Sunday, November 29, 2009

Screw the Turkey

This blogging stuff is kind of cool. I get to bitch to a much wider audience. It's very cathartic.

Another cool thing about blogging? Sometimes my bitching actually gets me the one thing I hardly ever get any more: my own way.

Yeah, that's right folks. KitchyWitchy got her own way! She won! Three cheers and a herky for TKW!

You might remember a little rant I posted a while back about Thanksgiving dinner. Well, my parents read the rant, took pity on me, and absolved me of my duty of cooking the beige dinner. My mother is cooking the beige dinner the day after Thanksgiving, so I don't have to look at it. She's rather awesome like that.

My generous parents told me that I could cook whatever I wanted on Turkey Day and assured me that they'd be happy to eat it. Talk about something to be thankful for!

I almost foamed at the mouth with excitement. I piled my cookbooks and magazines up like the Leaning Tower of Pisa and riffled pages wildly, looking for the perfect recipes for my feast.

I decided to go with my original idea of Ultimate Asian Feast; ever since I wrote the words Dan-Dan Noodles, I've been battling a severe jones for the stuff. I just hoped daddy wouldn't weep into them.

The Menu:
Shrimp Pot Stickers
Spicy Edamame
Slanted Door Beef
Dan Dan Noodles
Stir Fried Asparagus with Wild Mushrooms
Jen's Dessert

We had our lovely neighbors, the K Family over for dinner, and Jen generously offered to bring dessert, so at least I knew I could focus on the non-baking part of the feast.

Gavin's First Asian Pear!

The day before, I'd done most of the heavy prep work. I learned a swift little lesson. Asian Feast=Chopping the Shit Outta Way Too Much Stuff.

Still, I was hopeful that the delectable outcome would erase the pain of the Day of Endless Chopping, and for the most part, I was satisfied.

Thanksgiving morning, I realized that everything on the menu required some kind of special sauce. Crap. I started whisking and putting everything into little bowls...and then got completely distracted by my girls' antics...and then came back to the kitchen 10 minutes later and realized I couldn't remember which bowl of sauce belonged with which dish.

So I got to consume things like fish sauce at 10am in the morning in order to sort things out. Yeah.

**I must say, however, that the distraction was totally worth it. Hubs had put the 70's station on the Sirius radio, and watching my girls FLIP OUT over Shaun Cassidy's rendition of "Hey, Deanie" was one of the best parts of my day.

TKW may have even busted a move to that little ditty herself.

Future President of the Shaun Cassidy Fan Club

Hubs was quite distressed by the lameness of our musical taste, but was later put at ease when Miss D. heard the opening riff to Smoke on the Water and deemed Deep Purple "awesome." There may be hope for her yet.

I am going to save the Disaster of the Dan-Dan Noodles for another post, but I will share with you the Prom Queen Dish of the night. By far, everyone went apeshit over the Shrimp Pot Stickers. Totally worth the trip to Chopping Hell.

Hello, Delicious!

Ginger-Shrimp Pot Stickers with Spicy Dipping Sauce

adapted from Cooking Light Magazine, March 2008
makes 24

Pot Stickers:

3/4 cup shredded napa cabbage
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup matchstick-cut carrots
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon dark toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 oz. cooked peeled small shrimp
dash of Sriracha hot sauce
24 wonton wrappers
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 cup water, divided

Dipping Sauce:
1/3 cup boiling water
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons chile paste with garlic (like sambal oelek or Sriracha)
1/2 teaspoon sugar

The original directions say to combine the first 10 ingredients in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. I don't like the texture of pot stickers with filling made like this. Sooooo, I finely and meticulously chopped up all of the ingredients by hand. STILL worth it.

Working with 1 wonton wrapper at a time (cover remaining wrappers with a damp towel to prevent drying), spoon about 1 1/2 tablespoons shrimp mixture into the center of each wrapper. Moisten edges of wrapper with water; bring 2 opposite corners to center, pinching points to seal. Pinch 4 edges together to seal. Place pot stickers on a large baking sheet sprinkled with cornstarch.

