Knotting to See Here!

On a rainy Saturday afternoon, one of the rainiest of the summer, the Chinese Club kept away the gloom by spending the hours away learning Chinese Macrame and knots. In the session, we learned how to make a good luck knot and a dragonfly. Catherine led us using the pin method which is the official knotting form, while also explaining how it can be done without pins.

First up was the good luck knot! Catherine carefully led us step-by-step (and often re-step-by-step) in how to make this classic knot. Though it seemed like a mess of holes in a Styrofoam plate and endless loops, with patience and lots of help, something resembling a knot slowly emerged!

Next, the dragonfly! With this one, Catherine helped us learn how to read directions. Quickly, the room became quiet with great concentration. Soon after, laughter as mishaps occurred. Before we knew it, the time was up and everyone left with two completed works of Chinese macrame and knotting.

While the clouds were still dark, the workshop and its accompanying laughter brought sunshine to the afternoon.

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Ba Wan Workshop!

On the cusp of summer, our workshop attendees experimented with another Taiwanese street food classic: Ba Wan.

With the direct translation of the word means meatball, these are much more than spheres of meat. The filling includes ground meat, dried mushrooms, bamboo shoots, fried shallots, plus the seasoning that makes it delicious to eat all on its own.

What separates this dish from what we might consider a typical meatball is its skin. The skin is made up of rice flour, water, and cornstarch or sweet potato starch. This skin becomes translucent once steamed and nicely encases the meat.

During the workshop, we were able to try different variations of the skin, experimenting with different combinations of cornstarch and potato starch to find the perfect texture most reminiscent of Taiwan. (Insider tip: it was equal portions of both)

The Ba Wan, though delicious in its own right with the skin and meat is truly perfected when adding the ‘special’ sauce. Here again, workshop participants got to try a couple variations and decide what was their favorite.

Then for the best part: time to dig in! By the time the workshop was over, everyone had an opportunity to assemble some Ba Wan, eat till full, and take home left overs!

It was yet another yummy workshop! Join us August 12th for our next food workshop, where we’ll make mango shaved ice, or for our next crafting workshop on July 22nd where we’ll make sugar paintings! Sign up here

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Eeee-Mochi!

You know what would be adorable? A mochi-emoji.

After spending a couple hours learning how to make and tasting all the various fillings and flavors, I am now a mochi fan.

Let me take you through the event (but I won’t spill all the secrets, you’ll just have to attend the next one):

Step one: Combine all the basic mochi ingredients (sugar, water, glutinous rice flour, oil) till smooth then stick in the microwave. Want to guess for how long? Not one minute, not five minutes, but THIRTEEN minutes! (I know, I was shocked too. Not sure I’ve ever put anything in the microwave for that long)

While the microwave is doing its thing, it’s a good time to review all the fillings and flavors.

Mrs. You had them all nicely laid out (& labeled) for us, and gave us details of how to prepare or where to buy each one. While I’m sure there are other ingredients you can mesh with mochi, at the workshop we focused on these: red bean paste, peanut powder, white sesame powder, black sesame powder, soy bean powder, white bean with macha, and white bean with coffee. Are you salivating yet? You should be.

Ding! Ding! Believe it or not, the 13 minutes are up! Now it’s time to mix the mochi!

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The Yous taught us various techniques for mixing the dough. (Including this one–though we weren’t that intense) The one that I would probably use in the future was four chopsticks put together. Now, here’s the next crazy part. Any guesses how long it should be stirred/folded? I won’t keep you in suspense this time–60 turns. You can get a good arm workout while making mochi! While the 60 doesn’t have to be exact, it’s a good number to go by. Another tip that was shared is to slowly pull apart the chopsticks–there should be a thin film if stirred a proper amount.

Whew! Hard work is done, now on to step 2.5!

Prepare the pan! Another tip you might not just get anywhere: You need to put a thin layer of potato starch (corn starch can work too) on a pan to place the mochi. However, you want to cook it in the microwave for 1 minute first. Bet you didn’t know that!

That was pretty easy, now on to step 3!

First, dip those lovely, washed fingers of yours into the potato starch. This mixture is messy and we want to protect those hands of yours as much as possible.

Now, it’s time to make the mochi! If you don’t want any filling, you can just take little drops of the mixture and roll it in whatever flavor you want. It works best to get two metal spoons and stick them in a cup of water. Use one spoon to carve out the mixture, then the next spoon to drop it on the pan/in the flavoring.

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If you want the filling (which, let’s be real, you should), then you do the same as above and plop them on the pan. Then, get a small scoop of your filling and place it on top. Finally use those freshly powdered fingers of yours and stretch the mochi around the filling, like you would a dumpling. And voila! You’ve done it!

Now it’s time to eat up and enjoy!

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Now, that wasn’t too bad, was it? Join us for our next food adventure–June 17th at Grace Fellowship (off of N Oak Trafficway) and learn how to make Ba Wan! You can sign up here.

