Happy Chinese New Year!

 


Happy year of the horse! My 8 year old daughter is in the Chinese immersion program at school, so we might be a little more enthusiastic than others about all things Chinese.  This year Chloe made a lion mask out of a copy paper box lid for the school celebration (her own design - she wanted the "biggest eyes with the tiniest mouth and no nose, because that's how you make something adorable." She compromised and added an itty bitty nose.) She's also practicing to do a stick dance.  I can't wait to see it!

But all this Chinese New Year celebration has just served as a reminder of a REALLY long over-due to-do list item for me.  Last YEAR, in February, I hosted my book club, and served Chinese food.  After, I promised to post recipes.  I never did :(  So sorry ladies! Today felt like the perfect time to rectify that...since I pulled out those recipes to make for dinner tonight.
Before I get to the recipes though, a quick note about my book club.  It happens to be THE GREATEST BOOKCLUB IN THE HISTORY OF EVER! We pick our books to try and suit the month we read them (and if they don't, we come up with really excellent off-the-wall reasons to make the book fit). And we make the food fit the book.  It is amazing the treats these women come up with to work in with what we've read. Which is why I was making Chinese food.  I tried to do some Japanese food as well, but only managed to find some candies.  The book?  The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.  Love this book!  Love, love.
Now for some recipes:













Homemade Sweet  Sour Sauce (and you'll never go back to store bought!)
1c pineapple juice (I use a can of crushed pineapple because I like it chunky)
1/2 c ketchup
1/4 c vinegar
1/2 c brown sugar
1 Tbsp corn starch

-Combine pineapple juice (or can of pineapple, depending on preference), ketchup, vinegar, & sugar in sauce pan
-Stir until blended
-Cook over med. heat stirring constantly until sauce boils.
-Dissolve corn starch in 1/4 c water and add to sauce.
-Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce boils and thickens.
(see the lovely chunks of pineapple in the sauce? Makes it thick and yummy)










Meat Filling for Fried Wontons
1/2 lb ground pork loin
1/2 lb lean ground beef
2 eggs
1/2 c grated carrot
1 medium minced onion
3 cloves garlic, crushed (or 3/8 tsp of garlic powder)
1/2 tsp ginger
1 stalk scallions, chopped
1 dash sesame oil
1 Tbs brown sugar
1 can water chestnuts, chopped
1-2 packages wonton skins
soy sauce

-Combine all ingredients except eggs.
-Mix and marinade for at least 15 min.
-Beat eggs & pour over meat mixture.
-Mix for 5 min.
- Prep wonton wrapper by dampening two edges with water
-Fill center of wonton wrapper with meat mixture (about a heaping tablespoon or so per wrapper)


-Fold over wonton wrapper and press to close, using water on fingertips if necessary. (If wrappers are squares, your wrappers will now be triangles.  If they are circles, they will be half-circles) -Wontons can be left as triangles or half circles, or they can be folded into shapes, as shown:




-Fry wontons until golden brown

My kids' favorite part of the meal is the wonton chips.  Cut leftover wraps in half or thirds and fry them up.  They scoop up the chunky, homemade sweet & sour sauce in the most delightful way!



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