Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Happy New Year

On Sunday, we invited some friends, Terence and Becky, over our apartment to hang out. My husband wanted to get to know them more and have lots of time to talk. He gave me the challenge of discovering a meal that they could cook with us so we would all have more time together. Stumped for ten minutes or so I decided on hot pot, a traditional Chinese meal similar to a broth-based fondue. Since China just wrung in the New Year, it seemed perfect timing to make my favorite Asian dish. We went out and bought an electric wok and all sorts of yumminess to stick inside. We also invited our guests to bring over anything they wanted to as well. Good thinking b/c they brought stuff we would have never thought to add.

Inspired by a recent trip to Simply Fondue, we also pulled out the stops and made up some Tempura as well. Our good intentions were almost derailed when I discovered I didn't have the egg called for in the batter. I said 'oh,well' and made it without it. To make up for the lack of added moisture, I added a bit more water and some milk. It turned out just fine.

For our main course, we had mostly traditional stuff like rice noodles, sliced beef, carrots, eggplant, greens, and baby bok choy. We also got some non-traditional things to throw in that we thought our friends would like such as snap peas, broccoli, and okra. Our guests were truely inventive though. They brought a couple things that we suggested like chicken breast to slice up and potatoes. However, unencombered by previous expereinces of this traditional fare, they also delighted us with red bell peppers and corn on the cob both of which cook amazingly in the pot. Lesson of the day: Be bold!

For dessert, we enjoyed "Banana Spring Rolls w/ Caramel, Toffee, and Walnuts". YUM! I used plain old Smucker Caramel Topping to make it easy.

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