Andy Olson, of Milaca, has a Princeton connection in that he exhibited at this year’s Mille Lacs County Fair here.
Olson, 16, is with the O’Neil Eagles 4-H Club, and received a grand champion in the food review category. It is one where the exhibitor picks a theme for their food exhibit, lays out a table place setting, menu, recipe for one of the entrees, and explains it all to a 4-H judge. Olson picked an oriental theme and chose Chinese meatballs for the entree.
Olson is a veteran in this category, having won a grand champion in it the previous year and having taken the exhibit to the state fair where he also received a grand champion. He also received a grand champion this year, at the county fair, for his vegetable gardening exhibit. Olson, who lives on a dairy farm, will be a junior at Milaca High School this year. He enjoys cooking, playing football at Milaca where he is on the team, volunteering, and 4-H. He is an ambassador with the county’s 4-H Federation. Olson hopes to go into the business field someday and maybe open a restaurant. He says he prefers small towns like Milaca.
1 lb. ground lean pork
1/4 lb. minced shrimp
1/4 cup minced water chestnuts
1 tsp. minced fresh ginger root
1 minced whole green onion
3 T soy sauce, divided
1 T red wine
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar, divided
3 T cornstarch, divided
1 lightly-beaten egg
2 T oil
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 napa cabbage (a type of Chinese cabbage)
1 tsp. sesame oil
Combine the pork, shrimp, water chestnuts, ginger, green onion, 1 T of soy sauce, wine, salt, 1/2 tsp. of sugar, 1 T cornstarch and one egg. Form mixture into 12 meatballs. Heat oil in wok. Add the meatballs and cook 6-8 minutes until browned, stirring occasionally. Transfer meatballs to 5-qt. saucepan and discard drippings. Add the chicken broth, 2 T soy sauce and 1/2 tsp. sugar and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Meanwhile, core the cabbage and cut the base of leaves into two-inch squares. Cut leafy tops in half. Place cabbage cuttings over the meatballs and cover and simmer 10 minutes more. Transfer the meatballs and cabbage to a serving platter.
Blend 2 T cornstarch and 3 T water and stir into pan juices, cooking until slightly thickened. Add sesame oil and serve over meatballs.
Olson set up a menu for his exhibit, calling it Dining in the Orient – a family meal. It consisted of dragon well tea, egg drop soup, Chinese dumplings, Chinese meatballs, hot sticky rice, and baoz (steamed, filled buns).