A Holiday Dumpling Workshop in the Kitchen – Shrimp, Crab Meat, Herbs, and Veggies For Homemade Wontons!

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It’s delicious homemade wonton dumpling time! ūüėĬ† Yes, that’s right, yours truly made homemade wonton dumplings¬†from scratch¬†yesterday and spent her the whole day in the kitchen preparing and mixing baking ingredients for cookies and cupcakes,¬†and chopping up wonton¬†filling ingredients in the morning.¬† I know these don’t exactly scream Christmas or even “holidays”, but my mum and I made these for ourselves and for my grandparents as a little homemade Christmas food love from our hearts to theirs.¬†
 
I’ll have you know that yesterday’s wonton making session was not my first.¬† I know I never really talk about my cooking adventures or kitchen escapades much aside from baking, but my childhood is full to bursting with kitchen and cooking experiences and memories and¬†I have my grandma and my aunt to thank for that.¬† They instilled a love of home cooking¬†in me¬†and let me help them early on.¬† My first cookie baking experience was with my aunt in her Scarborough apartment at the age of 8 and my first wonton making adventure was with my mum and grandma in my grandparents’ kitchen when I was…some young age that I don’t recall at the moment.¬† But it was so much fun and¬†it will always be one of my favourite memories.
 

Dinner in the making!

I’m so, so excited to share these wonderful dumplings with you guys because¬†not only do they taste delicious, but they¬†are SO much fun to make!¬† You can literally make a fun morning and afternoon out of it and boil your creations for dinner later on at night!¬† I think it would even make a fantastic party activity for a get-together.¬† With the tv on or some music playing it’s incredibly relaxing and soothing and just oodles of fun.¬† It’s honestly one of my favourite things to make, ever.¬† Well, that and making cake pops and cookies.¬† You get the idea.¬† Just like my Christmas cake pops from Le Dolci, this is somewhat of a photo tutorial, so feel free to follow along or you can just enjoy the photos and drool.¬† It’s up to you.

Okay, first things first: the wrappers!¬† Wonton and dumpling wrappers come in a number of sizes and shapes.¬† Most of the time you’ll find them in square shapes and circle shapes, but if you’re feeling ambitious and know or want to make your own wonton wrappers from scratch, you can also make circles with scalloped edges if you like.¬† The wrappers are basically a mixture of flour, water, and possibly some cornstarch, egg, and/or salt kneaded into an elastic dough and then rolled out into thin sheets and cut into squares or circles for wontons and dumplings.¬† There are plenty of recipes online, such as this one, if you want to make your own dough wrappers.

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Herbs Make For a Fragrant Kitchen and Delicious Food – the Farmers’ Market at Bloor & Lippincott

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I feel like I am having the best luck ever with the markets this summer.¬† This is the first summer that I have made it a point to going “marketing” every week and I carefully choose which market to visit¬†based on what neighbourhood I’m in and what time the markets¬†open up shop.¬† I am more and more impressed and filled with joy every week as I visit a new farmers’ market in the city.¬† Last week I paid a visit to the Bloor-Borden farmers’ market and bumped into my friend Jen on the way there and we, along with my boyfriend, happily perused the yummies there.¬† The Bloor-Borden market, located off of Bloor St. West and Lippincott St. at the Green P parking lot in the Annex, was so full of fresh, colourful fruits and vegetables and HERBS!¬† I was beside myself when I saw an entire table devoted to fragrant, delicious herbs and boy did I bring home a whopping load of goodies.¬† The herbs came in huuuge bunches and the prices were SO good.¬† A ginourmous bunch (that really looked more like a bush!) of herbs for $2 each.¬† Yoink, don’t mind if I do!¬†

I picked up a bunch of dill, a bunch of cilantro, and my favourite pick of the day, a basil plant!!  Cue fan-girly squealing here.  I have always wanted to make my own food from freshly grown basil and the basil plants were too beautiful to pass up.  $5 for a gift that keeps on giving?!  Yes, please.  As soon as I bought my basil plant, I was already starting to brainstorm what foods I could pair it with: sandwiches, pasta, soups, and of course, the ever popular pesto.  I mentioned this on my twitter, but if anyone has any recipes or meal suggestions that include basil, feel free to comment and share!  My mum and I have have already used the dill to make egg salad (photos to come tomorrow) and some of the cilantro in some veggie stir-fry.

