Sunday, April 11, 2010


Cooking and today's blog post by Caro. Photos by rachel.

Yesterday, I did a little cooking demo for about a dozen people. I had done all the prep work at home---the chopping, the sauce mixing, the filling for the potstickers, the peeling and washing of the shrimp, and pre-blanch of the green beans.

After we arrived at the gorgeous kitchen, I started making the potstickers---they are easy, and the steps just get to be routine:

Lay out and moisten the Gyoza skins:

Put a teaspoon or two of filling on the wrappers:

Teaching our hostess the folding technique:

PROGRESS!! Only 33 to Go!

Place in the Pam-sprayed skillet for browning (if you like them really crispy, use a little slick of oil in the bottom).

Sizzle them til they’re golden-brown on the bottom, then pour in ¼ cup of chicken stock and clap on the lid. Let steam on medium-high for about five minutes, til liquid evaporates. Shake skillet to loosen and slide onto serving platter:

We served these with two sauces:
Rice vinegar/chili paste/garlic and
Soy/ginger/garlic/sugar/water with a float of scallions

They’re going FAST!

While I was making the potstickers, a friend was giving a sushi demo:

Getting ready:

Setting up mise:

Laying out rice on nori:


The finished tray, garnished with peppers carved into shiso leaves. These are Veggie rolls with cucumber, steamed asparagus, colored peppers and a wisp of red onion or a chive, and some are vegetables and shrimp:
Inside-out sushi with vegetables and nori inside, and sesame seed crust:

Other guests also brought contributions:

The hostess made KILLER Hot ‘n’ Sour Soup---lots of bamboo shoots, mushrooms, tree ears, tofu, and fresh Szechwan peppercorns, with a scatter of green onion and float of sesame oil:

Everybody stood enjoying their soup and watching the making of the sushi and the potstickers.
One guest made a wok of Tropical Stir-Fry, with assorted vegetables and edamame, given a unique twist with pineapple and mango:

Seafood Fried Rice---Brown rice, scrambled egg-beaters, peas and Surimi.

Crockpot “Fried Rice” with chicken and vegetables:

And I made the rest of the meal:

First platter was the vegetable stir-fry with Tofu. In a really hot pan, put thin-sliced carrots and ginger. You can see the beans frying in the next pan:

Waiting their turn, in order of addition to the skillet, are Onion, Celery, Peppers and (on the bottom layer) Taiwanese cabbage, which looks exactly like a regular head, except they look as if something sat on them overnight---flattened.

Cubed Tofu---I really like these; they are already browned, very firm and have a meaty quality which holds up well in stir-fries. Beneath the damp towel is another plate of potstickers awaiting the cooking:

Sort of building the dish, as my Grandpa used to say; I’m wearing Mom’s apron made by her friend Maggie.

I used a slurry in two dishes---this one and the shrimp and snow peas. This one was soy sauce, water, sugar, garlic powder and cornstarch. It made the sauce thick and glossy.

The finished dish, with tofu and lightly-steamed broccoli added for the last minute of cooking, to retain texture:

Asian Green Beans. Blanch beans---shock if cooking later, or stir-fry immediately in Pam-sprayed pan. Cook for a few minutes, letting them get a good color on some, and on some edges. Pour in 1/3 cup chicken stock and put lid on. Let steam about five minutes, then add slurry of Soy sauce, sugar, garlic and sesame oil. Cook another couple of minutes til sauce is caramelly and almost evaporated.

Vegetable Lo Mein---a really good “cheater” version I devised, using Udon noodles. In a really hot skillet, Pam-sprayed, sizzle noodles to get a little color:

Add onions and celery:

Add sliced fresh shiitake and shredded Napa cabbage, a few splashes of soy sauce and cook another couple of minutes and serve topped with thinly-sliced scallions. Mom says our Forgotten Thing was the beautiful long strands of carrot which I had made for color---everyone started passing around the little packet to look at them, and so the platter went to table without. It would have been SO much prettier with all the little golden strands mingled in.

Last Dish: Shrimp and Snow Peas:

Strung and washed:

Brightening up:

Add peeled shrimp and cook briefly until slightly pink; add slurry of soy sauce, garlic, cornstarch, water and sugar; cook another minute and serve immediately:

Each dish went to table as it was finished, and everyone tried everything family style:

I also cooked a second plate of potstickers when the first one was gone:

And I had a Tsingtao while I was cooking, even though it was early in the day. COOK'S TREAT! (Well, I’d been UP and at work since 7 p.m. Friday night).

