So, I missed Tuney Tuesday this week. I figured I’d fall off the bandwagon eventually. Or did I?
While I did somewhat forget about Tuney Tuesday this go around, it was not because I’ve lost interest in writing my blog. Instead, the reason is just the opposite. I was busy shaking some rust off by gathering ingredients and cooking all day!
A friend and I decided to put something special together for our special ladies yesterday evening. He suggested Xiao long bao with ramen, having spent some time living in Vancouver and enjoying it many times there.
Staring blankly I said, “that sounds delicious! Let’s do it!”
I had no idea what I was getting into. Not only had I not eaten that before, but I wasn’t even sure how you’d go about preparing it whatsoever. But, with an open mind and eagerness to learn, we set off for the grocery.
It took so, so, so long to get all the required ingredients. One place didn’t have this, another place didn’t have that, one store employee had no idea where gelatin was, another couldn’t find any miso. It was a bad way to start, but we ended up with everything and rushed home to get the cooking underway.
I’m really glad I threw my open mind cap on before we began, because it luckily came with an abundance of patience. We consulted several recipes for Xiao long bao with ramen and they were all decent, but not one was a simple step-by-step process. It was a lot of “okay take the gelatin and cut it into cubes”, and I was all, “okay what is gelatin” which wasn’t explained anywhere. It was basically a lot of jumping around within recipes, panicking when we forgot an ingredient or preparation, and praying we got mixtures correct.
Xiao long bao is a form of pork dumpling. A dumpling (for people like myself before yesterday) is basically a ball of dough, stretched around a ball of meat or whatever you want in it. No one told me I had to make the dough by hand, let alone portion it correctly and then fold it around contents. It’s difficult to do when you have to balance the chicken broth gelatin on top of a ball of pork and make sure everything stays inside (and edible).
Once that was done it was only a simple matter of throwing the delicious little packed dough balls into a steamer and setting it to “cook” (meaning I stood by the steamer nervously while steam exploded in every direction and I guessed when it was done). Easy peasy.
The ramen was fairly straightforward: simmer some chicken broth, add some green onion and spinach, cook the noodles, add some cooked pork and a semi-hard boiled egg, and serve. It was a meal for four, and by all accounts four people weren’t hungry anymore after devouring this. It lacked some flavour, but I chalk that up to the fact that we didn’t cure the pork or prepare the ramen noodles ourselves; those were store-bought items. It was definitely filling, though, and quite the learning experience.
This is a small preview of what you can expect in my future full-length post on learning how to cook. I’ll be covering the basics, a bunch of food groups and cooking styles, and most importantly what new lessons I learn; big and small. That’ll be coming in the New Year, so stay tuned! And also because I didn’t do a Tuney Tuesday song this week I’ll do TWO next week!
In the meantime, I hope everyone enjoys their New Years celebrations. I’ll be sure to have a pint of Guinness for all of you!
Oh, and by the way, we cooked that wearing onesies.
Featured image: Some tasty eats! – St. John’s, Newfoundland.