52 Dinners - Week 2: Homemade Fortune Cookies & Chinese "Takeout"

52 Dinners - Week 2: Homemade Fortune Cookies & Chinese "Takeout"
Our local Chinese restaurant burned to the ground over a year ago, and there are no signs of a rebuild anytime soon.
We didn’t indulge in Ming’s House too often, but it was always nice to know that it was there. These days, our options are either an hour round-trip up to Wok & Roll, or for me to take matters into my own hands. We prefer the latter.

A Chinese feast 

Last night we enjoyed the company of our friends Phelan and Kelsey of Pigasus Meats. They raise hens and pastured pork over on the island of South Hero VT, and supply all of the eggs that I use in the bakery. With a kindness and enthusiasm that’s truly unmatched, they are some of the loveliest people we know.

But living two hours away, we don’t get to see them nearly as often as we’d like. Hannah from Hillside Farm also came over. She and her dad have a poultry and apple cider operation down the road. She’s great.
Our friend Brandon came by as well, along with his pup Freckles, who is brother to Phelan & Kelsey’s dog Potato, both of whom are sons of our dog Chuck. So it was a family reunion of sorts, with six dogs in total.

We started with gingery bourbon cocktails and fried pork spring rolls. Bailey and I have been talking about getting a fryer for a while, but I’ve been hesitant because I feel like we’d use it too often.

But last night we decided that life it too short to not have a deep fryer.

YOLO, right?

For dinner I served Chinese takeout staples: General Tso’s chicken, vegetable lo mein, broccoli in garlic sauce, and char sui ribs, along with rice and a few bottles of vinho verde. (Have you seen the documentary ‘The Search for General Tso’? It’s fascinating).
I didn’t have all day to prep, so I made the sauces, cut the vegetables, and prepped meats the day before. The ribs were made in the crock pot, and I pre-fried the General Tso’s chicken chunks earlier in the afternoon.
So it was really just a matter of putting it all together when the time came to serve. A big wok (or 3 of them) would have made thing quite a bit easier, but I was able to make do with what we’ve got.

This was the perfect opportunity to finally try my hand at making fortune cookies. I used the recipe from Dorie’s Cookies by Dorie Greenspan.
It’s essentially a tuile. Thin batter, spread out over a stencil, baked, then folded and shaped while it is still warm. They were very tasty, though next time I’ll probably add a little bit of orange zest or maybe a couple drops of anise extract.

I really enjoyed writing the fortunes. We never rely on party games or group activities when we have friends over, as we’re more inclined to just sit and visit.
But the cookie moment provided an appropriate amount of after dinner frivolity. I wanted to make the fortunes silly and light, but kept leaning towards the more serious, like “learn to love yourself as much as everyone sitting at this table loves you”, “you should floss more”, and “stop worrying so much about money”.
I guess they were more advisory than fortunistic!

We then dove into a second round of fortune cookies which contained some get-to-know-you questions. These sorts of things have the potential to feel somewhat forced, but thankfully this wasn’t at all the case.
It was fun, lively, and allowed us all to learn a bit more about one another. We went around the table opening our cookies and answering questions like “who was your childhood best friend and what are they up to these days?”, “where is a place that you’d love to travel?”, and “what is your all time favorite movie?”.
Mine is ‘Sister Act II: Back in the Habit’. “If you want to be somebody, if you want to go somewhere, you better wake up and pay attention”.
Thank you for reading, friends. Stick around for Week Three of the Fifty-Two Dinner Parties series. 

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