Sunday, February 6, 2011

Gung Hay Fat Choy! What's for Dinner?



It seems like just yesterday that I was living in Oakland with my family.  I have many wonderful memories about this time in my life.  Of particular importance to me were our annual family ventures to San Francisco for Chinese New Year.  Oh how I loved this event!  The bright colors, pungent smells, and the loud firecrackers are what I remember most vividly. With my cool velcro My Little Pony shoes snugly on my feet, I would stand on the sidelines wide-eyed and in total amazement.  The huge lions and dragons would shake and spin past me. I was fascinated. 

As an adult, I still enjoy the parade, but I particularly enjoy the idea of new beginnings. For those of us that wish we could have another New Year's Day, why not choose Chinese New Year as your fresh start? Even though the Chinese New Year was officially last week, celebrations last for the next couple of weeks.   These days you won't catch me in velcro My Little Pony shoes anymore, but you can expect to see me on the sidelines in Uggs, with the same amazement I've always had.  February 12th in San Francisco expect to see the usual spectacular parade.  It's a must see!



What's for Dinner?

Let's Celebrate Chinese New Year with Some Delicious Food!

Wonton Cups with Cream Cheese and Chutney

courtesy of marthastewart.com



Prep: 20 minutes
Total: 20 minutes

Ingredients

Makes 12
  • 12 rectangular (3 1/2-by-3-inch) wonton wrappers
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 bar (3 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature- I used a vegan cream cheese and it was fantastic!
  • 1/4 cup jarred mango chutney
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 walnut halves, broken into pieces
  • Sliced chives, or scallion (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stack wonton wrappers and, using a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut into rounds. Working with 3 rounds at a time (and keeping the remaining covered with a damp towel), spread them out on a work surface; brush one side of each wrapper with oil.
  2. Tuck rounds into nonstick mini-muffin cups, oiled side up; press down to fit into bottom and sides. Bake until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool slightly before removing.
  3. In a small bowl, mix cream cheese, chutney, and mustard. Spoon about 2 teaspoons cream-cheese mixture into each cup; garnish with chives, if desired, and walnut pieces. Serve.
Read more at Marthastewart.com: Wonton Cups with Cream Cheese and Chutney - Martha Stewart Recipes
The wonton cups with cream cheese and chutney not only tasted great, but the presentation was very charming. Tiny little cups hold a delicious mix of mango chutney, cream cheese and other yummy ingredients.  Ben and I were talking about how much we needed to experience some new and unusual flavors.  Our palates were in need of something different.  Like aromatherapy, spices can act similarly to boost our moods and to brighten our spirits.

Pot Sticker Dumplings and Soy Vinegar Sauce

courtesy of marthastewart.com

 Ingredients
Makes 36 dumplings
  • SOY-VINEGAR DIPPING SAUCE
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 whole scallion, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 hot green chili, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • DUMPLINGS
  • 1/2 pound ground turkey, chicken, or pork (if using poultry, add 1 teaspoon peanut oil to the mixture) * I added 1/2 lb extra firm tofu, very finely chopped.  This was added instead of the  meat.  Delicious*
  • 1 cup finely chopped bok choy
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 large egg white
  • 36 dumpling wrappers
  • Peanut oil, for frying

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for the dipping sauce. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the turkey, bok choy, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, and salt. Stir in the egg white.
  3. Working with 6 at a time, lay down the dumpling wrappers on a work surface. Spoon 1 teaspoon of filling onto each one. Lightly wet the edge of each wrapper with water. Fold the dough over and pinch around the edges. This is easiest done by picking up each dumpling and pinching around the edges with thumb and forefinger. Place on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap to keep the dumplings from drying out. Repeat until all filling is used. (Freeze any dumplings that will not be cooked immediately. After they are frozen, transfer them to a resealable plastic bag or wrap in plastic.)
  4. To cook the dumplings, heat a large skillet and swirl some oil around to coat the pan. Add a single layer of pot stickers. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes (2 minutes longer if frozen), until they begin to turn golden on the underside. Don't move them. Add 1/4 cup of water to the pan and cover immediately. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the meat is cooked through and the dumplings release from the pan. Serve immediately with the dipping sauce.
From Mad Hungry, November 2010

