The Potsticker

Pot Sticker - GyozaI realize that most of my ingredients and flavors are surround by Asian cultures, and there is a reason for that. The freshness of the ingredient, the intense flavors, and the simplicity of the cook time. Today I am focusing on the pot sticker, otherwise know as the gyoza. I have been making these for many years and they truly are delicious. The process contains meat marination, wrapping, and cooking these little morsels, similar to the egg roll process. I was turned onto these dumplings while eating Dim Sum, and figured out my own pot sticker from that point on.
Ingredients:

  • Ground Pork
  • Shallots or green onions, thinly sliced/chopped
  • Roasted Sesame Oil (dark)
  • Sherry Cooking Wine
  • Pepper
  • Chinese Cabbage (Savoy)
  • Chopped Ginger
  • Water for wrapping
  • Chicken broth or water for steaming
  • Small amount of oil (vegetable or canola)
  • Gyoza Wrappers (found in many Asian markets)

For the non-meat eater, please note that you can substitute meat for vegetables as well.

Pot Sticker - GyozaOnce you have the meat mixture marinated with above ingredients, excluding the wrappers, let it marinade for nearly thirty minutes to a hour. Once ready, place about a tablespoon of the meat mixture into the middle of the wrapper, and be mindful that you want to make a tight seal of the wrapper, so do not get too close to the edges. Brush water along the half-side of the moon-shaped wrapper, fold over and seal. Move onto the next twenty or fifty.

Once you are ready, heat a large pan of about one tablespoon of the oil and disperse throughout the pan. The goal is to lightly coat the pan with oil as we want to go through a light fry process on both sides, amounting to about 2-3 minutes on each side. Once lightly browned on each side, add your water or chicken broth, about a 1/4 to a 1/2 cup, cover, and let steam until the liquid almost evaporates.

Pot Sticker - GyozaThat’s it. Plate and serve. You can do a few things with these at this time. Add them to a broth, a few glass noodles, and serve as a soup, or my favorite which is dipping them into the gyoza sauce, or a chili sauce, or heck, simply eat them alone as the flavor itself is so good.

If are are wanting to make the sauce, it is really easy:

  • 1/3 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/4 of rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon of Srirachi hot sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sugar
  • Garlic or ginger is optional

Caramelized Onions

I wanted to do something interesting with the bag of onions I had in the pantry this past week. Typically I would chop and dice these and use in a variety of dishes, or simply make delicious onion rings. As I wanted to make cheeseburgers, I decided instead of using raw onion on the burger, that I would caramelize them. This process only took about twenty minutes, and was fantastic.

Recipe for Making Caramelized Onions

Ingredients:

  • 3 TB unsalted Butter, or you can use olive oil
  • Onions, you decide on how many you want; I used two small, two medium white onions
  • 1 TB sugar

First cut the onion in half and remove the outer skin. Then slice thinly to allow shoestring type length, making sure to separate all pieces. In the meantime, add the butter or oil to a medium sized skillet and cook on medium heat. Once the butter is heated through, add all of the onions.

Do not worry if the onions pile up high as over the course of the cooking time, they will cook down. Lower the heat medium-low and keep cooking the onions, tossing or stirring from time to time. Nearly twenty minutes later, you onions will turn from white to a deep brown. Once you begin to achieve this colorization, this begins the caramelization process.

Now I served these on top of a cheeseburger with monterey pepper jack cheese and smoked bacon, alongside a baked potato. I could have simply used these onions on top of the baked potato, served on the side, or placed in a big mug with a spoon.

These onions were so delicious, and waking up the following morning had the house smelling like a sweet, delicious onion. Sounds goofy regarding the smell, but it made me want to make them the next day. As my wife said, “why don’t we have these every night?!”.

The Soft Pretzel

Soft PretzelThere are a few snacks that I enjoyed with my parents growing up, and yes, one of them is popcorn, however there is something that my Dad and I really enjoyed, and that was the soft pretzel. We would make these store bought pretzels throughout the week, typically heating them up in the oven, however the microwave only takes thirty two seconds. Go figure. This is a snack that I have handed down to my kids, and they love it as well.

