Posted by J.W.
I am having all sorts of success with the dandelion experiment underway around here at the moment. Enough time has passed for my thumb to no longer be dyed brown/purple, the cookie recipe was a huge hit with my kids, the syrup tastes very much like flower honey, buds are pickling their little hearts out on my counter...the one big error was the lemonade recipe. I made the mistake of leaving the flowers sitting in the top of the bottle for a couple of days, and the result was pretty bitter. A mistake I won't make twice, to be sure.
Just as interesting have been the ways I've been trying to sneak the greens into my unsuspecting children's stomachs. A couple of years ago, I tried wilting them like mustard greens or collards, but they were just too bitter. This year, I've been a little more successful--small, young greens stepping in for spinach in scrambled eggs with cheese, or getting diced fine and added at a last moment to soups or pasta sauces.
The real success, though, has been as a variation on my favorite Gyoza Recipe. The strong garlic, ginger and soy sauce rendered them totally invisible other then a slight earthy flavor, and we had no leftovers even though I'd made a double batch.
Gyoza 201: Spicy Beef and Shrimp with Dandelion Greens
1 lb beef (I used part of an inexpensive pot roast--fairly sure it was a blade roast cut), cut in even pieces.
1/4 lb shrimp (6-7 medium shrimp)
1-2 large handfuls of dandelion greens, washed(soaked if need be), dried and roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic
2 green onions, roughly chopped
1 med carrot, finely shredded
1 stick celery, diced
1/4 jalapeno, seeded and diced (more if you're not serving small children and like heat)
Run the above through a food processor, using short pulses until the mixture is finely chopped but not paste (I like to put the veggies in first, run them for a bit, then add the meat).
Scrape into a bowl and add, mixing well:
1 inch ginger, grated
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons la yu(Chinese pepper oil)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
Ground pepper to taste
Put 1 rounded Tablespoon full of the mixture in the middle of a square dumpling wrapper, then use water or egg to wet the edges. Pull them up to the middle, as shown in the picture:
To cook, prepare a plate or foil to keep warm and work in batches. Heat 1T of oil in a large pan(don't use nonstick), then put gyoza in, about 1/2 in apart (don't crowd the pan). Have a cup of water, and the pan's lid ready. When the gyoza start to brown on the bottom add about 1/4 cup of water (carefully!) and immediately put lid on. In about two minutes, remove lid. Gyoza wrappers should immediately pull in tightly around the filling. Work fast, and using a metal spatula or tongs scrape/coax them up from the pan. The first few will be easy, but the longer you wait, the more likely they are to start sticking to the pan again.
Once they are all out and wrapped, wipe the pan, put in more oil, and repeat. If you don't want to make the entire batch all at once, they freeze beautifully...just make sure you line them up neatly in the freezer bag, placing waxed paper between layers.
Great served with a soy/rice vinegar dipping sauce, rice, fresh fruit, and thinly sliced cucumbers with salt, pepper, and rice vinegar. Also good with the above dandelion lemonade, but don't let it get bitter!