I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas, celebrating our Saviour Jesus Christ!
This year, I think we started (or brought back) some old traditions that will stay around for a while. We went to the Christmas Eve service at our church, then came home and fried egg rolls and had bacon wrapped water chestnuts and bacon wrapped dates, fried rice, and special Japanese soft drinks. 🙂 I think this should be a new tradition, as it was MUCH fun!
The bacon wrapped dates recipe is in a previous post. And I can’t provide the fried rice recipe, as our friends brought that. As for the bacon wrapped water chestnuts, drain the water chestnuts, then wrap 1/3 piece of bacon around each one, securing with a toothpick. Soak in soy sauce for at least an hour (overnight is recommended). Then bake with the bacon wrapped dates at 350F for 20-25 minutes. You may have to turn it to broil the last few minutes to get the bacon to crisp up. Or you can try broiling it for 15 minutes, if you’re in a hurry (this is what my mom used to do).
I went to the Asian Market this time for the ingredients for my egg rolls. They have a large selection of egg roll wrappers and all things pertaining to Oriental Cuisine (at cheaper prices than your local grocery store). We tried the rice wrappers this time. They were not as frail, but they also did not stick together as well as the flour version. We had to use an egg wash instead of just water to make them hold together after wrapping (trust me, you don’t want them falling apart in the hot oil). Prep the filling ahead of time, so you don’t have to do it all when you get home, as it can take a while. After filling the egg rolls, gently place them into hot oil (I use the long handled metal slotted spoon to place them in and pull them out) and gently flip them until crisp and/or golden brown. Some fry up faster than others, so you have to keep an eye on them. Drain on paper towels. Serve with your favorite dipping sauces (soy sauce, duck sauce, plum sauce, chili sauce, or hot mustard).
Egg Roll Filling:
Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a wok or large skillet. Add 2 cloves of garlic, 1 tsp. of grated ginger root, 1 lb. ground turkey (or pork) and cook till meat is no longer pink. Meanwhile, chop finely or shred 5 shallots, 1 c. carrots, 1 1/2 c. cabbage, and 1/2 c. to 1 c. of water chestnuts (buy a large can at the Asian Market and use the rest for the bacon wraps above). When meat is brown, add veggies to heat along with 1/4 c. soy sauce, and let veggies soften. Remove from heat and set aside (in fridge if longer than 1 hour ahead of time). When ready, spoon 1 Tbsp. filling into each wrapper, fold in sides, then roll from bottom to top (away from you), securing with egg wash (whisk 1 egg and brush between layers of wrapper so they stick). You can wrap them straight on, so the edge is a straight line, or you can start with a diamond shape, so you have a V on the outside for a little extra aesthetic interest. Either way, they taste wonderful.
After dinner, we sat around and chatted for a while (letting the food settle) before turning on the traditional Alastair Sim’s version of The Christmas Carol. My husband, Bryan, talked me into putting the first, smaller batch of homemade cinnamon rolls into the oven (prepped for Christmas morning). And his brother convinced me we needed coffee to go with them. I told him my mom used to make cinnamon rolls on Christmas Eve to bake for Christmas morning’s breakfast. Bryan said that’s a Christmas tradition we should keep (though I think I’ll make a smaller batch next time).
We woke on Christmas morning, and had a wonderful breakfast of cinnamon rolls, hot tea, scrambled eggs with Havarti cheese, and turkey sausage links. Bryan read the Christmas story from chapter 2 of the Gospel of Luke, and his brother read “The Gift of Gifts” prayer from The Valley of Vision. We opened stockings, and prepared to go to my husband’s parents’ house for a Christmas feast and gift exchange.