Steamed Vegetable Potstickers (Lunar New Year)

In this week’s cooking class, we made vegetable potstickers to celebrate Lunar New Year! If you’re gluten-free, then I highly suggest referring to my previous post about homemade gluten-free vegan wonton wrappers. They were my favorite wrapper so far — way better than store bought. Since we do not have a gluten allergy this year, I was able to find egg-free and dairy-free wrappers at Lion, our local Asian Supermarket. We used a very simple vegetable filling, and when the students asked for the recipe, I told them to make it up as they go! All they needed was the wrappers.

Steamed Vegetable Potstickers

Ingredients

For the filling

  • potsticker, wonton, or dumpling wrappers
  • shredded veggies of choice — we used cabbage and carrots from this week’s CSA box, but you can also use scallions, mushrooms, sprouts, or any local in-season veggies!

For the dipping sauce

  • 1/2 cup organic soy sauce, coconut aminos, or liquid aminos
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar

Directions

1. Shred veggies in your hand shredder or pulse in your food processor until small pieces are cut. Set aside.

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Shredded Carrots

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Shredded Cabbage

2. Combine all the dipping sauce ingredients and mix well.

3. Place a wrapper on a flat surface, and fill the center with 1-2 tsp of shredded veggies. Top the veggies with 1 tsp of dipping sauce.

4. Dip your finger in water, and rub around the edge of the wrapper to help it seal.

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Adding the filling to the wrapper.

5. Seal the wrapper by folding it in half and pressing down on the edges with the sharp edges of a fork on both sides. Or, you can purchase an inexpensive tool from Daiso, the Japanese Dollar Store, and use it to press the edges of your wrapper together tightly.

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Wrapper folder from Daiso.

6. Place in a steamer basket, and steam for 5-7 minutes, depending on how full the steamer basket is. I use a regular pot and place a colander on top, then use a plate over the colander to keep the steam inside. Tip: lightly brush a layer of oil on the bottom and sides of the colander/steamer basket and between and in between each potsticker to prevent them from sticking together.

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Raw potstickers in the steamer basket with a light layer of oil in between to prevent sticking.

7. When potstickers are translucent and the edges are cooked throughout, remove them from the steamer. Briefly allow to cool, dip in dipping sauce, and enjoy!

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Steamed potstickers are ready when translucent and edges are cooked throughout.

Pumpkin Bread Muffins (gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free, peanut-free, vegan)

If you are looking for a muffin that you can’t possible screw up, this is the one for you. Rather than a muffin, it’s more of a banana-bread type consistency that I put in muffin cups. It cooks at a lower temperature and for a longer period of time than usual, just like a quick bread. It’s dense and hearty for breakfast or snacks, but sweet enough for dessert. You can even bake them in donut baking tray, and the kids will be thrilled to have donuts for lunch!

I have made this recipe six times now, and I have made it differently every single time. I have doubled it (WOW that made a ton!!), halved it, forgotten one of the three flours and only used two, forgot the flax egg, used honey one time then sugar another time, used half honey half sugar, used only pumpkin and used a combination of pumpkin and delicata squash, made mini muffins and full size muffins, and used a combination of oil and grass fed ghee. The only constant is that I’ve always used homemade pumpkin or squash cooked in my crock pot. I’ve made this by myself, with my kids, and with four sets of kids in the 2nd and 3rd grade. Every time, the results are magic. Without further ado, here is the recipe!

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Both recipes were made with brown rice flour, freshly ground oat flour, and tapioca flour. On the left: recipe was halved and made with organic cane sugar and delicata squash puree / On the right: full recipe was made with honey and pumpkin puree

 

Pumpkin Bread Muffins

Recipe Adapted from Katie Kimball of Kitchen Stewardship

Ingredients

  • 2 flax eggs (each egg = 1 T. flax seed meal + 3 T. warm water)
  • ⅔ c. brown rice flour*
  • ½ c. buckwheat flour*
  • ½ c. arrowroot starch**
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. cloves
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • ½ c. honey OR ¾ c. sugar
  • ½ c. melted coconut oil or Earth Balance vegan buttery spread
  • 1¼ c. pumpkin puree or any other winter squash (canned or homemade)
  • If needed: ¼ c. cold water

*You can substitute any other medium weight flour, such as oat flour (grind your own oats in your high speed blender if you don’t have them on hand!), buckwheat flour, sorghum flour, or teff flour. Try to use two different flours for each of the medium weight flours. But, this recipe is magic, so it may work just fine with only one type!

