Last night we enjoyed a Chinese dinner. One of our family resolutions for 2011 was to explore more foods, and do so by planning a dinner from different countries one day each month. Our first month was scheduled to be Chinese.
My sister researched and created these great pamphlets with facts about China (did you know it's an urban myth that you can see the Great Wall of China from space?) and also found each of our names written in Chinese characters.
The boys & I checked out a few cookbooks from the library to find new recipes to try out for this dinner. We decided on a menu of egg drop soup, beggar's chicken, cold sesame noodles, Asian vegetables and rice coconut anise cake. Colin picked out the soup and the rice cakes, Nate chose the beggar's chicken, and I chose the cold noodle dish.
We took a trip to Lee Lee Oriental Supermarket on Saturday to pick up some items that I thought would be difficult to find in our usual grocery store. The rice cake called for glutinous rice, and the only glutinous rice I could find was a 5lb bag of black glutinous rice. I will say that it was a beautiful purple color when soaking & cooking! We picked up a jar of bamboo shoots and a few sauces and traditional candies. And we couldn't skip decorations or chopsticks! We found these beautiful paper vases that I hung on our picture wire in the kitchen. We also picked some small soup bowls and traditional spoons -- I know we'll use the bowls but I probably should have skipped the spoons.
Chinese New Year's music to enjoy during dinner. Everyone liked the music!
On Sunday, I cooked. and cooked. and cooked. I'm glad my sister helped me, as there was a lot of cooking going on. The rice cake took the longest because not only did the rice have to be rinsed multiple times and then soaked overnight, but it took forever to cook. And, then, I'll tell you that the results were awful. Apparently, I did it right because my sister did some research later and it turned out as it should have -- but nobody liked it.
My sister, husband and Nate liked the beggar's chicken. (The beggar's chicken was a chicken breast, topped with a ground pork stuffing and wrapped in bread dough.) My sister liked the cold sesame noodles (and that was one dish she thought she wouldn't like!) My sister liked the egg drop soup. (which she also made flawlessly. I just don't like egg drop soup apparently.) Umm, the Asian vegetables were nothing special - - just a frozen mix I found at Fry's. As you can see, neither Colin nor I liked anything.
Overall I call it a success. We tried some new things and learned more about China. That is the whole purpose of this endeavor, so we succeeded. And at least one of us really enjoyed the dinner!!
Next month? Poland. Hopefully I will like something that I cook!