Sunday, January 31, 2010

swei jows

All you have to do in my family to reduce any of us to salivating weirdos, is to say two words.

Swei Jows.

Let me explain. Swei Jows are our family dish. My dad went to Taiwan on his mission for the LDS church in the olden days (sorry Dad, hehe), and he ate these almost every day. They're kind of like boiled pot least that's the way we usually try and explain them to newcomers. That, or we shove their faces in it and yell, "See? Aren't they yummy!?"

You should be so lucky.

Anyways, my dad had his birthday last week, so we celebrated by cooking up a couple hundred or so of these yummy treats, and then gorged ourselves.

Here's how you make them, if anything for future generations, should the Swei Jow love get lost in the shuffle somehow.

Swei Jows

1 lb of ground pork
1 egg (per lb of pork)
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp garlic
1/2 head shredded cabbage
1 package wonton wraps

Mix ingredients together in a large bowl, fill wraps, and press edges together with water. Boil in water for 5-6 minutes until edges are sealed together and they float to the top. Eat with soy sauce, hot pepper oil, and/or vinegar. (see my lovely instructions below for step by step directions)

Yes, this is really how much filling we use. (I think we usually quadruple the recipe)

You'll need: (as shown in the picture below)

Thanks to my brother Justin for his lovely swei jow instructional hand modeling. He has a future, I think.

So, take some of your filling, and plop it in the middle of your wrapper. (not too much or it will burst open while cooking and everyone will blame each other)

dab some water around the edges, and press together into a half circle shape.

crimp your edges like so...although Justin didn't do the neatest job, it will still taste delicious.

Repeat a bajillion times until you've run out of meat or wrappers, whichever happens first! Once in awhile you run out of both at the same time. I call that the Perfect Storm.

Prepare your bowl...with some soy sauce, hot oil, and vinegar, whichever combo you prefer. I usually do soy sauce with some hot oil. YUM!

Boil for 5-6 minutes or until they float to the top. Next: eat (with chopsticks unless you are chopstick-handicapped like Rory) by dipping into your soy sauce mixture, and try and eat as many as you can before the tray disappears. We have two trays on either end of the table, and everyone is always after the coveted middle spot that gets to eat from both trays.

By the way, liking Swei Jows is one of the requirements for marrying into the Lance family. That, and you have to like camping. Just so you know. In case any of you want to marry one of my siblings someday.

(and yes, Rory passed both tests)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Zuppa Toscana

Zuppa Toscana  
adapted from Annie's Eats
1 lb. Italian sausage
1 large onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
4 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch chunks
2 cups fresh kale, chopped
3 cups chicken broth
2.5 cups water
1 cup heavy cream ( i used half and half)
Salt and pepper
Place a large stockpot on the stove over medium heat. Crumble the sausage into the pan and cook until well browned. Remove the cooked sausage from the pot with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl; set aside. Add the chopped onion to the pan and sauté until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the pan and cook for a minute more, just until fragrant. Add the potatoes, kale, chicken broth and water to the pot. Return the sausage to the pot. Increase the heat to medium-high, bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer on medium-low. Cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender and cooked through. Stir in the heavy cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

*** PLEASE tell me you've had the zuppa toscana at olive garden! if you haven't though, try this recipe. it's so deliciously spicy and hearty! rory always gets this when we go, and i get the salad (to be "healthy"), and i always end up snitching spoonfuls from his bowl. now i don't have to! yum.
serve it with these breadsticks and you are GOOD to go!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


plates of goodies for friends and neighbors!

starting at the stars-going clockwise: sugar cookies, jam bars, fudge, peanut butter kiss cookies, and oreo bark. yum!

i'll not be baking for another year, thank you. just kidding.

recipes below:

sugar cookies and royal icing

jam bars

easy fudge

peanut butter kiss cookies

oreo bark

Creamy Chicken and Pasta Bake

i've noticed my food photography got progressively worse as it got darker earlier this winter. last summer, i had great light when i finished so much. well, anyways, this dish is simple, quick, and so yummy! sorry again about the craptastic pic.

rory was sick all day yesterday and sadie woke up er..being sick last night too...poor things. luckily they're doing better, but cross your fingers/pray i don't get it!

Creamy Chicken and Pasta Bake
adapted from Kraft Foods


1-1/2 cups small pasta (bow tie, rotini...)pasta, uncooked
1 small bunch broccoli, cut into florets (about 3 cups)
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) cream cheese, cubed
1 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided
2 Tbsp. Grated Parmesan Cheese
HEAT oven to 375ºF. Cook pasta in large saucepan as directed on package, adding broccoli for the last 3 min.
MEANWHILE, heat large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 3 min. or until no longer pink, stirring frequently. Stir in broth; simmer 3 min. or until chicken is done. Add cream cheese; cook and stir on low heat 1 min. or until cream cheese is melted. Stir in 1/2 cup mozzarella.
DRAIN pasta and broccoli. Add to chicken mixture; mix lightly. Spoon into 8-inch sq. baking dish; cover.
BAKE 15 min. or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses. Bake, uncovered, 3 min. or until melted. Let stand 5 min.

***the kraft recipe calls for 2 oz. cream cheese, but i like the sauce to be thicker, so i use 4 oz. changes shown above! :D