The Leftovers

Call it whatever you want but there is nothing I hate more than throwing out groceries.  I will tell the hot cashier at Whole Foods it's because there are starving children in Africa but in reality it is me being a cheap prick.  Just like the HBO show all the good food is taken in an instant when you get home from the grocery store.  The Liv Tyler groceries that looked good once upon a time, don't look so great now and are left to rot in the back of the fridge.  Those old and once sought after items can be re-purposed again, unless they are actually rotting then do yourself a favor and throw those out.  

Italian Meatball Dumplings

Some recipes come to me in a dream, and some like these come to me in a haze.  I am a total slut for dumplings, anytime I see them on a menu I order them without hesitation.  Earlier in the week I thought I would get around to making more conventional dumplings but just like half the other plans I made they just never happened (there is a pattern here).  When life gives you leftovers put them in a dumpling wrap, here are the suspect leftovers:

  • 1 lb. of Italian meatball mixture
  • Skim milk ricotta
  • Pecorino Romano cheese, originally bought as a wedge & grated at home
  • 1 package of dumpling wraps
  • Ice cold tap water

Foods that requires mixing and preparing ahead of time I prefer to make on the weekend and freeze.  The egghead that invented the Food Saver can hang with me any day.  Whether or not it is a marinade, dry rub or just meat I will mix it / bag it / suck it / freeze it.  I get there are freezer haters out there who are going to say I am ruining food, I blame hungry men and leaner cuisines for ruining my frosty friend's reputation.  As long as you defrost frozen food properly I would advise you freeze any raw meat. 

I prefer skim milk ricotta because it has a little less fat and to be honest I cant tell the difference between that & whole milk ricotta.  I put ricotta in just about anything, mostly because it usually comes in a giant tub (as seen above) and like i said I hate to throw it out.

The grated cheese is an extra, not necessary but if you have it use it, kind of like that shot of fireball at last call.

The water isn't just for parched guys like me and Marco Rubio but you're going to need this to seal the dumplings shut.

Side note - Dumpling wraps will dry out, use plastic wrap or a damp cloth to keep the stack of them from drying out.  Lay a few out when you're ready...

I had to experiment on how much filling to use, I used the first 6 to test different sized fillings.  I eyeballed the sizes and have no recollection of how big they are, figure it out on your own I am not here for coddling.  The amount of meat I had made about 24 dumplings.

Use your finger and a dab of water to wet the entire perimeter of the wrap, use the other (hypothetically dry) hand to close the dumpling in a half moon shape.

I thought this looked good, skip this step.

Coat the pan in a fancy pattern with olive oil or any other light oil (peanut, veggie, etc).

Lay the dumplings in the pan, crank the temperature up to high and add enough water to fill the bottom of the pan.  FYI - I had to crop the shit out of this picture so you couldn't see how gross my stove was.  Major key, keep your stove clean!

Why the fuck did we add water? Because we just put raw meat into a dumpling and we need to cook it a little before we fry this bitch up, relax.  Steam until the wrap become slightly translucent on eat side, don't forget to flip it and reverse it (reversing optional).  Dial down the temperature to medium high when the water has almost boiled off and all that is left is oil & dumplings.

Fry each side for 2-4 minutes per side until you reach the desired color.  If there's hate in your heart you can stop when the water is gone and eat your nasty steamed dumplings.

I always have my homemade marinara sauce on deck for times like these, if you prefer sauce from a jar it is time to start respecting your mouth and stop fucking it with inferior products.