A clear sign that you are talented at something is the ability to make it look easy. However, this creates a problem as the rest of us watch this talented person and think, "Oh that looks simple enough, think I'll give it a try." This was the statement that went through my naive brain on Tuesday as I, with the day off, decided to prepare something different, challenging, and hopefully delicious for Ashley, who was detained at work against her will. The goal was to make something tasty while impressing her with creativity and undiscovered skill. After all, I watch her effortlessly make amazing meal after meal on a nightly basis, why can't I make one? The scene was set in my head, picturing her coming home from work with a ferocious hunger only to be stunned as she was met at the door by delectable aromas followed by the scene of me, unfazed and far from fatigued, standing triumphantly over a completed dinner. Well, I came close.
Somewhere in the afternoon I dug up the memories of my time in China and decided it would be fun and impressive to make Chinese dumplings. Better yet, using the bamboo steamer we recently purchased, I would make steamed Chinese dumplings. Realistically this is not that difficult to make for the experienced cook. But, when you look at my cooking resume (In my single days I made an award winning chicken breast a-la-skillet and Kraft macaroni and cheese) I am far from experienced. So you can imagine my perplexed look when facing an actual ginger root and wondering how in the world you go from that to "minced." Nevertheless, I rolled my sleeves up at around 2:30 and thought how easily I could just knock this out in about an hour, refrigerate the dumplings, then pop them in the steamer 20 minutes before Ashley gets home and we are golden!
Step 2: The filling. Here is what the recipe told me.
|These cubes I started with aren't the best way to mince ginger, but it worked.|
Finally, I saw 5 cups of Chinese cabbage. I don't like Chinese cabbage, and dumplings are flexible, so I decided on 5 cups of Spinach. Did I know that spinach condenses a lot when finely chopped? No. So after a whole bag of spinach which merited 3 measly cups, I quit. Here is the resulting mixture:
|Doesn't look like a lot here, but this was way too much!|
By the way, this was way too much filling. We are going to try to use more of it this coming week for other projects, but I didn't even make a dent in this stuff.
Now that I had completed the dough and filling all that was left was creating the dumplings. Sounds so easy. At this point my "easy hour" had long passed, sweat was forming on my forehead, my body wanted to sit, and I was just beginning to realize what takes up the most time with this dish.
|Apparently sleeping next to the garbage can was more interesting than my cooking|
I really want to tell you that I pushed through, made the dumplings and had the dinner ready as planned. I intended to finish, but after my first three dumplings came out so hideously deformed they looked like the dough boy had an accident on my counter, I quit. I put the dough and filling in the fridge and cleaned up just in time for Ashley to come home and be confused as to why she was smelling such wonderful scents in the kitchen. I confessed my attempt, my subsequent retreat, and together we finished the process to create these.
|The brown color is due to the whole wheat flour|
I hope you enjoyed this terrible cooking story.