Grocery Stores

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

Sunrise International Supermarket: Knoxville Grocery Scene I

Last night, I got home around 8 PM, and as much as I am dedicated to this project, I figured I’d better plan one day of a break from Pearl Project cooking per week.  Thus, Jordan and I supped at Tomato Head.  The 2.95 side salad is the only house side salad from a restaurant that I have ever craved.  I recommend mushroom sesame dressing.

Even though I did not cook last night, I still have a post I’d like to share with you.  In preparation for the Pearl Project, I’ve been expanding my horizons as far as grocery shopping is concerned.  Last week marks the second time I visited the Sunrise International Supermarket in west Knoxville (8905 Kingston Pike).

At this point, I’ve visited twice.  Honestly, the first time I shopped at this market, I felt thrilled and overwhelmed at the same time.  I was in the market for probably half and hour and only purchased rice starch and millet. Before you begin to judge, I want you to see that there is an entire aisle of soy sauce:

There’s also an entire aisle of candy, cookies, and crackers that I’ve never seen before.  (Aside from Pocky sticks which I am very familiar with thanks to my older sister–hey, Shannon!)

And naturally, there were noodles.  Soooo many noodles.  I was intrigued by the variations.

I found some pretty tapioca noodles that I need to find an excuse to buy:

The market also has large seafood and produce sections.  In fact, the seafood section seems to hit your nose as soon as you enter the market.  But it doesn’t take long before you’re forgetting the smell while searching for frozen banana leaves.  The produce has a number of items I cannot even tell you about.  And others I wouldn’t ordinarily think to use in my cooking.  Think aloe and fragrant pears.

One item I know I will never purchase, but was for some unknown reason still curious/intrigued to see was balut.  Not sure what it is?  Here’s a balut (egg) Wikipedia article for you.  Eewww.

Cannot say for sure if 12.99 is a good price for balut or not.

When I left after my first visit, I was overwhelmed, yes.  Still, I was excited to have been in a place that felt so bewildering.  Like doing a bit over travel without leaving Knox County.

The second time I visited, I had a more focused grocery list and was able to navigate around a bit better.  Like every grocery store, it takes a little while to find your way around efficiently.  Unlike every grocery store, you will be told “Happy New Year!” weeks after January 1st.  Truly got me in the spirit for the Pearl Project kick-off and the Year of the Dragon.

¡Voy a volver mañana con la comida de Costa Rica!

Categories: Food, Grocery Stores | 3 Comments

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