Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tofu and Spinach Dumplings seasoned with Pesto, Black them Boots, Rain Machine and Los Campesinos

When I'm stressed out there are only two things that make me feel better; eating or Baoding Balls (also called Chinese Stress Balls). Not, until last weekend, had I ever been able to combine the two. I must thank Williams-Sonoma. It was their recipe for Ricotta and Spinach Dumplings with Pesto that gave me my idea. The dumplings, if shaped correctly would look exactly like Baoding Balls. And as long as they were edible I'd have combined my two stress relievers into one dish. Not only were they edible, they were my recipe of the week. Fulfilling my b2bbr:

Pesto Tofu and Spinach Dumplings- Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Vegetarian Cookbook (printable version)

-3 lbs spinach
-1 Tbs. water
-1 cup Parmesan Cheese
-1 cup all purpose flour
-1 block of ricotta style basil tofu
-3 eggs
-pinch of nutmeg
-salt and pepper
-3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
-1 1/4 cups pesto

1. For the tofu I used this recipe from Post Punk Kitchen (although I substituted lime juice for lemon juice and omitted the nutritional yeast).

2. In a frying pan combine water and spinach. Cook until the spinach wilts, about three minutes. Transfer to a colander and squeeze out excess water (I used the back of a spoon). Wrap the spinach in a paper towel or kitchen towel to remove excess moisture. Once moisture has been removed finely cut the spinach.

3. Combine spinach with 1/2 cup of Parmesan, 1/2 cup of flour, tofu and eggs. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Mix well. Spread half a cup of flour on a plate. Shape the dough into Baoding Ball size dumplings (add more flour a tablespoon at a time if the dough is too wet to form into a ball). Dredge the dumplings in flour.

4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

5. Fill a pot with water and two pinches of salt. Bring to a boil. Add a few dumplings to the boiling water. When the dumplings are done they should float to the top of the water (about 6-8 minutes). Remove from the water with a slotted spoon. Put the dumplings into an oiled 2 quart baking dish. Lightly coat the dumplings with olive oil.

6. Bake dumplings until hot (about 10 minutes).

7. Remove the dumplings from the oven. Top with pesto and Parmesan cheese. Serve warm.

Destressed, just like that.

My most recent stress was driving home from St. Pete and noticing that all my dashboard lights had burned out. Everything was pitch black. I never realized how difficult driving like this would be. I couldn't tell how fast I was going or how much gas was left in my tank (and I didn't even have my sunglasses on). Naturally, its all about the black.

I came across Black them Boots at the Indie Rock Cafe and really enjoyed their tracks "Don't Look Back" and "Dear Darling." I considered both for my meatball grinder playlist. The band recently wrapped up a month long tour which you can read all about at their myspace blog. "Don't Look Back" comes from their debut album Fancy, which is out now on Hear Me Think Records. Purchase the album here.

Don't Look Back

Thanks to Pitchfork for bringing Kyp Malone's (of TV on the Radio fame) solo work to my attention. Malone performs under the moniker Rain Machine. His first album, also titled Rain Machine, will be released on Anti Records on September 22nd. "Smiling Black Faces" comes from that album. Pre-purchase it here.

Rain Machine-Smiling Black Faces.

This one has nothing to do with darkness but it does mention eating. Less dancey than some of their earlier work but just as great here's the video for Los Campesinos! new song "The Sea is a Good Place to Think of the Future." The song is currently available for download at the Campesinos!'s website.

The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Future from Los Campesinos! on Vimeo.