Tuesday, May 19, 2009

They Are Called Pot Stickers For A Reason

Last night our neighbors in the duplex next to us had a potluck dinner where they rolled sushi, and asked everyone to bring an appetizer. Yeah, I think you see the trap. They roll out beautiful sushi, look like the perfect hosts, and then later get to laugh at the crappy little of plates of crap the neighbors produced. Ryan says I am being too cynical and paranoid. Ryan believes in unicorns.

In the past for parties such as these I have done what I do best and bought something, usually a dessert. But this time I decided I wanted to make something, or at least bring something that it looked like I sort of cooked, instead of just snapping the lid off a container of hummus. And then it came to me -- pot stickers.
Who doesn't like pot stickers? They go perfectly with Asian food, look really fancy, and even have a fancy ethnic name -- "gyoza." The bag promised that the prep was "simple" and "only took ten minutes." The bag sits on a throne of lies.

At first tings seemed to be going well. Two tablespoons of oil? Check. A single layer of pot stickers? Check? Browning? Check. The bag said if I wanted the pot stickers not to stick to the pan not to move them around. That didn't make any sense to me, but I figured the person who wrote the instructions wasn't an idiot and probably had made pot stickers before, so I left them alone. I poured in the water to let them steam, and walked away.

When I returned it looked like everything was going well. The water was evaporating, and the gyoza were plumping up. Sure, it was taking closer to 20 minutes, but I blamed that on the whole "high altitude" thing. I let them go and two minutes later went back to find the water all gone -- and the dumplings stuck to the pan like barnacles.

I began to rage.

I figured the best way to get the dumplings out of the plan was to scream and slam the pan around. Oh, and threaten to go out and buy another appetizer, a better appetizer, to replace them. Surprisingly, none of these tactics worked. The dumplings stayed so stuck that they didn't even move when I inverted the pan over the sink in a histrionic attempt to rid myself them forever.

During my fit (there really is no other way to describe it) Ryan stood in the corner saying soothing things and trying to make the situation better. I reacted by asking him please not to talk, or touch the pans, or do anything other than insult pot stickers and whoever came up with the ludicrous idea to stuff meat into dough and pan fry it. I know, I can't believe I was saying such insane things either. How could I insult doughy goodness?

When I finally calmed down and stepped away from the pan Ryan stepped in to do damage control. First of all, he got out a spatula (why didn't I think of that) and started gently working under the dumplings with it. It was like he turned into MacGuyver before my eyes. While most of the dumplings were coming up not quite whole, they were still coming up, and Ryan was placing them very carefully damaged side down on a plate so wouldn't see the holes from where the dough had become one with the pan.

Of course there were some dumplings that were not going to make it. When Ryan touched them with the spatula they just clung tighter, until they exploded in ribbons of dough around a meatball. The meatballs went to Sally, and Ryan and I split the dough. Eating oily dough out of pan almost calmed my rage, but not quite. To make up for the lacking dumplings Ryan got out two very artful containers to fill with the gyoza sauce, and Thai chili sauce, and placed them on the plate so it didn't look like we had only cooked half a portion of food.

On the way over to the party (all 15 steps) I told Ryan at least we would have a funny story to tell about our misadventures with pot stickers. And I figured that my misstep could be seen as a hostess gift for our perfect party hosts. However, because of his kitchen magic, not one even noticed there was anything wrong. Actually, a couple people commented on how good they were, and how well they went with the sushi. I don't even think the hostesses noticed anything was wrong.

Next time though? I'm going with hummus.


She Said said...

If Greg had been there, he would have gnawed at the pan until it was clean for you. He's nice that way.

Not Afraid to Use It said...

I have thrown many a fit over shit that sticks to my pans. Somehow, hopping up and down and shrieking my disgust never seems to work. Now that we moved off the mountain, I can no longer blame it on the high altitude. Boo.

Heather said...

Oh yeah, been there done that. You'd think by the name alone I'd have known. Also? The ones from a bag never taste as good as the ones from the restaurants. Same with eggrolls. But at least those come out looking unmolested. =)

The Mad Grammarian said...

Great post on those annoying pot stickers, I am glad the party turned out well. I have been catching up on your blog the last few days, and it never fails to entertain. One of these days, I may actually begin posting something on my blog. See ya!

TrodoMcCracken said...

If the discovery channel has taught me anything about anything is that the next time food decides to cling to your pan all you have to do is Piss on it and the predators will stay away from it.

Tara said...

That never happens with Trader Joe's pot stickers. Just sayin'.