Monday, February 25, 2008

Want a Wonton?

Being that I go to college thousands of miles away from home, I don't get to have mom's Chinese home cooking very often. So, I had her send me some easy recipes so I could try them on my own! One of my favorite recipes is wontons because not only are they super convenient when you don't have time to cook, but they are also tasty. It's also really fun to make. Here's the recipe:

Mom's Wonton Soup


For the wontons:
  • About 1lbs. Ground Pork
  • 1 lbs. Shrimp (Or about 30 large shrimp)
  • 1 1/2 cup Chicken Broth
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 4 tbsp Soy Sauce (or to taste)
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Corn Starch
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp White Pepper
  • 3 tsp White Cooking Wine
  • 1/2 tsp Sugar
  • 100 Wonton Wrappers (found at most Asian Markets)
Defrost wonton wrappers. In a separate bowl mix the corn starch, soy sauce, sesame oil, white cooking wine, white pepper, salt, and sugar and set aside.

Lightly puree the ground pork in a food processor or blender. Un-shell and de-vein the shrimp and cut into bite sizes (1/2 inch pieces). Transfer the pork and shrimp into a large mixing bowl. Add the corn starch mixture, chicken broth, and water. Combine thoroughly.

Take one wonton wrapper in your palm, and add one small spoonful of the pork mixture in the middle of the wrapper. Dip your finger into water and wet all four edges of the wrapper.

Then fold one edge of the wrapper over to form a triangle. Wet the two tails of the triangle with your finger. Lightly press the middle of the long side of the triangle to make a small indentation.

Finally fold the tails towards each other and you've made one wonton! You will get better with the folding with each wonton (it's like origami with food!). Boil some water and cook one wonton for 3 minutes to test if you like the taste and texture. If not, add more soy sauce, broth etc.

This recipe will make close to 100 wontons. If you are not making all of them, separate each of them and cover so they don't get smushed. Put them in the freezer and they will last you up to a month.

For the wonton soup:
  • 1 1/4 cup Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 cup Water (for the broth); approx. 4 cups Water (for large pot)
  • 5-8 Wontons (or as many as you like)
  • 2 Shiitake Mushrooms (or bella mushrooms, if you don't have any) optional
  • 2 or 3 branches of Chinese Broccoli (or any other vegetables you prefer) optional
  • Handful of Noodles optional
  • Soy Sauce to taste
  • White Pepper to taste
Fill a large pot half way with water and bring it to a boil. Add the noodles and stir occasionally. After 5 minutes of cooking, add the wontons and cook for another 3 minutes until the wontons float. Strain and place in the serving bowl.

Add the chicken broth and water to a small pot. When the broth has boiled, add the vegetables and mushrooms into the pot and cook for 2 minutes. Then pour the broth, vegetables, and mushrooms into your bowl. (You can always just have wontons by themselves with broth.)

Serve and Enjoy!
- Michelle

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Chili and Chocolate?

This past weekend was the 10th Annual Chili Cook-Off and Winterfest in Ithaca, where local restaurants and caterers serve up their best chilis and compete for various awards, including best meat chili, best vegetarian chili, and best chili presentation. The 25 degree weather didn't keep the crowds away and proved very conducive to eating lots and lots of chili.

In my opinion, the most inventive and best tasting chili by far was the portobello mushroom chili with M&M's (pictured above). Although I was a little skeptical at first (I thought to myself, why does my chili look more like an ice cream sundae? that can't be good), the spiciness of the chili and the sweetness of the M&M's balanced each other out beautifully, creating a comforting, warm flavor. Another booth made their chili (not pictured) with belgian chocolate and served with zesty orange bread. Who knew the chocolate and chili combo could be so delicious?!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Cake Love

When I got home on Valentines Day, a huge box wrapped in Food Network wrapping paper was waiting for me on my doorstep. Inside the box was a heart-shaped bundt cake pan--the perfect V-Day gift for any foodie! Needless to say, I had to put this this cake pan to use. My friends and I decided to host a post Valentines Day potluck, and a heart-shaped chocolate chiffon cake seemed like a festive and apropos addition. Here is the recipe, adapted from

V-Day Chocolate Chiffon Cake with Raspberries (adapted from Emma Fox at

Prep Time: 25 Min.
Cook Time: 1 Hour
Ready In: 1Hr. 25 Min.

  • About 3/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 7 eggs, separated
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  1. In a bowl, combine cocoa and water until smooth; cool for 20 minutes. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Add oil, egg yolks, vanilla and cocoa mixture; beat until smooth. In another mixing bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form; gradually fold into egg yolk mixture. Pour into an ungreased 10-in. tube pan. Bake on lowest rack at 325 degrees F for 60-65 minutes or until cake springs back when touched. Invert pan to cool; remove cake from pan.
  2. Arrange fresh raspberries around the cake and sprinkle powdered sugar over before serving.


This weekend I went to a potluck dinner thrown by my favorite foodie, so I knew I had to impress. There was more food than I think we could have eaten in 2 weeks, so of course we ate way too much. I made a dessert, a little east-meets...brownies.
Brownie recipe is from epicurious, hands down the best brownies in the world. I put some matcha green tea frosting on top for some flavor, found at the cupcake bakeshop ( Here are the recipes:

Best Cocoa Brownies
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cold large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray and flour the bottom of your pans (I used mini muffin pans!)

Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot.

Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the pans

Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 15 to 20 minutes for mini muffins, 20-25 for regular brownie pans. Let cool completely on a rack.

Matcha Green Tea Frosting

2 sticks butter
8 ounces or 1 package of Philly cream cheese
3 cups powdered sugar
~5 tablespoons matcha powder

1. Bring butter to room temperature by letting it sit out for 1 or 2 hours.
2. Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy.
3. Sift 3 cups of powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons of matcha powder into the butter/cream cheese mixture and beat to combine.
4. Taste. Add more matcha if desired (Cupcake Bakeshop used only 2 tbsp, and i found that it needed at least 5 for the flavor of the matcha to be heard over the cream cheese)