Project Food Blog Entry #1 - Touch the Heart!

What have I gotten myself into?!  That was my first reaction when I received the details of the first Project Food Blog challenge.  Project Food Blog is an interactive competition that Foodbuzz created.  Foodbuzz is a food blogger community I recently joined, where I met many interesting food bloggers.  Our first challenge requires us to blog about why each contestant thinks he or she has what it takes to be the next food blog star.  It also asks each contestant to describe what makes their blog unique and sets them apart from other bloggers.  These questions caught me by surprise as I have never thought about becoming the next food blog star.  The true reason why I entered is because I wanted to challenge myself as a blogger.  In order to answer these questions, I need to reflect on a deeper level.  So I guess we'll start from the beginning...

I was born in Hong Kong and lived there for the first twelve years of my life.  I grew up in a food-obsessed culture.  Food is the reason to gather.  It is often the subject of conversations.  In my family gatherings, we often speak about what we want for dinner while we're eating lunch.  My grandfather was a big influence on why I love food.  He introduced me to all types of cuisine when I was just a little girl.  I wanted to try everything and became a very adventurous eater.  It was our weekly ritual to meet for family dinners either at home or in restaurants.  Growing up in a diverse city like Hong Kong, we had easy access to various types of cuisine.  In the Chinese culture, we were taught to eat our meals with chopsticks.  So when we visited western restaurants we would use knives and forks.  Eating with a knife and fork was such a special treat to me because it was different and not something we do every day.  As a child, buffet brunch was one of my favorites and we frequented the Peninsula Hotel in Kowloon.  I recalled loving the attentive service and, of course, the food.  I was ecstatic to see the array of dishes displayed in front of me where I could try anything I wanted and as much as I wanted.  I was specifically drawn to the terrine dishes as well as the seafood salads.  Consequently, when we immigrated to the U.S., I adapted the food quickly as I always loved western cuisine.  I grew up with mostly friends of Italian descent and enjoyed Italian food probably more than Chinese food.  Ironically, as I grew older, I found that I longed to learn more about Chinese cookery.  I still have plenty to learn but I try to implement as many Asian ingredients in my recipes and document them on my blog as much as possible.

For this challenge, I made a popular dim sum dish of Pork and Shrimp Shui Mai to demonstrate how I often use Asian ingredients along with western ingredients in my recipes.  Dim Sum means touch the heart.  It is the Chinese version of the small plates or tapas.  Many families gather every Sunday for dim sum brunch as it offers many varieties of dishes and it is great for families to enjoy.  Shui mai (type of dumpling) is one of the more popular dishes.  Instead of using traditional dumpling wrappers, I used zucchini blossoms.  They were one ingredient that I have wanted to use all summer.  Now that summer is coming to an end, I thought I could use them as wrappers and made steamed and fried shui mai. 

Steamed/Fried Pork and Shrimp Shui Mai with Zucchini Blossoms
1/2 lb of ground pork
1/2 lb of minced medium size shrimp (shelled and deveined)
1/4 lb of minced fresh shitake mushrooms
2 tbsp of soy sauce
1 tspn of Shoxing Rice Wine (or dry sherry)
1 large egg white
1 tsp of white pepper
24 zucchini blossoms (male flower without the baby zucchini attached)
Canola oil for frying

Simple Batter for frying
1 egg
1 cup of ice water
1 cup of flour

Mix the first seven ingredients together.  Test a small spoonful of the mixture to ensure the seasoning is right.  Put the mixture in fridge, then start preparing the blossoms for stuffing.  Gently rinse and pat blossoms dry.  Divide blossoms in half, and cut the stems off for the 12 to use for steaming and keep the other 12 with stems for frying.  Carefully open the petal and cut away the pistil with scissors.  After the blossoms are ready for stuffing, use a small spoon to fill each blossom with the mixture.  Steamed dumplings:  fill mixture to the top.  The blossoms should be open so they resemble the traditional dumplings.  Put 12 zucchini blossom dumplings into a steamer and steam for 15 minutes.  Serve immediately.  Fried dumplings:  fill mixture then twist the top close before adding to the batter.  Mix the batter ingredients together.  Heat oil until it reaches at least 350 F.  Dip each stuffed blossom into the batter and slowly drop it into the pot, repeat process.  Fry until golden brown, approximately 5 minutes.  Drain on paper towel, sprinkle salt on top then add a splash of lemon just before serving.

