Saturday, August 27, 2011

Crispy Fried Goodness: Egg Rolls!

I was craving some good, crispy egg rolls the other day, but I remember what a production making them was from watching my mom when I was little.  It was a lot easier to just watch someone make the egg rolls and then eat them!  However, since my mom wasn't here to make some for me and I didn't have any classes for a few weeks, I relished the opportunity to spend a few hours making egg rolls.

We have a deep fryer, but the husband (a.k.a. the person who has to clean up after my cooking escapades) requested that I just deep fry on the stove top instead. I agree that was easier for this recipe since the egg rolls fry up so quickly. I can't really see in the window of our deep fryer, and the egg rolls really do require frequent monitoring. It was pretty fun flipping them while they were floating in oil and seeing them get darker!

A few recipe notes:
  • If you don't have a whole afternoon to prep and cook, I would recommend making the filling the day before. It's a lot of chopping!  
  • The original recipe called for celery, but I didn't have any and didn't miss it.  
  • My mom used to serve egg rolls with a vinegar sauce, but I opted for a 50-50 mix of water and soy sauce heated in the microwave.  
  • If having a dinner party, I probably would use wonton wrappers and make mini egg rolls!

Chinese Egg Rolls
adapted from

2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
About 4 cups peanut or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1 1/2 bunches scallions (about 10), white and pale green parts cut into 2-inch lengths, then cut lengthwise into very thin matchsticks (2 1/2 cups)
1 medium carrot, cut into very thin matchsticks (1 cup)
8 large fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps sliced 1/4 inch thick (3 cups)
1 lb medium shrimp in shell, peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
1/4 lb ground pork
1 (1-lb) package Asian egg roll or spring roll wrappers
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Make filling
  1. Stir together oyster sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and salt in a small bowl until sugar and salt are dissolved.
  2. Heat a dry 12-inch heavy skillet (not nonstick) over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then add 2 tablespoons peanut oil, swirling skillet to coat. 
  3. Stir-fry ginger, garlic, and scallions until scallions are wilted, about 1 minute. 
  4. Add carrots and mushrooms and stir-fry until vegetables are softened, 4 to 6 minutes. 
  5. Push vegetables toward edge of skillet, then add shrimp and pork to center and stir-fry until shrimp are just cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. 
  6. Add oyster sauce mixture and stir together all ingredients in skillet until combined. 
  7. Season with salt and transfer to a large shallow bowl. 
  8. Cool, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
Make egg rolls
  1. Put 1 wrapper on a work surface, arranging wrapper with a corner nearest you and keeping remaining wrappers covered with plastic wrap. 
  2. Spread a scant 1/4 cup filling horizontally across center of wrapper to form a 4-inch log. Fold bottom corner over filling, then fold in side corners. Brush top corner with egg and roll up wrapper tightly to enclose filling, sealing roll closed with top corner. Transfer roll, seam side down, to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Make more egg rolls in same manner, transferring to baking sheet as formed (you may have some filling left over).
  3. Heat 1 to 2 inches of peanut oil in a wide heavy pot (at least a 4-quart pot) until it registers 350°F on an instant thermometer
  4. Fry 2 egg rolls (don't crowd pot), turning with a slotted spoon, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer with slotted spoon to paper towel-lined colander and drain rolls upright 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Fry remaining egg rolls in batches, transferring to colander.
  6. Serve immediately.
Yield: 12 to 14
Total time: About 2.5 to 3 hours

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Cream of Zucchini Soup with Shrimp

So, most of my recent cooking has revolved around whatever vegetables we get in our weekly CSA box. The box has been an inspiration to try new recipes.  I've explored all types of squash, radishes, turnips, chard, and kale this summer.  I've found that soup is a wonderful way to use a mixture of the week's leftover vegetables.  Now that the weather is getting a little cooler, I believe veggie soup will be on our home menu more often!

This particular recipe from uses a can of cream of mushroom soup.  I don't think the recipe really needs it, but I had a can in the pantry to throw into the pot.  Delicious with some seared shrimp!

Cream of Zucchini Soup with Shrimp
adapted from
4 cups diced zucchini (about two medium squash)
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 8 medium shrimp, shelled
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt

  1. In a large stock pot saute zucchini, carrots and onion in butter, until done, approximately 20 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.  Sear shrimp, about one minute per side.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In a small mixing bowl combine flour and milk. Mix until smooth and then add to stock pot.
  4. Cook soup until thickened and then puree with stick blender until smooth and creamy.
  5. Add cream of mushroom soup, chicken broth, wine and yogurt. Simmer until heated through and then serve with shrimp on top.
Yield: 4-6 servings
Total time:  45 minutes, half active

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Chive and Gruyere Popovers

Wow!  It's been too long since I've posted.  I am still cooking, but finding time to post has been challenging.  I have a bunch of recipes and pictures saved up, so hopefully I'll be able to post a bunch of them before classes start again.

I might have to change the name of this blog to The Perfect Popover as there are now more popover recipes than dumpling ones!  I didn't grow up eating popovers, so I'm not sure why I really wanted to start making them.  The name just makes them sound delicious.  Now I have a popover pan; I need to put it to good use.  I was disappointed with my last popover outing, but I decided to try my hand at popovers again.

This time, I used a basic recipe from Epicurious because one reviewer said her 10-year-old kid made them, and they were delicious.  I added the chives and cheese to make them a bit more interesting, and everything's better with cheese!  I saw that different popover recipes had different egg to flour ratios, so I made this recipe twice in the last two weeks.  My husband voted for the ratio in the source recipe based on his excellent tastetesting skills.

Any suggestions for more popover flavorings?  I think I have to make a bunch more popovers before that pan pays for itself!

Chive and Gruyere Popovers
based on a recipe from

1 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into 6 pieces
2 large eggs, lightly beaten, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon minced chives
1 ounce Gruyere cheese, shredded

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F for 20 minutes. Place 1 piece of butter in the bottom of each cup of a six-cup popover tin (or six 1/2-cup custard cups). Place the popover pan on a baking sheet.
  2. In a smaller bowl, lightly whisk the eggs until they change color. Whisk in the milk.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt until well blended. Gently whisk the egg mixture into the flour mixture until only small lumps are left, and set aside.
  4. Place the popover tin and baking sheet in the oven for 4 minutes. At 3 minutes, give the batter a light whisk and add chives. 
  5. Using an oven mitt, remove the hot tin from the oven and immediately divide the batter among the prepared cups. Evenly divide shredded cheese and sprinkle on top of each cup.  
  6. Bake for 25 minutes without opening the oven door. Serve immediately.

Yield: 6 popovers
Total time: about an hour, half active