Lumpia!

This Filipino spring roll is easy to make and the perfect finger food.  Sometimes we replace the ground pork with 1/2 block of extra firm tofu drained and crumbled for vegetarians…thankfully, a rarity amongst our friends.

Lumpia

  • 1 cup green onion, chopped green and white parts
  • 1 carrot, medium chop
  • 1 cup chopped green cabbage
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tsp of potato starch (optional)
  • soy sauce
  • spring roll/lumpia wrappers
  • vegetable oil

In a large frying pan, saute the cabbage and carrots over medium heat in 1-2 tbsp of vegetable oil until they are soft but not browned.  Add green onions and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, then add ground pork.  Season with about 1 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of ground pepper.  Cool until pork is thoroughly cooked, then add soy sauce to taste – I usually use at least 1 tbsp of soy sauce.  (These are conservative estimates of seasonings – make sure that the mixture has enough salt and soy to be tasty!)  I sometimes mix in the potato starch here to help everything hold together.  Cook for another minute, then remove from heat and let it cool so you can work with it. 

Place the lumpia wrapper so one of the corners is pointed towards you and spoon about 2 spoonfuls of the mixture into the corner quadrant of the wrapper closest to you (use less mixture if you are using mini-wrappers).  Fold the corner closest to you over the mixture, then fold the side corners in towards the middle and roll the rest it up tightly – kind of like a burrito.  I moisten the last corner with water to seal the lumpia.  Deep fry the whole thing in vegetable oil until golden brown and drain on paper towels. 

Eat delicious lumpia.

Note: Lumpia/spring roll wrappers can usually be found in the freezer section of any Asian market.  I’ve also seen them in regular grocery stores.  Make sure to completely defrost and carefully peel off each wrapper from the stack without tearing it.  Also, most lumpia wrapper packages come with a handy “how to roll lumpia” illustrated instructions, in case my eloquent instructions above are not entirely helpful.

Christmas Eve Revelry

Happy Holidays! Yuan joined us for Christmas for the second year in a row and we had a lovely and rather active holiday. I got to go home early, Yuan took the train to Davis, and we had a lovely time drinking eggnog and planning our Christmas Eve feast. Our friends Heather and Wes joined us for Christmas Eve and we had a holiday meal gleaned from our Norwegian and Japanese heritages.

Heather brought over yummy mushroom appetizers.

As per Bjorn’s family tradition, we made Norwegian meatballs the night before Christmas. Yuan took over meatball making this year and I had to keep reassuring him that the meatballs needed to be browner. They were really delicious.

Christmas Eve Norwegian Meatballs
(made by Asians)

Meatball Accompaniments:
Roasted Carrots, Brussel Sprouts & Mashed Potatoes

Heather also brought a delightfully light pear salad with pancetta.

Yuan wanted fried pork, so I made pork katsu…then I fried a bit of pancetta wrapped shrimp while I was at it.

Sauteed Matsutake with Ginger

Christmas day we drove into San Francisco for some prime rib and eggplant parm at a friend’s house. Yum! The next day, we spent the afternoon on Clement Street eating dim sum and buying tiny dishes. If you live in the Bay Area, I highly recommend Kamei – an Asian kitchen supply store. The aisle after aisle of dishware makes me so excited I feel like I want EVERYTHING! I find it exhilarating and overwhelming. But that’s just me, and I love tiny dishes. Kamei has more than just tiny dishes though, they have an assortment of every kind of kitchen and food serving and preparing equipment. It’s awesome!

We had a great holiday eating well and hanging out with new and old friends.

Crabby Hush Puppies

These hush puppies are stuffed to bursting with delicious crab, which is in season in the Bay Area starting in mid-November. They are particularly delicious when dunked in remoulade. We made them as a Thanskgiving appetizer with cornmeal my mom sends from the Graue Mill in Oak Brook, Illinois, where they grind the corn between two giant stone wheels powered by a waterwheel. Apparently it was also a stop on the Underground Railroad (you really do learn something every day). Their cornmeal is delicious, sweet with a chunky, uneven grind that only comes from doin’ it the old way.

Crab Hush Puppies

  • 6 cups, ish, vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c plus 2 tbsp well-shaken buttermilk
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 c cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
  • 3/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • indulgent fistfuls of lump crabmeat – I think we used around 3/4 lb

Heat oil to 375 in a wide, heavy 5-quart pot over medium heat. While oil heats, mince and mash garlic into a paste with a pinch of salt, then whisk together with eggs, buttermilk, and scallions.

Whisk cornmeal, flour, baking powder, 3/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper in a large bowl, then stir in buttermilk mixture until just combined. Stir in crabmeat – we pretty much put in as much as we thought the batter could take without falling apart.

Working in batches of 10, carefully drop tablespoonfuls of batter into the oil and fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes per batch. Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Keep them warm in the oven if you can keep your hands off them long enough for them to get cold.

Remoulade

  • 1/2 c mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp capers, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 small clove garlic, chopped coarse
  • 1 1/2 tsp sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp minced fresh parsley

Pulse all ingredients in mini-chopper until well combined but not yet smooth, about 10 1-second pulses. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

…..fried crab niblets….

I Heart Pork Katsu!

This afternoon, I fried some pork cutlets Japanese style.

I used some pork tenderloin I had in the freezer which I pounded into cutlets. Not having a fryer has never stopped me from deep frying in my own kitchen. You can fry anything Japanese-style by liberally salt & peppering, dredging in flour, egg wash, and panko. Allowing the breaded item to sit for a bit in the fridge helps the frying process. Make sure there is enough oil and that it is hot. I test by dropping a bit of panko into the oil to make sure that it bubbles on the surface instead of floating down into the oil. Don’t use utensils to put items into hot oil because accidentally dropping your breaded morsel can result in oil splashage, burning and fire. I find that using my hands to gently slip the items into the oil works the best. Be careful not to fry the tips of your fingers!