Saturday, June 10, 2006

My Breakfast , My Lunch, & My Dinner Today

I think today I had a pretty decent food. Variety and healthy wise. Let me start. As you know on my previous entry that now I have a yogurt machine and so far I have been good with using it and since I own this machine I eat yogurt every other day if not every day which is good for my health since most Asian cuisine doesn't have enough calcium in it. Plus, I am not that much of a milk drinker at home, not like Kai Kai that drink milk all the time.

So this morning when I was preparing our breakfast. Well...see here... this is what happen if I had enough sleep, I just felt so creative in the morning. You really don't want to see me when I do not have enough sleep the night before...mean...mean...mean...

When I saw the honeydew melon I bought 2 days ago and it smells so heavenly. I just had this idea of making fruit breakfast. First I grab my yogurt, then milk, then my strawberry compote that usually I ate together with my yogurt as the sweeter, then I grab honey too. With all of this ingredients, I made strawberry smoothie with my blender. Then I use my melon baler to carve the honeydew melon into these tiny balls. Place the melon balls inside a glass, then pour the smoothie and it's done! I gave one to my son. Then for another alternative, I just wrap my prosciutto ham around my melon. This is a pretty traditional Italian starter actually. The sweetness of the honeydew melon just match beautifully with the saltiness of the prosciutto.



For our lunch, I just cooked the home-made frozen dumplings. Every once in a while, Richard and me made dumplings assembly line style. I made the filling first, then we lay out all the dumpling skins all over the kitchen's table. Then I walk around carrying this big bowl full with the filling and a small ice cream scooper that will produce exact same 1-inch meat ball. While I do this, Richard will start closing the skin over the filling using water to seal it. Then he place it on a baking tray that I already sprinkle generously with flour so the dumplings won't stick to each other. Once I am finish with the filling, I help Richard to close the dumpling skins. This way, we can finish making a lot dumpling in a short time. Then I place the baking trays in the freezer. When they are already frozen solid, I place them in ziplock plastic bags and store them in the freezer again.

To season the filling I never use recipe but basically this is how I made it:

Dumpling / Gyoza

2 packs or more of dumpling skins
1 1/2 lb lean/regular ground pork
1/2 lb ground fresh bacon/pork side ribs ( either I ground it myself or just use my food processor )
1 cup sliced green onion
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 Tbs minced ginger
1 Tbs minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1 Tbs sesame oil
2 Tbs rice wine
2 Tbs soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
3 Tbs water or stock
1 tsp MSG ( optional )

For the Dipping sauce:
3 Tbs light soy sauce
1 Tbs black/red vinegar
1 Tbs sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbs water
1 tsp finely shredded ginger ( optional )


On how to cook the dumpling, you can use this cute and useful video clip to guide you through. If you follow this video clip, your dumpling won't stick to each other and when you tried to separate them, you won't tear their skins from each other.



My way of cooking dumpling. First of all I use a hot non-stick pan. Then pour enough oil, swirl it around. Then place the dumpling, fried them first with medium heat. Turn it left and right, shake the pan a little so that the oil will coat the dumpling skins. Once you are satisfied with the color of the dumpling which will turn brownish and you are sure that they are all coated lightly in oil, then I pour hot water to the pan ( Not a good idea to pour cold water into a hot pan, it can damage your non-stick pan, you can read the manual yourself to confirm this ). Close the pan with the lid. Once you saw that your dumpling are fully cooked ( if not, add water as needed ), shake the pan again to loosen the dumpling but you do this with your left hand and your right hand holding the lid close tightly because the oil may splattered on your hand while you shake the pan. It is a good idea to shake the pans once in a while, not just once, just do it carefully so the water will not splattered on you! When there is no water left, I just dump them on my plate, I don't have any problem with sticky dumpling like the one in that video clip.



Above: While the dumpling are steaming away, I check the once in a while and shake the pan a little with closed lid.



Above: Look... no sticking to each other's skin!



Above: Perfectly cooked dumpling or gyoza if you want.

Now, let's talk about dinner ...

Again, in a quest of trying everything that I haven't tried before, I saw these beautifully fresh English peas at nearby farmer market. When I need to cook with peas, I usually use frozen peas. They are sweet and they are so convenient to use. But I really want to try eat them fresh this time. Since Kai Kai, being a good boy that he is, always begs to help me cooking, so I gave him the job of shelling the peas. I have never seen such an enthusiastic boy shelling a big bowl of English peas!



Above: Look, they are so big and plump!





I think I plan to use a little of these peas for my pasta tonight and use everything else for tomorrow soup.

First I boil the pasta in salted water until they are al-dente ( don't be scared to use a lot of salt in the water ). While it's boiling away, I cut the pancetta into tiny cubes and fried them in extra-virgin olive oil. Then add 4 cloves of garlic, minced. Add 1 tsp of hot pepper flakes in it for extra heat. Then about 1 minute before I drain my pasta, I dump the peas into the pasta. Then I drain all of them together and dump them on my sauce pan. Add some of the boiling pasta water to the sauce pan. Sprinkle some fresh minced parsley in it. When you serve this pasta, sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese on top and a little freshly cracked black pepper according to taste and this dish is done. About adding more salt, well.. if you already use a well salted water when you boil the pasta, I don't think you will need to sprinkle more salt on this dish. Just make sure that when you put salt in your boiling water, taste it, if it is a little too salty then it is just right.





Cooking simple pasta is really easy and they taste fresh and pure.

For my tomorrow plan to make the chicken soup using my freshly shelled peas, I started making the stock today. I am going to post on how I make my stock together with my next entry.

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