I started this blog as a way for me to continue my culinary journey.  I take great pleasure in creating original recipes and learning food photography.  After much consideration on the questions that were posed by this challenge, of course I believe I have what it takes to be the next food blog star, why not, anything is possible!  As to how my blog differs, I believe my recipes speak for themselves.  I will tackle each challenge to the best of my ability in hope to advance to the next round.  However, in order for me to advance, I also need your votes!  Click on my contestant badge on the upper left hand side and view my profile, follow instructions on how to vote.  Voting opens on 9/20.  Now that my initial competition jitters have subsided, I look forward to the next challenge so buckle up and enjoy this wonderful ride with me!

28 comments:

  1. Everything you make looks so good.

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  2. i like the pride you show of your Asian heritage and it shows in the food you create :) well done. good luck to all of us in this one heck of a fun ride :)

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  3. Even though I don't eat pork, I really like the way you've presented this dim sum in zucchini blossoms! They're so pretty and yes, they touched my heart :-). Good luck in PFB!

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  4. I never knew what dim sum meant in exact translation. What a wonderful way to express what you are trying to do with your blog! Good luck in the competition!

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  5. Nice Entry! I'm really enjoying entries where people are demonstrating just what makes them unique (not just telling us where their food passion comes from) . This is a great recipe and really let me know about your cooking style. Good luck!

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  6. Thanks everyone! I truly appreciate all your comments and encouragement! It really means a lot to me.

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  7. What a great idea for siu mai! I love dim sum as well!! My favorite is char siu bao, mmmmm :-D

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  8. My best friend was born and raised in Hong Kong. She introduced me to Dim Sum last year and I loved it. Now, you are teaching me how to make it at home. I can't wait to try your recipes and thank you for sharing them! Wishing you the best of luck in the competition!

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  9. Great entry. I came to check out the competition and got so much more. I got Dim Sum!! You look strong. Good Luck. GREG

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  10. Amazing recipe! You have made me such a foodie with all of your blog posts! GOOD LUCK! Nice entry, it really shows your history, which is something unique! I am soooo rooting for you!

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  11. I LOVE this post! It's such a joy knowing that people were exposed to diverse foods early on and it truly shaped their culinary perspective as adults. I grew up in Pakistan and going to the fancy buffets was a total treat that I remember :) You've definitely got my vote!

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  12. Looking good! You've got my vote.

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  13. Loved learning about you and why you love food. I'll vote for you !

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  14. Fabulous and tasty post! Good luck in the competition and thanks for the mutual support!

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  15. Nicely written! You have my vote. :-)

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  16. Looks and sounds delicious! I just gave you a vote! You can check out my entry here: http://tinyurl.com/2ec2hlq Thanks and Good Luck! Hope to see you in the next round!

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  17. I love your blog and PFB post. Check out Lighthearted Locavore and vote for good, local food. I love zucchini blossoms and have a good recipe there. Thanks!! Lexi
    http://www.foodbuzz.com/project_food_blog/contestants/1337

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  18. I'm always intrigued when East meets West. You've got our vote! Can't wait to see what's next.

    Lick My Spoon

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  19. yay! always glad to find a blog that features delicious asian food. good luck!

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  20. Thanks everyone for your comments and votes! Advance to the next challenge or not, this contest has allow me to meet many wonderful food bloggers so it's been an awesome experience!

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  21. I loved your entry. You show so much love and pride in your family and heritage here. I am new to your blog and will definitely visit often. I can tell that I will learn a lot from you! I never knew that Dim Sum meant "touch the heart." :) This is absolutely an entry that I will vote for...I am on my way now!
    -Butter

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  22. I am totally with you on this statement: "What have I gotten myself into?! That was my first reaction when I received the details of the first Project Food Blog challenge." I think this challenge is the hardest! I cast a vote for you and I hope we both make it to challenge #2.

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  23. Thanks for the vote. You've got mine too esp. with those beautiful photos.

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  24. Love this post, and so nice that you gave us a recipe, too!

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  25. Such a unique way of making dumplings! Great job, and great blog!

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  26. An excellent dish to showcase your cooking! Good luck in the challenge, hope to see you in the next round!

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