Mom did the pictures and she was sorta having to juggle camera and slurry-making duties while I cooked, plus all the people crowded around to see. I loved cooking for my friends, and enjoyed it very much. They even applauded as the last dish was set onto the table.

Thank you for letting me guest blog, and I’m glad you lasted through it.



Kim Shook said...

Oh, Caro! I’m so glad that you ‘guested’! Your meal is gorgeous! I especially loved the shrimp and snow peas. And the next time I visit, will you please teach me how to do those beautiful pleats on the potstickers? I am just so impressed and envious of you – how lovely to have a group of folks to share your food skills with. It looks like everyone is fairly accomplished in your crowd!

Bev said...

Wonderful!! What a feast..thank you for taking the time to share it all with us. I too would love a lesson on making the pleats.

Southern Lady said...

What a smorgasbord of culinary delights, Caro. Everything looks and sounds so delicious. My favorite was the Shrimp and Snow Peas, too! You are very talented and I know your mom was so proud.

Indy Cookie said...

So nice to "meet" you Caro! Your meal looks heavenly... great job on the photos, Rachel :)
Pot Stickers are my absolute favorite and yours look divine...I can almost taste them!

Jeanne said...

Hi Rachel, nice job on those photos. Now I must go and eat my breakfast. This made me hungry. Caro did a wonderful job preparing the food. It sounds like a group I would love to be involved with. I don't think I can compete with the cooks in this group though. LOL. I am a very simple cook. My recipes are mostly in my head. This is the kind of food I adore to eat.
Happy day to all.

Hugs, Jeanne

Keetha said...

Fun! Sounds delicious. Wish I could have been there!

Nail said...

Oh Sweetie, how I wish I was there! I did make your Asian Green Beans at Easter and they were wonderful! Now I need to try your Pot Stickers, they look so yummy! Next time I come up there, you're cooking for sure! Everything looks so wonderful and I'm so proud of you...

Your favorite Aunt Nail

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

I have never tasted any of your dishes and I think...I think I need to broading my horizons! Looks and sounds delicious!!
Thank you for your comment on my blog! :) SOOO true and I am still having regrets over some things like you are!!

Anonymous said...

Very enjoyable and made the dishes look easy so I hope to try some. Thanks for the look-in on your fun.

Maggie said...

I'm serious here -- have you considered teaching Asian cuisine for money? You obviously have the skills and the repertoire and sometimes people just need to be shown the Possible. Thanks so much for guest blogging -- as another commenter said I'm very hungry now.

Kim Shook said...

Signing in again to say I think Maggie has a good idea! The combination of the beauty of the food and the fact that it is healthy and good tasting is just unbeatable. I think you should think about it!

Caro said...

Hello one and all,
Thank you so much for all your kind words.

The participants were all part of my WW support group( about a dozen or so of us out of a class of app 75 -100 on any given Sat.) We've all been sharing the same journey and have found a great source of support in each other.

When they said that the theme for our get together was Asian, I sort of took over and volunteered to do a demo that seemed to take on a life of it's own as I tried to decide what to cook.
Started out as just the potstickers ( 2 for 1pt)and grew form there as I thought of each dish to add that was easy and healthful.Plus I just really wanted to knock their socks off!!

To Nail and Kim;
I'd gladly cook for you and with you the next time either of you can make the trip.We look forward to having you both whenever possible! Our hearts are over flowing with love for you!

The pleating is tremendously easy once you get the hang of it. These I made on site as it is easier to go directly to skillet if the dough hasn't sat long and gotten too moist.

You are much too kind,I've a long way to go before I could ever think of doing that , but I do enjoy sharing what I do know with any and all willing to learn.
Most of what I know, I learned the techniques from Gullet,cookbooks, internet, etc... and the flavors, well, I just sort of pick them out of dishes as I try them at various restuarants. All of these dishes were picked based on ease of preparation, and sheer yumminess!
And everyone loved the geisha apron you made, Mama was kind enough to loan me.

So once again Thank You for letting me take over and sharing this day with us.It was a blast!