When I was younger, I thought of pureed foods as baby foods and food for the elderly. Now I look at them and see them as smooth and luxurious. I have tried making them before but they never look like they do on the cooking shows. Imagine that. LOL. When I see them on cooking shows, they look so smooth and luxurious and I can only imagine how good they taste and feel. As I have been reading about and listening to chefs talk about them, I have been struck by a couple of simple steps which make all the difference.
One is to begin by peelings and/or washing your produce. This made me laugh, as this month the Pampered Chef guest special is your choice of serrated or vegetable peeler. Having a good vegetable and/or serrated peeler can be invaluable. I love serrated peelers for fruits and vegetables with hard to remove skins like kiwi, peaches, tomatoes, mangoes, etc. Having the right tools to begin is important.
The second step I learned is to steam your produce for 12-15 minutes. The best purees are from fruits and vegetables that soften as you cook them. Having a steamer insert for your pot is important. You can cook them without a steamer; however, the steamer makes it easier to get the produce in and out of the water. Read more
The Chinese call these Guotie, the Japanese call them Gyoza, and in the US, we tend to call them potstickers. When I am eating them, I am not so particular about what they are called; I am focused on how much I enjoy eating them.
If you have never had them, they are made with a circular skin and are then filled with a mixture of some sort, typically ground meat, and or vegetables. They are then sealed by pressing the edges together or by crimping them. They are usually served with a soy/vinegar dipping sauce. They are one of those things that are amazing to eat and seem complex to prepare but they are not. Usually when I make them, I make several dozen at a time, as they do not last long in our house. My favorite recipes for making gyoza are at http://www.food.com/recipe/japanese-gyoza-41660 and for guitoe (Chinese pot stickers) at http://www.food.com/recipe/chinese-pot-stickers-13320. While both recipes are time consuming, they are better then the guitoe you will find at most Chinese restaurants. Read more
Sometimes writing about what is in my heart is difficult as there are times when there are not words to capture what I am thinking or feeling. Every occasionally, when I am cooking, whether it be a dish or a season, something will transport me back into my mother’s kitchen where the aromas and tastes of century old traditions were being recreated. As my mother and I would make rugelach or noodle kugel she would talk about how she learned how to do this from her mother, who learned how to do it from her mother, and so forth and so on. Sadly, my mother’s cookbook lived in her head. Nothing was written down. Periodically, I could get her to write these things down for me and so I have a few. However, the recipes were written in her heart and in her mind. When she began to lose her memory, they began to fade with her. When she died, most of them died with her. However, what I have been coming to realize is that some of those legacies somehow got written in my heart as well. Read more