Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Gyoza Water Dumpling/紅油水餃子

_DSC2788Doggone it! I exclaimed when I opened the wonton skins tightly wrapped in paper, purchased at the Asian market. Seeing the thick, tan colored skins was disappointing. As If you are craving for something…in this case, water dumpling (水餃子) I checked to see if I had prepared all the ingredients for the recipe:
long green onion-check,
ginger-check! So far so good, my excitement's level gone up a notch.
And finally the wonton skin -che..what?…Honey, shall we order a pizza tonight?
My husband offered to go back to the store to get paper thin and white color ‘true’ skins, round trip probably take more than a hour, but he’s like …what’s yamiagari (病み上がり) in English? …convalescence? How insensitive would I look if I accept his offer? Nah, I’m good.

There are basically three ways to cook gyoza. Pan fried then steam which is my favorite method, deep fried which is also my favorite but avoiding those to help me lose weight then this boiled kind is so tender and my favorite. Can you tell I’m huge fan of gyoza? Variety of recipes out there in the food blogger world and I tried quite a few – Faa…bulous! (click for my recipe here)

Ingredients and Instruction for 45 to 50 gyozas (Print Recipe Here)

For seasoning –Salad oil 1Tablespoon,
                            Soy sauce 1 Tablespoon
                            Sake 1 Tablespoon
                            Sugar 1 teaspoon (optional)
                            Sesame oil 1 Tablespoon
                            Salt and Pepper to taste

For Filling – Ground pork 1 pound
                      Nappa Cabbage 4 to 6 leaves
                      Long green onion 3 inches, white parts finely minced
                      Ginger about 1 inch, peeled and finely minced

Topping sauce – Sake 100cc
                              Soy sauce 75cc
                              Sugar 2 Tablespoons
                              La-Yu 2 –3 drops
                              Sesame Oil  1 teaspoon
                              Rice vinegar 2 teaspoons
                              Garlic 1-2 cloves finely minced

Wonton wrappers or gyoza skin –thin type 45 to 50

  1. Start boiling 4 cups water. Meanwhile mix together seasoning ingredients in a small bowl and set aside._DSC2744
  2. Insert nappa cabbage into boiling water stem first for 30 seconds then submerge to cook 1 minute. Drain and cool with water. Squeeze cabbage with your hands to remove excess water and mince. Set aside._DSC2748
  3. Put filling ingredients in a large bowl except nappa cabbage. Mix well with your hands._DSC2752
  4. Add prepared seasoning mixture and continue mixing until ingredients became sticky._DSC2759
  5. Add minced cabbage* and fold in. *Cabbage still might be too watery, squeeze gently to remove water before adding.
  6. Prepare 1/2 cup water in a small bowl(this act as glue). Lay the wonton skins on the table and place 1 Tablespoon of filling in the middle. Moisten the edges with water using your finger or a pastry brush dipped in water. Fold in a triangle or anyway you like. Here I did onion style._DSC2767_DSC2771
  7. Boil water (5 to 6 cups) in large pot. In another small sauce pan cook sake, soy sauce and sugar for 1 minute at high heat. Lower the heat to simmer, add rest of topping sauce Ingredients - La-Yu, sesame oil, vinegar and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  8. When the water comes to full boil, lower the heat to medium but still keep it boiling. Drop 4-5 dumplings in the water at a time and cook until the dumpling comes to surface; 3-4 minutes. Stir once in a while to avoid having the dumplings stick to the bottom or each other. Check doneness by opening one to make sure it is fully cooked. Fish them out of the water with a spider sieve. Pour on the topping sauce. Garnish with green onion or cilantro if you like..
    _DSC2779_DSC2790 Instead of soft and slick texture with right stuff, these were chewy and…well… interesting. I threw the idea of losing weight out the window for the moment, I deep fried a few to experiment. Mmmm, I love gyoza!_DSC2792

No more snow and temperature pushing mid 50’s in Portland. Life is good! From a very grateful me to all of you out there, have a nice week!IMG_0706This photo was taken from my husband’s office in downtown Portland. The early morning fog, reflection of his office and himself made this photo interesting. I can tell it was Friday…his signature look is to wear Hawaiian shirts on Fridays.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Ginger Marmalade Dressing

_DSC2705I hope you had a nice Valentine’s Day. My husband also caught a cold virus (most likely from me) and so it was a not so hot Valentine’s Day…well he is still cute but…you know, he is not his usual self. We postponed the celebration, and instead stayed home and cheered for our favorite Olympians on television. 

