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Happy Chinese New Year!  It’s the year of the Snake and being born under this sign, I just want to add that I think Snakes are the bee’s knees.  Anyways, I celebrated the New Year by taking a cooking class taught by head chef and owner of Toki Underground, Erik Bruner-Yang.  Toki Underground is one of my favorite places to eat and with it being within walking distance of my home, I visit frequently.  So when I saw he was offering a class at The Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital for an intimate class size of 15, I jumped at the opportunity.  The focus of the class was teaching us how to break down a chicken and then use all parts into different dishes.  For someone like me who does not cook often, something like breaking down a whole chicken sounds daunting, but I am happy to report that it was actually pretty simple when demonstrated with some easy to remember steps.

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One of the four dishes made today was the very important dumpling which was made with chicken thigh meat.  The smell of cabbage, garlic, and spring onions instantly triggered memories of making dumplings with my mom when I was young.  Let’s just say that my dumpling folding skill came back to me in no time.  I was wrapping three dumplings to my husband’s one!  Chinese dumplings ranks right up there with noodle soup as one of my favorite things to eat.

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The other dishes that were prepared from the chicken included a Chinese fried chicken, barbeque drumsticks and wings, and an oh-so delicious stock made from the remaining parts of the chicken, apples, and wonderfully smelling spices.  The bonus was the amount of food we were able to take back and enjoy on Chinese New Year’s.  I can’t wait to try to re-make some of these chicken creations on my own for friends.

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