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Buchman action adventure thriller romance writer's recipes

“Chinook” Pork Dumplings

Recipe (printable PDF)
Miranda Chase #6


Probably the great-granddaughter of one of the comfort women from the Japanese Army’s occupation during World War II.

Yes, he could work with that. She would have been ostracized by many of her peers for her obvious mixed blood and her clear reversion to her great-grandfather’s Japanese features. Probably even passed over for promotions.

His guess proved accurate over a simple, late-night dinner of noodles with soybean paste and pork dumplings: just turned twenty-seven, she’d been given an undeserved poor review rather than a promotion.

It took only a phone call to fix that, which he made while at the table. Her commanding officer would be transferred to the Tibetan wilderness, and her promotion to master sergeant would be signed by tomorrow. Over a dessert of aiwowo—sticky rice cone cake with a sweet bean paste center and a red fleck of sugar jelly perched like a nipple atop the perfect white ball—a quick e-mail fixed the trivial matter of the advanced health care needed by her ill mother.

Note: I love pork dumplings. And this scene is from a “very bad” Chinese general’s point of view. So, I decided to redeem the pork dumpling from his evil clutches and learn how to make them.

Note 2: I made these with wonton wrappers, which is fine if they’re fried. If you prefer to steam your dumplings, track down or make dumpling wrappers (our stores don’t have them).

Prep Time 20 minutes: / Cook Time: 10 minutes / Total time: 30 minutes

Makes about 25 dumplings

Filling Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 tsp. minced fresh ginger root (you really want the fresh over the powdered)
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarse chopped
  • 1 scallion, coarse chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c. cabbage, chopped (Note: If you use napa cabbage, sprinkle heavily with salt and set aside in a colander for 20 minutes, squeeze hard, and towel dry. We just use white or red head cabbage.)
  • 1 lb. ground pork

Other Ingredients

  • Wonton wrappers (Dumpling wrappers are better but harder to find.)
  • Hoisin sauce, hot mustard sauce, and/or sweet sauce for dipping. (I just use hoisin on my dumplings.)


  1. In a food processor, combine all filling ingredients except pork. Process until minced, but not a past or a puree (10-15 seconds).
  2. Add pork, process until well blended and relatively smooth. (5-10 1 second pulses) (Note: if you don’t have a food processor, it only takes a few minutes to mince everything fine, stir in the liquids, and then combine with the ground pork.)
  3. Make a fingerbowl of water. Rub a damp finger along two adjacent edges of the wonton wrapper.
  4. Place a rounded (but not mounded) teaspoon of the filling in the center of the wrapper. Compact it with fingers or another teaspoon to drive out as much air as possible.
  5. Fold over diagonally and press the two points together. Hold up by the points in one hand.
  6. Start at the outer tip, pinching together tight against the mixture, and work up the side toward the point leaving as few air pockets as possible. Be careful to not squeeze the mixture out the other side.
  7. Repeat from the other edge. (There are lots of videos on how to make pretty folds, I never remember to look them up until my fingers are covered in pork mixture, so I make a few graceless folds and it still tasted great. If you do it right, taking two pleats up each side, it will curve in slightly on itself to make a love seat form when plopped down on its middle.)
  8. Set on a plate dusted lightly with flour. (Literally, stick your dry hand in the flour, dust it off over the plate, and that should do it.)
  9. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
  10. Cook in batches so that they aren’t touching (with more oil as needed for each batch). Cook until interior over 160°F (about 3 minutes). (With tongs, I tip them onto either side for an additional 20-30 seconds a side to fully cook the wonton dough and I love the crunchy finish.)
  11. Serve with sauce(s). Crunch! Crunch! Crunch! Happy! Happy! Happy!

Don’t overfill or they blow out while cooking. This is about right, showing the two wetted edges. Fold dry corner to wet corner.

 Matt’s poorly folded pork dumplings.
Yep, I can eat a plateful in a heartbeat.

Recipe (printable PDF)

Buchman action adventure thriller romance writer's recipes

“Nightwatch” Shepherd’s Pie (2 ways)

Recipe (printable PDF)

Note: you’re getting this one out of order because of a September-long promotional campaign. Don’t worry, more are coming in order.

action adventure thriller buchman
Miranda Chase #12


“Shoot me now, please!” Andi collapsed on the bed of their Gig Harbor team house.

