Chard dumplings with olives, raisins and pistachios

chard dumplings

chard dumplings

Here at The Ordinary, we’ve had a…well, it’s been a rough week in some ways. Not horrible, but emotional. One night, probably the night of our greatest stress, the boys were calling out….”Everybody! Everybody! Everybody!” Familiar, but I couldn’t quite remember what it was. And then it clicked…it was this moment from Blues Brothers…

It happens to be one of my favorite cinematic moments! It’s the pinnacle of this film, which is zany, yes, and over-the-top, yes, but is also so full of honesty, warmth, humanity and soul, that it becomes unforgettable. When Elwood says …

And remember, people, that no matter who you are and what you do to live, thrive and survive, there’re still some things that makes us all the same.

… he speaks the truth! He’s talking, of course, about needing someone to love, but I’ve always thought that he’s also talking about needing music, and the joy of making music with other people, or just dancing to music made by other people. And this is some of the most joyful dancing I’ve ever seen!!

Yeah. I made these dumplings like asian steamed dumplings (or my interpretation of asian steamed dumplings.) In this house they’re also called “kung fu panda dumplings.” But the filling was inspired by two things…first of all, my world-renowned love of chard, raisins and nuts. And second of all, my fascination with the Latin American practice of combining raisins and olives. I’ve read about this quite a bit! It’s a filling for empanadas and pies, amongst other things. It shouldn’t work, but it does, Oh yes it does!!! So those were the principles behind these little dumplings. I made them a day ahead, and then we toasted them so that they got a little brown on their soft tops.

Here’s Wilson Pickett with Everybody Needs Someone to Love.
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Steamed dumplings with beets, black beans and lime

Beet dumplings (these have been toasted, on day 2, so they’re a little browned on top!)

As Oscar Wilde famously said, “When a person remakes beet dumplings after having ruined the first batch by dropping the entire thing on the ground, this illustrates the triumph of hope over experience.” Well, he may not have used those exact words, but the sentiment was there. Can’t you just see him in a beet-red velvet suit? Maybe not on a day as hot as this one!! Anyway, here at The Ordinary, we believe in second chances. If, at first, you ruin your entire dinner and waste a bunch of ingredients, try try again, but this time let somebody else carry the food out to the table. That’s our motto. So David cleverly fixed the broken bamboo steamer, and we decided to spend one of the warmest days of the year standing over a steaming wok. Actually – you don’t need to spend much time over the stove at all, making this. You just leave the steamer on the wok for twenty minutes, and that’s that! Ever since The Dinner of Disaster, I’ve been wanting to try the combination of beets, black beans, tamari, lime and basil. It sounded like such a nice earthy/sweet/tart/salty combination. And it seemed like it might turn out quite pretty, judging from the mess of innards we cleaned off the ground.

Tamari – lime – basil dipping sauce

It turned out very delicious! The dumplings are plump and juicy, pleasingly soft, but with a bit of crunch from the pine nuts. The star of the show, for the boys, was the tamari dipping sauce, which we made with balsamic, brown sugar, lime, basil and hot red pepper flakes. They’ve been eating it on everything – rice, long noodles, green peas. The dumplings were very pretty, too! Dark, rosy, and with a hint of green. If you don’t have a steamer, you can make these in a regular vegetable steamer, of even bake them in the oven. They come out a little crisper that way.

Inside a beet dumpling

Here’s Byron Lee and the Dragonaires with Scorcher.
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