Come to My Virtual Table

Okay.  I never should have mentioned the squash turnovers and pan-fried dumplings if I didn’t want to write the recipes down!  Emails, phone calls, even people I’ve bumped into on the street want to know how to make them.  Here they are. You can make the filling ahead, or  both recipes in their entirety  if you want to get a head start before the big day.  And if you decide to serve them on Thanksgiving, I will think of you at the table with me, sharing our new tradition of eating vegan, even on the holidays.

Squash Filling for Pan-fried Dumplings and Phyllo Turnovers

Ingredients:

1 medium-large butternut squash, washed, cut vertically, and seeded

olive oil for sauteing

1/2 a large sweet onion, minced fine

1 large, tart apple, peeled, cored and diced fine

1/4 c dried cranberries

2 tbsp. unsweetened, shredded coconut (optional)

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

5 tbsp. fresh sage, bruised and minced fine

1/8 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg

1/3 c walnuts, chopped fine (Trader Joe’s sells them already chopped fine— what a gift!)

3 tbsp. maple syrup

salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, spray with non-stick cooking spray, and place the squash on it, cut side down.  Bake on center rack in oven for about 50 minutes, or until the neck of the squash feels tender when you press down on it.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool.  When cool enough to handle, turn halves over and scoop out the squash.  Alternatively, peel the skin off the squash when it is cool enough to handle.  (Tip:  if the squash gets really cold, the skin is harder to peel off.  I usually do it as soon as I can handle it without getting burned.)

Place the squash in a large bowl and mash it gently with a fork.

While squash is roasting, prepare the remaining ingredients for the filling.  Into a large non-stick skillet set over medium heat, drizzle about 2 or 3 tbsp. olive oil.  Swirl the olive oil around the pan and add the onion.  Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the onion begins to turn translucent.  Add the apple, the cranberries, and the coconut.  Cook for about 3 more minutes, then add the sage, nutmeg, and cinnamon.  Stir and remove from heat.  Add the walnuts, salt and pepper, maple syrup, and stir again.

Spoon the ingredients from the skillet into the squash and mix gently until well combined.  At this point, you can stop and refrigerate the filling for up to 3 days.  Otherwise, proceed with the rest of the recipe.

For the Pan-fried Dumplings:

1 pkg. wonton wrappers from the grocery store (found near the tofu and soy cheese, etc., usually in the refrigerated produce section)

or

1 pkg. vegan rice wonton wrappers from an Asian market

about 1/3 of the recipe for the squash filling (you will use the rest for the phyllo turnovers)

1 small bowl of water

canola oil or safflower oil for frying

Method:

On a large, flat surface, such as a cutting board or smooth counter top, lay out about 1/4 of the wrappers.  Keep the rest of the wrappers under a clean, damp towel to keep from drying out.

Using a small spoon, place about 3/4 – 1 tsp. of filling in the center of each wrapper.  Working with one dumpling at a time, dip your finger into the water bowl and coat half of the edge of the dumpling.  Fold the dry edge over the wet edge and press firmly to create a seal.  Take the two corners of the dumpling and press them together until they are sealed.  Place finished dumpling on a wax paper covered large platter.

Continue making the dumplings until the first batch is finished.  Cover them with plastic wrap or more waxed paper and place in refrigerator.

Repeat with laying out the next 1/4 package of wrappers and so on, until you have used up all the wrappers.  Or you can stop when you have made half the package.  You can freeze the dumplings at this point* and finish them right before you are ready to serve them.

To Cook the Dumplings:

Heat a heavy, non-stick skillet that has a lid over medium-high heat.  Pour in a generous dollop of oil ( I use about 3 tbsp.) and swirl it around the pan.  Add some dumplings.  You should fill up the bottom of the pan, but the dumplings should not touch each other.  Cook until the bottoms of the dumplings are nice and brown, about 2 minutes.  Add about 1/4 water and cover the skillet immediately.  Shake the skillet to prevent the dumplings from sticking and continue to cook until the water is gone, about 2-3 minutes.  Remove skillet from heat, carefully remove dumplings from pan and arrange on a platter.  Continue to cook the dumplings in batches until your platter is full or until you have had enough cooking and want to eat some.

Serve with cranberry chutney and cashew cream for dipping.

*to freeze dumplings, freeze the cookie sheet with the dumplings on it.  When frozen, put the dumplings in a freezer storage bag.  They will keep for a couple of months before they start to suffer from freezer burn…)

For the Phyllo Turnovers:

1 pkg. Phyllo dough, defrosted overnight in refrigerator

olive oil

squash filling

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 ° F.

Open the phyllo dough and unroll it.  Phyllo usually comes in two individually wrapped plastic tubes.  Only open 1 tube at a time.  Place phyllo dough under a lightly damped dish towel to keep it from drying out.  There are a couple of different sizes of sheets of phyllo dough in the markets.  It doesn’t matter which size you buy, but you will have to figure out whether you will be cutting the dough into quarters or thirds.  Whatever size turnover you get is fine. (I am sure there are instructions for using the phyllo dough right on the box.  Go ahead and follow them if it’s easier. Just make sure to use olive oil instead of butter for the brushing)

Fill a small bowl with olive oil.  Have the squash filling close by.

Lay one sheet on phyllo dough on a large cutting board.  Dip a pastry brush into the olive oil and lightly brush the dough all over with the oil.  Place another sheet of dough on top of the first, being careful to line it up closely on top of the first sheet.  Brush lightly with oil.  Add a third layer to the second, and brush with oil again.

With a the tip of a sharp knife, cut the dough length-wise into three or four sections.  Spoon about 2 tbsp. of the squash filling at the base of each section.  Turn the bottom corner of the dough up and then fold at a 45 degree angle.  Continue folding the dough back and forth, corner to corner, as you would fold a flag, until you reach the top of the section.  You should have a small, plump triangle when you are through.  Fold the other two or three sections in the same way.

Transfer the turnovers to a lightly oiled baking sheet and brush them with a little more olive oil.

Repeat process with the phyllo dough until you have either used all the dough or all the filling.  You should have enough filling to finish off the phyllo.  If not, wrap the phyllo carefully in plastic and refrigerate for future use.

Arrange the turnovers close to each other on the cookie sheet, but don’t let them touch.  When your cookie sheet is full, start another one if necessary.

The turnovers can be baked right away for about 20-23 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp.  If you want to make them ahead, they can be frozen in the same manner as the dumplings, then heated from frozen right before serving.  They might need a couple of extra minutes in the oven.  They can also be reheated at the same temperature, but just for 10 minutes or so.

Serve with cranberry chutney, cashew cream, or cashew cream dolled up with some freshly chopped sage  for a little more “Thanksgiving” taste.

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3 Comments on “Come to My Virtual Table”

  1. Sharon Says:

    Thanks, Elizabeth!

  2. Pat Earle Says:

    YUM even though we are meat eaters I’lltry the dumplings for “starters” Thaanks

  3. Craig Says:

    You made a lot of people VERY happy. Those who now have the recipe, and those of us who thoroughly enjoyed the meal with you on Thanksgiving Day.


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