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Posts Tagged ‘childhood memories’

P1090345.JPG Today, I will bid a final goodbye to my Uncle Ed, so I will not be posting a normal Friday’s Fresh Five! Instead, I would like to share a memory of him. Being an engineer, my Uncle Ed was an intelligent and clever man, but it was his big heart and gentle soul that endeared him to so many. In three days, my Uncle Ed would have celebrated his 94th birthday. A remarkable age for a remarkable man. I cherish the fond memories I have of him and of the many childhood days spent visiting with him and his family.

The Dark Room

As a child, the thought of entering a dark and creepy space, filled with unimaginable things, always made my pulse race and my stomach churn. Possessing a wild imagination, unfamiliar dark spaces scared the daylights out of me. Then one day, during one of my summer visits to my Uncle Ed and his family, something happened.

The day was sunny and looking to be a fun one when my cousin Bobbie called out, “Come on! Let’s go down there.” I quickly replied, “No, I don’t want to!” Excitedly, she said, “I want to show you something and it’s down there!” Fearfully, I exclaimed, “I don’t want to see it!” Bobbie persisted and before I knew it, she opened the door and we were leaving the sunny fun day behind.

I followed her down narrow wooden stairs and willed my legs to cooperate, so that I wouldn’t stumble and fall headlong into the dank stale air and the oncoming darkness. My heart beat like a metronome set on high by the time we reached the bottom step. While my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I sensed movement to my right and smelled something very strong and acrid. “What is it Bobbie?” I whispered. “I’ll show you,” she replied calmly. “I’m never going to visit her again!” I thought to myself as she nudged me forward. As she guided me closer to the source of the movement, I noticed an eerie light. What I finally saw not only altered my impression of that particular dark space, but also introduced me to something I would grow to love. Standing yards ahead of me was my Uncle Ed. He was busy moving things from tray to tray. As I stepped closer, he explained to me that he was developing black and white photographs. I stood mesmerized, while watching familiar faces slowly come into being. To a young girl, it looked like magic.

That day was the beginning of my lifelong fascination with photography. And, knowing that Uncle Ed created magic within the confines of that basement, I no longer felt afraid to go down into the “darkroom.” 

Thank you Uncle Ed. I am forever grateful to you for introducing me to the magic of photography and for being in my life. I’ll miss you.

 

 

 

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Chinese Steamed Pork Turnovers My Yin Yin, my father’s mother, calls out my name in Chinese and I drop what I am doing and run to the kitchen. I know that a fresh batch of homemade Fun Guaw, savory Chinese turnovers, have finished steaming and are waiting for me. My grandmother picks up one with a pair of chopsticks and holds it up in the air. With light coming in from behind her, I can see little bits of pork, mushroom, and water chestnut through the remarkably thin and translucent “skin.” And like a little bird waiting for a mama bird to feed her, I open my mouth. Plop! My grandmother drops a warm Fun Guaw into my mouth, and I gently bite through the tender outer layer to release its delicious contents. Fifty-two years later, I still remember how my grandmother made and fed me these delicacies. So, as an ode to her and a nod to Chinese New Year, I decided to make these wonderful little turnovers with my daughter. When the first batch came out of the steamer, I anxiously tasted one to see if it was as good as I remembered. It wasn’t as good as my Yin Yin’s, but how could it possibly compete with a childhood memory? Like Marcel Proust, though, I reveled in a moment of remembering things past.

Steamed Pork Turnovers (Fun Guaw)
Adapted from Dim Sum by Rhoda Yee

INGREDIENTS
Wheat Starch Dough
1 cup wheat starch
2/3 cup tapioca starch
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp oil
1 cup and 2 tbsp boiling water

Pork Filling
1 lb minced fresh pork butt
12 water chestnuts, minced
1 tbsp minced salted turnips (choan choy)
4 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 stalk minced green onion

Sauce Mixture
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp sherry
1 tbsp sugar

2 tsp oil for stir-frying

DIRECTIONS
To Make Dough:
Wheat Starch Dough
1. Mix together the first 4 ingredients in the order given.

2. Bring water to a rolling boil and stir into dry ingredients with chopsticks until dry ingredients adhere.

3. Cover and let it cool for 15 minutes.

4. Lightly oil kneading surface and knead dough for several minutes, until dough is well mixed and smooth. Now it is ready for wrapping.

5. Dough can be kept at room temperature for 1 day, if you wrap it in plastic wrap.

To Make Filling:
Pork Filling
1. Soak dried mushrooms for 1 hour or until soft. Discard stems and mince mushroom caps finely.

2. Mix sauce ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.

3. In a wok or skillet, heat 2 tsp oil and then stir-fry the pork, water chestnuts, salted turnips and mushrooms for a few minutes. Stir in seasonings (sugar, salt, and white pepper).

