Sunday, February 10, 2013

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

We won't have any adoption news until after we meet with a lawyer sometime this week so let's do something happy and hopefully auspicious. It's the Lunar New Year!
I don't think we did anything last year to officially celebrate Chinese New Year but we usually do. This year we invited Rob and Elyse and their kids to have dinner. I made potstickers and they are soooo good. And not too bad to make from scratch so I thought I'd share the recipe with you. It's at the end. I took a few photos of the process! Here's the filling set up. I looooove that peeler. It's serrated so it will peel everything from ginger to peaches! I also use my santoku knife a lot more than my chef's knife because it has a shorter blade which makes cutting easier for my short self. I always buy too many scallions or green onions and just cut them all up at once and freeze the remainder. I do the same with parsley and cilantro!

This recipe calls for napa cabbage but because we had barbecue earlier in the week, I had pre-shredded cole slaw mix in the fridge already (are Memphians the only ones who have slaw on top of barbecue sandwiches?) so I used that. When I salted the cabbage to remove the water, very little came out. Wasn't a problem. I don't know if it's because of the packaging process or if one kind of cabbage is more watery than another but it was fine. The potstickers weren't noticably different, either.

Mixing everything together is always weird because it's all gooey from the ground pork and the egg whites. I swear, I could be a vegetarian if I thought about meat too long...

This is the same setup I use to make lumpia! I don't usually bother making my own wrappers. In the past, I've just used wonton wrappers for the potstickers but the gyoza wrappers were soooo much easier to use that it might be worth the trip to the Asian market whenever I do it! Anyway, I've got my wrappers, filling, water, and a baking tray with the silpat baking mat. I also watched Monk while I did the filling!

Mike took this photo for me. I have to use gloves to do things that involve water and dampness because if I'm not careful, my skin gets an eczema flareup. And we don't want that. Yech.

In the span of one episode of Monk, voila! Potstickers! I like to make mine early in the day and freeze them before cooking. If I don't make all of them, I take the remaining potstickers once they have frozen flat and put them in a bag or some freezer container. They keep for a while and don't stick together!

Fry first, steam, and then let the bottoms crisp.

Yummmmmmmmyyyyyyyy.

I made coconut rice since it's a special day! I made it just like I normally do in the rice cooker except I added a teaspoon of sugar and substituted a can of coconut milk for part of the water. Mike doesn't like shredded coconut, but if you do, you can add some to the rice while it cooks! I kind of made up the sugar snap pea recipe as I went along. Mike and Autumn both liked it so I'm going to have to tryyyyy to replicate it!

While the grownups finished up our food and had some lucky oranges (and lucky almond cookies!), the kids had a little parade in the living room!

And before they left, Elyse passed out red envelopes with quarters inside! Autumn is so happy. Aunt Lindsay came by to give Autumn some balloons from her work baby shower and Autumn was all, "I have a chinese quarter!" And then I had to explain, hahaha.

A super fun night! And a good break from all the other stuff going on. Okay, 2013, here's your chance to start over!!

Pork and Cabbage Dumpling -- Wor Tip
Makes 24 dumplings, 6 first course servings
From Cook's Illustrated

We prefer to use gyoza wrappers. You can substitute wonton wrappers, but the cooking time in step 4 will be reduced from 10 minutes to 5 or 6 minutes and note that the yield will increase to 40 potstickers (see chart below Step 4 for more information). These dumplings, also known as potstickers, are best served hot from the skillet; we recommend that you serve the first batch immediately, then cook the second batch. To freeze, place filled, uncooked dumplings in the freezer in a single layer on a plate until frozen, then transfer to a storage bag. There's no need to thaw frozen dumplings; just proceed with the recipe.

Ingredients

Filling
3 cups minced napa cabbage leaves (about 1/2 medium head)
3/4 teaspoon table salt
3/4 pound ground pork
4 minced scallions (about 6 tablespoons)
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
4 teaspoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons minced or grated fresh ginger
1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Dumplings
24 round gyoza wrappers (see note)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup water, plus extra for brushing

Instructions

1. For the filling:: Toss cabbage with the salt in colander set over a bowl and let stand until cabbage begins to wilt, about 20 minutes. Press the cabbage gently with rubber spatula to squeeze out any excess moisture, the transfer to a medium bowl. Add the remaining filling ingredients and mix thoroughly to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until mixture is cold, at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.

2. For the dumplings: Working with 4 wrappers at a time (keep the remaining wrappers covered with plastic wrap), follow the photos below to fill, seal, and shape the dumplings using a generous 1 teaspoon of the chilled filling per dumpling. Transfer the dumplings to a baking sheet and repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling; you should have about 24 dumplings. (The dumplings can be wrapped tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 1 day, or frozen for up to 1 month. Once frozen, the dumplings can be transferred to a zipper-lock bag to save space in the freezer; do not thaw before cooking.)

3. Line a large plate with a double layer of paper towels; set aside. Brush 1 tablespoon of the oil over the bottom of a 12-inch nonstick skillet and arrange half of the dumplings in the skillet, with a flat side facing down (overlapping just slightly if necessary). Place the skillet over medium-high heat and cook the dumplings, without moving, until golden brown on the bottom, about 5 minutes.

4. Reduce the heat to low, add 1⁄2 cup of the water, and cover immediately. Continue to cook, covered, until most of the water is absorbed and the wrappers are slightly translucent, about 10 minutes. Uncover the skillet, increase the heat to medium-high, and continue to cook, without stirring, until the dumpling bottoms are well browned and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes more. Slide the dumplings onto the paper towel-lined plate, browned side facing down, and let drain briefly. Transfer the dumplings to a serving platter and serve with scallion dipping sauce (see related recipe). Let the skillet cool until just warm, then wipe it clean with a wad of paper towels and repeat step 3 with the remaining dumplings, oil, and water.

Choosing the Right Wrap
Tasters preferred the slightly chewy texture of gyoza-style wrappers to thinner wonton wrappers, but both styles produced terrific potstickers. Although we developed our recipe using round wrappers, square or rectangular wrappers can be used as well. Here's how to adjust filling amount and steaming time. Because the smaller wrappers yield more dumplings, you'll need to cook them in multiple batches. (For wrapping instructions, see instructions below.)

Round gyoza (3 3/4 inches diameter), fill with 1 rounded tablespoon, steam for 10 minutes
Round wonton (3 3/4 inches diameter), fill with 1 rounded tablespoon, steam for 6 minutes
Square wonton (3 3/8 inches square), fill with 2 rounded teaspoons, steam for 6 minutes
Rectangular wonton (3 1/4 inches by 2 3/4 inches), fill with 1 rounded teaspoon, steam for 5 minutes

Wrapping Potstickers

The instructions below are for round wrappers, our preferred shape. If using square wrappers, fold diagonally into a triangle (step 2) and proceed with the recipe. For rectangular wrappers, fold in half lengthwise.

1. FILL: Place rounded tablespoon of filling in center of gyoza wrapper.

2. FOLD: After moistening edge of wrapper, fold it in half to make half-moon shape.

3. PINCH: With forefinger and thumb, pinch dumpling closed, pressing out any air pockets.

4. FLATTEN: Place dumpling on its side and press gently to flatten bottom.

Submitted to Made by you Monday at Skip to My Lou!

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