Dumpling-Flavored Sausage Rolls

Dumpling-style Sausage Rolls
Dumpling-style Sausage Rolls

Here’s the story behind these dumpling-flavored sausage rolls. We had friends over at Christmas, and while serving up a plate of pigs-in-a-blanket, my friend pointed to them and said “Hey, what do you British call those? Isn’t there a crazy, funny name you have for those?” I was momentarily nonplussed as, a) we usually DO have a crazy, funny name for things, but b) I had no idea what else we might call them, having been out of the country, and therefore the loop, for about twenty years. (“Her Majesty’s Tiniest Corgis”? “Cheeky Blinders”? Answers on a postcard, please.)

A brief research session reminded me that Brits traditionally reserve the term “pigs in blankets” for small, un-cased sausages (which we call chipolatas) wrapped in bacon, not puff pastry, and that they’re a Christmas staple. (I then asked both my siblings to confirm this and they went straight for the sausage-in-pastry option instead, which, honestly, helps NOBODY.)

But while this post is about sausages in puff pastry, we’re not making pigs in blankets. We’re making sausage rolls. And we’re making them dumpling-flavored – seasoned with ginger, garlic, scallions and chili. Buckle up! 

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Sesame Noodles with Crispy Baked Tofu

Sesame Noodles with Crispy Tofu

Revenge doesn’t have to be the only dish best served cold. We combine crispy baked tofu cubes with cold noodles in a spicy sesame – peanut sauce for a fantastic dinner or picnic recipe.

We’re adopting a new strategy to help us cope with the cold Northeast spring: we’re simply going to pretend that it’s summer. That’s right, readers: the tiki bar has been set out in the garden (which, incidentally, is BLOOMING), we’ve slathered on a healthy layer of SPF50, and we’re putting together all sorts of yummy goodies to take on our next picnic. Yes, it’s perfect weather to take a room-temperature noodle dish out on the deck or to our local park. Okay, all that may not be true, but this recipe is a perfect meal to make when you don’t need to serve up a hot dinner. 

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Stir Fried Lo Mein Noodles with Pork and Vegetables

This fast and delicious pork lo mein is loaded with noodles, meat, and plenty of vegetables—a complete meal in one wok (or skillet).

Preparing a stir-fry for us has become a game of time-shaving. A dish that’s already designed for the quick, hot pan treatment is made even more satisfying when you can snip a minute of prep here and there, or improve the efficiency of the cooking stage using that one weird trick (“Chinese restaurants hate them!”). Well, we’re using that one weird trick here, and here’s the essence of it: we soak the pork strips beforehand, for just 15 minutes, in a baking soda solution. This helps the pork stay really tender. More on this below.

Note: This recipe is part of our on-going series with Serious Eats. You can also find this recipe, and other great ones, on their site.

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Xi’an-style Smashed Cumin Lamb Burgers with Creamy Herb Sauce

Xi’an-style Smashed Cumin Lamb Burgers with Creamy Herb Sauce

If delicious Szechuan-style lamb burgers weren’t enough, we also present to you in this post Simon Adebisi’s tiny hat. No extra charge!

I’m aware that there’s a very good chance you’re thinking, ‘Okay, fine. That’s a decent looking burger but what the bloody hell is this ‘Xi’an-style-smashed-cumin’ business all about? Can’t anything just be normal anymore? And I want to drink out of a GLASS, not a damn jelly jar, dangit!’

I’m not sure why I’m imagining you as a crotchety old man but let’s just roll with it, Grampa. I know this burger might sound a little … fancy-pants but honestly, it’s really just plain, old tasty.

For a little background, Xi’an is the capital city of Shaanxi province in northwestern China and dishes called ‘Xi’an-style’ are usually lamb-based and heavily seasoned with cumin and other spices. A few years ago, one of the most popular dishes in New York City was the Cumin Lamb with Noodles from a  restaurant called Xi’an Famous Foods in Flushing, Queens. I never had a chance to try it so when I saw this recipe for lamb burgers by Peter Meehan from Lucky Peach in the New York Times, I knew I wanted to make a version of it.

I changed the recipe just a little, adding a bit of mustard and brown sugar to give a bit of extra savoriness and added a fresh, bright herb sauce to go on top. In the burger, the main flavor components are what you’ll find in just about all Xi’an-style recipes, whether it’s a stir fry, noodle dish or burger: ground cumin, Sichuan peppercorns and dried chili.

Sichuan peppercorns, Cumin and Red Chili Flakes
Sichuan Peppercorns, cumin and red chili flakes add tons of flavor and a little heat.

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