Sunday, February 18, 2007

Chinese - February 2007

Diva: Nicole

Drinks: Lovina

Half plum wine
Half Saki


Ginger ale
Pear Nectar
Garnish with Maraschino Cherry

Appetizer: Erin

Turkey Potstickers

¼ pound ground turkey
½ tsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp minced green onion
1 tsp minced water chestnuts
½ tsp soy sauce
½ tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
¼ tsp salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 egg, beaten
Vegetable oil for frying
12 wonton wrappers (3 x 3-inch size)

In a small bowl, add all the ingredients except for the egg, wrappers and oil, then mix well.
Add 1 tablespoon of the egg.
Save the rest of the egg for use later on.
Preheat oil in a deep fryer or a heavy saucepan to 375 degrees F. Use about 1-2 inches of oil, enough to cover the pot stickers.
Use a round cookie cutter or invert a small glass with a 3-inch diameter on the center of a wonton wrapper and cut around it to make a circle.
Repeat for the remaining wrappers.
Spoon 1/2 tablespoon of the turkey mixture into the center of one wrapper.
Brush a little egg around half of the edge of the wrapper and fold the wrapper over the filling.
Gather the wrapper as you seal it so that it has a crinkled edge. Repeat until all wrappers are used.
Fry the pot stickers, six at a time, in the hot oil for almost 5 minutes or until they are brown.
When bottom gets brown, add 1/4 cup of chicken broth and immediately cover.
This will steam the dumplings.
Carefully watch the dumplings and completely evaporate the broth so that the bottom gets crispy again and sticks to the pot.
Drain on paper towels.
Serve with hoisin sauce for dipping.
For a healthier version, you can try baking these on a cookie sheet in a 375 degree F oven or you can steam them in bamboo steamer

Vegetarian Pot Stickers

1 red onion, sliced
1 T minced ginger
1 c sliced shiitake mushroom
1 c white cabbage, shredded
1 c carrot, shredded
1 c chopped garlic sprouts or chives
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp sesame oil
¼ c chopped cilantro
1 package wonton skins, also called gyoza
canola oil

In a wok or large saute pan, add a little oil and saute onions and ginger.
Add the mushrooms and stir.
Add the cabbage, carrots and chives.
When mixture is soft, place in colander to drain.
Add the sesame oil and cilantro when mixture is cooled.
Check for seasoning.
Using the gyoza skins, make half moon dumplings keeping the bottom flat.
In a hot non-stick pan, coat with oil and place dumplings.
When bottom gets brown, add 1/4 cup of vege broth and immediately cover.
This will steam the dumplings.
Carefully watch the dumplings and completely evaporate the broth so that the bottom gets crispy again and sticks to the pot.
Serve hot with soy sauce and vinegar for dipping.

Salad: Tamara (absent)

Soup: Mariah
Hot and Sour Soup

1 ¼ c dried lily buds (day lilies)
1 ¼ c dried mushrooms ("wood ears" or "tree ears")
1 ¼ lbs. firm tofu, julienned (this will usually be 1 block or cake of tofu)
1 7/8 c pork, finely julienned (see comments for vegetarian alternative)
5 eggs, lightly beaten
1 ¼ c bamboo shoots, julienned (canned or fresh)
5 T cornstarch
1 ¼ c water
12 ½ ounces distilled white vinegar
1 ¼ tsp sugar
12 ½ ounces soy sauce (see comments)
2 ½ tsp salt
5/8 tsp garlic powder (see comments)
2 ½ tsp cayenne pepper, ground
2 ½ tsp white pepper, ground
15 c chicken broth (see comments for vegetarian version)
5 T scallions, finely chopped
5 T gingerroot, finely chopped
2 ½ tsp sesame oil (optional, made from toasted sesame seeds preferred)

