Sunday, October 31, 2010

After the failure of the pumpkin fudge, I wanted to make something else to prove to myself that I can still function in the kitchen.  This took the form of dinner.  I know, I know, this is a baking blog, and what I'm about to share with you isn't really a baked good, but whatever.  It's my blog and I will post what I want.  And, you could probably adapt this into a dessert if you want to.

I decided while I was at work that I wanted to make wontons for dinner.  Okay, really I wanted cream cheese wontons, but I also wanted to try and make a filling that was a little better for me.  The only problem was that I didn't have any wonton wrappers at home, and I didn't want to go to the store to get them.  So, I decided to make them myself.  I looked up some recipes, and it seemed simple enough.  Here is the basic recipe:

Wonton Wrappers

1 egg
1/3 cup water
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a medium bowl, beat the egg.  Mix in the water.

In a large bowl, combine the salt and flour.  Create a well in the flour mixture and slowly pour in the egg and water mixture.  Mix well.  If the mixture is too dry, add more water, one teaspoon at a time until a pliable dough has formed.

On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until it is elastic.  Cut dough into two balls. Cover the balls with a damp cloth and leave at room temperature for at least 10 minutes. 

Cut each ball into four equal pieces.  Roll each piece into a 10 1/2 by 10 1/2 inch square.  Cut each large square into smaller 3 1/2 by 3 1/2 inch squares.  Fill with the filling of your choice.

A note about the dough:  I had a heck of a time getting it rolled out really thin with just my rolling pin.  I have a sneaky suspicion that a pasta roller thingy would be very handy in getting the dough uniformly thin.  Because mine weren't that thin, the finished product was a little chewier than I really wanted.  Oh well, it's all a learning experience.

As I mentioned, I made two fillings: cream cheese and also a shrimp and veggie filling.  Both were excellent.  I am going to tell you what I did, but I didn't really measure anything, just guessed.

For the shrimp filling:

Rough chop some raw shrimp, probably about a quarter pound.  Put that in a bowl.  To the bowl, add a glug of soy sauce (low sodium, if you have it), a couple of splashes of white wine, some minced garlic, and grated ginger.  Stir it up and let it hang out for a minute. 

Meanwhile, heat up a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a pan.  While it heats, chop up about half an onion (whatever you have).  Put the onion in the pan and stir around a little.  Cook it until it softens.  While that is cooking, chop up some veggies.  I had a bag of broccoli slaw in the fridge, so I grabbed a handful of that and chopped it a little bit.  Add that to the pan and cook a little.

When the veggies are softer, dump in the shrimp and the sauce.  Cook until pink, stirring some.  Taste it for seasoning, and add more of whatever you think it needs.  When everything is cooked, turn off the heat, and let the mixture cool.

When it's cool, put a small amount on a wonton wrapper.  Brush the edges on one side of the wonton with water, and fold over the other side.  Press to seal.

You can cook this in oil in a pan, or in the oven.  If you decide to bake them, spray them with a little oil first, so they get nice and crispy.  I cooked these in oil in a pan.  Didn't take long and they were pretty good.

For the cream cheese filling:

In a bowl, put one 8-ounce block of cream cheese.  If you have time, let it soften at room temp.  If not, stick it in the microwave for 15 seconds or so.  You don't want to melt it, just make it easier to stir.

To the cream cheese, I usually add a couple of green onions, finely chopped, some minced garlic, and salt.  After that, you can add any veggies you might want.  This time, I added some grated carrot (fine grate, about half a carrot), and about a third of a large green bell pepper, chopped small.  It was really really good.  You could even add little bits of crab, to make them more like crab rangoon, but whatever you like is fine. 

Fill them the same way you fill the shrimp ones.  Try to push out any extra air.  I will mention that if you bake these, they do puff up a bit.  I don't mind it.  I baked these at about 350 for maybe 15 or 20 minutes, until they were golden and crispy.

Here's the thing:  I'm not sure I will make wonton wrappers again for a long time.  I can't honestly say that the results were that much better than the store bought wrappers, especially since I couldn't roll them out thin enough on my own.  The taste was great though, so maybe someday, when I have a pasta roller, I will try this again. 

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