Tag Archives: Turkey

Turkey potstickers

Things I learned while making potstickers for the first time:

  1. Homemade potstickers are totally worth it–if you’re patient.
  2. If the ground pork at the supermarket looks questionable, ground turkey makes a fine dumpling substitute.
  3. Supermarket round dumpling wrappers are convenient, but finicky as hell. They will tear at the least provocation. Be gentle, or go to an Asian grocery store for honest-to-goodness potsticker wrappers.
  4. Don’t do this on a weeknight. Make a stir-fry or something instead. Otherwise you will be lonely, exhausted, and cornstarch-covered at 11 PM.
  5. Don’t do this alone. Enlist your friends. Have a potsticker-pleating party. Save the wine for afterward.
  6. Speaking of pleats: they don’t have to be flawless. The goal is to seal the filling in and create a flat bottom for the pan, not to replicate the greasy perfection of your favorite Chinese restaurant. If you can pleat the perfect crescent dumpling, you are more impressive than I.
  7. Overstuffing is death. Think torn wrappers, gummy fingers, and raw meat everywhere. Don’t be like me–measure your filling.
  8. You can freeze the dumplings before cooking, using the old baking sheet-to-zip-top bag trick. If you’re cooking the potstickers straight from the freezer, be warned: they will spit and spatter something fierce. Act accordingly.
  9. The secret to great homemade potstickers? A nonstick pan. Who’da thunk.
  10. As with so many things in life, these are best fresh from the pan. Soft on top, juicy in the middle, crusty and dark on the bottom. I believe the verdict from my dinner guests was “addictive.”
  11. My friends will eat as many potstickers as I can put in front of them. There is no limit. See point 10.


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What can you do with $5?

This weekend, I took Slow Food USA’s $5 Challenge.  The gauntlet laid down: to create a delicious home-cooked meal that costs $5 or less per person.

To commemorate the occasion, I wrote a poem.  It’s called Ode to the Chinese Takeout Place Near My Old Apartment:

You seduce me, you know

with your glossy nuggets of floury meat

and your vegetables, crisp then yielding

like a starchy executive in a big-screen comedy.

Day after day you whisper

down the street and around the corner

to the white-walled living room with the anemic lightbulbs

and jaundiced molding

where I’ve collapsed fresh off the train.

“Come back to me,” you murmur,


as I wonder if the kitchen wouldn’t mind just one more day of disuse.


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Chili transgressions

So let’s get this out of the way, right here, right now. This is a post about chili. But not the old-school kind of chili. Not the kind of chili you put on a chili dog. Not the kind of chili that, when I was in college, I used to slop over fries and drench with nacho sauce and call it dinner. (I am shamed.) Oh, no, this is not your generic tomato-red, capsaicin-swimming, orange-grease-slicked Amurrican chili. If I ever enter this chili in a cookoff, they’ll almost certainly ride me out of town on a rail.

There are about a million and one traditional chili recipes out there in the ether, all more or less the same. What I’m after is none of them. I want chili that demands nothing but a bowl and a spoon and a sprinkle of cheese, that fills to the ribs without coalescing into a belly-brick. I want incongruous meats and funky textures, toothsome chunks of vegetation, beans of all different sizes. And I want something so far beyond the pale that it hardly qualifies as chili at all. My signature chili is absolutely killer, but it’s also miles away from tradition. It’s almost–dare I say it–un-American.

So here’s the proof. I’m done. Haul me away and lock me up. I surrender.

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