Wonton Soup

So one of our blog readers brought to our attention that we have a good variety of cuisines (Latin empanadas, Indian curries, Persian koftas, Italian rollatini) on the blog, but we’re seriously lacking the Asian food representation. So I thought to myself about what I usually order when getting take out. And although my number one item on Chinese menus is an egg roll, I don’t own a deep fryer and I am coming down with a bit of a cold, so I thought of my second favorite appetizer: wonton soup would be best! I love it so much, I usually order soup dumplings, wontons, or some variation at dim sum restaurants too. I figured its a light and refreshing broth (read: also extremely easy to make) so why not give it a whirl? Luckily, I found out I don’t need to be an origami expert to pull together these yummy packets (wontons) from scratch either. Although in a pinch I heard (you know word on the street) if you make your own broth and just boil the frozen dumplings you get at Trader Joe’s you can shave off a ton of time, not that I would dare take such a blatant shortcut. #justsaying.

  • 7  oz. shrimp, peeled and finely chopped
  • 10 oz. ground pork
  • 1/2 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 3 tablespoon rice vinegar (1 tbsp. for wonton and 2 for soup)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 splash of soy sauce
  • 1 splash of sambal sauce or chili oil
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 package wonton wrappers
  • 6 cups chicken broth – low sodium
  • 1/2 pound baby bok choy (I like some leafy greens in my soup, the original recipe doesn’t call for it so I will just leave it as optional)
  • Green Onion/Scallions, thinly sliced

In a large mixing bowl combine shrimp, pork, egg white, corn starch, rice vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, sugar, and salt. Allow the mixture to “marinate” for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and lightly dust with cornstarch. To assemble wontons, fill each skin with about a teaspoon of filling, and fold either in half, into flower blossoms, or into nurse’s caps (don’t know what either mean, but basically you are wetting the sides and pinching to create seams, photo). Place each finished wonton on the baking sheet. Then, drop the wontons in a large pot of boiling water and cook until they float, 5-6 minutes. Slowly, over low heat, warm the chicken broth, vinegar, chili oil, and scallions. Place a few boiled wontons into each bowl, and ladle with the warm chicken broth. Top with thinly sliced scallions & drizzle of soy sauce.

Happy Eating, XO.

Cupcakes to Die For

Finally one of the best times of the year is here – Halloween! Who’s excited for it?! (Raises both hands high.) Every year we decorate the house with skeletons, lights, fog machines. That’s all good, but what about the food? When you think of Halloween you probably don’t think of food first (candy doesn’t count), but it’s one of the only times of the year you can get super creepy and creative with it. Take advantage!

I originally found this creepy cupcake post years ago from Martha Stewart. Looks like Martha’s dark side came out to play!

Below is our “easy” version of the cupcakes, but if you’re feeling daring, her full post is here.

Cupcakes

  • 1 box of devils food cake

Caramel Glass

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup water

Frosting (Usually I’d say just use the canned stuff, but this is too good to pass up.)

  • 1 lb cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 6 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cherry preserves, strained, for garnish

Line the cupcake tin and bake according to box instructions. While they’re baking you can begin on the glass, you’ll need to let it to sit for a while. Pour the sugar and water in to a small sauce pan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. When the mixture starts turning brown, remove from heat and pour on to a small cookie sheet. Let cool completely. For the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract until fully blended.

Once the cupcakes have cooled, apply the frosting. Break up the glass, and place a shard or two in the middle. Drizzle the preserves where the glass meets the frosting. Prepare evil laugh.

Broken Glass Cupcake

 

Happy Eating, XO.

A conversation with Martha Stewart, part 2

I know you all have been anxiously waiting to hear the rest of what Martha had to say, so here it is! (If you missed the first post, you can catch up here.) This “part 2″ is around Martha’s tips on holiday cooking – they’re coming sooner than you think people!

