Thursday, May 29, 2008

.egg rolls.

Whenever I make Chinese food, I *have* to make eggrolls. These aren't your typical cabbage filled rolls with the egg roll wrapper. The recipe I use requires an almost crepe like wrap made of egg, cornstarch, and water. Then it's filled, dipped in a tempura batter and deep fried. It is so yummy. It's a nice variation from the traditional ones you find in most Chinese restaurants or take out shops.
If you have a Pampered Chef food chopper, you'll want to use it. It makes prepping for this thing so much quicker!

Crack 4 eggs in a bowl.

Add 2 Tbsp cornstarch.

Add 1/4 cup water and whisk, working to get rid of any lumps. Sometimes it takes a few minutes for the cornstarch to dissolve, so if it's lumpy at first, don't worry... they should dissipate soon enough.

Heat up a crepe pan. This is a pretty big one. My husband got it for me for my birthday and it was so big, I had to make double the egg mix. If you don't have a crepe pan, use your small saute pan. It will cause the edges to curve up a little, but it will be just fine. How do I know? Because that's what I used to use before I got my lovely crepe pan. :)

Ladle some of the egg batter into the pan. Tilt the pan in a circular fashion to coat the entire thing. When you feel it's cooked on one side, use a spatula to flip it. Cook for only another minute and then remove from pan. Repeat until your batter is all gone.

Put the cooked "crepe" on a plate to cool.

Now for the filling!

Finely chop 1/2 cup carrot.

Finely chop 1/2 cup celery.

Finely chop 1/2 cup onion.

Finely chop 1 Tbsp water chestnuts. (I did more than that in this picture because I needed more chopped water chestnuts for another dish.)

These are bamboo shoots. Bamboo shoots come from bamboo! The bamboo is harvested in the spring or early summer. It's then sliced thinly and boiled until tender. The flavor is rather distinct and is an important component for these eggrolls.

(NOTE:You can find bamboo shoots in your grocery store down the asian foods aisle. They're in a can usually next to the can of water chestnuts.)

Finely chop up 1/4 cup.

Take 1 cup bean sprouts and cut them up. These don't need to be finely chopped. Mix all the veggies together in a large bowl.

In a small bowl put:

1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Mirin
1 tsp Soy sauce
and 1/4 cup water

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a wok. When hot, add 1/2 cup ground pork and fry until cooked.

Dump in the veggies and toss to coat with whatever oil there might be left in the pan. Saute for about 5 minutes until you think the veggies are cooked.

Add the soy sauce/mirin sauce. Cook for another minute.

In that same little bowl, whisk together 1 Tbsp cold water and 1 Tbsp cornstarch. This is going to be our thickener. Add it to the wok and bring to boil. The sauce you added will start thickening up.

Once thick, pull from the heat, transfer to a bowl and let cool.

To assemble, put one of the egg crepes on the counter or cutting board. Put a large Tablespoonful of filling in the center.

Fold in the sides.

Roll up like a burrito. Make sure you have the seam side down so it doesn't unroll.

Repeat until all the wraps and/or filling are used up.

These can be individually wrapped with saran and put in a large ziploc at this point for freezing. I normally make it to this stage and wrap well and hold in the fridge overnight until I need them the next day. Makes it easy when I have company coming.

Before we can cook these, we need to make the dipping batter. In a bowl, mix up 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup cornstarch, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, and 3/4 cup cold water. Whisk everything together so there aren't any lumps.

Dip an egg roll in the batter and coat well.

Carefully put the eggroll in a wok of hot oil (350*) and fry until nice and golden on one side. Turn and fry the other side. When it's golden all the way around, remove from the oil and put on a paper towel to drain.

This is a finished egg roll. You can see that the batter makes it nice and puffy on the outside.

Serve these babies hot with some soy sauce.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

.won ton soup.

We had company over for dinner tonight. I made a huge Chinese feast complete with won ton soup, crab rangoon, bbq pork, almond breaded chicken, and lo mein. So delicious. We were all completely stuffed by the end of the meal.
This recipe was one of my mom's. It was one she got when she took Chinese cooking classes when I was a kid. I grew up making this and all the various dishes she made. The wonton filling can be made up the night before and held overnight in the fridge. It's actually a very easy soup to make. The most time consuming part is filling and forming the won tons.


In a bowl, smoosh together:
1/2 c. ground pork
2 Tbsp chopped water chestnuts
2 Tbsp chopped bamboo shoots
2 Tbsp chopped onion
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp rice wine
1 tsp cornstarch

To make easy work of the chopping, use a food chopper. My Pampered Chef food chopper rocks at this!

