Remember how I said I would post about eating soup dumplings without burning your lips (resulting in a pucker like Angelina Jolie) next week? Well, not only am I off the juice boat, but now I’ve launched a missile at it and sunk that juice battleship. Hayley and I went to work early yesterday to juice again, deciding that we would continue on a modified juice diet – you know, handful of nuts here, maybe some broth there, and everything else would be the juice. So we made more Green Juice, but this time added mint, cilantro, and substituted cucumbers for the apples, agreeing that after a while, the first Swamp Thing was a little too sweet. We made some beet, apple, lemon, ginger juice that was surprisingly delicious, although juiced beets always have a little bit of a dirt taste… better described as “earthy.” Doesn’t that sound more appetizing?
The highlight of juicing yesterday was our strawberry-almond milk. I’m slightly lactarded, so I usually avoid drinking straight milk. I’ll take one for the team where ice cream is involved, but straight milk is a little tough unless it’s that Lactaid stuff that stays good for like 3 months (which always freaks me out). This was my first time having and attempting almond milk and I’m a freaking convert. This stuff was creamy and delicious, and when we added juiced strawberries to it, there was nothing diety or cleansing about it. ‘stuff was just goooood. Basically, you soak raw almonds overnight in 2x as much filtered liquid. Then you drain and rinse it several times before blending the hydrated almonds with 2x as much filtered water again. Once puréed, you dump it into cheesecloth and (here’s the not so fun part) milk the bag, draining out all of the nutty milk. What’s even better is if someone else does it for you so that you don’t end up with claw hands.
All of that juicing and milking was exhausting… so Hayley and I looked up at each other over our pints of Slime Jus with a “my ancestors/parents didn’t come to this country for me to diet” look. Before I could even get the words, “do you want to go grab lunch” out of my mouth, Hayley had somehow changed out of her chef whites into street clothes and had her purse ready. We had to do this. My parents came here so that I could be raised with equal (though sometimes racist) rights and a better life than they had! And that better life includes solid foods, damnit! Especially soup dumplings!
We went to Nice Green Bo, formerly New Green Bo. On principal, I have to love a place where when they changed the name (probably for legal reasons), they only changed one word so that they could just replace that one word on the sign vs. the whole sign itself. And I also love that it’s a backlit sign, so when it’s lit at night, you can still see the outline of “New” under “Nice.” Economical. Oh, and a disclaimer about how to eat soup dumplings: although this method works, I have to admit that I always forget to do it. Every single time. I’m usually fine right up until I order, and then my body and mind know that soup dumplings are coming and they go crazy. My stomach growls wildly and my mind just chants, “soup dumplings, soup dumplings, soup dumplings…” over and over again. So by the time they arrive, I’ve lost it and just bite in, always burning my lips, which are then sensitive and raw. Once I throw spicy, ground chilis in oil on my dumplings and take my next bite, slathering the capsaicin-goodness all over my mouth, I end up with giant, Angelina Jolie-esque lips. Fine by me, but my mother is strictly anti-Angelina. She just can’t forgive her for stealing Brad Pitt away from Jennifer Aniston. No soup dumplings for Angelina!
Anways, we ordered both the pork and crab dumplings with a delicious side of tender, sautéed pea shoots (highly recommend you try). You can taste the seasoning of the wok – I want to steal a well-seasoned, Chinatown wok so I don’t have to wait the 5 years it takes to create that kind of yumminess. When the soup dumplings arrived, I tried to warn Hayley, but she bit right in and burned her lips. She’s my kind of eater. After that, I took her through the steps:
1) Use your chopsticks to carefully pick up the dumpling from the top of the pouch, where it’s thickest and there’s no liquid. This way, you don’t pierce into the dumpling and loose all of that delicious trotter broth. Place the soup dumpling in your spoon.
2) Bite just the top of the dumpling off where the steamed dough is gathered. This is where I always get hasty and bite too much, resulting in hot trotter broth burning my face. This bite should only have steamed dough. If you end up sealing the sides of the dumpling by biting it, use your chopsticks to gently open the dumpling back up to expose the pork/crab and broth inside.
3) The open dumpling can now cool while you replace its heat with crushed thai chilis in oil, and further season it with soy sauce and vinegar (mixed for you, but being the salt and tanginess-fiend that I am, I always add a little extra).
4) Point the spoon towards you and take a bite, allowing delicious, spicy, tangy trotter broth to pour into your mouth with your crab/pork dumpling. Chew. Enjoy. Be happy. Be thankful you’re not on a juice diet. Don’t slurp out all the broth on that first bite, or you won’t have enough for that second and final bite of happiness.