Big Bowl of Wontons

27 Apr

This is a rough recipe of my delicious wontons in soup. I do not measure my ingredients, so measurements here are guesstimates. Once you cook it a few times, you will be able to adjust to your own liking. You can also add different kinds of vegetables to your soup like carrots, broccoli etc. For the wontons, you can add shrimp to the stuffing as well. It’s up to you!

Servings: 3-4 (makes 30-40 wontons)

Ingredients
1lb ground lean pork
1 package wonton wraps
4 stalks of green onion
1 small can water chestnuts
Hand full of chives
3 tsp soya sauce
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp pepper
1 clove garlic
2L low sodium chicken stock
2-4 bok choy
1 cup bean sprouts

Preparation
Marinade the pork by mixing soya sauce, salt, sugar, and pepper together with pork. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours ahead.

In a food processor, chop 2/3rds can of water chestnuts, 3 stalks of green onion and some chives. Mix chopped vegetables in with marinated meat.

Get a bowl of water ready for wrapping the wontons. In each wonton wrapper, put in about 1tbsp full of meat mixture. Depending on the size of your wonton wrappers, you may need to experiment with the amount of meat to wrap. Dab outer edge of wrap with water. Bring corners up and wrap together into a pouch. If needed, use more water to make sure wontons are well sealed.

To make soup base, heat chicken stock and add a tbsp of soya sauce and a few drops of sesame oil to soup. Add in remaining roughly chopped green onions, water chestnuts (sliced not chopped), garlic, and chives into soup base (I didn’t have ginger, but if you have it on hand, you can put a few slices in). Bring to boil then let simmer while we cook the wontons.

In a large pot of boiling water, gently toss in the wontons and boil for 5-8 mins until they float to the top.

At the last minute, place bok choy into soup base and cook for 1 min.

In a large bowl, place in wontons, raw bean sprouts and pour soup over top.

Enjoy!

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Tabouleh Salad

24 Apr

My delicious recipe for Tabouleh Salad. It’s fresh, healthy, and light!

Servings: 8-10

Ingredients
1 cup fine Bulgar wheat
4 cups hot water
1 1/2 lemons
2/3 cup olive oil
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
1 bunch of coarsely chopped parsley
4-5 stalks of chopped green onions
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
4 chopped ripe plum tomatoes
1/2 tsp. all spice
dash of cinnamon

Preparation
Soak the bulgar wheat in a heat proof bowl, making sure to cover wheat completely with hot water. Soak for 45mins to an hour and replenish water if needed.

Chop parsley, mint, tomatoes, green onions, and add all spice, cinnamon, salt, pepper. Strain out bulgar wheat and squeeze excess water out. Using a sieve and pressing down on the bulgar with a ladle works well. Add bulgar wheat and mix well with olive oil and lemon juice.

Enjoy!

Recipe: Coq au vin

30 Mar

I made a beautiful Coq au Vin tonight for dinner that was so yummy, I thought it deserved a permanent addition on the blog. This dish is modified from several Coq au Vin recipes I’ve found online, but I pumped it up with extra flavours and seasonings.

Servings: 2

Ingredients
4 chicken legs
4 thicker slices of pancetta cut into pieces
3 carrots cut into 1 inch pieces
1 small red onion cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large leek loosely chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
1 1/2 cups cremini mushrooms cut loosely
3 red new potatoes cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cups red wine
2 tsp coarse basil salt (mix coarse salt with dried basil)
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried basil
2 sprigs fresh sage
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp chopped parsley

Preparation
Season the chicken legs well with basil salt and pepper. Let chicken sit. In a large dutch oven, heat up 1 tbsp of olive oil and lightly fry the pancetta over medium low heat for 2-3 mins. Remove pancetta from pan when it has browned and pour out excess fat from pot leaving a tbsp of oil in pot.

Fry chicken legs skin side down on medium heat. 4-5 mins per side until each side is golden brown and skin is crispy. Remove chicken from pot when browned and set aside.

Add leeks to the pot and saute for 2-3 mins. Add garlic and red onions. Saute for another 3-5 mins until soft. Add in bay leaf, basil, thyme, and sage. Stir for 30 secs until spices are fragrant. Add wine to pot and scrape brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the pancetta and chicken to pot. Turn chicken to make sure it is coated in wine. Sprinkle with parsley. Bring to boil, then cover and simmer for 15 mins.

Add potatoes and mushrooms to pot and simmer for another 15 mins.

Taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed. Remove bay leaf and serve!

I had this dish with steamed broccoli on the side. Very delicious!

I deserve a time out

4 Nov

I think I should put myself into mommy time out. It seems I have been a very neglectful garden momma these past few weeks. Since fall has come along, so has work duties and other day to day nuisances come down in full force. I have sorrily neglected my greens for the past few weeks and the cold weather has proven deadly.

