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Archive for the ‘Wonton’ Category

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It all started with three dollars.

‘Twas the night before payday,
and all through the place,
not a crumb of food lurked,
no way to stuff my misfit face.

So after taking inventory of the kitchen (organic cocoa, Kashi cereal, spices, 8-10 edamame pods…seriously?), Bad Mama Genny and The Boy set off in search of dinner with nothing but hope and three dollars.

That’s right, misfits, we were, how you say, “living on a prayer.”

After considering the familiar options (one and a half tacos from the taco truck, or perhaps a bottle of malt liquor and a package of expired fried plantains from the “grocery/deli” that actually offers zero deli meat), we decided to venture into the unknown, to take a risk and hang our hopes upon a star!

A red star, to be exact.  Chinatown, bitches.

No, no, not the ridiculous, touristy Chinatown in Manhattan, where frightening old Asian ladies lurk around every corner, ready to offer you an imitation Coach bag at half the price of a real one.  I’m talking Flushing–the more authentic, cheaper, and arguably better Chinatown.  There is a bus that will take you back and forth between Chinatowns–I imagine you could ride it all day if you wanted, enjoying loop after endless loop of Chino-trippy overstimulation…but I don’t want, so I won’t, but you misfits should tell me if you ever do it yourselves!

But I digress.

Dinner was found that night, my fellow underpaid, underfed, city lurking misfits…with CHANGE TO MOTHERFUCKING SPARE WHAT WHAT!!

A steamed bun, as big as two fists, stuffed with pork and vegetables, endowed with glutenous joy that is at once both fluffy and chewy, and ONLY SIXTY CENTS!  For those of you who might wish to recreate this experience, try the dumpling shop under the LIRR tracks, on 41st Ave, at the corner of Main St., across from Starbucks.  The Boy and I hurriedly collected several buns from the bun-lady, ran back to the car, and savored every last cent-worth of our dinner in the warm car as we watched screaming feral cats and passerby scurry about in the freezing air.   Then we joined them.

The passerby, not the cats.  Next time.

The hours that followed took us on a journey down Main St., bopping in and out of bakeries, observing, though not purchasing, other items for sale ($0.95 for a chocolate nut pastry?  Who do they think we are, like, people who just got paid?  Chya!), and checking out the booths set up by anti-Communist groups hoping to find converts to their cause.

As we walked by each booth, I took care to wear the face of one who was interested in and approving of the message, but who had coincidentally already been converted by the last guy.

When The Boy and I were finally ready to end our adventure and scurry home (edamame cocoa, anyone?), we were chilled to the bone, rosy-cheeked, and busting with the sense of having discovered some secret place–sort of like The Secret Garden, but with concrete instead of a garden, and you visit a bun-lady instead of a sickly handicapped boy, and to get into the garden–I mean bun shop–you need sixty cents instead of a special key…also, there are  Communists instead of British people.  So not at all like The Secret Garden.  Whatever, clearly, my point is that I was inspired me to make wonton soup.  Clearly.

Wonton Soup
Makes a metric shit-ton

Go Get:
1 lb. ground beef (or pork or chicken or whatnot)
approximately 60 wonton wrappers
1 gallon flavorful stock (I had some homemade lamb stock in the freezer)
4 large carrots
4 stalks celery
6 scallions (green onions)
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cups shredded cabbage (or bok choy, or brussels sprouts…get crafty)
1 egg
salt and pepper
tamari or soy sauce, to taste

Go Do:
Finely chop 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks, 3 scallions, and the garlic, and mix it with the beef, egg, and some salt and pepper. Combine the mixture thoroughly (your hands work well for this).

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Lay out a wonton wrapper and place a scant tablespoon of filling in the center (be careful not to overfill, or the wontons will explode in the broth). Use your finger to moisten all four sides with water and place another wonton on top, squeezing the edges shut to seal them, and working any air bubbles out, if you can.  Repeat with remaining meat mixture until you run out.

