Today was sort of stressful. I actually had a pretty sharp idea for dinner, and was excited to make it. But by the time I was in the kitchen trying to get it going, I was tired, and grouchy, and the kid was making an unholy mess with flour and water and a bunch of other things, and I messed up my idea, which was yam and nettle dumplings stuffed with braised pork.
What we actually had, as a result of poor attention to detail, was a truly half-assed save that nonetheless managed to taste OK and used up some of the leftover french fry oil from the other day. The dumplings started off well enough, with steamed Japanese yam puréed with just-picked and blanched nettles from the edge of the yard. The result was a gorgeous, velvety, deep green. But then, distracted by Milo, I cracked in a whole egg instead of just the yolk, and that’s where it all went to hell. Some flour, leftover brown rice, some more flour–there’s no way to bring this kind of soggy mess back to a stiffness without steaming a whole other yam. And there was neither a whole other yam nor the time to deal with something else. So I dumped the pork in, too (minced loin seasoned with garlic chives, sesame oil, ramps, soy sauce, and rice vinegar) and made the whole gloppy mess into little cakes that I dredged in panko and then fried until crispy and brown.
The pile of greens is more garlic mustard that I sautéed quickly in oil with garlic and lemon. It’s so good this way, like bitter spinach. And it’s free. I’ve decided that we’re not buying any greens from now on; between the wild stuff in our yard and the domestic ones coming up fast out in the garden, there’s no need any more. It’s already more than we can eat. I spooned some of the ramp aioli on the plates along with some tahini-miso sauce that we had mixed up earlier for something else, and sprinkled some of the tasty little cabbage flowers around with togarashi for gratuitous internet appeal.
One upside to this fiasco was that an extra fritter will make a pretty good lunch for someone at school tomorrow: