So, remember free-wheeling banana-split-eating Caryn? Yeah, well, she’s gone. We won’t see her again until late-April at the earliest. Meet marathon-training Caryn, who is the most boring eater ever. This happened the last time I trained, as well. I’m ravenous from all the exercise and need to take in more calories than normal and therefore feel that everything I consume should be as healthy as possible. My diet primarily consists of eggs, chicken, fresh vegetables (I’m up to like two English cucumbers a day), hummus, quinoa, whole wheat English muffins, bananas, almonds, almond butter, string cheese and raisins. Thursday night after my run I stopped by Whole Foods to pick up some chicken and bought some nori sheets for a snack, which are essentially salt flavored pieces of paper. I followed that shining culinary moment with a trip to Trader Joe’s where I purchased lentils, farro, barley, string cheese and super green drink powder (which consists, among other things, of grass and alfalfa, so, mouthwatering, obviously). Delicious Roasted Gorgonzola Crackers? See you after Patriot’s Day.
“I wish I ate as healthy as you,” commented the cashier as she scanned my sad collection of items.
I laughed (glumly) and said I was thinking how embarrassingly mundane my basket looked. There were a few highlights this past week, however. Tuesday night before a Liver team meeting, my friend and Jennie and I went to the Capital Grille and had a delicious Caprese salad. Yesterday I had lunch with my friend Betsey at The Met Bar & Grill and had an amazing cauliflower and couscous dish that I am definitely going to recreate and share with you. Last night our friends Erin and Mike invited us over for dinner and they served three fantastic flatbread pizzas, my favorite of which was the barbecue chicken.
Another standout were these wantons. I’d never made wantons before, but I watched Bon Appétempt’s video and the process seemed pretty straightforward. This was actually a very easy recipe. The pork mixture made 50 wontons and there was enough filling left over that I added some whole wheat panko breadcrumbs and made a dozen meatballs. Classic twofer. I will definitely make these again and I also want to use the wrappers to make raviolis. I’m thinking spinach and ricotta and maybe mushroom and goat cheese. I cooked these in chicken broth for a little extra flavor and then I used the broth to make a batch of quinoa. It was a highly efficient day in the STSO kitchen.
These are great for lunch or dinner or a perfect appetizer for celebrating the upcoming Chinese New Year. Happy year of the monkey!
Adapted from Bon Appétempt
1 lb. ground pork
1 bunch scallions, green and white parts, chopped
12 shiitake mushrooms, chopped
4 inch piece of fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp + 1 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp + 1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp sugar
2 egg whites
1 package square wonton wrappers
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Combine chopped scallions and mushrooms with the ground pork in a medium bowl. Using a microplane, grate in the ginger and garlic and gently mix.
In another small bowl, mix the soy sauce with the rice vinegar and the sesame oil. Add the sugar, a liberal grind of black pepper and the egg whites. Stir this gently into the pork mixture (don’t over mix) and allow the filling to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
To prepare the wontons, mix the cornstarch with half a cup of water in a small bowl. Set up an assembly line with the pork mixture and the wrappers.
Place a teaspoon of filling onto a wonton wrapper. Using your finger, brush the edges of the wrapper with the cornstarch mixture. Fold the wrapper into a triangle and press and pinch the edges firmly together, removing any air bubbles. Next, bring two corners of the triangle together and press those, using a bit of the cornstarch water as glue. Line them up on a baking sheet as they’re finished.
To cook, boil in a pot of water (or stock). Add as many dumplings as you’d like and cook for 5 minutes. They’ll rise to the top when they’re done. You can also freeze the wontons, in a single layer, on a baking sheet. Once frozen, store in a large plastic freezer bag. If wontons are frozen, they’ll need to cook for 7 minutes. They should keep in the freezer for about 6 weeks.
Serve with a dipping sauce of soy sauce and a splash of rice vinegar.