Lumpia

Fried lumpia is a traditional Filipino dish, similar to egg rolls,  that are stuffed with pork and vegetables then fried to perfection. When I think of lumpia it makes me smile because it brings me back to happy childhood memories of helping my Mom in the kitchen. Often times, we would whip up this dish for large family gatherings or as a savory snack during the holidays.
What I love most about Filipino cuisine is its tastes very from salty to bitter; spicy and sweet. And what I love about lumpia (besides the garlic-vinegar dipping sauce) is everyone’s recipe is slightly different. My co-worker Anna usually adds in bean sprouts and green beans to the traditional list of veggies while others add in water chestnuts, mushrooms or even green onions.

Here’s a more traditional recipe for lumpia that was passed down from my Mom, which includes a little cilantro for added freshness.

Lumpia

  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, minced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 15 – 30 lumpia wrappers
  • Egg wash (to seal the wrappers)

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet or wok and cook the pork until browned. Remove the pork and set aside. Drain grease from the pan leaving a thin coating. Add garlic and onions and saute for about 2 minutes. Add in the carrots and continue to cook until slightly tender, yet still crisp (about 5 minutes). Remove from the heat and stir in the cooked pork. Season filling with soy sauce, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Set aside until cooled. (make sure filling is cool to the touch, otherwise it will make the wrappers soggy)

Place filling towards the center edge of the wrapper. Fold over the corner, tuck in the sides and roll neatly. I prefer to roll shorter / fatter rolls where some prefer to roll long and skinny – it’s up to you. Now seal the wrapper with egg wash or water. Below is an example from the back of the wrapper package:

     

Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add 4-5 pieces of lumpia to the oil and fry until golden brown on all sides (about 2 minutes). Drain on paper towels and serve immediately with a garlic-vinegar dipping sauce.

Garlic Dipping Sauce

  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and serve alongside the lumpia.


To me, lumpia brings people together. I recently made it to surprise my grandmother on her 85th birthday as it’s her favorite Filipino dish.

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Homemade Gnocchi in a Simple Tomato Sauce

Gnocci with Homemade sauce

This year’s tomato harvest at Creekview Farm was never ending! From San Marzano’s to beautiful Herilooms, we had enough harvest for two large batches of tomato sauce, two large batches of bloody mary mix, endless caprese salads and beyond. To help me warm up on these cooler nights, I decided to pair our homemade tomato sauce with a simple gnocchi recipe topped with shaved Pecorino and fresh herbs.

Tomato Sauce

  • Tomatoes (I used San Marzano tomatoes from Creekview Farm)
  • Fresh oregano
  • Fresh basil
  • Bay leaves
  • Garlic, chopped
  • Carrots, chopped
  • Onions, chopped
  • Celery, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Creekview Tomato Strainer

I started off by pureeing the tomatoes using our super old-fashioned tomato food strainer (I remember my Mom using this all the time as a kid). The strainer helps separate out the skins and seeds, while keeping the yummy pulp and juices. And what I love most about making tomato sauce is the fact that you really can make it your own and add in whatever herbs, vegetables and seasonings you want. For this sauce, I kept it very simple by adding in a few chopped vegetables and herbs and letting it simmer all day on low until it reached the perfect consistency.

Creekview Herbs

Add chopped vegetables and garlic to a large heavy pot over medium heat, add olive oil and cook for about 5 minutes (be careful not to burn the garlic). Add tomatoes,  chopped herbs of your choice, 1-2 bay leaves and sea salt and simmer on low heat until tomato sauce has darkened and you’ve reached your preferred consistency. I simmered mine for about 8 hours on low – make sure you are constantly tasting the sauce through out the day, adding in more herbs if you desire. Season sauce with more salt and freshly ground pepper.

Ground Pepper

Store in an airtight container for a week in the refrigerator or 3 months in the freezer. TIP: when freezing, make sure you freeze in 2-4 serving portions.

Gnocchi

  • 4 russet potatoes
  • 2 cups flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 egg
  • salt
  • Pecorino or Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Fresh basil

Begin by boiling the potatoes (skins on) until soft and tender. While they are still warm, peel them and pass them through a potato ricer (if you don’t have a ricer, you can use a hand masher or fork – just be sure to not overwork the potatoes). Gather the potatoes into a mound and form a well in the center. Add the egg and salt and begin to mix together with a fork, gradually adding in the flour. Once mixed, begin to knead the dough gently until dough is slightly dry to the touch.

Aprons Gnocchi

Form dough into log and slice off 1-inch pieces. Take one of the pieces and roll into a rope about 3/4 inch in diameter. With a sharp knife cut the rope crosswise every 3/4 inch. Continue the same process with the rest of the dough.

Aprons Gnocchi

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once ready, drop in the dumplings for about 2 minutes (they will begin to float). Remove them with a slotted spoon and transfer them to an ice bath to stop the cooking. Remove them quickly from the bath and drain on a paper towel.

Aprons Gnocchi

When ready to serve, heat your sauce and toss gently with the gnocchi. Garnish with freshly shaved Pecorino or Parmigiano-Reggiano and basil. Enjoy with Sangiovese or Merlot.

Happy Holidays!

Homemade Farmers Cheese

Farmers Cheese

  • Half gallon of milk
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
  • Cheesecloth
  • Seasoning of choice: olive oil, lemon zest, fresh herbs

Heat the milk in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add salt and stir occasionally to avoid burning the milk. As soon as the milk starts to simmer (about 180-190 degrees), pour in the lemon juice and vinegar and stir. The milk should begin to curdle – if not, add in a little more lemon juice or vinegar. Turn off the heat and let the milk rest for about 10 minutes. Line a colander with at least two layers of cheesecloth. Pour curdled milk into the cheesecloth, tie cloth and hang over a bowl for a 1/2 hour – hour to ensure all the whey has drained (be careful not to let it hang too long, as the result will be too dry).

Farmers Cheese Cheesecloth

Once drained, open cheesecloth and either refrigerate cheese immediately or transfer to a plate to serve. If serving immediately, season with your favorite items: olive oil, lemon zest, salt and pepper and/or favorite fresh herbs such as thyme, parsley and oregano.

Farmers Cheese

This mild cheese is great on crackers or on your favorite crostini. I recently served it up over a crostini topped by tomatoes, basil and olive oil.