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... and what are your plans for Valentine's Day?!

Topper (Linda)
aka ThyroGeek
February 4, 2011

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I thought that I might post some of the recipes that I've collected and some of the ones that I've come up with on my own. The links are to the left, divided into categories. If you have any thoughts, comments or suggestions, let me know okay?

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Okay, Okay.. I give!
Welcome to the official
TOPPER'S Ongoing Experiments Zone...

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Contents

Rice Gnocchi?
Topper's Rice Gnocchi
    Ingredients
    First step, preparing the rice
    Second step, preparing the dough
    Freezing Dumplings
    Cooking the dumplings
    To Serve the dumplings

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Rice Gnocchi??

 I ran across a recipe a while back for a chilled salad variation of potato salad, using rice in place of the potatoes. I happened to have some rice left in the fridge from the day before so decided to try it.. I really liked it... so the day before yesterday I cooked up some rice specifically to make some of the chilled salad.  When it was cooked I spread it out on a baking sheet too cool off to room temp before putting in the fridge to chill for the salad

I was washing dishes and happened to look over at the cooling rice. You know how your mind and eyes wander while washing dishes? I stopped and stared. It for all the world looked just like riced potatoes. Don't run screaming from the crazy lady yet. I rice potatoes when I make potato dumplings, gnocchi. I just stared at it.. wondering. What would happen if you used cooked rice in place of riced potatoes for dumplings?

I headed for the computer and shot a quick message to the OHG group (Organic Homestead Gardening, a yahoo group). A LOT of the members love to cook and experiment and everyone there has a pretty strong grasp of 'making do', using things that you have on hand to make the things that you want.

One of the gals responded... she'd never tried it, but figured it would work, replacing one starch for another... give it a try...

So when I got up yesterday morning I gave it a shot, the results were EXCELLENT and I made a pig of myself! I LOVE dumplings but don't get them often because of storage problems with potatoes in this house, too warm, so anything with potatoes, for me, is a winter treat. See, I refuse to pay premium price for those little five pound bags from the store... Any way. It turned out so well yesterday that I decided to do another batch today and take pictures of the process and share it here.

Here I am a few weeks later.. I've made a couple of batches of rice gnocchi, I love 'em. Thought that I'd try to oatmealize them.... it didn't work out so well. Basically the same recipe but I replaced 1/2 cup of the flour with 1/2 cup of rolled oats. If you eat them right away after cooking, they are fine, but put them in the fridge over night, cooked, and they are really grainy when reheated. So I guess if you only cooked to eat, keeping the rest frozen, it's doable...  I've got a whole page of oatmealized recipes over on the thyroid site if you're curious about others... 

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Topper's Rice Gnocchi
(a version of Potato Gnocchi/potato dumplings)

Ingredients
1 cup long grained white rice
3 cups water
1 large egg
3 to 4 cups flour plus more for dusting surfaces as you go
salt and pepper to taste
... sauce, gravy, stew, soup... to serve with the finished dumplings

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First step, preparing the rice

Bring 3 cups of water to a rolling boil
Add one cup long grain white rice.
Stir thoroughly, about 30 seconds, put on cover, reduce heat to very low (electric stove, turn off heat)

Let rice simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove cover, stir thoroughly, about 30 seconds, replace cover, allow to rest on burner, no heat, another 20 to 30 minutes.

Lightly flour working surface and dump the very soft and sticky rice and prepared surface. Spread mass out a bit to increase surface area. The purpose is to let the excess moisture leave as the rice cools to room temp.

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Second step, preparing the dough

Starting.jpg (52947 bytes) After the rice is cooled and ready to work by hand, mound it together again and make a depression in the center. Add about 1/2 cup flour to the depression as well as salt and pepper (using white pepper will keep the dumplings from having little black specs, I used black pepper for the photos so that it would show)

getthere.jpg (50874 bytes)AddEgg.jpg (52498 bytes)Add 1 egg to the depression along with another
1/4 to 1/3 cup of flour.


Now comes the messy part!

