Monday, May 25, 2009

Challenge "Fill Me Up Until I'm Stuffed"

The calm before the storm...

This is our beautiful Jacaranda tree, hours before the Memorial Day weekend crowds flooded Spreckles Park to kick off the first concert of the summer.

Our first culinary theme of the Summer 2009 Challenges, Fill Me Up Until I'm Stuffed, lured in a few of our creative and faithful chefs.

I tackled Shrimp Potstickers with Spicy Dipping Sauce, using Martin Yan's recipe as a guideline. The filling is primarily composed of ground pork, shrimp, water chestnuts, ginger, cilantro, green onions, sesame oil and cornstarch. Making the filling was the easy part...combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix.

I then set out to make homemade potsticker dough. Don't try this without one of John's margaritas within easy reach.

The dough, flour and water, comes together quite easily in the food processor and then rests for about 15 minutes. It's then divided, rolled into long cylinders, and sliced into 3/4 inch pieces. The pieces are then flattened into little disks and the little disks are each rolled into paper thin circles measuring about 4 inches in diameter. I was able to make about 24 wrappers in a mere 6 hours...well, let's say 2 hours.

The next step took some time to master, gently cradling the wrapper in the palm of your hand, placing a tablespoon of filling in the center, and sealing the edges with cute little pleats. After about 14, I got the hang of it. Here they are, ready for the pan.

The potstickers are pan-fried in a little oil until the bottoms are golden and then steamed to finish the cooking.

I used our little portable burner to prepare the potstickers at the park, table side. The Spicy Dipping Sauce is a mixture of soy sauce, rice vinegar, chili-garlic sauce, hot chili oil, and chopped green onions.

Unfortunately, I didn't make enough potstickers to go around.

In addition to my potstickers, we enjoyed the following stuffed and filled creations...

Kai's Spring Rolls

Dina's Tomatoes Stuffed with Basil Pesto and Fresh Mozzarella

Mary's Chocolate-Dipped Stuffed Dates (first marinated in Grand Mariner)

Sandra's Shrimp Quesadillas

Melinda's Cream Puffs and Strawberries in Chocolate Ganache

Madeline's Dessert Assortment

Mom's Stuffed Zucchini with Lamb & Mint

....and Pammy's Stuffed Salad?

Congratulations to our newly married couple, Mark and Kerry.

And goodbye, for now, to Brandon.

Get ready for Challenge Cherries ...they are delicious, in season and one of my favorites!

Denise & John

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