Purple Okra with Sweet Corn and Tomatoes Stir Fry

Summer exists in its own time warp it seems, how do longer days make a shorter season anyway?  This August, I am trying hard to stay present, savor every ray of warm sunshine, and not jump ahead mentally from summer to winter (there’s still fall to look forward to!).

Speaking of savor, there are still so many awesome summer vegetables to be had, like OKRA.  I like them every which way they come and in all its slimy goodness … yummm! I know the sliminess can be a turn off to some, which brings me to this most super summery summer recipe of all time (well, maybe second to the chipotle corn soup): Purple Okra, Sweet Corn, and Tomatoes Stir Fry.IMG_1180

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Sliced Radishes

Pickle Me Pink (Radishes!)

I’m pretty sure the farmers at the market have partnered up with the cicadas using their spellbinding drone of staccato calls to hypnotize you to buy way more vegetables than you can consume in a week’s time. Kind of like shopping for groceries while you’re hungry, but somehow ok?

The abundance of the summer is flaunting itself at the market that’s for sure.  Unfortunately, due to my over enthusiasm, some radishes were stuck on the bottom of the vegetable drawer for a week.  They got a bit too soft for a fresh salad and my sous chef (a.k.a my husband, credit goes to where credit’s due) suggested making pickled radishes!  Brilliant. Vegetable Party

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Zucchini Noodles with Shrimp and Tomatoes

FINALLY feeling normal after our 1 year wedding anniversary / belated honeymoon trip to Hong Kong and Japan, we had to take a break from sorting through the 3000+ photos we took, which I hope to share you with one day.  As much as I know we are going to sound like SUCH  snoots, we had a hard time ‘adjusting’ to the food in NYC after the incredible meals we had for 3 weeks in Asia, but honestly some home cooked meals are in order to begin our post vacation ‘cleanse’.

With that, what better place to get our groceries than at our neighborhood farmer’s market?  Check out these Komet tomatoes plump and glowing in red in the speckled sunshine! It was hard to resist buying them even at $5.49 /lb (gulp)….Such as farmer’s market goes though, you never know what you might find. To make up for those pricey red beauties, we passed by Monkshood Nursery selling some amazing looking organic GIANT zucchinis ON SALE for $1 EACH!!!! Holy crap.

Komet Tomatoes

$5.49 / lb Komet Tomatoes

Giant Zucchini !

Giant Zucchini !!!!! Courtesy of Monkshood Nursery

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Perfect Chinese Dumplings – For The New Year & Beyond (Updated)

Happy Lunar New Year of the Sheep! Chinese New Year is one of my favorite holidays growing up in Hong Kong. A celebration of Spring’s impending arrival, we would fill our homes with fresh flowers (boy, do I miss the sweet scent of the Narcissus bulb!), see friends and family, and eat a lot of food that typically only gets served during this festive time of year.

While these precious gatherings are harder to come by these days, I hope to carry on this great tradition by making the foods that remind me most of home. Turnip cake is a solid staple, while it does take a bit of work, it’s so worth it to make your own – check out my recipe (and menu) here. This year, I’m going to dive into another gold star staple, the Chinese dumpling!

Ready to wrap and roll!

Ready to wrap and roll! 

Our household favorite savory dumpling recipe features some unusual ingredients like bamboo shoots, wood ear mushrooms (for crunch), and Chinese chives (more garlicky than regular chives). You can omit or substitute those ingredients and the dumpling would still be delish – this recipe is pretty forgiving. To learn more about wrapping, serving, and storing your dumplings, check out this great noshon.it post:

Ingredients (makes 50 dumplings):

– 7 – 10 Shitake Mushrooms chopped

– 10 – 15 pieces Wood Ear Mushrooms chopped (optional)

– 1 small can Bamboo Shoots chopped

– 2 small Carrots chopped

– 5 – 6 Napa Cabbage (or green cabbage) leaves, blanched, cold bath, chopped

– 8-12 stalks of Chinese chives (or 2-3 stalks of spring onions if unavailable) chopped

– 1/4 cup Cilantro

– 1 tablespoon Grated Ginger

– 1 egg, whisked

– 1 pound Raw shrimp (as binding agent for the vegetable mix) grounded into a paste using a food processor (or you can use 1/2 lbs Ground chicken and 1/2 lbs Ground shrimp)

– Soy sauce and sesame oil to season dumpling mix

– 50 Dumpling Skins (should be able to find Nasoya brand at Wholefoods or local grocery store)

– Soy sauce or Citrus dumpling sauce with a drop of seasame oil for dipping

Instructions:

1. Chop all listed vegetable ingredients

2. Mix all vegetables, whisked egg, and shrimp (or chicken) well with soy sauce and sesame oil 

3. Wrap a small spoonful of mix in a dumpling skin

4, Steam, Pan fry, or Boil your dumplings and serve hot with dipping sauce on the side

5. Have a dumpling party!

Chinese Dumplings

Wrapped up and ready to go!


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Boiled dumplings

Smokin’ Chipotle Corn Soup

Oh my cob!  I was at the farmer’s market this past weekend and was devastated by the dwindling supply of plump corn.  Folks, corn season is quickly coming to an end (and dare I say… so is summer?), gahhhhh! Naturally, we need to celebrate this quintessential summer treat and this summer’s bounty with another soup recipe (duh).

CHOW’s Chipotle Corn Soup recipe brings in just the right amount of spice and smokiness to highlight the sweetness of the star ingredient. I served this with a simple tomato, cucumber salad with sliced grilled chicken. UM UM UMMM!

Chipotle Corn Soup with Grilled Chicken Salad

Chipotle Corn Soup with Grilled Chicken Salad

I took out the scallions in this recipe so I can use leftover avocados to garnish the dish.  I regretted that decision.  The creaminess and taste of the avocado was lost in the soup.  So I’m posting the original recipes here with scallions, with notes and modifications. Lastly, straining the mixture made for a super silky soup, but hubby likes the grittiness of the corn puree, so we left his bowl unstrained and it was still tasty!

INGREDIENTS

– 8 ears white or yellow corn, shucked <I used 5 big ears of bi-color corn>

– 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick)

– 1 teaspoon minced chipotles in adobo sauce

– 2 teaspoons kosher salt

– Freshly ground black pepper

– 6 scallions, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)

– 1 1/2 cups whole milk

– 1 1/2 cups water

INSTRUCTIONS:
– Remove the corn kernels from the cobs.
– Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until foaming. Add the chipotles, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, a pinch of black pepper, and about two-thirds of the scallions. (Set aside the remaining scallions to use as a garnish.) Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened, about 3 minutes.
– Add the corn kernels, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, milk, and water and stir to combine. Increase the heat to medium high and bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the flavors have melded and the corn kernels are crisp yet tender (not mushy), about 15 minutes.
– <Skip this step if you like the grittiness of corn> Set a fine-mesh strainer over a large, heatproof bowl. Using an immersion blender, purée the soup until smooth. Pour the blended soup through the strainer, pressing on the solids with a rubber spatula; discard the solids.
– Stir in the reserved 1/2 cup corn kernels. Season with salt and pepper as needed. If serving chilled, refrigerate the soup until cold, at least 3 hours. Garnish with the remaining scallions and serve.