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Happy 2008, everyone! Keeping with our tradition, Gil and I stayed in for a movie marathon last night rather than endure the crowds in the city and the loooong drive home. This year’s feature: The Lord of the Rings trilogy. (No, really, it was his idea. Something about the big screen HDTV, battle scenes, I dunno. I wasn’t going to argue.) We started late and only got up to about the 45-minute mark of The Two Towers, but it’s a rainy day, so I’m sure we’ll finish what we started before nightfall.

With hours of Middle Earth fun ahead of us, I wanted to make something festive for dinner that wouldn’t require too much time in the kitchen, and after my success with two recipes from Simple Chinese Cooking, I turned to its pages again for inspiration. The shrimp dumplings practically leaped off the page and demanded an audition, so I obliged, despite the potential for disaster — eviscerated dumplings churning in a pot of boiling water isn’t as appetizing as you might think. But Kylie Kwong’s step-by-step photo illustrations of dumpling assembly made the technique seem easy enough, and it really was.

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Oops, looks like a bit of shrimp got away from me there. We’ll just ignore that.

Didn’t affect the outcome, at least:

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Awww … they couldn’t be cuter if they were a pile of puppies frolicking on the cutting board. Hairier and much less sanitary, yes, but definitely not cuter.

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Wonton regiment 24 reporting for duty!

And you may find this hard to believe (I certainly did), but not one dumpling burst in the boiling water! That’s a success rate I haven’t come near with homemade ravioli, so I think there’s something to Ms. Kwong’s techniques. Hmmm, maybe I’ll start making “tortellini” instead — sneaky, sneaky.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, Gil and I have to get back to our movie research; he has a theory that Ed Wood was resurrected to direct Orlando Bloom in this trilogy, and I’m having trouble disproving it.

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