This sweet and tangy dressing yields approximately 1/3 cup though, you only need a couple teaspoons for your salad. Besides, fresh grated ginger loses some of the potency and starts oxidizing soon after, so prep a small amount at a time. Almighty ginger eases the symptom of a cold or prevents you from catching it in the first place.

Ingredients and Instructions (Ingredients are not precise, adjust to your taste and desired thickness) (Print Recipe here)

  • Ginger juice- grate ginger, skin and all, then place on a paper towel, twist top and squeeze to get about 1 tablespoon._DSC2727_DSC2731
  • Marmalade 2 Tablespoons
  • Warm water 1 Tablespoon
  • Balsamic vinegar 2 Tablespoons
  • Olive oil 1-2 Tablespoons
  • Fresh ground black pepper and a pinch of salt for taste

Thin the marmalade with warm water first in a medium bowl. Add ginger juice, balsamic vinegar and olive oil and mix well with whisk. Salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until chilled - about 10 to 20 minutes. Whisk again before serving._DSC2693_DSC2733

Cheese lacy nest gives crunch to the dish but not necessary tasty. If you cook too long then it is difficult to mold and often has a bitter or too salty flavor. I used parmigiano-reggiano cheese for this but any cheddar cheese will do._DSC2714 

  1. I covered a spice tin (which fit in my small red rectangular plate) with foil but you could use an up-side down glass jar, in that case, no covering necessary.
  2. Grate enough cheese. I used about 3 Tablespoons per nest._DSC2674
  3. Heat non-stick pan at low heat. Sprinkle cheese in. When the edges of cheese start developing color then turn off heat. Leave in the pan for another 5 to 10 seconds to cook till very light brown (cheese should be still pliable).
  4. Slide turner underneath to lift. Press onto the mold. Because it may be too hot to handle I used a paper towel to shape. Leave it on until cool.
  5. Fill with your favorite appetizer. This is a micro-green mini salad._DSC2725 

In honor of the Sochi Olympics (?), we had Lemon Symiki, Russian style pan cakes, for breakfast the other day. I omitted but you could top with sour cream or whipped cream. Ginger marmalade dressing is great for fresh fruits too._DSC2697

We tried a new restaurant, Aviary – not sure what style this restaurant is but they have a number of creative dishes. Although this chestnut soup is very nice, the roasted, charred flavor of the Brussels sprout topping was a put off for me.IMG_0967

Speaking of chestnuts, I made some chestnut chocolate truffles using a inexpensive bag of roasted chestnuts. _DSC2721_DSC2739

I have a pair of Valentine socks that says ‘My first love is chocolate’… right.
I made this truffles for my husband though he wasn’t feeling well and declined. I failed to share my first love.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Cauliflower Soup

_DSC2602Around the same time that I came down with a cold, snow started falling last Thursday. It was perfect set-up to lounge around in pajamas and watch the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics, right? However our Optical Network Terminal shutdown, and as a result, our home phone, internet and television were dead, I just stare at the black television in astonishment, dang it! I suppose I could finish reading Catching Fire…nah – I didn’t want to do anything that requires thinking. _DSC2553

Luckily, my husband stayed home last Friday because of weather and fixed me a cauliflower soup with a recipe clipped from the newspaper and carrot bread of Five Euro Food. Although not roasting the cauliflower, so the flavor lacked some depth, it was a quick remedy and full of tenderness to heal my cold also cabin fever.

Ingredients and Instruction for 4 servings (Print recipe here)_DSC2574

Equipment – soup pot with lid, blender or hand-held immersion blender

  • 4 leeks, trimmed and finely chopped (white part only)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped, about 1/2 cup
  • 1/2  head cauliflower, finely chopped 2 to 3 cups
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable stock for vegetarian version_DSC2579
  • 1 and 1/4 cup non fat milk heated Note;you may use unsweetened soy milk if you prefer.
  • 1 teaspoon salt or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or more to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped pistachios or 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh chives for garnish
  1. Put leeks, onion,cauliflower and bay leaves in the medium size soup pot.
  2. Add chicken broth or vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, covered and cook until the cauliflower is tender about 10 minutes.
  3. Remove and discard bay leaves. Add the hot milk, salt and pepper._DSC2583
  4. Carefully transfer soup to a blender and puree until smooth or use a hand blender and puree the soup right in the pot (see below pic)._DSC2585
  5. Serve hot with a chopped chives or pistachios._DSC2592_DSC2631
    I prefer to eat this carrot bread warm. Stick it in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds.

