Spelt Dumplings (Johnny Cakes)

Alkaline Spelt Dumplings

I gave up on making dumplings years ago. Mostly because I stopped buying white flour which produces the crispy and fluffy deliciousness that I grew up enjoying with my Jamaican family. Whole wheat flour doesn’t do it well and in life, sometimes you just have to let go. But recently a shift took place that brought dumplings to mind again.

Urbndervish was assigned to teach evenings this semester and if you’ve been with us a while, you might recall that he only eats one meal a day. It’s no average meal by any means and after all these years, he has stuck with it. So with his work day now starting at 1pm, we’ve shifted our family meal to brunch, as opposed to dinner, and there’s just something about brunch that merits a starchy addition like toast, boiled green bananas, chickpea flour omelets, or my new favorite, Spelt Dumplings.

Vegan Jamaican Meal

On a whim one morning, I whipped out some spelt flour and was wholly impressed. Not only were the dumplings crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, they also comply with the Electric/Alkaline Food List of Chef Ahki. Spelt does have some gluten, but less than common wheat flour and even better, spelt isn’t genetically modified or likely to be sprayed with pesticides. Another bonus I noticed when using spelt flour was that the dumplings didn’t absorb a lot of oil. Even though I used virgin coconut oil, it was great that I didn’t need to keep replenishing my cast iron skillet.

Ingredients

2 cups of wholemeal spelt flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder

½ teaspoon of Himalayan pink salt

1 cup of ice cold water (yes, the water must be cold because Grandma says so)

Virgin coconut oil

Directions

1. Combine dry ingredients

2. Add the ice cold water and form a large sticky ball of dough

3. Add enough coconut oil to a heated skillet for pan frying, not deep frying

Alkaline Spelt Dumplings

4. Form small balls from one heaping tablespoon of dough and flatten before placing in heated oil

Spelt Johnny Cakes

5. Pan fry the dumplings until brown on all sides

Alkaline Spelt Dumplings

 

Let us know how your dumplings turned out and feel free to post a pic on our Facebook page.

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Rediscovering Queens

Beautiful Farm Day

I’m a Queens girl who loves Brooklyn.  On every visit to New York, I find myself sneaking to the PRB (People’s Republic of Brooklyn) for a taste of the vibrant culture, free activities, and delicious food.  But crossing boroughs with a baby gets taxing, so we’ve redirected our attention to Queens and have been pleasantly surprised.

Queens County Museum Farm

This lovely oasis was a convenient answer to Lil’ Z’s questions about how things grow.  Visiting an active, functional farm with animals, a farmer’s market, and a community compost program was a relaxing way to spend a summer afternoon.

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Queens Botanical Garden

This garden is patch of peace in the bustling Flushing neighborhood.  The rose and fragrance gardens were our favorite.  Take note of the free admission days and hours.

Jamaica Breeze

A new spot for veg-friendly dining has popped up in Queens.  They’re offering a refreshingly new concept for Jamaican dining in New York– a self-serve hot bar where you pay by weight.  The word buffet is a bit misleading, so be forewarned.  They consistently have one tofu dish and an ital bean stew on the hot bar.  Their rice and vegetable dishes aren’t cooked with meat, so fill up and enjoy!

 

Review: The Door in Queens

Casablanca

My hometown welcomed us with a cold embrace two weeks ago.  A disorganized flight check-in, courtesy of Iberia Airlines, foreshadowed a rough journey ahead.  The budget airline had us running all over Casablanca airport in search of our boarding passes, failed to communicate our vegan meal preference to the partnering airline, and had no complimentary offerings other than small cups of water to offer us onboard.  Nonetheless, we made our way to New York via Madrid and London just in time for Lil’ Z’s first snowfall and did our best to stay warm in the cold city.

First Snowfall

On our last weekend in New York my family gathered at one of our favorite restaurants—The Door—where they promise an elegant Jamaican dining experience.  Over the years they have upheld their mission by upgrading the cuisine and hospitality associated with Caribbean dining.  Many eateries operate like a glorified kitchen with inconsistent menus, long waits, and a shortage of customer service.  The Door, however, has set itself apart and was the most suitable place for our patronage.

Salad

The Door’s menu offers traditional Jamaican favorites alongside a healthy selection of alternatives.  The full gamut of jerk, curried, and stewed meat and seafood dishes sit comfortably alongside salad meals, vegetarian dishes, and plant-based side orders.  Their vegetarian selection includes brown-stewed tofu, tofu stir-fry, curried soy chunks, and ital stew.  Each dish is thoughtfully prepared and well-seasoned for both the familiar and novice palate.  Entrees are served with either soup or salad, preceded by baskets of rolls and cornbread.  The beverage selection includes mainstays like pineapple ginger drink, carrot juice, and sorrel made from dried hibiscus.

Ital Stew with Rice and Peas

Ital Stew with Rice and Peas

While some have complained that on occasion their service and food quality has fallen short, these occurrences are obviously rare since the restaurant is permanently packed on any given day.  More than their weekly jazz band or their enchanting décor, The Door succeeds at hospitality.  The mastermind behind their success is a sharp and decisive businesswoman who can be regularly seen chatting with guests in the dining hall and commanding her staff from the front annex to the kitchen.  Their mostly Jamaican and Jamaican-American staff are consistently warm, professional, and friendly.    They hosted our party of almost 20 with seamless ease, precision, and exceptional cordiality.  Admittedly, there are cheaper places to eat good food but The Door serves ambiance just as savory as their cuisine.

Brown Stew Tofu with Rice and Peas

Brown Stew Tofu with Rice and Peas