Last week I joined yet another blogging group: My Kitchen, My World, hosted by Susan, of She’s Becoming DoughMesstic. On a weekly basis, this group chooses cuisines from around the world, creates a meal representing the chosen country, then posts on Saturday. Since I need to fix meals anyway, this fits right in to my regular routine, and it also serves as a pleasant antidote to all the sweet baking and cooking that I do.
China was the theme this week, most appropriately, since the Olympics began yesterday. (I really want one of those lime green bodysuits with light bulbs!) Someday I would love to travel to China as a personal quest of sorts. It has to do with family history in a way. At age 15, my father was living in Iowa with his sister and widowed father and going to Catholic school. Well, my father was no angel, and was at a cross-roads in his life, so with some finagling, he enlisted in the Navy. At 15. And before long, he found himself in China, on a gunboat running up and down the Yangtze River. He was there for quite a few years. As a child, I loved hearing him talk about all his adventures in China, especially his description of walking on the Great Wall. So, in memory of my dad and his stories about China, I would love to see it in person.
Tonight I’ll be making Kung Pao Chicken, which I love. It’s what I usually order at restaurants, because I like my food spicy! I’ll post on that later for part 2.
But last night I made potstickers, courtesy of Alton Brown.
They turned out so deliciously! I highly recommend them. I also made a special dessert, Almond Jelly. Years ago, I had a friend who was a rabid Sinophile, and she fixed a dinner one night for a group of us: potstickers and almond jelly. (while I’m sure there were other dishes, those two are the ones that made the strongest impression on me.) I wasn’t able to locate her exact recipe among my files for this post (I’ll keep searching), but the recipe I am including is similar. It can be made with either plain milk and sugar or with condensed milk. I’ve always loved this simple dessert, although it may be an acquired taste for some.
ALMOND JELLY WITH MANDARIN ORANGES
1 env. unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 c. water
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 c. milk
2 tsp. almond extract1 (11 oz.) can mandarin orange sections, drained
In small bowl, sprinkle again over 1/4 cup cold water; let stand 5 minutes to soften.
In medium saucepan combine water with 3 tablespoons sugar; bring to boil and boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in milk. Add softened gelatin and almond extract, stirring until gelatin is dissolved.
Pour into 9x9x2-inch pan. Refrigerate until firm and well chilled, about 1 hour.
At serving time, cut almond jelly into small cubes. Spoon mandarin oranges on top. Makes about 8 servings.