SFC: That Old Dumpling Thing

                Alright, got those dumplings figured out and done; got them turned into a sandwich. I’d really love to fill them, however the dumpling itself has a tendency to expand noticeably during the boil. As such I’d just end up with a lot of dumpling and a tiny filling; would have to go really big to get a decent proportion, and by that point it’s no longer Food Truck-reminiscent.

                Here’s a quick, easy recipe for them:

Chicken Soup Dumplings

2 cups flour

2-3 tsp Baking Powder

½ tsp salt

2 eggs, beaten

2/3 c milk

Combine all


                Pretty simple. Adjusting the baking powder will change the structure depending on preference; adding more will make it “fluffier,” but at the same time it’ll break up a lot more during the boil. I like keeping to lower amounts for Bun purposes. I also thought I’d try adding a little more egg on this batch, but it just ended up tasting like an egg. Would be really fun if you were making a breakfast sausage patty with melted cheese sorta thing, but otherwise don’t do it.

                Drop these into boiling liquid; whatever size is up to you. As I said though, these WILL expand noticeably when boiling, so think of desired size and hold back a little. If we were doing this for soup, I’d boil about 12 minutes; however, they get sticky, and I need to be able to hold them.


               So I cook them about 4-6 minutes, let them get their size sort of set first. Take out, let drain, and transfer to a Parchment-lined sheet, covering them with some melted butter; can sprinkle on some salt, sesame, celery seed, etc if you want. Move them to a 375F oven for about 15-20 minutes; this will finish the cooking process while keeping the outside dry (well, except for the butter).


                If you want them to be brown on top, you will have to flip them over halfway; they color more on pan contact than open-air. After taking out, we are ready to build. Lucky me, I happened to have some cooked Turkey Breast leftover for dinner, so I piled that on top of a bit of torn lettuce, a bacon-wrapped deli ham, and to finish a little bit of cranberries we had alongside it as well. Sort of a twist on a club, though the buns sorta remind me of those Asian Steamed Buns.


              Since the ones I made were small, I just used two different pieces for a top and bottom; again, just make sure the bottom piece is bigger (see Beer Bread). Oh, and these dumplings don’t “grip” the food as well as others, so don’t stack things that one has troubles biting through cleanly; learned that with the turkey.


Do you have any other fun Make-shift sandwich Buns?

SFC: Late Night Comfort Food


               Dinner for the night was my Mom’s “Chicken Noodle and Dumpling Soup” (yes, noodles AND dumplings… we like our starch), paired as always with a nice loaf of package-mix baked bread. This night’s was one of my favorites, Beer Bread, made with one of my own Doppelbocks. Sorta ended up tasting like that strong malt smell of actually making with wort…


                As with every dinner of hers, the amount of leftovers was noticeably high; not that I’m complaining of course. It always makes for some of the better breakfasts and lunches.

                Some of the best Street Foods are based off of home comforts such as this; either made as-is or twisted to better fit our hand. This thought gave me some inspiration late at night as I received that familiar craving for a little before-bed snack. With another almost-whole [small] loaf of Beer Bread and a giant vat of Dumpling Soup, I set out to make my own Street Food-like snacks.

                Still have yet to actually get to trying something with the dumplings (couldn’t find the darn recipe, plus I’m quite busy with studies as-is), so for now I settle on a nice, toasty beer bread sammich. Like I mentioned, ours came from a box, but it’s a really easy thing to make at home! Here’s a very simple recipe:


                The great thing about this is one can use ANY kind of beer, soda, cider, or other Carbonated Beverage you want. Makes for some fun varieties and experimentation, as well as pairing possibilities.

                Had to think a bit about what I wanted to fill my little loaf with, but luckily for me I still had some Country-Style Pork Ribs (really thick) I recently used in my first Forray into Minion-style Smoking (See Patrons of the Pit for further reading into BBQ and Smoking). That figured out, had to look into toppings; if I had my choice, I’d immediately get some nice coleslaw or crispy, thin pickled vegetables, maybe even cilantro n jalepeno for a Bahn-Mi riff. Sadly that wasn’t the choice, but it’s not to say my options were horrible. A really thin slice of celery, some of this soft, pickled garlic we got from the neighbor, and a bit of the celery leaves in place of herbs, and I’ve got the making of something rich, smokey, crispy bright, and tart pungency from the garlic.


                With that, all I need is to manipulate my bread to make a sandwich. Since I want to spread some butter on the top n bottom and crisp it in a pan, I slice off the uneven top, square it off for a small little thing. If I had a whole loaf, and a big appetite, I might slice the entire top and make a small hoagie-like thing.


                Before we get to filling, a little word on slicing for the sandwich. Not a lot of people actually think about it, but what’s the proper ratio of thickness between the top and bottom slice of bread? We’re mostly used to, and quite accepting, of the basic “Same size, same thickness” idea, and if there is any difference (like in hamburger buns), it looks like the top is bigger. However, if one really wants to make the perfect sandwich, and are able to cut the bread for it, one should slice the bread at a Bottom/Top percentage of 60/40%, thus making the bottom piece slightly bigger.

                There are, arguably, two main reasons for this. In a construction sense, the bottom slice is what acts as the foundation, keeping all the ingredients on, with the top and one’s fingers simply acting as stability. As such, it logically comes that it should have more “structure” to it. The real reason, though, comes down to Anatomy. Our jaw, the lower row of teeth, is much stronger than the upper row of teeth, due to the actual muscle constantly working it up and down. As such, it can cut through food much easier than its weaker upper half.

                Some may still be wondering how this really matters; I admit, simple 50-50 sandwiches still taste fantastic. When you have the chance, though, try this: take two small, unsliced buns. For one, cut it where the bottom slice is noticeably smaller than the top, and the other do as I’ve already stated. Make a simple sandwich (make sure filling ratio matches buns) and try a bite of each. When applied, one can easily see this little lesson in biology can create a marvelous balance of texture and bite when eating.


                Well, that said, slicing just enough to leave a small edge connecting the top and bottom, I finally moved on to actually finishing my sandwich. Spreading some mayo and bbq sauce on the bottom for dressing, then topping with the Meat and Veg. Now that I think about it, sorta looks like it’d be a good Stoner Snack between meals…


                Fillings of course can vary, so can bread; heck, I probably could have sliced up some of those dumplings and put them between with a bit of the soup’s chicken, a little of the starchy broth to soak in, and some celery and parsley for starch and aroma. Woulda been a nice way to completely transvert the dinner into a Street Food twist-off.

                But for now, I still have yet to get to doing something with those dumplings. Maybe I’ll make a sandwich out of them, or maybe fill with something and skewer like Japanese Dango. I’ll post something once I figure it out.


For now, what’s some of your favorite things to do for Late Night Snacks? Any favorite Dishes made from Traditional Family Leftovers?