“I don’t have a gun with me.” Miranda wore a long flannel nightgown as she brushed her teeth.

“Pretty please.” She’d survived the evening being all-polite with Mother, but it had been touch and go.

Dunagan Irish Pub & Brewery was a team favorite, but clearly not up to Mother’s standard. Andi’s preferred Irish stew was bucking for release as she flopped across the foot of the bed. Miranda’s shepherd’s pie didn’t appear to be bothering her in the slightest.

Miranda approached from the far side of the bed and looked at her upside down. “If I were to shoot you, you would be dead.”

“That’s the point.”

“Am I right that would upset your mother in the morning?”

“Not half as much as it would upset me having to face her tomorrow morning.”

Miranda sank to sit on the bed by Andi’s head. “I don’t understand. I try so hard, but I don’t.”

NOTE: We love the lentil shepherd’s pie, but it takes more time. But when we’re in the mood for a quick but scrumptious meal, the fast option works great!

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie (the slow one)

Active time: 1 hour / Total time: 2 hours total (Serves 6-8 or great leftovers)

The Topping

  • 3-1/2 lbs. potatoes, peel and cut into 2”-ish chunks – drop into large pot of cold water (enough to cover) to keep them from turning brown
  • 1 c. milk or broth (any kind, chicken is particularly good here)
  • 2 tsp. mustard of choice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Cheddar cheese, grated (keep separate)

The Filling

  • The Sauté – Part I
    • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 3 carrots, diced
  • The Sauté – Part II
    • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced. Or for stronger taste, thin sliced
  • The Sauté – Part III
    • 2 c. lentils, cooked
    • 1 can diced tomatoes. Fire-roasted is good. (14.5 oz.)
    • 1/3 c. broth (any kind)
    • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
    • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce (soy sauce can be a substitute)
    • 1/2 tsp. dried tarragon
    • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano


The Lentils

  1. Simmer lentils 20-30 minutes, don’t let get mushy. Set aside to cool.

The Mashed Potato Topping

  1. Bring potatoes to a boil and cook until tender, about 15 minutes.
  2. Drain, put back into pot. Mash with milk or broth, mustard, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees when potatoes reach a boil.

Make the Filling

  1. While potatoes are heating and boiling: (Sauté I) sauté onion and carrots in olive oil until soft.
  2. (Sauté II) Add garlic in small open area and sauté for 30-60 seconds.
  3. (Sauté III) Add lentils, tomatoes, broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and herbs. Mix. Cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes. (Now the potatoes are probably ready to mash.)

Assemble and Bake

  1. Oil a 9 in. x 9 in. cooking dish and put in the filling. Spoon the mashed potatoes on top, and make an even layer with the back of the spoon.
  2. Bake 25 minutes, sprinkle the grated cheese on top, and bake 5-7 more minutes.
  3. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.

To spice up the filling:

  • 1-1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 poblano chili pepper, chopped
  • 1 c. frozen corn, thawed or canned corn, drained
  • 2 Tbsp. garam masala
  • 1 tsp. turmeric

To spice up the topping:

  • 3 cloves roasted garlic, mashed
  • Pepper Jack cheese instead of Cheddar

Shepherd’s Baked Potatoes (the fast way < 30 minutes)

Serves 1 person per potato

  • 4 russet potatoes (if gold or sweet potato, simply cook less time)
  • The Sauté – Part I
    • 2 Tbsp. butter
    • 1/2 onion, chopped
    • 1 tsp. dried thyme
    • 1 tsp. dried sage
  • The Sauté – Part II
    • 3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
    • 12 oz. ground beef
    • salt and pepper to taste
  • The Sauté – Part III
    • 1 c. broth, beef or mushroom
    • 3 Tbsp. ketchup
    • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • The Sauté – Part IV
    • 1/2 c. frozen peas, thawed
    • 1/2 c. frozen carrots, or corn thawed
  • The Finish
    • 2 Tbsp. butter, unsalted
    • 1 c. Cheddar cheese, grated

The Potatoes

  1. Stab the 4 potatoes in several places with small knife (or they make a mess of your microwave) and microwave about 15 minutes on high, until a knife or fork passes easily through them.

