Friday, March 16, 2007

Back home and cookin' away...

Yesterday was a very long day - we spent the entire day either in the car or dealing with airports! We left Des Moines and drove the 4 1/2 hour trip back to the Minneapolis airport so we could catch our flight back to DC. I was ready for a nice relaxing drive home, but it was a pretty stressful 80 minute drive as it was dark, raining fairly hard and it was the first time I've driven back from the Reagan National Airport. So we're back home, got the pups picked up this morning and now we're in the middle of a snowstorm! It was quite nice and in the upper 70's while we in Des Moines - coming home to this weather was certainly not expected!

When we went to pick up the pups, we made a side trip to the market so I could pick up some supplies for dinner tonight. We have become big broccoli fans over the past couple of years and this recipe, Broccoli with Red Pepper Flakes and Toasted Garlic, sounded like it was right up our alley. There is not much work or many ingredients happening here - just broccoli sautéed in a touch of oil with salt, spicy red pepper and thinly sliced garlic cloves. Just a quarter cup of water is added and the broccoli is allowed to steam until it is bright green and crisp-tender. Clean, fresh and a bite from the red pepper, this quick side was a refreshing change to the foods we ate while traveling. We thought the garlic might be a little overwhelming, but the paper thin slices were quite mild and their flavor just melted into the dish.

Tonight's main dish, Pork Pot Stickers, was definitely more involved than the above side dish. While the original recipe calls for the round gyoza skins, I ended up having to use wonton wrappers. The market we stopped at to get supplies this morning did not have the thicker gyoza - I think the wontons worked just as well though, we just ended up with a different shape! Inside the tender bundles is a cooked mixture of ground pork, green onions, soy sauce and sesame oil with a bit of cabbage and carrot coleslaw tossed in at the last minute to slightly cook down. While the recipe is fairly basic, it can get quite tedious filling and folding 30 individual wontons! Since it does take awhile and they have a tendency to stick to where ever you set the filled wrappers, I find a light dusting of cornstarch on a baking sheet works fairly well - just be sure to keep them lightly covered so they don't dry out. When you go to cook these, you may have to use a couple skillets or even do them in batches - I have an extra large skillet so I could easily fit all 30 in one pan, but you may want to test it out before you start to cook them and see if there is enough room. Once golden brown, a cup of water is poured in and they quickly steam to finish warming through. I used a delicious simple Asian dipping sauce that Jeff loved from an earlier recipe, but feel free to use whatever you wish to dunk them in.

These pot stickers are also an excellent option to make ahead - you would prepare them right up to the point where they are filled. Instead of cooking them right away, you could leave them on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Place the sheet in the freezer and when firm, scoop them up and seal them in a zip bag. Just set them in the refrigerator to thaw the night before you need a speedy meal and continue on with the directions from the recipe to cook them.


  1. I'm hugely, and probably irrationally, afraid of making any Asian-style food, but I'm slowly working up the nerve for gyoza. How long would you say this took you in total? And how worried should I be about the molded shapes not sticking?

  2. Tanya - Hmm... the filling and shaping took about 15-20 minutes, but I was trying to do other things at the same time. As long as the sheet is dusted with cornstarch, you should be okay!