I was back home in Iowa for a few days earlier this month for my neice’s wedding (the one I’ve been whining about fitting into the dress for). Being back home always means a lot, but one thing is constant: Mom’s kitchen.
Anything could come out of Mom’s kitchen. You just never know. And Mom is inspired by lots of things. She’s one of those people that will see or taste something good, then go home and try to make it herself, being mostly successful on the first try. She was inspired by a picture from a from a friend at her church. His mother sent it to him from the other side of the world – a picture of her carrots, celery and mushrooms wrapped in bacon with a dipping sauce. I guess she was trying to make him homesick!
Mom decided she was going to duplicate this bacony goodness. Enokitake mushrooms are hard to find in northeastern Iowa, so she had to go with portabellas. I helped cut up the shrooms and carrot and celery sticks. We decided to blanch the veggies before wrapping them up in the bacon – seemd like just a little too much crunch if they were raw. The celery seemed extra stringy so I peeled it. Yes, I peeled celery. It wasn’t as weird or hard as it sounds, and the end result was worth it: celery that doesn’t take up residence between your teeth.
My sister and I worked on rolling up and toothpicking the baconed bundles while Mom concocted the sauce. Working on a very loose set of instructions, she created the Hong Kong Sauce:
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 T sugar
1 t cornstarch
1/2 cup water
chopped onion and garlic to taste
Simmer all until slightly thickened.
The result was delicious with our bacon veggie wraps. Everyone ate their vegetables at dinner that night. And not to let anything go to waste, Mom marinated the rest of the mushrooms in the sauce for dinner a few nights later.
Since I have been bemoaning getting into my dress for the wedding, I thought I would post proof that I was in fact able to get into it without looking like a lumpy sausage. Yay for nutritious, whole foods!