Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Talking about Craftsy Class, Favorite Asian Dumplings from Scratch with Andrea Nguyen

Today is the day we gave up Television in our house.  With The Ancient (a great fan of Jeopardy) in long term care at hospital, and not likely to return home soon, it didn't make sense to keep the idiot box hooked up.  So we took our cable gadgets down to the company and said - thank you, no thanks.

Aside from my daily dose of Columbo, I don't think I'll miss it.  There are so many other exciting things to do, like cleaning the house (okay, that one's not exciting), trying new recipes, sewing bags, playing with yarn, reading books... and so on.  How do people get bored?

And when it happens that I do miss TV, I can always borrow a film from my local library or better still, watch videos online of people telling us how to cook stuff (which doesn't happen on TV much these days anyway - reality cooking competitions are repetitive).

Not long ago, I signed up for one of Craftsy's promotional deals and decided to take a couple of their classes.  I started with knife skills, and it made a huge difference to my confidence in the kitchen.

The Craftsy classes include in depth videos, usually some sort of instructional document, and a question and answer section where you can discuss what you watch with the instructor and other students.  It's quite clever really, and long over due.  Finally, a place that gathers together some useful expertise and makes it available (for a price) to an Average Jane like me.

They are suppose to look like a nurse's cap

The Favorite Asian Dumpling class by Andrea Nguyen has inspired me greatly.  For some reason, I didn't even imagine that people could make dumplings in their own home.  Why this never occurred to me, I don't know, it's just one of those blind spots I guess.

This class has been so inspiring.  Nguyen has great enthusiasm for her cooking, and lots of little tips to share about how to improve your technique.  What I like best is how easy she makes it look, but what amazing results she creates.

What's even more amazing is that it really is that simple.

This is the shrimp wonton soup.  It took me about an hour the first time I made it, but most of that was getting over my trepidation at trying new techniques.  Second try was considerably faster.

To be honest, I found shrimp dumplings a bit bland on their own, so I decided to add some finely diced pickled ginger to the second batch - much better.

And look, I got a new steamer!  I have a big project coming up where I need to steam a few pounds of barley, so I took a trip to China town and brought home big and little steamer sets.  The little steamer is for practice, and the big one for ... well, big steaming.

Apparently dumplings overcook really quickly in a steamer and get chewy.  Now I know something new.

Is it affordable to make dumplings?  I think it depends on the filling.  4 servings of dumplings took 200g of prawns, which comes to about $10 here.  Plus another $1 for the rest of the ingredients (plus $5 for the soup).  But a different filling (like pork or kimchi - recipes and videos also included in the class) would be a lot more affordable.

On the whole I'm thrilled and am eager to try some of the other recipes included in the class.

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