March 21, 2008

Mmmm... fake Asian food

Two posts in one day... don't you all feel so lucky? ^_^
Anyway, since I do believe good cooking is an art form, and Lydia so often inspires me with her yummy-looking food posts, thought I'd stick one of my own culinary experiments in here.

Besides my craftiness, I'm also doing the 101 things in 1001 days project, though a slightly modified version (added about 80 extra days-- since I started it on my birthday, I thought a fitting end date would be the eve of my 30th birthday. In theory, I'm hoping that working on this will help me feel like I didn't waste the end of my 20s, even if one of my worst fears comes true and I'm still single by then. *shudders at the thought*) I wanted to add fun goals too, so there are several on there pertaining to craftiness, but that's not what this post is about. What this post IS about is me wanting to learn to eat with chopsticks.

Even though my heritage is almost as white as they come (minus a bit Jewish and possibly a bit Native American), I really like Asian cultures. I'm most familiar with Chinese and Korean, since I've had several flute students who are either first-generation Americans from those two countries, or who moved here from there themselves along with their families. One of these students (who is actually on hiatus this semester) moved here from China with her mom-- her dad is still living in China for work reasons, apparently, but they go back to China every summer to be with the rest of their family. I often ended up teaching her at her house, since she lives very close to a few other students I commute to, and whenever she could, her mom insisted on feeding me. So through them, I got introduced to real Chinese food-- egg drop soup, moon cakes, and these to-die-for pork dumplings. I really want to learn how to make those so I can ensure a healthy version, because I have serious cravings for them. But in the meantime, I was happy to discover they have them at Trader Joe's. (Then why do I need to learn to make them, you ask? Because the closest TJ's, unfortunately, is about a 40-60 minute drive from here, depending on traffic. So I don't get up there very often.)

So, anyway, I think that eating with chopsticks looks fun. So I bought a pair of them on my way home from teaching this afternoon (a simple bamboo pair with a twist near the top to make them fun!) Therefore, I needed food to try them on, and came up with this...


I can't take credit for the dumplings, because they're the aforementioned TJ's brand ones. But the "lo mein" on the side was mine. I've often wished I could just cook things without recipes, and it was a total experiment, but it turned out pretty good. It was easy too. All I did was cut up some red bell pepper and carrot, threw in some frozen peas, and sauteed that in some canola oil while I cooked some broken-in-half spaghetti. When the veggies were a little tender, I threw in some sesame seeds, and then about a minute later, some garlic hoisin sauce that we had around here. Then I drained the spaghetti and threw that in too, and voila, instant side dish.
(Also, for the record, I've been eating this while I've been writing this. I almost made it to the end with the chopsticks... I had to cave and get a fork to scoop up the peas, because they didn't pick up as nicely as the rest of it. I'm proud of being able to use them on the noodles though!)

5 comments:

  1. Your lo mein looks delicious! If you want to do more Asian-style cooking, you might want to invest in a little bottle of sesame oil. The fragrance is amazing. It's pricey, but you use very little of it (I always combine it with canola oil--using just a little of the sesame oil for flavor) so a bottle should last you for ages.
    Thanks for visiting my blog!

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  2. BTW, I love the new banner!

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  3. i love your new banner! beautiful!! pretty!

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  4. ps- i love the dumplings from trader joes! we eat them about once a month. make rice with them and dip in soy sauce and the chinese hot sauce. yummy!

    also, its actually not too hard to make dumplings homemade. you can buy the dumpling dough in premade sheets at your local chinese grocery store and then you can fill with whatever you like inside. then, you just fry them. i have a few, good asian friends who have taught me the tricks. we did it once, together, with a group of friends! it was sooo fun!!

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  5. ooh, my husband makes amazingly wonderful dumplings. We also have a great dipping sauce recipe too. mmm... now I'm hungry again.

    And wonderful job on the lo main.

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