Sometimes on a Monday evening my family (like my bigger extended family) schedules a Christmas party. We mostly only ever do this in December.
And, sometimes we decide to do a mystery dinner box competition as part of our celebration. Yeah, we're cool like that (and we like food so there you go).
Anyway, that's what we did this time around as part of our par-tay.
We opened our box Monday afternoon and found within it:
Chinese green beans
Sounds like a good time waiting to happen.
And we dove in. We batted around a couple ideas and a few flavor profiles that might work. Pretty quick Josh had the fabulous idea to make dumplings (my sweet sister-in-law, Lisa, taught us this skill not too long ago).
I diced and lightly breaded and fried the squash and eggplant while Josh made dumpling dough.
We ground up the chicken and cooked it adding some homemade teriyaki sauce for some sweetness to balance the eggplant (which can be bitter I'm told...this was my first experience with it).
We packed the veggie/chicken chutney in the dumplings, cooked them up (and cooked the beans in the ham sprinkling them with brown sugar) and we were set.
At the party, we plated our creation and waited for the judges to taste and score everything.
The competition was really tough. There are some really fabulous cooks in my family and I was impressed with every one's offerings. They all tasted good and were all so different. It was fun to try everything.
And then the big moment.
And the winner was....
well, not us.
In fact, we came in dead last.
However, the dumplings really did taste great and several people asked how to make them (before they found out we were losers).
I blame the judges.
These three had it out for us from the get go.
Seriously, it was a really fun activity and a great way to try something new at our family feast.