Martha’s holiday cooking tips

  • Vacherin cheese is a wonderful “winter” cheese made from cow’s milk. It’s very creamy in texture, a little “funky”, and is best eaten spooned right out of the rind.
  • She said her couscous royale is always a hit at holiday parties. It has the perfect blend of herbs and spices, and is great for your vegetarian guests.
  • And now for the big reveal – how Martha cooks her turkeys! Martha is very much about home-grown goodness and sustainable farming, whether it be vegetables, turkeys, or goats. For her holiday turkeys, she prefers to use one of her own grown Lebrun female turkeys as they tend to be bigger (up to 22lbs) and juicier. Her secret for cooking it comes in the form of a cheese cloth soaked in white wine and butter. (I was, and still am, drooling over this.)

From Martha’s Mouth:

  • Florence asked Martha’s opinion on whether or not you’re born with a good palette. “Yes, I believe you either have a good palette or you don’t. Some people are just born with it.” She went on to reference many famous chefs who have made it because their palette is so broad.
  • A reoccurring theme throughout the conversation was Martha’s praise for the people she works with. “The greatest influence in my life are the people around me, the people I work with. I learn from them every day.”

It was such an experience getting to meet Martha Stewart and learn a bit about who she is. If any of you ever get a chance, I highly suggest taking advantage! That woman has a wealth of knowledge that we can all learn a little from.

martha and florence

Fruit Salad…Without the Fruit

Do you ever have those days where you buy lettuce with the full intention of making a salad, but by the time you get around to making it, it’s just not that appetizing anymore? Many a lettuce heads have gone bad because I couldn’t eat another boring salad…

However, the other day when I was pantry-diving, like I mention here, I found a can of mandarin oranges along with some almonds. Light bulb! I made my own version of a fruit salad…sans most of the fruit. :) Liven up your salad and get your taste buds going with this citrus-y combo! I promise it won’t disappoint.

Salad

  • 1 bag mixed leafy greens
  • 1 small can of mandarin oranges
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • Handful of snow peas or sugar snap peas, cut in half

Dressing

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grapefruit juice (trust me on this one)
  • 1/4 cup juice from the can of mandarin oranges
  • Dash of salt and pepper

Mix the dressing together in a small bowl, then toss with all of the salad ingredients.

I like my salads chopped, so I put everything in my chopper – dressing ingredients included – and mix/chopped it all up. Super simple guys.

“But wait, there’s more!” Check out our other sultry salads to get out of your bland salad rut.

Mandarin Salad

Happy Eating, XO.

Firehouse Chili

Football season is in full swing. However, as much as I love me some pizza and wings during NFL Sundays, I am trying to conserve some money. I figured chili is just the way to cook at home, eat yummy Fall food, and still have enough leftovers for the Monday night game. So fire up the crockpot when you wake up next Sunday and have a delish serve your self “buffet” set up for all day game watching. Your wallet will thank you and you can always check out the cute delivery guy next Sunday.

  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons of minced garlic (fresh not powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 pounds Hot  (or Mild) Italian Johnsonville Sausage crumbled (and then 1 pound ground beef, or turkey or even all 3 lbs. sausage, you pick!)
  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes with green chilies (I used Rotel)
  • 2 packages McCormick Chili Seasoning Mix (any flavor)
  • 2 –  15 oz. cans Bush’s dark or light red kidney beans
  • 2 green bell peppers chopped small
  • 2 cans yellow corn
  • Pinch of cumin & red pepper flakes to taste (I ended up just throwing in a jalapeno instead of red pep flakes)
  • chicken broth, as desired for thinner consistency chili. It can also be stirred in at end.

Dump all ingredients in the order listed above and cook for 6-8 hrs. in crockpot. (I stirred half way through to make sure the meat was cooking evenly). I served with a platter of “garnishes” such as: shredded cheese, sour cream, pea shoots (or shredded lettuce), diced green onion, chopped avocado with a side warm baked corn bread. (don’t hate, but I cheated and used the store bought mixes vs. making from scratch). You can even skip the cornbread and crush up some tortilla chips as a topping as well. That’s why I love chili, its so versatile. Spicy, mild, whatever meat, veggies, and toppings galore, just eat and enjoy how you like it best!

photo

Happy Eating, XO.