APT Collection Recipes from Jackie Kai Ellis
This is one of my most favourite, most addictive little bites to make for apéro. The dough can be made in advance and frozen, baked off so they are warm with a glass of bubbly.
Preheat oven to 425F.
Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside. In a medium sauce pot, place the water, whipping cream, butter, nutmeg, salt and pepper. On medium high heat, bring the mixture to just under a boil, when wisps of steam begin to rise.
Add the flour all at once and mix vigorously with a wooden spoon over medium heat. Keep mixing and scraping the bottoms and sides until the paste is cooked and begins to stick to the bottom of the pan, about 2 minutes.
Put the dough immediately into a heat-proof bowl and keep mixing with the wooden spoon until the paste cools slightly. Beat in the eggs one by one, making sure that the egg is completely incorporated until the next is added. It may seem as if the egg won’t mix at first, but keep mixing as it surely will.
After all the eggs have been well incorporated, mix in the cheese and set aside.
Most traditionally, the dough is then piped onto the sheet pan for baking, though I use a small ice cream or cookie scoop. I used a 1.5” scoop but they can be smaller or larger, just adjust the baking time accordingly. Make sure they have an ample 1.5-2” between them as they will grow.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until they are golden brown all over. Shut off the oven and let them rest inside for an additional 5-10 minutes to make sure they retain their puffy shape and don’t deflate.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Market Radishes & French Butter
Like all the best things, it’s deceptively simple. Though there’s nothing to hide behind so everything is in the quality of the ingredients. The radishes need to be sweet and in season, the salt should be taste of the sea, and the butter needs to be rich and flavourful.
Clean radishes with their tops. You can leave them whole, but for the larger ones, I like to cut in half. Serve with a generous dish of butter sprinkled in salt. Some serve the radishes on a bed of crushed ice. The tops also can be eaten but the larger ones can also be pulled off to make a radish top pesto or added to a salad.
Canadian Croque Monsieur
Croque monsieur is traditionally made with a light roux, whole milk and gruyère cheese. It’s generally a recipe you don’t want to fiddle with since it’s already so perfect. Though, for this version, I cooked the roux until it was dark and nutty, I used sharp, aged cheddar because it’s what I found at the market that looked delicious, and added some parsley for colour. If you want to make it ever so slightly lighter, I’ve used almond milk instead of whole milk before, which adds to the nutty flavour and has a clean profile. Some may find it sacrilegious to do so, but I personally love to know it’s a delicious option!
This recipe is for one, but feel free to double or quadruple it as you please. To make it a croque madame, make it better by putting a sunny side up egg on top.
For the sauce:
Preheat the oven to 425F.
Place the bread slices on a sheet pan lined with parchment and place in the oven for 5 minutes or until the bread is lightly toasted. Spread two slices of the toasted bread with mustard, top the slices with ham and then each with the 3 tbsp of cheese. Place the other slice of bread on top to make sandwich. Set aside.
Heat the milk and nutmeg in a small pot until warm and just beginning to steam, but not boiling. Take off the heat.
In a medium pot, melt butter on medium heat. Add flour and mix vigorously with a whisk, cooking on medium heat until the flour begins to bubble, brown and you smell a toasty fragrance. Add the milk and continue to whisk until the sauce begins to thicken. Turn the heat to medium-low and add the ½ cup of cheese and parsley. Whisk to melt and combine, taste and add salt and pepper to your liking. Take off the heat and lay the sauce on top of the sandwiches. Place the entire assembly in the oven and bake for 5-7 minutes or until the sauce bubbles and browns a bit on the top.
Check on the sandwiches and turn the broiler on high heat if the sauce has not begun to brown, broil until the tops have a few caramelized brown spots. When the tops are browned, remove from oven eat off the pan if desired.
Makes 1 sandwich
Pork and Chive Dumplings
Excerpted from The Measure of My Powers by Jackie Kai Ellis. Copyright © 2018 JKE Media Inc. Published by Appetite by Random House, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the author. All rights reserved.
This is my family recipe, which has evolved over too many generations to count. We are still trying to perfect them. This recipe is a large one, so I recommend getting your friends and family involved, or feel free to halve the recipe. It makes enough for a large feast with some left over to freeze for later.
FOR THE DOUGH
(Slightly less or more water may be needed to achieve a smooth dough that is soft and pliable but not sticky after it is kneaded. It should feel like a baby’s bottom when you poke it.)
Mix both flours in a large bowl with clean fingers. Add 3/4 of the water and mix and knead the dough with your hands until it becomes a dry, shaggy mass. Add the remainder of the water to the drier parts of the flour mixture and continue kneading it in the bowl until the dough just comes together into a ball, the flour has been incorporated, and the bowl is relatively clean. Transfer to a table and knead just until the dough seems evenly hydrated and there are no more pockets of dry flour or wet dough. Do not overmix, though: it should not be smooth but rough-looking. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours to rest. My family makes this in the morning and lets it rest while we go to the market for fresh ingredients. If you leave the dough longer or overnight, knead it again, as the gluten will have relaxed too much and there will not be enough structure to hold the filling properly. If you notice the dough is too stretchy or soft, re-knead it until it firms up.
FOR THE FILLING
The process of making the filling is divided into 3 parts. The results from each part will be mixed together before filling and technically, you could combine them all at once, but my mother swears that the flavor is much better when each part is done separately. She also says that it ends up being the perfect marinating time for each component when it is done separately, since the ingredients in Part A must be marinated longer than B and C.
Chop the pork into a coarse minced texture by hand. My mom uses a cleaver on a butcher’s block, cutting the meat into thin slices, then into small cubes. She removes any tendons. She then uses the cleaver to pass over the meat several times, folding the mince onto itself to ensure it is all evenly chopped. Chopping the meat by hand gives the filling a better texture when cooked.
Place the meat in a bowl and marinate it by adding the stock, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well with 4 chopsticks used as a whisk and set aside in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes.
Cut the tiger prawns into 1⁄4-inch pieces and marinate them in a bowl with the soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, wine, salt, and pepper. Mix and set aside in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
A NOTE ON SHAOXING WINE: This is a common ingredient found in any Chinese grocery store, but sherry cooking wine can be used as a substitute in a pinch.
Chop the chives, scallions, and cilantro very finely and place in a large mixing bowl. Cut the zucchini into a 1/16-inch dice and add to the vegetable mixture. Add the stock, vegetable oil, soy sauce, sesame oil, and salt. Combine the marinated pork from Part A and the shrimp from Part B. Mix this very well using the chopstick whisk or by hand. Set aside until you are ready to assemble the dumplings.
A NOTE ON CHINESE CHIVES: You can substitute regular chives for these, how- ever Chinese chives, which you can find at any Chinese grocery store, are sturdier, and will have a different consistency after being cooked.
A NOTE ON SOY SAUCE: There is a wide variety of soy sauce out there. It would be preferable to use a Chinese light soy sauce, but a regular soy sauce from the supermarket would be a good substitute if you can’t find light soy sauce. Just be sure not to buy a dark version, as the flavor will be too intense.
FOR THE DIPPING SAUCE
A NOTE ON BLACK VINEGAR: This might be a difficult ingredient to find. To make your own substitution, mix equal parts white vinegar and light soy sauce.
TO MAKE THE DUMPLINGS
Cut the ball of dough into 4 equal pieces and cover the bowl with plastic wrap to keep it from drying out.
Knead 1 piece of dough until smooth on a floured surface; we use an old wooden board that has been passed down for generations. Cut the dough into 4 strips, and roll each one into a rope about 3⁄4 inch thick, lightly flouring the counter to keep it from sticking.
Cut or rip the rope into half-inch pieces and flatten each with the palm of your hand to create little discs about 11⁄2 inches in diameter.
Using a Chinese rolling pin (or a food safe dowel about 1 inch in diameter) roll out each dough piece into little rounds, as thin as a sheet of linen at the edges and a little thicker in the center. They will have a diameter of about 21⁄2 inches.
Place 1–2 tablespoons of filling in the center of a round. Pinch opposite sides together firmly to create a half-moon dumpling shape. You can use your fingers to pinch different pleated patterns into the dough, but my family prefers a quicker, rustic style that is simply squeezed between the inside thumb and the side of the index finger. As you create the dumplings, place them on a floured sheet pan so they don’t stick together.
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. It must be the largest pot you have because the dumplings will need room to move around. Drop the dumplings in the water and swirl them around with a spoon. Cover and wait until the water boils over, and then stir again. Cover and wait once more until the water boils over, and then, using a slotted spoon, remove the dumplings to a serving dish. Serve hot with black vinegar and sesame oil dipping sauce.
A NOTE ON FREEZING DUMPLINGS: Dumplings can be frozen for up to 1 month; just add a few more minutes to the cooking time when cooking frozen dumplings. To cook frozen dumplings, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, drop the dumplings in the water, and swirl the dumplings in the water with a spoon. Cover and wait until the water boils over, and then add 3⁄4 cup of cold water and swirl the water again. Cover and wait until the water boils over again. Add another 3⁄4 cup of cold water, swirl and cover. Once the water boils over again, the dumplings are ready.
A NOTE ON THE MEASUREMENTS: This recipe requires the precision of a scale, unless you have the cooking intuition of a Chinese grandmother. Volume measurements would not be suitable for most of the ingredients and so we, as a family, decided not to include them. Where volume measurements are indicated, this would have been the most precise form of measurement.
MAKES 250–300 DUMPLINGS.