kruizing with kikukat

Monday, July 30, 2012

Chicken Potstickers

OMG!  Work is brutal.  On Tuesday, the office phone began ringing off the hook.  It was ridiculous.  But the High Commander showed aloha, once again setting the bar high.  She bought a nice lunch for everyone at the district office.  We're talking over 30 lunches!  It just amazes me how some people miss out on all the "respect" and "relationships" talk.  And I loved how others talk about "honoring time" as one of the meeting norms then keep us beyond the 3 pm end-of-paid-work time. 

For the last day of torture last week, GP and I attended a data review session at one of the high schools.  We sat in with the ragamuffin group (not language arts, not math; this was all the rest), and we were treated to a show.  At one point we thought the teachers were gonna riot when they were told they'd be observed by their peers and rated.  The Freddie Mercury-look-alike presenter looked like he wanted to run and hide.  GP and I wondered why they even stayed at the school since they say the principal is outrageous (decided to be the gatekeeper on the hard-to-fill area bonuses instead of let geography dictate)...then we saw their schedule for the school year.  OMG!!!  Talk about not listening to the High Commander! 

I need a new job, I really do.  I keep asking my friend Keith (chef at Sansei) if he thinks DK will hire me for something.  I have no restaurant experience, but DK seems intelligent...nearly half-dozen successful restaurants must count for something.  I'm sure he could think of something I could do for his empire.  I asked my parents if they would support me if I quit work.  They said they would gladly welcome me back to their home, but I'd need to sell my home and let them tell me what I could and could not do.  Forget it!  I have less than 10 years left (before full retirement eligibility), and I'm sure time will pass slowly.  Ugh.  The system is sooo messed up.  It wasn't like this when I entered in the early 90s. Of course, I didn't have an iPad back then either.

In the past few weeks, there has been a huge increase in kikukat blog traffic.  I'm guessing pinterest is responsible...the strawberries with almond cream pic and recipe seem to be what draws people here.  I'd like to say a big ALOHA to my new pal Maggie in New York.  In her honor, I'm sharing a pic of omiyage from Edz' recent trip to the Big Apple.  My favorite New York & white cookies!  It took me a few days to finish them off, but with D2's help, we managed to put them all away.  The cookies in the pic came from 2 different places:  Junior's and Rossi's.  They taste similar, but I liked the small Junior's cookies the best.  But don't get me wrong...I will never turn away black & white cookies. 

The Help is away now.  He went to the Bay Area for a family trip.  I was invited, and The Help's daddy graciously offered to cover all travel expenses for me (he is a very kind, generous man), but when my district was given the green light to convert 2 "formerly-known-as-furlough" days to professional development days for teachers, I wasn't about to use two 8-hour leave days for 2 7-hour days.  I would be out 2 hours, and I know the Establishment would never allow me to take the 2 hours another time.  Fuckers.

Prior to leaving, The Help said he was gonna try and spend some time in San Francisco's Chinatown.  That made me really jealous because I kept thinking about all the goodies he'd get to eat and all the goodies I'd be missing out on.  Of course, he is in a van with 4 other family members, including a coddled and indulged pre-teen, so maybe my jealousy is tempered a bit.  After all, had I gone on the trip, I would've missed out on the last 2 days of torture and would not have had the opportunity to scream obscenities at Mr. Dependable over the car speaker phone.

Prior to the blowout with Mr. Dependable, I had been planning to pick up dinner from Leung's, a local Chinese dive with the greasiest, most ono kau yuk.  But when our conversation ended and I drove into the Leung's parking lot, I nearly ran smack into Mr. Dependable's pilot!  Fuming even more, I spun my car around and left.  There was no way Leung's could've handled both of us in the same room!  So instead of my greasy plate from Leung's, I decided to come home and eat from my freezer.  It took me some time to figure out what was available in there (and what should actually go into the trash).  I came across a bag of chicken potstickers and a wrapped up block of what turned out to be taro cake.  What a find!
I need to explain that the frozen potstickers I found were not store-bought.  I had made them last month.  When I make potstickers, I make a big batch (takes several hours), storing the filling in the refrigerator while I wait for the potstickers to get frozen (freezer real estate, especially for a large cookie sheet, is at a premium, and this is usually what determines how many I can make at a time.).  Most times, I don't eat any of the potstickers when I'm making it...its more to have on hand for those nights when I'm pressed for time.  Frozen potstickers take the same amount of cooking time as non-frozen potstickers, and because they are frozen individually, you can cook only what you need each time.  I like to eat potstickers with a spicy dipping sauce, but if I'm pressed for time, shoyu with a touch of sriracha and sesame oil works fine too.  While I enjoy potstickers, nobody in my house enjoys them more than D1.  Nobody.  Oh, yah, Mr. Dependable likes potstickers too, but he certainly won't be on my potsticker sharing list for a while.

For everyday cooking, I prefer to use stainless steel or enameled cast iron cookware (not non-stick), however, when making potstickers, I use a non-stick skillet to avoid the frustration of major sticking (its likely you will lose the bottom of the wrapper if you don't use non-stick).  You will end up souring the pan for hours!  How do I know this?  I learned this the hard way.

click on recipe title for printable recipe
Chicken Potstickers

     1 lb ground chicken
     2 c chopped won bok
     1 tbsp grated ginger
     1 tsp shoyu
     1 tsp salt
     2 tsp sesame oil
     1 tsp shaoxing wine
     1/2 tsp sugar
     2 tbsp cornstarch
     2 pkgs Chun Wah Kam round wrappers or 1 pkg Twin Dragon gyoza wrappers
     oil (1 tbsp per frying pan-ful)
     chicken broth or water (1/2 c per frying pan-ful)

Combine chicken, won bok, ginger, shoyu, salt, sesame oil, shaoxing wine, sugar, and cornstarch.  Place 2 teaspoons of filling in center of wrapper.  Wet edge with water and seal, making pleats as you go, to form a half moon.   Pleats will naturally cause potsticker to curve.  At this point, potstickers may be frozen in a single layer.  When frozen, potstickers can be bagged together.  To cook, heat 1 tbsp oil in a non-stick skillet.  Place potstickers (directly from the freezer is fine too) into pan, flat-side down.  Add 1/2 cup chicken broth.  Cover pan and cook until most of the liquid evaporates.  Uncover and cook until bottom of potstickers are golden brown.  Serve with shoyu or dumpling sauce.  Makes about 4 dozen.

Chun Wah Kam wrappers are thicker than Twin Dragon wrappers.  You can also substitute ground pork for the chicken.
I will post the sauce recipe next week.

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