May 22 2011

Found My Thrill At Blooming Hill

Published by Christine at 8:24 pm under Uncategorized

You know how it goes: you’re talking with some friends, and the next thing you know, you’re up to your neck in watercress. No? Okay, let me back up a bit.

Two of my girlfriends invited me to join them for a bite to eat yesterday at The Farm, as it is known around here. Blooming Hill Farm is one of the prettiest organic farms in our area, with wonderful produce, plants, and delicious edibles (the breakfast burritos are to die for, and most – if not all – of what I’ve seen there is vegetarian). The outside seating area, overlooking green hills and a brook, is so relaxing that you wish you could spend the whole day there reading, writing, and eating. Since they re-opened for the season a couple of weeks ago, I’ve bought ramps and other greens there; it is all so fresh and gorgeous-looking, you just want to eat everything in sight.

So yesterday, after some Earl Grey tea and a chat in the sun with my friends, I went back inside the store to see what ideas I could come up with for today’s meal. I love how in a place like The Farm, ingredients will just catch my eye, and my imagination usually does the rest and puts them together, much in the same way that I put artwork together. This is what called my name this time: some watercress, sorrel, ramps (the last of the season – so sad), radish sprouts (fantastic in a cheese sandwich), and a lovely head of green cabbage. I already had some idea of what I wanted to accomplish. A trip to the supermarket for shitake mushrooms and wonton skins, and I was ready to go.

My idea was for vegetarian dumplings. The ones you usually get from the store or the restaurant are made with pork or chicken, and while those can be delicious, I just wanted something meat-free and equally satisfying. I also wanted to make two different kinds, just because I like variety, and because two is better than one (unless you’re talking about days without chocolate). I settled on watercress for one, sorrel for the other. While many of you are probably familiar with watercress, and like me, enjoy its pungent and slightly peppery bite, you may not know much about sorrel. It is a leafy green (much like spinach) that belongs to the buckwheat family, and is rich in vitamin A. I love it because of its acidity. It gives a lovely, lemony bite to soups, sauces, and omelettes.



I paired the watercress up with carrots (for a little sweetness) and rice (for texture). The sorrel was paired up with shitake mushrooms (in lieu of meat), and cabbage (for added texture). Both flavors came out really well; my favorite was the sorrel and shitake blend, but I was outvoted 3 to 1 in favor of the watercress. You be the judge.


Dumplings Two Ways

Watercress and Brown Rice Dumplings

24 wonton skins
2 cups watercress, packed
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
2 Tbsp chopped chives
1/4 tsp ground ginger
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

For the filling: take large stems off watercress, then wash thoroughly and chop coarsely. Briefly sauté the carrots in a little olive oil, add ginger, mix well. Add 1/4 cup water and cover immediately. Steam for 30 seconds. Add washed watercress and chives, along with salt and pepper. Cover and let steam an additional 2 min. Remove from heat and mix with brown rice. Set aside.

Colorful before

Colorful after

Shitake and Sorrel Dumplings

24 wonton skins
1/4 lb shitake mushrooms
1 cup shredded green cabbage
2 cups chopped sorrel
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup white wine
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

For the filling: Chop mushrooms finely. Saute mushrooms and cabbage with salt and pepper in olive oil until golden and soft, about 7-8 min. Add garlic and sauté for another minute. Deglaze the pan with wine and add sorrel. Cover and steam 2 or 3 min. until sorrel is wilted.



Assembling the dumplings: Place 1 tsp of filling in the center of a wonton skin. With a pastry brush (or your finger), wet 2 sides of the wonton skin, fold into a triangle and press the sides together to close. Wet the fold and bring the corners together, as shown in the picture:

3 steps on 1 plate

As you are assembling the dumplings, place them on parchment paper and cover with a wet cloth, to prevent drying out.

Army of Dumplings? Clone Wars?

Cooking the dumplings: in a large saute pan, heat 3 or 4 tbsp oil, over medium heat. When the oil is hot (but not burning), place a dozen dumplings in the pan, and let them brown for a few minutes. When the underside is golden brown, quickly pour 1/2 cup water in the pan and cover immediately to keep in the very large amount of steam that will be produced. Do not take the cover off. Let dumplings steam for a few minutes, then remove from pan, and proceed with the next batch. Serve with dipping sauce (below), some rice, and a salad.

They're as good as they look.

Oven fries and grilled ramps on the side this time.

Dipping sauce

Mix together 2 Tbsp rice vinegar, 3 Tbsp tamari soy sauce, 2 tsp chili oil.


3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Found My Thrill At Blooming Hill”

  1. Maryon 23 May 2011 at 8:56 am

    J’ai faim.

  2. Christineon 23 May 2011 at 2:27 pm

    J’ai froid.

  3. Emilyon 13 Jun 2011 at 7:35 am

    Wow. Magnificent. Look forward to trying these. And, you know, Blooming Hill Farm is open all year round!!!

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