There was also a bounty of vegetables and stuff I hadn’t seen at other markets such as rainbow radishes, red carrots, orange beets, different kinds if heirloom tomatoes (both baby and regular-sized), and purple bell peppers!¬† The prices at this market are fantastic and there’s a long table that where you can choose any 3 items for $10.¬† It took¬†every ounce of willpower not to walk away with more as I was already bogged down with my purchases, tote bag, and mini backpack!¬† I¬†made a promise to myself though that I would go back sometime to¬†pick¬†up some vegetables.¬† That, and to actually get photos of all the glorious herbs.¬† You’d think I would have photos of what I bought, but this time, no.¬† I think I was so excited to see such wide range of fresh herbs smack dab in front of me that all purpose went out the window until I left with my purchases and realized that I had no photos of the very thing I was singing my praises about.¬† D’oh!¬† Ah well, that’s what the next time is for.¬† This was -and is- a wonderful market to visit and I¬†can’t think¬†of¬†a single person who wouldn’t be able to find something wonderful and fresh to bring home from here.

*****

The Bloor-Borden farmers’ market is located off the intersection¬†of Bloor St. West and Lippincott St., just east of Bathurst St.¬† The farmers’ market is located in the parking lot south¬†of Bloor St. on Lippincott.¬† The market is held every Wednesday from 3pm-7pm.¬† For more info, click here.

A Springtime Avocado & White Bean Salad to Brighten Up the Palate!

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Okay, so the weather outside was absolutely frightful today.¬† A mix of wet snow, sleet, ice pellets, hail, and everything in the kitchen sink falling from the sky does not make for a fun day out.¬† But!¬† I’m here to the rescue!¬† Instead of looking out the window and wanting to bang your head against the wall because winter¬†knocked on the door and sweetly said, “did you miss me?”, you can look at my bright and yummy avocado and white bean salad instead! ūüėĬ† Yesterday I posted¬†photos and wrote about Fresh’s white bean and avocado¬†dosas, and¬†it was that particular dish that inspired me to create this one over the weekend.¬† My mum and I¬†had a great time making it (we love using our cute little colander, haha.¬† If you can believe it, I bought it from Bath and Body Works!) and¬†a VERY good time eating it!¬† We had plenty of avocados that were nice and ripe and this salad made for a fantastic vegetarian dinner.

We used white kidney beans, avocados, sweet corn, diced green bell pepper, chopped green onion, a nice fistful of chopped cilantro, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.  SO DELICIOUS OH MY GOODNESS.  I just love the versatility of beans and avocado.  I loved the combination of mashed black beans with baby spinach and alfalfa sprouts with a dollop of sour cream, and I absolutely adore this combination too.  The kidney beans have this great potato-y, earthy flavour, you have that creaminess from the avocado and corn, the cilantro gives it that fresh, spicy zing, and the bright, crunchy bell pepper and green onions give it the salad lots of extra texture which complements the softness of everything else.  My mum and I were heaping spoonfuls of this salad on our dinner plates!  

The salad itself¬†could have definitely functioned as a main meal, but I ate it with a bowl¬†of¬†yummy udon noodles with a drizzle of sesame oil and a sprinkling of black pepper and red chili flakes.¬† I love udon noodles, with or without¬†the soup broth.¬†¬†My mum and I will usually grab several packs of udon noodles at the Chinese supermarket and when I eat non-veggie meals, I’ll eat them with some pork chops and veggies, or with cut up hot dog weenies and mixed veggies, ha.¬† Yummy to the max!