Life at Warp Speed

life, faith, food, parenting, homeschooling and just about anything else that is on my mind

Pork and Summer Squash Potstickers August 24, 2011

Filed under: Chinese,Cookbooks,Parenting — lifeatwarpspeed @ 11:30 am
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I saw my cousin’s comment on the Beef and Tomato Potstickers recipe (http://wp.me/p1M41l-1P) about being reminded about her mom’s marathon potstickers sessions. Now as an adult, I have very fond memories of sitting in my aunt’s kitchen with my cousins pressed into service to mass produce handmade skins for folding all sorts of dumplings. As a kid, I have to confess I would have been much happier reading instead. Isn’t that the irony about childhood experiences? Sometimes those things we resented so much as children become precious, valued, and even yearned for again with the passage of time.

It does make me think about the things I do with M which quite often are not fun at all for him. Someday, I hope that my parenting choices will be appreciated decades from now when he is able to see the long view. There are so many things that my parents and our wider family clan have taught me for which I have greater appreciation. I use “clan” in the fullest sense of the word since I am related to well over 250 people just in the Bay Area. It can be mind-boggling to contemplate the full impact of that.

Before I go too far off on this bunny trail, I will say that I will probably post more on those topics when I have time to do it justice. Let’s get back to the whole point of this which is sharing with you, my tweaking of another recipe from Stuart Chang Berman’s Potsticker Chronicles (http://tinyurl.com/3quz2f5).  His recipe calls for lamb, so I substituted ground pork. I really think the world is divided into lamb and non-lamb people; either you love it or you hate it. Obviously, I am in the latter camp.

This is a really great way to use up all that squash that seems to grow like weeds in my backyard. Homegrown squash is so good compared to supermarket squash. There is almost a sweet flavor profile to the squash, and this tastes fantastic in this recipe. It works better to use younger, more tender squash than overgrown gigantic squash the size of your arm.

L@WS

Pork and Summer Squash Potstickers

Ingredients:

1 pound summer squash, finely minced
1 pound ground pork
1 bunch green onions, finely minced
5 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce, or mushroom soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
48 store bought or handmade potsticker skins
1 egg white, lightly beaten (optional)

Directions:

1.    Place squash in the center of a cloth. Gather the edges of the cloth to form a ball. Twist the gathered fabric and the ball in opposite directions to squeeze as much water out of the squash as possible.
2.    Place the squeezed squash in a mixing bowl. Add the pork, green onions, garlic, soy sauces, rice wine, sesame oil, and black pepper to the squash and mix well with a pair of chopsticks.
3.    To wrap dumplings, you can either use lukewarm water or egg white to moisten one side of each skin. Place about 1 tsp of filling in the center of each skin. Fold and crimp into crescent-like shapes. (Here is a youtube video on how to fold potstickers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpkcOk_i0-I) Place on a floured tray. Potstickers may be cooked immediately or frozen on the tray. Once frozen, transfer the dumplings to a freezer bags for storage.
4.    You can either boil (Northern style) or pan fry (Canto style) the dumplings to your preference. I find that pan frying works best when you freeze the pot stickers first.

Note: The potstickers turn out better if you use the fattier ground pork available at the Asian markets.

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Beef and Tomato Potstickers August 21, 2011

Filed under: Chinese,Cookbooks — lifeatwarpspeed @ 8:00 am
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Nothing says summer to me like super sweet and juicy tomatoes growing outside my kitchen window. I love home grown tomatoes whose flavor can’t be matched by the supermarket. So, what do you do with all those tomatoes? During the peak of tomato season, I like to make one of P’s favorites: Beef and Tomato Potstickers from the Pot Sticker Chronicles. My rule of thumb with cookbooks is generally this. The better ones never seem have a lot of expensive glossy pictures. You won’t find any color photos in The Pot Sticker Chronicles, just stuffed to the brim with lots of recipes.

If you know me in IRL, you know that I hate buying frozen store-bought dumplings with a passion. Don’t even get me started on what I think about those Ling Ling ones that you find at Costco and the supermarket. I think it speaks for itself that no Asian market stocks Ling Ling in their freezer section.

Homemade potstickers are always better. When I make potstickers, it is usually major endeavor, I make hundreds at one time to freeze for later use. This is especially helpful when I have unexpected guests over and I need to make something quick. Whether I make 4 dozen or 24 dozen, the time sink is mostly in the wrapping. I usually make up the fillings during the day and allow them to chill in the fridge until I put M to bed a night. Then I set up my wrapping assembly line and turn on my Tivo and get caught up on my favorite shows while I get to work. It helps to wrap my remote in plastic wrap to keep things sanitary.

The filling is easily multiplied, and it doesn’t require that much effort to make 2 or 3 different fillings. Most people stick making with the pork and cabbage types. If you have ever traveled in China, you learn that there are all sorts of different fillings for dumplings. Today, I want to share this beef and tomato one that has a bit of a spicy kick.

Tips:

You should not use a low fat ground beef for this otherwise the filling will not be juicy and as flavorful.

As always whenever you work with ground beef, do not over work the meat as it will make the texture of the beef too tough.

You can choose to seed and peel your tomatoes if you like, but it is not necessary.

Leftover wrappers can be frozen. I wrap them up  in plastic wrap, then again with aluminum foil. Then I put the whole thing in a freezer bag. Thaw in the fridge the next time you make potstickers.

L@WS

Beef and Tomato Potstickers from Pot Sticker Chronicles by Stuart Chang Berman (http://preview.tinyurl.com/18r)

Serves 4 to 6 (approx. 48 potstickers)

PotstickersIngredients:

1 pound ground chuck
3 medium tomatoes, finely minced and drained well
1 bunch green onions, finely minced
6 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1 whole egg
3 tablespoons dark soy sauce, or mushroom soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine
5 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon serrano peppers, finely minced
48 potsticker wrappers, store bought or handmade
1 egg white, lightly beaten, optional

Directions:

1.    Combine all ingredients except the wrappers and egg white  in a mixing bowl and mix well with a pair of chopsticks. Transfer filling to a colander and allow to drain.
2.    To wrap dumplings, you can either use lukewarm water or egg white to moisten one side of each skin. Place about 1 tsp of filling in the center of each skin. Fold and crimp into crescent-like shapes. (Here is a youtube video on how to fold potstickers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpkcOk_i0-I) Place on a floured tray. Potstickers may be cooked immediately or frozen on the tray. Once frozen, transfer the dumplings to a freezer bags for storage.
3.    You can either boil (Northern style) or pan fry (Canto style) the dumplings to your preference. I find that pan frying works best when you freeze the pot stickers first.

* If you want to reduce the heat, scrape out the the ribs and seeds of the pepper first. That’s where most of the heat is in a hot pepper.

 

Book Rec: The Cake Mix Doctor August 17, 2011

Filed under: Cookbooks — lifeatwarpspeed @ 11:28 pm
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I picked this up at at Scholastic Book Warehouse sale for only $3 a few years ago. She makes it incredibly easy to turn a boxed cake mix into something yummy with very little effort. It is still well worth the $10 that amazon is asking.

Amazon.com: The Cake Mix Doctor (9780761117193): Anne Byrn: Books.

L@WS

 

 
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