Read more at Marthastewart.com: Pot Sticker Dumplings and Soy Vinegar Sauce - Martha Stewart Recipes


I liked the dumplings.  For some reason though, I thought they'd be a little firmer.  Instead, they were a cross between a wet noodle and an egg roll.  Since I've never cooked Chinese food before (let alone pot sticker dumplings) I'm sure that had something to do with it.  Otherwise, very tasty.  The sauce is great, especially If you're battling a cold/flu like we were.  However, DO NOT give the sauce to small kids!  The hot pepper is way too spicy.  Oh, and if the older kids are chopping, remind them to thoroughly wash their hands after handling a hot pepper!  If not, be prepared to lend a shoulder to cry on.



                                                       Fried Rice with Tofu and Flaxseed
courtesy of marthastewart.com

 

Ingredients

Serves 4
  • 1/2 package (7 ounces) firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and finely grated
  • 3/4 cup fresh shelled or frozen thawed peas
  • 6 scallions, white and light-green parts only, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 tablespoon whole brown flaxseed, plus 2 teaspoons ground brown flaxseed (from about 1 teaspoon whole)
  • 3/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • Freshly ground pepper

Directions

  1. Gently toss tofu with 1 tablespoon soy sauce in a medium bowl; set aside.
  2. Bring rice and 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cover; reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until rice is tender and water has been absorbed, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add eggs, and cook, stirring, until just starting to set, about 30 seconds. Add reserved rice; stir to coat and break up any lumps. Reduce heat to medium-low, and add carrot, peas, and scallions. Cook until heated through, about 4 minutes. Add whole and ground flaxseed, remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce, the sesame oil, and tofu; cook 5 minutes more. Season with pepper.
Read more at Wholeliving.com: Fried Rice with Tofu and Flaxseed

This fried rice is by far the best that I've ever had!  After following this recipe, I will never think that Chinese food is better left to the restaurants.  The end result is definitely worth busting out your wok...or frying pan.  If you don't consume eggs, then just add a little more tofu to taste.  

When Gabriel was served the fried rice, he balked at the veggies and immediately made pincer claws out of his hands.  His little pincers went straight for the tofu ( he called it the chicken, hehehe).  Gabriel ate the tofu and rice but no vegetables.  Who knows, maybe next time he'll reach for something green? 


Photo Gallery of Fried Rice with Tofu Flaxseed


Wild Wood tofu is a great brand. I used super firm (can I say that?)
Frying the egg
The vegetables and rice
Everything is finished and needs to be plated.
The fried rice with tofu flaxseed is complete.

Photo Gallery of pot sticker dumplings and soy vinegar sauce

Sarah Elizabeth is reading her "cookbook" next to me.
Wonton stuffing
Wonton sheets are the canvas for a delicious mixture of tofu and greens.
I don't know....there is something very intriguing about red cabbage.  It's a looong story. Actually, I left my grocery list at home, and I had to remember most of everything on the menu by memory!  The only thing I mixed up was that I purchased a little (and I must say adorable) red cabbage. 
Frying...be careful around HOT oil!
The pot sticker dumplings and soy vinegar sauce

Photo Gallery wonton cups with cream cheese chutney

Ben was home early from work to celebrate the special day.  He didn't know what was in store... 
-he was only being silly ;)
Sarah and her Daddy are cooking together.  Her brother's were too sick to be in the kitchen.  Instead, they are sleeping and getting room service.  Aren't they lucky? 
The wonton shells before cooking
The wonton shells after cooking.
The mango chutney
The wonton cups with cream cheese chutney.  I loved the ginger and the chutney flavors.  Very refreshing
A little blurry, this picture captures one of Sarah's adored expressions.
Happy New Year from the Dickersons (from those of us that are awake)!


~Dinner Was Served~

1 comment:

Carl said...

Morgan, your cuisine travels the globe! I want to try your fried rice, and the won tons. Sarah is adorable, as always. And I like seeing Ben in there doing his thing.

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