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Set the stock over medium heat and cover it.  Slice the remaining carrots, celery, and green onions.  When the stock has begun to boil, add the carrots, celery, and shredded brussels sprouts to the stock and turn the heat down to a simmer.  Then, using a slotted spoon, gently lower the wonton one or two at a time into the broth.

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Let the wontons simmer in the broth over low heat, covered, stirring occasionally (gently) to keep them from sticking together while they cook.  After about 15 minutes, or when the meat mixture appears dark through the wonton, take one out and cut it open.  When done, the meat will have no traces of pink and the vegetables will be crisp-tender.  At this point, turn off the heat and stir in the sliced green onions.  Serve with a splash of tamari or soy sauce stirred into each bowl.  Enjoy!

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Christmastime always makes your BMG think of Chinese food.

Now I know what you’re thinking–wow, her family probably never cooked; they probably ordered in Chinese for the holiday, what abuse, what misery, poor Bad Mama Genny!

Au contraire, my sweet misfit poppets, au contraire.

You see, I came from a family that dedicated itself to crafting the perfect holiday. Thanksgiving with 15 sides (3 different kinds of jello, but of course), Christmas with a family-style spread that required an extra 8-foot folding table to accommodate the selection, and a traditional Polish Christmas Eve Wigilia meal the night before–for a grand fucking whopping total of FIVE PEOPLE OH MY GOD WHY ARE WE WORKING SO HARD MY FINGERS ARE BLEEDING INTO THE FIGGY PUDDING OH THE HUMANITY.  So where does the Chinese food fit in?

Well, somewhere between my mother’s 3 AM panic attack over getting the house clean enough, my brother’s emotional breakdown at the tear we’d managed to rip in the universe which sent all the world’s dirty dishes to his sink, and my impromptu nap at the kitchen table, vegetable peeler still in hand, five pounds of potatoes down, only three more to go…well, irony of fucking ironies, we all got hungry. My aunt would pull out the Chinese takeout menu, and forty bucks later, we were a united front once again, happily chowing down on Moo Goo something-or-other and wondering how the hell we had ended up in this gelatinous, technicolored, gumdrop-studded, whirling, twirling gingerbread house of horrors. That, my friends, is why, as I was decking my halls and ho-ho-ho-ing my way through my cookie list, I was hit by an overwhelming–NAY–insatiable desire for Crab Rangoon. Enter today’s recipe.

I recommend eating these with the Christmas lights on, “Jingle Bells” playing in the background, and a sobbing family memb–but wait; that’s my house, not yours.

So indulge your mother’s compulsive need to include the three primary jello colors. Peel potatoes ’til you pass out (fine, so there MAY have been some gin involved, I can’t really say…).  Embrace the dog when she eats the blinking angel tree-topper (she looks kinda cute with her tummy periodically lighting up like that). The love will get you through. If not, well, there’s always that gin.

Crab Rangoon
Makes 48

Go Get:
1 package (48 count) wonton wrappers
1 8 oz. package cream cheese
6 oz. flaked crabmeat
2 green onions, minced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. each tamari or soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce
approx. 1/4 cup cooking oil (I used grapeseed)

Go Do:
Preheat the oven to 425F degrees. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients except for the wonton wrappers and the cooking oil.

Lay out a won ton wrapper with one of the points facing you.  Place a teaspoon of filling in the center of the wrapper, and spread it out to make a horizontal, log-like shape.  Resist the urge to overfill, as this will cause them to burst while cooking.

Using your finger, moisten the edges of the wonton with water, and fold the bottom half to the top, pressing all the edges to seal.

Repeat with the remaining wrappers.  Place the finished rangoon onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and, using a pastry brush dipped into the oil, lightly brush both sides of all the rangoon.

Put the rangoon into the oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until both sides are pleasantly browned, flipping once halfway through cooking.  Allow them to cool for a few minutes before biting into them.  Serve with your favorite dipping sauces and sides.

 

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