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A Potsticker by any other name…..

mandus and sauce….is called a mandu.   How exciting that this month our challenge would be the loveable and controversial potsticker.  Why controversial you ask?  Everyone on the planet who has ever had one has their own name for it and claim it to be the best.  So we have potsticker, dumpling, mandu, guotie, gyoza and the list could go on a little bit more, and to be honest I’ve been around the block and tasted some in their original countries.  Therefore, for the rest of my post I shall be referring to the potsticker as a mandu which I think tastes the best.  (I ate so many mandus when I lived in Korea I looked like a mandu)

This months challenge was brought to us by Jen from use real butter.   Jen gave us the challenge of making the entire mandu from wrapper to filling.  There were many fillings I could go with but I chose to stick with the pork filling.   filling

The hardest part of the whole challenge was in making the wrappers.  There are only two ingredients in the wrapper, but getting the right consistency was hard for me.  I wasn’t sure what I was going for in the first place, but I knew rock wasn’t it.  Once I got a pliable dough I started assembling the mandu.making mandus 

Making all the mandus was the most time consuming part and I think it could be all kinds of fun if you have some friends over and do it as a group gig.  (note to self: make some friends)mountain-of-mandu

Once I assembled I had to decide which way to cook them.   I decided to go a little crazy and do two methods-steamed and panfried.  I learned two things from the challenge.  1. The wrappers need to be super thin,  thinner than you think.  And 2.  I dislike ginger.  I’ve used ginger many times before, but the ginger in this recipe was too strong and overpowered the taste of the filling.  I definitely recommend using a bit less.  The consensus from boy and man was that they were a good substitute for the real thing….but I feel that for all the work it takes I need to get a tastier filling.   mandus

The best part of the dish was the dipping sauce.  I was able to use my most favorite cookbook and make a Tahini soy sauce.  I’ve been wanting to try it and now I had the chance.  It was mashisayo (delicious). 

Tahini Soy Sauce (adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian)

½ cup soy sauce

¼ cup honey

2 tbs. sesame oil

¼ cup tahini

2 cloves of garlic

Pinch of brown sugar


Combine all ingredients and stir until sugar is dissolved.  Use immediately or refrigerate.

Daring Cooks 1~Me 1


ah…the Strudel

StrudelSo it’s been a year since I became a Daring Baker and after a variety of challenges I didn’t think that they could pull out something I hadn’t tried.   Luckily for me these people have creativity and ideas running out of their ears.  

The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.   Dough 2Dough

  How appropriate that here at The Bistro we get to serve the Apple Strudel.   This challenge was one of the easier challenges, and quite possibly one of the easier recipes I’ve made.  I started with the dough since it needed to rest about 90 minutes and according to our hosts, the longer it rests…the better.   This dough was amazing!  I’ve worked with all kinds of dough and I’ve never used one that felt like this.  It is absolutely smooth, not sticky and it’s ability to stretch blew my mind.  The beauty of this dough is that it doesn’t need to be rolled out.  You just pull it or use it’s own weight to stretch it till it’s paper thin.  I’m talking THIN.  filling

We could then choose to fill it with the apple filling or be creative and come up with something else.  I did both.  I used apples…but I also used pears, almonds and craisins.   I’ll be honest….while this was an easy challenge and it looked very nice, I wasn’t falling face over tongue for it.  I used TASTE salt in the dough and drizzled a lemon frosting (recipe to follow) over the top and that did make it pop a little more. 

Pearple StrudelAll in all a great challenge and a great dough that could be filled with a myriad of things.  I’m thinking breakfast strudel with potatoes, eggs and the like.   Seriously, you could go on forever with ideas….well you could-me not so much.


Lemon Creamy Frosting

6 tbs. butter

1/4 cream

1/4 tsp. salt

3 cups powdered sugar

lemon flavoring

In a bowl beat butter, cream, salt and flavoring until smooth.  Then add powdered sugar and beat very well until smooth.  Spread on anything and everything you can.


Oh the HORROR!!

The Daring Cooks have finally arrived and I’m so excited that the Daring Bakers have branched off into another group that will make me even more amazing than I already am. (I’m so kidding about that last part people…I’m really just medium amazing)  Our first challenge was brought to us from our BRILLIANT co-founders Lis and Ivonne.  They have chosen the gnocchi for our first gig.  We were given a great recipe and I had this great pumpkin sauce that I was going to use to dress it…..but then I got mad at them and just used pesto.   We were given this great tip to just do one gnocchi first so that we would be able to see if our mixture needed more stability.   If we dropped a gnocchi in and it floated to the top without busting open, then everything was just right.     gnocchi   See it’s totally floating………that means success.

I then proceeded to make the rest of the gnocchi and threw them in to cook.  I was super anxious waiting for them to be done so I could eat them.  Instead of waiting for them to finish I went to the one I had already cooked and taken out…but when I looked at it, it had changed…to a blob….of mush.  WTH?  I decided to wait till the others were done to try it and pushed Mr. irritation to the back of my mind.   After my gnocchi had spent their due time in el jacuzzi I took them out to cool when to my HORROR they all melted into a blob while they rested.  Okay not all….I saved 3.  3 gnocchis made it through and by the time I fished them out of the mess they were unattractive.  Absolutely unworthy of the pumpkin sauce I had planned to robe them with.   Mr. irritation was now out of hiding and I couldn’t think past the failure and just pulled out the pesto.  (love pesto…it’s the bandaid for food)  I took my food photo outside in the glaring sun to try and minimize the ugly…notice my grass…it’s looking really good right now.   final product

Daring Cooks 1~Me 0

Game On


Piece of Cake….

db2So I have finally caved….and started my own blog.  I have always been the anti-blog person in the group.  So not willing to spend the time plus I’m not naturally creative and always felt that blogging would stress me out.   I joined this “little” group called the Daring Bakers’ about a year ago and through natural progression have ended up here.   Some people that I’ve talked to have assured me that blogging is a “piece of cake”, but I’ve learned that I am technologically inept and that “piece of cake” is nowhere in sight.  Therefore, I am blindly jumping into this adventure and enjoying the sights as I go.  Hey….who doesn’t love an adventure right? (plus they are always fun if people come with you to share the experience)  Anyway….back to cake. 

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.db-43

Who is this Abbey they speak of and why is she infamous?  Well I still don’t know about who she is, but I will tell you she’s infamous because this cheesecake is so moist.  I’m talking perfectly moist, the kind of moist you dream about and covet when you eat cheesecake from a fine restaurant.  The recipe was basic and simple and the challenge was to make it unique.  (what is with all this creativity…don’t they know I have no imagination?)  I decided that I would make a light tasting cheesecake to go along with the spring weather we’ve been experiencing.  I made a coconut flavored cheesecake with a mandarin/mango juice glaze.  I was gonna stop there, but I was feeling that I needed to step it up a smidge since I have my own blog now and chose to frost the sides with a thin layer of buttercream and topped it with some sugared almonds.  Doesn’t sound really good when you mention frosting eh?, but it takes the cheesecake to a different level.  It makes it more than just a cheesecake and it tastes really good.   db1

So there it is….my first post.  Ta-Da!!  Once I figure it all out, there will be links and a button and all the other stuff that makes a blog a blog.  ( I know…crazy talk right?!)

July 2018
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