Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Day 26

Today we celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary, so I thought I'd better make one of Blake's favorites: ぎょうざ (gyo-za), or potstickers. These things are amazing. I could honestly eat like 40 in one sitting! And once you get the hang of the crimping, they're actually pretty easy.

For dessert, I was going to make something I've made before, but as I was looking through Ina Garten's Barefoot in Paris cookbook, Blake mentioned that he had never tasted Creme Brulée before! And that made me feel so guilty because whenever anyone asks me what my favorite dessert is, my answer is always Creme Brulée. So I HAD to make it for him. Ina says that Creme Brulée is the ultimate guy desssert, and I didn't know what she meant until I handed the blow torch to Blake and let him brown the top himself. He looked like a little kid in a candy store and even said, "this is perfect! It's the perfect combination of good food and danger." So now I believe, Ina. This IS the ultimate guy dessert!

ぎょうざ gyo-za
makes about 45-50
1 lb ground pork
1/2 head of nappa cabbage, chopped fine
2-3 scallions, chopped fine
1 T fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, grated
3 T soy sauce
2 T sesame oil
6-7 dried shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted and chopped fine
1 package gyoza skins (round dim sum skins)
  1. Combine the pork, cabbage, scallions, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, and mushrooms in a large bowl.
  2. Take one skin, place about 1/2 T of the meat mixture in the middle, wet half of the edge of the skin, pull the dry side over the wet side, and make little "pleats" (I usually do about 6-8 mini folds). As you get used to this part, you can add more meat into the middle, but until then, start small. Put corn starch on a baking sheet and place the filled gyoza with the crimped side up on the baking sheet. (the corn starch will make it extra crispy on the bottom)
  3. In a non-stick skillet with a lid, pour about 1 T canola oil and heat to medium-high. Place the gyoza in a line on the skillet with the crimped side up and cook until the bottoms are browned. Once browned, pour about 2 T water into the pan and place the lid on top and cook for about 5-7 minutes until they are cooked through. Serve hot with rice.
for the dipping sauce (this is the traditional Japanese version, the Chinese version has a totally different dipping sauce):
soy sauce
rice wine vinegar
chili oil
  1. Combine ingredients to taste.

Ina Garten's Creme Brulée
makes 5-6 servings3 C heavy cream
1 extra-large egg
4 extra-large egg yolks
1/2 C sugar, plus 1 T for each serving
1 t pure vanilla extract
1 T Grand Mariner (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 300°. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the eeg, yolks, and 1/2 C sugar on low speed until just combined.
  2. Meanwhile, scald the cream in a small saucepan until very hot but not boiled. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the cream to the eggs. Add the vanilla and Grand Mariner and pour into 6- to 8-ounce ramekins until almost full.
  3. Place ramekins in a baking pan and carefully pour boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until custards are set when gently shaken. Remove ramekins from the water bath, cool to room temp, and place in the fridge until firm.
  4. To serve, spread 1 T of sugar evenly on top of each ramekin and heat with a kitchen blowtorch until the sugar caramelizes evenly. Allow to sit at room temp for a minute until the sugar hardens.

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