Easy international foods your kids will enjoy

August 28, 2009 4:22:20 PM PDT
With kids back in school and both parents working, dad's are finding their way into the kitchen and realizing they can cook too. Leigh Glaser teamed up with Matthew Amster-Burton, the author of "Hungry Monkey," to show a Novato dad a great meal to cook with his kids.

Potstickers
Makes about 44 dumplings
Time: 90 minutes, plus at least 2 hours chilling time

Little fingers: Iris loves to help fold the dumplings. "But you have to be the dumpling doctor," she says, meaning I have to fix any imperfect folds.

If your supermarket only carries lean ground pork, try an Asian grocery or bring a boneless pork shoulder roast up to the butcher counter and ask them to grind it. I like to serve these with a simple dipping sauce of soy sauce combined with Frank's RedHot sauce. They freeze very well and can be cooked directly from frozen.

Ingredients:

  • 10 ounces napa cabbage, shredded
  • 12 ounces ground pork (not too lean)
  • 3 scallions, white parts only, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup minced lotus root (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 package gyoza wrappers, preferably Twin Dragon brand
  • peanut or canola oil
Method:
  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the cabbage. Return to a boil and boil one minute. Strain in a colander and run under cold water until cool. Squeeze the cabbage out in a towel and place in a mixing bowl.

  2. To the bowl with the cabbage, add the pork, scallions, ginger, oyster sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, salt, lotus root, and egg. Stir well to combine. (Hands are good here.) Refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.

  3. Place 1 tablespoon of filling in each gyoza skin, wet the edge with water, and fold over, pressing firmly to seal.

  4. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high. When hot, add as many dumplings as will fit and cook 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup water, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Steam 6 minutes. Remove cover, raise heat to medium high, and let any remaining water evaporate. Continue cooking until the dumplings are dark brown on the bottom. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and repeat with remaining dumplings.
Sour Cherry Shake
Makes 4 12-ounce shakes
Time: 5 minutes if your cherries are already pitted, 30 minutes otherwise
Special equipment: Blender

Little fingers: Kids enjoy operating a cherry pitter, if you don't mind them getting covered with cherry juice.

If you can't get fresh sour cherries, jarred or canned sour cherries (not pie filling!) make a fine substitute; the jarred morello cherries from Trader Joe's are my favorite.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds sour cherries, stemmed and pitted, or 24 ounces canned or jarred cherries, drained
  • 1 quart vanilla ice cream
Method:
  1. Place the cherries in a blender or food processor (reserving a few for garnish) and blend into a smooth puree. Add the ice cream and continue to blend until smooth, rich, and pink. Pour into four glasses, garnish with fresh cherries, and serve.
About Matthew Amster-Burton:
Matthew Amster-Burton, 33, writes frequently for Gourmet.com, Culinate, Seattle Magazine, and the Seattle Times. He has been featured in the Best Food Writing anthology repeatedly. His favorite food is Pad Thai. Find him online at Roots and Grubs.

Website: http://hungrymonkeybook.com


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