Food Play Day

I had a little free time over the long Memorial Weekend so I took to the kitchen for a little playful entertainment.

This was the perfect opportunity to tackle Scallion Pancakes, a carry-over recipe from an ancient Chinese Cooking Class. I have picked this recipe up and put it down too many times because I’ve never committed the time to tinker. I’m sure you are familiar with it, too: the one where you make the ultra simple dough, add sliced green onions to it, roll the dough into short ropes, form them into spirals, roll each into a flat round, and then cook them like pancakes. Yes, that one.

With my decision fully behind me, the entrée was not so tough. I have also been holding onto a hot and sour soup recipe reminiscent of my Mexican Hot and Sour Soup with Hominy, but with an Asian twist. Now, we have the perfect match for my green onion pancakes that were set to roll off the assembly line later in the day.
I’m here to tell you the pancakes are just as I remembered them, and worth the effort. There is nothing complicated about this process. If you plan for 2-3 separate steps they are quite simple, so please consider this delicious bread – especially when soup is on your menu.

If there are kids running about, this is a perfect group project. I’ve recently come across several variations from my original, well-aged recipe, so here is a close one from Didi Emmons. She makes it look easy, too. The Dipping Sauce is a nice addition.

Scallion Pancakes
Inspired by Entertaining for a Veggie Planet, Didi Emmons

1 cup flour or more if needed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons oil, divided, more if needed
3 scallions, chopped
3 teaspoons black or white sesame seeds, toasted (optional)

Dipping Sauce
3 small chile peppers, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons black vinegar

In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and 1 Tbsp. oil. With wooden spoon, stir in 1/2 cup boiling water to form soft dough; add water of flour as needed. Turn the dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead til smooth, about 3 minutes. Cover and let rest about 30 minutes.

Prepare the dipping sauce and set aside.

Dust the dough with a bit of flour and roll into8x16 rectangle. Brush 1 Tbsp oil over the surface of dough and sprinkle with scallions and seeds. Starting at one long side, roll up like a jelly roll. Cut the roll into 8 even slices. One at a time, lay a slice of dough on the work surface and flatten with floured hand, then roll into 4″ disk.

In large non stick skillet, head 1 Tbsp oil over medium high heat. Working in batches, adding oil as needed, fry pancakes until crispy and brown, turning once, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to baking sheet; keep warm in 250 degree oven til done. Cit into wedges and serve with Soy Dipping Sauce.
Makes about 32 pieces.

Note: the pancakes can be rolled out separated and wrapped up to 3 days ahead. Sauce can be made a day ahead. ~~

Asian Hot and Sour Soup with HominyInspired by Cooking Light magazine, May 2009
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 onion, sliced, into strips
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 tablespoons ginger, grated
1/4 head cabbage, sliced, into strips
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup rice vinegar
4 cups diced tomato, fresh or canned
4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup hominy, rinsed, drained
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon white pepper, ground
1 carrot, peel, shredded
1/4 cup cilantro , chopped

Heat the oil in soup pot, l add the onion through ginger and sauté til aromatic, add the cabbage toss well and cook til slightly tender about 10 minutes.
Add the vinegar to deglaze, then the tomatoes, stock, hominy, soy and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 30-45 minutes. Add the carrots, and ajust seasoning. It should taste hot and sour, depending on your tolerance level; simmer about 5 minutes longer, allowing the carrot remain al dente.

Lade into bowls, garnish with cilantro or sliced green onion. Serves 8 ~~

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