The Topping

  1. (Sauté I) Over medium-high heat, melt 2 Tbsp. of the butter in a large sauté pan. Cook the onion and herbs until the onion is soft.
  2. (Sauté II) Scrape an opening and add the garlic, cook 30 seconds at most. Mix in before it scorches and turns bitter. Then add the beef (breaking into crumbles as you cook it), salt and pepper to taste and cook until pink disappears, 4-5 minutes.
  3. (Sauté III) Stir in the broth, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce.
  4. Cook uncovered, stirring now and again until some of the liquid evaporates and it’s looking saucy (wink, wink) instead of wet. (Sauté IV) Stir in the peas and carrots or corn, and cook 1-2 minutes.

The Finish

  1. Preheat the broiler.
  2. The potatoes are now cooked. Cut them in half lengthwise, hack up the interiors a bit with a fork to make lots of ridges and valleys without utterly destroying the skin. Spread butter on the potatoes. Put on a baking sheet and top with ground beef mixture. Top with cheese.
  3. Broil until the cheese is melted and golden. 2-3 minutes.

Shepherd’s Pie all golden on top.

Now that’s what comfort food is supposed to look like!

Recipe (printable PDF)

Buchman action adventure thriller romance writer's recipes

“Raider” Double Crust Apple Pie

Recipe (printable PDF)
Miranda Chase #5


Miranda handed him a tray with a large portion of steaming lasagna, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, a crusty sourdough bread roll, and a side of fresh apple pie with ice cream, before sitting beside him.

“Which reminds me.” Miranda began cutting up a small skirt steak. She turned to Holly, “Why wouldn’t I be safe around Andi?”

Holly barely balked, “Just something Mike said. Ask him.” Then she picked up a roasted Brussels sprout with her fingers and ate it.

Andi’s eye roll clued him in that it had been her and Holly’s conversation, not his, that Miranda had caught some part of.

He kicked Holly’s shin under the table.

Jeremy squeaked in surprise.

To cover that it was his kick that had gone astray, Mike flipped over the card he’d drawn.

Ace of Spades.

Of course.

Active Time: / Cook Time: / Total time: 10-15 minutes

Pie Dough (you can buy a shell)

  • 2 c. plain flour
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 6 Tbsp. butter (diced and cold)
  • ~1/2 c. ice water


  • 6-8 large Granny Smith apples, sliced thin (pile them up in a pie plate until they make a mound about as high above the pie plate as it is below)
  • Mix in a bowl and let stand for 1/2 hour with:
    • 1/4 c. sugar
    • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
    • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
    • 1 tsp. cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg

The Pie Dough (the key is keep everything cold)

  1. Combine dry ingredients (sift into bowl or drop into a food processor and whirl it a few times).
  2. Add butter and pinch into flour until the texture of coarse sand (or buzz 10 1-second pulses in the food processor).
  3. Add ice-cold water and mix well (or buzz in food processor as you dribble in water). Run until it just comes together. Finish quickly by hand.
  4. Divide in two, flatten into 4” discs. Wrap in cling wrap or wax paper. Return to fridge for an hour (freeze the other half).
  5. Place your rolling pin the fridge as well.

Prepping the Pie

  1. Preheat over to 400° F.
  2. Roll out 1/2 of the dough into a circle until 2-3” larger than your pie plate. (leave the other half in the fridge and work quickly)
    1. Flip occasionally, and brush a bit of flour on the counter.
    2. Lift by rolling it loosely onto your rolling pin.
    3. It will start out to be hard to do, but it will soften all too quickly, so work fast. We don’t want the little butter lenses to melt, as they make the crust lighter.
  3. Use the rolling pin to lay it gently over the pie plate. Do NOT stretch to make it fit (the dough will remember and contract as it bakes). Instead, lift the outer edges and slide toward the middle to fill the pie plate, run up the sides under no tension, and floop over the edges.
  4. Trim off any excess that hangs more than 1/2” off the edge of the pie plate. (This can be used to patch a hole if one happened.)
  5. Put it in the fridge.
  6. Roll out the other 1/2 of the dough as per above.
  7. Retrieve the pie plate, fill with the apple-and-spice mix, nudging to around to make as compact a mound as reasonable. (Don’t press hard as you’ll ding the lower crust.)
  8. Lay the upper crust gently over the mounded apples.
  9. Again trim off any of the excess over 1/2”.
  10. Tuck the 1/2” of the two crusts under the edge of the lower crust so that it rests on the rim of the pie plate. Using a fork, or two fingers from one side pinched by one finger from the other, press the edge into the pie plate.
  11. If you have a pie ring (a protective metal hoop to keep crust edges from burning) put it on. (If not, a few thin strips of aluminum foil may be gently folded over the edges and lapped about 1/2” down into the pie crust.)
  12. Critical: Slice in several 1”-long air vents to release the steam. Feel free to make pretty patterns.
  13. You can also decorate with leftover bits of dough you trimmed off earlier.
  14. If you’re feeling fancy, whisk and egg and brush it over the surface before baking to add to the golden glow.