I have always been curious if I could make the pretzel, and because yeast packets were on sale a couple of weeks back, I decided to do just that, master the pretzel. The flavor was better than the store bought pretzels, the aroma was inviting, and the process was pretty interesting.
Making the dough is just like making the pizza dough I’ve written about in the past, let the yeast and water dissolve and get bubbly, then add the dry ingredients, let rise, and get moving with the pretzel making.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 cup Warm water
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 TB Vegetable Oil
  • 1 TB Sugar
  • 6 TB Baking Soda
  • 6 Cups Water
  • Course or Kosher Salt

In a mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast into the one cup of warm water. After the mixture becomes fizzy, add 1 1/2 cups of the flour,the oil, and the sugar. Mix for about 3 minutes to make a smooth batter. Gradually stir in enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured board and knead until smooth and satiny, roughly five minutes. Adding flour as needed to prevent any sticking. This does get a bit sticky, but keep on trucking. Place the dough in a greased bowl and turn over to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until it doubles in size, roughly one hour.

Pretzel in Soda bathWhen you are ready, punch down the dough, take it out onto a floured board, and divide the dough into 12 pieces. Shape each into a smooth ball by gently kneading then roll each into a smooth rope about 16 inches long, and twist into a pretzel shape. Place slightly apart on a greased baking sheet turning loose ends underneath. Let the dough rise once again, until nice and puffy, approximately 20 minutes.

During this time bring the soda water to a boil in a non-alumninum pan. Adjust the water to keep water gently boiling. With a slotted spatula, lower one pretzel at a time into the pan. Let simmer for for only 10 seconds on each side, then lift from water,drain briefly on spatula, and return to baking sheet. Let dry briefly, then sprinkle with coarse salt and let stand, uncovered, until all the pretzels have been simmered.

Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until they are golden brown. Enjoy the aroma. Transfer them to racks and get ready to eat. There are plenty of ways to enjoy these. My favorite is with mustard and squeeze cheese, yes, I said it, squeeze cheese. Other ideas are to sprinkle cinammon and sugar on them after the simmer process, serve with warm butter or garlic butter for that matter. If you are looking to wrap or store these, be sure to store in a cool place, in an airtight seal, and freeze. To reheat them, place the frozen pretzels in a 400 degree oven for roughly 10 minutes.

Autumn’s Mashed Potato

Mashed PotatoThis past week, I decided it was time to make something that I truly love, however do not make that often, the beef tenderloin. As I could probably write about how delicious the tenderloin was, as it was marinated with course pepper, and a few course salts and herbs, I am not going that direction. Instead, I am going with a take on the side dish that went with the meat, the garlic mashed potato.

I cannot tell you how many batches of mashed potatoes I have made in my life, but I think I have it down. I used to use a mixer on the potatoes, then I found the potato masher, and love it. I like the masher utensil because you can create your own texture.

Let’s get busy. As always, the ingredients could not be easier than this:

  • 3 large baking potatoes
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • Heavy whipping cream
  • 1 bulb roasted garlic
  • Butter
  • Salt and Pepper

Potato MasherI am huge fan of exploring your potatoes for mashing, and in this recipe I used the large baker potatoes and threw in a sweet potato. It rocked. Skins your potatoes, then quarter them. In a large pan of boiling, salted water, add the potatoes and cook them until fork tender, approximately 25 minutes. During this time, chop the tip off the bulb of garlic, add some olive oil to the top, and add salt and pepper. Foil this up and place in the oven at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or so. Once the garlic is roasted, remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.

Mashed PotatoWhen the taters are fork tender, drain the water, then return the pan back to the stove, on medium heat to get rid of the remaining water. This is a great time to add your butter. How much you say? I truly do not skimp on the butter, and this will also depend on the batch that you are making. I used about six tablespoons. Start mashing them down, and during this time, add salt and pepper. This will appear pretty dry to you, so get ready to add your cream. I add about 1 cup of cream, and adjust to the creaminess you are going for in your mash. Did I mention the garlic? Simply squeeze the garlic out of the bulb into the potatoes and mash some more.

As my tenderloin was on the grill, I placed these in a corningware dish, added another tablespoon of butter on the top, and placed in the oven for about 25 minutes. Enjoy and make it your own.