**I was lucky enough to have many sous chefs around who wanted to make pot stickers! Mama, who'd never made a pot sticker in her life, was by far the best at pinching them into the proper shape. Who knew?

This Lady has MAD Dumpling Skills!

Heat a tablespoon canola oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 12 pot stickers to pan; cook 2 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown. Slowly add 1/2 cup water to pan; cover and cook 4 minutes. Uncover and cook 1-3 minutes more or until liquid evaporates.

Repeat procedure with remaining 1 tablespoon oil, 12 pot stickers and 1/2 cup water.

To prepare sauce, combine the boiling water with next 5 ingredients in a small bowl, whisking to combine.

We had a terrific day, despite those damned Dan-Dan Noodles. I haven't thrown in the white flag, however. I'm gonna spend this next year perfecting the recipe, and I refuse to admit defeat.

Watch out, Dan-Dan Noodles. I'm coming for you.


  1. Potstickers. Yum.
    We have Chinese food on Christmas Eve. But, um, TAKEOUT. Oh, now I feel so so lame.
    And, also, your parents are awesome.

  2. HERKIES FOR EVERYONE!!! and psst... Witch... practice your herkies *outside* the bedroom!

    Wow, good thing you added non-turkey food to your booze. Turkey just doesn't blend.

  3. You had me at booze. Then you added Shaun Cassidy. THEN you added understanding parents.
    WFT, TKW? You're living the dream! You totally deserve it, Miss.

  4. ... and you're afraid of working with yeast? Woman, I don't think I could do a dumpling justice. Awesome that you got the turkey dinner sans turkey, sans Chernobyl creamed onions. Yeah, booze. That always makes things taste better, when it's pickled a bit. That's the chef I'm referring to!

  5. I can't believe you got out of The Beige Dinner with a good old fashioned rant--good for you, TKW! I had to come down with the flu to avoid it all. You are the best!

  6. We had dinner at my daughters in-laws so we had a blend of Asian and traditional thanksgiving food. It was great and your potstickers look as good as the lumpia we had. Wait until you see my cake :D

  7. Ah yes, chopping hell ... welcome to the world I grew up in :D. I earned myself some decent cleaver skills as a result, but man did it take effort. So glad the dumplings were a success! As for Dan-Dan noodles, I got nothin'. But I can't wait to hear the story.

  8. My Nap is back! Herky! And Ink is wading through the paper pile... Wagging my tail...

    jc: you naughty thing! chuckle*snort*

    MP: The flu? Suckage! But if it got you out of the beige dinner, kinda worth it, in my opinion!

    Feast: Dumplings require pre-made wonton skin (at least in my half-assed house)...which is far less scary than yeast! They don't explode :)

    Passions: I cannot wait to hear about your cake...and drool.

    Contemp: The debacle of the Dan-Dan Noodles is a sad, sad, tale...

    WTF am I doing up at 1:45am? Oh yeah, that small snoring hubby problem--

    Jen: I'm marking my calendar NOW. Christmas Eve at Jen and Sarah's.

  9. They let you off the hook! Congratulations. I Love making Wontons so do the kids only they won't eat the things. This meal looks great (3 courses of booze had me hooked)

  10. Looking forward to the Dan-Dan noodle tale...! Those dumplings look oh so professional! The meal sounds yum and like a lot of effort went it - impressive! :) Miss D looks cute in her mum loves Deep Purple and she is always trying to make me listen to it...! xxx

  11. It all sounds wonderful, and those pot stickers just look freaking amazing... I normally shy away from trying things like that, out of fear of course, but I might be a tad bit inspired now. Thanks :) And what a great idea to shake up Thanksgiving and do whatever you want. Nice.

  12. I need to find a way to get an invitation to dinner at your house. It sounds like y'all have way too much fun...chopping hell aside.

