Monthly Archives: August 2019

Pork Shumai

Chinese Appetizer

PORK SHUMAI

INGREDIENTS

2 garlic cloves
1″ ginger root
2 green onions
1 pound ground pork
½ tablespoon cornstarch
¾ teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons rice wine or dry sherry
½ tablespoon sesame oil
1½ tablespoons light soy sauce or soy sauce
40 wonton or gyoza wrappers
3 or so leaves Napa cabbage (You may substitute parchment paper. Be sure to punch holes in it.)
soy sauce for dipping

SPECIAL UTENSILS

kitchen towel
steamer
x-ray goggles

Makes 40 pork shumai. Takes 1 hour.

PREPARATION

Mince garlic, ginger root, and green onion. Add garlic, ginger root, green onions, ground pork, cornstarch, salt, rice wine, sesame oil, and soy sauce to large mixing bowl. Mix with hands. Add 1 tablespoon pork mixture to middle of wonton wrapper. Wet finger with water. Run finger around edges of wrapper. Wrap sides of wrappers around pork mixture. Seal edges with together with hands, starting at the bottom. Repeat until you have enough dumplings to fill steamer’s basket. Covered completed dumplings, shumai, with damp kitchen towel until they are ready for the steamer. You will likely need to steam the shumai in batches. Make another batch while the previous batch is being steamed.

Add water to bottom part of steamer until it is 1″ from reaching the steamer basket. Bring to boil using high heat. While water comes to boil, line steamer basket with 2 Napa cabbage leaves. Place dumplings on cabbage leaves.(This keeps dumplings from sticking to basket.) Leave ½” gaps between shumai. Cover steamer and steam at high heat for 5 minutes or until done. (If you neglected to pick up x-ray vision goggles at your store, you may sample one.) Remove steamed dumplings, shumai and serve. Continue until all batches have been steamed. Dip in soy sauce as desired.

TIDBITS

1) Pork shumai comes from China.

2) Chinese spare ribs also come from China.

3) As do Chinese horoscopes.

4) And Chinese fireworks.

5) We can thus conclude someone from China invented Chinese checkers.

6) Although glass marbles have been invented and produced several times throughout history and in many different locations, their popularity is cyclical.

7) Indeed in the Middle Ages, adults generally forbade children to engage in any games, whether it was Pin the Tail on the Giraffe’s Neck (PTGN) or play marbles.

8) PTGN would have died out naturally as a recreational pursuit as no child during the Middle Ages could have pinned that high on a giraffe, even if he stood on his tippy does.

9) Playing Marbles (M) also waned in popularity. Medieval Children (MC) had to hike to the wheat fields to get away from parental supervision. Unfortunately, marbles got lost immediately in the amber waves of grain. (This image would ultimately inspire our great song “America the Beautiful.”) No more marbles for play, no more games of Marbles.

10) The game Marbles came to China with the Polo brothers in the thirteenth century.

11) The Great Khan loved the game. And since he loved the game so did all his Chinese subjects. Marbles Mania (MM) was poised to take off in the Land of the Panda.

12) But alas, the Polo brothers only brought enough marbles for one game of Chinese checkers. Then tragedy struck, a mighty wind blew away two marbles. A diligent search by the palace guard recovered one marble. Not enough for a game.

13) The Polo brothers, Marco and Ralph, tried diverting the Great Khan’s wrath by giving him three-and-twenty shirts with short sleeves, and a button-down collar. Sad to say, Khan didn’t cotton to these Polo Shirts. He even ordered the brothers’ execution. Things looked grim for the Polos. Only an IRS audit could have made things worse.

14) Then woo hoo, a divine wind blew dozens of pork shumais from the imperial kitchen onto Khan’s Chinese checkers boards. The game was saved for imperial household. The Chinese peasants could now partake as well. Laborers, at the end of a hot day, would invite neighbors over for a nice game of Chinese checkers, then dine on the pork-shumai marbles after playing was done.

