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  1. It seems that whether people enjoy their Thanksgiving meal or not is if they have good cooks in the family, when that happens, even the most traditional foods won't be bad. However, in our family as time has gone on, my sister and her husband have gotten tired of turkey because they normally have it throughout the year in the form of turkey breast dinners, and then when I added my husband, he didn't like cranberries or any kind of squash or yams (heavens!) so we started to rethink the dinner. Now we branch out although my mother still tries to sneak in traditional foods. This year I took the opportunity to make the dinner so while I concede to my mom who wants a baked ham, I'm adding a pork roast. She will also have her pumpkin pie made out of sugar pumpkins and her homemade crust and we always request this - she doesn't overdo the spices! That's about it for traditional foods. I've happily spent the week on my lunch hour at work going down to the Pike Place Market and seeing what looks good and creating my menu from this. It's exciting and fun, yet I won't be burdened with all the cooking as my brother in law will make a salad and my sister will make parker house rolls. Anyways, I just want to add to the rest that Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of year - it is just an opportunity for me to do a bunch of cooking and it's comfort food. I suggest you just make Thanksgiving into what you want of it. Gradually start branching out if you currently help in the cooking or try to create better versions of what you already do. It's worth a shot if you can then enjoy this great holiday.
  2. Thanks for the great suggestions, everybody! Yes, I am puzzled why the recipe did not have a binding agent like egg or ground pork - I deduced that has been the problem with my potstickers being too fluffy. I didn't realize that the mushrooms had to soak so long. I actually didn't boil them, only put them in the water once it came to a boil and took off the heat, so guess it wasn't long enough. And next time I will use the soaking water! Waste not, want not. Last night I went out and got some new wrappers (I didn't buy the real thin ones at the advice of the guy at the market) and some ground pork. I think I may have a better result next time due to all the excellent advice here.
  3. Yes, in retrospect and reading other recipes, I see they are frequently put in a pan with some water, although I have seen another recipe that also boiled the dumplings. My wrappers are the square ones. They were alittle dry, though, and some would rip when I tried to separate them. I didn't use the ripped ones.
  4. I think I'd like to revive this thread as I just had a sad calamity with my attempt at potstickers yesterday. Perhaps someone could offer some advice. I love all the dumplings, spring rolls and egg rolls and I want to get good at making them. So this was my attempt at a dumpling/potsticker. I followed Tom Douglas's Seattle Kitchen recipe for Lobster/Shitake potstickers but I substituted, and I wonder if that was a mistake. Instead of fresh lobster or crab, I used well drained canned crab. Instead of fresh shitake mushrooms I used dried shitakes that I let sit in brought to boil water for quite some time, that I then diced very small and sauteed for quite some time with shredded carrots. I then rolled this and my seasonings (I used no egg or pork) into the square wrappers and sealed with water. They looked okay, but my wrappers had been in the freezer (although well sealed) for several months and were alittle dry. The recipe then said to boil for about 5 minutes and after that to pan fry. I boiled but towards the end of the boiling time, they started falling apart! Big fluffy bits of mushroom were floating around and I was wondering if they hadn't been fully reconstituted as they appeared twice their size, and whether they had exploded the dumplings. I thought I had squeezed the air out and rolled them tightly, but then your admonition above made me think maybe air inside had exploded them. Or was it the dry wrappers? Also I wonder if egg and/or ground pork better helps the filling to stick together. When I make potstickers, the filling always seems too fluffy, not dense as I like it.
  5. Not a bad year. A beautiful set of pasta plates and serving dish from Williams Sonoma (I'd been borrowing my sister's whenever I made pasta) Immersion blender Bamboo cutting board New stove (present to self. )
  6. Yes, that second picture is more soothing... thank you. I would definitely put chicken feet in stock, but eating? They seem to be all about bone and gristle and soft (not crispy) skin. Although the pad was mentioned, so maybe some meat is hidden there. I try to be open minded and did try them after some encouragement from the eGullet crowd, but to no avail. I just don't like munching on them.
  7. I know this is all about loving chicken feet, but I have to say that's one creepy photo...
  8. Here you go: http://www.thestranger.com/2003-02-06/chow2.html Sure do. I went there with a thorough review in hand, had a coupon for half off, and had a tableful of food just for myself. I tried to get a sampling of all their specialties. This review doesn't mention it, but their fresh corn drink is wonderful. It's just a hole in the wall and easy to miss.
  9. I just wanted to add a last note to your blog, Placebo. Yesterday I strolled down to Beecher's on my lunch hour, and bought a container of the butter. Wow, it is just amazingly delicious. I had some broccoli rabe that I steamed slightly, then put did a light saute with just the butter and some kosher salt. I had to gobble up the whole bunch of it and have since become a convert! ...I am someone who has never bought "gourmet" butter before. Just the usual Land o' the Lakes and such.
  10. Yes but...what do you put marjoram in!? Too funny but you shouldn't be messing with monkeys. I thought white pepper was just so it wouldn't be seen in light cream soups.
  11. I was told to use marjoram like a mild oregano. It's another one of those plants that are thriving in my garden but I rarely use. Even so, I hardly use oregano either. Now rosemary and sage are another story, luckily those grow really well too.
  12. Thanks Judiu. I like the writeup they give for the spice - think I'll spend some time browsing here. But I gotta wonder, if you live in the right state, you can get all the juniper berries you want - are they one and the same?
  13. Wow Abra, I just knew you would be using really obscure ones as your cooking is all over the world. I've been trying to find juniper berries lately - guess I'll have to go to Market Spice or something. I'm seeing these in recipes lately. Thanks for the info on Asafoetida and Fenugreek!
  14. It's good to know what people are using fresh savory for as I have a plant in my garden which I don't even use! Once I started cooking alot more across ethnic lines, I started needing many more dried herbs and spices. I think Indian is the most spice intensive of any type of food and I haven't even begun cooking it, although I have begun my collecting of the necessary ingredients... Dill - again, like carraway, an eastern euro herb. A must in chicken soup, IMO. Also good in those sour cream cuke dishes. Good with lemon on fish. Cardamon - I've been seeing lots more recipes using this, whether the pods soaked or the seeds crushed. I made almond lemon biscotti with cardamon and it was out of this world. It has a great smell. Star Anise - I made Zuni Cafe's red pickled onions as xmas gifts and she uses star anise. Also, of course used in Asian cookery, along with 5 spice. I'm kinda stumped on astefida powder - I bought this veggie cookbook once and she used it all over the place but I haven't noticed it called for anywhere else. Anyone have ideas on this? Is it an Indian spice?
  15. I have all these and use them. Caraway - eastern european dishes like sauerkraut need caraway to be "right" Mustard powder - salad dressing, rubs Chili flakes - all kinds of uses. Asian dishes. Use this and cayenne for adding a nice hotness Tarragon - When I don't have any fresh herbs, I use dried tarragon in my vinaigrette. Now I'm still waiting to use my fenugreek but I know Indian dishes will want that once I start making them... Edited because I see these have been replied to already! However, I disagree about tarragon. I think it has a slight tarragon flavor and isn't too bad. I do the same with the dried chives I have left. Edited AGAIN because I want to ask Suzanne about fenugreek. They come in crunchy big bits - do you really put those into the mashed potatoes or do you grind them up?
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