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Happy 2011!

6 Jan

HAPPY 2011!

Of all the silly resolutions that I plan to keep such as:

1. Eat right – focus on health
2. Less fluid time
3. Discipline – sleeping, waking and working

The last one seems to be the hardest. It also involves being disciplined enough to write my posts quite close to when the actual event occurred. Not weeks or month *hangs head in shame* after, when I have close to recollection of said event until flipping through pictures in the camera. 😛 Also, that is the Rilakkuma oven mitts that I got for Christmas, along with a million other Rilakkuma goodies.

I purchased the Vegan Yum Yum cookbook back in the Fall of 2009 while I was in Chicago. But I didn’t bring the book back to Melbourne with me in 2010 so had not tried many recipes. Finally got down to doing so when I selected three dishes to make for our weekly family dinner (that my parents would actually eat). I ran out of time so ended up with 2, and saved the third for lunch the next day. Easy peasy.

Roasted Cauliflower and Wilted Spinach Salad (p212) was absolutely delicious, the recommended serving of 4 was enough to feed 8 when paired with one or two sides. Leftovers was enjoyed cold the next day; I will make this for my school bentos for sure. Dad being my dad, left the raw spinach leaves untouched; he likes his veggies cooked through. I think roasted cauliflower is a bit underrated, this needs to go into future roasts more often!

Chipotle Basil Corn Chowder (p171) was also a hit! As usual, the portion was so generous that I had soup for my next two lunches. It was so hearty and was a breeze to cook. It asked for 3 cups of fresh sweet corn, and I had to take 3 breaks between slicing the kernels off the cob because it was that painful for me. I hate doing such boring crap, but it seems like the extra work paid off, the chowder required a bit more salt than stated to balance out the sweetness. But if you’re pressed for time, then dump a bag of frozen corn into the pot anyway. Perfect with some crusty homemade bread.

Sugar and Spice Snap Peas (p111) was a cinch to make, but the sweetness in the sauce was a bit odd for me. I mixed it up with both snow and snap peas, and added some sesame oil in the sauce. The addition of chilli flakes in a sort of Chinese dish with soy sauce was also strange, I might try this again with chilli sauce instead, minus the agave.

words@random recently received this book and had a positive review of the Super Quick Tomato Basil Cream Pasta. I might make this soon!

Dumplings and Wontons

11 Nov

There’s something so magical about these little parcels of tofu and mushroom goodness. Paired with lots of starch goodness on the outside and salty soy sauce, dumplings and wontons are definitely up there on my list of comfort food on a weekday night. They are incredibly easy to make, and look splendid once cooked. Everyone thinks you’re an amazing chef when you make some. Gather a group of friends, prepare the ingredients beforehand, sit at the table with some good tunes as you keep the conversation flowing, and wrap these little yummy things with your nimble fingers. You’ll be nomming on these in no time. May I also recommend frying a batch when a plate’s been filled up? You do need fuel to keep you going…

1. Gather your ingredients and cube everything!

2. Season generously! And I mean it! Then let this sit for 15 minutes as you lay your table with newsprint. No mess to clean up later!

3. Now put a teaspoon of filling in the middle of your wrapper. You don’t want to be too greedy. Exploding dumplings are not unheard/unseen of. Not speaking from personal experience.

4. Wrap! There are a few methods of doing so. I use the pea pod method as demonstrated here. My aunt’s a CHAMP at dumpling making. She taught me how to wrap them. Instead of making folds across in one direction, stop halfway and start folding from the opposite end, so that they meet in the center. Dust a plate with flour before placing dumplings.

I had 7 dumpling wrappers and so wontons with the rest of the filling. In this instance, use the “half moon” wrap as shown in the link above. I made 34 of them. Freeze the extras for a no fuss dinner.

Now that the hard work’s been done, there are a number of cooking options. Boil, steam or panfry the dumplings; deep-fry or boil the wontons.

The trick to panfrying dumplings is to add 1/4 cup of water into your pan after the bottoms had browned and put the lid on, allowing the insides to cook without burning the base.

Cook some broth and pop about 6 -8 dumplings in for a super comforting soup as you watch another episode of The Office.

Dumplings and Wontons
Ingredients:
300g of firm tofu, cubed
6 large dried mushrooms, soaked and cubed
2 large spring onions, sliced thinly

1 packet of dumpling or wonton wrappers

Seasoning:
5 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs dark soy sauce
1 tbs sesame oil
1/2 tsp ground white pepper (I know most people don’t seem to favour this, so reduce as required)

Dipping Sauce:
Soy sauce and sliced ginger or chilli sauce

Season tofu, mushrooms and spring onions for 15 minutes. Reserve mushroom liquid for broth. Add 1 tbs of liquid if season is running a bit low.

To panfry: Well grease a non-stick pan and place dumplings neatly and heat pan over large flame. As it starts sizzling, reduce to medium and watch as the bottoms start browning. When bottoms are firm, add a 1/4 cup of water and place lid on. Once most liquid has evaporated, remove lid and serve when skins are soft. You can flip it on one side and fry that too.

To make wonton soup: Bring about 2 cups of broth and reserved and strained mushroom liquid and handful of goji berries to a boil and add 1 chopped carrot and some mushrooms. When carrots are soft, plonk in wontons and cook for 5 minutes will skins are translucent. Throw in green leafy vegetables like choy sum and baby boy choy if you have on hand. This will also make a good meal if you put in some noodles. Serve with thinly sliced spring onions or coriander.

To make dipping sauce: Mix soy sauce and thinly sliced ginger together. I prefer mixing soy sauce and chilli sauce.

我爱饺子!