Today is National Cheese Lover’s Day and I’m super excited!
Hm…not really. I’m of two minds, or two tastes, when it comes to cheese. Offer me a hunk ‘o cheddar and I’d say a polite “no thank you”. (As compared to my childhood response of “eww…gross”. I like to think I’ve matured since I was seven.) Uncooked, i.e. raw, unadulterated, naked, as it were, cheese is not appealing to me and never has been.
Offer me a plate of hot, gooey macaroni & cheese (homemade, of course) and I’ll dive right in. I’ll gladly consume any other baked dish that contains cheese like lasagne or cheese soufflé. And I love freshly grated Parmesan sprinkled liberally atop pasta.
Geez, I’m getting hungry.
So far my only caveat to my personal ban on raw cheese is a cheese ball appetizer I made over the holiday season. Oh my goodness gracious, it was divine and won rave reviews from all our guests. Here’s the link to the recipe. I promise you will not be disappointed. The recipe makes a goodly amount so I divided it into two portions, formed into log shapes and wrapped in plastic before refrigerating.
Ooh, this would be perfect for that large televised sporting event, that football one, the one that’s coming up in a couple weeks. (Hubby is a Packer’s fan, i.e. a Cheesehead – oh, ha! – so we don’t really care what happens in that “super” game.)
Just when you thought this third Sunday in January couldn’t get any more exciting – what could top cheese? Well, hold on to your hat – or feathers – because today is also Penguin Awareness Day! So as you go about your day, be aware of any penguins who might cross your path, like this cutie.
Is there a clear winner? Yes. Me! Because I get to eat more than I should!
I’d be telling an untruth if I said I remember exactly what the pot stickers from last week’s recipe tasted like (way-way back when I actually made them). But I do remember that they were delicious.
This week’s version was equally delicious. (We had friends over and they had no problem eating their fair share.) The filling was moist and tasty and plentiful. And the dipping sauce was a pleasing mix of tart, sweet, and hot. Hubby thought it was a tad too vinegary, but I didn’t think so.
I was unable to find pot sticker wrappers and so used wonton wrappers – square instead of round. Which meant, I think, that there was a bit too much extra dough after crimping which got a little tough during the steaming portion of the preparation. An itsy bitsy tiny flaw in no way the fault of the recipe. But if you can find pot sticker wrappers, the round kind, use those.
Here is the recipe as copied exactly from:
Ultimate Appetizer Ideabook
225 Simple All-occasion Recipes
Kiera and Cole Stipovich
Published by Chronicle Books
Pork Pot Stickers
In a large bowl, combine ½ medium head shredded napa (or savoy) cabbage with 1 tsp kosher salt and toss. Transfer to a colander and let drain for 30 minutes. Over a sink or bowl, press out excess moisture from the cabbage. In a medium mixing bowl, combine 8 oz (230 g) ground pork, 1 Tbsp thinly sliced green onions, ½ tsp ground white pepper, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 tsp grated fresh ginger, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp rice vinegar, 1 tsp mirin, and 2 tsp cornstarch and mix well. Add the drained cabbage and mix until incorporated. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour or for up to 1 day. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle it lightly with cornstarch. Place a 3-in (7.5-cm) pot sticker wrapper in your hand and place a rounded 1-tsp scoop of the filling in the center of the wrapper. Wet the inside edge of the wrapper with water and bring the edges together, forming a half-moon shape and pressing firmly with our fingers to seal. (If desired, pleat the edges together or press with a fork.) Place the pot sticker on the baking sheet and cover with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap (to prevent drying out) and form more pot stickers using additional wrappers and the remaining filling. (If making ahead, freeze the pot stickers on the baking sheet for 15 minutes, or until frozen solid. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for up to 1 week. No thawing is required before cooking.) In a large heavy-bottomed non-stick or cast-iron skillet (keep the lid close by for later use) over medium-high heat, warm ½ tsp vegetable oil and ½ tsp sesame oil. When the oil is hot, place the pot stickers in a single layer with the sealed edges facing up and cook until the bottoms are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add about 1/3 cup (80 ml) hot water to the skillet and cover immediately. (Stand back from the skillet while adding the water to avoid getting splashed.) Continue to cook, covered, until the water evaporates, about 3 minutes (or about 8 minutes if the pot stickers were frozen). Remove the lid and allow the pot stickers to cook uncovered for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the bottoms are crisp and golden. Transfer to a serving dish and serve warm with Pot Sticker Dipping Sauce.
Pot Sticker Dipping Sauce
In a small bowl, mix together 2 Tbsp rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp water, ¼ tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp honey, 1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger, 1 small clove minced garlic, ½ tsp thinly sliced green onion, and 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes. Use right away or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
For the last two Wednesdays, we’ve enjoyed hot spinach and artichoke dip (here’s the recipe link). Should you be unable to eat the entire thing in one sitting (we tried really hard but alas, couldn’t do it), be assured it freezes well and reheats well in the microwave.
This week I was in the mood for something different. And so I opened my new appetizer cookbook, flipped through a few pages, and got inspired to make pot stickers. I have made them before but I wanted to try a new recipe. Fair warning, pot stickers are time- consuming, a bit fiddly, but well worth the effort.
Now, I’m not about to share a recipe and sing its praises without testing it first. Just because it’s published doesn’t mean I’ll like it. And I don’t share recipes unless I like the resultant food.
So, to tide you over, here’s the link to the pot stickers, or Gyoza, that I have made before. I’ll let you know about the new recipe next week. And if it’s a success (I’m sure it will be) I’ll share it with you. Maybe you’ll want to make both versions and do a comparison. Sounds like an excellent idea to me! More pot stickers to eat!!!
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According to one of those weird and whacky holiday calendars, we should be eating Sloppy Joes today. I can’t remember the last time I made Sloppy Joes. Spicy, saucy ground beef atop a soft hamburger bun or a Kaiser roll – Yum! I bet you can figure out what we’ll be eating for supper tonight.
There are many variations to the recipe out there. Whenever I’m flummoxed as to which version to make, I turn to the good folks at All Recipes. I read several recipes and compare ingredients. Sometimes I combine two or three recipes and come up with a new version entirely.
A useful tool at the All Recipes website is the reviews. (As an aside, nothing burns my butt quite like a review that claims the recipe was bad – and then goes on to list all the changes the reviewer made to the original recipe before making. Grrr.) I use the reviews to check for things like too much or not enough salt, the level of “heat” (I‘m a wimp and always order my Indian food mild), and too much or not enough liquid.
So after perusing the many, many variations on Sloppy Joes, I made my decision. But then I thought, “heck, I’ve made them before, which recipe did I use last time?” Well, ha! Turns out this one made the cut last time, too!