Hi, friends! How was your weekend?? Reuben and I went out TWO nights in a row this weekend like actual young city living kids! And I don't even feel that crappy! On Saturday night we ventured over to my old hood, The Sunset District, and found a new favorite bar: Lawton Tap Room. It was small, cozy, and had the right balance of chill to rowdiness. The place also smelled like cuban sandwiches, which was definitely a plus. I also discovered the dangerous black magic that is alcoholic agua fresca. It's literally agua frescas that have been fermented for however long they need and then it comes out tasting like refreshing fruity sparkling water. It's insane and hard to believe that there is any alcohol in them, but after 3 of them you definitely start to believe it. We had intentions of trying to squeeze in a late night dinner at Outerlands, but instead of spending $130 on dinner we zipped back over to Inner Richmond only to find out that ALL the Taco Bells in the bay area close at 10pm. What happened to 4th meal?! So we settled on Jack in the Box and Subway for dinner. LOL. So young. So not cool.
The next night we crossed the narrow sea, that is the San Francisco Bay, and went to a bluegrass concert in Berkeley. Reuben bought us tickets to see the David Grisman Bluegrass Experience! To be honest with you, I had no idea who David Grisman was before this. But Reuben really loves him and was so excited to see him live for the first time. I love seeing him all giddy! I'm normally the giddy one. He made sure to download all the important facts on me before we went. From what I absorbed, he is a bluegrass legend, was great friends with Jerry Garcia, and is also a Jewish man from New Jersey. Kindred sprits, Reuben and David : ) We arrived at the show early to snag essentially front row seats, but the theater only fit like 200 people so there wasn't a bad seat in the whole place. The average age of the audience was about 62, people brought their own dinners (the show started at 7pm), and people were knitting and reading as they waited for the show to start. It was so chill and civilized and I freaking loved it. I just kept people watching and imagining Reuben and I as cute and cool 62 year old concert going grandparents. It makes my heart swell just thinking about it.
Even though I had never really listened to David Grisman before, I still found myself so moved by the music. I cried 1.5 times because it was just so beautiful! And his son Samson dedicated the sweetest song on the planet to his wife in the audience and I couldn't handle it. No End of Love by John Hartford kills me... adding it to potential wedding songs. Overall, it was a pretty swell weekend. So old, So cool.
So what do wontons and bluegrass have in common? Nothing. Well, I don't know. I bet David Grisman and his band would love these wontons!
These wontons are inspired by an appetizer that my mom makes for family get togethers and potlucks. She makes these delicious crab and mushroom stuffed mushroom caps with melty muenster cheese on top. They're so good! I took her filling, removed the dairy, and adjusted it for optimal dumpling filling performance. Crab and mushrooms seem like an unlikely combo but the brininess of the crab works really well to balance the earthy mushrooms. You then wrap up the filling in a blanket of wonton skin, boil them, and then toss them in some spicy chili oil. I normally don't crave spicy food, but this definitely hit the spot with all the cold and rainy weather we've been getting. Plus they come together relatively quickly. I swear, wontons are the easiest dumplings to make. Once you venture into the world of pleats, crescents folds, and weird dumpling origami, you'll think folding wontons are easy too.
Crab and Mushroom Wontons in Chili Oil
makes about 28 wontons
1/2 package of medium thickness square wonton wrappers
8 oz dungeness crab meat
8 white mushrooms - washed and finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped green onions (whites + greens)
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp water
Place your chopped mushrooms in a bowl and sprinkle in a little bit of salt (1/4 tsp). Give it a good mix and allow to sit for 5 to 8 minutes. The salt will draw out a lot of water from the mushrooms. Using a clean dish towel or paper towels, squeeze out any excess liquid from the mushrooms over the sink. Once the mushrooms are dry place them back in a dry bowl.
Add the crab, chopped green onions, oyster sauce, soy sauce, egg, white pepper, and a pinch of salt into the mushrooms. Give it a good mix until well combined. Let sit for 15 to 20 minutes to let the flavors marinate.
Bring a pot of water to a boil.
While you wait for the water to bowl, let's wrap some wontons!
Mix cornstarch and water to create your wonton sealer.
Place a wonton wrapper in your non-dominant hand so that it is oriented like a diamond. Add about 1 tbsp of crab and mushroom filling into the center of the wrapper. Dab a little of the cornstarch and water mixture along the top 2 edge of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper in half to form a triangle. Press the edges tightly. With the long edge of the triangle facing towards your finger tips, use your middle finger to create a little indent in the center of the wonton. Dab the 2 ends of the wonton and fold them together so that they touch. Pinch the ends tightly and you've made a wonton! Place wontons on a lightly floured tray or plate and cover with a lightly tamp towel to prevent them from drying out.
Boil the wontons in batches of 8 to 9, you don't want to crowd your pot, for 4 to 5 minutes. They should float to the top when ready. Scoop them out of the water when ready and drain.
Toss with as much or as little chili oil as you like and enjoy!