So as it turns out, Chinese New Year is a two week long celebration! Who knew? I spent this past weekend in San Francisco with a couple of girlfriends, and Chinatown was hosting it’s annual Chinese New Year Parade. This two week long celebration is just perfect for me, because, as you may remember, our beautiful friend Jenn Atkinson hosted a Chinese New Year (Kickoff) Party about 2 weeks ago, and I still haven’t gotten around to posting all of the photos and recipes! (We did post some of them, see Happy Shrimp Stir Fry, Chinese Sticky Rice, and Baby Bok Choi with Garlic and Shrimp.)
Jenn had studied in China during college, and payed attention to the cuisine and its creation, to say the least. She has a collection of recipes she’s collected and we were lucky enough to get her to share some of them with us. The key to Chinese cooking appears to be a wide selection of sauces and condiments from your local Asian market. Jenn says that all Chinese dishes use similar ingredients, but may taste very different!
Here’s Jenn’s menu:
Shrimp Stir Fry
Baby Bok Choy with Garlic
Chinese Sticky Rice
Fried Shrimp and Pork Potstickers
Steamed Pork & Rice Balls
Yue Xiang Eggplant
Hot Sesame Beef
Jenn set up her party buffet style, and the Cast Iron team went over early to help her cook. This was the best part. As different dishes were ready, she added them to the table, so even though it was self-serve, it felt a lot like a multi-course meal. I also loved the tiny Asian bowls that could be refilled. As more guests arrived, some of them were busy in the kitchen helping to prepare some of the more time-intensive dishes, such as the pork balls. (Last year we made pot stickers!) For cooks like us, this is a great party activity, everybody learns something, and it helps the hostess get those “fancy” appetizers completed without staying up all night the night before. Great idea, Jenn!