**You can substitute any other light weight flour, such as tapioca starch, potato starch, or even organic corn starch.

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Make your flax egg(s). Warm your measured water in the microwave for 30 seconds. Remove, and add flax seed meal to the warm water. Stir and let sit for 5+ minutes, or until it has an egg-like consistency. Set aside.
  3. Add all of your dry ingredients to a bowl. Stir.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the top of the dry ingredients in the same bowl.
  5. Stir as few times as possible, just until dry and wet ingredients are combined. The more you stir, the tougher your muffin bread will be.

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    Oops – My 2nd and 3rd graders over-mixed their batch!

  6. Add up to 1/4 c. of cold water to the mixture if it needs more movement.
  7. Line muffin tins with muffin liners and pour the batter into each liner until it is 3/4 full.
  8. For regular sized muffins, bake for 42-44 minutes; for mini muffins, bake for 20-22 minutes.

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    Yummy finished mini muffins and mini donuts!

Apple Chips Two Ways: Crispy or Soft

It’s that time of year again where I begin allergy-free cooking in my son’s classroom! This year we have a few highly severe nut allergies who are sensitive to touch, so while I am well-versed in allergy-free cooking, it is extra stressful making sure I keep these children absolutely safe! Fortunately, I am confident that I can (1) create a fabulous allergy-free cooking program that the kids will learn from as it ties to the curriculum, (2) have fun as we create new foods, (3) teach them to enjoy healthy, nutritious, unprocessed snacks, and (4) keep all of the allergy-free kids perfectly safe!

The first cooking lesson began with Apple Chips. The students were learning about Now and Long Ago, so they compared what we do today to what we did 100 years ago. (Sidebar: Brody told his teacher that his grandma would be 101 years old on Halloween this year, and she asked if he could bring her in! I thought that was the cutest thing — taking my adorable grandma to Brody’s school, so kids could ask her about her age.)

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Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer

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Mandoline by Pampered Chef

I chose to make Apple Chips because I could show the students what an antique apple peeler/corer/slicer looked like, and we could use one in class. We also used a mandoline and apple corer and said that they also used them 100 years ago. Below are the modern-day tools we used in our classroom:We used the dehydrator to make the Apple Chips, so I could compare them to the way that fruit used to be sun-dried in order to preserve it. I also baked a batch in the oven for the sake of comparison. Each student had their own preference for dehydrated Apple Chips, which made them soft, or baked Apple Chips, which made them crunchy. Here are recipes for both.

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Watching the Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer in action.

Apple Chips – Crispy & Crunchy (raw, vegan, gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, soy-free, tree nut-free, peanut-free)

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe (but not soft) apples
  • optional: cinnamon

Tools:

  • Oven
  • Parchment paper or non-stick cooking spray
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Raw apples spread out on the sheet.

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees

2. Slice the apples very thinly using a knife, mandoline, or apple peeler/corer/slicer. I prefer using a mandolin for the most uniformly sized slices.

3. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray, or cover it with parchment paper to prevent the apples from sticking.

4. Spread the apples out evenly on the baking sheet. Optional: Sprinkle with cinnamon.

5. Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until the apples reach your desired crunchiness.

Apple Chips – Soft & Chewy (raw, vegan, gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, soy-free, tree nut-free, peanut-free)

Ingredients:

    • 2 ripe (but not soft) apples

optional: cinnamon

Tools

  • Dehydrator

Directions:

1. Slice the apples very thinly using a knife, mandoline, or apple peeler/corer/slicer. I prefer using a mandolin for the most uniformly sized slices.

2. Spread the apples out evenly on a dehydrator sheet. Optional: Sprinkle with cinnamon.

3. Dehydrate at 135 degrees for 15 hours or until the apples reach your desired texture.

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Dehydrated apples after 15 hours of low heat.

Next up: Teaching the students that every part of our food can be reused! Making homemade Apple Cider Vinegar with the left over cores and peels!