"Hey, kid," I said, "for the last few days of school I want to make you your very favorite lunches again. What was the best lunch you had this year?"
Without missing a beat shmoo replied, "Chinese!"
"Yeah, with the green beans and the dumplings...and Twinkie Dogs!"
You could have knocked me over with a feather. I knew it was one of my personal favorites, but shmoo hadn't mentioned it again since the day I made it in celebration of Chinese New Year.
I relied on recipes and tips from Bryanna Clark Grogan's wonderful book Authentic Chinese Cuisineto put together shmoo's Number One: tofu Char Sui with rice, Chile Green Beans, and a steamed dumpling filled with sweet red bean paste. Above the dumpling is a Chinese gooseberry (aka kiwi fruit...isn't that funny, a fruit named after a bird twice!).
Verdict: This time around I made the dumplings from scratch using Bryanna's recipe for Bao Xian ("steamed savory filled buns") and a can of sweet red bean paste from the Asian market. My dumplings are certainly not as handsome as the ones I bought at the store, but they contain no trans-fats, which the storebought ones were loaded with ("trans-fat me once, shame on you, trans-fat me twice, shame on me").
I just loved reading all your guesses (especially eatpeaceplease's -- "Oh no, I hope #1 isn't Tuno!"). I suppose everyone is as surprised as I was, since no one guessed it right! Everything was eaten, with shmoo running through the kitchen stuffing extra squares of tofu and beans in his mouth before breakfast. 5 stars for Number 1. Thanks, Bryanna!
See you tomorrow with shmoo's last lunch box of the school year!