Routines. We all have ‘em, and some of our lives revolve around them more than others. I fall into the “more” category. Our comfortable routines get changed up occasionally due to circumstances or the seasons. Some changes unwelcome, like having to add a headlamp to my morning running attire because it’s no longer light that early (which thankfully won’t happen for a while). Some I look forward to, like the local Farmers’ Market on Sunday mornings!
I have a Sunday morning routine of filling my car with gas and doing the weekly grocery shopping—usually two stores, then home, put said groceries away, and cook a great Sunday breakfast. After breakfast, I call my mom and we have our weekly getting-caught-up-on-things chat. But now that the local Farmers’ Market that is less than a block away from one of my grocery stores is open on Sunday mornings, I’ve made a very welcome addition to that routine. This market is small, at least compared to the big St. Paul and Minneapolis Farmers’ Markets, but you can find almost everything there that the larger markets have, plus, there are no parking hassles, I can get there early before it things are super busy, and it adds less than a half hour to my grocery shopping outing.
The market opened on Father’s Day, but with all the celebrations happening, I wasn’t able to get there, so I was excited last Sunday for my first foray of the season. Not sure what to expect after hearing many crops were late due to the extended winter and cold spring, I was pleasantly surprised. There wasn’t a super huge selection, but plenty to keep me happy—after all, I hadn’t been to the Farmers’ Market since October. So many things looked good: scallions and spring onions, lettuces, all kinds of herbs, rhubarb, beautiful radishes, peas, and even some tiny, new potatoes. I ended up with scallions, peas, radishes and some cute little Yukon golds that I knew Pete would be excited about. Pete likes potatoes!!
A couple little potatoes found their way into our Sunday breakfast, and on Monday evening, the scallions, radishes, and peas met up with a medley of veggies already on hand to make these delectable pot stickers. This was the first time I’ve used the round dumpling/pot sticker wrappers and found them much preferable to the square wonton wrappers.
Sealed and folded into petite pleats—they’re adorable! And the true “pot sticker” method of briefly pan frying with a little oil and then adding water to steam-cook until done makes for pot stickers that were even better than those we’ve had at our favorite Asian restaurants. You can vary the vegetables, using whatever you prefer, just make sure to adjust the sauté time accordingly. The accompanying dipping sauce finishes this tasty appetizer that just may, because they’re so darn good, become your full meal!
Vegetable Pot Stickers
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 cup shelled spring peas
2 – 2 ¼ cups diced vegetables (I used celery, carrot, radish, and red onion)
1 tablespoon neutral cooking oil, (I used grape seed)
3/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
1 tablespoon minced fresh gingerroot
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or more to taste
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup water
1 package round dumpling wrappers
Scallion Dipping Sauce
2 to 3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
To cook pot stickers:
1 to 2 tablespoons neutral cooking oil (I used grape seed)
1/4 to 1/2 cup water (per batch)
To make filling: Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of oil and heat, then add scallions, ginger and garlic. Cook for one minute, then add the remaining vegetables and cook for several more minutes. Season with salt and transfer to a fine-mesh colander to drain off any excess liquid (I had virtually no liquid). Let cool in colander for 15 minutes.
If filling mixture is still on the chunky side, either chop it finely on a cutting board or pulse it a few times in a food processor. You don’t want to puree it; bits of vegetable should still be recognizable, but it will be easier to mound in dumplings if chopped well. Adjust seasonings if needed and mix in the teaspoon of sesame oil.
To assemble pot stickers: Line two baking sheets or trays with parchment paper, silicone baking mats, or very lightly oil them. Mix cornstarch and water in a small bowl; this will act as your “glue.”
Remove first wrapper from package and put it on a plate or cutting board; place a damp towel or piece of plastic wrap over the unused wrappers to keep them from drying out. Brush wrapper lightly with cornstarch-water mixture. Mound 1 to 2 teaspoons filling in the center. Fold the wrapper in half over the filling, sealing the center edge shut. Make a few small pleats down each side to seal in the rest of the filling, while trying to press out as much air as possible (a process that sounds difficult but is so easy). Rest the dumpling, pleats up, on prepared tray and repeat with remaining wrappers and filling. When you’re all done, look over your pot stickers; use the cornstarch mixture and pinching to seal any open sides or loosened pleats.
You can now freeze the dumplings on their trays, then transfer them to a freezer bag once they will no longer stick together, or cook them right away.
To cook pot stickers, heat a large skillet (preferably cast-iron) over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the oil. Working in batches, once the oil is hot, arrange pot stickers in a single layer and cook until browned at the bottom. This will take about 1 minute for fresh ones and up to 5 minutes for frozen ones. Add ¼ to ½ cup water; it will hiss and sputter, so move quickly. You’ll want the smaller amount of water for a smaller batch and the larger if you’re cooking more. Put a lid on the pot and cook dumplings for 2 to 3 minutes more (plus an additional minute if your dumplings were frozen to begin with). Remove lid and simmer until any remaining water has cooked off. Using a spatula, remove pot stickers from pan to a paper towel lined plate.
Serve hot pot stickers with sauce for dipping or drizzling. I dare you to eat just one! Or two, or three, or four….. Makes about 50 pot stickers.