Saturday, February 9, 2013

Sunriver Trip for Gramma's Birthday

We decided that for Gramma's 64th birthday (yes Mom, I really did just post your real age on the internet!) we would take a spur-of-the-moment trip to Sunriver, OR for some fun in the snow.  We arrived in Bend just in time to have lunch at 10 Barrel Brewing with the Sander family, me, Mom and Aunt Robyn.

We rented a nice little condo in Sunriver, unloaded the cars, and struck out on a DIY sledding adventure!  We had heard about a good cinder cone hill that would make for some great sledding, so we drove towards the Lava Caves, parked the car and started hiking and looking for a good spot to sled.
Mom and I taking silly pictures of ourselves!
Mom (aka Gramma, the birthday girl) hiking through the snow.
Gramma and Enzo trooping along.

 We finally found a decent enough slope with no trees to inadvertently leap out into our path, and started some sledding fun.  Here Aaron is pushing Brigitta and Reney.

 And in this photo, Enzo is in front, Aaron is in the middle, and Reney is hanging on for dear life on the back!  Gramma stands behind with Orry.

Enzo and Gramma, Orry and Brigitta, enjoying the family sledding!

The whole Sander family with Gramma, wrapping up the DIY sledding trip.

Oh, and because this is a crafty, how to do-it-yourself kind of blog, here are some very clear instructions for making snow angels:

Step 1:  Lay down in the snow.

Step 2: Flap your arms and legs like crazy and it makes an angel!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Japanese Cooking Class!

Wednesday nights are reserved for Craft Night.  Normally, this is the quilting group (Sisters in Stitches) sitting around quilting like mad:  cutting, sewing, unsewing... But this last Wednesday, Chana and I deviated from the normal plan to learn to make Gyoza (Japanese potstickers) from some of our Japanese tennis friends.

This is a very exciting thing for me, because those of you who know me are well aware that I could live on potstickers and nothing else for quite some time.  They definitely fall into the "My Favorite Foods" column.

Here is our hostess, Yumi (Yumiko), sampling some of Mike's Blackberry Ale.
Mixing the diced cabbage, featuring Seiko's hands.
So it all begins with some cabbage.  We used a combination of Napa and Chinese cabbage, diced.  Seiko added some salt to the mixture to draw the moisture out of the cabbage.  Once the salt is fully incorporated and it is well mixed, let it sit for a bit to continue to draw out the moisture.
Oodles of ground pork.
 We used ground pork for the filling.  Some places use chicken, a combination of chicken and pork, and you can even use shrimp if you want.  I don't want, since I am allergic to shellfish, but it is an option for everyone else out there!

We added garlic to the ground pork, and chives.
Seiko, chopping chives!
Once the garlic and chives were added, Tomoko and Seiko squeezed the moisture out the cabbage mixture and incorporated it into the meat mixture.

Seiko is combining the cabbage with the pork mixture by hand, making sure to mix well.  She is standing on a stool to do this because she is vertically challenged.

The finished mixture looks like this!
 Gyoza wrappers (which you can buy at any Asian store and most upper-end grocery stores) are what we use to wrap the gyoza.

Gyoza Wrappers

Close-up, so you can see the ingredients!

In addition to your meat mixture and your gyoza wrappers, you need need a prep surface that has been lightly floured (we used trays covered in foil with flour), and a small bowl of water.

Yumiko, Tomoko, and me... making gyoza!

You take a gyoza wrapper, floured side down, and put a spoonful of filling in the middle.  Then wet your finger using your small bowl of water and run it along the edges of the wrapper.  Fold the gyoza up and stick the edges together, crimping as you go.

Place the gyoza on the floured surface, making sure they do not touch, because they get sticky and will stick together.

Then pan fry your gyoza.  Start with a small amount of oil, to brown the bottoms.  When the bottoms are brown, pour in a mixture of cornstarch and water, cover and steam until all the water is gone.  The cornstarch acts to keep the wrapper crispy as it steams so it doesn't become soft.

All done!

 We enjoyed our gyoza feast with this amazing salad Yumi made, some miso soup, and some rice.  The gyoza are very good with potsticker sauce mixed with sesame oil with chili.  Oh yum!

From left to right:  Yumiko, Mayumi, Tomoko, Seiko, and me.  Thank you to Chana for snapping the photo!
This is a dried sardine.  See that eyeball?  It was looking at me.

So I ate it.
This evening was so much fun, with so much good food... I think I am going to invite the Japanese ladies over to learn to make Swiss food... fondue, anyone?

Japanese Gyoza Ingredients:

Ground pork
Napa Cabbage
Chinese Cabbage
Gyoza Wrappers