Battle of Ingredients: Fall: Winter Melon & Pumpkin

Welcome to the next Battle of Ingredients!

This time, we are actually taking a focus on a Chinese vegetable, Winter Melon which our guests had as harvest and Phoebe from Starry Traveler’s Road, my partner in crime in this project took the helm on our featured vegetable. As for myself, I took the back seat on this one and chose pumpkin as my fall harvest highlight, however, mine wasn’t our own harvest but just a recipe with the ingredient. I don’t have the land to grow pumpkin. (However, I did get two little ones that I haven’t made yet so I’ll be making a dessert out of that one soon.) We’re back indoors for the next few months until summer arrives.

Wine

wine

Dr. Loosen Riesling 2017

We started our main meal with the Riesling. The primary reason is that the second sparkling wine needed some more chilling time. This one is pretty good. It starts off slightly dry however the finish is very smooth. Its categorized as fruity and sweet which it delivers for sure.

Domaine de Lavoie Poiré Mousseaux 2014

We’re personally at our house at least, not much into pear flavored drinks. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I bought one however, this one was surprisingly good. It had a very subtle pear flavor and was a nice change. We cracked this one open with our dessert which was very fitting, I’d say.

Starter

Winter Melon

winter melon soup

Winter Melon Soup
Recipe by Phoebe

Ingredients:
Winter Melon
Dried Chinese mushrooms
Shrimps
Chicken Breasts (x2)
Jinhua Ham
Water
Dried scallop (optional)

Utensils:
Knife
Cutting Board
Bowl
Thermal Cooker
(using the Japanese Import Thermos Thermal Cooker)

*Our friend who gave the massive winter melon already removed the little fur on the melon with newspaper so it is easier to handle)*

  1. Soak dried Chinese mushrooms in bowl of water
  2. Cut the winter melon. Remove both the skin and seeds.
  3. Cut winter melon chunks to desired size (bigger pieces is normally better as the melon will disintegrate if too small)
  4. Put melon in stainless steel inner pot.
  5. Put in chicken breasts and shrimps.
  6. After a little while, pour the water of the Chinese mushrooms and toss mushrooms with other ingredients.
  7. Cut a small piece of Jinhua ham (do not put too much or it will be salty).
  8. Add water to the inner stainless steel pot and simmer to a boil (big bubbles).
  9. Put into the insulated outer container to cook for a few hours.

The soup turned out so good. Winter melon was cooked perfectly. The chicken, shrimps and mushrooms enhanced the flavor of the winter melon and soup in a whole. This is a fairly time consuming process to make any kind of Chinese soup so kudos to Phoebe for taking on this challenge.

Main Meal

Dim Sum

My contribution is the much more easy and simple meal here. The pasta is a mix of gluten-free spaghetti and Catelli Protein spaghettini. The vegetables are cooked in the pan and has carrots, brussel sprouts and portobello mushrooms. The chicken here is the highlight as I used chicken thighs and a local spice that I bought from Rustique Pies called Dim Sum which is a fun take with five spices. This dry rub was the highlight of my dish and I have to say that it turned out pretty good. It was slightly spicy though but worked so well.

The original concept was to have it all cooked together as one big pasta dish however, my pan just wasn’t big enough so I ended up doing it like this. The idea is that the seasoning from the chicken and vegetables will give the pasta taste so depending on how it was mixed, the pasta could have felt bland as I only put a little oil and salt in there. Most of the flavors was the in the chicken and vegetables.

winter nelon

Winter Melon and Jinhua Ham
Recipe by Phoebe

Ingredients:
Winter Melon
Jinhua Ham
Honey (maple syrup taste better if I recall)

Utensils:
Knife
Cutting board
Spoon
Deep flat pan with lid
Steaming Dish
Steaming Rack

  1. Cut winter melon to bigger pieces, remove seeds and skin.
  2. Prepare pot with water to steam.
  3. Gently slice in the middle of the big chunks and put in steaming dish.
  4. Cut the Jinhua ham in slices and place a slice into the middle of the melon chunks.
  5. Drizzle the melon and ham with a spoonful of honey
  6. Steam until melon and ham are cooked. Winter melon will become transparent when cooked.

This winter melon and Jinhua ham dish was done really well. For one, the winter melon was cooked perfectly. The balance here is mostly however between the honey’s sweetness and the Jinhua ham’s saltiness. Phoebe made a point above about how maple syrup was the original ingredient which we didn’t happen to have a small portion to use so she went with honey. In my opinion, this did turn out that honey didn’t quite overcome the powerful saltiness of Jinhua ham. However, that’s my opinion. I know that for someone who likes saltier foods (and not bland like myself), this worked pretty well.

Dessert

Pumpkin Cookies

Pumpkin Cookies

Recipe found via Pinterest: https://lovelylittlekitchen.com/soft-pumpkin-cookies/

I was actually able to use this recipe exactly as it was. The only ingredient that I didn’t use was the nutmeg. Also, I ended up cutting the recipe in half because I didn’t want to 3 dozen. However, seeing as everyone loved it and pretty much ate it all in the evening. Probably 3 dozen would have been good. This one was really good. For one, it was fluffy and soft. Phoebe had a comment about how it wasn’t heavy on cinnamon as she doesn’t like cinnamon as much but it worked with this recipe as it was fairly subtle and balanced between the ingredients.

 This wraps up this month’s Battle of Ingredients!
Next month, we head out like past years to MTL a Table in November before we head back to the kitchen and homecooking.

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4 thoughts on “Battle of Ingredients: Fall: Winter Melon & Pumpkin

  1. Pingback: Starry Traveler’s kitchen: revisiting the winter melon and Jinhua Ham | Starry Traveler's Road

  2. Pingback: My Weekly Adventures: When Work Takes Over…Again & The Game Plan (for the rest of 2018) | Tranquil Dreams

  3. Pingback: My Weekly Adventures: Holiday Celebrations | Tranquil Dreams

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