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Savory Green Onion and Egg Pancakes

I have been sick most of December with a severe cold and persistent cough that kept me awake at night. The sleep deprivation was the worst, caused by the non stop cough which got worse at nighttime. The last time I was this sick must have been over 12 years ago.

My husband was a huge help during the 18 days I was sick. He helped take care of the little man after work, grocery shopped, shopped for Christmas presents, cleaned the house and missed his company Christmas party at an upscale restaurant to take care of us. I am so grateful for his help despite his demanding work schedule.

Given my lack of energy, we had soup and congee on rotation for most of our meals. I aimed for quick, easy and simple during those 18 days. After two weeks of soup and congee, we were all ready for a break. Even though I was sick, I would think dream of foods I could eat when I got slightly better: one of things I craved was prime rib, and the other is Chinese green onion and egg pancakes.

When I was young, I would beg my late grandmother to make this green onion and egg pancake on a regular basis. My grandmother would often indulge me as she took immense pleasure in feeding those she love. Even in her last year of life, she would stand over the stove and make all my favorite dishes every time I went home to visit. Since her death over 8 years ago, I have been trying to recreate some of the recipes she used to make as we never wrote down any of her recipes.

This recipe is incredibly easy to make, with only 5 ingredients that you likely already have on hand. I took a short cut and used my blender to combine all the ingredients but you can combine the ingredients by hand as well.

4 large eggs
1 cup all purpose flour
1-1/2 cups water
1 tsp salt
2 large stalks of green onion, chopped

Canola oil

1. In a bowl or blender, mix eggs, flour, water and salt. Once the batter is fully combined, stir in chopped green onions.

2. Add half a tablespoon of canola oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Once the skillet is fully heated, pour/ladle in a thin layer of batter. Cook until the surface of the pancake bubbles and the other side is light golden brown.

3. Flip the pancake and cook until the underside is light golden brown. Repeat with the remaining batter. Make sure to lightly coat the skillet with canola oil before ladling in batter each time. Serve as is or with hot sauce.

Source: Slightly adapted from Asia Dish 


Chinese Pork and Shrimp Wontons

My mom and my late grandmother both love wontons. As a child, we had wontons on a regular basis at home during the winter months. As a kid, I can't say I really loved wontons since I usually burnt my tongue trying to eat the little suckers; I am impatient when it comes to food.

I remember watching my mom and my late grandmother spend half a day making a big batch of wontons, most of which were frozen for future meals or for busy nights when dinners needed to be on the table quickly.

I never realized how easy it is to make wontons if you used packaged wrappers. Be forewarned though, making wontons does takes a little effort and time. The batch I made turned out 54 wontons and took me about an hour and half to make from start to finish. I made enough wontons for two meals that fed my family of three. You can also stretch the wontons by adding egg noodles to each serving, which reduces the amount of wontons you have to serve.

I have to say these wontons are absolutely delicious. The shrimp adds a nice texture to the wontons and my husband declared it the best wontons he has ever had. I'm delighted by his comment since my Mother-In-Law makes pretty darned good wontons. Since I spent my life eating wontons, I consider myself a wonton connoisseur, this wontons even met my high expectations. This is definitely a recipe I would remake over and over. I think these wontons would have made my late grandmother proud.

1 lb lean ground pork
1/2 lb finely minced deveined unshelled shrimp
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 inch ginger, peeled and finely grated
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 egg
1-1/2 tsp sesame oil

1 package of wonton wrappers (look for wonton wrappers that are a little thicker)

Bowl of water
Cutting board
Baking sheet lined with parchment paper

1. In a large bowl, mix the pork, shrimp, green onions, ginger, soy sauce, egg and sesame oil. Stir until it is thoroughly mixed and the mixture resembles a paste.

2. Line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper. Set up your wonton wrapping station: cutting board, and a bowl filled with cold water.

Top left clockwise: baking sheet with parchment paper, pork and shrimp filling, wonton wrapper, water, cutting board.

3. With a small teaspoon, spoon a teaspoon of the filling into the center of the wonton. Seal the wonton with water. There are two ways I like to fold my wontons:

Method 1:
Place a teaspoon of filling in the middle of the wonton wrappers. With the tip of your finger, dip it into the bowl of water and paint two adjoining edges with water so it forms a "V".
Fold the wonton in half into a triangle, making sure to squeeze out any air bubbles, press firmly and seal. Create an indent in the middle of the triangle.
Dab a little bit of water on one corner of the wonton, fold and seal. Place the wonton on the parchment paper.
Repeat with the remaining wontons. Wipe up any water from your cutting board with a paper towel.

