It’s almost as if my stomach knows when fall is coming even before the temperature starts to drop. The minute I start to crave hot soups, lots of starch, and salt, glorious salt, I know it’s time to pull the winter coat out of the closet. I eat as if I’m getting ready for hibernation. In fact, I need to be getting ready for quite the opposite. One month to go till my eating, sleeping and fun having habits go down the drain as I begin my surgery rotation. Actually, that’s a lie. Well, not the sleeping and eating part, but I’m really excited to begin my surgery rotation. It’s finally time for me to figure out my future. I’ve mentioned before that I’m 98% sure surgery is the field for me, but there’s still that 2% of my brain (my rational side) that makes me question whether or not I’m ready for that lifestyle. Am I ready to spend the vast majority of my time under the florescent hospital lights? Will I mind forgoing weekends? Is it worth waking up at 4am every morning? My heart says yes, but my brain insists that I wait and see how I respond to 2 months of pretending to be a surgeon. I’ll admit I’m incredibly nervous. Of course I’m nervous about how I’ll do, if they’ll like me, if they’ll find me useful to have around…but more importantly, I’m nervous to find out whether or not I like it. Along with trying to calm my nerves in preparation for surgery, I’ve been working on recipes that will keep me full, but more or less out of the kitchen during those 2 months. I’m trying to put the time in now creating freezer meals and crock pot recipes so that my eating habits don’t suffer quite as much as they have the potential to.
This particular recipes definitely involves a lot of prep work, but if you make a large enough batch you can enjoy the efforts for quite some time. Cutting all the vegetables and shrimp took about 2.5 hours…the wrapping the wontons took another 1.5 hours. To be honest, these aren’t actually wontons. They’re dumplings in wonton wrappers…either way, they’re delicious and make a quick meal when there’s no time to do more than boil a pot of water. The pork and shrimp wontons are more traditional, but it just wouldn’t be a Braised Anatomy post if we didn’t offer a vegetarian option.
Pork and Shrimp Dumplings/Wontons (adapted from Use Real Butter)
What you need (makes about 100 wontons):
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 lb raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 8 nappa cabbage leaves, minced
- 6 green onions, minced
- 1/2 cup bamboo shoot, minced
- 1/2 cup ginger root, minced
- 6 tbs sesame oil
- 2 tsp salt
- 4 tbs corn starch
- About 100 wonton wrappers
Vegetarian Dumplings/Wontons (adapted from Good Eats)
What you need (makes about 40 wontons):
- 1/2 lb firm tofu
- 1/2 cup grated carrots
- 1/2 cup minced napa cabbage (about 2-3 leaves)
- 2 tbs finely chopped red pepper
- 2 tbs finely chopped green onion
- 2 tbs finely chopped ginger
- 1 tbs minced fresh cilantro
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tbs soy sauce
- 1 tbs hoisin sauce
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- About 40 wonton wrappers
What you need do to:
- Spend a ridiculous amount of time chopping up all of the vegetables into miniscule pieces (this takes about 2 hours), and add the veggies to a bowl (obviously two different bowls if you’re making both types of wontons).
- If you’re making the shrimp and pork dumplings, you can just add the ground pork straight to the bowl, but you’ll need to chop up the shrimp so it resembles all the vegetables.
- Add the sauces, eggs, etc. to the bowl and mix to combine.
- Wrap the wontons (I was gonna take pictures of each step, but I was too impatient…). I highly recommend inviting some friends/enemies over for a wonton wrapping party. You can promise them a delicious meal of wontons once they’re done.
- Once the wontons are wrapped, you can either freeze them on large trays, then transfer them to gallon ziplock bags, or you can go right ahead and cook them. To cook them, bring water to a boil in a medium sized pot, drop the dumplings in and let them cook. They’re done cooking when they’ve risen to the top (then I usually let them cook a little longer just to make sure the meat is cooked through).
- Serve with dumpling sauce or a broth (normally I just add a little soy sauce and dumpling sauce to the cooking water).