Category Archives: Chinese

Chinese New Year Sorbet with a Crisp

Yesterday (January 23rd) many celebrated the first day of the lunar year.  For the next 15 days the Chinese New Year festivities will continue, ending on the day of the full moon.

When I had some friends over for our monthly dinner, I decided to go with the theme of Chinese food.  I had made egg rolls, lettuce wraps, rice noodles with vegetables and some sesame spinach.  In true foodie fashion, I think I need to work all of those a bit more before they are presented on the blog.

But I think the dessert turned out well, I even had some last night.  This was the first time I’ve ever made a sorbet.  Although it’s not the perfect January dessert, it was very light and refreshing (definitely would be a great summer dish).  The pear sorbet included a Sesame Wonton Crisp, which was extremely easy to make.  It’s a great little “extra” on an ice cream or sorbet!

Want to try another chilled dessert?  How about Rum Raisin Ice Cream or Kumquat & Orange Sorbet.  Let us know which is your favorite!

Pear Sorbet
Adapted from: Lottie + Doof

5 juicy pears (peeled, cored and roughly chopped)
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup of sugar
1/3 cup pear brandy
2 drops  of vanilla extract

Remember to store your ice cream maker in the freezer at least 6 hours before this (this note is from personal experience).

Make a simple syrup, heat up the water in a small saucepan until its boiling.  Then add the sugar and keep stirring until it dissolves.  Once it’s dissolved, then turn off the burner and let the syrup sit until it cools off.

Puree the pears in a food processor until the mixture is smooth (really smooth).  Then transfer the mixture to a bowl.  Add the simple syrup, brandy and vanilla extract.

Process in the ice cream maker per the directions.  For example, I did mine for about 30 minutes.  Transfer the sorbet into a container and keep in the freezer so it firms up.  Serve with a wonton crisp!

Sesame Wonton Crisps
Adapted from: yumsugar

8 wonton wrappers
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp heavy cream
2 tbsp sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Place parchment paper on top of a cookie sheet.  Arrange the wontons, leaving space in between each of them.

In a small bowl mix together the sugar and ginger.

In another small bowl mix together the egg yolk and heavy cream.  Brush the top of the wontons with the egg wash.  Then sprinkle each with the sugar mixture, and lastly with the sesame seeds.

Bake the wontons until they are crisp and golden, this should be about 8-10 minutes.  Let them cool, and then add them with a sorbet.

Hot Pot in NYC

This last weekend Sam and I traveled to New York City.  From Washington D.C. it’s just a couple of hours on the Amtrak.  We spent the weekend visiting friends and exploring the city.  It addition it was Veteran’s Day- so we enjoyed the longer weekend.

The weather was great- a perfect fall weekend.  With so many leaves on the streets, the air smelled of fall.  We enjoyed walking around the city, and even explored a bit of Brooklyn- which I loved!

One of our food adventures was trying out a hot pot place in Chinatown.  As far as I know, DC doesn’t have a hot pot place, so I was excited to try this out for the first time.  Since I wasn’t familiar with this until this past weekend, I though other would also like to know more about it:

What is it?  The easiest explanation is that it’s similar to fondue. Rather than using cheese and/or chocolate- there is broth inside the hot pot.  The pot is cooked on a portable gas or electric stove, at your table.

Ours looked like this!  Sam insisted that we try the spicy version, which is why ours is so red.  Yes, there were many chili peppers.

Other options include a plain broth, or a combination of plain and spicy.  If you have the combination broth, there is a divider in the middle of the bowl- each half holding the different liquids.

How do you cook in a hot pot?  When you go to a hot pot restaurant, you have a list of ingredients that you choose to cook in your pot.  Once your table decides which foods you’d like, the raw ingredients are brought out.  Add the veggies, noodles or meats into the pot, and wait until each of them cooks.  They can be added all at once, or divided and added one by one.  Each ingredient is kept in the hot pot until it is done cooking (the time may differ for each).

The cooking time depends on what ingredients you choose.  For example, one of our choices were green onions.  They cooked quickly, about 2 minutes.

What are some of the ingredients?  vegetables (bok choy, green beans, mushrooms); tofu; noodles (soba, rice, udon); meats (beef, pork, chicken); fish (scallops, fish balls, shrimp) and much more.

Our choices were: beef, scallops, green onions, bok choy, dumplings and Chinese mushrooms.  The last three were our favorites!

You use the strainer and spoon to scoop out the hot food from the pot.

And then enjoy the cooked ingredients!

If you’re in New York, this is the restaurant we checked out:

Grand Sichuan International
125 Canal Street
New York, NY

It was a fun experience, and now I’m wondering how we could replicate it at home.  The restaurant was fairly bare-bones (cash only).  Definitely something different than the usually Chinese take-out.