I feel good today. Which is a change, because I have felt sick for the past week.
Which is probably only fair, as my life has been a little whirlwindy for the past month or so. Really, since we announced our engagement – things just haven’t stopped!
There have been Wedding Registries,
And operas about water nymphs,
And fancy birthday dinners at french restaurants,
And homey birthday dinners with the family,
And Engagement parties,
And Ben Kweller concerts,
And Baseball games,
And various parties,
And assorted dinners out,
And sundry meetings…
Payback had to come sometime.
This is a roundabouts way of saying: I’m sorry. I promised Engagement Party recipes, and did not deliver. I hope this makes up for it:
With this menu, I was trying to save me and Liam as much work as possible during the party, so we could enjoy it to the utmost (since we were throwing it for ourselves). That meant things that could be largely pre-prepared, and as much finger food as possible. I knew that I wanted some kind of Chinese barbeque (or char siu) at my Chinese themed party but wasn’t sure how I would serve it to 30 (yes 30!) people.
Then my mother had a brainstorm: Pulled pork can be made in large quantity early in the day, and kept warm in the oven ’til the party. I could make southern Barbecue style, slow cooked, pulled pork sandwiches – but with Chinese flavourings.
So I made Char Siu pulled pork, and served it with napa cabbage slaw in a creamy ginger-sesame dressing and bought a mountain of little Chinese bakery sweet buns (they look sorta like Pullman rolls, but taste more like eggy brioche – so nummy) with a side of fried rice.
To drink there were pitchers of Singapore slings, ice cold Tsing Taos on the deck.
There were also dumplings to start (frozen ones I got Liam to fry till crispy) and for desert: a mountain of teensy tiny little mandarin oranges, fortune cookies and a tower of cherry chip cupcakes (thank goodness for Betty Crocker) with homemade cream cheese icing, and a shiny chocolate cherry on top.
It was a huge spread, and other than the frying of the fried rice and dumplings, everything pretty much got done before the party! We were able to mostly just sit back and relax, as all our closest friends poured in. In other words: it was ideal, in more ways than one.
my version of char siu (Chinese barbeque)
- 2 tbsp five spice powder
- 2 tbsp apricot jam
- 2 tbsp soy sauce (a good Chinese soy sauce, preferably)
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp sugar – or honey
- 1 tsp chili-garlic sauce
- 5 pounds trimmed, deboned pork shoulder or butt
- Mix well, rub onto pork shoulder or butt (marinate overnight, if desired).
- Bake in roasting pan at 250 for 5-8 hours – until meat starts to fall apart (flipping meat every hour or so).
- Remove meat from marinade/juices/sauce and shred. Add sauce back in and serve (meat may be refrigerated and served the next day, or kept warm, covered, in the oven for an hour or two).
PS: if your cut of meat turns out to be particularly lean, and ends up a tad dry, you can make more of the marinade to serve as a sauce in liu of the juices from the pork. I would omit the five spice and add a little oil. This is especially good if your are making it ahead of time, and reheating it later.
slaw with ginger sesame dressing
- 3 tbsp rice vinegar
- 3 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp tahini
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 scallions (chopped)
- 1 head napa cabbage (chopped into slaw)
- Blend all but scallions in a blender or food processor til’ thick and creamy.
- Mix in scallions, and dress napa cabbage slaw. Serve on fluffy buns piled high with pulled pork!
- 4 cups cooked, leftover rice
- 1 carrot (grated)
- 1 red pepper (diced)
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 eggs
- 2 tbsp oil (vegetable)
- 2 scallions chopped
- Pre-heat pot (or wok) with 1 tbsp oil.
- Saute vegetables in frying pan with sesame oil, and garlic until peas are de-frosted.
- Fry rice in hot oil in pot, until rice is warmed through – scraping bottom of pot continuously to keep it from sticking.
- Add vegetables to rice, remove pot from heat.
- Add remaining 1 tbsp oil to frying pan, add eggs and 1/2 tbsp soy sauce, and scramble.
- Add scallions, soy sauce and scrambled egg to rice, and serve.