12 December


Fried Shrimp Dumplings

December 20: National Fried Shrimp Day

Yum yum, dim sum! Fried shrimp dumplings with sweet mayonnaise dipping sauce are Islander’s favorite, among her other top choices of siu mai (pork hash), har gao and char siu so.

Dim sum is literally translated as “touch the heart”. It is not often that we eat at a dim sum restaurant, unless it is for a special occasion or when Phyllis S., our American Chinese friend visits us from San Antonio, Texas (she is a Hawaii ex-pat like Islander). Then we eat dim sum to our heart’s content!

Islander and Phyllis try to make dim sum, too. They make a lot of won ton, egg rolls, manapua (char siu bao), shrimp balls, fried shrimp dumplings, etc., and take home half of the work they do together so they can enjoy the food later with their families. This has become their friendly motto:

Even though we’re far apart…our dim sum will always “touch the heart”!

Make, cook and eat dim sum with a beloved friend, particularly fried shrimp dumplings on National Fried Shrimp Day.

Recipe

For the fried shrimp dumplings

  • 1 pound shrimp, uncooked
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • salt and white pepper to taste
  • round won ton wrappers
  • water for sealing the wrappers
  • oil for frying

Directions

Wash, dry, remove shells and devein the shrimp. Mince finely and place in a mixing bowl. Stir in the egg whites and olive oil.

Stir in the sesame oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Mix everything well, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavors to develop and ingredients to stick together.

Place the a tablespoon of filling in the center of a round won ton wrapper. Moisten finger from the water bowl and trace around the edges. Fold and pleat the edges.

Deep fry the shrimp in hot oil until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot with sweet mayonnaise dipping sauce or other favorite sauce (soy, chili or hot sauce).

For the mayonnaise dipping sauce

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Directions

In a measuring cup or small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, milk and honey. Transfer to a dipping saucer and serve with hot fried shrimp dumpling.

Notes

  • Cover the won ton wrappers with a moist cloth or paper towel when not using to prevent them from drying out.
  • We hope Phyllis S. visits more often so we can eat dim sum every day while we are together!
  • Make dim sum for the lunar new year or for Asian-inspired tea parties.
  • Find other fried shrimp recipes on our blog for National Fried Shrimp Day.

Honey Scones

December 18: National “I Love Honey” Day

Our wedding anniversary this year happened to coincide with our Scottish clan society’s annual general meeting at which Islander had to present a major project (updating a 35- year-old publication). Although it was a working weekend for us, the appreciative event organizers tried to make our anniversary as memorable as possible. We got a blessing at the clan tent at the highland games in North Carolina (see Notes); the simple ceremony concluded with us drinking a wee dram of whisky from a quaich. At the banquet, Highlander wore his new kilt and Islander wore a tartan ribbon sash and, as advised by our chieftain’s wife, Lady G., a silk floral head wreath using the clan plant (bay laurel leaves), Scottish thistle and white heather (as shown in the photo above). Lady G. said thistles and heather grow all over Scotland but white heather is rare and special and symbolizes good luck in love and marriage.

We have incorporated Scottish heather honey in a scone recipe for National “I Love Honey” Day. Considered the “Rolls Royce” of honey, it made these honey scones the most fragrant out of the oven! But it cost nearly $12USD for a 4-ounce jar of Scottish heather honey. We have tried a few other honey (including organic Hawaiian honey and local Texas honey) for this recipe and they all work wonderfully well. But we wanted to use our prized heather honey for a special Scottish scone to remember our anniversary celebration and celebrate National “I Love Honey” Day.

Recipe

Adapted from “The Honey Book” by Lucille Recht Penner

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cold
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons honey (we used Scottish heather honey)
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • milk

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in the butter and mix until coarse and crumbly. In a mixing cup, blend the egg with honey. Stir it into the flour mixture.

Fold in the raisins. Make the dough into a disc and place onto a clean, well floured surface. Roll to ½ inch thickness. Cut into two-inch rounds. Place on a greased baking sheet at least an inch apart.

Brush milk on top. Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until the tops are browned. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Serve warm with butter, clotted cream or jam.

Notes

  • North Carolina also has some good quality honey. There are many vendors selling them on the roadside. We especially love honey barbecue sauce on pork ribs!
  • Search our blog for other scones recipes.

Pecan Noodle Kugel

December 11:National Noodle Ring Day

Even though we lived in San Antonio, Texas, a predominantly Roman Catholic city, Islander befriended a Reformed Jew from the local cake club where they were both members. Charles M. served as chairman of the cake show and Islander was the web and graphic designer for the event. But we had moved to the Gulf Coast in the middle of the planning year and she was very sad to leave her brother and friends. So it made her happy to see Charles just a month after when he came into our new town for a cake class (which took place at a cake shop where meetings were held for the local cake club). Islander eventually became president of that cake club and travels back and forth to different cake shows in Texas throughout the year. Those familiar faces from cake clubs all over Texas make everyone feel connected……

…..Just like the pasta and pecan pieces in the noodle kugel dessert Charles mentioned that some of his fellow Jews would eat around this time of the year in celebration of Hanukkah. The noodles are bound by eggs and the native nuts stick together with a caramelized mixture in a ringed pan. This kugel-cake is different from the cakes that Charles and Islander decorate, but it is a sweet symbolism of far-away friends and family coming together to celebrate a special occasion. Pecan noodle kugel is great to make and serve on Jewish holidays and on National Noodle Ring Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from The Kosher Palette Cookbook)

Ingredients

  • 1 16 ounce package of wide egg noodles
  • 4-6 quarts water (to boil the noodles)
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 6 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup sugar, granulated white
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

Cook the egg noodles according to the package directions. Drain and set aside in a large mixing bowl.

Generously coat a Bundt or ring pan with cooking spray. In a bowl, combine the melted butter, chopped pecans and brown sugar. Mix well.

Spoon the brown sugar mixture on the bottom of the prepared pan. Beat the eggs and mix with the noodles in the bowl. Stir in the white sugar and salt.

Add the cinnamon to the noodles and mix well. Fill the prepared pan with the noodle mixture over the brown sugar topping. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degree F for an hour.

Remove from the oven and let the kugel cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Loosen the edges with a spatula. Invert it onto a plate. Slice and serve.

Notes

  • Happy Hanukkah to all our Jewish blog readers and friends.

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