Monday, May 9, 2011

Schm-Asian Smorgasbord

Schmambs was at the Asian Market.  Schmambs' husband is away on business.  It's just us girls. This means a Schm-Asian Smorgasbord dinner!  I will be the first to admit, despite being born and bred Chinese (Taiwanese, to be exact), I have complete assimilated into the American culture.  Thankfully I have Schmambs, who is blonde haired and blue eyed, to help keep me in touch with my Asian roots.  She even has a bamboo steamer!  Not able to commit to any real theme to dinner, we had a little bit of everything.  Having had it at dim sum last, sticky rice was on top of the list.  Wrapped in bamboo leaves, the nice salty treat can be enjoyed 'as is' or, as I enjoyed it as a child, dipped in sugar.  That method, however, is intended more for sticky rice that is meant to be eaten as a desert rather than the salty version intended as the meal.

The kido had requested dumplings, so Schmambs cooked up some chicken and shrimp dumplings.  The variety was good since this chick doesn't eat seafood.  As a child, my mother taught me how to mix a dipping sauce, so everytime we have dumplings or shumai, I am the designated sauce mixer.  The sauce consists of soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil.  The ratios are up to the eater.  I prefer more sesame oil since I like the flavor and I think it helps to balance out some of the salt in the soy sauce.

And as the vegetable of the evening, we have what we think is Chinese broccoli.  We had eaten it at dim sum and Schmambs had seen it at the Asian market and thought she would be adventurous and try cooking it at home.  It ended up being quite delicious and dare I say, the star of the meal?  Schmambs boiled it for a bit while I played sauce mixer with some oyster sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil.  The oyster sauce was too thick and blobby to use by itself, but when we added soy sauce, the salt content almost had us choking.  So to even it out, the rice vinegar and sesame oil were added to bring more flavor as well as more liquid without increasing the salt content even more.  It turned out surprisingly tasty with even a little kick to it.

Dinner ended with chocolate and green tea mochi, but those weren't out long enough for pictures before we gobbled them up.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

French Dip Sammies

In middle school, I read a book by Julie Reece Deaver where the main character was having lunch with her aunt and they were eating French Dip Sandwiches.  I always wondered what was in a French Dip Sandwich.  Fast forward 15 years.  Schmambs is in my life and she loves to cook for her family.  Lucky for me, I fall under that category.  And lo and behold, she makes French Dip Sandwiches.  Imagine that.

The other week, she decided she was going to make them.  Never one to turn down a homecooked meal, I happily accepted her invitation.  When I arrived, the rump roast had been in the slow cooker all day and she was getting ready to start putting everything together.  First step is to cut the rolls horizontally and top with cheese.  Schmambs layers the cheese on quite generously.  Then she throws everything in the oven for a few minutes to get the cheese all melty and gooey.

While the bread and cheese were doing their thing in the oven, Schmambs removed the rump roast from the slow cooker, leaving behind the salty, but delicious au jus.  Schmambs sliced the rump roast and since I didn't have anything better to do than to play with our food, I stirred the au jus around.  If you look closely, the au jus is swirling counter clockwise.  I asked Schmambs, "Do you think the au jus swirls in the opposite direction in Australia?"  She just rolled her eyes and continued slicing.

Once everything is all said and done with, the meat is heaped upon the melty cheese on the toasted bread and served with a side of au jus for dipping.  There is something about exceeding my recommended daily sodium intake with a meal so delicious that always has me going back for more!