Kate Heyhoe

Kate's Global Kitchen

by Kate Heyhoe


Quick Cooking with Pacific Flavors

Celebrate the Lunar New Year
with Firecrackers & Spring Rolls

What would Chinese New Year's be without firecrackers & spring rolls? In honor of the Lunar New Year, Global Gourmet Today profiles Quick Cooking with Pacific Flavors from the husband-wide team of author Hugh Carpenter and photographer Teri Sandison. Even if you don't cook, you'll drool over the colorful and luscious dishes that are an update of their wildly popular book Chopstix, the book which resulted from the celebrated Chopstix restaurants in Los Angeles.

Below the profile of Quick Cooking with Pacific Flavors are two sample recipes, Firecracker Dumplings and Crisp Spring Rolls.

Kate Heyhoe


About Quick Cooking with Pacific Flavors

Quick Cooking with Pacific Flavors is a completely updated edition of Chopstix, the popular 1990 cookbook by master cooking teacher Hugh Carpenter and photographer Teri Sandison.

Quick Cooking with Pacific Flavors

Carpenter's innovative food combines vibrant flavors and easy techniques from Pacific Rim countries with fresh American ingredients to create dishes that are bursting with flavor, healthy, and are simple to make. Of the 110 recipes in Chopstix, 49 have been replaced with recipes that highlight the most popular trends in home cooking and the wider availability of Pacific Rim ingredients. In all of the other 61 recipes, the techniques, number of ingredients, and instructions have been simplified, to create a cookbook that is even easier to use.

This new edition retains such classic Carpenter recipes as Rib-Eye Steaks with Ginger Mango Salsa, Sichuan Veal Meatloaf Crazy Coconut Noodle Toss, and Lemon Ice Cream with Chocolate Grand Marnier Sauce, and adds new, flavor-intense recipes such as Shiitake Mushrooms Stuffed with Shrimp, Chilled Avocado Soup with Ancho Chili Jam, and Warm Chocolate Creme Brulee.

None of the recipes require special equipment, and most can be prepared in thirty minutes or less, making the food perfect for both everyday dinners and entertaining.

A substantial text provides fascinating culinary insights and a wealth of practical cooking advice. Advance preparation steps and menu and entertaining suggestions are given for each recipe. There is also a helpful glossary of Pacific Rim ingredients and shopping information, along with a list of basic pantry ingredients.

Highlighted by Teri Sandison's dazzling photographs, Quick Cooking with Pacific Flavors offers a collection of recipes that excite the senses with a minimum of effort.

About the Authors:

Hugh Carpenter is one of America's most popular cooking teachers and writers, and his articles appear in many newspapers and leading food magazines. In addition to the cooks he has influenced through frequent television and radio appearances, he has taught more than 65,000 students in classes at cooking schools throughout North America and at his own school in Napa Valley, California, which he runs in association with the Cakebread Winery.

Teri Sandison began her art career in painting and drawing. She then studied photography at Art Center College of Design, where she specialized in food and wine photography and later was a member of the photography faculty for more than three years. She has done the photography for more than 40 cookbooks from leading publishers, and has clients who come from across the United States to her St. Helena photography studio.

Hugh and Teri live in the Napa Valley community of Oakville.

Quick Cooking with Pacific Flavors
by Hugh Carpenter and Teri Sandison
Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 191 pages, 1997
ISBN 1-55670-645-6
Information provided by the publisher.


Firecracker Dumplings

This is one of our favorite dumpling recipes. The filling can be made quickly and the dumplings folded and then refrigerated or frozen. The cooking process is just as easy, for the dumplings are cooked in boiling water before being tossed in a rich Chinese "pesto" sauce. Firecracker Dumplings are excellent as an hors d'oeuvre or entree accompanied by the same dishes you might have when serving homemade ravioli.

Serves: 6 to 8 as an appetizer or 4 as an entree.

1/4 cup cornstarch, for dusting
2 green onions, white and green parts
1 pound ground raw veal, pork, or chicken
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 teaspoon Asian chili sauce
1 large egg
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
30 wonton skins or round gyoza skins

2 cups spinach leaves, washed and dried
1/4 cup cilantro sprigs
8 basil leaves
1 green onion, white and green parts, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 teaspoon grated or minced orange peel
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon Asian chili sauce

Note: both recipes are represented in the photo.