  13. I love chopping stuff up -- I get to pretend I'm a chef or something. Also, it's a great way to release a lot of tension and anger. Pissed off at someone? Chop their fingers off! (Pulling weeds/hair and knocking the stem out of a lettuce / person head is also therapeutic). I'm pleased to say I've managed to lose most of the people from my life who made me feel that way, but I still love chopping.

  14. Hey there--I find you on all the cool blogs so I had to follow you home. I'm very jealous that you got to avoid the beige meal, although mine was cooked for me by my sweet darling(and for my parents--my wife is the best daughter-in-law ever!) I could eat my sweetie's stuffing and gravy for days. But I'd much prefer shrimp potstickers. Or really anything made with Sriracha.

    I wonder what would happen if I tried to serve my parents something with Sriracha in it? Note to self....

  15. An Asian feast! It sounds delicious. I was thinking of doing something similar for Christmas Eve!

  16. Could I visit and could you make me some of those dumplings????? Pretty please. I LOVE steamed dumplings. I could eat them all day long.

  17. You rebel, you. Whipping up an Asian feast on Thanksgiving? Love it. Who cares what sauce goes on what as long as you have plenty of SAUCE (booze)! Every time I read one of your posts, I am reminded of the fact that food can enhance family and feel I should start cooking. (This is a good thing.)

    Can't wait for the Dan-Dan tale!

  18. I love your untraditional Thanksgiving!!! I can't stand the beige dinner either...but I will never be able to get away with making something else. So I console myself with lots of turkey sandwiches with bacon, avocado and hardboiled egg...dripping with mayo.

  19. That's such a great feast. I'm glad you got your way!!

  20. GETTING YOUR OWN WAY. No small feat in a mother's daily world.

    Love the booze-inserted palate-cleansers. In training for the half-drunk writing challenge, I see. EXCELLENT. Then I am not alone.

  21. You're getting me all hot and bothered over here with your Shaun Cassidy video!

    I'm glad to see you didn't have to suffer through another beige Thanksgiving dinner! Sounds like a fabulous menu, especially the BOOZE! :D

    Your daughter looks darling in that dress!

  22. sounds oh so yummy. we brined a turkey, to say that it was a failure would be a gigantic understatement. thank god for booze.

  23. Way too much chopping for me -- so maybe an invite next time to try out your creations? And the music choice, Deep Purple's Smoke on the Water? You rock, Mom! You simply rock!

  24. We forewent the turkey this year and did Cornish hens. Stuffed with orange slices and garlic. And they were yummy. Small bird=infusion of flavor faster. I think turkey dinner is highly overrated. Extended family likes a traditional thanksgiving framework (poultry, yams,some sort of jellied salad *ick*), but within that, I can play. So I'm the goofball that adds pineapple and maple syrup to the yams instead of marshmallows, for example, among other things. I'm not into stuffing either, but add a bunch of nuts and dried fruit and at least it's a bit interesting. And, surprise, my family was all "What is in this? It's yummy!" the first time I made these changes, and now they look forward to something new. Not a bad idea to shake things up a bit. Everyone will live--and they might just like the change. Dunno if I'm brave enough to completely break free, yet, though. 12-step program?

    I'm going to try your dumplings on Christmas Eve, methinks. They look divinish!

  25. thats cool that you did something different your lil one is gorgeous i bet daddy is crazy over them !

  26. A) Can I be veep of the Shaun Cassidy Fan Club? I'll even sing "Da Doo Run Run" (or however the hell you spell it).
    B) Dan Dan Mein are my favorite food ever. Period. (Except for mint-chocolate chip ice cream.)Best when eaten in Beijing and with about 7 beers.
    C) I think I'll do a Chinese Thanksgiving dinner next year. Beige food = overrated.

  27. I am stunned into flashbacks after view Shaun Cassidy's hip moves. When I was in fourth grade, my mom wouldn't let me go see him in concert, and I was SO MAD.