4. Add sauce mixture and stir into meat mixture well. (Sauce mixture is very thick.)

5. Add green onions last.

6. Let meat mixture cool before wrapping in dough.

Assembling Turnovers:
1. Divide the dough into 3 parts. Roll each part into 3/4 inch wide rolls.
Dough Rolls

2. Cut each roll into 3/4 inch wide segments.
Cutting Dough

3. Roll each segment into 4 inch rounds.

4. Place 1 tbsp of filling in the center of round and bring opposite sides together and pinch to seal. Turnovers will resemble half moons.

Steaming:
1. If using a bamboo steamer or aluminum steamer, fill the bottom layer with water and line the steam rack with a piece of parchment paper (prevents sticking).

2. If you don’t have a bamboo or aluminum steamer, set up a steamer in a large pot by putting water in the bottom and using a steamer stand or inverted heat-safe bowl. Oil a cake or pie pan to prevent turnovers from sticking.

3. Bring the water to a boil.

4. Place the turnovers in a single layer either on their sides or standing with their seam sides up in the steamer. Do not let them touch or they will stick together.

4. Steam for approximately 15 minutes. Skin should be somewhat translucent.

5. Let cool for 2 to 3 minutes before handling.

6. Serve with light soy sauce for dip.

Do Ahead Notes:
These turnovers can be kept for several days in the refrigerator or 2 to 3 weeks in the freezer. In either case, keep them well-wrapped to prevent discoloration. Reheat by steaming, 10 minutes from refrigerator or 20 minutes from freezer.

Yields about 3 dozen

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. Wheat starch, tapioca starch, dried mushrooms, and salted turnip can be purchased at most Asian markets.
se Ingredients

2. I prefer rough minced pork over ground pork. That being said, I buy a piece of pork butt and mince it in my food processor.

3. Instead of 12 water chestnuts, I chopped one 8-oz can of water chestnuts.

4. My family thought the filling was a bit too salty, so I cut back on the salt in the filling by about 1/4 tsp.

5. My daughter and I had trouble rolling the balls of dough into 4 inch rounds, as the skin became too thin and difficult to work with. Ours were closer to 3 inches in diameter. Because of the size differential, we used less filling per turnover. Having a tortilla press would have been helpful.

6. My family always served these turnovers with oyster sauce instead of soy sauce.

Chinese Steamed Pork Turnovers

Enjoy!

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The sweet scent of caramel corn permeates my kitchen and transports me back in time. As a young child I remember shopping with my mom at Valley Fair Mall. Back in those days it was an outdoor mall anchored by big stores called the Emporium and Joseph Magnin. While walking from store to store, we would always pass a little caramel corn shop and be seduced by the smell wafting out of the door. My sister and I would beg our mom to stop and buy us some. Having a sweet tooth of her own, my mom usually consented. Carrying a cardboard carton bearing a capital “K”  filled to the brim with the most delicately-coated, buttery- sweet, caramel popcorn imaginable, my sister and I would lag behind mom while grabbing handfuls of the treat and stuffing our faces. Valley Fair is now an enclosed mall and the Emporium and Joseph Magnin stores are long gone, as is the little caramel corn shop whose name I can no longer remember. I make my own caramel corn now and it seems fitting that this great recipe came from my sister. With butter, brown sugar, and its secret ingredient – Mrs. Butterworth’s Original Syrup – it’s almost as good as the caramel corn of my youth!

Caramel Corn
Adapted from a recipe from my sister Nancy

Ingredients:
12 cups popped popcorn
1 cube butter
1/4 cup Mrs. Butterworth’s Original Syrup
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups Wheat Chex
1 cup cocktail peanuts

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.

2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

3. Put popped popcorn, Wheat Chex, and peanuts in a large bowl and toss to mix. Set aside.

4. Using a medium-large saucepan with high sides, melt the butter, syrup, and sugar on medium heat until bubbles form on the side of the pot. Heat for 5 minutes longer. DO NOT OVERCOOK!

5. Remove pot from heat and stir in salt and baking soda. The mixture will get foamy.

6. Pour caramel foam over popcorn mixture and quickly stir to coat evenly.

7. Spread mixture onto the two baking sheets.

8. Bake for one hour, stirring the caramel corn every 15 minutes.

9. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

10. Store in an airtight container.

Linnell’s Notes:

1. Be very careful with the hot caramel. Being hot and sticky, it can cause a bad burn! One time I accidentally got some on my knuckle and ended up with a pretty significant burn blister.

2. If you do not want to add the cereal or the nuts, use 15 cups of popped popcorn instead. Also, any type of Chex-type cereal can be substituted for the Wheat Chex.

3. Containers of this caramel corn make great gifts. When my husband and I were poor college students we often made several big batches of this caramel corn, packaged it in cute containers and gave them away as Christmas gifts.

ENJOY!!

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