Clean the dried day lilies, soak them in warm water for about 20 minutes.
Cut off the hard, tough tip of the stem and then cut the day lilies in half lengthwise.
Clean and soak the wood ear mushrooms in warm water for about 20 minutes, then cut into small pieces. To clean, just wipe with a damp cloth -- don't soak or wash!
Bring the chicken broth to a boil and then add the pork (or vegetarian alternative -- see below), skimming the surface of any fat.
Cook the pork for 3-4 minutes, until the broth comes to a boil again.
Add the tofu, mushroom pieces, bamboo shoots, and day lilies.
Let the pot return to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a low boil.
Add the soy sauce, spices, vinegar, salt and sugar.
Taste the soup, adjusting the vinegar (you may need up to another ounce) for the "sour" and salt for balance.
Mix the corn starch and water to create a paste for thickening.
Add the corn starch mixture slowly, stirring constantly.
Drizzle the beaten eggs in slowly while stirring, so that you get "strings" of egg.
Turn off the heat.
Presentation -- ladle the soup into bowls, then garnish with 1/2 tsp of scallion per bowl and a drizzle of sesame oil.
Comments on ingredients & substitutions:.
Dried lily pods and wood ears (also called "tree ears", "black fungus" or "Hu Bei") available in most oriental markets.
Chicken stock -- use home made or a low sodium canned variety.
Pork -- For kosher alternative, use shredded chicken or turkey; for vegetarian alternative, replace pork with a mix of fresh flavorful mushrooms, e.g., shiitake, oyster, or portobellos.
Soy sauce -- Betty uses regular soy sauce -- if using a "lite soy" variety, you may have to adjust the amount of salt to taste.
Vinegar -- the vinegar is the essence of the "sour" aspect of this soup, and distilled white vinegar gives you the highest acidity; rice vinegars, wine vinegars, apple cider vinegars, etc, will either be too dilute (not enough acidity) and not provide the required "kick" or add extraneous flavors.
Garlic -- garlic powder is preferred in this recipe, but if you choose to use cloves, leave them whole, add them only to flavor the chicken broth and remove them before adding other ingredients.
Sesame oil -- adds a shimmer and smoky flavor to the final product. Chinese sesame oil is typically from toasted seeds; Japanese is typically untoasted, so the flavor will be subtly different.

Side Dish: Sara
Chinese Green Bean Stir Fry

1/4 cup and 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
4 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed
1 tablespoon and 1-1/2
teaspoons minced garlic
1 T and 1-1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger root
1-3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground
black pepper
5/8 (8 ounce) bottle black bean sauce

In a large wok, heat oil over medium-high heat. Stir in green beans; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and ginger; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and then stir in black bean sauce. Continue cooking until green beans are tender.

Entree: Stacey
Chinese Inspired Roast Pork Tenderloin

1 pork tenderloin (2-2 ½ pounds)
¼ c soy sauce
2 T red wine
1 T honey
1 T brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh minced ginger
¼ tsp cinnamon
2 green onions, chopped

Make marinade – pour over tenderloin, leave overnight.
Preheat oven to 350, roast for 45 minutes. Allow meat to rest for ten minutes before cutting.
Gently simmer reserved marinade until it reduces to about 2 T. Drizzle over meat.

Dessert: Ashley
Nian Gao – Baked Chinese New Year Cake

6 oz. Mochiko sweet rice flour (glutinous rice flour), plus a bit extra for sprinkling on the baking dish
1 stick of butter or 3/4 cup of vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 1/2 cups milk
1 to 1 3/4 cup sugar--depending on if you like it sweeter
1 Tb baking soda
One can of red adzuki beans

Mix everything but the beans with an electric mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes. Beat for 2 more minutes at high speed.
Sprinkle Mochiko flour over a 9"x13" baking dish that has been oiled or sprayed with Pam.
Spread half of the batter on the bottom of the baking pan Spread the red adzuki beans (you can mix some batter into the beans if they are too thick to spread).
Spread the other half of the batter over the red adzuki beans. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes.
Test for doneness by inserting a chopstick (this is Chinese New Year’s Cake after all)—if it comes out clean, it is done.

Fortune Cookies

Fortune cookies can be tricky to make - it's important to make sure that the cookie batter is spread out evenly on the baking sheet. Instead of using the back of a wooden spoon to spread the batter, it's better to gently tilt the baking sheet back and forth as needed. Wearing cotton gloves makes it easier to handle and shape the hot cookies. This fortune cookie recipe makes about 10 cookies.

