Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Book giveaway: This is the Greatest Place! (ages 4-8) OR In the Forbidden City (ages 9+)

*Disclosure: I was provided information and the opportunity to host this giveaway. I was not compensated in any other way and all opinions posted here are mine and mine alone. 

My husband is Chinese, so we usually celebrate Chinese New Year with friends, exchange red envelopes and enjoy yummy Chinese food. I'm sure this year will be no different! If you have thought about celebrating Chinese New Year, it falls on February 19th this year and we will be ushering in the year of the sheep. One of the traditional foods that is often eaten on Chinese New Year is dumplings! I've posted a recipe below, if you'd like to make them for your meal.

And I have more good news- I've been given the opportunity to give away one of two incredibly beautiful and educational books about the Forbidden City called This is the Greatest Place! or In the Forbidden City. My family owns both of these and the kids and I really love them. Here's a bit about these books, from a press release that I received:

China Institute’s We All Live in the Forbidden City program includes children’s books and educational workshops that celebrate Chinese cultural history in ways that are accessible and fun for kids. This is the Greatest Place! uses lift-flaps to teach young readers how nature’s influence can be seen around us, and how people and animals can live together in harmony. In the Forbidden City is a large format book that comes with a magnifying glass so kids can look closely at highly detailed line drawings conveying the grandeur of it’s buildings, gardens, and courtyards.

One of you will win the book of your choice! Open to US mailing addresses, enter at the Rafflecopter widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Make Your Own New Year Dumplings!
Recipe provided by China Institute

Dumplings, called jiaoziin Mandarin, have been popular in China for hundreds of years. They’re especially popular on Chinese New Year.
This year, Chinese New Year starts on February 19. We will be moving from the Year of the Horse to the Year of the Sheep. What better way to celebrate than to make your own dumplings! The recipe below is for a traditional pork and chive filling, but the great thing about dumplings is that you can make all sorts of different fillings.

Dumpling (jiaozi) Dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour 

1 1/4 cups cold water 

1/4 teaspoon salt 

Pork & Chive Filling:
1 cup ground pork (can also use beef)
1 Tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
3 Tablespoon sesame oil

1/2 green onion, finely minced
1 1/2 cups finely shredded Napa cabbage
4 Tablespoons shredded bamboo shoots
2 slices fresh ginger, finely minced

1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced

Stir the salt into the flour. Slowly stir in the cold water, adding as much as is necessary to create a smooth dough. Don't add more water than is necessary. Knead the dough into a smooth ball. Cover the dough and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
While the dough is resting, prepare the filling ingredients. Add the soy sauce, salt, rice wine, and white pepper to the meat, stirring in one direction. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring in the same direction, and mix well.
Now, prepare the dough for the dumplings. First knead the dough until it forms a smooth ball. Divide the dough into 60 pieces. Roll each piece out into a circle about 3-inches in diameter to create the dumpling wrappers.
Place a portion (about 1 Tablespoon) of the filling into the middle of each dumpling wrapper. Wet the edges of the dumpling with water. Fold the dough over the filling into a half moon shape and pinch the edges to seal. Continue with the remainder of the dumpling wrappers.
To cook the dumplings, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add half the dumplings, giving them a gentle stir so they don't stick together. Bring the water to a boil, and add 1/2 cup of cold water. Cover and repeat. When the dumplings come to a boil for a third time, they are ready. Drain and remove. If you want, they can be pan-fried at this point. Repeat this process for the second half of dumplings.

Post a photo of your dumplings to China Institute’s Facebook page at The chef of the yummiest looking batch will receive a free copy of their We All Live in the Forbidden City books!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Giveaway Tuesday Linky

Here's this week's linky- thanks for dropping by!