Monday, March 15, 2010

Pi day gone, and no pie

March 14th is pi day, a day nerds and math geeks everywhere make nice, tasty, round (or square) pies and eat them.

As usual, I forgot it was pi day until google reminded me. So I decided to make a pie. I thought, I have apples, I'll make an apple pie! Great idea, not so much with the execution. While I like to eat pie (sometimes), I am total crap at making it. My normal pie crust can be used as a blunt weapon. Not good for pie.

Realizing this, I changed my plans. I've been thinking about pizza, and talking about pizza, and dreaming and writing about pizza. I should make Pizza Pie, I thought. Pizza is always win, right? Unfortunately, right before I worked up the motivation to make dough, roast eggy-plant, and caramelize onions my sister called. It was her birthday dinner, and where was I?

So no pie, only a fourth serving of the tasty pot-sticker-type stuff I'd been eating all day.

Veggie "pork" Potstickers
Mock pork from Bryanna Clark Grogan

  • package wonton wraps (or homemade)
  • 8oz firm tofu
  • 2C TVP
  • 1C Vital Wheat Gluten
  • 1.5C water
  • 4T soy sauce
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1t powdered ginger
  • Oil for frying
  • additional water for sealing and steaming
Note: this is a doubled recipe- I was not using half a chunk of tofu.

In a good sized bowl mix TVP, water and soy sauce. Mash tofu and mix in. Mix in onion and ginger, then add gluten, kneeding with your hands until it's all mixed in, no powder left randomly in the bowl, and everything stuck together.

put about a teaspoon of this mix in the middle of a wonton wrapper. you don't have to use a spoon to do it, you can just use your hands. If you can't picture that amount, try thinking of the size of half a walnut shell, or three macadamia nuts, or two almonds, still in their shells. dip the tip of one finger in water, and wet around the outside of the wrapper, like you're painting a water frame along the edge. Fold the wrapper over the "meat", making either a rectangle or a triangle if you started with square wrappers, or a half moon if you used round ones. Press the edges closed, sealing the "meat" inside, and set it aside. Repeat until you run out of either wrappers or filling.

now you have some choices. you can steam them before freezing, if you're just making them for yourself. Or you can freeze them totally raw, which pushes more of the prep time to when you eat, but also gives them more time to defrost, heat up, and cook when you are ready to eat them.

Also, you can sear the bottom first, then add water to the pan and cover, or you can use a steamer basket in a pan, a steamer attachment on a rice cooker, or a bamboo steamer over water to steam before frying. I used a bamboo steamer, because I have one, but the other options work just as well. If you try the first method, I suggest a non-stick pan, 'cause the wrappers get sticky.

to fry them, just put some oil in a frying pan or wok, heated to med-hi, and place them on it. more oil means less burning, but also makes them greasy. You only have to fry them until they're browned on one side. These are slightly burned because I cooked them from frozen.

So that's what I was eating while writing yesterday. Then I had two more batches of six before mid afternoon, then brought another batch of 6 with me to mom's for my sister's dinner.

Super veggie dinner guest trick/ tip- always bring something to eat. That way you *always* have something to eat, your host(ess) doesn't feel pressured to come up with something special they have no idea about, and you don't end up with a plate full of fish. Because, you know, they're like totally not animals....

My mom is super, and used to me, so the sides were all j. friendly- rice, green peas, and this amazing red cabbage/ onion/ vinegar thing. I think blended it'd be like borscht, only without the meat. Very strong, tho. Left it there, tho- don't think the roommates would be overjoyed to have strange cabbage thing in the fridge, even if I did finish it all in one day.

Oh, yeah- this recipe is *not* friendly to the gluten intolerant out there. You can swap out the veggie pork for meat, if that's your thing, but rice wrappers just don't hold up the same.


  1. I also can't make pie crust to save my life and I don't have an oven and I live in South Korea where pie is unknown. When I want pie I make a sort of apple crumble. Take one apple, peel, core and slice it and put it in a microwave-safe bowl. Take a packet of instant oatmeal or use regular, add a little brown sugar and cinnamon and melted butter and sprinkle on top. Microwave until the apples are cooked - depends on how much you are making but I usually figure about 10 minutes for a single serving - top with a dollop of ice cream if you want - we are blessed with a super-abundance of large apples here and this is easy as pie to make!

  2. That is an amazing idea! I think I even have all that stuff- or close enough that I can fake it. I'll have to try it.

  3. I don't know why, but I never realized potstickers would be so easy to make. I love them, and will be trying my hand at some soon. Thanks for the idea and recipe!

  4. Stephanie- They are easy to make, just take some time if you're making more than 8 or 10. There are more authentic recipes out there, this is just my "easy" one.