Dumplings and Spring Rolls

Advance Preparation

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and dust with cornstarch. Set aside. Mince the green onions in a food processor. Transfer to a bowl and add the ground meat, oyster sauce, rice wine or sherry, sesame oil, chili sauce, and egg. Thoroughly mix and set aside. Toast the sesame seeds until golden in an ungreased skillet, then set aside. Within 5 hours of cooking, assemble the dumplings. Trim the wontons into circles, then place 2 teaspoons of filling in the center of each one. Moisten the edges with water and fold the dumpling in half over the filling, being careful not to flatten the filling. Press the edges of each wonton together, the dumplings will be a half-moon shape. Moisten one end of the dumpling, then pinch the ends together. The dumpling should now look like a little cap. Place on the baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered.

To prepare the dressing, place all the ingredients in a blender and liquefy. Transfer to a small bowl and refrigerate. Can be completed to this point up to 12 hours in advance of Last-Minute Cooking.

Last-Minute Cooking

Bring 5 quarts of water to a vigorous boil. Add the dumplings and give them a gentle stir. When all the dumplings float to the surface (about 3 minutes), gently tip into a colander and drain thoroughly. Transfer the dumplings to a mixing bowl. Add the dressing and toss. Transfer the dumplings to a heated serving platter, sprinkle on the sesame seeds, and serve at once.


Crisp Spring Rolls with Lettuce and Mint Wrap

Chinese spring rolls are traditionally filled with a mixture of shredded pork cabbage bamboo shoots and bean sprouts that has been stir-fried and then thoroughly chilled before being wrapped in spring roll skins. This recipe provides a far easier method and just as tasty a result. Spring roll skins are cut in half corner to corner and then filled with a raw dim sum filling. Because the skins have been cut in half the small amount of filling cooks quickly during the shallow-frying process.

Serves: 8 to 12 as an appetizer.

4 cups spinach leaves, washed and stemmed
3/4 pound raw shrimp, shelled, deveined, and finely minced
1/4 pound fresh lump crabmeat (optional), picked over
2 green onions, white and green parts, minced
2 tablespoons finely minced ginger
1 tablespoon finely minced or grated lemon skin
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon Asian chili sauce
12 spring roll skins
2 large eggs, well beaten
One or more Dipping Sauces
1 head Bibb lettuce
1 bunch fresh mint
2 cups flavorless cooking oil

Advance Preparation

Bring an inch of water to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan, add the spinach, and cook, stirring, just until it wilts, about 10 seconds; immediately transfer to a sieve, rinse with cold water, and then press all the moisture from the spinach. Mince; combine with the shrimp, crabmeat (if using), green onions, oyster sauce, and chili sauce in a large bowl; mix well.

Cut the spring roll skins in half diagonally. Position a skin so the long side is facing you. Place about 1/2 cup of the filling along the bottom third of the skin, forming the filling into a long cylinder. Fold the left-hand corner over the filling and brush surface with beaten egg. Fold the right-hand corner over, pressing to seal. Brush surface with egg, then gently roll. Seal the top corner with a little more egg. Repeat with remaining filling and skins. Transfer to a baking sheet in a single layer, and refrigerate uncovered.

Prepare one or more of the dipping sauces. Separate the lettuce leaves, discard any thick stems, and refrigerate the lettuce. Separate mint leaves from their stems, and refrigerate the leaves. Can be completed to this point up to 8 hours in advance of Last-Minute Cooking.

Last-Minute Cooking

Pour the oil into a 12-inch sauté pan. Place over high heat, and heat the oil until the tip of a wooden chopstick bubbles when placed in the oil. Fry half the spring rolls, cooking them on all sides until they turn a very light golden brown, then drain on a wire rack. Cook the rest of the spring rolls.

Heat the oil again until it becomes very hot, about 400F, but not so hot that it begins to smoke. Return half the spring rolls to the oil, and fry until they become dark golden brown, about 30 seconds. Drain. Repeat with the remaining spring rolls.

Transfer the spring rolls to a heated platter and accompany with dipping sauces, lettuce leaves, and mint. Each person wraps a spring roll and mint leaf in a lettuce leaf, dips the end into a dipping sauce, and eats using the fingers.

Recipes From:
Quick Cooking with Pacific Flavors
by Hugh Carpenter and Teri Sandison
Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 191 pages, 1997
ISBN 1-55670-645-6
Recipes and photos reprinted by permission.

For more online Chinese recipes:
Global Gourmet's China

Current Kate's Global Kitchen
Kate's Global Kitchen Archive


This page originally published as a Global Gourmet Today column in 1998.

Copyright © 2007, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.

This page modified January 2007

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