Zeppelin Dumplings (Cepelinai) and Beet-Stuffed Onions {Lithuania}

Jordan really wants me to get my recipe-planning self off of the European continent.  Too many similarities between Scandinavian food, Croatian, Lithuanian, and Hungarian food.  Yeah, we could probably use some Latin American food soon.  Too bad the rest of the week features Switzerland and Luxembourg.  Woops.

Nevertheless, I’d call last night’s meal a success.  I started with some great ingredients.  Last night was my first time handling fresh dill.  I shouldn’t have waited 26 years to do so.  Smells so good when being chopped.

I made one time consuming dish and one quick assembly dish.  First, the quick assembly dish.  Beet-stuffed onions were so easy and fast.  And I love beets.  Occasionally, I actually have beet cravings, making me especially thankful for canned beets. This “recipe” includes chopping beets and onions, seasoning with salt, pepper, and sugar and then placing in an onion shell (about three layers thick).

I drizzled the remaining beet juice over it liberally and garnished with some dill.

Now onto the fun.  I typically enjoy cooking, finding it therapeutic.  But then there are times when it is simply fun.  Last night was one of those nights.

Cepelinai is a very typical Lithuanian dish.  Typically, it is made of potato dumplings and is stuffed with ground meat.  So I brought in the [faux] beef again.  In case you’re a Knoxvillian wondering where to pick up this [very cheap] faux beef, I’ve only been able to find it at Three Rivers Coop.  Here’s a shot of those TVP granules just in case you were curious.

For my dumpling filling, I combined these with onions (and oil), salt, pepper, and a handful of chopped dill.

The filling was easy and quick to prepare.  But the dumpling dough took a bit more time.  I mashed two potatoes, and combined the mash with three potatoes worth of pulp (peel, shred, and strain three potatoes using a cheesecloth–I was shocked at the water content of potatoes!), and 1/4 cup whole wheat all-purpose flour, and a teaspoon of salt.

Once the dough was made, I really enjoyed making the individual dumplings.  Roll it, and pat it…

Don’t mark it with a letter.  Instead, put 1 1/2 teaspoons of the filling in it.

Closing the dough around the filling, form the dumpling into the shape of a lemon (or football of the U.S. variety if you wish).

Set them up for a photo shoot.  Or don’t.

Carefully drop each of them into a large pot of simmering water.

Once they start to float, they’ll need about 25 minutes to cook through.

I served mine topped with Greek Yogurt (why would anyone ever opt for sour cream with this nutritionally sound option around?) and crispy fried onions.  Prepare for more shots of dumplings than is ever necessary.

These were delicious.  I thought the flavors in the filling were just right. The “beef” flavored TVP seemed to work even better in this dish than in the goulash from Saturday.

Beet juice sort of took over the plate.  Doesn’t make for the best picture, but it did make for a tasty dumpling sauce when combined with the yogurt.

Until tomorrow.  Cannot wait for Valentine’s Day food!

Categories: European Food, Food, Grocery Stores, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

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