2 large egg whites
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
½ tsp pure almond extract
3 T vegetable oil
8 T all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp cornstarch
¼ tsp salt
8 T granulated sugar
3 tsp water

Write fortunes on pieces of paper that are 3 1/2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease 2 9-X-13 inch baking sheets.
In a medium bowl, lightly beat the egg white, vanilla extract, almond extract and vegetable oil until frothy, but not stiff.

Sift the flour, cornstarch, salt and sugar into a separate bowl. Stir the water into the flour mixture.
Add the flour into the egg white mixture and stir until you have a smooth batter. The batter should not be runny, but should drop easily off a wooden spoon.
Note: if you want to dye the fortune cookies, add the food coloring at this point, stirring it into the batter. For example, I used 1/2 teaspoon green food coloring to make green fortune cookies.
Place level tablespoons of batter onto the cookie sheet, spacing them at least 3 inches apart. Gently tilt the baking sheet back and forth and from side to side so that each tablespoon of batter forms into a circle 4 inches in diameter.

Bake until the outer 1/2-inch of each cookie turns golden brown and they are easy to remove from the baking sheet with a spatula (14 - 15 minutes).
Working quickly, remove the cookie with a spatula and flip it over in your hand. Place a fortune in the middle of a cookie. To form the fortune cookie shape, fold the cookie in half, then gently pull the edges downward over the rim of a glass, wooden spoon or the edge of a muffin tin. Place the finished cookie in the cup of the muffin tin so that it keeps its shape. Continue with the rest of the cookies.

Tips for Making Fortune Cookies
Fortune cookies are a lot of fun to make – it’s great writing up your own customized fortunes to put inside the cookie. Besides, homemade fortune cookies always taste better than store bought! The only drawback is that the basic recipe is not very forgiving – deviate from it a bit, and you may wind up with cookies that are impossible to fold and shape without breaking. These basic tips will help you learn how to make fortune cookies. Read them over, and then try this basic fortune cookie recipe
1.Make Up the Fortunes Ahead of Time
This will give you more time to compose the messages. The strips of paper used should be 3 to 3 1/2 inches long and no more than 1/2-inch wide.
2. Use Cold Baking Sheets
Fortune cookies tend to turn out best when you start with a cold (and greased) baking sheet. Since most recipes make more cookies than can be placed on one 9 X 13-inch baking sheet (the cookies spread out during baking), it’s best to use two baking sheets. That way, you don’t need to wait for the sheet to cool down before baking the next batch of cookies.
3. Cookie Size: Larger is Better
Many fortune cookie recipes call for making a 3-inch cookie. A cookie this size is more difficult to work with and fold than a slightly larger (3 1/2 - 4-inch) cookie. Another plus is that the larger cookie fits snugly into the cup of a muffin tin. This saves you from having to hold the cookie for several seconds after folding, to make sure it keeps its shape. My own preference is to use one level tablespoon of batter to make a 4-inch cookie.
4. Tilt the Baking Sheet to Spread the Batter
The key to making fortune cookies is a batter that is evenly spread out on the baking sheet. This can be difficult to accomplish with a wooden spoon, since the batter tends to stick to the spoon. Carefully tilting the baking sheet in all directions gives better results.
5. Start By Making Only One or Two Cookies
The instant the cookies are removed from the oven, the race begins: you have twenty seconds at most to add the fortunes, fold the cookies in half and then shape them into the standard fortune cookie shape. It’s best to start with one or two cookies – that way, you’re not feeling pressured.
6. How to Tell When the Cookies are Done
The cookies are done when approximately 1/2 inch of the outside is golden and they are easy to lift with a spatula. The middle part of the cookie remains quite light in color.
7. Wear Close Fitting Cotton Gloves
You need to work with the cookies when they first come out of the oven and are still very hot - wearing cotton gloves makes this easier.
8. Be Prepared to Work Quickly
As noted above, you only have up to twenty seconds to work with the baked cookies before they cool down and stiffen too much to be workable.
9. How to Fold and Shape the Cookies
Remove the cookie from the baking sheet with a spatula and flip it over in your hand. Lay the fortune in the middle of the cookie, and hold it there while folding the cookie in half.

Still holding the folded cookie in both hands, between your thumb and index fingers, pull the ends down over the rim of a glass or a muffin tin, or the handle of a wooden spoon, until the ends meet. The opened side of the fortune cookie should be facing upward, towards you.

Lottery: Michelle

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