15) Health restrictions in 1857 prohibited the use of pork-shumai marbles. (See Dr. Amos Keeto’s work, The Great Chinese Pork-Shumai-Marble Plague of 1856.) From that year on, Chinese checkers would be played only with glass marbles. Now you know.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

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Shrimp Bisque

French Soup

SHRIMP BISQUE

INGREDIENTS

1 pound medium shrimp, shells on*
1 medium carrot
1 stick celery
1 garlic clove
1 small onion
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ tablespoon tomato paste
6 cups water
1 small bay leaf
½ tablespoon dry parsley
½ teaspoon salt
½ tablespoon dry thyme
1 tablespoon brandy or white wine
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1⅓ cups cream
croutons as desired
6 sprigs fresh parsley

* = To get the most authentic flavor, you need to buy shrimp with the heads on. This is difficult if you don’t live in a hopping culinary center. My Poway is like this. I feel your pain.

SPECIAL UTENSIL

colander with fine mesh

Makes 6 bowls. Takes 1 hour.

PREPARATION

Peel and devein shrimp. KEEP SHELLS. Dice carrot, celery, garlic, and onion. Add oil and shrimp shells and heads, if you could buy them, to 1st pot. Sauté at high heat for 5 minutes or until shells start to brown. Stir frequently. Add garlic and onion. Reduce heat to medium-high. Sauté for 5 minutes until garlic and onion soften. Stir frequently. Add carrot, celery, tomato paste, water, bay leaf, dry parsley, salt, and thyme. Bring to boil using high heat. Stir occasionally. Reduce heat to low and simmer shrimp-shell stock for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. Strain this stock through a colander and into a large bowl. Return clear stock and add brandy to 2nd pot.

While stock simmers, add butter to pan. Melt butter using medium heat. Add flour. Blend in flour. Stir frequently. Cook for 2 minutes or until flour turns golden brown.

Add golden-brown flour to 2nd pot. Blend with fork until golden-brown flour blends completely into stock. Strain stock again through colander into 2nd pot. Add cream to 2nd pot with stock. Stir in cream with spoon until well blended. Cook at medium heat. Add shrimp. Cook at medium heat or until shrimp turns orange. Garnish each bowl with croutons and fresh parsley sprigs.

TIDBITS

1) This recipe uses water.

2) Life uses water. Every organism needs water to live.

3) Unless, of course, you’re a bacterial endospore. Even then, you’d need water eventually.

4) I harbor doubts, though, that you are a bacterial endospore, BA.

5) For such endospores rely on a notoriously deficient system of public education. There’s no funding for it. None. So, BAs can’t read. But you can read. Therefore you are a human or possibly a very smart giraffe.

6) People are not allowed to take giraffes to sporting events, not even as a comfort animal. People behind would be forever yelling, “Down in front.”

7) Giraffes can be surly and are apt to smack your head with their strong, necks if you try to make them leave a ball game, particularly if you didn’t ask them nicely. Manners are always in fashion.

8) Yes, the best way to get a giraffe to leave a Cubs/Cardinals game is for the security guard to say, “Excuse me please, Mr. Giraffe, would join me in eating some popcorn just outside?” This will work nine times out of ten, for giraffes love popcorn. Yay!

9) But how does popcorn pop? There’s a little bit of water inside every corn kernel. Yes, staying hydrated is important for everyone whether you be a human being or a future corn plant.

10) When you heat the kernel sufficiently, pressure builds up as the water in the middle turns to steam. But the kernel’s solid shell prevents steam from seeping out. Eventually, there’s enough pressure to rip apart the shell. Et voilà, you have popcorn.

11) Admiral Halsey contemplated this very fact while munching on popcorn in early 1943. “If only we could have harnessed the explosive power of popcorn during the Battle of Midway. We could have launched our planes so much quicker.”

12) And what the Admiral wanted, the Admiral got. Plane after plane would be launched by exploding popcorn. American fighters got to the Japanese Zeros so fast that they could not respond in time. America would thrash Japan in every carrier battle. We would win the war.

13) At first, the carriers’ crews poured melted butter over the popcorn left behind by the launches. But although the sailors would eat every tasty popcorn kernel, the remaining melted butter would leave the flight deck extremely slick. The returning American planes skidded off the buttery carriers and into the sea. This is why the U.S. Navy has banned buttered popcorn.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

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