This update is to report the dire status of my greens. Most have wittled in the November cold. My chinese greens are growing like weeds, though I doubt they’ll survive the winter chill. So too are my baby butter lettuce likely to freeze before they mature. My south planters have sadly mostly all gone into hibernation. The winter is upon us and although brave they were, my greens simply weren’t mothered and nurtured enough this season to grow big and strong.

Sorry babies, mother has failed you.

But I have a plan now. Come next spring, bright and early, I’ll be planting seeds as soon as late February and early March. For now, I will continue to update with food and gardening whims as they come to me, though it is unlikely that I will have much to report on the progress of my current greens. *sigh*

So stay tuned friends! This is absolutely not the end to my gardening escapades. I assure you, I have more living things to grow and kill in the coming months. 🙂

Day 23: My Lavender Army

6 Oct
Lavender army

Lavender army

I run a sovereign garden community. And like every good totalitarian government, it need invest an exorbitant amount on the military. Following in the footsteps of good fascist leaders of our world, I’ve started up my own army – a lavender army to be exact.

Since last week’s Mean Kitty incident, I’ve decided that border guards are necessary. I enlisted spikey lavender to this arduous task. You see, this website suggests many other impressive technologically advanced mechanisms like cat ultrasound, and motion sensored smart water attack systems, but I’m an old fashioned dictator. I like to use biological deterrents.

So to my garden military supply chain I went. Home Depot had a whole crate of lavender plants – just what I was looking for! I brought 6 of them home and planted them strategically in my garden. One I placed directly in front of the entrance to the beast kitty’s spy hole in the fence. Others I scattered across the garden.

You see, cats do not like robustly fragrant plants. Lavender being extremely pungent is a good cat repellent. The lavender have stood guard for over a week, and since there have been no kitty trespassers that I have seen. My lavender army is proving to be a winning strategy against the “War on Kitty Terror”!

Stay tuned for more updates on this breaking kitty alert.

Day 22: My very own Charlotte

5 Oct

charlottesweb1

Oh friends, you will never believe who I found in my garden. I found my very own Charlotte! She’s brilliant and she’s decided to make my garden her home. I found her today sunning between my tomatoes. She’s one mighty fat little spider. Must be a rather nutritious garden I’ve created.

Do not look poorly at spiders in the garden. They are great for keeping the little bug pests from munching on your greens. Great little resource on the “Good Garden Guys” (ok yes, we don’t want bats, toads or snakes in the garden, but it’s a cute resource anyways!) and “Which Bugs Are Good Bugs“,  as opposed to very bad garden guys like Mean Kitty. But don’t dare put a snake in my garden! Eeps!

Day 21: Tweens

4 Oct
My cheeky chinese tweens!

My cheeky chinese tweens!

Boy do children grow up fast. I believe I have tweens on my hands. Yes, vegetables go through puberty too. Just like humans, its the same – awkward looking gangley vegetables with identity crises and pimples. Yep, that’s right, you heard me. TWEENS!

Like people, vegetables too have growth spurts. Some sprout up faster than others. My cheeky chinese vegs are definitely ahead of the pack. Last week, I reported that they were the strongest of the bunch growing broad wide leaves. 7 days later, they’re officially annoying little tweens. Yes, they still want to play with the little kids, but they’re definitely experimenting in bad boy bands. I swear I heard a whisper in the wind that called out Robert Pattison somewhere in my garden this week! Ugh!

Beautiful butter lettuce

Beautiful butter lettuce

But I digress. My veggies are growing strong. Butterhead lettuce’s gorgeous brown leaves are literally gleaming in the sunlight now. They’ve really come into their own. Parents always tell you they have no favorites. Well, as a garden momma, I can tell you that is a complete lie! I do have a favorite and they are my butter lettuces. They’re just so delicate and cute. Sorry kids, there’s no Santa Claus either.

Stepping over to the south planter and the depression sets in. I’ve completely given up on the spinach. Seems they will not be sprouting this year. My sexy chard are also hanging by the lifeline. They look limp and weak. Kale too look a little less handsome than usual. I blame this mostly on the lack of sun on the south side of my back yard and the overdose of rain we’ve been having for the last week. Nothing I can do but pray my little babies will continue to fight the cold and shade with pure awesomeness. Yes, my plants are made of awesome, if you did not know already.

Courageous carrots

Courageous carrots

Curiously though, my carrots have made a rather unexpected dash to the finish line. I found 3 little carrot seeds that have sprouted this week! Don’t give up on the degenerates so fast Vanessa! In such dire conditions, my carrots have decided to brave the cold of October. And because of that I am naming them my little Courageous Carrots! As Derek Zoolander said, “Moisture is the essence of wetness, and wetness is the essence of beauty.” No wiser words could be truer. My 3 brave carrots will be beautiful!

And that’s the 3 week update!