• Category Archives My ‘Other’ Life
  • Believe it or not I do have another life beyond quilting

  • What to do while you are snowed in? Make Potstickers!

    I love potstickers, we always order them when we go to our favorite Chinese restaurant (Hunan Pearl in Lake Oswego – if anyone cares to ask). I had just cooked up the last ones from the previous batch I made and froze and though I have some commercial ones from Costco in the freezer, I have yet to find a brand I like as much as my own. Luckily, I had anticipated making them and had the raw ingredients on hand. My husband doesn’t eat pork so I use ground turkey, it’s a great pretender when trying to replace pork (plain ole ground turkey, not ground turkey breast, it’s too dry and has a very distinctive taste). I also have diabetic issues and try to steer away from white flour so I used a mixture of AP unbleached white with King Arthur Whole Wheat White flour (very finely milled so it’s a pretty good substitute for regular white flour) at a ratio of about 3/4 whole wheat to white. I like to make my own wrappers, I do not like the commercial wonton/dumpling skins and there is an art to making the dough. I found a great tutorial online at Steamy Kitchen Cooking Shortcuts. For the filling I used the ground meat, minced Nappa cabbage, chopped water chestnuts, scallions, grated ginger and a bit of toasted sesame oil and soy sauce, and as an afterthought, threw in a bit of a dried tangerine peel/Szechwan peppercorn salt mix I make up myself. We had some with dinner last night – YUM!!! The rest are in the freezer in zip lock bags.
    I just hope that this doesn’t follow a precedent set about ten years ago in another record breaking snowstorm where I had just made five dozen potstickers to freeze the day before we lost our power in the storm. We were without power for 6 days and our generator was not working. Authorities tell you to keep at least several days worth of non-perishable food for emergencies – which we do, but we never touched it. After the first couple of days eating whatever we didn’t want to go bad from the refrigerator food we put outside in the snow (it was colder out there than in the fridge) our daily meals consisted of deciding what had thawed out enough that it needed to be eaten NOW and we had nothing but potstickers for dinner that night. By the second night, they had thawed out – probably perfectly safe but they had congealed into one big mass of dough with little meatballs. It hurt more to throw those away than the expensive roast that had to go into the trash; the roast may have cost more but didn’t take hours to make.
    My partially whole wheat flour potstickers
    My partially whole wheat flour potstickers

  • Someone DOES Make Them Like They Used To

    OK, I’m going to digress from my usual cat or quilting commentary and take the time to give a product review (and – ‘no’, it is not a quilting product). Have you ever caught yourself saying “they don’t make them as good as they used to…”? I’m talking about GRAHAM CRACKERS! You remember Graham Crackers? Those yummy, crumbly flat ‘boards’ from kindergarten that we loved to dip into milk? My husband has been jonesing for some good old-fashioned graham crackers for the last year or so and we have tried EVERY brand we can find. The Honey Maid, Annie’s, Nabisco; the store brand generic, the ‘gourmet’, the organic… cheap ones, expensive ones, cinnamon covered, plain, we even tried a knock off brand from the Dollar Store… NOBODY makes graham crackers like the ones I remember from my childhood. Some came close but missed the mark, others weren’t even close (in flavor or texture – the Safeway house brand were the closest we found). Try tossing in trying to avoid high-fructose corn syrup and the playing field gets much smaller. Well, we finally found them! Good old Trader Joe’s wins again, Their ‘boxed’ Honey Graham Crackers are it. We just put them to the milk test and it was like going back in time to sitting around that circle painted on the floor and dipping our crackers into the milk – I could almost smell the tempera paint.
    Mind you, these are NOT the TJ’s cinnamon topped crackers sold in the clear plastic deli containers, these are plain and come in the box but oh the memories… These are just cardboardy enough, sweet but not too sweet, and have just the right ‘sandy’ ‘gritty’ texture, hold their shape when dipped in milk but crumble in your mouth. Heavenly!

  • A Momentary Departure from Quilting

    I am not a huge fan of Anime, most of it is ‘too out there’ but I have to share a recent discovery with you.  I have discovered a series on Netflix streaming video – a current (2014) season of Anime shorts based on the Manga series ‘Mushi-shi’. I have a DVD of the original series that I bought because of this new season I discovered and I

    Mushishi Cover Art
    Mushishi Cover Art

    love it too but the artwork in the newest series is simply exquisite, a term I would find it hard to apply to most Anime.

    Each image is like a Japanese landscape print and the stories are not your average Anime action adventure. A ‘Mushi’ is a spirit, an ethereal creature that lives on the fringe of the natural world that can possess a person and disrupt their life in unusual ways. A ‘Mushi-shi’ is a sort of exorcist/healer who has the knowledge and skill to heal the afflicted person with medicines he carries with him on his travels. In some ways this series is reminiscent of the Zatoichi series about the blind masseur who is also an expert swordsman but where Zatoichi is a (rather violent)  Samurai action series, Mushi-shi is serene and meditative in the presentation of the stories.

    At some point, the DVD of this new season should become available (I hope) but in the meantime, those of you who have Netflix streaming might enjoy watching this most unusual offering in the Anime style.

    You can read a review of this new series on IMDB; they give it an 8.8 (out of a possible 10) rating .