Baking absolutely terrifies me. When it comes to making a cake or brownies, it seems that every measurement has to be close to perfect. Too much flour could make it tough, and if you mix up baking soda and baking powder… well you’re basically screwed. And while sometimes the finish product can come out beautiful and delicious, checking the recipe six times before I dump the sugar in the mixer isn’t my idea of relaxing.
Cooking is where my heart has always been. As a kid, I’d much rather help my mom mix cold pork and beef for meatballs with my hands than bake my brother’s birthday cake. I find that mistakes are much easier to correct, or at least cover up. I’m not as afraid to experiment with meats and seasonings, unlike with sweets.
By no means am I giving up on baking though! It’s a challenge I hope to face much more often, instead of confining to my comfort with cooking. I’d love to be able to conquer multiple layered cakes, perfect mousse, and make my own ganache. (Which, by the way, is my favorite thing in the world!)
Last Wednesday was my 18th birthday. Instead of making a meal like we usually do, I decided to do a variety of appetizers for the party. I wanted to make something that felt light, but would fill someone up enough that they wouldn’t be complaining about a rumbling stomach. These did the trick.
I love a good crunchy cabbage, especially napa cabbage. If it’s soggy or cooked it doesn’t sit well with me, which is why I’m not a huge fan of most gołąbki, much to my mother’s disappointment. When served immediately, this salad gives a satisfying crunch. The cabbage salad on top of the wontons had a nice bite to it thanks to the red wine vinegar. And of course, everything fried tastes better, but I was rather surprised how durable the wanton skins were. I thought when I took a bite into it, the wonton would just flake apart, causing the salad to slip down my shirt. But they was able to hold their ground. These were a huge hit, there was only one left after everyone had gone home. Being told how good they were was a big ego boost- in a positive way. A lot of people know how much I love to cook, and it feels to good to know that they support me. Especially when I’m buying an odd plate or napkin at Target that will match nothing in the house.
Not to say everything was ideal though. The lock on my mother’s food processor chipped off, I cut up my mother’s bread thinking she wanted them for dipping and not sandwiches, and nearly dropped my birthday cake. Oh well. Not everything can be perfect.
Waka Waka Salad
Adapted from Guy Fieri
- 1 cup canola oil
- 1 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1/2 packet ramen oriental seasoning
- Pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 head Napa cabbage
- 1/4 head red cabbage
- 1/2 head green cabbage
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 large carrot, shredded
- 4 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
- 24 wonton skins, fried
- 2 ramen noodle bunches, broken into small pieces
In a large bowl combine oil, vinegar, garlic, ginger, ramen seasoning, salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix cabbages, onions, carrots, and cilantro. Whisk the dressing and pour over the cabbage mixture. Toss thoroughly. (Dress the salad no more than 10 minutes prior to serving.)
Place equal portions of salad on wonton skins and top with ramen noodles.