Baking the Pie

  1. If the oven isn’t up to temperature when you’re ready, put the pie back in the fridge, even if you think it will just be a minute.
  2. Bake for 15 minutes at 400° F.
  3. Lower temperature to 350° F and back for 45 minutes.
  4. Apply to fully cool before serving. Vanilla ice cream would go well here.

A lovely apple pie for my birthday.
(Matt-Matt is my household nickname.)

What’s not to love!
Recipe (printable PDF)

Buchman action adventure thriller romance writer's recipes

“Ghostrider” Fast Fajitas

Recipe (printable PDF)
an action-adventure technothriller Buchman
Miranda Chase #4


Unable to sleep, Miranda sat up in bed and fired up her laptop.

The discussion at dinner had circled around a variety of topics. But one had kept coming back. Once during the fried chicken taquitos appetizer, twice during the main course—two bean enchiladas for her, a monstrous plate of shrimp-and-steak fajitas for Holly, and carne asada burritos for the boys—and yet again over flan and deep-fried ice cream.

Their workspace.

Her personal airplane hangar at the south end of Tacoma Narrows Airport wasn’t really up to the task of high-security military plane-crash investigations any more than their Western Pacific Region offices at the NTSB.

After two hours of lying awake and organizing her thoughts, she’d decided it was time to make some changes.

NOTE: Living for thirty-eight years in the US Pacific Northwest, I ate a lot of utterly amazing Mexican food. My absolute #1 favorite over the years? Fajitas! That big sizzling platter of beef and onions that I can hear coming my way from across the restaurant, with a whole array of colorful sides including: bright salsa and neon guacamole, dusky black beans and brilliantly white sour cream…ah, heaven. So while burritos and other dishes get much more of a mention in Ghostrider, I thought I’d share my homemade fajitas recipe. It’s far simpler (and far easier) than the restaurant version, but still incredibly satisfying in its clean simplicity.

Serves 3-4. Leftovers reheat well.

Prep and Cook time: <20 minutes

The Ingredients

  • 2 boneless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips across the grain cut the short way not the long way. (Tip: To make this easier, freeze the chicken for ten minutes, or sharpen your knife.)
    • You can substitute beef from a lean cut, shrimp, tofu (firm)…
  • 1 large onion, cut in half and then wide moons parallel to the core, rather than slicing end-to-end through the core
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2” wide strips, then in half if too long
  • 1 green bell pepper, the same
  • 1 good squirt hot sauce (such as Sriracha, adds more flavor and depth than heat)
  • 1 T. chili powder, divided
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes or 1/4 tsp. cayenne powder (optional)

Cook and Serve Ingredients

  • 1 T. canola oil, divided
  • 2 flour tortillas per person (we typically use the 8”-ish ones, flavored tortillas spinach and so on are nice too)

Cooking (use a large frying pan)

  1. Heat pan on high with 1/2 Tbsp. canola oil 2-3 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, toss chicken with 1/2 Tbsp. chili powder and 1/2 tsp. cumin powder (and the red pepper and/or hot sauce if used).
  3. Cook chicken (leave on pan 3-4 minutes without moving before flipping).
  4. Set chicken aside in a medium bowl when done (it will cut easily in two with a cooking spatula or spoon and shows no pink in the center).
  5. Add other 1/2 Tbsp. canola oil to pan.
  6. Add vegetables to pan and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 Tbsp. chili powder and 1/2 tsp. cumin.
  7. Cook vegetables 3-4 minutes per side until soft and browning.
  8. Nuke 2 tortillas per person between damp paper towels (20 seconds / pair, 30 seconds for 4, don’t do more than 4 at a time).
  9. Return chicken and any juices to the pan with the vegetables and reheat briefly.
  10. Pour it all into the medium bowl to serve.

Fried up just right

Two fajitas ready to roll and a cold beer? I’m good to go.

Recipe (printable PDF)

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