    I am overwhelmed by the number of ingredients in your pot stickers. But I love ginger, so maybe some day I'll give it a go.

  28. Oh, and I made the pomegranate fizz things! Very good. I drank many. Might have one for lunch today, in fact.

  29. Ungourmet: I actually thought of you when that song came on the radio! I KNEW it was gonna make you all sweaty! Do you want to be the Sectetary/Treasurer of the fan club? Goldfish has dibbed the VP position!

    Jane, Jennifer and Allegria: the potstickers were easier than I thought they'd be! Except for the chopping, of course.

    Goldfish: In Beijing with about 7 beers...sign me up, chica!

    Unconfidential: I've always thought that turkey sandwiches beat the dinner. Hands down!

    Jessica: I'm sorry your turkey was a bomb! But it gives you an excuse to pour more wine, eh?

    Big Little: Yes, my liver and I are in serious training mode, preparing for the Half-Drunk in December event.

    Shelley: I also enjoy taking the core out of the lettuce. Very good release of energy. My all time fave: pounding meat into cutlets. Ah, relief!

    And all of you ARE invited to next year's gala. We will be making a Mexican Feast and breaking out the "Hey Deanie"...and booze, of course!

  30. GEW: Way to get your antioxidants in at lunchtime! You are my kind of chick.

    And I know! I just about peed myself when I saw that awkward video and that dorky sweater! That is *not* the studmuffin that I remember. If you'd like, I could take you to a Jonas Brothers concert, so you could make up for your loss? *gigglesnort*

  31. I'm so happy for you and your non-beige dinner. And that picture of you and your Mama? Priceless.

  32. Wow, "your own way" "booze" "potstickers" and "Shawn Cassidy" "family" what could be better! (I don't eat shrimp, but that could be remedied) or just more booze!

    Glad you had a great day!

  33. MMM Sounds delish. I laughed out loud at the first item on the menu. And can I just say how cute that pic of you and your mom is!

  34. Yeah, I wanna have thanksgiving with you from now on. Especially if there's gonna be Shaun Cassidy.

  35. I am thinking that y'all need to road trip down here next year for the 70's Disco Ball Asian Feast Extravaganza on Thanksgiving....just sayin'.

  36. Oh, I am so happy that you got to make your version of Thanksgiving!! As I said in a previous comment, it broke my heart to think that you would not love a holiday that is all about food. What kind and thoughtful parents and your daughter looks adorable in that dress! So glad you had a great day.

  37. YEAH for you! THAT pot sticker is gorgeous. Please give your mom my best regards. (Seriously, I cannot pinch the dumplings if my life depends on it. I was made fun of mercilessly for the lack of dumpling pinching skills...) And that picture of your girl? Precious. :-)

  38. Absence: yeah, that's me. I am TOTALLY that limber. I can't even fucking touch my toes.

    And once you pinch the dumplings? You'll never be able to stop yourself. Honest.

  39. Gorgeous neighbors, gorgeous kid, gorgeous mom & daughter, gorgeous food...what's it like to be so Gosh Darn Neat? it weird that I can't stop snickering at "once you pinch the dumplings, you'll never be able to stop yourself"? Am twelve, apparently.

  40. well, i'm glad someone has awesome dumpling skills because mine are sorely lacking. this definitely qualifies as good eats--three cheers for a holiday suited to your tastes. :)

  41. SHAUN CASSIDY? Really? Andy Gibb was the man; he had chest hair....

  42. Kestrel,

    In all honesty, I preferred David Cassidy to Shaun.

    And I remember being WIGGED out by Andy Gibb's chest hair! Giggle!

  43. What a precious picture of you (I assume) and your mama :) Sounds like a delicious feast...I especially like the BOOZE. ;)

  44. I agree with girlichef, that pic of you and Mama rocks. I don't know why, but it gave me chills.

    Dumplings, turkey, it doesn't matter. What matters is how you realized that BOOZE is the first item listed in any family dinner. Amen.