Thursday, February 18, 2010

Chinese New Year

This past Tuesday was Fat Tuesday but we celebrated Chinese New Year!  The Year of the Tiger started on February 14th.  Here are some of the menu items we enjoyed...

Perfect Potstickers - A recipe from Alton Brown.  These are a tasty little purse filled with pork, scallions, red pepper and seasonings.  They can be intimidating but are really very easy to make and cook.  Once you make the filling, set out about 10 won ton wrappers and spoon the filling on the center of each one.  Then you can quickly work through the line brushing the edges of one wrapper, folding and sealing.   Cooking is even easier... heat a skillet (nonstick works best), add a small bit of oil, allow to brown for a few minutes, then add a small amount of chicken broth or water and cover for a few minutes.  They are best when served immediately and dipped in soy sauce.  They look a little funny but are very good.  BTW - I made these the day before, reheated with the same cooking technique and they turned out fine.

Hot Crab Rangoon Dip with Won Ton Chips  - A recipe from Sandra Lee. How can you go wrong with 16oz of cream cheese?  Easy to prepare ahead.  I caught this one just in time, forgot to set a timer and almost left it under the broiler too long!  I think the highlight of this dip is the won ton chips.  They were so easy to make, I just cut the stack of wrappers in half and fried them in bunches for about 10 seconds.  I don't have a fryer so I use my electric fondue pot for frying.  It does an excellent job of keeping the oil at the correct temperature.

Thai Marinated Cucumber Salad - a recipe from Williams-Sonoma.  I was quite worried about this dish!  When I made the dressing the night before the heated rice vinegar smelled SO strong!  The next day it still smelled strong but it didn't taste nearly as strong as it smelled.  This was actually a nice refreshing dish.  Would be good for summertime.  I couldn't find a red jalapeno or chile anywhere so I used some red pepper for color and added two dried/crushed Thai chilies to the dressing.  Not sure what makes this Thai marinated? 

A few store bought items to round out my part of the menu - Fried rice and Vegetable egg rolls.

My guests brought steamed rolls filled with chicken, vegetable lo mien, Buddha's Delight, and sake. 

And for dessert, Tapioca with Coconut Cream, Ginger Almond sugar cookies (both recipes from my Williams-Sonoma Asian cookbook) and green tea cookies (from a guest).  Wow, tapioca takes a long time to cook!  But with brown sugar syrup and coconut cream added it was worth it.  And doesn't it look pretty?  This was a hit, light and refreshing, another great recipe for summertime.  Sorry I can't post the recipes here due to copyrights.

A takeaway gift for each of my guests was a small coin purse made from asian style fabric in which I hid some fun fortunes. 

Good food, good friends, good times! 
Happy Year of the Tiger!

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