New year off to a fishy start

There’s a longstanding tradition in my husband’s family to greet each new year with a seafood feast of legendary proportion.

Described to an outsider, it sounds like – and probably is – an orgy of gluttony and excess. But, for a family of food lovers, it’s a high note in our year.

Essentially, we all belly up to the dining room table in mid-afternoon. We roll away five hours later, bloated, butter-soaked and sated.

For years, my talented mother-in-law took complete charge of this feast, finding new and creative ways to prepare everything from pickled herring to Atlantic lobster. But in recent years, she’s opened the door to full family participation, with each of her children contributing a dish or two to the table.

This year, we went with an Asian theme for our dishes: crab rangoons and lobster wontons with an orange-ginger thai chili sauce disappeared in minutes.

Crab rangoons

Ingredients:

  • 1 block cream cheese
  • 1 cup crab meat
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions
  • 1 tbsp. grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. Worchester sauce
  • 24 wonton wrappers

Directions:

  • Mix together all ingredients, except wonton wrappers.
  • Lay wonton wrappers flat on a lightly-floured surface.
  • Place 1 tbsp. filling in the centre of each wonton.
  • Dampen edges with water and fold into a triangle, pinching the edges to seal.
  • Heat vegetable oil, 1-2 inches deep, in a wok or large pot
  • Drop sealed wontons into oil, a few at a time. Watch closely.
  • Turn once to brown both sides evenly. Remove using a slotted spoon.
  • Let cool slightly. Serve with dipping sauce.

 

Lobster wontons

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups shredded vegetables (any combination of kale, cabbage, carrots, peppers). Hint: to make this easier, consider buying a bag of pre-washed, pre-shredded coleslaw or kaleslaw.
  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • Chinese five-spice seasoning
  • 1 cup lobster meat cut into approx.. 1” chunks
  • 24 fresh wonton wrappers
  • Vegetable oil

Directions:

  • Place shredded vegetables in a medium bowl
  • Combine rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, salt and Chinese five-spice, stirring until salt and sugar dissolve
  • Pour vinegar mix over vegetables. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours.
  • Remove vegetable mixture from fridge and drain well.
  • Lay wonton wrappers flat on a lightly-floured surface.
  • Place 1 tbsp. vegetable filling in the centre of each wonton and top with one lobster chunk
  • Dampen edges with water and pinch to form a sealed wonton pouch
  • Heat vegetable oil, 1-2 inches deep, in a wok or large pot
  • Drop sealed wontons into oil, a few at a time. Watch closely.
  • Turn once to brown both sides evenly. Remove using a slotted spoon.
  • Let cool slightly. Serve with dipping sauce.

 

Fiery orange-ginger Thai chili sauce

thai chili sauce.jpgDirections:

In a food processor, puree:

  • 1 cup chopped red Thai chili peppers, seeds removed
  • 2-inches peeled ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • Zest and juice from 1 orange
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar

Pour mixture into a sauce pan, and bring to a boil. Simmer for five minutes, stirring regularly.

  • Combine 1 tbsp. cornstarch and 2 tbsp. water in a sealed jar and shake well to combine.

Whisk cornstarch and water mixture into the simmering pepper mix. Continue whisking while bringing the mixture back to a boil for another minute, until thickened. Keep refrigerated.

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