I felt better enough to go outside on Saturday and made (tried) a Snow Totoro. Oh! It’s a cat isn’t it? said my neighbor. Ah, right, absolutely…it’s a…it’s a fat one! Ha ha ha.. I should go inside now to stare at the still black television.IMG_0964

My neighbor made cool Wicked Snow Witch. Snow transformed us into kids._DSC2645

I hear the joyful glee of (real) kids sledding on the slope just around the corner. I would love to join them if I hadn’t already sold my sleds at a garage sale last summer.IMG_0959

We were told by the dispatcher on Monday, ‘Cable technician may come by Wednesday but more than likely on Friday’ What!? I started to cry. My husband went out bought few electrical equipment to finally fix the ONT, whew! The money was well spent! With a cup of hot chocolate, I slouched down on the sofa and enjoyed watching the Olympics….with the still warm lemon cake my neighbor rushed to bring us in the heavy snow…so good!_DSC2544

For returning the favor, I made this strawberry short cake for my husband, one for my neighbor in a heart shaped ceramic pan a Valentine’s Day gift from a friend a few years back.


Happy Valentine’s Day!







Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Petit Parcels

Prunes and Cheese Bites

_DSC2519Small packages are delivered to the table. Delightful little bites are wondrous gifts for the evening. The sweetness of prune and creamy cheese lessen the melancholy just a touch. Returning home from a trip always puts me in a sappy mood like that. As if the laughter of yesterday is already turning to nostalgia.IMG_0892

My husband I were able to spend time in the Happiest Place on Earth with our daughter and granddaughter thanks to the TECHmunch Conference last week. The well planned, information packed conference was only a day event and rest of the days were all play. Yahoo! We, the conference attendees, feasted on an array of fabulously presented appetizers at the reception and lunch. This is my take on little bites. Nothing heavy yet well wrapped.IMG_0849

Ingredients and instruction (Print Recipe)IMG_0940

Items to prepare – 2 damp moist towels, a few stacks of paper towels on the plate.

  • Large seedless prunes (I used 10 prunes)
  • Cream cheese – goat cheese is a great substitute
  • Square spring roll pastry –  may use wonton wrapper but texture will be different. Cut in 4ths.
  • Oil for frying approximately 2 cups
  1. Make a slit in the middle of the prune with a sharp knife._DSC2503
  2. Stuff cream cheese or goat cheese inside about 1 Tablespoon _DSC2504
  3. Wrap with spring roll. I used a dab of cream cheese to secure the end. Note; always keep spring roll wrapper and already made packages under the moist towel to prevent from drying._DSC2508  _DSC2510
  4. Heat oil in a heavy pan to 340F or 170C. Fry a few at a time until the packages develop light brown color. Turn onto the prepared paper towel to absorb excess oil.
  5. Serve as is or with small amount of sriracha chili sauce._DSC2530

Fried pickle – One of the appetizers we had at the conference was a fried pickle(it is in front of the burger). I made my version of that too. Just wipe the baby pickle very well with paper towel, wrap, secure with tooth pick then fry.IMG_0874IMG_0944  _DSC2528

In all honesty, I was somewhat overwhelmed with this conference. Mainly because I don’t have a clear destination. I wander all over the map and can’t find the station. I admire food bloggers who work hard for their dream. I’m extremely grateful for organizers for this event, especially Babette of bakespace.com It was awesome!

Familiar faces (I apologize for the bad photos) beside my daughter, I met a few bloggers I already knew…that made me at ease. D of kitchencorners and Ben of  youfedbabychilli We spent some time at California Adventure. Lovely people!  Their Children and my granddaughter played well together. I stayed behind with kids while they rode ‘Tower of Terror’. They loved it…yeah right.


We left my daughter and granddaughter at Disneyland Friday evening around 6:00 PM. My husband and I were exhausted from walking all day but they still wanted to play….are you kidding? The pass is good till 11:00 PM said my daughter. Whatever! Just the two of us dined at Morton Steak House. This is their famous Hot Chocolate Cake with Haagen-Dazs ice cream…a la! it tastes a lot like lava cake. It was hard to take good pic in the dimly lit restaurant.  IMG_0929I’m thankful for the opportunity to attend conference also for four days of blessed trip. I miss my daughter and granddaughter already (sob).