I was pretty excited one night to try out the Chinese place in town. Let me explain.
We just moved to rural Pennsylvania where eatery options within a 10-mile radius include a few fast food joints, some pizza places, and a couple of diners. So a typical Chinese food establishment--while not generally my first choice--provided the tantalizing dream of some ethnic eating. Too bad it was just a dream. The place was filthy, the food smelled . . . somehow "off", and it made me sick later in the evening. Hmmmmmm. Rather disappointing (plus, they didn't give us any of those delightfully slightly stale fortune cookies that you usually get with Chinese takeout). Good-bye dream of the occasional break from cooking to eat some hot, saucy, delicious Americanized Chinese food!
Hello making my own.
The first time I made Chinese dumplings (jiaozi) was when I was in college. Somehow, I got invited along with my sister and brother-in-law to make jiaozi with a group of visiting Chinese professors for the Chinese new year. I remember it was a lot of fun, the dumplings were delicious, and my sister and I even made them another time for our family. I was sure I could do it again. I found this recipe, and followed it pretty close, though I ended up with only 25 dumplings instead of 40 (I think I put more filling in each one that I was supposed to). I kinda had fun figuring out how I liked to close them up.
To go with the dumplings, I made a spicy venison and vegetable stir-fry out of a cookbook called "Extending the Table" (which has an index that organizes recipes according to their country of origin--yay!), rice (duh!), and a cabbage, carrot, cucumber salad with a ginger/lime dressing and toasted sesame seeds that I made up out of my own head. The meal was delicious, MSG-free, and didn't make me sick! The downside: I'm not sure a 1/2-day's labor counts as a break from cooking. Guess I'll just have to order pizza when I don't feel like making dinner.