Method 2:
Place a teaspoon of filling in the middle of the wonton wrapper. With your finger tip, brush half of the edges with water so it forms a "U".
Fold the wonton in half into a rectangle, making sure to squeeze out any air bubbles, press firmly and seal. Create an indent in the middle of the rectangle where the filling is.
Dab a bottom corner with a little bit of water, fold and seal. Place the wonton on the parchment paper.

Repeat with the remaining wontons. Wipe up any water from your cutting board with a paper towel.

4. Place wontons on the baking sheet, making sure to leave a little space between each wonton. Repeat with the wrapping the remaining wontons.

To serve:

Chicken, pork, seafood or vegetable broth
Sesame oil
Broccoli, bok choy or other green leafy vegetables
1 package of egg noodles (optional, see note below)
Green onions for garnish (optional)
Hot sauce (optional)

1. In a large pot, bring the broth to a boil. Add wontons to the pot, and reduce heat to medium. Cook the wontons for 3 to 4 minutes before adding in green vegetables (broccoli, shanghai bok choy) or chopped green onions. Add a teaspoon of sesame oil to the broth and cook until the broth comes back to a boil, the vegetables are crisp tender and the wontons float. Ladle some soup and wontons into each bowl. I find that each adult needs about 9 to 11 wontons for a substantial meal and 6 to 8 wontons for a light meal.

If you want to serve egg noodles with the wontons, cook the noodles in a separate pot according to package directions. Drain and divide noodles between each bowl. Ladle soup and wontons into each bowl. If you are serving egg noodles along with wontons, you can serve less wontons for each person. I usually serve 5 wontons per adult if I am also serving egg noodles.

To Freeze:
Freeze wontons in a single layer on a cookie sheet for at least 3 to 4 hours. Once the wontons have frozen completely, you can place them in a Ziploc bag or freezer safe container. The wontons can be frozen in a freezer for up to 2 months. To cook the wontons straight from the freezer: place the frozen wontons directly into boiling broth and allow it to cook 2 to 3 minutes longer.

Source: Slightly adapted from China Sichuan Food


Greek Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Feta and Roasted Veggies

The first time I made this salad, it was in the middle of August, the hottest time of the year here in Vancouver. I have no idea what prompted me to make this salad and deciding to roast the vegetables in my oven instead of turning on the BBQ.

As my house heated up, roasting veggies in my oven seemed like a really bad idea. I was sweltering from the heat, questioning my sanity. All was good once I took a bite of this pasta salad; then it all seemed worth it.

If you want to make this pasta salad in the summer, I would HIGHLY recommend grilling your vegetables and the shrimp on the BBQ grill. Or even better, grill extra vegetables and shrimp for dinner and use the leftovers in this pasta salad the next day.

I have made this recipe a few times since, and used my oven to roast the vegetables once the weather cooled off. It makes a nice, light, but satisfying meal that doesn't weigh you down. The roasted vegetables really shine through with the simple Dijon vinaigrette. You can substitute chicken in lieu of shrimp but I have to say that shrimp and roasted vegetables are a winning combo!

This pasta salad tastes delicious served either warm or cold. I find that it tastes best if it is allowed to sit for an hour or so for the pasta to absorb the flavors of the vinaigrette. Make sure to keep this salad chilled in the refrigerator.

2 medium zucchinis, sliced into 1/8" rounds, or half moons
1 lb cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 large yellow or orange bell pepper, cut into bite sized pieces (optional)
3 tbsp olive oil
Pinch of salt and pepper

1 lb wheat or gluten-free pasta (rotini, penne, or rotelle pastas all work well)
1 lb shrimp, unshelled and deveined
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced in half
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 small red onion, finely diced

Dijon Vinaigrette
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large clove of garlic, finely minced
2 tbsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Toss zucchini, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers in olive oil, salt and pepper. Broil in the oven on medium for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and slightly charred. (An even better idea is to grill your vegetables on the BBQ, especially in the Summer!)

2. Cook the pasta according to package directions until it is al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.

3. Pan fry the shrimp in a tablespoon of olive oil until the shrimp is pink and cooked through. Set aside. (You can also skewer the shrimp and grill it on the BBQ.)

4. Mix the ingredients for the vinaigrette: rice wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, olive oil, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper.

5. Toss the roasted veggies, pasta, shrimp, kalamata olives, feta cheese, and red onion with the Dijon vinaigrette. Serve warm or cold.

Source: Slightly Adapted from Allrecipes