 

 

Making a Difference–One Biscuit at a Time

At first, I was nervous yet excited about cooking and serving breakfast at the Ronald McDonald House because I was not sure what to expect. Once everyone got together to start working on the recipes selected, all that went away. Everyone was so happy to be there and helpful. With us working as a team and keeping positive attitudes, we were able to make all of our dishes and get them out on time. When the families began to arrive they seemed genuinely pleased with what we had provided for them. We made biscuits and gravy from scratch, a Denver omelet bake, a vegetarian hash, and had plenty of fruit, diffused water, and juice. The families went down the line taking what they wanted and after thanked us several times talking about how good the food was.
There was one lady in particular who was pregnant and eating with her boyfriend that came up to thank Catherine and me personally. She explained she was having a c-section within the next couple of days and the doctor had told her that the better she ate the more milk she would be able to provide for her baby to help it be healthy and strong. She told us that she was really excited about our breakfast because with all the good food we made, from scratch, she knew she would be able to take really good care of her baby. That was the most rewarding moment for me. The fact that something so simple, something I do every day , cooking, could help provide such hope and positivity in the lives of people who truly needed it. It was a great experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Roles:
• Catherine: Supervised and aided in cooking and clean up
• Kevin: Cut vegetables and cooked the sausage for the gravy
• Nancy: Cut vegetables and cooked the vegetarian hash
• Lily and her husband: Washed and cut the fruit, as well as, aided in clean up
• Vanessa (Me): Made the biscuits, and finished the sausage gravy, helped supervise and aided in clean up.

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Crestview Elementary Cultural Fair

On the evening of Wednesday, April 26th, 2017, students of Crestview Elementary had the opportunity to interact with different cultures and explore the idea, “We Are One, But We Are Many”. To prepare for the fair, students learned some Mexican folk dances, which they performed for the school. Students also had the opportunity to “travel” around their gymnasium with “passports” to have signed by the various countries represented. The CCGKC had a blast teaching students how to make zongzi out of strips of paper in honor of the story of the Dragon Boat Festival. The school children enjoyed the hands-on craft, the brief history lesson, and the passport signature of their name in Chinese writing.

Festival At Dusk

The Dragon Boat Festival is right around the corner, this summer festivity is always highly anticipated -whether one participates in the races or not.  The Dragon Boat Festival is actually concurrent with 端午節 or the “festival at dusk” or “May 5th day” . This day is a memorial to the Zhou Dynasty poet and minister Qu Yuan ( Link to Wikipedia for inquiring minds ); who even after betrayal and decades of banishment was deeply saddened when his country was conquered.  In his despair,  He drowned himself in a river.

His neighbors and the residents of surrounding villages raced out in boats to reach him, sadly they were too late.  As the sun began to set, fisherman feared his body might be eaten by fish and other aquatic life.  More villagers raced into the waters, some with sticks and drums others with packed rice balls; all returning to the waters as quickly as they could to stand guard over the lost minister.

Every 5th day of the Lunar 5th month, people remember the tragic loss by reliving the races and making packed rice balls called 仲子”zhongzi” to share with all.

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On May 20th, we will be learning more about the Festival of Dusk and making tetrahedron ‘ZhongZi’ shapes.  Sign up today!

2017 Chinese New Year Celebration 新春晚會 Recap

一年一度的大堪城中華協會 (Chinese Club of Greater Kansas City) 新春晚會在 2017 年一月二十一日晚,於樂宮樓 (Princess Garden) 順利舉行。近一百三十餘位中外人士參加,享用傳統美食,觀賞舞獅,擊鼓 (Chinese Drum and Lion Team),以及民族舞蹈 (HK Chinese Folk Dance Group) 表演。華協會員,堪城商家,以及駐丹佛台北經濟文化辦事處 (Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Denver),提供的近三十個摸彩獎項,掛曆,及紅包,讓活動嘉賓滿載而歸,感受過年的喜氣。華協也在晚會中進行會長交接,會長職位由張立杭 (Arthur Chang,2015-2017 President) 轉交給游佳琳 (Catherine You)。活動詳情及未來活動公告,請參考華協網站 http://www.ccgkc.comCCGKC Facebook 網頁

Photos of this event can be viewed at: https://goo.gl/photos/ckpHGngBuvF4rgrg6

2017 Chinese New Year Celebration 新春晚會

大堪城中華協會 2017 新春晚會

地點 Venue: Princess Garden Restaurant 樂宮樓
8906 Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO 64114
日期 Date: 星期六, 一月二十一日 Saturday, 1/21/2017
時間 Time: 5:30pm – 9:00pm

歌舞表演, 美食, and many more Lucky Draw 抽獎 !

Ticket: Adult $20 per person
Senior (60+) & Student: $18 per person
Children 10 and under: $10 per person

Ticket price includes dinner, lucky draw tickets and shows.

To RSVP, please visit: http://www.ccgkc.org/signup/
For more information regarding this event, please contact us at (816) 217-4702 (Arthur).

2016 Chinese New Year Celebration 新春晚會

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大堪城中華協會 2016 新春晚會

地點 Venue: Community Covenant Church
15700 W 87th St Pkwy, Lenexa, KS 66219
日期 Date: 星期六, 二月六日 Saturday, 2/6/2016
時間 Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm

歌舞表演, 美食, and many more Lucky Draw 抽獎 !

Ticket: $20 per person
Children under 12 years: $10 per person
Children under 5 years: Eat free!

Ticket price includes dinner, lucky draw tickets and shows.

To RSVP, please visit: http://www.ccgkc.org/signup/
For more information regarding this event, please contact us at (816) 217-4702 (Arthur).