Friday, January 31, 2014

Chinese New Year : Making Dumplings!

All of the photos were taken by my mom, Echo.

Usually at the end of January or at the beginning of February, there is a holiday called Chinese New Year. Chinese people celebrate it, but anybody else can too. This year, 2014, it was on Friday, January 31. We always have dumplings for dinner. For breakfast and lunch, we eat what we usually eat. People hang up their red lanterns all around their houses.

There is also a Chinese zodiac. I am a rooster born in 2005. Here is the Chinese zodiac in order. It starts from rat:

This year, I helped my mom make dumplings. Here are some steps to make dumplings:

How to Make Dumplings

Tools that you will need:
1. rolling pin
2. mixing bowl (for the inside of the dumplings)
3. knife
4. spoon
5. boiling pot
6. something that you can take dumplings out of the hot pot
7. OPTIONAL: board

  • First, you have to mix up the fillings inside the dumpling. If you eat meat, you can put ground pork and anything else you like. We used ground pork and chopped up chives up into little pieces. If you are vegetarian, you can mix tofu and any kind of vegetable.

Here is the one that we mixed. We eat meat, so there is ground pork in there, and the meat is raw.

  • Second, you need the dough. You have to dump flour and water in the bread machine to make the dough. When the dough is ready, we are ready to make them into the skins of the dumplings. Optional: Take out a board (there is one to the right on the picture above). If you don't have a board, or your counter is really flat, you can use that. 
Now all we have to do is to make the dough into a big ball. Then you have to roll it on one side to make it into a long piece of dough. After you do that, you have to slice them up with a knife. To make the dough even, you have to roll them a little with your hands so they can be rounder. 

  • Next, you have to use the middle of your hand where it is curving in to press the sliced up dough flat. We use the middle of our hands because we like the center to be thicker and the outsides to be thinner. 

  • Third, we have to use a rolling pin to roll the outsides of the dough. Even though the inside has to be thicker, don't make them too thick. Here I am rolling the dough:

  • After the rolling, we are ready to start putting the fillings into the dough. Take a spoon and scoop a little of the fillings out onto the middle of the dough. Fold them together and pinch the sides of the unfinished dumpling to not let the food inside fall out. 

  • Now you are ready to boil the dumpling. Firstly, get the pot filled with water more than the half way. Second, lightly drop the dumplings in one by one. After, you should see a pot full of dumplings.

  • We are ready for the next to last step. When the dumplings are ready, you can turn off the stove and with something that won't burn your hand, take a material that you can use to take the dumplings out of the boiling hot pot. I suggest using chopsticks if you are good at them and you are pretty sure that you won't drop them back into the water. 

  • Finally, we are ready to eat them. They may be hot right after the cooking, but after a while of cooling down, the dumplings taste delicious! 

  • OPTION: My family likes to eat them with some thing called 腊八蒜 in Chinese. There is no translation for it in English, but you basically just take some garlic, peel it, put them in a jar, pour vinegar in the jar, and let the garlic soak in there for two to three weeks. Here is a picture of some that we made:

What traditions do you have?

What do you eat in that tradition?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Visit to Mountain High!

This year, I went to Mountain High like I did last year. I snowboarded again instead of skiing, but this year we only stayed for one day. We went on January 4, 2014, and that day was a Saturday. Instead of sledding for one day, we went strait into skiing and snowboarding. While my dad skied, my brother and I snowboarded. My dad, Jeffery, all of a sudden said that we were going to Mountain High tomorrow, and that day was Friday, January 3, 2014. My brother stated, "That was a quick decision," and we all agreed. It was already afternoon, so we had to hurry. As we hasted, we forgot a lot of objects. My dad wanted to learn to snowboard, but he forgot his knee and elbow pads. We all didn't want to loose our mittens, but we forgot to bring the little hooks that can hold our mittens. Even so, we had fun.

We went up a mountain and were about to snowboard. The view here was spetacular, so we Here is a picture of my brother and I standing on a mountain peak.

Like last year, we still went on a lift, but this time I went on the steepest route back down the mountain called Black Diamond. It is so steep that I had to go in sharp S shapes. I had to go to the right, and turn so I could stop, and then I would turn to the left, and turn so I could stop. I continued this pattern until I was either at the lift, or down at the lodge. This is a photo of an example of what I was doing. It isn't the exact photo of when I was on Black Diamond because my brother didn't go and he is there in the background. 

The shape is like an S, and I have to stop at each edge. That will control your speed. It took a long time to get down, but I made it. I didn't go for a second time because it would take too long, and it was a little too hard for me, as this is my second year of snowboarding. After I went on Black Diamond, my dad and I split up and I went on an easier lift, and he went on Black Diamond. 

Have you ever visited Mountain High?

If so, did you go on Black Diamond?

If not, where did you go skiing or snowboarding?