You're going to need a package of won ton wraps.

Put a teaspoon sized ball of filling in the middle of the wonton wrapper.

Dip your finger in a bowl of egg white and rub it along the edge. This wets the edge and makes a "glue" to hold everything together.

Fold the wrapper over to make a triangle. Press the edges down with your finger to make sure it's sealed well.

Bring the two ends together and overlap them. Using a little egg white to seal them in position.

Continue doing this until you've used up all of your pork filling.
If you are a fan of fried wontons, you can make it to this point and then freeze in a well sealed bag.
I made these a couple hours before I actually needed them. I wouldn't make them any earlier than that as they tend to get a little soft from the liquid in the filling.

This is bok choy. It is a cabbage with a very subtle taste. It is a traditional vegetable in won ton soup.

What you want to do is pull off any bad leaves. Wash everything well and then chop it up. Set aside until we need to use it.

Chop up some green onion, slicing on the diagonal.
I chopped up an entire bunch because I needed some extra for the crab rangoon. You could get away using less than what is pictured here. Or, if you are a big green onion enthusiast, you can use a lot more!

In a pot put 6-8 cups chicken stock. I used 4 cups chicken stock, then 2 cups water and 1 packet oriental flavoring from one of my Top Ramen. Normally I would use Won Ton soup mix, but I can't seem to find it here! The Top Ramen seasoning packets are very comparible to the taste. Add a tsp of salt into the broth. Mix everything up and bring to a boil.

Once the broth comes to a boil, add the chopped bok coy, 1/4 cup sliced water chestnuts, and 1/2 cup mushrooms (preferrably baby white ones), cut in half, or sliced (if you're using regular white mushrooms).
Cover, reduce heat to medium. Cook for 15 minutes. Add the won tons and cook for another 15 minutes. Add the green onion just before serving.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

School's out for summer!

School is out for my daughter! Wahoo!

To celebrate we're having some friends over for dinner. I'm making Chinese!

On the menu tonight I have:

  • BBQ Pork
  • Crab Rangoon (this is still undecided)
  • Egg Rolls
  • Won Ton Soup
  • Almond Breaded Chicken
  • Stir Fry

Hope you guys have a great day. I'll have these recipes posted tonight or tomorrow morning.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

.grilled italian sausage and veggie panini.

There's nothing better than grilling during the hot months of summer. Although it's not "officially" summer, it's already hot here in Georgia. One of the benefits of living here is that we can grill pretty much year round which we love!

This sandwich takes only 30 minutes to make so if you're just back from the beach and not wanting to spend hours on a meal, this one is perfect. It's not very heavy. It's quick. And it's very delicious.

This recipe makes 4 grilled panini. Adjust for however many people you will be feeding. Enjoy!

Take one zucchini and slice lengthwise. Cut the slices in half then carefully put them on skewers. Set aside.

Cut two thick slices of red onion. Put them on a skewer too.

Cut a red bell pepper in quarters. Remove the seeds. You can put these on a skewer or just leave them free. They won't fall through the grates of the bbq grill so you do what you want, okay?

Drizzle a little olive oil on all of the veggies and rub it around.

Season with salt and pepper.

Take 1 package of sweet italian sausages and put those on the tray. We're going to grill these babies up. YUMMY!!!!

The best bread to use for these sandwiches is ciabatta (pronounced chu-bah-duh). If you can't find ciabatta, any good, rustic bread will work. The bread will most likely not be presliced as that dries out the bread horribly. Slice the bread in half.

Drizzle a little olive oil on the insides of each of the rolls. Rub it in.
We're taking these out to the grill too!!!

Put your sausages and veggies on the grill and cook until everything is done. The sausages will be nice and plump, the red bell pepper will be nicely blackened, and the zucchini and onion will be tender.
Remove from the grill and put on a tray.

When the sausages and veggies are almost done grilling, put the ciabatta on oiled side down and grill until they start browning on the edges. You don't want them burned so make sure you don't leave them on too long.
Pull from grill and now take everything inside.

In a bowl, mix together 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp basil, 1/2 tsp dill weed, and 1 clove garlic. Season with salt and pepper. If you'd like, add 1 Tbsp stone ground mustard. I don't like mustard so I didn't add that to my mix.

Spread some of the herbed mayo on the top portion of the ciabatta roll.

Slice your sausages lengthwise.

Put some of the sausage slices on the bottom bun.

Put on two slices of zucchini, 1 piece of red bell pepper and some red onion.
Top with a slice of provolone cheese.
Put the top bun on, slice in half and enjoy with a yummy pasta salad, potato salad, or chips!

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