 StartMix.jpg (47759 bytes)You get to get your fingers into the mess and start mixing. Add flour a spoon scoop at a time to sprinkle over and under the mass as you start working it.Lilfour.jpg (47675 bytes) To get the gooey stuff off your hands put a spoon scoop of flour in the palm of one hand and then 'wash' your hands with the flour. The flour will absorb the moisture from the gooey dough on your hands and fingers and it will bunch up and fall off, with a bit of effort. Clean your hands as you go letting the stuff fall back into the dough. Closer.jpg (41011 bytes)You'll want to keep mashing and mixing the dough, adding flour a bit at a time until it starts to ball up well enough to start kneading. You'll see a picture, to the left, that has a fuzzy blur across the lower left half, I had to put plastic wrap on the camera cuz my hands were all gooey, I didn't notice until it was too late that the plastic had shifted across the front of the lens! I told you it was gooey! hehehee

 readycut.jpg (50472 bytes)sections.jpg (47194 bytes)It will end up being a heavy, thick dough so get ready for a workout! Once you've got it kneaded until it's nice a smooth shape it into a log, sprinkle flour over the top and under it to keep it from getting gooey as you work with it. You can then cut it in sections so that you can start rolling it out and cutting the dumplings.

rolling.jpg (49007 bytes)Take one of your cut sections of dough and dip the cut side(s) in some flour to keep if from sticking. Roll the dough between the palms of your hands to a hot dog shape. Then put it down on your flour work surface and use the palms of your hands to roll the dough into a long rod about the thickness of your thumb. Gently stretch the dough sideways as you roll it back and forth. It's a bit of a trick to get the hang of rolling and stretching at the same time so don't get frustrated. It's a lot like working with clay, actually.

diagonal.jpg (54176 bytes)Once you have a 'rod' rolled out it's ready to cut. My mom always did diagonals. But the last few years I've learned how to get the shell shape with all the grooves that hold so much of the gravy so I mostly do those now, it's a couple of extra steps but I think it's more fun.

shells.jpg (48238 bytes)cutting.jpg (50902 bytes)Here you can see a 'rod' that has been cut... some of the cuts have been rolled into little balls and some of those balls have been rolled off the tines of a fork to create the shell ridges and the depression in the back, which is really nothing more than where your thumb presses into the dough as you roll it off the back of the fork.

lookgood.jpg (48617 bytes)I usually roll out one 'rod' at a time then cut, roll and shell them before starting on the next rod. If I'm cooking them they go right into the pot, if I'm freezing them they go right on a baking sheet. 

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Freezing Dumplings

tofreez.jpg (52759 bytes)They freeze very well before cooking. Once cooked, freezing them and then heating them up again turns them to mush. Just cut them (shape them if you like the shape) and then lay out in a single layer on a baking sheet, be sure that they don't touch. Once frozen you can bulk bag them and use them later.

I've never tried freezing the log. I have no idea how well it would work. When I'm going for convenience I'd rather shape the dumplings and freeze them so that when I want to use them they are ready to cook and use, with no mess.

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Cooking the dumplings

rdytobl.JPg (45158 bytes) Bring a pot of water to a boil. The dumplings are done in small batches. sunken.JPG (33791 bytes) A 2 quart pot can do about 20 dumplings at a time. Drop the dumplings in the boiling water one at a time CAREFULLY so as not to have boiling water splashing you and your hands. The dumplings will sink to the bottom of the pot, you don't want them to be more than one layer deep. totop.JPG (35408 bytes) As they cook they will float to the top, when all are floating/dancing in the boiling water, give them about a minute, then scoop them out with a slotted spoon and put then in a bowl. Put in the next batch. It only takes 2 or 3 minutes to cook each batch. When using frozen dumplings just drop them, frozen, into the boiling water, it takes them a bit longer to cook but they will come bobbing up to the service when they are done.

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To Serve the dumplings

sauced.JPG (47277 bytes)You can use these as you would potatoes, rice or pasta. You can also use in place of potatoes or rice in a soup or stew. They go great with roasted meat with gravy. You can make smaller dumplings, or slice these into little rounds and sauté in butter and use as a side dish, too.

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