  Flip the potatoes occasionally.  Keep cooking over medium low heat until they are golden brown.

Season with salt and black pepper

DSC_5972 2 copy.jpg

Sprinkle with chopped green onions, white sesame seeds and spicy chili dry mix.

DSC_5980 2 copy.jpg

Continue to cook for another couple minutes.  Remove from heat and serve hot immediately.

DSC_5992 2 copy.jpg

It is so true that bacon makes everything taste better! O(∩_∩)O~

DSC_6020 2 copy.jpg

*  Chili spice dry mix is available in Asian grocery stores.  I love to make my own at home.  It is quite simple to do so.  Separately dry roast chili peppers, Sichuan pepper corns, sesame seeds, cumin and peanuts.  And then grind them together into fine powder with a coffee grinder or vitamix.

The mix can be used in sautés, BBQ, grilling or salads. 

Go ahead play with the spices.  It is easy to make some simple mix with big flavors! 

DSC_6114 2 copy.jpg

Stir-fried Fava Beans with Ground Pork and Pickled Vegetable

Fresh fava beans are such a culinary delicacy.  The fresh beans come with light green color and a mild grassy, earthy and refreshing scent and taste.  When cooked, they become a bit sweet and starchy. 

For those who have never had fava beans before, they are very similar to what young lima beans taste like.  The skin on the outside is a little bit firmer than lima beans.  And they are both very tasty!

I cook with fresh fava beans a lot.  The best season for them is late summer.  And they are usually available in Asian grocery markets.  If you live in Houston like I do, Central Market is another good place to shop for fresh fava beans too.

Ingredients:

2 lbs fresh fava beans
200  to 300 g ground pork
1/2  package of Sichuan pickled vegetable, finely chopped (1/2 package weighs about 50 g.  It is sold in most Asian grocery stores)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup of chicken broth/ water
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 slice of ginger root, minced
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
5 to 6 dry red chili peppers, diced
vegetable oil for cooking
salt to taste

Fresh young fava beans are usually sold in pods so that they stay fresh and the beans don’t get bruised. 

Pick the ones with big fat “belly”.

Peel fava beans from their pods.

Directions:

Heat a cast iron wok over high heat.  Add oil, along with minced garlic, ginger, diced peppers and ground pork.  Stir fry over high heat for several minutes until the ground pork begin to turn slightly golden brown.

Add chopped Sichuan pickled vegetable. Sautee for a minute or two. 

Add fava beans and sautee everything together for another couple minutes.

Add chicken broth/water, along with rice cooking wine, oyster suace, low sodium soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar and salt.  Cover with lid and reduce the heat to simmer for 7 to 8 minutes.

Turn the heat back to high and cook until the broth evaporate. 

Sautee over high heat for another couple minutes. 

Remove from heat and serve hot immediately.

Sweet and Sour Pickled Jerusalem Artichokes

中文菜谱: 酸甜泡洋姜

I grow Jerusalem artichokes every year.  Well, to be more accurate, they pretty much raise themselves over the years.  All I did was to plant two young plants in the field which was a gift from a loving close friend.  They grew like crazy and I harvested a lot of Jerusalem artichokes the first year.  That encouraged me to grow them every year after that.

 Besides, they are perfect for pickling. Jerusalem artichokes are very crunchy when pickled.  And they have a mild flavor so that they go well with most other pickled vegetables.  I did Sichuan style pickles with my home grown Jerusalem artichokes first year. (it was posted here: https://www.yankitchen.com/english-blog/sichuan-style-pickled-jerusalem-artichoke)

I harvest more Jerusalem artichokes than ever this year.  After sharing them with friends and families, I still have a lot left.  Besides Sichuan style pickling this year, I also try sweet and sour flavor.  You know what?  They are a hit too!

I accidently planted a young one next to my window.  It grew into a big beautiful plant.  At the end of summer, those small bright yellow flowers were blooming.  Weren’t they just pretty?

Time to dig out the Jerusalem artichokes

I couldn’t believe one single plant can yield so many Jerusalem artichokes

DSC_0488 2 copy.jpg

These were harvested from my vegetable garden.

That was less than half of the crop this year

I used garden hose to rinse off excess dirt

DSC_0544 2 copy.jpg

Jerusalem artichokes as well as potatoes。。。O(∩_∩)O~

I brought Jerusalem artichokes home and rinsed them again.

Air dried them on racks for about one day.  Their color became a bit dull.

I pickled half of them Sichuan style.

The other half was sweet and sour flavor which my hometown has been famous for.

It is really quite simple.

In a clean glass jar, mix white vinegar and sugar at the ratio of 3:1; use 2:1 if you have a sweet tooth.  Add a pinch of sea salt.  Mix well.  Add Jerusalem artichokes.

They should be ready to eat in a week.

It is very crunchy and I love it about them

Sometimes I want to spice things up.  Dice the pickled Jerusalem artichokes and mix them with garlic chili paste.  That gives the pickled a spicy twist and more flavors.