Thursday, January 31, 2013

Store bought dumpling wrapper verdict

Store bought dumpling wrappers win hands down over homemade for convenience, plus they make a pretty presentation. They tasted just as good as homemade, but I had a problem with my potstickers actually sticking to the pan, and I lost a few of the little fellas whose wrappers tore. The brand of wrappers I used was Gyoza.
Picture is of dumplings prior to being cooked.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Day of the Dumpling

Green Beans with Wild Mushrooms
Didn't have wild mushrooms, so we used "tame" mushrooms.
Fresh green beans
Green Beans with Wild Mushrooms Recipe

Stir Fry Spinach with Garlic
Baby Spinach
Stir-fry Spinach with Garlic

Stir-fry Spinach with Garlic Recipe

Napa Cabbage and Pork Steamed Dumplings

Napa Cabbage
Dumpling production

Voila...a dumpling
Steaming Dumplings

The dumplings were delicious, Peggy gets 5 stars ***** for the recipe selection and dumpling production. After steaming a batch of dumplings, we used the pot-sticker technique and fried, then steamed the second batch - even better! 

Peggy made the wrappers, which was quite a process, so she will try the store-bought wrappers tomorrow with the left-over filling - stay tuned for the report on these. Rolling the home-made wrappers thin enough to avoid chewiness was a challenge, nevertheless, they were good enough for me to consume at least a dozen.

The green beans with wild mushrooms were good, but we agreed not as good as the green bean recipe we made previously. I chose it because I wanted to try a dish with the oyster sauce I purchased for our last Chinese Cooking Lab. I found it not to be as flavorful as expected - maybe because the mushrooms we used weren't "wild."

The simple stir-fry spinach with garlic was a keeper. I will certainly make that again. My secret ingredient was chile oil (instead of paste) because that is what we had and LOTS of fresh garlic - how could we go wrong?

We did revisit our practitioner manuscripts on the art of calligraphy and Terra Cotta Warriors. We organized, delegated and set deadlines. 

Time to write... Chinese proverb: "Talk Doesn't Cook Rice."

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Weekend of China Inspired Reunions...

Paige & Kim
Two great reunions took place in my life this weekend. The Arts in Education 2013 Reunion session and my fabulous weekend with Kim Mitchell, Carnegie Visual Arts Center Executive Director.  I have not seen Kim since we met her during our May 2012 Confucius Institute China adventure.

The Arts in Education Reunion naturally took on an Asian theme this year. My China experience and Jessica Freeland's (Arts in Education Coordinator) honeymoon trip to Japan provided inspiration and motivation to share our knowledge and passion for Asian arts and culture with our grant participants.

Incredibly fortunate timing brought Kim Mitchell to town this weekend to "research" Mardi Gras for the second year of Decatur, Alabama's Mardi-Gras-style celebration: Carnegie Carnival, presented by the Carnegie Visual Arts Center. So in addition to being able to share Mobile Mardi Gras with Kim, she was able to join me in sharing our China experiences with the Arts in Education teachers and students in the reunion workshop Saturday morning.

Paige Vitulli, Kim Mitchell, and Jeannette Fresne
presenting at the Arts in Education Reunion 2013: Asia

Paper lantern production

Kim assisting with lantern construction
Tissue paper adds design and color

Chinese Paper Lantern Resources:
How to Make a Chinese Paper Lantern, Martha Stewart Video

Paper Lanterns Lesson Plans:

Great ladies of Decatur, AL researching Mardi Gras for Carnegie Carnival.
Mobile, AL Mardi Gras

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

China's Make or Break College Entrance Exam

The New York Times/Scholastic UpFront Magazine has an interesting article about China's "gaokao" college entrance exam.

Be sure to click the link on the bottom left of the magazine article to watch a 5 minute video which chronicles the efforts of Chinese high school students as they prepare for the exam, including one young man who says  he studied "thirteen hours a day, 7 days a week for an entire year."

Friday, January 18, 2013

Next Made-in-China Boom: College Graduates

Good NY Times article on the evolution of higher education in China:

"The aim is to change the current system, in which a tiny, highly educated elite oversees vast armies of semi-trained factory workers and rural laborers. China wants to move up the development curve by fostering a much more broadly educated public, one that more closely resembles the multifaceted labor forces of the United States and Europe."

Check out the slide show for pictures of university life: